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Concept: William James


Individuals in close relationships help each other in many ways, from listening to each other’s problems, to making each other feel understood, to providing practical support. However, it is unclear if these supportive behaviors track each other across days and as stable tendencies in close relationships. Further, although past work suggests that giving support improves providers' well-being, the specific features of support provision that improve providers' psychological lives remain unclear. We addressed these gaps in knowledge through a daily diary study that comprehensively assessed support provision and its effects on well-being. We found that providers' emotional support (e.g., empathy) and instrumental support represent distinct dimensions of support provision, replicating prior work. Crucially, emotional support, but not instrumental support, consistently predicted provider well-being. These 2 dimensions also interacted, such that instrumental support enhanced well-being of both providers and recipients, but only when providers were emotionally engaged while providing support. These findings illuminate the nature of support provision and suggest targets for interventions to enhance well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Interpersonal relationship, Empathy, Emotion, Feeling, Technical support, William James


The present study investigated the perceived emotional behavior of alleged child victims when disclosing sexual abuse in a forensic interview. It also addressed whether the perceived emotional behavior influenced prosecutors' evaluations of children’s potential as witnesses and prosecutors' recommendations to press charges. Ninety-eight videotapes of forensic interviews with alleged child sexual abuse victims (4- to 17-year-olds) were coded for behavioral indicators of emotions. Case file information and district attorney evaluations were also coded. Results indicated that children were not generally perceived as being emotional (e.g., sad) during disclosure. However, the perceived intensity of expressed emotions was greater when children disclosed the alleged abuse compared to when they discussed more neutral topics in rapport building. Greater perceived emotional withdrawal by children at disclosure was associated with more negative evaluations of child witnesses by prosecutors. Moreover, children’s emotional behaviors, as noted by prosecutors, were among the predictors of prosecutors' recommendations to file charges. Practical implications are discussed.

Concepts: Psychology, Behavior, Human behavior, Emotion, William James


Psychological research on wisdom has flourished in the last 30 years, much of it investigating laypeople’s implicit theories of wisdom. In three studies, we took an exemplar and prototype approach to implicit wisdom theories by asking participants to nominate one or more cultural-historical figures of wisdom. Study 1 revealed that individuals draw from a wide range of wisdom exemplars, with substantial agreement on the most iconic figures. In Study 2, multidimensional scaling analysis of exemplars revealed practical, philosophical, and benevolent prototypes; follow-up analyses indicated that prototypes differed in familiarity, likability, and perceived wisdom. Study 3 showed that individuals nominated exemplars from the practical prototype more frequently than from the philosophical and benevolent prototypes and that prototype nomination depended in part on nominator characteristics. These studies suggest that exemplar- and prototype-based implicit wisdom theories are consistent with explicit psychological theories of wisdom.

Concepts: Psychology, Greek loanwords, Mind, Philosophy of science, Existentialism, Candidate, Multidimensional scaling, William James


Infertility has been shown to have considerable psychological effects on the well-being of couples, especially women. Religion has been found as a resource used by infertile women to cope with their distress. Little research has examined the influence of religious coping on psychological distress among infertile women in Ghana. This study examines the relationship between positive and negative religious coping and psychological health for women with infertility problems in Ghana.

Concepts: Human, Infertility, Philosophy, Spirituality, William James


This paper is about better engineering of cyber-physical systems (CPSs) through better models. Deterministic models have historically proven extremely useful and arguably form the kingpin of the industrial revolution and the digital and information technology revolutions. Key deterministic models that have proven successful include differential equations, synchronous digital logic and single-threaded imperative programs. Cyber-physical systems, however, combine these models in such a way that determinism is not preserved. Two projects show that deterministic CPS models with faithful physical realizations are possible and practical. The first project is PRET, which shows that the timing precision of synchronous digital logic can be practically made available at the software level of abstraction. The second project is Ptides (programming temporally-integrated distributed embedded systems), which shows that deterministic models for distributed cyber-physical systems have practical faithful realizations. These projects are existence proofs that deterministic CPS models are possible and practical.

