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Showing posts from 2017

In a Crisis, Depend on Social Media? Don't

Did you know that relying on social media for news can . . .cause you more stress?

Exposure to high rates of conflicting information, which you find on social media, during an emergency is linked to increased levels of stress, and those who rely on text messages or social media reports from unofficial sources are more frequently exposed to rumors and experience greater distress, according to research led by the University of California, Irvine, newswise.com reports.  “During a crisis situation, like a school shooting or lock-down, people often seek to stay informed about what’s happening. However, when announcements and updates from official channels are lacking or irregular, there’s a high risk that rumors will fill the void,” says principal investigator Roxane Cohen Silver, UCI professor of psychology & social behavior. “We wanted to explore how people coped with ambiguity during a campus lockdown and how a communications vacuum could lead to rumor generation, rumor transmission…

Everyone Making More Progress Than You? Be Grateful

The economy is booming.  Stocks are through the roof.  And your neighbor, who just got a great new job, is putting a pool in the backyard.

Progress is great.  Unless, of course, it's not happening for you, according to newswise.com.

Economic progress can cause people to feel dispossessed and angry if they don’t feel like they are also advancing, a new study notes. “The results indicate that a booming economy may not be the incumbent government’s sole insurance against loss of public support,” says Cecilia Hyunjung Mo of Vanderbilt University, one of three authors of the study, “Economic Development, Mobility, and Political Discontent."  “People must feel they are doing well and sharing society’s success.” The study was conducted using face-to-face interviews in 2013-2014 in Pakistan, covering 2,090 households in 76 villages in the Punjab, Sidh and Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces. Subjects were divided into four groups. Those primed into viewing themselves as poorer than averageT…

Want to Know What Someone Feels? Don't Look at Her Face

Guess that's why they get the big money.  But researchers now say that the best way to recognize emotions in others is to -- wait for it.  Listen to them.

If you want to know how someone is feeling, it might be better to close your eyes and use your ears: people tend to read others’ emotions more accurately when they listen and don’t look, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Newswise.com reports that, in a series of five experiments involving more than 1,800 participants from the United States, individuals who only listened without observing were able, on average, to identify more accurately the emotions being experienced by others. The one exception was when subjects listened to the computerized voices also used in  he study, which resulted in the worst accuracy of all. 
 In each experiment, individuals were asked either to interact with another person or were presented with an interaction between two others. In some cases, participants were o…

Your Kid Hates Spanish Class? He's More Likely to Cheat

Here we go again.  Cheating happens more often when teachers push students to get good grades than when they focus more on providing a content-rich class, according to newswise.com.

Previous research suggests instructors who emphasize mastering the content in their classes encounter less student cheating than those who push students to get good grades. But that's not all of it.  This new study found emphasizing mastery isn’t related as strongly to lower rates of cheating in classes that students list as their most disliked. Students in disliked classes were equally as likely to cheat, regardless of whether the instructors emphasized mastery or good grades. The factor that best predicted whether a student would cheat in a disliked class was a personality trait: a high need for sensation, claims Eric Anderman, co-author of the study and professor of educational psychology at The Ohio State University. People with a high need for sensation are risk-takers, Anderman says. “If you enjo…

Have an Abusive Boss? After a While, The High Disappears for the B(_tch)

You reprimanded your executive assistant for not reserving the correct seat on your flight to Tucson.  You did not invite the employee who missed a deadline to lunch with the rest of your staff.  You lowered another's performance review because he reminds you of your husband.

Sound familiar?

One of those happened to me and I can say for sure that abusive bosses exist.

Why do they do it?  Some believe it's to make themselves feel better.  But duh, according to a new study, they don't feel good for long, newswise.com reports.

Being a jerk to your employees may actually improve your well-being, but only for a short while, suggests new research on abusive bosses co-authored by a Michigan State University business scholar.

Bullying and belittling employees starts to take its toll on a supervisor’s mental state after about a week, according to the study. 

“The moral of the story is that although abuse may be helpful and even mentally restorative for supervisors in the short-term, o…

Work in a Group? Succeed More

I know my son really enjoys it when a teacher assigns a project as a group.  It surprises me a little that so many projects in high school seem to be done in a group (when I was in high school, it was always on your own).  But a new study says that, taking turns, and working with friends, may lead to better grades.

I wonder if that works in the workplace?  More on that later.

