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38 news posts in Psychology

Featured news

03 Mar 2023

Scientists find that people use emojis to hide, as well as show, their feelings

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image: Scientists asked 1,289 people who use emojis to respond to internet chat messages and report their feelings and emoji use. They found that more emojis were used between closer friends, that using positive emojis to express positive feelings correlated with personal wellbeing, and that positive emojis could be used to mask the expression of negative feelings. Have you ever received an unwanted gift and still said ‘thank you’? This choice to hide a negative emotion is a display rule — one of many which define socially appropriate responses to emotions. Although display rules can promote interpersonal harmony, they can also have negative consequences for the person choosing to change how they express emotions. As more social interaction goes online, scientists are investigating how emojis are used to reflect our emotions in different contexts. Are there display rules that apply to emojis, and how do those affect people’s wellbeing? “As online socializing becomes more prevalent, people have become accustomed to embellishing their expressions and scrutinizing the appropriateness of their communication,” said Moyu Liu of the University of Tokyo, who investigated this question in a study published in Frontiers in Psychology. “However, I […]

Featured news

25 Jan 2023

Using running to escape everyday stresses may lead to exercise dependence instead of mental wellbeing

By Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image/ Different kinds of escapism can motivate people to take part in running, but using running to escape from negative experiences rather than using it to escape to positive ones may lead to exercise dependence. Recreational running offers a lot of physical and mental health benefits – but some people can develop exercise dependence, a form of addiction to physical activity which can cause health issues. Shockingly, signs of exercise dependence are common even in recreational runners. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology investigated whether the concept of escapism can help us understand the relationship between running, wellbeing, and exercise dependence. “Escapism is an everyday phenomenon among humans, but little is known regarding its motivational underpinnings, how it affects experiences, and the psychological outcomes from it,” said Dr Frode Stenseng of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, lead author of the paper. Running to explore or to evade? “Escapism is often defined as ‘an activity, a form of entertainment, etc. that helps you avoid or forget unpleasant or boring things’. In other words, many of our everyday activities may be interpreted as escapism,” said Stenseng. “The psychological reward from escapism is […]

Featured news

15 Dec 2021

Are older people more likely to fall for Covid-19 scams than younger people?

By Colm Gorey, science communications manager Image: mimagephotography/ Not long after the Covid-19 pandemic began, a surge in scams targeting people’s fears was seen across the globe. Yet despite the disease posing a greater threat to older people, it wasn’t known whether this demographic were more likely to fall for these scams. Now, a study published to Frontiers has found that contrary to stereotypes, older people are less likely to fall for the alleged benefits of scams than middle-aged and younger people are. Are older people more likely to fall for Covid-19 scams than younger generations? Despite a prevailing mentality that older people are less up to speed on the latest technology and 21st century scams, new research suggests that cautiousness concerning scams does not vary between age groups. In our highly interconnected age, the opportunities to try and exploit people into handing over large sums of money through various falsehoods are now widespread. Unsurprisingly, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic also coincided with the start of a new wave of scams. By October of this year, the US Federal Trade Commission reported more than 270,000 Covid-19 fraud cases that cost their victims a total of more than $580m. But […]

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09 Nov 2021

Off-world colony simulation reveals changes in human communication over time with Earth

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science writer Image: SciePro/ Future planetary colonists will experience isolation like no other group in human history, which is why scientists on Earth are attempting to see how we communicate in the most extreme situations. In a paper published with Frontiers, researchers in Russia observed volunteers in isolation attempting to replicate life in deep space to see how it would impact their mood and communication styles. Despite some initial differences, the eventual cohesion of the team offers hope for future moon and Mars colonists. Elton John famously sang that Mars “ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids”, but one day space agencies across the globe hope to prove him wrong by seeing the first human establishing the first colony on the Red Planet, and elsewhere in the solar system. However, those who make the journey will not only have to survive on a freezing planet with no breathable atmosphere, but live in isolation unlike any other explorers in human history. At its closest proximity, Mars is still almost 55m km away from Earth, making communication delays and supply issues between the two worlds unavoidable. This requires crew members to effectively cope with stressful conditions […]

Featured news

11 Mar 2021

Could coloring our steaks blue help reduce the world’s insatiable demand for meat?

By Prof Charles Spence, University of Oxford Image: SciePro/Shutterstock Blue has become an increasingly popular color in drinks and confectionary. Now, Prof Charles Spence of the University of Oxford asks what impact tainting meat blue would have in nudging consumers toward selecting a healthier and more sustainable diet? Have you ever heard about the infamous blue steak study? According to a story that has been circulating in the academic literature for 70 years, a group of people were once invited for a dinner of steak, fries, and peas. The lighting was so dim that it was impossible for the guests to discern the food’s true color. During the meal, the lighting was returned to normal suddenly revealing that the steak had been colored blue, the peas red, and the fries green. Many of the guests apparently immediately ran off to the bathroom to be sick. While this anecdote has appeared in numerous scientific papers over the last half century, typically to illustrate the sometimes aversive influence of (blue) food coloring, it turns out that it may be nothing more than that – a mere anecdote. According to a review of blue foods that I published recently in Frontiers in Psychology, […]