BPS Research Digest

Visit Blog Website

1192 posts · 924,763 views

Cutting-edge reports on the latest psychology research

BPS Research Digest
1,192 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • September 22, 2015
  • 08:25 AM

Young children don't categorise mixed-race people the same way adults do

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When it comes to race, people increasingly self-identify as belonging to several categories rather than one, reflecting our intermingled world – for example, some sources suggest one in ten British children now grow up in mixed-race households. Yet we still like putting people in neat taxonomies, and to understand this tendency, Steven Roberts and Susan Gelman at the University of Michigan looked at how adults and children approach racial categorisation. Their studies, published recently in Ch........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 06:40 AM

Looking for the brain basis of chimp personality

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some chimps are more outgoing than others. Some like trying out new foods and games while their friends stick to the tried and tested. In short, chimps have different personalities, just like people do. What's more, psychologists investigating chimp personality have found that their traits tend to coalescence into five main factors, again much like human personality. Three of these factors are actually named the same as their human equivalents: Extraversion, Openness and Agreeableness. The other........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2015
  • 04:00 AM

How many of these myths about smacking children do you believe?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Attitudes towards the way we discipline children have changed dramatically over the last 60 years or so, and the use of smacking or other forms of corporal punishment – that is, using physical force to inflict deliberate pain or discomfort – is now illegal in all contexts in 46 countries.These cultural changes are in large part due to growing evidence about the harms to children and parent-child relationships that come from corporal punishment. However, despite this evidence, many countries,........ Read more »

  • September 15, 2015
  • 04:00 AM

Background positive music increases people's willingness to do others harm

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We're all familiar with the use of music as a tool of persuasion in advertising. There's also research that's looked the social influence of lyrics – for example, there's evidence that songs with antisocial lyrics can increase hostile and aggressive feelings, whereas positive lyrics such as in Michael Jackson's Heal the World can reduce aggression. Positive music can also increase people's willingness to do good deeds. Yet studies also show that positive music can have paradoxically negat........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 05:11 AM

Self-doubting bosses prefer to delegate to self-doubting staff

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It’s possible to earn great success in your professional career, rise to great heights, but all the while experience the "imposter phenomenon": the sense that your position is undeserved, your unmasking possible at any time. For people like this, who doubt their own abilities, it would seem wise to rely on others who are confident they can get things done. But new research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests the opposite: the more prone managers are to that imposter fe........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 02:57 AM

The psychological toll of being off-duty but "on call"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

That increasingly common end-of-day feeling: of physically leaving the office, only for it to tag along home. Thanks largely to technology, our availability – to clients, bosses and co-workers – extends into our evenings, weekends and even holidays. Getting a clear account of what this means for us isn’t easy, as jobs that intrude more into leisure time are also distinguished by higher pace and further factors known and unknown, making it hard to pinpoint what harmful effects, if any, are ........ Read more »

Dettmers, J., Vahle-Hinz, T., Bamberg, E., Friedrich, N., & Keller, M. (2015) Extended Work Availability and Its Relation With Start-of-Day Mood and Cortisol. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0039602  

  • September 9, 2015
  • 04:43 AM

Mental effort is contagious

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you're about to dive into a piece of work that requires intense mental focus, you might find it helps to sit next to someone else who is concentrating hard. According to an ingenious new study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, mental exertion is contagious: if a person near you is straining their synapses in mental effort, their mindset will automatically intensify your own concentration levels.Psychologists have known since at least the 1960s that the presence of other people aff........ Read more »

Desender, K., Beurms, S., & Van den Bussche, E. (2015) Is mental effort exertion contagious?. Psychonomic Bulletin . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-015-0923-3  

  • September 8, 2015
  • 08:47 AM

Most acts of aggression by toddlers are unprovoked

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Watching toddlers pinch, hit and bite each other doesn't fill you with confidence about human nature. But there's no need to be down about it – the little devils don't yet have the self-control to manage their anger and frustration, that's all. Right?Not according to a new study published in Developmental Science, which is the first to systematically investigate the use of force in infants from age 11 months and up. Audun Dahl at the University of California, Santa Cruz, finds that in fac........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2015
  • 06:48 AM

Images of ultra-thin models need your attention to make you feel bad

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Tom StaffordWe all know that fashion models have unrealistic bodies. Even if they aren’t photoshopped, most of us could never be that thin, at least not without making ourselves ill. Previous research has suggested that viewing pictures of unrealistically thin female models makes young women feel bad – leaving them dissatisfied with their own bodies, more sad, angry and insecure.A crucial question is whether the effect of these thin-ideal images is automatic. Does the compar........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2015
  • 06:37 AM

Sexual arousal has a similar effect on men's and women's risk-taking

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When it comes to condom use among heterosexual couples, there's evidence that women are often expected to be the sensible ones, in terms of raising and enforcing the issue. A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour suggests this isn't just unfair, it's unwise too – both men and women show a similarly increased inclination for risk-taking when they are sexually aroused.The Canadian research team, led by Shayna Skakoon-Sparling, recruited 144 heterosexual undergrads to take part ........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2015
  • 11:28 AM

Using brain imaging to reevaluate psychology's three most famous cases

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's 50 years since the American neurologist Norman Geschwind published his hugely influential Disconnexion Syndromes in Animals and Man, in which he argued that many brain disorders and injuries could best be understood in terms of the damage incurred to the white-matter pathways connecting different areas of the brain.To mark this anniversary, an international team of researchers has used modern brain imaging techniques to reveal, in an open-access article for Cerebral Cortex, the likely damag........ Read more »

