Monitor on Psychology - November 2011 - (Page 16)

Brief IN Snapshots of some of the latest peer-reviewed research within psychology and related fields. according to researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland. The investigators looked at data from a 14-year longitudinal study of 7,100 Americans age 14 to 30 and also found that emotionally stable, extroverted and conscientious people reported higher self-esteem than those who were emotionally unstable, introverted or less conscientious (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, September). n Researchers have found a pathway linking memory and reward centers in the brain that may help explain how environmental contexts become strong motivators in drug taking. Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse used a combination of anatomical, physiological and behavioral techniques with rats to define a pathway from a region of the hippocampus to the ventral tegmental area, which processes reward-driven behaviors. Using inhibitory brain chemicals, they then blocked the pathway, and found the rats’ reward-based habits decreased by about 75 percent. These findings, the study authors say, could offer new, attractive targets for interventions that could make people less susceptible to environmentally triggered drug relapse (Science, July 15). n People from diverse cultures perceive happy, sad or angry facial expressions differently, according to a study led by the University of Glasgow’s Rachael E. Jack, PhD. Jack used statistical image processing techniques to examine how study participants perceived facial expressions and found that Chinese participants relied on the eyes more Bypass surgery is more successful for people in happy marriages, research finds. n Love helps keep the heart pumping, according to research from the University of Rochester. Psychologists found that happily married husbands and wives who undergo heart bypass surgery are up to three times more likely than their unmarried counterparts to still be alive 15 years later. The study also showed that women were more likely to be positively affected by a happy marriage, perhaps because the emotional health of a marriage is more important to women. For men, simply being married was enough to improve their chances of thriving after surgery (Health Psychology, Aug. 22). n Watching just a few minutes of the popular children’s television show 16 “SpongeBob SquarePants” may impair preschoolers’ thinking, according to research by University of Virginia psychologists. The researchers randomly assigned 60 4-year-olds to watch a fastpaced, “fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea,” watch an educational cartoon or draw for nine minutes. They found that the children who watched the fast-paced cartoon performed significantly worse on subsequent tasks assessing attention and working memory than children in the other two groups (Pediatrics, Sept. 12). n Contrary to popular belief, there are no major differences between men’s and women’s self-esteem levels in adolescence and early adulthood, M O N I TO R O N P S YC H O L O G Y • N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - November 2011

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011
President’s Column
Guest Column
‘Grand Challenges’ offers blueprint for mental health research
Documentary seeks to reach parents of LGBT kids
Treating veterans will cost at least $5 billion by 2020
Selfless volunteering might lengthen your life
Combat and stress up among U.S. military in Afghanistan
South Africa to host international psychology conference
Study uncovers a reason behind sex differences in mental illness
Navy psychologist gives a voice to combat trauma
In Brief
Psychologist suicide
On Your Behalf
Journey back to Heart Mountain
Psychology is key to pain management, report finds
ACT goes international
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Time Capsule
Science Watch
Behavior change in 15-minute sessions?
Health-care reform 2.0
Perspective on Practice
Giving a heads up on concussion
Practice Profile
Searching for meaning
Inspiring young researchers
Aging, with grace
Public Interest
Thank you!
APA News
Division Spotlight
American Psychological Foundation
The man who gave Head Start a start

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011