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Brain, Behavior, and the Economy

Psychological science, once criticized for underestimating the impact of socioeconomic factors on psychological development and functioning, now plays a lead role in investigating how wealth and poverty affect thought, emotion, and action throughout our lives. Top researchers from the United States and Europe presented some of the most profound findings on cognition, brain, behavior, and development in socioeconomic contexts during the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), held in March in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In an integrative science symposium, researchers shared discoveries about the ways socioeconomic status affects brain development, decision making, subjective well-being, and more. A complete video of the session, divided by individual presentations in chapter format, is available on the APS YouTube page. Presenters include APS Fellows Martha J. Farah, University of Pennsylvania, and Eldar Shafir, Princeton University; psychological scientist Cynthia García Coll, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, Puerto…


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Q&A: Research on Educational Apps

A new report published in the April issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest provides a set of four evidence-based principles that parents, educators, and app designers can use to evaluate the quality of so-called “educational” apps.

The report, “Putting Education in ‘Educational’ Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning,” was published by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University; Jennifer M. Zosh, Penn State University, Brandywine; Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, University of Delaware; James H. Gray, Sesame Workshop; Michael B. Robb, Saint Vincent College; and Jordy Kaufman, Swinburne University of Technology.

*Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff are recipients of the 2015 APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award. They will deliver their Award Address at the 2015 Annual Convention in May.

Out of the four “pillars” of learning, which did you find to be displayed most prominently in existing apps?

One of…


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Jennifer Richeson Named Guggenheim Fellow

PAFF_041615_JenniferRicheson_newsfeatureJennifer Richeson, an APS Fellow and former APS board member, has been selected as a 2015 Guggenheim fellow. Awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the prestigious fellowships are appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Richeson is the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, where she is also a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and professor of African American Studies. Her compelling research largely focuses on the social psychological phenomena of cultural diversity and social group membership, particularly the ways race and gender impact the way people think, feel and behave.

By utilizing a broad range of empirical methods, her work has uniquely examined the potential cognitive “costs” and mutual misperceptions associated with intergroup interactions. A key finding of her work is that interactions between minority and majority…


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Social Interaction and Extremism

Dominos_webAlthough many radicalized religious, political, and ideological groups have used extreme tactics — such as vandalism, arson, harassment and intimidation, and cyber attacks — to try to change others’ behavior not all groups seek to effect change in these ways. Many groups work to influence others’ beliefs and behaviors through legal political processes. What, then, causes some people to choose radical action over traditional legal forms of political engagement?

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers Emma Thomas and Craig McGarty (Murdoch University) and researcher Winnifred Louis (University of Queensland) explored the role social interaction plays in how people agree upon and accept the need for both traditional and radical action strategies.

The authors examined the impact of social interaction on politicization and radicalization in the context…


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Video Game Violence Doesn’t Boost Aggression Among Adults with Autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulties regulating their emotions and behavior, in addition to the difficulties with social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviors that are characteristic of ASD. As a result, some have speculated that individuals with ASD may be more susceptible to emotionally arousing content found in violent video games, which could lead to increased aggressive behavior.

This is a photo of hands holding a video game controller.Over the past several decades, psychological and behavioral scientists have conducted numerous studies exploring the relationship between violent video games and aggression; however, there is little research that sheds light on how this relationship specifically plays out for individuals with ASD.

Researcher Christopher Engelhardt, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions and the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and colleagues…


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