New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Voter Perceptions of President Donald Trump’s Personality Disorder Traits: Implications of Political Affiliation
Jacob A. Fiala, Salwa A. Mansour, Shannon E. Matlock, and Frederick L. Coolidge

Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, participants viewed positive or negative official campaign videos depicting Donald Trump and rated how well they thought personality traits associated with personality disorders described the newly elected president. Conservative voters perceived less personality dysfunction in Trump than liberal voters did, regardless of video positivity. However, both liberals and conservatives, including those who voted for Trump, rated traits associated with four personality disorders—sadistic, narcissistic, antisocial, and passive-aggressive—as being highly descriptive of Trump.

Depressive Symptoms and Self-Esteem as Moderators of Metaperceptions of Social Rejection Versus Acceptance: A Truth and Bias Analysis
Daniel Moritz and John E. Roberts

Individuals who are more depressed and have lower-self-esteem might tend to underestimate how much others like them and are interested in future contact than is actually the case. Nondepressed individuals with higher self-esteem, however, might tend to overestimate others’ opinions of them, this research suggests. Moritz and Roberts measured participants’ depressive symptoms and self-esteem and their perceptions of being liked and desired for future contact following social interactions with new acquaintances. Their findings highlight the role of depression and self-esteem in social interactions.

Performance on the Multisource Interference Task Moderates the Relationship Between Trauma Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
Benjamin C. Darnell and David P. Valentiner

Healthy participants who are slower on the Multisource Interference Task (MSIT) showed a stronger relationship between the number of traumatic experiences reported and the severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) than healthy participants who were faster on the MSIT. In the MSIT, subjects make quick decisions about which of three digits shown on a computer screen is different from the others. The different digit either matches its position on the screen (e.g., in 121, 2 is different and in the second position) or mismatches it (e.g., in 030, 3 is different but in the second position instead of the third). Their speed on the mismatched trials might tap specific processes that are involved in the processing and integration of conflicting information, an ability needed for the resolution of PTSS, Darnell and Valentiner propose.

Considering All of the Data on Digital-Media Use and Depressive Symptoms: Response to Ophir, Lipshits-Braziler, and Rosenberg (2020)
Jean M. Twenge, Thomas E. Joiner, Megan L. Rogers, and Gabrielle N. Martin

Twenge and colleagues (2018) linked digital media use with depression. Ophir and colleagues (2020) raised methodological concerns regarding Twenge et al.’s study and suggested that their reported results did not support their conclusion. Here, Twenge and colleagues respond to Ophir and colleagues’ commentary, emphasizing that Ophir et al. had not mentioned one of the original data sets used and arguing that their original findings are not incompatible with the literature as a whole. They conclude that heavy digital media users are indeed more likely to be depressed than light users across several data sets.

Pathological Personality Traits and the Experience of Daily Situations
Ryan Y. Hong, Wing Yan Chan, and Jacqueline Y. R. Lim

Hong and colleagues measured participants’ maladaptive personality characteristics (e.g., detachment, psychoticism), and every 2 days for 12 days participants assessed their everyday situational experiences. They found that participants with pathological traits were likely to experience threatening, deceptive, and disagreeable situations. This appeared to be due more to the participants’ subjective assessments of the situation rather than to the actual characteristics of the situation. These findings may help to explain how people with personality pathology navigate their everyday situations.

Out of Sync: Nonverbal Synchrony in Social Anxiety Disorder
Maya Asher, Amitay Kauffmann, and Idan M. Aderka

Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) appear to exhibit impaired nonverbal synchrony in conversations, this study suggests. Pairs of opposite-sex participants, with and without SAD, interacted in either small-talk conversations or closeness-generating conversations. The researchers analyzed the videos of these interactions, searching for synchrony of movements and nonverbal behaviors. Nonverbal synchrony was greater in closeness-generating conversations than in small-talk conversations, but only for pairs without SAD. In closeness-generating conversations, high social anxiety was associated with low synchrony. SAD pairs showed reduced synchrony when there were larger differences in social anxiety between the individuals.

Distanced Self-Talk Enhances Goal Pursuit to Eat Healthier
Celina R. Furman, Ethan Kross, and Ashley N. Gearhardt

Distanced self-talk—using one’s name and non-first-person singular pronouns—may be an effective strategy to increase healthier eating, this research suggests. After watching a health video or a neutral video, dieters and nondieters made food choices while reflecting on them using immersed self-talk (e.g., “What do I want?”) or distanced self-talk (e.g., “What does [Name] want?”). Dieters made healthier food choices more often after watching a health video and using distanced self-talk, and nondieters made healthier choices whenever they used distanced self-talk, regardless of the video watched.

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