Sunday, March 1, 2015

SPSP 2015: Actually Predicting the Future

In regression (a common statistical practice used in social science research) we often attempt to predict the outcome of a given dependent measure (the DV) based on what we know about other measured variables theoretically related to the DV (the IVs). This common regression method has one problem though: We are predicting values for data that we have already collected. What if we were to engage in actual prediction? That is, what if we attempted to predict the values of a DV that is unknown? How might we do this and what would be the benefit?

This was a fascinating talk presented by Liz Page-Gould of the University of Toronto at the Future of Social Psychology Symposium!

SPSP 2015: Status Shapes Preferences for Redistribution

A lot of people think about political ideology as a powerful causal force that influences the structure of our society and our respective positions within it. In the politics and inequality symposium Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her colleagues examined political ideology from a different perspective: Instead of shaping the structure of society, does political ideology arise from our position within that structure? That is, do we create our political beliefs strategically in order to justify our own lives and the lives of those around us?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SPSP 2015: The world thinks that atheists are immoral

At the self and identity pre-conference this morning Will Gervais presented a series of studies (available open access right here) suggesting that people seem to automatically associate atheism with a lack of moral character.

SPSP 2015: The Contagious Spread of Affect

I was fortunate to attend the first session of the emotion pre-conference this morning and had a chance to hear about some amazing research conducted by Wendy Mendes (my post-doc advisor), Sara Waters, and Tessa West. The research examined the extent that affective states are transmitted between individuals.

The researchers reasoned that social living organisms are widely characterized by synchronous actions and states--with humans groups being particularly likely to synchronize their emotions and behaviors (here is a profound example of our capacity to synchronize during communal events).

SPSP 2015: We're here in Long Beach!

It's been a few months since I've posted on this blog, and I'm planning to change that over the next several days: It is time for the annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and we've got three full days packed with social-personality content to share with the blogosphere. I'll be writing a few short posts over the course of the conference--but before I do I want to point out where you can find some of the current and former bloggers on this website, right here at the convention:

Katherine Thorson: Poster Session A
Cardiac Vagal Tone predicts Responsivity to Self-Regulatory Thought Inductions: Poster A273

Amie Gordon: Symposium Session A
Bringing Sleep to Social Psychology: Considering the Effect of Sleep on our Emotions, Relationships and Intergroup Relations
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Promenade Ballroom 104C

Michael Kraus: Symposium Session A
The Politics of Inequality and the Inequality of Politics
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 203ABC

Jennifer Stellar: Symposium Session I
A Big Helping of Humble Pie: Novel Benefits and New Methods for Cultivating Humility
Saturday, February 28, 2015, 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM, Room 103A

Maya Kuehn: Poster Session E
Rejection Resiliency and Social Influence: Poster E004 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Everyone Gets a Job!

A terrifying graph for any PhD student! (source)
It's late October and that means we are squarely in the middle of job season for psychology PhDs (and PhD candidates). I was hired during the 2011-2012 job cycle, and so I recently switched to the evaluation side of the job process. Sitting on this side of the fence I feel incredibly fortunate to have a job: There are a ton of accomplished graduate students and postdocs with strong records, interesting research ideas, and stellar (!!!) letters of recommendation. If the system were running optimally, most of these applicants would land jobs. If the system were running optimally...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Does Forgiveness Have a Dark Side?

Forgiveness is widely considered to be a psychologically healthy and morally virtuous approach to coping with victimization. Research suggests that people who forgive more easily are happier and healthier than those who hold grudges. In addition, forgiveness interventions have been shown to reduce stress reactivity, increase optimism, and facilitate reconciliation with offenders.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Kinds of Support Are Most Supportive?

Numerous studies have demonstrated the critical importance of social support for physical and mental health. For example, one study showed that stressed middle-aged men with higher levels of available emotional support were significantly less likely to die over a 7-year period than those who lacked such support. Another study found that an absence of social support was a major predictor of depression.

In our everyday lives, we often have opportunities to provide support to friends, family members, or coworkers, but it can be hard to know how to do it in the most effective way. Research in social psychology has revealed some principles for giving good support that challenge common assumptions. Here are three of them.