New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Aging in an Era of Fake News
Nadia M. Brashier and Daniel L. Schacter

Older adults appear to be particularly susceptible to misinformation (e.g., they shared the most fake news during the 2016 U.S. election). Brashier and Schacter suggest that social changes in late adulthood, including difficulty in detecting lies and less emphasis on accuracy when communicating, might be partly responsible for susceptibility to misinformation. Moreover, older adults are less experienced with social media and may struggle to evaluate the veracity of content. Interventions that take into account older adults’ social changes and digital literacy might help to reduce their susceptibility to fake news.

Emotion Goals in Psychopathology: A New Perspective on Dysfunctional Emotion Regulation
Yael Millgram, Jonathan D. Huppert, and Maya Tamir

Difficulty with regulating one’s emotions in psychopathology might be related to what one wants to feel—emotion goals. Millgram and colleagues propose that the emotion-regulation deficits that characterize many disorders occur partly because of how much patients with certain disorders want to feel certain emotions. The authors review research suggesting that individuals with psychopathology want to feel more of some emotions, compared with individuals without psychopathology, and discuss implications for clinical theory and practice.

Your Brain Is Not an Onion With a Tiny Reptile Inside
Joseph Cesario, David J. Johnson, and Heather L. Eisthen

Cesario and colleagues describe a model of neural evolution that challenges the widespread misconception that as vertebrate animals evolved, they added “newer” brain structures to the “older” existing ones, enabling them to have more complex psychological functions (e.g., language). Neurobiologists have long discredited this misconception that the reptile brain is still part of the human brain, which just added more layers. The authors provide examples of how this inaccurate view of brain evolution has impeded progress in psychology.

Foraging in Mind
Peter M. Todd and Thomas T. Hills

Todd and Hills explore the similarities between searching for information in external environments (e.g., on safari) and internal environments (e.g., in memory). The authors propose that a search pathway, which requires maplike representations and means to navigate them, evolved from overcoming challenges in finding physical resources and developing means of finding and creating plans internally. This idea has implications for understanding cognitive abilities such as executive control, goal-directed cognition, self-awareness, and free will. It also expands the notion of other organisms, besides humans, that may share these abilities and how they evolved.

Matters of the Heart: Grief, Morbidity, and Mortality
Christopher Fagundes and E. Lydia Wu

Fagundes and Wu review research indicating that, on average, widows and widowers show maladaptive patterns of immune, neuroendocrine, and autonomic activity compared with individuals who did not lose their spouses. After the spouse’s death, the living partner’s health behaviors tend to decline. Variations in widows’ and widowers’ psychological adjustment might correspond to their physical-health risk trajectories. The researchers show that attachment theory might help to predict individual differences in physical-health trajectories and suggest that a biopsychosocial approach to understanding post-loss trajectories might help to deliver appropriate and timely interventions.

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