Twin study suggests that common genes and pathways are likely involved in both PTSD and migraine

[(https://blog.frontiersin.org/2021/06/22/neuroscience-twins-genes-risk-ptsd-migraine/?utmsource=fweb&utmmedium=nblog&utm_campaign=ba-sci-republishing-2021) Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and migraine often co-occur, but researchers knew relatively little about how or why this happens. A new study in Frontiers in Neuroscience is the first to investigate if the conditions have a common genetic basis. By studying identical twins, where one twin in each pair lives with PTSD or migraines and the other twin does not, the researchers found common genes that may play a role in both conditions....

New study suggests ambivalence may have played a role in Trump’s 2016 victory — but pollsters missed it

People often have mixed feelings about a topic and can simultaneously see both the positive and negative sides of things. But new research, published in PLOS One, suggests that professional pollsters are failing to account for this ambivalence in their assessment of political attitudes. The study, which collected data between 2017 and 2019, found that approximately 4 in 10 college students displayed some level of ambivalence towards President Donald Trump. “This work grew out of a collaboration that my wife and I have. I am an atomic physicist, working in the area of atomic clocks; my wife Lor...

New longitudinal study uncovers a stark partisan divide in willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Republicans in the United States became less accepting of a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the pandemic unfolded, according to new research published in PLOS One. The findings add to a growing body of research that indicates partisan attitudes are contributing to vaccine hesitancy. “In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we already understood that large-scale vaccination efforts would be critical to stemming the spread and bringing about a return to pre-pandemic life,” said study author Ariel Fridman, a PhD candidate at UC San Diego. “And given the worrying news about vaccine skepticism th...

Five minutes of exposure to fake news can unconsciously alter a person’s behavior: study

A study published in Computers in Human Behavior suggests that brief exposure to online misinformation can unknowingly alter a person’s behavior. The experiment found that reading a fake news article slightly altered participants’ unconscious behavior, as evidenced by a change in their performances on a test called the Finger Tapping Test. Social media plays a central role in the exchange of information among the public, and its influence is only growing. People increasingly use online platforms to read and discuss news, and algorithms help tailor this environment to a user’s interests and beh...

Researchers link physical strength and wealth to militancy and conservatism

Social psychology is often concerned with how real-world traits, even those as diverse as physical size and socioeconomic status, influence political perspectives and attitudes. In a recent study appearing in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences, a team of American researchers looked at the relationship between formidability (strength) and socioeconomic status on the one hand and militancy and political moral foundations on the other. The researchers begin with the premise that individuals and groups whose physical or social attributes make them more likely to win conflicts wi...

Republicans tend to follow Donald Trump’s opinions on vaccines rather than scientists’ opinions

When it comes to the false claim that vaccines cause autism, Republicans tend to be more swayed by Donald Trump than scientists, according to new research published in the journal Health Communication. The study indicates that politicians can have a significant influence on citizens’ science beliefs. “I was interested in the effects of political leaders, who are not necessarily health experts, on partisans because we have already witnessed the tragedy in the context of climate change in the United States,” explained study author S. Mo Jones-Jang, an assistant professor at Boston College. “Scie...

Support for 'America First' populism linked to increased odds of having been arrested

A group of researchers recently examined the relation between “America First” populism and lifetime arrests. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that individuals holding Islamophobic, anti-immigration and anti-globalization views are more likely to have been arrested in their lifetime. Populism is a political belief centered around the idea that “the people” or the general everyday public has been excluded from the political process and deprived of financial and social opportunities due to globalization and immigration. Widespread resistance to...

Eye-tracking study finds depression memes act like visual magnets for people experiencing depressive symptoms

Depressed people are more likely to enjoy internet memes that contain themes related to sadness, hopelessness or isolation — and they also show an attentional bias towards these images, according to new research. “My co-author Jennifer Drabble and I often use memes as a way to communicate. Indeed, for years my social media feed would be filled with memes shared by friends, often related to mental health,” said Umair Akram (@Eumayrs), the lead author of the new studies and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. “As someone who suffers from depression, I personally found memes related to dep...

Romantic relationships remained surprisingly stable during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the stress caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, people’s satisfaction with their romantic relationships changed little during the early stages of the pandemic, according to new research published in Psychological Science. “Much of my research focuses on the effect of stress on couple relationships, so when it became clear that the pandemic was going to have a huge impact on people around the world I was of course interested in what it would do to our closest relationships,” said study author Hannah Williamson, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin. “Th...

Narcissists are more likely to make bad decisions due to their overconfidence and refusal to take advice from experts

New research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests that grandiose narcissists are more likely to make bad decisions, owing to an overconfidence in their abilities and a tendency to ignore the advice of experts.Grandiose narcissism is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, feelings of superiority over others, and a readiness to exploit others. People with these characteristics tend to make their way up the hierarchy within organizations, often ending up in positions of power. Whether narcissists make good or bad leaders is another story.Stu...

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Political polarization does not appear to be causing shorter Thanksgiving visits, according to new research

It is not uncommon for political tensions in the United States to boil up during Thanksgiving gatherings. Some news publications have even written guides on how to best interact with relatives with opposing political views.But new research suggests that political polarization is not cutting Thanksgiving short. The study, published in PLOS One, indicates that there is no significant difference between the duration of Thanksgiving dinners with politically-diverse attendees and the duration of dinners with politically-uniform attendees.“The United States is in the midst of a Culture War. The majo...

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Study suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has altered Americans attitudes toward inequality and the poor

The coronavirus pandemic may have altered how many people in the United States view the poor, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The study indicates that people became more likely to blame external factors for poverty and less likely to blame personal failings after the outbreak of the virus.Based on their previous research, the authors of the new study had reason to believe that the pandemic might alter attitudes about the poor and inequality.“My co-authors and I recently published a paper in Nature Human Behavior in which we found that one r...

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Dysfunctional family dynamics linked to the endorsement of tyrannical leadership in adulthood

People who endure dysfunctional family conflict during adolescence tend to prefer domineering, selfish, and conceited leaders as adults, according to new research published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. The findings suggest that tyrannical leaders in the business world and in politics can find success because they embody some people’s implicit notion of ideal leadership.“I’ve always been fascinated by social cognition, which is how our thoughts guide our actions and preferences,” said study author Dayna Herbert Walker, an assistant professor at San Francisco State Univ...

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Trump’s tweets divert attention away from topics that are potentially harmful to him: study

In both the lead up to and the immediate aftermath of the US presidential election, President Donald Trump made claims of voter fraud and a rigged election, using all channels available to him, including Twitter. Despite the apparent lack of evidence for these accusations, they have arguably influenced the beliefs of millions of Americans.Twitter has been a primary means by which the president has sought to set the agenda. Since he first took office, many people have speculated that some of Trump’s tweets were deployed to distract from negative media coverage. For example, when the press repor...

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Appealing to self-interest makes conservatives more accepting of coronavirus-prevention behaviors: study

Conservatives tend to view COVID-19 health guidelines, such as wearing a mask in public, as less impactful to others than their more liberal counterparts, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. The findings indicate that conservative individuals tend to believe that people are responsible for their own coronavirus-related outcomes.“Given the current uncertain and partisan environment growing in the United States and across the globe, we are interested in understanding how this polarization can influence our behavior in the marketplace and ot...

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