What Did Our Ancestors Look Like? Hair and Eye Color Can Be Determined for Ancient Human Remains

Jan. 11, 2013 — A new method of establishing hair and eye colour from modern forensic samples can also be used to identify details from ancient human remains, finds a new study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Investigative Genetics. The HIrisPlex DNA analysis system was able to reconstruct hair and eye colour from teeth up to 800 years old, including the Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski (1881 to 1943) confirming his blue eyes and blond hair.


A team of researchers from Poland and the Netherlands, who recently developed the HIrisPlex system for forensic analysis, have now shown that this system is sufficiently robust to successfully work on older and more degraded samples from human remains such as teeth and bones. The system looks at 24 DNA polymorphisms (naturally occurring variations) which can be used to predict eye and hair colour.

Dr Wojciech Branicki, from the Institute of Forensic Research and Jagielonian University, Kraków, who led this study together with Prof Manfred Kayser, from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, explained, “This system can be used to solve historical controversies where colour photographs or other records are missing. HIrisPlex was able to confirm that General Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died in a plane crash in 1943, had the blue eyes and blond hair present in portraits painted years after his death. Some of our samples were from unknown inmates of a World War II prison. In these cases HIrisPlex helped to put physical features to the other DNA evidence.”

For medieval samples, where DNA is even more degraded, this system was still able to predict eye and hair colour (for the most degraded DNA samples eye colour alone), identifying one mysterious woman buried in the crypt of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec near Kraków, sometime during the 12th-14th centuries, as having dark blond/brown hair and brown eyes.

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byBioMed Central Limited.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jolanta Draus-Barini, Susan Walsh, Ewelina Pospiech, Tomasz Kupiec, Henryk Glab, Wojciech Branicki and Manfred Kayser. ona fide colour: DNA prediction of human eye and hair colour from ancient and contemporary skeletal remainsInvestigative Genetics, 2013 (in press) [link]
BioMed Central Limited (2013, January 11). What did our ancestors look like? Hair and eye color can be determined for ancient human remains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130113201136.htm

Which Study Strategies Make the Grade?

Jan. 10, 2013 — Students everywhere, put down those highlighters and pick up some flashcards! Some of the most popular study strategies — such as highlighting and even rereading — don’t show much promise for improving student learning, according to a new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


 

In the report, John Dunlosky of Kent State University and a team of distinguished psychological scientists review the scientific evidence for ten learning techniques commonly used by students.

“Schools and parents spend a great deal of money on technology and programs to improve student achievement, even though evidence often isn’t available to firmly establish that they work,” says Dunlosky. “We wanted to take a comprehensive look at promising strategies now, in order to direct teachers, students and parents to the strategies that are effective, yet underused.”

Based on the available evidence, the researchers provide recommendations about the applicability and usefulness of each technique.

While the ten learning techniques vary widely in effectiveness, two strategies — practice testing and distributed practice — made the grade, receiving the highest overall utility rating.

Most students are probably familiar with practice testing, having used flash cards or answered the questions at the end of a textbook chapter. Students who prefer last-minute cram sessions, however, may not be as familiar with the idea of distributed practice.

Dunlosky and colleagues report that spreading out your studying over time and quizzing yourself on material before the big test are highly effective learning strategies. Both techniques have been shown to boost students’ performance across many different kinds of tests, and their effectiveness has been repeatedly demonstrated for students of all ages.

In contrast, five of the techniques received a low utility rating from the researchers. Notably, these techniques are some of the most common learning strategies used by students, including summarization, highlighting and underlining, and rereading.

“I was shocked that some strategies that students use a lot — such as rereading and highlighting — seem to provide minimal benefits to their learning and performance. By just replacing rereading with delayed retrieval practice, students would benefit,” says Dunlosky.

So why don’t they? Why aren’t students and teachers using the learning strategies that have been shown to be effective and inexpensive?

Dunlosky and colleagues found that the answer may have to do with how future teachers are taught.

