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Psychology News

Alumnus and USC Dornsife professor Jonathan Kellerman is the best-selling author of 47 books. Photo by Joan Allen.

Novelist Jonathan Kellerman explains how his psychology training informs his writing

February 22, 2016

In 1974, Jonathan Kellerman, then a graduate student in psychology at USC Dornsife, was driving to work at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, where he was interning, when he passed a sign in the window of an antique store…

Blue indicates the location of the tiny locus coeruleus within the brainstem. Photo from Shutterstock.com.

Researchers pinpoint brain region as ‘ground zero’ of Alzheimer’s disease

February 17, 2016

A critical but vulnerable region in the brain appears to be the first place affected by late onset Alzheimer’s disease and may be more important for maintaining cognitive function in later life than previously…

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ben Carson represent liberal and conservative views. Photo collage by USC Staff.

Purity: It both unites us and keeps us apart

February 2, 2016

Purity is the moral foundation that drives people apart — and a glue that keeps them together, a new study shows. The study, led by USC Dornsife researchers, combined computer science, moral psychology and sociology of…

Identity-based motivation helps students see their difficulties with school as signs that schoolwork is important, which in turn can improve academic performance, according to USC Dornsife researchers.

Digital game aims to motivate students

January 22, 2016

A USC professor’s program to motivate children to achieve success in school and at work will soon be translated into a digital game to help more students succeed academically. USC Dean’s Professor of Psychology…

The default-mode network of the brain shows increased activity when subjects read stories that deal with their core values. Image courtesy of Sarah Gimbel/USC.

Deep thinking in the brain may be spurred by stories with moral quandaries

January 11, 2016

Everyone has at least a few non-negotiable values. These are the things that, no matter what the circumstance, you’d never compromise for any reason — such as “I’d never hurt a child,” or…

Herzliya is located on the central coast of Israel, one of the world's most rapidly aging nations.

Psychology’s Mara Mather to teach course in new partnership with Israeli institute

January 6, 2016

Come spring, students will have an opportunity to study gerontology subjects in the home of one of the world’s most rapidly aging populations: Israel. Professor Mara Mather, who holds joint appointments at USC Dornsife…

Psychologists say that making resolutions can be helpful, but caution people to think carefully before deciding exactly what their goals will be.

Self-control expert offers 6 tips for creating successful New Year’s resolutions

December 28, 2015

Unfortunately, USC Dornsife researchers have not unlocked the key to keeping you from sleeping through your 5 a.m. spin class or avoiding the 4 p.m. trip to the vending machine. But John Monterosso, an expert on the…

According to political experts, clicking “like” and signing online petitions will not supplant showing up in efforts to address issues such as gay rights and gun control.

Is the Internet fueling social change or giving license to engage in lazy activism?

December 22, 2015

In 2011, political uprisings were rampant throughout the world — from the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia and swept through more than 15 other Arab countries — to Occupy Wall Street protesters huddled in New…

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

December 22, 2015

People who experienced high anxiety any time in their lives had a 48 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had not, according to a new study led by USC researchers. The findings were based on an…

Alarming or exciting moments are known as “emotionally arousing” events, and they can enhance or hinder our ability to make memories.

Why we remember — or forget — details of alarming moments

December 16, 2015

When someone walks down the street and is startled by a car accident, what determines whether they clearly remember the details of what they were doing prior to the crash? Paradoxically, such alarming or exciting moments…