Concepts: Mathematics, Industrial Revolution, Philosophy of science, Differential equation, William James, Microcontroller, Embedded system, Revolution


People may express a variety of emotions after committing a transgression. Through 6 empirical studies and a meta-analysis, we investigate how the perceived authenticity of such emotional displays and resulting levels of trust are shaped by the transgressor’s power. Past findings suggest that individuals with power tend to be more authentic because they have more freedom to act on the basis of their own personal inclinations. Yet, our findings reveal that (a) a transgressor’s display of emotion is perceived to be less authentic when that party’s power is high rather than low; (b) this perception of emotional authenticity, in turn, directly influences (and mediates) the level of trust in that party; and © perceivers ultimately exert less effort when asked to make a case for leniency toward high rather than low-power transgressors. This tendency to discount the emotional authenticity of the powerful was found to arise from power increasing the transgressor’s perceived level of emotional control and strategic motivation, rather than a host of alternative mechanisms. These results were also found across different types of emotions (sadness, anger, fear, happiness, and neutral), expressive modalities, operationalizations of the transgression, and participant populations. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that besides the wealth of benefits power can afford, it also comes with a notable downside. The findings, furthermore, extend past research on perceived emotional authenticity, which has focused on how and when specific emotions are expressed, by revealing how this perception can depend on considerations that have nothing to do with the expression itself. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Perception, Limbic system, Emotion, Paul Ekman, Affective neuroscience, Power, William James


Is love possible if we are not free? Some philosophers consider that true love is necessarily free, while others think that the nature of love makes it incompatible with a certain type of freedom. Here, we explored the relationship between feelings of passionate love, belief in free will and determinism across three online studies. In Study 1 (N=257), participants who believed strongly in free will (or determinism) expressed stronger passionate love. In Study 2 (N=305), we again found a positive association between belief in free will (or determinism) and passionate love, although the passionate love-determinism relationship seems more conditional. Finally, Study 3 (N=309) confirmed the relationship between belief in free will and passionate love but not between belief in determinism and passionate love. These findings, along with a meta-analysis, suggest that both beliefs in free will and determinism are compatible with passionate love.

Concepts: Mind, Metaphysics, Free will, Love, Determinism, William James, David Hume, Libertarianism


Greater belief in free will is associated with greater empathy towards the working poor, support for social mobility, greater desire for socio-economic equality, and less belief that poor people are fated to live in poverty. We found no sign that belief in free will led to prejudice or discrimination against poor people or undercut justice. These findings from an online survey flatly contradict the claims made by James Miles (2013). Belief in a just world did produce many of the patterns Miles attributed to belief in free will. We also question the reasoning and the strength of the purported evidence in his article, and we recommend that future writers on the topic should cultivate cautious, open-minded consideration of competing views. Miles' article is a useful reminder that to some writers, the topic of free will elicits strong emotional reactions.

Concepts: Psychology, Poverty, Sociology, Philosophy, Emotion, Socioeconomics, William James, Working poor


Presents an obituary of Eugene T. Gendlin (1926 -2017) who passed on May 1, 2017, at the age of 90 in Spring Hill, New York. Gendlin, an American philosopher and psychologist, is perhaps best known for his impact on psychology, psychotherapy, and research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy even though he regarded himself first as a philosopher. He established the subfield of experiential psychotherapy and was the founding editor of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice journal. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Philosophy of science, Clinical psychology, Existentialism, American Psychological Association, Sigmund Freud, William James


Advances in neuroscience offer the exciting prospect of understanding ‘free’ choices - the subject of the free will debate in philosophy. However, while physiological techniques and analysis have progressed rapidly to meet this challenge, task design has not. The challenge is now to develop laboratory tasks that adequately capture ‘free’ picking or choosing. To isolate ‘internally’ generated intentions from those impelled by external stimulus, observers are asked to ‘choose freely’ or to wait for a felt ‘urge’. However, no previous work has explicitly distinguished between instructions that refer to ‘urges’ versus to ‘choosing’. The philosopher Alfred Mele (e.g., 2009; 2014) has argued that the distinction is of crucial conceptual importance, but the two have not yet been empirically distinguished. Here, we show that conscious and unconscious, task-irrelevant primes, bias observers' binary choices when they are instructed to ‘choose freely’, not when they ‘wait for an urge’, underscoring the practical importance of Mele’s conceptual distinction. Neuroscience must incorporate this distinction if we are to understand processes underpinning free choice.

Concepts: Mind, Philosophy, Free will, Philosophy of life, Choice, Unconscious mind, William James, Libertarianism