“These strategies are largely overlooked in the educational psychology textbooks that beginning teachers read, so they don’t get a good introduction to them or how to use them while teaching,” Dunlosky explains. As a result, teachers are less likely to fully exploit some of these easy-to-use and effective techniques.

To help address this gap, the researchers organized their report in distinct modules, so that teachers can quickly decide whether each technique will potentially benefit his or her students and researchers can easily set an agenda on what we still need to know about the efficacy of these strategies.

“The learning techniques described in this monograph will not be a panacea for improving achievement for all students, and perhaps obviously, they will benefit only students who are motivated and capable of using them,” Dunlosky and colleagues note. “Nevertheless, when used properly, we suspect that they will produce meaningful gains in performance in the classroom, on achievement tests, and on many tasks encountered across the life span.”

The report, “Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology,” is published in the January 2013 issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interestand is authored by John Dunlosky and Katherine A. Rawson of Kent State University, Elizabeth J. Marsh of Duke University, Mitchell J. Nathan of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Daniel T. Willingham of the University of Virginia. The research included in the report was supported by a Bridging Brain, Mind and Behavior Collaborative Award through the James S. McDonnell Foundation’s 21st Century Science Initiative.

The report also features an editorial written by Henry L. Roediger III of Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byAssociation for Psychological Science.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal References:

  1. J. Dunlosky, K. A. Rawson, E. J. Marsh, M. J. Nathan, D. T. Willingham. Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology.Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2013; 14 (1): 4 DOI: 10.1177/1529100612453266
  2. H. L. Roediger. Applying Cognitive Psychology to Education: Translational Educational Science.Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2013; 14 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1177/1529100612454415
Association for Psychological Science (2013, January 10). Which study strategies make the grade?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110111734.htm

Expert Suggests Tried-And-True Strategies to Strengthen Your Relationship

Jan. 9, 2013 — What are you doing to keep your relationship alive? A University of Illinois study highlights the importance of five relationship maintenance strategies that couples can use to preserve or improve the quality of an intimate relationship.


 

“Relationships are like cars in that you have do certain things to keep them running, especially when your goal is to strengthen and preserve your bond with your partner,” said Brian Ogolsky, a U of I professor of human and community development.

To determine which factors are the most important in promoting healthy relationships, Ogolsky and colleague Jill R. Bowers conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies and 12,273 individual reports.

The research showed that openness, positivity, assurances, shared tasks, and a shared social network are strategies that couples can use to make their relationship better, he said.

To “open up” your relationship, the researchers encouraged not only talking about your feelings but getting your partner to talk about what she is feeling as well. Positivity entailed being a “fun” person and acting upbeat and cheerful as you interact with each other.

“It’s also important to assure your partner that you’re in the relationship for the long haul, to divide household chores and responsibilities equally, and to make an effort to include your partner’s friends and family in some of your activities,” Ogolsky said.

The study showed that a person who practices one of these five strategies is likely to practice the others as well. And a partner who notices that one of the strategies is being used is apt to be tuned in to their partner’s efforts in the other four areas, he said.

“Persons who use any of these maintenance strategies will not only be more satisfied with and committed to their relationship, they are also likely to continue to love and, yes, even like each other throughout its duration,” he said.

Although these strategies work, challenges may arise when couples don’t see or value each other’s efforts in the same way. These approaches had the most influence on the quality of the relationship when persons believed their partner was also performing relationship maintenance, he said.

The study suggests that what you do doesn’t matter as much as whether the things you’re doing are noticed by your partner. In other words, he said, relationship quality is not only at risk when couples don’t employ these strategies, but also when one partner believes the other is not making an effort or doesn’t recognize those efforts.

Sometimes a person’s thoughts don’t transfer into actions, he explained. “Say you’ve arrived home from work and your intention all day has been to buy some flowers for your partner and surprise her with dinner. Then you get wrapped up in a business phone call and your good intentions fall by the wayside. You may feel as if you’ve put considerable effort into your relationship, but your partner didn’t see it so it does you no good.”

