Psychology Science Minute

Psychology Science Minute shares brief (one minute long) summaries of current psychological science research and its importance to your life. 

Why present one minute spots for psychological science?

  1. There’s been exciting progress in psychology.  It has made a difference in our lives, as have other scientific discoveries in the past 50 years.
  2. People really don’t know many ideas are based on psychological research. They may be surprised to learn about the varying specialties of expertise within our field.
  3. People may benefit from consulting a psychologist but do not do so because:
    • There is still a stigma at seeing a psychologist, unlike other professionals such as auto mechanics, medical doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and other professionals providing expertise
    • They don’t know what psychologists do differently from counseling, social workers, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals
    • They do not understand that there is a science of psychology that is the basis for the profession.
  4. There are many myths about psychology that people should know are untrue.
  5. There are many small bits of scientific based facts that would be helpful in everyone’s daily lives and thus implemented by many if we dispersed them more widely.
  6. Messages can be timely...Health care, violence, sexual abuse, conflict, torture, politics of opinion polls, basis for laws and new policies...are periodically in the news.
  7. We have a responsibility to educate the public about our science.

Psychology Science Minute Podcasts

437 Parent-Child Transmission of Stress

Research by Waters, Sara; Karnilowicz, Helena; West, Tessa; & Mendes, Wendy (2020)

Written by Robin N. Fatovic B.S.

Should parents suppress their emotions to protect their children from experiencing stress? To answer this question researchers studied 107 parent-child dyads. They exposed the parents to a stressor and told half to“show no emotions” and half to “act naturally as you would at home” when reuniting with their children. The researchers measured their physical symptoms of stress by attaching sensors to the parents and children. Results? Children who engaged with mothers who suppressed their emotions experienced more physical stress. However, fathers who suppressed their emotions did not influence their children’s stress response. Instead, the children’s stress influenced the fathers to experience more stress. When parents suppressed their emotions, both parents and children appeared less warm and engaged when communicating with each other. Stress impacts both our minds and bodies. And your stress can impact others’ minds and bodies too. While parents sometimes try to hide their emotions from their children to protect them, the result can be counterproductive. Parents, it is acceptable to feel emotions and express your concerns. Be genuine. Yet, let them know you will be able to handle the emotional stress and you will protect them. Show them how to cope well.

Reference: Waters, S. F., Karnilowicz, H. R., West, T. V., & Mendes, W. B. (2020). Keep it to yourself? Parent emotion suppression influences physiological linkage and interaction behavior. Journal of Family Psychology,34(7), 784-793. doi:10.1037/fam0000664

436 Predictions of Loneliness

Research by Barreto, Manuela; Victor, Christina; Hammond, Claudia; Eccles, Alice;Richins, Matt;& Qualter,Pamela (2020)

Written by Robin N. Fatovic B.S

Which people are lonely? Do you have any assumptions about what age, cultural background, or gender they might be?

United Kingdom psychology researchers surveyed personality characteristics and loneliness in 46,000 participants of different ages across 237 areas of the world. Results? The researchers identified that loneliness decreased with age, and younger people seemed to be lonelier. They found that men experienced more loneliness than women. People in cultures that focus more on self-reliance and individual growth felt lonelierthan people who lived in cultures that focus more on community and family interdependence. These findingswere slightly significant, yet consistent across different areas of the world. Therefore, these results are universalon some level across cultures.

Significantly, young men who live in individualistic cultures like the US are more vulnerable to experiencingboth short and long-term loneliness. Although younger generations are known for being more open about theirstruggles, young menin the US might need more avenues for support. Everyone can be lonely. To combatloneliness, reach out to others, volunteer your services, join social, community service, library, political, orcollege organizations and help non-profits. You can be self-sufficient and still reach out for help!

Reference:Barreto, M., Victor, C., Hammond, C., Eccles, A., Richins, M. T., & Qualter, P. (2020). Loneliness around theworld: Age, gender, and cultural differences in loneliness.Personality and Individual Differences,110066. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.110066

435 Debt and Life Satisfaction

Research by Greenberg, Adam Eric, & Mogilner, Cassie(2020) 

Written by Robin N. Fatovic B.S.  

Research has found that debt impacts happiness and has life consequences. Do specific types of debt impact life satisfaction? 

Marketing researchers studying psychological factors examined the impact of debt on life satisfaction in seven different studies in the U.S. Results? Of the people who reported having mortgage, credit card, and studentloan debt, only those with studentloan debt expressed a decrease in life satisfaction. Also, people who owestudent loans were more likely to label this as a “debt” compared to people who owed mortgage and credit cardloans. Results showed that it was the label used to describe student loans which impacted the participants’emotional reaction to them. Those who did not mentally label the loans as “debt” expressed significantly betterlife satisfaction, even while still having student loans.

These results show that your perspective on debtcan have an emotional impact on how content you are in your life. Having a more positive view of the debt may improve life satisfaction. Consider the loan as an investmentin your future, career, and personal growth. Focus on the positive outcomes that came from attending higher education. Money may not buy happiness, but frame of mind does!

Reference: Greenberg, A. E., & Mogilner, C. (2020). Consumer debt and satisfaction in life.Journal of ExperimentalPsychology: Applied. doi:10.1037/xap0000276

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