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Paving the Way to Loan Repayment

Paid education. Graduate cap on a pile of money

Student-loan balances are ballooning, and many borrowers struggle to keep pace with their loan payments. Loan repayment plans that are tied to borrowers’ current incomes can make repayment more manageable, but borrowers have to know about and apply for these programs. The office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education coordinated with the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team to test an email campaign intended to raise awareness and use of these income-driven repayment options.

The researchers identified borrowers who were between 90 and 180 days past due on their student loans and randomly assigned them to receive a specific email, either in November or in December. Using behavioral science, the researchers varied the format and…


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Redesigning and Enhancing the ‘Jigsaw Classroom’ Website

This project was supported by the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science, which invites applications for nonrenewable grants of up to $5,000 to launch new, educational projects in psychological science. Proposals are due October 1 and March 1.

The “jigsaw classroom” is a cooperative learning technique that reduces racial conflict in the classroom and improves learning outcomes. Since the technique was first developed by APS William James Fellow Elliot Aronson in the 1970s, thousands of schools have used the technique, and in 2000 the Social Psychology Network created the Jigsaw Classroom website as a way to publicize and disseminate resources that support effective teaching practices both within and beyond psychology. In April 2014, APS Fellow Scott Plous (Wesleyan University) received a grant from the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science to make the website more accessible and operable…


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Open Practice Badges in Psychological Science: 18 Months On

In May 2014, an open research practices badge program was launched in Psychological Science. After about a year and a half, the results are promising: At least one out of about every three articles published in Psychological Science is conducted with specific attention to openness and transparency meriting a badge.

The open practices badge program encourages authors to engage in open research practices and was devised in partnership with the Center for Open Science. Articles accepted for publication in Psychological Science are awarded badges for meeting any or all of the following criteria:

Open Data The experiment’s data were submitted to an open-access repository.

Open Materials The experiment’s materials were submitted to an open-access repository.

Preregistration The study’s results were reported according to an open-access design and analysis…


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Response Times Do Not Imply Accurate Unconscious Lie Detection

This is an illustration of a magnifying glass over the word "lies"In research published in Psychological Science in 2014, psychological scientists Leanne ten Brinke and colleagues presented studies suggesting that people are able to detect lies on an unconscious level even if they can’t detect them consciously. But, in a new commentary published in Psychological Science, researchers Volker Franz and Ulrike von Luxburg examine the classification accuracy of the original data and find no evidence for accurate unconscious lie detection.

ten Brinke and colleagues had participants watch videos of “suspects” in a mock-crime interview. Half of the suspects had actually stolen a $100 bill from a bookshelf, half had not, but all of the suspects were instructed to tell the interviewer they had not stolen the money. This meant that half of the suspects were definitely lying and…


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Researchers Delve Into Data on Video Games and Aggression in Kids

This is a photo of artwork for the game Grand Theft Auto.There is a long standing debate over the impact of video games — especially violent games — on children’s development and later aggressive tendencies. In a new meta-analysis, Christopher J. Ferguson examined 101 published and unpublished studies that focused on the impact of violent and nonviolent video games on behavioral health (i.e., aggression, prosocial behavior, depressive symptoms, attention problems, or academic performance) in children. He found that overall, violent and nonviolent video games had a minimal impact on aggressive behavior, suggesting the need for a new theory and for better, more standardized research measures.

In a series of commentaries on Ferguson’s article, leading authors in the field provide their views and opinions on his study and its findings.

Patrick M. Markey notes that people on different sides…


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