The fact that couples get busy, become enmeshed in routines, and take each other for granted is all the more reason to consciously adopt these relationship strategies, he said.

“Even a small attempt at maintenance, such as asking how your partner’s day was, sending a humorous text to make him laugh, or picking up the phone and calling your mother- or father-in-law, can have a positive impact on your relationship and make you happier,” he added.


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byUniversity of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. G. Ogolsky, J. R. Bowers. A meta-analytic review of relationship maintenance and its correlatesJournal of Social and Personal Relationships, 2012; DOI:10.1177/0265407512463338
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (2013, January 9). Expert suggests tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your relationship.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110059.htm

Even Brief Interruptions Spawn Errors

Jan. 7, 2013 — Short interruptions — such as the few seconds it takes to silence that buzzing smartphone — have a surprisingly large effect on one’s ability to accurately complete a task, according to new research led by Michigan State University.


 

The study, in which 300 people performed a sequence-based procedure on a computer, found that interruptions of about three seconds doubled the error rate.

Brief interruptions are ubiquitous in today’s society, from text messages to a work colleague poking his head in the door and interrupting an important conversation. But the ensuing errors can be disastrous for professionals such as airplane mechanics and emergency room doctors, said Erik Altmann, lead researcher on the study.

“What this means is that our health and safety is, on some level, contingent on whether the people looking after it have been interrupted,” said Altmann, MSU associate professor of psychology.

The study, funded by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, is one of the first to examine brief interruptions of relatively difficult tasks. The findings appear in theJournal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Study participants were asked to perform a series of tasks in order, such as identifying with a keystroke whether a letter was closer to the start or the end of the alphabet. Even without interruptions a small number of errors in sequence were made.

Sometimes participants were interrupted and told to type two letters — which took 2.8 seconds — before returning to the task. When this happened, they were twice as likely to mess up the sequence.

Altmann said he was surprised that such short interruptions had a large effect. The interruptions lasted no longer than each step of the main task, he noted, so the time factor likely wasn’t the cause of the errors.

“So why did the error rate go up?” Altmann said. “The answer is that the participants had to shift their attention from one task to another. Even momentary interruptions can seem jarring when they occur during a process that takes considerable thought.”

One potential solution, particularly when errors would be costly, is to design an environment that protects against interruptions. “So before you enter this critical phase: All cell phones off at the very least,” Altmann said.

His co-authors are Gregory Trafton of the Naval Research Laboratory and Zach Hambrick of MSU.

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byMichigan State University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Michigan State University (2013, January 7). Even brief interruptions spawn errors.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107100059.htm

Interest in Arts Predicts Social Responsibility

ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2012) — If you sing, dance, draw, or act — and especially if you watch others do so — you probably have an altruistic streak, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

If you sing, dance, draw, or act — and especially if you watch others do so — you probably have an altruistic streak. (Credit: © Sandra Cunningham / Fotolia)

 

People with an active interest in the arts contribute more to society than those with little or no such interest, the researchers found. They analyzed arts exposure, defined as attendance at museums and dance, music, opera and theater events; and arts expression, defined as making or performing art.

“Even after controlling for age, race and education, we found that participation in the arts, especially as audience, predicted civic engagement, tolerance and altruism,” said Kelly LeRoux, assistant professor of public administration at UIC and principal investigator on the study.

In contrast to earlier studies, Generation X respondents were found to be more civically engaged than older people.

LeRoux’s data came from the General Social Survey, conducted since 1972 by the National Data Program for the Sciences, known by its original initials, NORC. A national sample of 2,765 randomly selected adults participated.

“We correlated survey responses to arts-related questions to responses on altruistic actions — like donating blood, donating money, giving directions, or doing favors for a neighbor — that place the interests of others over the interests of self,” LeRoux said. “We looked at ‘norms of civility.’ Previous studies have established norms for volunteering and being active in organizations.”

