New Research in Psychological Science

Replicating Roaches: A Preregistered Replication of Zajonc, Heingartner, and Herman’s (1969) Social-Facilitation Study
Emma Halfmann, Janne Bredehöft, and Jan Alexander Häusserg

In 1969, Zajonc and colleagues showed that cockroaches took longer to complete a complex maze in the presence of other cockroaches than when alone but completed a simple runway faster. Halfmann and colleagues replicated the original procedure and found that cockroaches took longer to complete both the complex and easy tasks in the presence of other cockroaches. These findings show the social-inhibition effect but not the social-facilitation effect Zajonc et al. had reported.

How Firm Are the Foundations of Mind-Set Theory? The Claims Appear Stronger Than the Evidence
Alexander P. Burgoyne, David Z. Hambrick, and Brooke N. Macnamara

Mind-set theory proposes that the beliefs one has about whether attributes are malleable (growth mind-set) or unchangeable (fixed mind-set) influence one’s motivation, type of goals, persistence, and resilience. Contrary to what the mind-set theory would predict, Burgoyne and colleagues tested 438 students and found weak associations (<.20) between mind-set, goal orientation, response to challenge, belief in effort, cognitive ability, and intelligence. The researchers suggest that these results may indicate that some claims about mind-set might be overstated.

Do People Want to Be More Moral?
Jessie Sun and Geoffrey P. Goodwin

When considering self-improvement, moral improvements might not be the most important goal. Subjects and their friends rated the subjects’ personality traits and their desire to change with regard to each trait. They reported less interest in changing morally relevant traits, such as honesty, compassion, and fairness, than other traits, such as anxiety, sociability, and productiveness. Moreover, everyone wanted to achieve more attractive levels of various traits, but interest in changing their moral traits was not closely related to how moral they currently were.

Subjective Well-Being Around the World: Trends and Predictors Across the Life Span
Andrew T. Jebb, Mike Morrison, Louis Tay, and Ed Diener

New research conducted in 166 nations indicates that neither life satisfaction nor negative affect changed with age. However, positive affect seemed to decline. Marriage, employment, prosociality, and life meaning were associated with higher well-being (measured by increased positive affect and life satisfaction, and decreased negative affect) over the life span in every world region. Employment and life meaning had large associations with well-being, whereas marriage and prosociality had smaller associations. These findings illustrate how different life priorities, such as marriage or employment, might relate to well-being as we age.

Is There a Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)? Commentary on the Study by Stoet and Geary (2018)
Sarah S. Richardson, Meredith W. Reiches, Joe Bruch, Marion Boulicault, Nicole E. Noll, and Heather Shattuck-Heidorn

Richardson and colleagues argue that the use of a ratio measure to represent the “propensity” of women compared to men to earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) in a given country in combination with the Global Gender Gap Index (a contested measure of nation-level gender inequality) raises methodological and empirical questions about the claims by Stoet and Geary (2018). The authors show that Stoet and Geary’s results depend on the measures used and do not support claims of a causal relationship between national gender equality and women in STEM.

The Gender-Equality Paradox Is Part of a Bigger Phenomenon: Reply to Richardson and Colleagues (2020)
Gijsbert Stoet and David C. Geary

Stoet and Geary reply to Richardson and colleagues’ (2020) commentary and argue that despite the existence of different ways to express the percentage of women in STEM, the analytical approach in Stoet and Geary (2018) is accurate. They also hypothesize that men might be more likely than women to enter STEM careers because of endogenous interests, which can be more clearly expressed in countries where occupational choices are less financially constrained. This would explain their original finding that sex differences in the magnitude of pursuit of STEM degrees rise with increases in national gender equality.

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