As I’ve written about before, people give gifts for a range of reasons – sometimes simply to do something nice, sometimes because they want to influence others. A new study from researchers in Italy sheds light on another function gifts can serve: increasing teamwork and cooperative performance. In the study, 32 pairs of close friends…

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In my last post, I talked about how children in neighborhoods with faster internet apparently evaluate their lives more negatively. That study is one of several that has explored a possible link between internet use and mental health risk. One thing to keep in mind when we talk about “internet use,” however, is that there…

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Who wouldn’t want a faster internet connection? Kids who want to feel good about their lives, maybe. A new analysis of data from 6,300 children carried about by researchers at University of Sheffield has come up with the finding that in neighborhoods with faster broadband speed, children and teenagers report feeling worse about their lives.…

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Everyone can lie, but not everyone can lie well. In fact, some research suggests that the demeanor of a liar is the most important factor in whether lies are detected, possibly more important than the deception detection abilities of the person being lied to. To learn more about the people who lie most effectively, a…

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If your parents told you to always say your thank yous when you were growing up, chances are they understood on some intuitive level that these two simple words carry a lot of power. Now there’s some science to back that idea up. A study published in Journal of General Psychology asked 136 participants to…

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Given the choice, most of us would probably rather retire with a broad social network and a deep bank account. Of course, the choice isn’t entirely up to us, since there are a lot of complicated factors that influence how strong the social connections we develop are and how much money we’re able to save…

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Although people with high levels of social anxiety don’t necessarily leave as bad an impression as they think, there is some evidence that those without social anxiety receive more favorable assessments overall when meeting new people. As the authors of a recent study point out, this is the irony of social anxiety: being afraid of…

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It seems obvious that having fulfilling social interactions with other people makes a difference in how happy we are. Less obvious is what makes for fulfilling social interactions, and how that varies from one person to the next. When psychologists study people’s social interactions and relationships, there’s always a question of whether quantity or quality…

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Last week, I wrote about the health and mental health benefits of volunteering. Today brings us another study on the theme of helping others being a good way to help yourself. If all this talk about the benefits of helping others is starting to sound a little preachy, don’t blame the messenger! It just happens…

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When a person has more of something, there’s always the risk that they’ll decide the reason they have more is because they deserve more. That’s the most self-serving interpretation, but then again, people are pretty good at coming up with self-serving interpretations. But does belonging to a higher social class necessarily mean having a greater…

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