Human Behavior

As Parks and Recreation fans know well, when you’re feeling blue, the common prescription is to “Treat Yourself.” But does that actually work? Psychology has the answer. New research published this month in the journal “Emotion" shows that treating yourself to indulgences, like an extra scoop of ice cream or a shopping spree, doesn’t make you as... Read More
New research lends credibility to what kindergarten teachers have long enforced on the playground: When you hurt someone, you should say you’re sorry.  Research published online in The Journal of Positive Psychology has found that seeking forgiveness and allowing for self-forgiveness, rather than ruminating about one’s own wrongdoing, had... Read More
Pregnancy and welcoming a new baby is exciting – but can also be hard on parents’ relationships. “Pregnancy is stressful for both parents,” says Galena Rhoades, research associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Denver and director of MotherWise, a new Denver-area prenatal relationship education program. “Couples... Read More
New research focuses on the needs of aging adults that often go overlooked Retirement advice is seemingly everywhere today. But nearly all of it focuses on finances. Although this is a tremendous part of living a healthy and fulfilling retirement, true security goes far beyond this singular issue. In the May-June issue of American Psychologist,... Read More
Photos of diverse and dynamic groups have long been staples of marketing materials, brochures and websites. But according to recent research, people perceive teams that look alike as more effective than those who represent a diverse group. “People are social animals, and they’re prone to drawing inferences about personalities and abilities based... Read More
There’s a reason that ice cream looks especially good after a break-up or chicken soup taste better when we’re homesick. Research by Jordan D. Troisi from Sewanee: The University of the South published in the online edition of Appetite shows that comfort food holds both social and psychological significance for people, and especially for those... Read More
Families cope with having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in different ways, but until now, little has been known about how Hispanic parents deal with this situation. In the first study of its kind, researchers at Texas Christian University’s Department of Psychology, along with colleagues at the University of Miami, shed light on the... Read More
As Valentine’s Day approaches, singles looking for love might find themselves going on a few first dates, and for many, first dates are a cause for anxiety. Joy McClure, assistant professor of psychology at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., says there’s a good reason for that—but it might get in the way of finding a partner. She explains... Read More
For those not in a committed relationship, Feb. 14 has a completely new connotation: Singles Awareness Day! But if that’s not how you’d prefer to spend the holiday, there may be some hope.   According to research published recently in Interpersona: An International Journal on Personal Relationships, experts at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa... Read More
A new study suggests that PTSD symptoms of military veterans can be alleviated by computerized treatment. Researchers at Creighton University in Nebraska, Tel Aviv University and the National Institute of Mental Health have devised a computer program capable of curbing PTSD symptoms by reducing fluctuations in attention toward and away from... Read More
It’s well documented that body shame promotes poor psychological health outcomes, such as depression and eating disorders, as women struggle to meet societal ideals of physical appearance and behavior. But new research from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., suggests that those same shameful feelings about your body can actually make you... Read More
According to a Pew Research Center survey in April 2015, 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo, including 40 percent of adults age 26-40. Despite the proliferation, stigma clearly still exists on varying levels, depending on size, location, subject matter of the tattoo, and especially in regard to the gender of the tattooed person. In her... Read More
Men and women looking to form a relationship have to start somewhere. For many, they’ll attempt to break the ice with some form of flirting to let their potential mate know they are interested. Undoubtedly, several people might have what they consider a reliable technique, but what forms of flirting actually work best? New research published in... Read More
Fourth of July picnics are full of friends, family, flags and fireworks. They’re also full of sauces. Next weekend, if you enjoy ketchup on a hot dog, mustard on a burger, or mayonnaise in potato salad, you’re taking part in an ancient culinary tradition that changed the way we look at food—and even our cultural traditions. “Sauces are unnecessary... Read More
It’s a common sight in any retail store: a mother with her adolescent daughter, arguing over a piece of clothing. Whether it’s the price or the style of the clothing that they disagree upon, a new study says these arguments are an important part of mother-daughter bonding—and presents an opportunity for retailers.  Research at Texas Christian... Read More
U.S. children today are more apt to die from a violent weapon attack than from cancer or diabetes, according to a new study co-authored by Sherry L. Hamby, a research professor in psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, TN.  The study, recently featured in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal, reports one in four U.S.... Read More
What do we want most from a relationship: for our partners to view us as we actually are, or for our partners to see us as better than we actually are? New research from Albright College suggests that while it might be beneficial for your partner to hold an enhanced view of your traits that benefit the relationship, like warmth and kindness,... Read More
Stepparent/stepchild relationships can be difficult to navigate, but new research shows that simple conversations can go a long way toward improving those relationships. The study by Paul Schrodt, professor and director of graduate studies at the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University, surveyed young adult... Read More
A new documentary about Kurt Cobain airs on HBO next month. But even though it promises deep insight into Cobain’s personal life, it might not really show us the man behind the legend or the musical legacy he left, a problem that many rock documentaries face, according to John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University... Read More
Researchers want to explain why there are fewer women in STEM fields. Meredith Meyer, assistant professor of psychology at Otterbein University, tested the cultural stereotype that men are more ‘naturally brilliant’ than women. What they found is that in careers where ’natural brilliance’ was required, women made up only a fraction of the... Read More
Who is more jealous over Facebook messaging: men or women? The answer is written all over your face—your smiley face, that is. Research by Dr. Denise Friedman, associate professor and chair of psychology, and her Roanoke College students find a gender difference in Facebook jealousy when it comes to emoticon usage. They are among the first to... Read More
There’s a reason that ice cream looks especially good after a break-up or chicken soup taste better when we’re homesick. Research by Jordan D. Troisi from Sewanee: The University of the South published in the online edition of Appetite shows that comfort food holds both social and psychological significance for people, and especially for those... Read More
The 1965 Voting Rights Act served as the crowning achievement of the modern Civil Rights Movement. With the release of “Selma” 50 years later, several experts weigh in on the significance of the demonstrations themselves, the timing of the movie, and the lessons that can still be learned given the climate of race relations today. “The Selma... Read More