New Research in Psychological Science

Lifting the Bar: A Relationship-Orienting Intervention Reduces Recidivism Among Children Reentering School From Juvenile Detention
Gregory M. Walton et al.

An intervention orienting teachers toward positive relationships with students might help to reduce bias against students who were in juvenile detention and contribute to better integration of students returning to school from juvenile detention. Students reentering school provided self-introductions including their prosocial hopes for school and challenges they faced. Walton and colleagues presented educators with these introductions via a third-party letter requesting educators’ help. This intervention reduced recidivism to juvenile detention through the next semester from 69% to 29%. It also led educators to express greater commitment to, anticipate more success for, and feel more love and respect for students reentering school.

Theta-Rhythmic Oscillation of Working Memory Performance
Ulrich Pomper and Ulrich Ansorge

Information represented in visual working memory appears to rhythmically fluctuate, switching between moments when it is more or less available, this research suggests. As participants evaluated the match between visual stimuli and different templates, researchers estimated the temporal-activation patterns of simultaneously held templates. Performance was not continuous but fluctuated, coinciding with neural oscillations associated with working memory. Also, two representations held at the same time appeared to be alternatively prioritized. These findings indicate that humans, while searching for two visual stimuli, alternately prioritize one stimulus over the other rather than performing simultaneous searches.

Poison Parasite Counter: Turning Duplicitous Mass Communications Into Self-Negating Memory-Retrieval Cues
Robert B. Cialdini et al.

The Poison Parasite Counter (PPC) is a counter-argumentation strategy that might effectively undercut the persuasive effects of deceptive messages, Cialdini and colleagues propose. The PPC involves inserting a strong counter-message, just once, into a replica of the deceptive original message (e.g., PPC in italics: “Helped create more than 5,000 jobs. All of the jobs were temporary.”). The original communication thus serves as a host for the “parasitic” counter-message, which is recalled on each reexposure to the original message. In seven experiments, the researchers show how the original message, “infected” by the counter-message, becomes a memory-retrieval cue for the PPC, lastingly undermining itself and influencing judgments of communicator honesty and even real political donations.

Seek and Ye Shall Be Fine: Attitudes Toward Political-Perspective Seekers
Gordon Heltzel and Kristin Laurin

Although certain individuals might be intolerant of political opponents, this research suggests that they might like other people who tolerate and seriously consider their opponents’ political ideas, so long as they do not adopt those ideas as their own. In six experiments, Heltzel and Laurin tested people’s reactions to political allies who attempted to hear from shared opponents (i.e., copartisan seekers). Overall, participants liked copartisan seekers because they are perceived as tolerant, cooperative, and rational. This liking diminished when copartisan seekers validated or even adopted the opponents’ views and when seekers lacked partisan commitments. These findings suggest that, despite a rise in political intolerance, it is possible for people to still value cooperation.

Experiencing a Natural Disaster Temporarily Boosts Relationship Satisfaction in Newlywed Couples
Hannah C. Williamson, Thomas N. Bradbury, and Benjamin R. Karney

Williamson and colleagues analyzed relationship satisfaction in a sample of newlywed couples (married less than 12 months) before and after Hurricane Harvey made its landfall in Texas, where the couples lived. Results indicated that relationship satisfaction increased immediately after the hurricane. However, this increase was temporary and declined over the following year. These findings suggest that natural disasters may lead partners to grow closer and value their relationship more than usual, but as time passes, these effects fade away and satisfaction falls back to usual levels.

What’s in a Name? The Hidden Historical Ideologies Embedded in the Black and African American Racial Labels
Erika V. Hall, Sarah S. M. Townsend, and James T. Carter

“Black” and “African American” racial labels are associated with the different ideologies of the historical movements that made each label prominent, and this appears to influence how people associate these labels with discrimination or equality. In two content analyses of editorials in media outlets and a search on Google Images, Hall and colleagues found that “Black” appeared to be associated more often with “bias and discrimination,” whereas “African American” appeared to be associated more often with “civil rights and equality.” Additionally, results of two experimental studies suggested that White Americans inferred the ideologies of organizations on the basis of the racial labels in the organizations’ names. These inferences affected the degree to which White Americans financially supported the organizations.

A Salient Sugar Tax Decreases Sugary-Drink Buying
Grant E. Donnelly, Paige M. Guge, Ryan T. Howell, and Leslie K. John

Donnelly and colleagues’ research suggests that making a tax salient at the point of purchase, on price tags, might more effectively reduce purchases of sugary drinks than simply implementing the tax without making it salient. In one field study and two online experiments, results indicated that adding the phrase “includes sugary drink tax” to tax-inclusive price tags reduced purchases relative to periods in which the price tags did not include the tax information. Tax salience appeared to be effective partly because it led consumers to overestimate the tax amount.

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