City-based soda pop taxes don’t effectively reduce sugar consumption

As taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages continue to pop up across the U.S. and abroad, public health experts laud their effect on lowering purchases of the calorie-heavy drinks and encouraging healthier habits. But new research from the University of Georgia suggests many soda taxes might actually not be making much of an impact at all when it comes to improving diets and reducing sugar intake.

It’s true: Be nice and others are more likely to be nice to you

When two people meet for the first time, they tend to see the other person as having a similar personality to their own. A friendly and sociable person will tend to see others as friendly and sociable. Someone who is shy and reserved will see those characteristics in others. In the world of psychology, this is known as the “assumed similarity effect.” Psychologists have theorized people use their own personalities to fill in the blanks with someone they don’t know well. Now University of Oregon psychologists have proposed, tested and found support for another contributing factor: people tend to reciprocate each other’s behavior. A person who acts friendly and sociable is more likely get the same in return.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Communicating About COVID-19 Vaccine

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 17, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor William Hallman is available for interviews on how to communicate with the public about a potential COVID-19 vaccine. “For a COVID-19 vaccine to be embraced by the public, officials can’t…

Picture this: Employee fraud decreases when they see family photos

Displaying family photos in the workplace cuts down on employee fraud and other unethical behavior, new Washington University in St. Louis research finds. For instance, in one study the researchers conducted, participants who looked at pictures of family or friends filed expense reports claiming about $8 less on average than workers without pictures. While $8 may not seem like much, it can add up quickly.

Uganda’s Ik are not Unbelievably Selfish and Mean

The Ik, a small ethnic group in Uganda, are not incredibly selfish and mean as portrayed in a 1972 book by a prominent anthropologist, according to a Rutgers-led study. Instead, the Ik are quite cooperative and generous with one another, and their culture features many traits that encourage generosity.

APS Backgrounder Series: Psychology and COVID-19

Through an ongoing series of backgrounders, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) is exploring many of the psychological factors that can help the public understand and collectively combat the spread of COVID-19. Each backgrounder features the assessments, research, and recommendations of a renowned subject expert in the field of psychological science.

Calculated Surprise Leads to Groundbreaking Discovery in Cognitive Control Research

To better understand how motivational control processes help maximize performance when faced with task challenges, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and provide fascinating insights into the role of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) as a component network of brain regions that support motivated behavior. They have unified conflicting findings by discovering that the single mechanism of surprise best accounts for activity in dACC during a task requiring motivated control.

In Some Children with Autism, “Social” and “Visual” Neural Circuits Don’t Quite Connect

Researchers combined eye gaze research with brain scans to discover that in a common subtype of autism, in which ASD toddlers prefer images of geometric shapes over those of children playing, brain areas responsible for vision and attention are not controlled by social brain networks, and so social stimuli are ignored.