Something to celebrate

Kevin Lewis

December 29, 2018

Awe in nature heals: Evidence from military veterans, at-risk youth, and college students
Craig Anderson, Maria Monroy & Dacher Keltner
Emotion, December 2018, Pages 1195-1202

The power of nature to both heal and inspire awe has been noted by many great thinkers. However, no study has examined how the impact of nature on well-being and stress-related symptoms is explained by experiences of awe. In the present investigation, we examine this process in studies of extraordinary and everyday nature experiences. In Study 1, awe experienced by military veterans and youth from underserved communities while whitewater rafting, above and beyond all the other positive emotions measured, predicted changes in well-being and stress-related symptoms one week later. In Study 2, the nature experiences that undergraduate students had during their everyday lives led to more awe, which mediated the effect of nature experience on improvements in well-being. We discuss how accounting for people’s emotional experiences during outdoors activities can increase our understanding of how nature impacts people’s well-being.

The Solitude of Secrecy: Thinking About Secrets Evokes Goal Conflict and Feelings of Fatigue
Michael Slepian, Nir Halevy & Adam Galinsky
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Past research has conceptualized secrecy as speech inhibition during social interaction. In contrast, the current research broadens the understanding of secrecy by conceptualizing it as the commitment to conceal information. Seven experiments demonstrate the implications of this broader conceptualization for understanding secrecy’s consequences. The results demonstrate that thinking about secrets - relative to thinking about personal information unknown by others that is not purposefully concealed (i.e., undisclosed information) - indirectly increases the experience of fatigue by evoking feelings of isolation and a motivational conflict with one’s affiliation goals. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the fatiguing effects of secrecy have consequences for task persistence and performance. Integrating theories of motivation, fatigue, and social isolation, we offer new directions for research on secrecy.

Perceptions of the competent but depressed
Kristen Kim & Woo-kyoung Ahn
Emotion, forthcoming

Accurately recognizing and remembering the depressive symptoms of other people can be crucial in helping those suffering from depression. Yet, lay theories about depression might interfere with accurate perception or recollection of depression in others. The current study examined whether laypersons would misremember depressive symptoms in highly competent people as being less severe than they actually are. Participants first read a target vignette about a character displaying depressive symptoms, whereas the level of competency of the target character varied across different conditions. Then, participants read a foil vignette describing a character with similar depressive symptoms, which was intended to elicit memory errors for the target vignette. When the foil vignette described that the depressive symptoms were eventually overcome, participants were more likely to false-alarm the recovery as the competent character’s than as the less competent character’s (Experiment 1a). Conversely, when the foil vignette’s depressive symptoms were described to be highly severe, participants were less likely to false-alarm them as the competent character’s symptoms than as the less competent character’s symptoms (Experiment 2a). This phenomenon appears to be unique to laypeople’s perception of depression, as the same pattern of results was not obtained when the participants were mental health clinicians (Experiments 1b and 2b) or when laypeople participants read about symptoms of physical disorders or other mental disorders (Experiment 3). Taken together, the current study presents novel findings suggesting that competent people’s depression is underdetected by laypeople. The implications and the limitations of the study are discussed.

Broken Bodies, Broken Spirits: How Poor Health Contributes to a Cynical Worldview
Olga Stavrova & Daniel Ehlebracht
European Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Cynical hostility (or cynicism) is often considered as a major factor leading to bad health outcomes. The present research proposes that poor health might represent both a consequence and a source of cynicism. Using cross‐lagged path analyses, we documented bidirectional associations between health and cynicism in a nationally representative sample of Germans (Study 1) and a large sample of the American elderly (Study 2): cynical individuals were more likely to develop health problems, and poor health promoted the development of a cynical worldview over time. These results were obtained using different indicators of health status, including both self‐reported and interviewer‐administered physical measures. Longitudinal mediation analyses showed perceived constraints to mediate the effect of poor health on cynicism. This effect remained robust even when adding an alternative mediator - depressive symptoms. Additional analyses showed that any particular health limitation was prospectively related to cynicism to the degree to which this limitation was associated with an increased sense of constraints in individuals' life.

The Pleasure of Assessing and Expressing Our Likes and Dislikes
Daniel He, Shiri Melumad & Michel Tuan Pham
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Although consumer-behavior theory has traditionally regarded evaluations as instrumental to consumer choice, in reality consumers often assess and express what they like and dislike even when there is no decision at stake. Why are consumers so eager to express their evaluations when there is no ostensible purpose for doing so? In this research, we advance the thesis that this is because consumers derive an inherent pleasure from assessing and expressing their likes and dislikes. In support of this thesis, the results of seven studies show that compared to a variety of simple and commonplace control judgments, assessing and expressing one’s likes and dislikes results in greater task enjoyment. This occurs because externalizing one’s evaluations enables a form of self-expression that appears to be deep and global. These findings have important implications for marketers and policymakers.

