What’s the Latest from the World of Social and Health Psychology? Reporting from the Social Personality and Health Network Conference


What do Facebook, biological assays, virtual reality, recording devices, and civic engagement programs have in common? They’re all being used to study personality and social psychological processes related to health, as reported by some of the leading researchers in the field at last week’s Social Personality and Health Network annual conference. Here are just a few examples of the exciting areas of research happening at the intersection of social and health psychology: Did you know we…

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The Psychology of Computer Rage


If you’ve ever used a computer to accomplish a task within the last 20 years, you’ve probably had a melt-down moment— viruses, blue screens, ads that won’t close, and the oh-so feared act of downloading a word document, only to save and close it into nothingness (a plague upon the early 2000’s). I once lost a very long and complicated paper the night before it was due my first year of college. After realizing I…

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5 Reasons to Add Sleeping More to Your Holiday Wish List

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“I planned out our whole day!” Will Ferrell’s character prefaces his list of holiday activities in Elf. Even if your holiday season to-do list isn’t quite as festive as Buddy the Elf’s, you likely know the feeling of having a lot to do around this time of year. One item that rarely makes the to-do list is getting enough sleep. As your holiday season gets busier and busier, here are a few reminders for why…

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May the Force be with you–while you wait

It has been a long year since the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII was first released and the opening showing of the film prior to the film’s wide release has finally arrived. But the wait does not end there! Here is a picture of a group of moviegoers queuing to enter the theatre. Some enthusiastic fans have waited in line for over 5 hours to claim a good seat in the theatre. While…

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Why It’s Important to Continue Being Grateful Even After Thanksgiving

Aside from eating copious amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving also represents a time of reflection and gratitude for many of us. Even though November and the Thanksgiving season are winding down, we may want to consider extending our gratitude into December and beyond. The idea of being grateful for what we have not only sounds like a good sanity check in the midst of a crazy holiday season, but research has also shown…

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Outreach Event: Explore Your Universe 2015!

Imagine your watching your favorite sport, and a gorilla walks right through the game. Think you would notice it? Think again. This exemplar of our selective attention was just one of the many beliefs flipped on its head by members of the Psychology in Action (PIA) outreach team at last Sunday’s 7th annual UCLA Explore Your Universe (EYU) event. As one of the largest science outreach events in all of southern California, the event sought…

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Blind Dates and Soulmates: The Psychology of Reality TV Matchmaking

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Warning: This post discusses the reality television show “Married at First Sight” and contains multiple spoilers.  My favorite month of the year may have just gotten a little bit better. Despite previous rumors of its cancellation, news recently broke that the the reality show “Married at First Sight” will return for a third season in December. “Married at First Sight” premiered in the summer of 2014 and has cycled through two seasons over the past year.…

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On Essena O’Neill, #fitspo, and the “real-ness” of social media.

If you’ve been on social media in the past 48 hours, you may have seen one of several articles making the rounds about Essena O’Neill, the former teen Instagram model (yes, that’s a thing!) who gained popularity for her bikini-clad selfies and fitness tips. Essena made the decision to quit Instagram after growing disillusioned and unhappy with the staged nature of her social media presence. Before deleting her Instagram account, Essena recaptioned all of her…

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5 Reasons You Should Make Time to Read Fiction (Especially Harry Potter)


In true Hermione Granger bookworm fashion, I grew up reading as many books as I could get my hands on. I didn’t consider a summer complete unless I had checked off a long list of “to read” books. But, as schedules got busier and lazy summer days became nonexistent, I watched reading for pleasure take a backseat in my life. If you’ve also found this to be the case, here are some reasons to reconsider…

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Parenting in the Digital Age: Q&A with Yalda Uhls

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About this Q&A Interview We are proud to secure an exclusive interview with Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD — a child psychologist researcher and leading expert in how media affects children. She is a former Psychology in Action president and our most prolific blogger. Yalda continues to research with UCLA while serving as as director of Creative Community Partnerships at Common Sense Media, a national non-profit. Most importantly, Yalda is a mom of two digital teens (a boy and a girl), which is also the topic of…

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Presenting Psychology: 10 Ways to Polish Up Your Research Presentation


Gone are the days in which promising scholars could conduct brilliant scientific work, write compelling and cogent articles and books, and be forgiven by all for having no clarity or articulation when attempting to talk about it in person! …If those days existed at all. Scientific communication takes many forms, but virtually all graduate students, faculty, and other related roles must present about their research at some time. Psychological research (or any research for that matter!)…

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The Power of Social Belonging


In his final novel, Kurt Vonnegut wrote: “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about…You are not alone.’” Vonnegut’s thoughts nicely tap into a psychological theory called “the need to belong,” which proposes that people’s sense of social belonging, or their sense that they have good relationships with others, is a fundamental human need. That is, having solid…

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Me, Myselfie, and I: The Psychological Impact of Social Media Activity


Not too long ago, I relentlessly teased my 21-year-old sister when she revealed her strategies for achieving maximal positive feedback on Facebook photos. There were timing basics—don’t post on Friday or Saturday nights because no one is checking. She also recommended sensitivity to time zones so as to avoid an entire coast being asleep when your picture is posted. There was even attention to Facebook’s sharing algorithms. Rather than posting and tagging other people in…

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Bewonderment: Awe and other stupefying things

I distrust wonder implicitly. It is not meant to survive or have permanence. It is held up as a virtue in modern society. It shouldn’t be. Wonder has a purpose in your brain but it isn’t to be sought for its own sake. To do so speaks to intellectually low-level behavior. Like the mind of a drug addict who has been commandeered by an overriding quest. It isn’t necessarily an ethical statement (although I could…

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Inflammation: What Is This Health Buzzword and Why Should You Care About It?


On a classic episode of The Office, Steve Carrell’s character Michael Scott burns his foot on a George Foreman grill. Later in the episode, a doctor says to him: “For a burn, you really just need to look at the outside of the foot…does the skin look red and swollen?” Although one of the other characters responds to this question with a common punch line on the show, what the doctor was really probing for…

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Highlights of “Building Minds”


  For those who missed “Building Minds: Microchips & Molecules”, here is a taste

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