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Psychology Around the Net: July 6, 2019

We hope you’re ready for the dark side of impulse online shopping, how people are meeting mental health needs on Instagram, and why thinking about the multiple roles they play can boost kids’ performances because this week’s Psychology Around the Net has all that and more!

Why People Are Turning to Instagram for Therapy and Mental Health Needs: Psychotherapist Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry says “Insta-therapy isn’t providing adequate care” and that “the advice and quotes are for a short-term kind of issue,” which is true. On the flip side, Lisa A. Olivera, a therapist in the Bay area who launched her Instagram in 2017, points out that while she isn’t providing therapy to her followers, she believes the tools she does provide (resources, support, community) “is maybe just as important as therapy because it is something they can access all the time on their own time and based on whatever they are going through.”

Justifying Regrettable Actions in Self and Others: A Human Tendency? Self-justification is a defense comprised of convincing ourselves that we did the best we could do so we don’t feel badly about ourselves. Suzanne Phillips weighs in on the nitty gritty of why we feel the need to self-justify and what would happen if we stopped.

3 Ways to Avoid Impulse Purchases According to Psychology Experts: Psychologist Erika Martinez says loading up our online shopping carts and hitting that “buy” button gives our brains’ reward centers a hit of dopamine — something we’re most likely to do impulsively when we’re experiencing unsettling and negative emotions. The bad news is, Martinez says that like most habit-forming behaviors, over time you’ll need to buy more and more and more to get the same emotional relief.

Sister, Neighbor, Friend: Thinking About Multiple Roles Boosts Kids’ Performance: New research from Duke University finds that reminding children of the multiple roles they play — such as son or daughter, brother or sister, friend, and neighbor — can lead to better problem-solving skills and more flexible thinking. Says lead author Sarah Gaither, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke: “We have this tendency in our society to only think about ourselves in connection with one important group at a time. When we remind kids that they have various identities, they think beyond our society’s default categories, and remember that there are many other groups in addition to race and gender.”

How Narcissists Pretend to Impress, Manipulate, and Use You: Although it seems contradictory, people with narcissistic tendencies typically have low, unstable self-esteem, causing them to feel insecure and to constantly compare themselves to others. Dive into the emotional and behavioral reactions this psychological mechanism elicits like entitlement, paranoia, projection, superiority complex, and pretending.

How One Museum Is Giving a Voice to Former Mental Health Patients: Since 2015, staffers and help at the Indiana Medical History Museum have been working hard at digging through the medical charts, autopsy reports, admission papers, and even newspaper clippings and city directories to better understand the stories behind the specimens left behind at the former Pathological Department of Central State Hospital — specimens like past patients’ brains. The project is aptly called “Rehumanizing the Specimens” and the goal is, according to the museum’s executive director Sarah Halter, “to give people back a voice that they no longer have.”

Psychology Around the Net: July 6, 2019

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2019). Psychology Around the Net: July 6, 2019. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jul 2019 (Originally: 6 Jul 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 Jul 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.