Skip to main content

Psychology News

Failure can be a rewarding experience if the brain is allowed to learn from mistakes. Photo by istock.

Rewards of Failure

August 26, 2015

Many political leaders, scientists, educators and parents believe that failure is the best teacher. Scientists have long understood that the brain has two ways of learning. One is avoidance learning, which is a punishing,…

The study findings may offer a tasty salvo against rising obesity rates and health care costs. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

A Gift for Better Eating

July 28, 2015

It’s not easy to lose weight in our “super-sized” nation, but researchers at USC Dornsife and the USC Marshall School of Business have found that even modest incentives to eat smaller portions work in a big…

Research by Norbert Schwarz has found that a fishy smell can boost our critical thinking. Photo courtesy of Norbert Schwarz.

The Smell of Suspicion

June 30, 2015

Around the world, from Lithuania to Lesotho, when anyone wants to describe something as suspicious they use a metaphor linked to smell.  And not a pleasant smell. In the English-speaking world we use the expression…

Data scientist and researcher Ravi Iyer believes psychology is an important tool for understanding people-generated data. Photo courtesy of Ravi Iyer.

Data King

June 24, 2015

Have you ever pondered what Stevie Wonder album is the world’s best? Or, which are the best TV shows to binge-watch? Do you want to know which are the most important goals in life? Or, has it even crossed your mind to…

The stress of frequent exposure to family conflict takes a toll on the teenage brain, according to researchers in USC Dornsife's psychology department.

Parents’ yelling takes heavy toll on teens

June 22, 2015

Parents’ yelling is a turnoff for teens, but don’t mistake their emotional shutdown as a sign of ennui. It may be a sign of aggression. In a recent study, researchers at USC Dornsife explored how the stress of…

Professor of Psychology Margaret Gatz is determined to help families of dementia sufferers recognize early symptoms of the disease. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Forgotten Memories

June 11, 2015

When aging grandfather and Mariachi musician Don Memo Valdez becomes increasingly forgetful and irritable, his family starts to worry. Don Memo’s wife expresses dismay at her husband’s memory lapses while his…

Psychology alumna Kina Grannis is a 29-year-old singer-songwriter who runs her own music label. Photo by Yoni Goldberg.

In Her Element: Kina Grannis

June 1, 2015

In the era of vinyl records, when the album’s lyrics were printed in full on the back cover, it was easy to see what a singer wanted to express. Even cassette tapes included a printed insert of lyrics. These days, with…

Wendy Garcia-Nava came to USC with support from the Neighborhood Academic Initiative. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

A Prophetic T-shirt

May 14, 2015

There’s a snapshot of Wendy Garcia-Nava as a fourth-grader that’s downright prophetic: She’s standing by a fountain in Pardee Plaza, shyly waving at the camera. The T-shirt she’s wearing reads:…

Meet three USC Dornsife graduating seniors: Shea Livingston, Karen Arcos and Thomas Armstrong.

Three of the Best

May 13, 2015

Shea Livingston After Shea Livingston’s grandfather died in 2010, she and her mother were sorting through his papers when they found an extraordinary document: a leather-bound graduation program embossed with the words…

In a recent Barbra Streisand Lecture, psychotherapist Esther Perel explored the complexities of sustaining desire in long-term relationships and offered recommendations for rekindling eroticism. Photos by Susan Bell.

Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

May 7, 2015

When Esther Perel arrived at USC to deliver a Barbra Streisand Professor Lecture on April 27, she began by talking about her recent TED Talk on infidelity. “Monica Lewinsky started the day and I closed the day,”…