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PsySociety uses psychological research findings to examine and understand pop culture & current events - sports, TV shows, movies & music, politics, historical happenings, and more.

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  • January 20, 2013
  • 11:20 AM

Being a “doer” vs. a “thinker,” and where you’ll go for New Orleans beignets.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

When I arrived in New Orleans on Thursday to attend the annual SPSP conference, everyone told me that I must immediately go to Cafe du Monde to eat beignets and drink cafe au lait. Once I did get to Cafe … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 17, 2013
  • 01:23 PM

Just because it’s “moral” doesn’t mean it’s “right.”

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

“I don’t always think about morality…but when I do, I think Dick Cheney.” Thus opened Peter Ditto’s talk at the SPSP Political Psychology pre-conference, greeted with a laugh from a largely-left-leaning audience. Yet as Ditto continued speaking, it became clear … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 2, 2013
  • 12:52 PM

Should you tell Facebook about your resolutions?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Now that you’ve set your difficult, specific, and attainable resolutions for 2013, should you tell people about your plans? Before you update your Facebook status proclaiming your intention to lose 15 pounds, run a marathon, or publish 20 papers, you … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 1, 2013
  • 04:20 PM

Set SMART resolutions in 2013!

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Many people around the world woke up this morning with a renewed determination to tackle a long list of resolutions. But as we head into 2013, it’s worth noting that some of these resolutions will be better than others. Psychological … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 13, 2012
  • 03:04 PM

Stocking Stuffers For The PsycHoliday Season

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

This post is the first of a “PsycHoliday Season” series that I will be posting throughout the rest of December. Enjoy! If there are four things that people tend to have on their minds during the holiday season, it’s a) … Continue reading →... Read more »

Algoe, Sara B., Gable, Shelly L., & Maisel, Natalya C. (2010) It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships. info:/

  • November 6, 2012
  • 06:28 PM

Did you vote? Wear your sticker! Update your status! Send all the tweets!

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Many polls are still open, meaning it’s not too late to encourage your friends and family to get out and rock the vote!   Yesterday I mentioned that using channel factors to make voting seem easy and convenient can increase voter … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cialdini, R., Demaine, L., Sagarin, B., Barrett, D., Rhoads, K., & Winter, P. (2006) Managing social norms for persuasive impact. Social Influence, 1(1), 3-15. DOI: 10.1080/15534510500181459  

  • November 6, 2012
  • 12:32 AM

Where will you be voting? Figure it out now!

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

With everyone talking about the importance of “voter turnout,” how do you make sure potential voters make it to the polls? Simple – make them figure out ahead of time how and when they’ll get there. In social psychology, we … Continue reading →... Read more »

Leventhal, H., Singer, R., & Jones, S. (1965) Effects of fear and specificity of recommendation upon attitudes and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2(1), 20-29. info:/

  • November 5, 2012
  • 03:25 PM

Can we predict the “undecided voters”?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Now that Election Day is upon us, can you remember way back (a whole few weeks ago!) when there were still those mystical Undecided Voters? Even aside from the sketch comedy skits that mocked their very existence, many people were still … Continue reading →... Read more »

Galdi, Silvia, Arcuri, Luciano, & Gawronski, Bertram. (2008) Automatic mental associations predict future choices of undecided decision-makers. Science, 321(1100), 1100-1102. info:/

  • October 31, 2012
  • 03:10 PM

The Zombies In Our Midst

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Every Halloween, we find ourselves surrounded by zombies, vampires, ghouls, and other mythical monsters. But even though this is the one day each year that we consciously realize we are surrounded by these creatures (at least in their human-costumed forms), … Continue reading →... Read more »

Waytz, Adam, Gray, Kurt, Epley, Nicholas, & Wegner, Daniel M. (2010) Causes and consequences of mind perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8). info:/

  • October 1, 2012
  • 04:16 PM

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, How Does Psych Reflect Us All?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” – Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker In 1898, Norman Triplett stumbled upon an interesting observation as he watched a group of cyclists … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 25, 2012
  • 11:04 AM

Seeing psychology everywhere: The case of Gangnam Style

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

This semester, I’m teaching Intro to Social Psychology — which I pretty much see as an excuse to share my joint obsessions with social psychology and pop culture with a group of one hundred 18-to-21-year-olds who essentially have to be … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cheng, Patricia W. (1997) From covariation to causation: A causal power theory. Psychological Review, 104(2), 367-405. info:/