The researchers measured participation in neighborhood associations, church and religious organizations, civic and fraternal organizations, sports groups, charitable organizations, political parties, professional associations and trade unions.

They measured social tolerance by two variables:

  • Gender-orientation tolerance, measured by whether respondents would agree to having gay persons speak in their community or teach in public schools, and whether they would oppose having homosexually themed books in the library.
  • Racial tolerance, measured by responses regarding various racial and ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Eighty percent of the study respondents were Caucasian, LeRoux said.

The researchers measured altruistic behavior by whether respondents said they had allowed a stranger to go ahead of them in line, carried a stranger’s belongings, donated blood, given directions to a stranger, lent someone an item of value, returned money to a cashier who had given too much change, or looked after a neighbor’s pets, plants or mail.

“If policymakers are concerned about a decline in community life, the arts shouldn’t be disregarded as a means to promote an active citizenry,” LeRoux said. “Our positive findings could strengthen the case for government support for the arts.”

The study was based on data from 2002, the most recent year in which the General Social Survey covered arts participation. LeRoux plans to repeat the study with results from the 2012 survey, which will include arts data.

 


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byUniversity of Illinois at Chicago. 


Citation:

University of Illinois at Chicago (2012, August 16). Interest in arts predicts social responsibility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 19, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120816151809.htm

Scientists Discover the Truth Behind Colbert’s ‘Truthiness

ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2012) — A picture inflates the perceived truth of true and false claims.

(Credit: Magritte)


 

Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls “truthiness” — the feeling that something is true. In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim. The work is published online in the Springer journal, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

“We wanted to examine how the kinds of photos people see every day — the ones that decorate newspaper or TV headlines, for example — might produce “truthiness,” said lead investigator Eryn J. Newman of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. “We were really surprised by what we found.”

In a series of four experiments in both New Zealand and Canada, Newman and colleagues showed people a series of claims such as, “The liquid metal inside a thermometer is magnesium” and asked them to agree or disagree that each claim was true. In some cases, the claim appeared with a decorative photograph that didn’t reveal if the claim was actually true — such as a thermometer. Other claims appeared alone. When a decorative photograph appeared with the claim, people were more likely to agree that the claim was true, regardless of whether it was actually true.

Across all the experiments, the findings fit with the idea that photos might help people conjure up images and ideas about the claim more easily than if the claim appeared by itself. “We know that when it’s easy for people to bring information to mind, it ‘feels’ right,” said Newman.

The research has important implications for situations in which people encounter decorative photos, such as in the media or in education. “Decorative photos grab people’s attention,” Newman said. “Our research suggests that these photos might have unintended consequences, leading people to accept information because of their feelings rather than the facts.”

 

Link:

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=123043&CultureCode=en

Journal Reference:

Eryn J. Newman, Maryanne Garry, Daniel M. Bernstein, Justin Kantner, D. Stephen Lindsay. Nonprobative photographs (or words) inflate truthinessPsychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2012; DOI: 10.3758/s13423-012-0292-0

Citation:

Springer Science+Business Media (2012, August 8). Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert’s ‘truthiness’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808081334.htm

 

Generic Language Helps Fuel Stereotypes

ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2012) — Hearing generic language to describe a category of people, such as “boys have short hair,” can lead children to endorse a range of other stereotypes about the category, a study by researchers at New York University and Princeton University has found. Their research, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also points to more effective methods to reduce stereotyping and prejudice.

(Credit: http://disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca/)


The study focused on “social essentialism,” or the belief that certain social categories, such as race or gender, mark fundamentally distinct kinds of people. For instance, social essentialism facilitates the belief that because one girl is bad at math, girls in general will be bad at math. While previous scholarship has shown that essentialist beliefs about social categories, such as gender or race, appear as early as preschool, it has been less clear on the processes that lead to the formation of these beliefs.

This dynamic was the focus of the PNAS study.

