The psychology of Facebook profiles

Given the online forum of Facebook to create whatever public persona you’d like, it would seem logical that people might portray an idealized version of themselves—putting up their most attractive photos, editing down their thoughts to the most clever and pithy before posting them in a status update, carefully choosing favorite books

The politics of perceiving skin color

Whether or not you agree with Barack Obama’s politics may influence how dark- or light-skinned you think he is, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which set out to determine whether political views can skew skin color perception, included three experiments. In all three,

Walking in traffic: the dangers of cell phone distraction

“Look both ways before you cross the street.” Along with, “Stop, drop and roll,” it’s a safety lesson that is drilled into children from a very young age. Yet for all of our practice, according to research from psychologists at the University of Illinois, pedestrians have a tendency to skimp on safety when distracted by talking on a cell

The contagion effect of bad decisions

Finding comfort within a group may be helpful when it comes to therapy, but when it comes to justifying bad ideas, taking cues from others can steer you the wrong direction, according to new research from Northwestern University. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the notion that “everyone else is doing it” can be detrimental—and even

Stop me if I’ve told you this one before…

Have you ever gotten half-way into a story only to realize that you’ve told this exact tale before, to precisely the person you’re boring with it now? (In fact, you may have already told it to them several times?) According to research published in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science, losing track of whom you’ve

Reading Swimsuit Issues “For the Articles”

Men really believe they read Playboy for the articles (although internet porn doesn’t even offer that excuse)—at least according to fascinating new research published as a working paper by Harvard Business School [hat tip: Economist]. The study sheds light on how people rationalize embarrassing or otherwise questionable behavior …

Internet Net Plus for Social Life, Doesn’t Increase Isolation

The internet and cell phones are bringing people together, not tearing us apart—at least, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Internet and American Life project. The research followed up a shocking 2006 study, which found that American social networks were rapidly contracting and that 25% of Americans reported that …

Politics can be bad for the libido

Republicans suffered a set back last November in more ways than one. A new study appearing today in the medical journal PLOS One shows that, in the hours after Obama was announced the 44th president of the United States, male, college-aged McCain fans experienced an immediate drop in testosterone. For the study, 183 people offered up …

Is a rose-tinted view of your spouse good for newlyweds?

What’s better for happiness and peace of mind in a young marriage—a rosy view of everything your spouse does, or a realistic outlook on his or her charming traits, and annoying habits? According to research published in the October 13 issue of the journal Psychological Science, it’s important to have a little bit of both.

What women want: gauging facial attractiveness in men

When considering possible partners, women process facial attractiveness on two levels, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The researchers found that, when admiring potential mates’ facial features, there are two types of assessment at work—that of overall aesthetic appeal, and that of

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