Can music create intercultural understanding? According to Madonna (and psychological research), it can!

Can music create intercultural understanding? According to Madonna (and psychological research), it can!

In my last blog, I argued that Madonna’s lyric of ‘music makes the people come together’ has a scientific basis. There are scientific studies that support the claim that music indeed increases cooperation and, thus, brings people together. But, as you might remember, the second line in the chorus of Madonna’s song is: ‘Music mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel’. In this blog, I will discuss whether she is citing the literature correctly or not. / more

Pre-registration watch part 1: Detecting deception

Pre-registration watch part 1: Detecting deception

In this blog post, I will report on the experiences of social psychologists, such as myself, with committing ourselves to detailed descriptions of the hypotheses and other specifics of experiments before we run them. In part 1, I briefly cover some basics about this so-called pre-registration and then I will discuss my own experience with a pre-registration in the online journal Frontiers about unconscious deception detection. / more

Free will without metaphysics

Free will without metaphysics

Despite the resurgence of interest in free will, there remains confusion and disagreement regarding free will’s role in social life, in particular, how people understand free will and whether free will guides blame and praise for others. In this blog post I argue that we need to pay closer attention to the folk concept of free will in order to resolve the confusion surrounding free will in everyday life. / more

Where are the genes for psychological traits?

Where are the genes for psychological traits?

In this blog post, I will discuss the methodologies available for identifying genetic influences on psychological traits, why it has proved so difficult to reliably identify specific genes, despite 20 years of effort, and what this tells us about the nature of these genetic influences. / more

Marrying smart or marrying instead of being smart? The goal conflict between MRS degrees and STEM degrees

Marrying smart or marrying instead of being smart? The goal conflict between MRS degrees and STEM degrees

In this blog post, I review a number of studies that suggest that telling women to focus on their MRS degree (aka getting married) while in college can make women less interested in earning a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). Why does this matter? Because the STEM fields are in desperate need of women. Luckily, research also suggests that women in STEM are more desirable than women may realize. / more

Sticks and stones and breaking bones: Social psychology and school aggression

Sticks and stones and breaking bones: Social psychology and school aggression

Bullying is a pervasive issue in schools today. This is one of two blog posts that will look at school aggression from the perspective of contemporary social psychology. In this post, I'll examine the role of groups in encouraging bullying. In my next post, I'll look at the perspective of the bullied victims. When it comes to bullying, it seems that groups can both be a part of the problem and the solution. / more

The year the journals changed

The year the journals changed

Where do all the studies come from? Behind every headline trumpeting a new finding in psychology, you can usually find an article in a peer-reviewed psychology journal. But how reliable are these findings? This is what many scientists have recently started to wonder. Because of this, journals in psychology are starting to insist on better reporting of research studies. In this first post of a two-part series, I will explain some of the standards that have typically been used to judge whether a study deserves publication or not. / more

Colorful Culture

Colorful Culture

As a world without colors would be extremely boring, we are luckily able to perceive various different colors that enrich our environment. Recently, Keiko Ishii and colleagues found that the colors we prefer and use for our paintings vary systematically across cultures. But that doesn’t mean that tomorrow’s multi-cultural world is becoming black-and-white or grey, rather there is hope that it will become even more colorful than it is today. In this post, we will illustrate how individuals and cultures engage in mutual construction and thus enhance variety. / more

Inequality: Minority disadvantage or White privilege? - And why it matters

Inequality: Minority disadvantage or White privilege? - And why it matters

In this blog post, I will discuss research showing how framing ethnic inequality in terms of White advantage versus minority disadvantage impacts how Whites and minorities understand inequality and thus how we should address inequality. / more

Bleeding-heart liberals and hard-hearted conservatives: Political dehumanization in the United States

Bleeding-heart liberals and hard-hearted conservatives: Political dehumanization in the United States

My previous blog post covered new research showing that liberals and conservatives are prejudiced against one another to an equal degree. In this post, I will review evidence that liberals’ and conservatives’ prejudices lead them to dehumanize their political opponents—that is, to see them as less than human. / more