New study links support for Brett Kavanaugh to the endorsement of hegemonic masculinity

People who held traditional stereotypes about masculinity tended to have more positive evaluations of Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious Supreme Court hearings and more negative evaluations of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, according to new research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. The authors of the new research have previously found the endorsement of “hegemonic masculinity” — an idealized form of masculinity — was associated with support for Donald Trump. “There has been a lot of coverage in the news and in daily conversations about masculinity...

New research in mice suggests Alzheimer’s disease is linked to circadian rhythm

A good night’s sleep has always been linked to better mood, and better health. Now, scientists have even more evidence of just how much sleep – and more specifically our circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep cycle – is linked to certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. A team of researchers from the United States have found further evidence that the cells which help keep the brain healthy and prevent Alzheimer’s disease also follow a circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that follows a 24-hour cycle. It controls everything from sleep, digestion, appe...

Even mild cases of COVID-19 might result in brain shrinkage and impaired cognitive function

Most of what we know about how COVID can affect the brain has come from studies of severe infection. In people with severe COVID, inflammatory cells from outside the brain can enter brain tissue and spread inflammation. There may be changes to blood vessels. Brain cells can even have changes similar to those seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. For the first time, a new study has investigated the effects of mild COVID (that is, infection that doesn’t lead to a hospital admission) on the brain. The findings may further explain some of the brain changes contributing to long COVID. Brain scan...

Social working memory abnormalities may be a neurocognitive mechanism underlying poorer social connection in PTSD

Research published in the journal Depression & Anxiety provides evidence that neurocognitive abnormalities are related to difficulties in social connection among people with posttraumatic stress disorder. The findings suggest that those with PTSD are more likely to struggle with managing multiple pieces of social information. Approximately 7% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The disorder is characterized by persistent and intrusive memories of traumatic events, disrupted sleep, and other symptoms. PTSD has also...

Social anxiety linked to unfavorable and unstable social comparisons

New research published the Journal of Abnormal Psychology suggests that social comparisons play an important role in social anxiety. The findings provide evidence that people with social anxiety view themselves as inferior or deficient compared to others, which in turn is related to worsened mood. “We regularly compare ourselves to other people to determine where we fall on the social hierarchy,” said study author Fallon R. Goodman, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida and director of the Emotion and Resilience Lab. “Am I happier than others? More successful? More attracti...

Study provides first evidence of a causal link between perceived moral division and support for authoritarian leaders

New research indicates that heightened perceptions of moral division intensify support for strong leaders. The study, published in Political Psychology, found that the perceived breakdown of society plays a key role in this relationship. “I think increasingly we are seeing societal divisions play out on moral grounds,” said study author Charlie R. Crimston (@drCharlie_C), a research fellow at the University of Queensland. “We know that when our moral convictions clash things can become pretty toxic (e.g., we become highly emotional, intolerant, and more accepting of violence to achieve desired...

Nature or nurture? Twin study sheds light on the development of callous-unemotional traits in adolescents

Parenting practices appear to act as a pathway between parental psychopathy and callous-unemotional traits in adolescents, according to a new study published in Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology that examined hundreds of twins. The findings provide evidence that callous-unemotional traits among youth are not entirely attributable to genetic risk factors. Callous-unemotional traits include characteristics such as limited guilt, reduced empathic concern, and reduced displays of appropriate emotion. Callous-unemotional traits have been associated with the development of more seriou...

Trump supporters exhibit greater cognitive rigidity and less interpersonal warmth than supporters of liberal candidates, study finds

Supporters of Democratic candidates tend to be less cognitively rigid and more interpersonally warm than Trump supporters, according to new research published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology. This was found to be true even for supporters of left-wing Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders, suggesting that extreme liberals and extreme conservatives do not share similar psychological dispositions. “There is an ongoing debate in psychology about whether liberals and conservatives fundamentally differ from each other (asymmetry), or whether both extreme liberals and conserv...

Science skepticism appears to be an important predictor of non-compliance with COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies

Attitudes about science were associated with compliance with shelter-in-place policies during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, according to research that analyzed anonymous cell phone location data. The study indicates that regions where people are more skeptical of science tend to adhere less strictly to stay-at-home orders. The findings have been published in Nature Human Behaviour. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, social scientists quickly became interested in studying factors that impact compliance with government policies that mandate physical distancin...

People who are obsessed with celebrities tend to score lower on measures of cognitive ability

Cognitive performance is slightly reduced among those with higher levels of celebrity worship, according to a new study published in BMC Psychology. “Interest in the topic of celebrity worshipers spans almost two decades. From several studies, over that period, research showed a weak to moderate tendency for those who showed the strongest admiration for their favorite celebrity to have lower cognitive skills, using a variety of cognitive measures,” explained study authors Lynn E. McCutcheon, Ágnes Zsila, and Zsolt Demetrovics in a joint statement to PsyPost. “However, most of these studies did...

An analysis of Twitter posts suggests that people with depression show increased rumination on social media overnight

People with depression show distinct patterns of online activity, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Twitter users who said they had a diagnosis of depression were more active on Twitter in the evening, less active in the early morning, and ruminated more on Twitter from midnight to around 6 a.m. Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses around the world and is associated with a range of negative outcomes like increased risk of suicide and disease. While the underlying mechanism of depression remains a topic of study, one contributing factor seems to be poo...

Meat consumption is associated with better mental health, meta-analysis finds

According to a new meta-analysis published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, compared to meat abstention, meat consumption is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. In 2017, mental illness was considered to be the leading cause of disability globally. The World Health Organization estimated that approximately 300 million people suffered from depression, and 260 million were living with anxiety, reflecting a considerable increase in these disorders over the past two decades. In parallel with the observed increases in mental disorders, vegetarianism ...

Moralistic impressions help explain the reduced social attractiveness of vegetarians and vegans

Vegetarians and vegans are seen as less socially attractive by the meat-eating majority in part because they are viewed as moralistic, according to a new study published in the journal Appetite. The findings provide new insight into the relationship between dietary choices and social attraction, or the willingness to affiliate oneself with particular social groups. “The high consumption of animal products (e.g., meat, dairy, eggs) in Western countries may be considered one of the most pressing moral problems of our time, because it is entails the exploitation and suffering of billions of senti...

Psychologists have uncovered a new uncanny phenomenon called the “clone devaluation effect”

New research published in PLOS One provides evidence that duplicated human faces tend to elicit negative emotions in viewers. The findings serve as a warning that future robotic or cloning technology could provoke unpleasant psychological reactions. “The rapid development of humanoid technology is very exciting for people. However, when I imagined the future mass production of androids, I thought that we might be surrounded by human-like entities with the same face (like Agent Smith in the Matrix),” said study author Fumiya Yonemitsu of Kyushu University, who is also a research fellow at the J...

Dark personality traits and feelings of deprivation predict support for political violence: study

People who feel deprived and have a heightened level of antisocial tendencies known as the Dark Triad (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) tend to be particularly supportive of political violence. The new scientific findings have been published in the journal Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression. The authors of the new research were interested in exploring how subjective perceptions of inequality and Dark Triad personality traits were related to the process of political radicalization. “The subject is close to the project I work on (The Dialogue about Radicalisa...