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Character & Context

Apr 23, 2018
Illustration of small person turning a gear inside of an open head

People are living longer than ever. For many countries, average life expectancy is predicted to soon exceed 80 years. As a longevity expert put it, “We should be planning for more life.” And of course, this includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But there’s a problem: The future is far away, and people may struggle to adopt healthy habits in the present if they can’t clearly imagine those...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 28, 2018
Image of a business man and business woman interviewing a woman at a table

Today, women are more likely to hold positions of power than they were decades ago. However, female leaders tend to be put under a microscope, facing more scrutiny than their male counterparts. For example, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, was blamed for the many missteps in the company. As a young woman and a CEO, her social role as a woman and as a CEO may have been in conflict. This conflict...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 06, 2018
Illustration of older men and women dancing in a line

In 1931, James Truslow Adams defined the American dream as the idea that “each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” At present, however, social mobility is remarkably stagnant, with one’s circumstances of birth having a...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Image of light entering an empty dark jail cell

Adolescence is a time full of transitional periods and growth. Generally, as we age we become more mature and stable. We experience life events that allow us to successfully fulfill our adulthood roles. However, the life events we experience are not always positive. With over 70,000 youth incarcerated in the U.S. yearly, we cannot deny the depth of impact such a negative life event may create. “...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Image of a confident African American woman in business attire

“You made it!” Applause spread across the room to congratulate the people who had recently accepted their first faculty position at a university. To shed some light on what comes next for these soon-to-be junior faculty members, a diverse panel of early career professors spoke about their pre-tenure experiences. Drs. Shantal Marshall, Lindsey Rodriguez, Justin Troisi, and Jackie Chen represented...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Image of Alice Eagly visiting at her Legacy Award lunch

“Okay, so that’s our world,” said Alice Eagly, The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) 2018 Annual Convention Legacy honoree, as she explained the broad differences in the division of labor across men and women that persist to this day. Eagly is perhaps best known for her work on how gender stereotypes emerge from the social roles men and women adopt. As Eagly explained, we learn...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Illustration of arms extended skyward in protest, holding signs and megaphones

Holding a sign she couldn’t read, Megan Phelps-Roper stood at her first picket line at age 5, and for the next twenty years joined her Westboro Baptist Church family in spreading hate against groups from Catholics to Muslims to LGBT people. To most people, what Phelps-Roper did sounds biased, and it can be tempting to think of her as a irredeemable. But according to Aneeta Rattan, there are...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Image of diverse group of people forming a circle

Improving diversity in the workplace has become a salient goal in the modern age. To catch up to the times, many companies and colleges have pledged a commitment to diversity. Are these interventions increasing minority participation and belongingness, or are they bold claims without backing? Valerie Purdie-Greenaway spoke on the diversity of psychology faculty in top tier institutions. The goal...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 03, 2018
Image of a group of men and women around a table writing

Despite the fact that most academics’ careers (or professional lives) depend on writing and publishing prolifically, many new faculty would rather do almost anything but write. Natalie Sabik, who researches social identity and health, and has created a writing accountability group, jokes that some days she would rather fold laundry than start writing. Sabik’s writing accountability group, which...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 02, 2018
Image of robot in foreground, blurred female in background

To what extent do people place identity with or against robots? Can we take a robot’s perspective? Do we see robots as moral beings? Xuan Zhao, who studies perspective taking, empathy, and prosocial behaviors, launched the session by highlighting the theoretical and practical relevance of examining human-robot interaction. Arguing that studying robots provided "a great opportunity for us to...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 02, 2018
Image of a man and a woman sitting on a bench together in front of a sunset

The sexual double standard (SDS) is a belief that access to sexuality varies by gender. According to SDS, women are expected to be passive “gatekeepers” of sexual activity; men the “initiators.” Women are socially punished for having sex; men are rewarded. In a set of two experiments, Dr. Yuliana Zaikman examined how these gendered stereotypes might influence the way people think about sexual...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 02, 2018
Illustrations of various emotions

The 2016 US presidential election brought polarized reactions, both joy and despair, to the forefront. During “Emotions & Politics: The Inextricable Link,” Allison Troy of Franklin and Marshall College and Brett Ford of the University of Toronto discussed people’s predictions about, and reactions to, the strong emotions that resulted from the election of Donald Trump. Research about affective...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 02, 2018
Image of interracial family sitting together smiling

Keith Bardwell “does not do interracial marriages.” Bardwell, a Louisiana justice of the peace, refused Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay a marriage license in 2009, citing concern for the couple’s potential children. In a society segregated and stratified by race, but increasingly racially mixed, people are faced with more opportunities than ever for developing - and changing - their ideas about...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 02, 2018
Image of two gay men dancing together

No relationship is perfect. Conflict is bound to arise. We know there will be points in our marriages where our partners let us down, and vice versa. Fortunately, having conflict may not necessarily be detrimental to our relationships. What does matter however, is how we respond in the face of that conflict. Erin Crockett from Southwestern University set out to better understand how our responses...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 01, 2018
Image of a gloved hand with a pen writing on an x-ray

In the present climate of divisiveness and inter-group hostility, few attitude objects are as topical as other people. How we evaluate others, especially those from different groups (racial, political, class, etc.), can be consequential for a whole host of outcomes. At this year’s attitudes pre-conference, held a day before the official start of The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 01, 2018
Image of people sitting down on chairs

The purpose of diversity can seem different for different people. At the SPSP 2018 Annual Convention Justice and Morality Pre-conference, Dr. Stacey Sinclair from Princeton explored the motives underlying diversity in “Why Diversify: Framing Diversity as a Moral Versus Instrumental Good.” How people frame the benefits of diversity, according to Dr. Sinclair, can be more moral–motivated by...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 01, 2018
Illustration of man running

In the aftermath of intergroup injustice, apologies from the perpetrator groups are commonplace, but taking the next step, and ensuring that the victims are empowered, can be overlooked. How might we ensure that victimized groups receive more support than a simple apology? In the Group Processes and Intergroup Relations preconference, Michael Wohl from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada,...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 01, 2018
Image of intertwined interracial feet on a bed

Dr. Paul Vasey has spent much of his life studying sexual behavior across species and across cultures. For two decades, he observed Japanese macaques—a species of monkey—in mountains outside of Kyoto. During his time in Japan, Dr. Vasey consistently observed female macaques sexual mounting other females. If fact, he estimates that only 20% of these female monkeys are exclusively heterosexual...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018
Mar 01, 2018
Illustration of mutlicultural jury

Accidents happen, and when misfortunes occur we tend to look for someone or something to blame. When such accidents lead to court cases, it often falls upon a jury to determine fault. How does an individual’s attributional tendency impact how they assign blame? This is the question Ashley Votruba from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln sought to answer in her opening presentation titled The...Read more

Filed under: SPSP 2018