Throwaway culture can include friendships, researcher says

In a highly mobile society like the United States, people who relocate for work, school or simply to “wipe the slate clean” tend to jettison replaceable objects when they move.

According to a new study from the University of Kansas appearing in the journal Personal Relationships, the mindset that objects are disposable extends to social ties.

“We found a correlation between the way you look at objects and perceive your relationships,” said lead author Omri Gillath, associate professor of psychology. “If you move around a lot, you develop attitudes of disposability toward objects, furniture, books, devices — basically whatever merchandise you have at home, your car even.”

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NASA sees a different kind of El Niño

A new NASA visualization shows the 2015 El Niño unfolding in the Pacific Ocean, as sea surface temperatures create different patterns than seen in the 1997-1998 El Niño. Computer models are just one tool that NASA scientists are using to study this large El Nino event, and compare it to other events in the past.

“The start of an El Niño is important,” said Robin Kovach, a research scientist with the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The visualization shows how the 1997 event started from colder-than-average sea surface temperatures – but the 2015 event started with warmer-than-average temperatures not only in the Pacific but also in in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

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New study shows emotional cost for parents who put on a happy face for their children

Daughter with her parents smiling, portraitHow do parents feel when they regulate their emotional expressions in ways that do not match their genuine feelings? Recent research suggests that parents’ attempts to suppress negative and amplify positive emotions during child care can detract from their well-being and high-quality parent-child bonds. The findings were published in the March 2016 edition of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

In two studies, one experimental and the other a 10-day daily experience study, the scientists examined how parental negative emotion suppression and positive emotion amplification may shape parents’ personal and relationship well-being. In the studies parents reported experiencing lower authenticity, emotional well-being, relationship quality, and responsiveness to their children’s needs when they suppressed negative emotions and amplified positive emotions when providing care to their children.

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Being overweight linked to poorer memory

Overweight womanOverweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory – the ability to recall past events – than their peers, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, adding to increasing evidence of a link between memory and overeating.

In a preliminary study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers from the Department of Psychology at Cambridge found an association between high body mass index (BMI) and poorer performance on a test of episodic memory.

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Links for stories on Tony Delroy’s NightLife February 19

Voters take note: Virtues, not vices, lead to more effective political leadership

Do politicians get more done if they are more prone to virtue or to vice, if they are inclined toward justice and humanity or to a self-serving social strategy?

New research from UC Berkeley shows that stable virtuous traits enhance the ability to convert power into influence, at least when it comes to the 151 members of the U.S. Senate who served between January 1989 and December 1998.

The study, recently published in the journal Psychological Science, concluded that exhibiting virtuous traits was a plus in terms of getting others in Congress to co-sponsor proposed legislation following a senator’s ascension to a committee chair role, while the exhibition of vices provided no such boost.

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To encourage exercise, losing a financial reward is more effective than gaining one

ExerciseResults demonstrate the power of using loss aversion to motivate health behavior change.

Financial incentives aimed at increasing physical activity were most effective when the rewards were put at risk of being lost, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, which tested the effectiveness of three methods of financial incentives to increase physical activity among overweight and obese adults, shows that depending on how they are framed, incentives of equal amounts can have significantly different effects on outcomes. Results are published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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TSRI scientists create vaccine against dangerous designer opioids

Key authors of the new study from The Scripps Research Institute were (left to right) Research Associate Atsushi Kimishima, Professor Kim Janda and Graduate Student Paul Bremer. CREDIT: Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute.

Key authors of the new study from The Scripps Research Institute were (left to right) Research Associate Atsushi Kimishima, Professor Kim Janda and Graduate Student Paul Bremer.
CREDIT: Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute.

With use of synthetic opioid “designer drugs” on the rise, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have a new strategy to curb addiction and even prevent fatal overdoses.

In a new study, published today in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the scientists report successful preclinical tests of a vaccine that prevents the synthetic opioid fentanyl–which some drug dealers now use as a mix-in or substitute for heroin–from reaching the brain.

“We want to stay one step ahead of these clandestine laboratories making illegal opioids for black market demand,” said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI. “The importance of this new vaccine is that it can block the toxic effects of this drug, a first in the field.”

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Leading While Female: Prepare for Backlash

businesswoman balancing on a tightropeAsking for a promotion, negotiating for a raise, or speaking up about concerns may help a male employee get ahead, but a female employee could easily end up labeled as “bossy” or worse for the exact same behavior. Research suggests that many women rightly worry that being “too aggressive” may result in backlash from their colleagues and supervisors.

This double-standard may help explain why women across the globe still struggle to gain leadership positions and pay parity with their male peers.

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Feeling Like a Fraud on the Job

Business man fear protectFerdinand Demara is one of history’s most infamous impostors. After serving in the US Army during World War II, Demara masqueraded as a monk, a surgeon, a prison warden, a cancer researcher, a teacher, a civil engineer, a hospital orderly, a sheriff’s deputy, a psychologist, and a minister—faking his credentials at every turn. His fakery inspired the classic film “The Great Impostor.”

Most people advance through their careers with legitimate training, and yet many professionals may still feel about as ill-qualified for their jobs as Demara was for his various “vocations.”

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