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Why home cities matter, refueling willpower, decision speed and moral character, and more

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Your city matters: San Francisco v. Boston

Your home city matters for both who you are and how you feel, according to a new suite of studies. In seven studies, researchers examined the history and culture of San Francisco and Boston, as well as surveyed residents (including commuters, college students, and middle-aged residents) of each city. They found that San Francisco showed more emphasis on egalitarianism, innovation, and looser social norms, while Boston emphasizes tradition, community, and tighter social norms. As a result, for Bostonians, feeling good is more contingent on social factors such as education, finances and community. "The Cultural Construction of Self and Well-being: A Tale of Two Cities," Victoria C. Plaut et al.,Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online September 17, 2012 forthcoming in print, December 2012.

Linking spirituality to meaning of life

A new study used daily diaries with more than 1200 entries each to record feelings of spirituality. The researchers found that daily spirituality led to higher self-esteem and more meaning in life. They also found that present-day spirituality positively affected meaning of life the next day. "Whether, When, and How is Spirituality Related to Well-Being? Moving Beyond Single Occasion Questionnaires to a Daily Process," Todd B. Kashdan and John B. Nezlek,Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online August 1, 2012 forthcoming in print, November 2012.

Information preferences of East Asians v. North Americans

A new paper shows that East Asians prefer more information-rich products than North Americans. Three studies looked at how members of each group processed information in conference posters, on government and university webpages, and on mock websites containing large amounts of information. Among other findings, they observed that East Asians were faster than North Americans at identifying target objects on the mock pages. "How Much Information? East Asian and North American Cultural Products and Information Search Performance ," Huaitang Wang, Takahiko Masuda et al., Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online August 9, 2012 forthcoming in print, December 2012.

Glucose mouth rinse refuels willpower

A wealth of research in social psychology has shown that willpower is a finite resource that depletes after a period of exertion, and many researchers have found that the metabolism of glucose can refuels a persons's diminished self-control. A new set of studies suggest, however, that the mere presence of glucose in the mouth can counteract willpower depletion. Researchers had participants rinse their mouths with glucose or an artificially-sweetened placebo and compared results in self-control tasks."The Sweet Taste of Success: The Presence of Glucose in the Oral Cavity Moderates the Depletion of Self-Control Resources," Martin S. Hagger and Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming January 2013.

How attachment affects marital satisfaction among new parents

A person's "attachment insecurities" can predict marital satisfaction as couples become parents, according to a new study. Researchers studied new parents 6 weeks before the birth of their first child, and then at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postpartum. They found that among people who were more anxious, marital satisfaction was lower when they perceived their partners as less supportive."Changes in marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood: The role of adult attachment orientations," Jamie L. Kohn et al., Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online August 9, 2012 forthcoming in print, November 2012.

Decision speed speaks to morality

The speed by which you make a decision is a telling indicator of moral character, according to a recent study. In two experiments, researchers found that people who made an immoral decision quickly versus slowly were perceived more negatively, while those who arrived at a moral decision more quickly were perceived more positively. The authors discuss implications for legal cases. "How Quick Decisions Illuminate Moral Character," Clayton R. Critcher et al., Social Psychological and Personality Science, online August 28, 2012 forthcoming in print.

When cognition leads to impulsiveness

Visceral states such as hunger and nicotine cravings can promote impulsive behavior by changing the way people process information, according to a new set of studies. For example, hungry dieters who were given the opportunity to make deliberate choices opted for more unhealthy snacks compared to hungry dieters who were forced to make an immediate choice. "A Devil On Each Shoulder: When (and Why) Greater Cognitive Capacity Impairs Self-Control?" Loran F. Nordgren and Eileen Y. Chou, Social Psychological and Personality Science, online August 15, 2012 forthcoming in print.


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

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