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Motivations for gambling, sexual motivation and satisfaction, and impulsive shoppers

Reacting to terrorist groups: Injustice leads to anger, power to fear

Perceptions really matter when it comes to how we react to terrorist threats. Across two studies, researchers found that the more a terrorist group is seen as unjust, the more anger we feel, whereas the more the group is seen as powerful, the more fearful we become. Surveying 1,072 Americans in one study about fictional terrorist groups, the researchers found that fear from powerful portrayals led participants to support offensive, defensive, and negotiated measures to deal with the terrorists. On the other hand, anger at the injustice of terrorism reduced support for negotiation but also increased support for attacking and defending. Understanding these reactions is important for communication about including media coverage of terrorist threats. "Angry at the unjust, scared of the powerful: Emotional responses to terrorist threat," Roger Giner-Sorolla (rsg[at] and Angela T. Maitner, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online June 17, 2013 forthcoming in print, August 2013.

Gambling for money or suspense?

It is the promise of money rather than the thrill of the chase that motivates people vulnerable to gambling, a new study finds. When presented with the option of playing cards to either receive a guaranteed certain amount of money for example, an 100% chance of winning $2.00 or to gamble for that same amount of money for example, a 50% chance of winning $2.00 people more vulnerable to gambling chose the guarantee. Ironically, people less vulnerable to gambling, motivated by suspense were more likely to gamble. "'Show Me the Money': Vulnerability to Gambling Moderates the Attractiveness of Money versus Suspense," Cheryl Hahn, Timothy Wilson (tdw[at], Kaichen McRae, and Daniel T. Gilbert, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online June 24, 2013 forthcoming in print, October 2013.

The link between sexual motivation and satisfaction

Having sex with your partner to avoid disappointment rather than to enhance intimacy reduces satisfaction with the experience. In three studies, researchers found that the motivating goal for sex greatly influences not only how couples feel about the act itself but also their relationship and sexual quality into the future. In one of the studies, for example, married and cohabitating couples recorded their sexual activity and sexual motivation in a diary for 21 days. Researchers found that the effects of having sex for intimacy versus avoidance still affected the couples' sexual desire and satisfaction four months later. "Getting It On Versus Getting It Over With: Sexual Motivation, Desire and Satisfaction in Intimate Bonds," Amy Muise (amy.muise[at], Emily A. Impett, and Serge Desmarais, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online June 28, 2013 forthcoming in print in October 2013.

Disputing the effects of birth order on juvenile delinquency

Middle child syndrome? Society often attributes juvenile delinquency to birth order bringing to mind images of the middle child acting out for attention or the rebellious youngest child. A new study is challenging the strength of those associations, saying that such effects from birth order are largely the products of analytic methods used in past research. Past work relied on individual-level comparisons, whereas the new study takes into account within-family differences diminishing the impact of birth order on delinquency. "Ordered Delinquency: The 'Effects' of Birth Order on Delinquency," Patrick Cundiff (prc131[at], Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online May 29, 2013 forthcoming in print, August 2013.

Impulsive buyers beware

Hard to stick to your shopping list? Impulsive buyers tend to get distracted by products that are unrelated to their shopping goals, new research finds. But, this distractability only happens in shopping situations, researchers say, and, attractive, typical impulse products (such as cosmetics) do not distract impulsive buyers more than neutral products. The researchers measured participants' attention to various types of products by tracking eye movements. "Hard to Ignore: Impulsive Buyers Show an Attentional Bias in Shopping Situations," Oliver B. Bttner (oliver.buettner[at], Arnd Florack, Helmut Leder, Matthew A. Paul, Benjamin G. Serfas, and Anna-Maria Schulz, Social Psychological and Personality Science, online June 27, 2013 forthcoming in print.


Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
Society for Personality and Social Psychology

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