Dreaded by some, loved by others, group projects typically aim to build teamwork and accountability while students learn about a topic. But depending on the assignment and the structure of the groups, a project can turn out to be a source of great frustration — for instructor and students alike — or the highlight of the school year. Now a University of Washington-led study of college students has found that the social dynamics of a group, such as whether one person dominates the conversation or whether students work with a friend, affect academic performance. Put simply, the more comfortable students are, the better…

Trust Your Gut on Political News? You May Be More Likely to Believe in News That Really is Fake

Now hear this, those of you who believe the media pushes "fake news" (probably no one, if you're reading me!).

But a new study says those who rely on 'gut' feelings, or trust their intuition,  tend to think that the facts they hear are politically biased, and therefore, are likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs, according to newswise.com. 


And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptions about high-profile scientific and political issues, says Kelly Garrett, the lead researcher and a professor of communication at The Ohio State University.  “Scientific and political misperceptions are dangerously common in the U.S. today. The willingness of large minorities of Americans to embrace falsehoods and conspiracy theories poses a threat to society’s ability to make well-informed decisions about pressing matters,” Garrett notes. “A lot of attention is paid to our political motivations, and while political bias is a …

Don't Praise Your Child For Being Smart. He'll Cheat

I suppose it's not a surprise, we push our kids so much.  But did you know that kids praised for being smart, well, cheat more?  According to newswise.com, "An international team of researchers reports that when children are praised for being smart not only are they quicker to give up in the face of obstacles they are also more likely to be dishonest and cheat. Kids as young as age 3 appear to behave differently when told 'You are so smart' vs 'You did very well this time.'”

I wrote not long ago that I was shocked to learn that kids in my son's honor classes cheat all the time, especially when the teacher is not very alert (they look things up on their smart phones).  "Everybody cheats.  It's because of the competition for good grades," my son said.

Isn't it wrong to push our kids so much?

The study, co-authored by Gail Heyman of the University of California San Diego, Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, and Lulu Chen and Li Zhao of Ha…

Work Stressing You Out? Play Pokemon

Feeling stressed?  Take deep breaths.  Close your eyes and imagine your favorite beach spot.  Try to put what you're worrying about out of your mind, think of releasing it like a balloon.

Everything fail?  Try playing a video game.

I kid you not.  That's what a new study is saying, according to newswise.com.

It doesn't much matter if you're an executive assistant or marketing manager, sitting in an office.  But what if you're a commercial pilot, responsible for hundreds of lives?  Or a surgeon?

More than half of Americans regularly experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration, and anxiety while at work. Those in safety-critical fields, such as air traffic control and health care, are at an even greater risk for cognitive fatigue, which could lead to errors, the web site reports. 

Given the amount of time that people spend playing games on their smartphones and tablets, a team of human factors/ergonomics researchers decided to evaluate whether casual vi…

Get Over Failure? Feel It

Who hasn't heard the saying, the only way to heal from pain is through it.

Now a new study is saying that it's the way to recover from failure, too.

According to newswise.com, our emotional responses to mistakes can lead to improvement.

Feeling the pain of failure leads to more effort to correct your mistake than simply thinking about what went wrong, the study says. Researchers found that people who just thought about a failure tended to make excuses for why they were unsuccessful and didn’t try harder when faced with a similar situation.  In contrast, people who focused on their emotions following a failure put forth more effort when they tried again.  “All the advice tells you not to dwell on your mistakes, to not feel bad,” says Selin Malkoc, co-author of the study and professor of marketing at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, at newswise.com.  “But we found the opposite. When faced with a failure, it is better to focus on one’s emotions – when peopl…

Wait for it. Want to Improve Your Self Control, Skills and Mood? Try 'Delay Discounting'

Big surprise.  Exercise is linked to self-control, according to newswise.com.

I can certainly attest to that.  The last thing I want to do most mornings after getting up is putting on my sneakers and going running.  Yet, I've been doing that for the last -- well, I don't want to tell you how many years because it's actually been decades.

But a new study says people engaged in a tailored physical activity intervention demonstrate improved self-control.


“There’s a particular type of task called ‘delay discounting’ that presents individuals with a series of choices between ‘smaller/sooner’ and ‘larger/later’ rewards,” says Michael Sofis, a doctoral student in applied behavioral science at the University of Kansas, who headed the study. “It’s something we all experience in our lives. Do you want a little money now — or wait and get a lot of money later? The degree to which one chooses that smaller/sooner reward is called impulsivity, and that has been linked to obesity problem…