Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: The Journal of social psychology


People occasionally choose to cut themselves off from their online social network by taking extended breaks from Facebook. This study investigated whether abstaining from Facebook reduces stress but also reduces subjective well-being because of the resulting social disconnection. Participants (138 active Facebook users) were assigned to either a condition in which they were instructed to give up Facebook for five days or continue to use Facebook as normal. Perceived stress and well-being, as well as salivary cortisol, were measured before and after the test period. Relative to those in the Facebook Normal condition, those in the No Facebook condition experienced lower levels of cortisol and life satisfaction. Our results suggest that the typical Facebook user may occasionally find the large amount of social information available taxing, and Facebook vacations could ameliorate this stress-at least in the short-term.

Concepts: Test method, Social information processing, Network theory, Social network service, MySpace, Instant messaging, Social media, Facebook


ABSTRACT Two studies examined the effect of applicants' smiling on hireability. In a pre-test study, participants were asked to rate the expected behavior for four types of applicants. Newspaper reporter applicants were expected to be more serious than applicants for other jobs. In Study 1, participants were randomly assigned to be an applicant or interviewer for a newspaper reporting job. Smiling was negatively related to hiring, and smiling mediated the relation between applicants' motivation to make a good impression and hiring. Hiring was maximized when applicants smiled less in the middle of the interview relative to the start and end. In Study 2, participants watched Study 1 clips and were randomly assigned to believe the applicants were applying to one of four jobs. Participants rated more suitability when applicants smiled less, especially for jobs associated with a serious demeanor. This research shows that job type is an important moderator of the impact of smiling on hiring.

Concepts: Interview, TheStart, Type, Smile, Type system, Reporter, Reporting


In the pursuit of love, individuals strategically use luxury products to signal status and other attractive attributes. Might eco-friendly products also signal mate-relevant information? The current research examined inferences from eco-friendly purchases and how they predict perceived suitability for short- and long-term romantic relationships. Participants read descriptions of a stranger’s eco-friendly or luxury purchase decisions, reported their perceptions of the purchaser, and indicated their potential romantic interest in the purchaser. The influence of the relative price of the chosen product was also investigated. Compared to luxury purchasers, eco-friendly purchasers were ascribed greater warmth, competence, and good partner traits but less physical appeal, and they were preferred for long-term, but not short-term relationships. The social costs and benefits of “going green” are discussed in light of their implications for environmental sustainability efforts.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Environment, Ecology, Natural environment, Sustainability, Environmental movement, Purchasing, Louisiana Purchase


Although a request for help can impose a burden on the provider and has the potential of harming a relationship, the theory of amae suggests that in fact it could help promote a stronger relationship. In an experiment, both Japanese and American participants who were asked for help from a confederate increased their liking of the confederate relative to the baseline. Sociable impression of the confederate and perceived closeness of the relationship also increased relative to the baseline. There was, however, no such increase when participants helped the confederate without receiving a direct request. This study suggests that despite the potential risks to relationships, asking favors can provide opportunities for requesters to build and promote relationships.

Concepts: Relationship, Science, Question, Interpersonal relationship, Theory, Interrogative word, Theory of everything,


Abstract Subjective social status (SSS) has been shown to predict well-being and mental health, above and beyond objective social status (OSS). However, little is known about the factors that moderate this relationship. Two studies explored whether the link between SSS and well-being varied depending upon the referent used for comparison in SSS judgments. Participants judged their well-being and SSS in comparison to referents that varied in abstraction. A confirmatory factor analysis on SSS judgments yielded two factors: 1) SSS perceptions toward global referents and 2) SSS perceptions toward local referents. SSS relative to a global referent was a better predictor of depression (Studies 1 and 2), life satisfaction (Studies 1 and 2), and self-esteem (Study 2) than SSS relative to a local referent. These findings have theoretical implications for understanding how people differentiate between local vs. global referents and practical implications for status-related health disparities.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Health disparities, Understanding, Sociology, Factor analysis, Confirmatory factor analysis, Concepts in aesthetics


This study investigated the impact of ostracism (vs inclusion) for women in a same-sex vs opposite-sex group on their cognitive performances. Female participants played Cyberball with other women or men and were either included or excluded. Participants then had to engage in the performance tasks. Results showed that women’s performance was decreased by ostracism in a math task (but not a verbal task) yet only in the same-sex condition. Furthermore, this result was obtained only among participants who did the numeric task first. No effect was observed in the verbal task. Two replications of the initial study were conducted using the math task. The result of the first study has been replicated one time. A meta-analysis revealed a small effect of ostracism on performance in the ingroup condition whereas the effect seems to be nonexistent in the outgroup condition. Results are discussed and future perspectives are proposed.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, Performance, Woman, Gender identity, Task, Transgender


The aversive state of social exclusion can result in a broad range of cognitive deficits. Being unable or unmotivated to process relevant information, we assumed that social exclusion would also affect the success of persuasive attempts. We hypothesized that socially excluded people would adopt attitudes regardless of persuasion quality. In three studies using different manipulations of social exclusion and persuasion, we showed that participants who were socially excluded adopted persuasive messages regardless of argument quality. In contrast, this undifferentiated response was not shown by socially included participants who were more persuaded by high compared to low quality arguments. In Study 3, we moreover revealed that this pattern could only be replicated in reliable situations, that is, when the communicator appeared credible. These findings support the assumption that social exclusion can lead to reduced processing of information. (136 of 150 words).

Concepts: Adoption, Regulatory Focus Theory, Rhetoric, Persuasion


If we could go back and give ourselves advice to keep from making a mistake, most of us would probably take that opportunity. Using self-discrepancy theory as a theoretical framework, US workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, who were at least 30 years of age, indicated in two studies what their advice to their younger selves would be, what pivotal event was influential for them, if they had regrets, and if following this advice would bring them closer to their ideal or ought self. Across both studies, most of the advice fell into the domains of relationships, education, and selfhood. Participants said following the advice would bring them more in line with their ideal than their ought self. Following the advice also led to more positive perceptions of the current self by the high school self. Ages at which pivotal events occurred provided strong support for the reminiscence bump.


Sex is ubiquitous in the media but only a fraction depicts sexual interactions between same-sex partners. This field study, conducted outside of bars in the Midwestern United States, examined 83 heterosexuals' sexual willingness with a same- or other-sex partner. Participants viewed a randomly assigned video vignette of a same- or other-sex partner. Alcohol intake, partner attractiveness, and sexual willingness were measured. Using moderated regression analysis, we found that alcohol intake predicted sexual willingness with the male target for both men and women, but not with the female target. The attractiveness of same-sex partners was related to sexual willingness. Sexual willingness was only influenced by alcohol intake and perceived attractiveness of a same-sex prospective partner. Most notably, alcohol intake was related to increased sexual willingness of men with a same-sex partner, suggesting a potential shift in normative casual sexual behavior among heterosexual men.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Male, Gender, Sex, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Heterosexuality


The chivalry hypothesis and attractiveness bias were evaluated among 323 police officers and 364 students, serving as a control group. The participants were asked to read a description of a swindle, where the offender was either physically attractive or unattractive. They then had to assign a punishment to the offender and judge the blame ascribed to both offender and victim. The findings showed that the offender’s sex, more than his or her external appearance, affects differences in punishment severity. Female offenders were treated more forgivingly than male offenders. Nonetheless, analysis of blame attributions shows that attractive offenders are blamed more than unattractive offenders. Women were also found to dispense severe punishments more than men.