Awe: Why It’s Important, and How to Feel It

Have you ever gazed up at the starry sky and felt amazed by its vastness? Or have you looked over the abyss of the Grand Canyon and found your breath catch in your throat? If so, you probably felt awe, a “feeling of wonder and astonishment experienced in the presence of something novel and difficult to grasp” (Griskevicius, Shiota, & Neufeld, 2010, p. 193). The findings of several studies now indicate that awe is not merely a…

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iLoveYou, iLoveYouNot: The Psychology of Online Dating & Romantic Relationships

When I first saw the movie “You’ve Got Mail” at the ripe old age of 8, the idea of developing a relationship through online chatrooms seemed novel, unconventional and even…creepy? Fast-forward 15 years later, where one in ten people are using an online dating website, and much of the stigma associated with this activity has declined. Since 2005, the proportion of Internet users agreeing that “online dating is a good way to meet people” has increased…

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Dating on TV and the Misattribution of Arousal

Summer is synonymous with long days, warm weather and reality shows on the TV screens of many households. One of the most popular reality television series is the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise. Every season, a man or woman tries to find love by meeting 25 members of the opposite sex, going on thrilling, romantic dates and eventually whittling down the competition to one lucky finalist. As you can probably imagine, the show has a fairly…

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Understanding Bullying: Facts vs. Fiction

At 10:00 P.M. every night, I receive an email update from Google Alerts listing all the news articles from the day containing the word ‘bully’. Some of these are inspiring stories of victims who have spoken up and made a difference, others are heartbreaking accounts of bully-related suicides. What strikes me about many of these news stories is that they oftentimes perpetuate certain ‘myths’ of bullying. Although some components of bullying may seem easily explained…

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Weighing in on Weight Stigma: Obesity Stigma Symposium at UCLA

The prevalence of adult obesity in the United States has nearly doubled since 1980, and over two-thirds of American adults are currently overweight or obese. Weight bias (stereotyping or discrimination directed at an individual related to his/her weight) is prevalent in modern American society, and overweight individuals experience weight bias from a range of sources, including family members, classmates, educators, co-workers, employers, and health-care professionals. Findings presented last month at UCLA at a symposium titled,…

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Women in science: Yes we can!

The cover of my statistics text book features a diagram depicting the relation among sex, time since obtaining a doctorate degree, number of publications, and citations on salary. I haven’t formally learned about structural equation modeling just yet, but nonetheless found it rather discouraging for women. In hopes of being potentially proven wrong, I read the chapter on causal models. The example that Cohen, Cohen, West & Aiken, 2003 give as a working frame to…

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Outreach Event: Mindfulness Meditation!

If you were asked to do nothing for a minute, could you do it? What about being asked to smell a Hershey’s chocolate kiss but wait to eat it? Well, after this quarter’s Psychology in Action’s Outreach Program event children and teenagers from the LA community may just outshine you at mindfulness practices like these! Outreach coordinators Jenna Cummings and Nicco Reggente arranged for UCLA psychology graduate students to present to youth at an after-school program hosted by the…

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New Research: Learning from Paper versus Learning from Screens

When I speak to parents, I often hear that they are scared that this generation of students is losing out, because they are learning so much more on screens. These fears are echoed in the press.  For example, the Washington Post wrote about how reading is taking a hit from online scanning and skimming.  In the class I now teach to college seniors, the students themselves echoed this fear, telling me that they believe that…

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“Criminally Minded: The Psychology and Law of Culpability” Symposium – May 16, 4pm

Psychology in Action is proud to announce the third annual Psychology Interdisciplinary Events symposium, Criminally Minded: The Psychology and Law of Culpability, to be held Friday, May 16th, 2014, from 4 to 6pm in UCLA’s CNSI Auditorium.  The discussion will focus on legal and psychological issues regarding mens rea.  The event is completely FREE and open to the general public!  We hope to see you there!

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How to Write a Literature Review

What the heck is a literature review? This is the thought that went through my head the first time I sat down to write one. I was confused about how it differed from annotated bibliography, and I didn’t know what features separated a well-written one from one that was poorly developed. Over time, I gained a better understanding of what lit reviews were and I developed a set of skills that helped me to write…

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Milgram’s Other Work

Stanley Milgram is one of the most famous people in the history of psychology, and also one of the most controversial. His experiments on obedience, in which an experimenter asked participants to administer higher and higher levels of shock to a protesting victim, gained national attention in the 1960’s. Many people attacked his work as brutal and immoral. After the public outcry over his research, Milgram never studied obedience again. However, he did continue to…

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Feeling the Love [Hormone]: the Oxytocin Receptor

Oxytocin has gotten a lot of hype as the biological basis of our favorite human emotion, Love. Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary gland. The oxytocin system is involved in HPA axis and autonomic nervous system functions as well as reproductive functions and social behaviors.  We are coming to understand how the structure of the the receptor for the hormone oxytocin influences oxytocin’s effects and social behavior, including love.

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