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Psychology Around the Net: June 24, 2017

I conquered a fear last weekend, y’all. I went whitewater rafting for the first time. It wasn’t a phobia, but the days — and especially hours — leading up to it…well, I was terrified. What if I fall out of the raft? Crack my skull? Get sucked into one of those underwater cave things under some rocks?

Fortunately, none of those things happened, and I’m chalking it up to two factors: One, I gave in and trusted my friends (and especially our guide), and two, I gave in and trusted myself. We couldn’t control the whitewater, but we could control ourselves, and we did.

Fear and trust make for interesting bedfellows, don’t they?

Let’s get to this week’s Psychology Around the Net! Get ready for the latest on enhancing creativity with music improvisation, the unlikelihood of changing your personality once you hit age 30, how horse therapy is helping PTSD patients, and more.

New Approach to Teaching Music Improvisation Enhances Creativity: June 21 was World Music Day; perfect timing, considering Dr. Michele Biasutti’s (of the University of Padua in Italy) examination on how helping develop processes for music also can help enhance creativity.

A Psychologist Who’s Studied Couples for Decades Says This Is the Best Way to Argue With Your Partner: Need to duke it out (figuratively, of course)? After 14 years of researching nearly 100 married couples (roughly 20 of which divorced along the way), Robert Levenson (University of California, Berkeley) and John Gottman (University of Washington) say there are two rules to arguing that couples who stay together follow: address the disagreement quickly and approach it with an open mind. Seem easier said than done? That’s why they’ve added some tips on how to succeed.

Is It Possible to Change Your Personality Past the Age of 30? Back in 1890, Harvard psychologist William James first introduced the idea that our personalities are pretty much set in stone by the time we turn 30; “set in plaster, and will never soften again,” he wrote in The Principles of Psychology. Over a century later, some psychologists say there is some truth to this idea.

Horses Helping Veterans With PTSD: It’s no secret that Equine Therapy (also referred to as Horse Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy) has a few naysayers in the psychology community; however, that isn’t stopping a team of researchers from Columbia University from studying the effects spending time with horses has on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. (TEASER: Horses and people with PTSD have a lot more in common than you might think.)

What the Psychology of Jury Deliberation Means for Trial Outcomes: Some jurors have specific ways of interpreting reasonable doubt. There are “storytellers” who create a narrative and often ignore evidence that doesn’t fit in with their narrative; generally, storytellers are the most certain about their decisions. Then there are “scientists” who look solely at the evidence and weigh the quality and logic; however, they tend to be less certain. Deanna Kuhn, a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and who has published research about juror decision-making, reminds us that jurors don’t fall easily into one of the two camps and can actually influence each other.

Which Bad Habit Sabotages Your Diet Most: Big Stress or No Sleep? We all know stress is a huge enemy when it comes to your diet (specifically, eating healthy foods with portion control); but now, during two studies of more than 200 workers in China, researchers found lack of sleep actually causes more harm to your diet than stressing out. The results are published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Psychology Around the Net: June 24, 2017

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. (2018). Psychology Around the Net: June 24, 2017. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 24 Jun 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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