Helgeson, V.S., & Mickelson, K.D. (1995) Motives for social comparison. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. DOI: 10.1177/01461672952111008  

Crocker, J., & Park, L.E. (2004) The Costly Pursuit of Self-Esteem. Psychological Bulletin. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.3.392  

  • September 11, 2012
  • 11:23 AM

Are your 9/11 memories really your own?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

I can remember exactly where I was eleven years ago when I learned why the sky was starting to fill with smoke about 30 miles to the west. Though I live in Illinois now, I’m originally from Long Island. In … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 20, 2012
  • 07:11 PM

Sure, women cannot get pregnant from rape. Also, all mean people are ugly and puppies are immortal.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

[Potential trigger warning: Discussion of rape and sexual assault in this post.] Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: If you have vaginal sex without protection, you can get pregnant. For some reason, this concept can be remarkably difficult for people … Continue reading →... Read more »

Carli, L. L. (1999) Cognitive Reconstruction, Hindsight, and Reactions to Victims and Perpetrators. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. info:/

  • August 14, 2012
  • 05:47 PM

Why do swimmers hate Lane 8?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Before I went to college, I was never a big basketball fan (for those who know me now, I’m aware that this is probably surprising). As a result, when I arrived for my freshman year at Duke and began attending … Continue reading →... Read more »

Brehm, Jack W., & Self, Elizabeth A. (1989) The intensity of motivation. Annual Review of Psychology, 109-131. info:/

  • August 14, 2012
  • 02:58 PM

Blind athletes provide clues about the nature of our emotions.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

One of the most important ways that we learn how to interact with the world around us is through observational learning. By watching how our friends and family members behave, we learn at a very young age how to do … Continue reading →... Read more »

Matsumoto, David, & Willingham, Bob. (2009) Spontaneous facial expressions of emotion of congenitally and noncongenitally blind individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(1), 1-10. info:/

  • August 12, 2012
  • 06:07 PM

The psychology of doping accusations: Which athletes raise the most suspicion?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

Why do we immediately feel that “ping” of suspicion when some athletes achieve great Olympic feats? And why would certain athletes make us feel that way, while other record-breaking winners don’t inspire the same level of disbelief? According to covariation … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cheng, Patricia W. (1997) From covariation to causation: A causal power theory. Psychological Review, 104(2), 367-405. info:/

  • August 11, 2012
  • 07:37 PM

The benefits of seeing a “challenge” where others see a “threat.”

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

    You ask [Aly Raisman] about feeling the pressure and she says, ‘I don’t really feel it,’ and you know, I think it’s because she labels it something different in her head. Some kids feel anxiety, feel pressure, she … Continue reading →... Read more »

Blascovich, Jim, Seery, Mark D., Mugridge, Carrie A., Norris, R. Kyle, & Weisbuch, Max. (2004) Predicting athletic performance from cardiovascular indexes of challenge and threat. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(5), 683-688. info:/

  • August 7, 2012
  • 03:32 PM

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Why Silver Medalists Look So Blue.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

McKayla Maroney is not pleased. Can you blame her? After a solid week of being touted as the “world’s best vaulter,” she came up short at the individual vault event, earning a silver medal after an unanticipated fall during her … Continue reading →... Read more »

Medvec, Victoria Husted, Madey, Scott F., & Gilovich, Thomas. (1995) When less is more: Counterfactual thinking and satisfaction among Olympic medalists. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 603-610. info:/

  • August 5, 2012
  • 04:39 PM

Olympic Greatness: Biology or Motivation?

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

If you tried hard enough, could you have won Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash? If you’re an entity theorist, your answer is probably “no.” Entity theorists believe that attributes such as personality characteristics, athletic ability, or intelligence are relatively … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dweck, C. (1992) The study of goals in psychology. Psychological Science, 165-167. info:/

  • July 31, 2012
  • 11:40 AM

We Won. They Lost.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

A slightly different version of this post (pertaining to college basketball) was originally blogged at IonPsych on 3/29/2011. I’ve decided to re-post it from the archives today with some tweaks in honor of the Olympic Games. You can see the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cialdini, R.B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M.R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L.R. (1976) Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366-375. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.34.3.366  

Newman ML, Pennebaker JW, Berry DS, & Richards JM. (2003) Lying words: predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality , 29(5), 665-75. PMID: 15272998  

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