Specifically, the researchers tested whether generic language plays a powerful role in shaping the development of social essentialism by guiding children to develop essentialist beliefs about social categories that they would not otherwise view in this manner. In addition, in order to understand how social essentialism is transmitted, they examined whether or not holding essentialist beliefs about a social category leads parents to produce more generic language describing the category when talking to their children.

In the study, the researchers introduced four-year-old children and their parents to a fictional category of people — “Zarpies” — via an illustrated storybook. Each page presented a picture of a single person displaying a unique physical or behavioral property. The characters were diverse with respect to sex, race, and age in order to eliminate the possibility of existing essentialist beliefs influencing the results. For instance, if all of the “Zarpies” were Asian, subjects might apply essentialist beliefs to the group if they generally have essentialist beliefs about race. In the experiment, the adults read the book twice while an experimenter read the book to the children two times.

In two experiments, in which a single line of text described the accompanying pictures, hearing generic language about a novel social category led both preschool-age children and adults to develop essentialist beliefs about the category. For example, subjects in a generic-language condition (“Look at this Zarpie! Zarpies are scared of ladybugs”) were significantly more likely than those in a specific-language condition (“Look at this Zarpie! This Zarpie is scared of ladybugs!”) to express essentialist beliefs — even a few days after the experiment.

A third experiment sought to understand how social essentialism is transmitted — specifically, can parents communicate such beliefs to their children through conversation? To study this, parents were introduced to the category “Zarpies” via a paragraph that led them to hold essentialist beliefs about Zarpies (i.e., by describing Zarpies as a distinct kind of people with many biological and cultural differences from other social groups) or non-essentialist beliefs about Zarpies (i.e., by describing Zarpies as a non-distinct kind of people, with many biological and cultural similarities to other populations).

After reading the introductory paragraph, parents received a picture book containing the illustrations used in studies one and two, with no accompanying text. They were asked to talk through the picture book with their child and describe the people and events depicted, just as they would a picture book at home. No other instructions were provided. The entire parent-child conversation was videotaped and transcribed.

There was no difference in number of utterances or references to the characters between the two conditions. However, a higher percentage of the character references were generic in the essentialist condition compared with the non-essentialist condition. In addition, parents produced more negative evaluations in the essentialist condition than in the non-essentialist condition.

“Taken together, these results showed that generic language is a mechanism by which social essentialist beliefs, as well as tendencies towards stereotyping and prejudice, can be transmitted from parents to children,” said the study’s lead author, Marjorie Rhodes, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology.

She added that these results do not show that generic language creates essentialist thought, but, rather, that children’s cognitive biases lead them to assume that some social categories reflect essential differences — and that generic language signals to them to which categories they should apply these beliefs.

“Understanding the mechanisms that underlie the development of social essentialism could provide guidance on how to disrupt these processes, and thus perhaps on how to reduce stereotyping and prejudice,” added co-author Sarah-Jane Leslie, an assistant professor in Princeton’s Department of Philosophy. “We often change the way we speak about a given social group, so grounding these changes in mechanisms shown to influence the formation of essentialist beliefs could lead to more effective efforts to reduce societal prejudice.”

 

Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/generic-language-helps-fuel-stereotypes-nyu-princeton-researchers-find

Journal Reference:

  1. Marjorie Rhodes,    Sarah-Jane Leslie,    and Christina M. Tworek. Cultural transmission of social essentialism. PNAS, August 6, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1208951109

Citation:

New York University (2012, August 6). Generic language helps fuel stereotypes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/08/120806151244.htm

Sometimes Expressing Anger Can Help a Relationship in the Long-Term

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2012) — It is not always best to forgive and forget in marriage, according to new research that looks at the costs of forgiveness. Sometimes expressing anger might be necessary to resolve a relationship problem — with the short-term discomfort of an angry but honest conversation benefiting the health of the relationship in the long-term. The research is part of a larger effort to better understand the contexts in which some relationships succeed and others fail, and also to understand how close relationships affect our health.

