New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

The Psychology of Intolerance: Unpacking Diverse Understandings of Intolerance
Maykel Verkuyten, Levi Adelman, and Kumar Yogeeswaran

Verkuyten and colleagues compare and contrast three different understandings of intolerance, along with the different implications for how we react to intolerance. They discuss the affective state, psychological process, and behavioral outcomes of (1) prejudicial intolerance based on closed-mindedness and antipathy toward a group of people; (2) intuitive intolerance involving unreflective disapproval of out-group practices or beliefs; and (3) deliberative intolerance involving interference with out-group practices or beliefs that are considered to violate one’s values. Verkuyten and colleagues suggest that attention to these diverse understandings of tolerance can enhance psychology’s contribution to the development of intergroup relations.

Social-Structure Learning
Samuel J. Gershman and Mina Cikara

People assign individuals to groups by combining information about the individuals with prior beliefs about group structure, according to the Bayesian framework that Gershman and Cikara formalized to explain social-structure learning. Experiments with adults and children support this framework. The researchers present the broader implications of integrating social-structure learning models with intergroup cognition, including greater predictive precision and the potential to stimulate innovative strategies for reducing group-based bias.

Toward an Integrative Model of Sources of Personality Stability and Change
Jenny Wagner, Ulrich Orth, Wiebke Bleidorn, Christopher J. Hopwood, and Christian Kandler

Wagner and colleagues review the key findings and discuss the open questions from research on personality stability and change. They propose a model that integrates the complex interplay between personal and environmental sources and resources that may lead to personality change or stability. For example, personal factors such as genes, habits, and moods, combined with environmental factors such as culture or daily stress, can influence stability and change. Personal and environmental factors can also influence and interact with each other.

Learning to Like or Dislike: Revealing Similarities and Differences Between Evaluative Learning Effects
Jan De Houwer and Sean Hughes

De Houwer and Hughes suggest that learning to like or dislike something (evaluative learning) can be defined as changes in liking that are due to regularities in the environment. Thus, different types of evaluative learning depend on the nature (e.g., presence of one or multiple stimuli) and function of the environment regularities. Given this idea, the authors analyze ways to relate effects of mere exposure (i.e., liking increases as repeated exposure to it increases), evaluative conditioning, and persuasion.

Toward an Understanding of the Development of Skilled Remembering: The Role of Teachers’ Instructional Language
Peter A. Ornstein and Jennifer L. Coffman

The language instructors use may contribute to the development of children’s memory and cognitive skills. Ornstein and Coffman examine the development of children’s memory skills over time and their instructors’ communicative interactions in the classroom. Although children are not taught about memory skills explicitly, these skills emerge in elementary school classrooms. When instructors use more cognitive-processing language (e.g., requesting information from children’s memory while asking them how they achieved the answer), children are better at developing memory skills than when instructors use less cognitive-processing language.

Days of Future Past: Concerns for the Group’s Future Prompt Longing for Its Past (and Ways to Reclaim It)
Michael J. A. Wohl, Anna Stefaniak, and Anouk Smeekes

Wohl and colleagues propose that group emotions influence collective nostalgia—the sentimental longing for one’s group past—and affect the group’s tendencies in the name of protecting its future (e.g., supporting the in-group vs. prejudice toward out-groups). Studying the interplay between collective angst—concern for the group’s future vitality—and collective nostalgia can further understanding of how people attempt to maintain social identity amidst social change, including politicians’ efforts to capitalize on making salient nonexistent threats and promising to bring back “the old days.”