New Research in Psychological Science

The Psychological Appeal of Fake-News Attributions
Jordan R. Axt, Mark J. Landau, and Aaron C. Kay

Fake news is appealing because it satisfies the need to see the world as structured, this research suggests. Across six studies, participants with a high need for structure (dispositional or enhanced by the situation) were more likely than those with a low need for structure to attribute fake news to intentional deception rather than to honest mistakes or sloppiness. This effect occurred regardless of political affiliation and political content. However, the link between need for structure and belief in intentional deception was stronger for Republicans than for Democrats.

Blind at First Sight: The Role of Distinctively Accurate and Positive First Impressions in Romantic Interest
Lauren Gazzard Kerr, Hasagani Tissera, M. Joy McClure, John E. Lydon, Mitja D. Back, and Lauren J. Human

Does the accuracy of first personality impressions predict romantic interest? In two speed-dating studies, each participant met between four and 18 opposite-sex participants and rated each other’s personalities and whether they found each other romantically appealing. Kerr and colleagues compared these ratings with personality self-ratings provided by the participants. Participants who formed a first impression that accurately matched the other participants’ self-ratings were more likely to show lower romantic interest than those who formed an inaccurate first impression. This was especially true when the potential partner had characteristics considered less romantically appealing, such as lower extraversion.

The Earliest Origins of Genetic Nurture: The Prenatal Environment Mediates the Association Between Maternal Genetics and Child Development
Emma Armstrong-Carter, Sam Trejo, Liam J. B. Hill, Kirsty L. Crossley, Dan Mason, and Benjamin W. Domingue

Armstrong-Carter and colleagues used a large sample of genotypes from mother-child dyads and gathered measures of the mothers’ health and socioeconomic status, including education (prenatal environment) and the children’s development at 4 to 5 years and academic performance at 7 years. Mothers with more education-related genes were generally healthier and more financially stable during pregnancy. Prenatal conditions explained up to one third of the associations between maternal genetics and children’s development and academic outcomes. Thus, maternal genetics appear to influence children’s outcomes not only by direct genetic transmission but also by influencing environmental factors during pregnancy (prenatal genetic nurture).

The Development of Intersectional Social Prototypes
Ryan F. Lei, Rachel A. Leshin, and Marjorie Rhodes

Lei and colleagues examined the development of psychological “invisibility” of people whose race and gender identities are perceived to have conflicting stereotypes. Children 3 to 8 years old had to rapidly identify whether photos depicted women or men. Around age 5, children became slower at identifying Black women as women than identifying White and Asian women as women or Black men as men. All children were likely to misidentify Black women as men and, in a measure of gender stereotyping, were less likely to stereotype Black women as “feminine.”

Effortful Control Moderates the Relation Between Electronic-Media Use and Objective Sleep Indicators in Childhood
Sierra Clifford, Leah D. Doane, Reagan Breitenstein, Kevin J. Grimm, and Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant

Effortful control—the ability to exert control over one’s actions and adjust to the situation—may help children regulate their responses to media and reduce a possible negative effect of media use on their sleep. Clifford and colleagues collected data about 7- to 9-year-old twins’ use of media before bedtime, their actual bedtime, and the efficiency and duration of their sleep, using both a wrist device that tracks sleep as well as parents’ reports. Among children with low effortful control, those who used media more slept less and had less efficient sleep than those who used media less. However, children with very high levels of effortful control tended to sleep more efficiently even after high media use.

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