(Credit: http://rodneyhunt.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/taking-a-time-out-when-anger-and-frustration-rise/)


A popular research trend in recent years, positive psychology has offered the promise that with forgiveness, optimism, kindness, and positive thinking, people can turn around their relationships even after a serious transgression. But as James McNulty of Florida State University investigated positive psychology and well-being, he began to see a different trend: “I continued to find evidence that thoughts and behaviors presumed to be associated with better well-being lead to worse well-being among some people — usually the people who need the most help achieving well-being.”

McNulty therefore set out to examine the potential costs of positive psychology. In a set of recent studies, he found that forgiveness in marriage can have some unintended negative effects. “We all experience a time in a relationship in which a partner transgresses against us in some way. For example, a partner may be financially irresponsible, unfaithful, or unsupportive,” says McNulty, who is presenting his research at the APA annual convention this week in Orlando. “When these events occur, we must decide whether we should be angry and hold onto that anger, or forgive.” His research shows that a variety of factors can complicate the effectiveness of forgiveness, including a partner’s level of agreeableness and the severity and frequency of the transgression.

“Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner,” he says. Additionally, he says, anger can serve an important role in signaling to a transgressing partner that the offensive behavior is not acceptable. “If the partner can do something to resolve a problem that is likely to otherwise continue and negatively affect the relationship, people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger.”

“This work suggests people need to be flexible in how they address the problems that will inevitably arise over the course of their relationships,” McNulty says. “There is no ‘magic bullet,’ no single way to think or behave in a relationship. The consequences of each decision we make in our relationships depends on the circumstances that surround that decision.”

How attachment affects our health

Psychologists have known for decades that close relationships are critical to a person’s health and well-being. However, the exact processes that govern these health effects have not been well understood. Recent studies show that the attachment processes between two individuals in a close relationship dramatically affect health domains ranging from pregnancy and birth defects to cancer and chronic disease.

“We know that having relationships in general and being socially integrated is associated with a reduced risk of mortality,” says Paula Pietromonaco of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who is also presenting at the APA convention. “Our research follows from attachment theory, which suggests that there is one primary person that people turn to for comfort when they are distressed or frightened.”

In adulthood, that person is often a romantic partner or spouse, she says. “These sorts of relationship partners are especially important when people are faced with a stressful event because they have the potential to comfort and calm the person who is experiencing distress or to hinder that person’s efforts to feel better.”

In an ongoing longitudinal study of 225 newlywed couples, for example, Pietromonaco’s team is finding that the way people feel attached to each other affects cortisol levels in response to stress — and can possibly predict depression or anxiety over time. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the study has preliminarily shown that among couples that include a wife who is more anxiously attached — who desires a great deal of intimacy and seeks reassurance and support — and a husband who is more “avoidantly attached,” cortisol levels spike in anticipation of a conflict discussion followed by a sharp decline in cortisol. “In addition, these same anxious wife/avoidant husband couples appear to have more difficulty in discussing the conflict, and their behavior suggests greater disengagement from the discussion.”

These patterns, Pietromonaco says, may signal difficulty with emotion regulation, and it is possible that individuals in these couples will be at greater risk for symptoms of depression and anxiety over time. The researchers are following these couples over the first 3 to 4 years of marriage, and will be examining the extent to which the patterns they see now predict changes in emotional health over the early years of marriage. Pietromonaco and colleagues also recently conducted a review of studies that examine the effects of two-person relationships on a range of health topics in order to create a better framework for future investigations. For example, they point to several studies that show that greater prenatal social support predicts more optimal fetal growth, higher infant birth weight, and reduced risk of low birth weight. But, they caution that such studies need to be replicated and expanded to take into account both perceived support as well as actual support interactions among both partners.

