New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Risk Factors for the Development of Aggressive Behavior From Middle Childhood to Adolescence: The Interaction of Person and Environment
Barbara Krahé

Krahé reviews research on the risk factors for the development of aggressive behavior from the ages of 6 to about 13 years old (i.e., childhood to adolescence). She identifies interpersonal risk factors, such as maladaptive anger regulation (e.g., venting anger instead of using a solution-oriented strategy), and social environmental factors, such as exposure to violent media or parental aggressive behavior. Krahé suggests that those two dimensions can affect each other (e.g., living in an aggressive environment affects initially nonaggressive individuals). Understanding these interactions may help to design better interventions targeting the development of aggressive behavior.

Psychological Mechanisms Forged by Cultural Evolution
Cecilia Heyes

Heyes provides evidence from developmental psychology, comparative psychology, and cognitive neuroscience indicating that distinctively human cognitive mechanisms, such as imitation, mentalizing, and language, are shaped mostly by cultural evolution. These mechanisms appear to be inherited via social interaction and adapted by cultural evolution. Heyes emphasizes that this evidence implies that genetic evolution made subtle changes to the human mind, allowing humans to construct adaptive “cognitive gadgets” during childhood through social interaction and cultural learning.

Screening for and Personalizing Prevention of Adolescent Depression
Benjamin L. Hankin

Hankin proposes that adolescents be screened for depression on the basis of their risk factors for depression, enabling the personalization of preventive efforts based on risk-group classification. He reviews evidence for the reliability of screening that focuses on cognitive and interpersonal vulnerabilities. Creating risk groups can inform researchers how to personalize preventive efforts by matching the groups’ risk factors with established prevention programs that address those specific risks. Hankin shows data suggesting that personalized prevention efforts may reduce depression better than one-size-fits-all prevention efforts.

Is There Inequality in What Adolescents Can Give as Well as Receive?
Andrew J. Fuligni

Attention to inequalities in opportunities for adolescents from marginalized groups to give and receive may compromise their development, Fuligni suggests. He bases his theory on the idea that adolescents have a fundamental need to contribute to other people and society, and that fulfilling this need benefits adolescents’ psychological and physical health and helps them develop autonomy and identity. He thus proposes that inequalities in opportunities for adolescents to make meaningful contributions to their social environment create disparities in adolescent development.

Verbal Working Memory, Long-Term Knowledge, and Statistical Learning
Satoru Saito, Masataka Nakayama, and Yuki Tanida

Saito and colleagues review studies using artificial statistical-learning techniques and natural-language statistics. The research suggests that multiple types of long-term knowledge (i.e., element-to-element association knowledge, position-element knowledge, and whole-sequence knowledge) underlie verbal working memory performance. The authors argue that these types of long-term knowledge are the basis for fluent language use and vocabulary learning, and thus statistical-learning mechanisms may be the foundation of language acquisition and processing. Therefore, verbal working memory functioning may be embedded within a large language-network system.

Digital Emotion Regulation
Greg Wadley, Wally Smith, Peter Koval, and James J. Gross

Widespread use of digital technologies, such as smartphones, may impact the way individuals can shape their emotions to function more effectively at work or in social situations. Wadley and colleagues suggest a new research field—digital emotion regulation—which combines research about how and why people regulate emotions with research about how the use of digital technologies impact users’ emotions. They propose that bringing together the study of emotion regulation and technology use will benefit both fields and facilitate a deeper understanding of the nature and use of digital emotion regulation.

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