Socioeconomic status as a moderator of the link between reappraisal and anxiety: Laboratory-based and longitudinal evidence
Emily Hittner, Katie Rim & Claudia Haase
Emotion, forthcoming

Cognitive reappraisal reduces anxiety, but we know little about how socioeconomic status (SES) moderates this association. Drawing from developmental, affective, and health psychological frameworks, the present 2 studies investigated SES as a moderator of reappraisal and anxiety using performance-based (Study 1) and self-report (Study 1 and 2) measures of reappraisal; analyzing nonclinical (Study 1) and clinical (Study 2) symptoms of anxiety; and utilizing a small, laboratory-based study (Study 1) and a large-scale 9-year longitudinal study (Study 2). Across studies, findings showed that reappraisal predicted lower anxiety at low levels of SES but did not or less so at high levels of SES. These results were found for self-report measures of reappraisal; generalized across nonclinical and clinical symptoms of anxiety; and emerged both concurrently and prospectively across 9 years. Findings remained stable when controlling for a number of covariates, including age, gender, and race; were more robust for income than education; largely generalized across gender (except for a men-specific moderation effect for education in Study 2); and were directional such that SES did not moderate associations between anxiety and changes in reappraisal. These findings highlight the importance of considering socioeconomic context in the link between reappraisal and anxiety.

How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials
Emily Lindsay et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2018, Pages 944-973

Mindfulness meditation interventions - which train skills in monitoring present-moment experiences with a lens of acceptance - have shown promise for increasing positive emotions. Using a theory-based approach, we hypothesized that learning acceptance skills in mindfulness interventions helps people notice more positive experiences in daily life, and tested whether removing acceptance training from mindfulness interventions would eliminate intervention-related boosts in positive affect. In 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of stressed community adults, mindfulness skills were dismantled into 2 structurally equivalent interventions: (a) training in both monitoring and acceptance (Monitor + Accept) and (b) training in monitoring only (Monitor Only) without acceptance training. Study 1 tested 8-week group-based Monitor + Accept and Monitor Only interventions compared with a no treatment control group. Study 2 tested 2-week smartphone-based Monitor + Accept and Monitor Only interventions compared with an active control training. In both studies, end-of-day and momentary positive affect and negative affect were measured in daily life for 3 days pre- and post-intervention using ambulatory assessments. As predicted, across 2 RCTs, Monitor + Accept training increased positive affect compared with both Monitor Only and control groups. In Study 1, this effect was observed in end-of-day positive affect. In Study 2, this effect was found in both end-of-day and momentary positive affect outcomes. In contrast, all active interventions in Studies 1 and 2 decreased negative affect. These studies provide the first experimental evidence that developing an orientation of acceptance toward present-moment experiences is a central mechanism of mindfulness interventions for boosting positive emotions in daily life.

Seeing is believing: The role of imagery fluency in narrative persuasion through a graphic novel
Elizabeth Cohen et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Compared with other entertainment-education formats, graphic novels and comics offer a number of practical advantages, but the role of graphics in narrative persuasion processes has received little scholarly attention. To examine the potential of graphic stories to facilitate narrative persuasion by enhancing imagery fluency, 212 Amazon Mechanical Turk participants were randomly assigned to read a story about people with schizophrenia formatted for a graphic novel, either with or without images. The results showed that exposure to illustrations increased imagery fluency, leading to narrative engagement and ultimately less counterarguing against a sympathetic, positive portrayal of schizophrenia. The effect of exposure to the illustration on story-consistent belief through imagery fluency was the most substantial indirect effect in the model. This research suggests that there could be a unique effect of media-provided images on narrative engagement and persuasion generally, and it underscores the usefulness of graphic novels as entertainment-education devices.

A “bridge” over troubled water: Implications of the effect of locomotion mode on hopelessness
Daniela Di Santo et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, December 2018, Pages 675-682

Past research has shown that hopelessness drastically reduces the quality of life. It follows that it could be particularly useful to improve our knowledge of the potential correlates of feelings of hopelessness. We propose a negative association between locomotion mode, or the self‐regulation dimension concerned with movement from current state to future states, and hopelessness. We suggest, in two studies that higher locomotion is related to less hopelessness and results in higher levels of psychological well‐being. In Study 1, we showed that locomotion was significantly and negatively related to hopelessness. In Study 2, we confirmed this result and also observed that the hopelessness experienced by locomotors partially mediated the positive relationship between locomotion orientation and psychological well‐being. Implications for future research are discussed.

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