In general, Pietromonaco says that relationship science studies must look at the expectations, beliefs, and experiences of both partners in predicting emotional and physical health. “Although research on psychology and health has begun to consider these sorts of ‘partner effects,’ they are often not incorporated into studies designed to intervene to help people cope with chronic diseases such as cancer or diabetes,” she says. “As Lynn Martire [Penn State] and her colleagues have noted, many couple intervention studies include both partners but assess psychological adjustment for the patient only. Yet how the patient’s caregiver, who is often a spouse, is adjusting and coping may be very important in predicting how patients themselves cope.”

LIVE CURIOUS. National Geographic Channel

 

Live Curious

If you are you breathe.

If you breathe you talk.

If you talk you ask.

If you ask you think.

If you think you search.

If you search you experience.

If you experience you learn.

If you learn you grow.

If you grow you wish.

If you wish you find.

And if you find you doubt.

If you doubt you question.

If you question you understand

and if you understand you know.

If you know you want to know more.

If you want to know more,

you are alive.

 

Creative Director: Patrizio Marini
Art Director: Claudia Ganapini
Copywriter: Federico Russo
Production Company: Mercurio Cinematografica s.r.l.
Director: Bryan Little “Fly on the wall”
Executive producer: Luca Fanfani
Producer: Annalisa De Maria / Alessandro Cavriani
Producer South Africa and still photographer: Filipa Domingues “Fly on the wall”
DOP: Grant Appleton “Fly on the wall”
Production Designer: Latisha Duarte “Fly on the wall”
Post- Production: Green Movie
Editor: Massimo Magnetti c/o Green Movie
Sound House/ Engineer: Roberto Grassi c/o Green Movie

Actions Don’t Always Speak Louder Than Words, at Least, Not When It Comes to Forgiveness

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2012) — People are more likely to show forgiving behavior if they receive restitution, but they are more prone to report they have forgiven if they get an apology, according to Baylor University research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.


The study underscores the importance of both restitution and apology and of using multiple measures for forgiveness, including behavior, said Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

“One of the main reasons for using behavioral measures in addition to self-reporting by individuals is that they can make themselves look better by only self-reporting, although they don’t necessarily intend to lie,” she said. “And it may be that ‘I forgive you’ is a more conscious feeling if they receive an apology.”

In the study, 136 undergraduate psychology students were stationed in individual cubicles and told that raffle tickets for a $50 gift card would be given out in three rounds, with 10 tickets per round to be divided between a participant and a unknown “partner.” They also were told they might receive a note from the partner.

In the first round, participants were given only two of the 10 tickets split between them and their partners; in the second, they got nine. Some were told the distributions were made by the partner; others were told it was by chance.

Some participants received an apology note from their partners on the second round, saying, “Sorry about that first round. I got carried away, and I feel really bad that I did that.” Some participants also received raffle tickets back from their partners in the second round, a form of restitution. In the last round, the participants were given the chance to be in charge of distributions themselves.

Researchers examined the links between apology, restitution, empathy and forgiveness, measuring forgiveness in two ways: Through behavior (how many raffle tickets participants gave to their partners on the third round); and self-reporting on a questionnaire, with participants telling how highly they rated their motivation to forgive.

Researchers wrote that “making amends can facilitative forgiveness, but not all amends can fully compensate for offenses.” Apology may be needed to repair damage fully, but it may be a “silent forgiveness,” while restitution without apology may lead to a “hollow forgiveness” in which the offenders are treated better but not necessarily forgiven.

“The results suggest that if transgressors seek both psychological and interpersonal forgiveness from their victims, they must pair their apologies with restitution,” they wrote. “Apparently, actions and words speak loudest in concert.”

 

Journal Reference:

  1. Robert D. Carlisle, Jo-Ann Tsang, Nadia Y. Ahmad, Everett L. Worthington, Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Nathaniel Wade. Do actions speak louder than words? Differential effects of apology and restitution on behavioral and self-report measures of forgiveness. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2012; 7 (4): 294 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2012.690444

 

Baylor University (2012, July 18). Actions don’t always speak louder than words, at least, not when it comes to forgiveness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 19, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/07/120718090551.htm