New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments

Jessica M. Salerno and Liana C. Peter-Hagene

Although most people are familiar with the feeling of moral outrage, its emotional components are still unclear. The authors hypothesized that moral outrage is actually composed of a combination of anger and disgust. In the first of two studies, participants read vignettes about moral transgressions and then rated their levels of anger, disgust, and moral outrage in response to the stories. Supporting the authors’ hypothesis, a combination of anger and disgust predicted moral outrage. Specifically, anger predicted moral outrage when it coincided with at least moderately high levels of disgust, and disgust predicted moral outrage when it coincided with moderately high levels of anger.

Women’s Luteal-Phase Sexual Proceptivity and the Functions of Extended Sexuality

Nicholas M. Grebe, Steven W. Gangestad, Christine E. Garver-Apgar, and Randy Thornhill

Why do women — unlike other female mammals — express sexuality outside of their fertile periods? Each woman in the study was assessed during her fertile and nonfertile phases (as indicated by luteinizing hormone level) for the number of times she had initiated sex with her partner and for perceptions of her and her partner’s level of investment in the relationship. Women tended to initiate sex during their nonfertile phase when they perceived the partner’s level of investment to lag behind their own, which suggests that extended sexuality in women may have evolved to increase partner interest.

It Takes Two to Imitate: Anticipation and Imitation in Social Interaction

Roland Pfister, David Dignath, Bernhard Hommel, and Wilfried Kunde

Pairs of participants completed a task in which one of the participants (the model) was cued to press a button for either a long or a short period of time. The second participant (the imitator) was told either to press a button for the same length of time as the model (imitation) or to press the button for the alternative length of time (counterimitation). Models and imitators responded faster when the behaviors were being imitated than when they being counterimitated. This indicates that the anticipated motor responses of others may affect people’s actions.

Physically Developed and Exploratory Young Infants Contribute to Their Own Long-Term Academic Achievement

Marc H. Bornstein, Chun-Shin Hahn, and Joan T. D. Suwalsky

The authors of this article examined motor-exploratory competence in infancy as a developmental-cascade catalyst — an intrapersonal characteristic that appears early but affects another such characteristic later — for academic achievement in adolescence. Participants’ motor-exploratory competence was assessed at 5 months of age, and their intellectual functioning and academic achievement were assessed between the ages of 4 and 14 years. After controlling for a variety of covariates — such as social competence and maternal education — the researchers found that motor-exploratory competence in infancy does initiate a developmental cascade that affects children’s intellectual functioning and their academic achievement in adolescence.

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