Why Do Some People Ignore Evacuation Orders?
Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2009
The recent wildfires and ensuing evacuation orders raise the touchy question of why some people refuse to leave their homes and risk their lives. Do they have a death wish? Long for a little excitement? Were they unable to leave? A study of Katrina survivors, published this summer in the journal Psychological Science, found that none of those typical assumptions fit. Instead, the people who defied evacuation orders — many of whom had limited financial resources — did not feel powerless or passive but instead saw themselves as connected to their neighbors and dependent on each other. They also expressed their faith in God and strong feelings about caring for others.
Coverage of “Why Did They ‘Choose’ to Stay? Perspectives of Hurricane Katrina Observers and Survivor” in Psychological Science (Nicole M. Stephens, MarYam G. Hamedani, Hazel Rose Markus, Hilary B. Bergsieker, and Liyam Eloul, Volume 20(7), 878-886).
Winners Wear Red — How Color Twists Your Mind
New Scientist, August 28, 2009
Imagine you are an experienced martial arts referee. You are asked to score a number of taekwondo bouts, shown to you on video. In each bout, one combatant is wearing red, the other blue. Would clothing color make any difference to your impartial, expert judgment? Of course it wouldn’t. Yet research shows it almost certainly would. Last year, sports psychologists at the University of Münster, Germany, showed video clips of bouts to 42 experienced referees. They then played the same clips again, digitally manipulated so that the clothing colors were swapped round. The result? In close matches, the scoring swapped round too, with red competitors awarded an average of 13 percent more points than when they were dressed in blue.
Coverage of “When the Referee Sees Red …” in Psychological Science (Norbert Hagemann, Bernd Strauss, and Jan Leißing, Volume 19(8), 769-771).
Believing Is Seeing
Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2009
Conventional wisdom holds that seeing is believing. But sometimes we believe and then we see, say the authors of a study published online this week in the journal Psychological Science. An international team of researchers found that the way we originally think about the emotions of others — based on facial expressions — biases what we perceive and remember later. If we interpret a neutral look as angry or happy, for instance, that is how we’ll remember it. The study sheds some light on how interpersonal misunderstandings occur.
Coverage of “Emotional Conception: How Embodied Emotion Concepts Guide Perception and Facial Action” in Psychological Science (Jamin Halberstadt, Piotr Winkielman, Paula M. Niedenthal, and Nathalie Dalle, In Press).
Lying to Level the Playing Field? Why People May Use Dishonesty to Create Equity
Time Magazine, August 27, 2009
In business and in our personal lives, white lies have a way of easing into common conversation — when you cover for a late coworker in front of the boss, or tell your friend to definitely buy those, em, overalls, they’re really cute! For the most part, these types of subtle mistruths may seem to have little consequence, but what about when there is more than goodwill at stake? In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers set out to answer exactly that question.
Coverage of “Dishonesty in the Name of Equity” in Psychological Science (Francesca Gino and Lamar Pierce, Volume 20(9), 1153-1160).