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Psychology News

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…

Addressing Perception

Addressing Perception

November 16, 2015

A couple on the tiny Hebridean island of Colonsay in Scotland were planning their wedding earlier this year when the bride’s mother sent her daughter a photograph of the dress she planned to wear. When the bride showed…

Morteza Dehghani and a team of psychology researchers and computer scientists at USC Dornsife have developed a new text analysis software program for social scientists.

A TACIT Understanding

November 3, 2015

According to a 2015 Global Web Index report, today’s average adult spends 6.15 hours a day online. More than a quarter of this time is spent on social networking sites. Life in the digital age means an abundance —…

Health care stereotype threat stemming from commonly held beliefs about unhealthy lifestyle choices can jeopardize care outcomes, according to a study by Cleopatra Abdou of psychology.

Health Care Stereotype Threat

October 30, 2015

Warning: Stereotypes may be harmful to patients’ health. A national study led by USC Dornsife’s Cleopatra Abdou found that people who encountered the threat of being judged by negative stereotypes related to…

According to psychology professor Donna Spruijt-Metz, who researches ways to combat childhood obesity, Halloween offers parents an opportunity to talk to their kids about healthful eating.

Tricky Treating on Halloween

October 30, 2015

When Donna Spruijt-Metz was young, her mother would sit down with her after trick-or-treating on Halloween and help her sort her candy. “We had a joke about how she loved the mini-Hershey bars, so she would negotiate…

Confronted by odd moments of “cultural disinfluency,” people perform better on cognitive reasoning tests and are less likely to buy things. Photo: iStock.

Shocked into Clarity

October 29, 2015

Halloween-decorated plates at a Labor Day party. A bride in a green gown with her groom in a purple tuxedo and no wedding party. An obituary that declares of the deceased: “Regina had no hobbies, made no contribution to…

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,…