Thiebaut de Schotten M, Dell'Acqua F, Ratiu P, Leslie A, Howells H, Cabanis E, Iba-Zizen MT, Plaisant O, Simmons A, Dronkers NF.... (2015) From Phineas Gage and Monsieur Leborgne to H.M.: Revisiting Disconnection Syndromes. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991). PMID: 26271113  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:41 PM

A supposedly memory-enhancing commercial brain-stimulation device actually impairs memory

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's easy to understand why so many people have been tempted by the futuristic-looking foc.us brain stimulation headset. The manufacturers promise their product will increase brain speed and plasticity and improve mental abilities such as working memory. What's more, the device uses a technology that's usually described as "non-invasive" – transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS for short – to send currents apparently safely into your prefrontal cortex.There is ample lab r........ Read more »

Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., Hommel, B., Lindenberger, U., Kühn, S., & Colzato, L. (2015) “Unfocus” on foc.us: commercial tDCS headset impairs working memory. Experimental Brain Research. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-015-4391-9  

  • August 28, 2015
  • 08:59 AM

This is what happened when psychologists tried to replicate 100 previously published findings

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

While 97 per cent of the original results showed a statistically significanteffect, this was reproduced in only 36 per cent of the replications After some high-profile and at times acrimonious failures to replicate past landmark findings, psychology as a discipline and scientific community has led the way in trying to find out more about why some scientific findings reproduce and others don't, including instituting reporting practices to improve the reliability of future results. Much ........ Read more »

Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science . Science . info:/

  • August 27, 2015
  • 06:11 AM

Hiding negative emotions may take more of a toll on your relationship than faking positive ones, especially if you're extravert

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Handling your emotions in a close relationship is often a balancing act. You want to be true to yourself and open with your partner, but there are also times when it seems necessary to exert some emotional control – to hide your frustration, for example, or to feign happiness at their news (perhaps your partner is thrilled about a work trip, which in truth you'd rather they didn't take).A new study, published recently in the Journal of Psychology, is among the first the explore the toll of the........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2015
  • 04:51 AM

Having a brain scan changed how these children think about minds and brains

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The link between the mind and brain is tricky enough for expert psychologists and neuroscientists to grapple with, let alone young children. Nonetheless, they grow up with their own naive understanding. For example, there's some cute research from the 90s that found, somewhere between age 7 and 9, most children come to see the brain as containing thoughts and memories – they'll say that a skunk with a brain transplant from a rabbit will have memories of being a rabbit. Younger kids, by co........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2015
  • 11:33 AM

How do lying skill and frequency change through life, from childhood to old age?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Young adults – defined here as people aged 18 to 29 – are the most skilled liars, while teens are the most prolific. That's according to a new study published in Acta Psychologica that claims to be the first ever to investigate lying behaviour across the entire lifespan.The research involved members of the public who were visitors at the Science Centre NEMO in Amsterdam. In all, 1005 people took part, aged from 6 to 77. To test lying ability, Evelyne Debey and her colleagues presented the pa........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2015
  • 06:44 AM

People's "coming out" experiences are related to their psychological wellbeing years later

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Last year, the US psychologists Clayton Critcher and Melissa Ferguson reported interesting research showing that fatigue from concealing sexual identity can actually hinder cognitive performance. This cost stacks upon others: complications in forming close relationships, concerns about inauthenticity, and damage to psychological and physical health in the longer term all suggest that concealment is not a great position to stay in. And yet "coming out" can also be challenging, and in some cases l........ Read more »

  • August 21, 2015
  • 05:56 AM

Free personality tests are more reliable and efficient than the paid variety

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In most areas of life, we expect the free versions of products to be sub-standard compared with the "premium" paid-for versions. After all, why would anyone pay for something if the free equivalent were better? However, a new study of personality tests boots this logic off the park – psychologists at the University of Texas report in the Journal of Psychology that free tests are more reliable and efficient than their paid-for, proprietary counterparts.To measure test reliability, Tyler Ha........ Read more »

  • August 20, 2015
  • 09:09 AM

Why do more intelligent people live longer?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Stuart RitchieIt’s always gratifying, as a psychologist, to feel like you’re studying something important. So you can imagine the excitement when it was discovered that intelligence predicts life expectancy. This finding is now supported by a large literature including systematic reviews, the most recent of which estimated that a difference of one standard deviation in childhood or youth intelligence (that’s 15 IQ points on a standardised scale) is linked to a 24 per cent ........ Read more »

Arden, R., Luciano, M., Deary, I., Reynolds, C., Pedersen, N., Plassman, B., McGue, M., Christensen, K., & Visscher, P. (2015) The association between intelligence and lifespan is mostly genetic. International Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv112  

  • August 19, 2015
  • 02:46 PM

The powerful motivating effect of a near win

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you while away time in a games arcade – play some coin pushers here, a few fruit machines there – you will soon be familiar with that frustrating and enlivening sensation of the near win that follows getting four cherries out of five. New research from INSEAD suggests that these tantalising near wins produce high levels of motivational arousal, that encourage us to chase whatever alternative rewards are then available.In one fascinating experiment, Monica Wadhwa and JeeHye Christine Kim g........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.