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Psychology News

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is particularly interested in social emotions that promote learning, motivation and resilience, such as compassion, admiration and inspiration. Photo by Steve Cohn.

How Emotions Evolve

June 3, 2013

How do culture and environment shape how we — and our brains — experience social emotions and self? That’s one of the intriguing domains Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is exploring as part of her most…

In times of stress, people are just as likely to default to positive habits, such as eating a healthy breakfast, as they are to self-sabotage. Photo courtesy of  Daderot.

Healthy Habits Die Hard

May 29, 2013

Stress and exhaustion may turn us into zombies, but a novel study by USC researchers shows that mindless behavior doesn’t just lead to overeating and shopping sprees — it can also cause us to stick with behaviors…

Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business, contradicts David Buss' well-known study concluding that men and women differ in what they look for in a partner because they are wired differently. Wood said people choose mates based on what will be useful to them in their society. Photos by Pamela J. Johnson.

Baby, I Love Your Way

May 6, 2013

If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, if you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain . . . The lyrics to this popular ’70s song make choosing a mate sound simple. But Wendy Wood knows…

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) in USC Dornsife discusses the science behind emotional aptitude during a recent conference about what kind of students to look for in the college admissions process. Photo by Elizabeth Mercer.

Beyond High GPAs and SATs

January 24, 2013

Her audience was admissions officers and counselors from the most elite universities and high schools in the country, all familiar with dissecting GPA and SAT scores to judge the merit of a student who plans to enter…

Every person has perhaps billions of bytes of information stored in long-term memory. Babies develop long-term memories for past experiences beginning at the age of about six months or even earlier.

Mind Games

December 18, 2012

As a child, how many of you memorized the planet names and order with this little ditty: My very elegant mother just sat upon nine porcupines. Although the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet renders this particular mnemonic…

After earning an honorary degree from the Open University of Catalonia, University Professor Hanna Damasio of USC Dornsife notes that technical progress permits a fruitful crossroads where cognitive neuroscience meets with social and political sciences, economics, humanities, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and pediatrics. Photo courtesy of Open University of Catalonia.

Damasio Celebrated in Spain

November 2, 2012

University Professor Hanna Damasio, Dana Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and professor of psychology and neurology, has received a doctora honoris causa from the prestigious Open University of Catalonia, in Barcelona,…

USC Dornsife researchers found that watching someone we dislike in motion affects brain activity leading to "differential processing" -- for example, thinking the person is moving more slowly than he or she actually is.

Do You Like Me Now?

October 9, 2012

Hate the Lakers? Do the Celtics make you want to hurl? Whether you like someone can affect how your brain processes their actions, according to new research from the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI), housed in USC…

Denis Mitchell, here pictured in his younger years, was well known for his research on animal behavior. Photo courtesy of Kitling Mitchell.

In Memoriam: Denis Mitchell

September 5, 2012

Denis Mitchell, retired associate professor of psychology in USC Dornsife, died Aug. 21, 2012, after a five-year battle with brain cancer. “Denis was a humanitarian with exceptional talents, character and a sense of…

Caitlin Smith, a psychology doctoral student in USC Dornsife, leads sixth grade students in their final workshop in the Going for the Goal program. With guidance from USC Dornsife students, the program teaches middle schoolers how to set themselves up to achieve their goals. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Going for the Goal

August 24, 2012

Soft-spoken and shy, sixth-graders Emily Cervantes and Nayely Gonzalez are best friends with a vision for their futures. Emily plans to be a fashion designer, Nayely an author. “I’ve actually had this goal for a…

Photos by Brad Wilson.

Being Human

April 22, 2012

We humans are unique animals. Each of us may define what it means to be human differently. We place value in memory, form cultures, innovate, question the purpose of life, and dream of the future. Since the beginning of our…