New Research in Psychological Science

Does Happiness Improve Health? Evidence From a Randomized Controlled Trial
Kostadin Kushlev, Samantha J. Heintzelman, et al.

Happiness, or subjective well-being, appears to improve self-reported physical health. Healthy subjects went through a 3-month positive psychological intervention that included training on self-affirmation, mindfulness, gratitude, positive social interactions, and prosocial behavior. Subjects reported their well-being and physical health before, immediately after, and 3 months after the intervention. The intervention reduced the number of days they reported feeling sick in the previous month. Subjects who reported higher improvements in their subjective well-being throughout the program also reported improvements in their physical health.

Do Religious Primes Increase Risk Taking? Evidence Against “Anticipating Divine Protection” in Two Preregistered Direct Replications of Kupor, Laurin, and Levav (2015)
Will M. Gervais, Stephanie E. McKee, and Sarah Malik

Kupor et al. (2015) reported on nine studies indicating that reminders of God encouraged people to take more risks. Gervais and colleagues attempted to replicate these results. They used the same procedure as Kupor et al. (2015): Participants solved scrambled sentences that sometimes contained words related to religiosity and completed a scale to assess their risk-taking behaviors. Gervais and colleagues analyzed the data using several statistical approaches (e.g., Bayes factors, meta-analytical procedures) and found no support for the idea that reminders of God may lead individuals to anticipate divine protection and thus take more risks.

Weak and Variable Effects of Exogenous Testosterone on Cognitive Reflection Test Performance in Three Experiments: Commentary on Nave, Nadler, Zava, and Camerer (2017)
Erik L. Knight, Blakeley B. McShane, Hana H. Kutlikova, et al.

Nave et al. (2017) reported that administering testosterone (versus a placebo) increased intuitive but incorrect responses to the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT; designed to measure intuitive versus deliberate decision-making). Prior to Nave et al., Knight and colleagues had conducted three experiments (2017) using a similar procedure but including the manipulation of other factors. They found that the effect of testosterone on the CRT was too variable across experiments to be meaningful, but noted other factors (e.g., impulsivity; CRT performance level of the sample) that may moderate the impact of testosterone on CRT performance.

Reflecting on the Evidence: A Reply to Knight, McShane, et al. (2020)
Gideon Nave, Remi Daviet, Amos Nadler, David Zava, and Colin Camerer

Nave and colleagues reflect on the methodological differences between their 2017 experiment and the Knight et al. (2020) experiments designed to test the effects of testosterone on intuitive decision-making. The authors highlight that design differences across the experiments (e.g., using smaller treatment samples, in more complex designs; using manipulations that can affect the levels of other hormones) may limit the capacity of meaningfully comparing results. They argue that until more experiments are conducted, the variability in the 2020 experiments is insufficient to assume that the effect of testosterone on intuitive decision-making is weak and highly variable.

The Contribution of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills to Intergenerational Social Mobility
Matt McGue, Emily A. Willoughby, Aldo Rustichini, Wendy Johnson, William G. Iacono, and James J. Lee

Cognitive (e.g., intelligence) and noncognitive (e.g., reflectiveness) skills, as well as genetic factors, appear to contribute to social mobility across generations. McGue and colleagues analyzed a large sample of twins and their parents from the Minnesota Twin Family Study. Most offspring who scored higher than their parents on both cognitive and noncognitive measures frequently moved up in terms of education and occupation and rarely moved down. Offspring who inherited favorable genes were likely to move up, whereas those who inherited unfavorable genes were likely to move down.

Neighborhood Deprivation Shapes Motivational-Neurocircuit Recruitment in Children
Teagan S. Mullins, Ethan M. Campbell, and Jeremy Hogeveen

Children from socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods might be at elevated risk for psychopathology because the diminished access to rewards in their environments may shape the motivational neurocircuits that affect their attention and response to rewards. Mullins and colleagues used neuroimaging data from a large study of adolescent brain development and found that when 9- to 10-year-olds from poor neighborhoods were anticipating rewards, fewer motivational neurocircuits were activated than compared to participants from less disadvantaged neighborhoods. This blunted recruitment of motivational neurocircuits in children from disadvantaged neighborhoods may explain why these children may be more likely to have attention problems.

Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media: Experimental Evidence for a Scalable Accuracy-Nudge Intervention
Gordon Pennycook, Jonathon McPhetres, Yunhao Zhang, Jackson G. Lu, and David G. Rand

Nudging people to think about the accuracy of news headlines might be a simple way to improve their choices about what to share on social media. When directly asked about the accuracy of COVID-19-related news, participants were better at discriminating between true and false than when asked simply to decide whether to share it. Similarly, having participants judge the accuracy of non-COVID-19-related headlines increased their discernment about the accuracy of COVID-19-related articles and the quality of their subsequent intentions to share them.

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.