New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

Nudgeability: Mapping Conditions of Susceptibility to Nudge Influence
Denise de Ridder, Floor Kroese, and Laurens van Gestel

Nudges are interventions that steer individuals to change their behaviors and choose desirable options. But how susceptible are people to the influence of nudges? de Ridder and colleagues call this concept nudgeability and synthesize the evidence of the conditions that affect people’s susceptibility to nudges. Neither a nudge’s transparency nor how people think about them appears to influence nudgeability (i.e., it makes no difference whether nudges are more or less hidden or if people are in irrational modes of thinking). However, personal preferences do appear to affect nudgeability, and people cannot be nudged into something they do not want to do.

Reconsidering the Minimum Voting Age in the United States
Benjamin Oosterhoff, Laura Wray-Lake, and Daniel Hart

The current minimum voting age in the United States is 18 years, but several states have proposed lowering it to 16. Opponents of this proposal question whether younger voters would have sufficient political maturity, including adequate political knowledge, life experience, and cognitive capacity. Oosterhoff and colleagues review research, including developmental studies, suggesting that 16- and 17-year-olds have the maturity to vote and political competencies equivalent to or exceeding those of adults. Because concerns about teenagers’ abilities appear to be unfounded, negative stereotypes about teenagers may be a large barrier to changing the voting age.

Interpersonal Chemistry: What Is It, How Does It Emerge, and How Does It Operate?
Harry T. Reis, Annie Regan, and Sonja Lyubomirsky

Feeling a “chemistry” with other people, from romantic partners to friends or coworkers, is a prized goal. But what is chemistry, and how does it work? Reis and colleagues propose a model of interpersonal chemistry centered around the notion that when people experience chemistry with others, they perceive their interaction as more than the sum of their separate contributions. The researchers suggest that chemistry encompasses behaviors—highly synchronized interactions and mutual support and encouragement of expressed goals—and perceptions. The perceptions include cognitive, affective, and behavioral components (i.e., perceptions of shared identity, positive affect and attraction, and goal-relevant coordination, respectively).

Judgments of Morality in War: Commentary on Watkins (2020)
Sheila B. Frankfurt and Alanna Coady

Frankfurt and Coady comment on Watkins’s 2020 suggestion of a new way to study the morality of war. To guide the creation of a map showing how people judge wartime conduct, Watkins proposed using the philosophical just-war theory (JWT), which identifies the moral principles that govern the conduct of war. Frankfurt and Coady argue that JWT describes what should guide moral judgments but not how people make those judgments. Thus, contrary to Watkins’ proposal, JWT’s use will not contribute to a descriptive map of people’s judgments. They suggest that instead of framing war as a distinct context, researchers should frame war as involving particular social factors that may share features with nonwar contexts.

A Balancing Act: Response to Frankfurt and Coady (2021)
Hanne M. Watkins

Watkins responds to Frankfurt and Coady’s commentary on her 2020 article. She agrees that just-war theory (JWT) is not the only possible framework to study people’s judgments during war. However, she thinks that Frankfurt and Coady’s arguments should be considered alongside her arguments in favor of using JWT. Watkins highlights that the major disagreement between hers and Frankfurt and Coady’s arguments appears to involve whether using JWT will have a positive or a negative impact on war research and global affairs.

The U-Shape of Happiness: A Response
David G. Blanchflower and Carol L. Graham

Blanchflower and Graham disagree with Galambos and colleagues’ 2020 argument that there is not robust support for a U-shaped curve for happiness, in which happiness is highest for people in their 20s, decreases in midlife, and increases again in old age. Blanchflower and Graham suggest that most of the articles analyzed by Galambos and colleagues were misclassified and that the majority (25 out of 33) indeed show a U-shaped curve for happiness. The researchers identified 353 other articles, not included in the 2020 review, that found U-shaped curves. They also present evidence from approximately 8.5 million observations drawn from American and European surveys.

Another Attempt to Move Beyond the Cross-Sectional U Shape of Happiness: A Reply
Nancy L. Galambos, Harvey J. Krahn, Matthew D. Johnson, and Margie E. Lachman

In this reply to Blanchflower and Graham, Galambos and colleagues emphasize that their aim in their original article was to move scholarship on happiness throughout life beyond a focus on a single curve. They identify some misconceptions about their original article, reiterating that studies across groups of people (which usually find a U-shaped curve) are not appropriate for inferring happiness changes within individuals. Galambos and colleagues reemphasize that considering diversity in pathways throughout life might lead to a better representation of the courses of happiness.

Analytic Engagement and the Perils of Reframing the Dual- and Single-Process Models Debate
Wim De Neys

In a previous article, De Neys suggested abandoning the debate between dual- and single-process models of thinking (humans’ thoughts arise from either a conscious process plus an unconscious process or from varying degrees of consciousness in a single process, respectively). Dewey reframed the debate in cognitive-modeling terms, in which case it is scientifically consequential and should not be abandoned, he said. Here, Neys responds to Dewey by illustrating how his suggestion might suffer from the same issues as the original defining-features approach (involving single- and dual-process models), and thus it would still be difficult to empirically test.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.