New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Beyond Stereotypes: Using Socioemotional Selectivity Theory to Improve Messaging to Older Adults
Laura L. Carstensen and Hal E. Hershfield

Carstensen and Hershfield propose that age differences involving motivation influence the type of information that older adults tend to prefer, attend to, and remember. This has consequences for how to tailor public-health communications and marketing for older adults. Congruent with socioemotional selective theory, findings have shown that as people grow older and their time becomes more limited, they prioritize emotional goals over exploration goals. Thus, older adults remember positive messages better than negative ones and appear to prefer messages that emphasize individual strengths and personal resilience as well as products that help them enjoy the present.

The Double-Edged Sword of Loyalty
Zachariah Berry, Neil A. Lewis, Jr., and Walter J. Sowden

Loyalty is often associated with being morally good, but it can also make people do unethical things. Berry and colleagues explore what loyalty is, the typical objects of loyalty (i.e., other people, social groups, organizations), and the psychological processes involved in maintaining loyalty and navigating loyalty dilemmas. The researchers suggest that different psychological processes lead to loyalty and reduce the cognitive dissonance that may arise when loyalties conflict with each other or with moral principles. Berry and colleagues offer an integrative perspective on loyalty and its outcomes that can explain when and why loyalty has costs and benefits.

Mindfulness and Motivation: A Process View Using Self-Determination Theory
Richard M. Ryan, James N. Donald, and Emma L. Bradshaw

Ryan and colleagues review evidence indicating that mindfulness (i.e., attention to the present moment) might be related to different types of motivations. The authors examined research that used the framework of self-determination theory. They found that mindfulness appears to support autonomous, highly volitional forms of motivation (e.g., intrinsic motivation) and appears to inhibit externally controlled or introjected forms of motivation (e.g., external motivation, or acting only out of obligation). Thus, mindfulness might increase well-being and prosociality by fostering autonomous motivations. These findings suggest that, along with social conditions that support autonomy, mindful awareness might enhance well-being and prosocial behaviors.

The Critical Role of Semantic Working Memory in Language Comprehension and Production
Randi C. Martin

Martin reviews studies of individuals with and without brain damage indicating the contribution of semantic working memory (WM; i.e., the maintenance of semantic/meaning information in working memory) to language processing. Results indicate that semantic WM facilitates sentence comprehension by supporting the retention of word meanings and maintains semantic information activated to resolve semantic interference. Semantic WM also facilitates sentence production by supporting the representation of meanings of the words in a phrase. These functions do not seem attributable to verbal WM, which is responsible for the maintenance of phonological information only.

Moral-Exemplar Intervention: A New Paradigm for Conflict Resolution and Intergroup Reconciliation
Sabina Čehajić-Clancy and Michal Bilewicz

Čehajić-Clancy and Bilewicz introduce a novel intervention for conflict resolution and intergroup reconciliation. The moral-exemplar intervention exposes people to stories about individuals who have risked their lives to save the lives of members of adversary groups (i.e., moral exemplars). Such intervention can challenge beliefs that members of an adversary group are all the same and mostly bad. The researchers discuss the results of field experiments suggesting an advantage of the moral-exemplar intervention over other interventions. They propose that the intervention works by modifying the representations of the in-group or the out-group, leading to emotional changes that allow for reconciliation between groups.

The Profound Heterogeneity of Substance Use Disorders: Implications for Treatment Development
Kathleen M. Carroll

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are not easily treated by a single-treatment approach. Factors that contribute to the heterogeneity among individuals with SUDs include severity of the disorder, type of substance, and co-occurring issues. To tailor individual treatments, Carroll called for (a) identifying the features driving addiction in a particular individual and (b) creating a wider range of interventions that target the core mechanisms of addiction as well as its co-occurring problems. Carroll also highlighted the importance of technology for tailoring individualized interventions, giving the example of computer-based training for cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Vicious Cycle Linking Stereotypes and Social Roles
Alice H. Eagly and Anne M. Koenig

How does one break the vicious cycle linking members of social categories defined by certain attributes (e.g., race) and certain social roles? Eagly and Koenig reason that when social roles become associated with a category as a whole, stereotypes are formed that, in a vicious cycle, hinder category members’ mobility to different roles. This perpetuates stereotypes, which also persist despite direct attempts to change individuals’ minds. Instead, policies and programs that change the distribution of category members in social roles appear to be more effective because they modify stereotypes at their core.

Self-Control at 220 Miles per Hour: Steering and Braking to Achieve Optimal Outcomes During Adolescence
Kathleen D. Vohs and Alex R. Piquero

Vohs and Piquero use the analogy of practice driving a race car to describe how to achieve healthy outcomes during adolescence. They propose that steering aimed at preventing motivational conflict and thus minimizing reliance on impulse control (i.e., braking) can contribute to healthy outcomes during adolescence. Specifically, the more adolescents avoid troublesome contexts, the less they will depend on impulse control to avoid danger. According to Vohs and Piquero, self-control in the form of avoiding the need to inhibit impulses may be highly effective, especially during adolescence, when the ability to inhibit impulses is still developing.

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