Kevin Lewis

November 09, 2019

The Return of the Repressed: The Persistent and Problematic Claims of Long-Forgotten Trauma
Henry Otgaar et al.
Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2019, Pages 1072-1095

Can purely psychological trauma lead to a complete blockage of autobiographical memories? This long-standing question about the existence of repressed memories has been at the heart of one of the most heated debates in modern psychology. These so-called memory wars originated in the 1990s, and many scholars have assumed that they are over. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect and that the controversial issue of repressed memories is alive and well and may even be on the rise. We review converging research and data from legal cases indicating that the topic of repressed memories remains active in clinical, legal, and academic settings. We show that the belief in repressed memories occurs on a nontrivial scale (58%) and appears to have increased among clinical psychologists since the 1990s. We also demonstrate that the scientifically controversial concept of dissociative amnesia, which we argue is a substitute term for memory repression, has gained in popularity. Finally, we review work on the adverse side effects of certain psychotherapeutic techniques, some of which may be linked to the recovery of repressed memories. The memory wars have not vanished. They have continued to endure and contribute to potentially damaging consequences in clinical, legal, and academic contexts.

Does time spent using social media impact mental health?: An eight year longitudinal study
Sarah Coyne et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, forthcoming

Many studies have found a link between time spent using social media and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. However, the existing research is plagued by cross-sectional research and lacks analytic techniques examining individual change over time. The current research involves an 8-year longitudinal study examining the association between time spent using social media and depression and anxiety at the intra-individual level. Participants included 500 adolescents who completed once-yearly questionnaires between the ages of 13 and 20. Results revealed that increased time spent on social media was not associated with increased mental health issues across development when examined at the individual level. Hopefully these results can move the field of research beyond its past focus on screen time.

The Impostor Syndrome from Luxury Consumption
Dafna Goor et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

The present research proposes that luxury consumption can be a double-edged sword: while luxury consumption yields status benefits, it can also make consumers feel inauthentic, producing what we call the impostor syndrome from luxury consumption. As a result, paradoxically, luxury consumption may backfire and lead consumers to behave less confidently due to their undermined feelings of self-authenticity. Feelings of inauthenticity from luxury consumption may arise because consumers perceive luxury as an undue privilege. These feelings are less pronounced among consumers with high levels of chronic psychological entitlement, and they are reduced when consumers' sense of entitlement is temporarily boosted. The effects are robust across studies conducted in the lab and in field settings such as the Metropolitan Opera, Martha's Vineyard, a luxury shopping center, and the Upper East Side in New York, featuring relevant participant populations including luxury target segments and consumption contexts including consumers' reflections on their actual past luxury purchases.

Does it matter if a week starts on Monday or Sunday? How calendar format can boost goal motivation
Mariya Davydenko & Johanna Peetz
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2019, Pages 231-237

The present research examines whether viewing a calendar depicting the present day as the first day of a new temporal category affects the motivation to pursue ongoing personal goals. Motivation peaked when the calendar's starting day (e.g., Sunday) matched the current day (e.g., Sunday) compared to when the calendar started on a different day (e.g., Monday, Studies 1a, 1b, 2). Viewing a calendar that portrayed the week as starting today (vs. a control calendar) also translated to greater self-reported progress on three personal goals over the next day (Study 2). The calendar format effect was present in both between-subjects designs (Study 1a, 1b, 2) and within-subjects design (Study 3). These studies extend research on the influence of temporal categories on projected goal pursuit to show the impact of calendar formats on motivation in the moment.

ENHANCE: Evidence for the efficacy of a comprehensive intervention program to promote subjective well-being
Samantha Heintzelman et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Building from the growing empirical science of happiness, or subjective well-being (SWB), we have developed a 12-week comprehensive intervention program - Enduring Happiness and Continued Self-Enhancement (ENHANCE) - to increase SWB and enable a thorough examination of the mechanistic processes of program content and administrative structure for SWB change over time. In a randomized controlled trial, participants (N = 155; 55 using the in-person format, 100 online format) were randomly assigned to participate in ENHANCE or to a waitlist control condition. All participants completed assessments of SWB, including non-self-report measures, and process variables at baseline, posttest, and follow-up (3 months). We found evidence supporting the efficacy of ENHANCE for increasing SWB, whether administered in-person or online. Furthermore, development of the skills targeted in the program (e.g., gratitude, mindfulness) accounted for SWB improvements. This study provides initial evidence that ENHANCE can promote SWB and offers insights regarding the processes involved in these changes. To bolster these findings, we present additional data (n = 74) from a fourth assessment showing within-person maintenance of SWB gains over 6 months in the original treatment condition (n = 39) and a replication of the immediate ENHANCE treatment effects in the waitlist condition (n = 36). We discuss potential avenues for the utilization of ENHANCE in basic research and applied disseminations.


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