Time to dive into this week’s Psychology Around the Net, where we’ve got the latest on responding to teen emotional outbursts, whether the bystander effect is real, why being judgmental is harder on you than your target, and more.
How to Respond to Teens’ ‘Emotional Eruptions’: During a panel hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic earlier this week, clinical psychologist and author Lisa Damour explained that the same parents who calmly reassure their toddlers they’re going to be fine after skinning their knees often forget to offer the same reassurance to their teenagers — teens who often feel “completely swamped” and confused by their emotions.
Bystander Effect: Famous Psychology Result Could Be Completely Wrong: The “bystander effect” (sometimes called “bystander apathy”) states that individuals are less likely to try to help a victim when other people are around; the more people who are around, the less likely it is that one of them will try to help. Proposed reasons for the bystander effect include feeling less responsibility when others are around, fear of acting inadequately when being observed, and not seeing the situation as an emergency if no one else is taking action. Now, Richard Philpot at Lancaster University and colleagues question whether the bystander effect is actually real. After reviewing surveillance footage of violent situations in the UK, the Netherlands, and South Africa, they found that at least one person (but usually several people) intervened and tried to help in 90% of the cases. They also found that the likelihood of people intervening increased with the number of bystanders, which contradicts the definition of the bystander effect.
People’s Motivations Bias How They Gather Information: New research reported in PLOS Computational Biology suggests people will stop gathering evidence earlier once the data supports the conclusion they want than when the data supports the conclusion they want to be false.
Can Facebook Improve Your Mental Health? That’s a question that doesn’t often have a positive answer. However, a new study out of Michigan State University finds that regularly using the internet, and social media, could improve mental health among adults, as well as fight off psychological distress like anxiety and depression. Keith Hampton, professor of media and information at Michigan State University, says that an explanation for this surprising result could be that, until now, much of the research on the subject has been on youth and college students — not adults. The effects could be explained by life stages and not technology use.
For the Judgy Among Us: 6 Things That Happen Every Time You Judge Someone: Unless it comes with a black robe and gavel, being judgmental isn’t a good look for anyone — especially when it steals your opportunity to experience joy, keeps you focused on the past, and is basically a coward’s move.
Austerity and Inequality Fueling Mental Illness, Says Top UN Envoy: During an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Dr. Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on Health for the United Nations, states taking measures to address inequality and discrimination would go a much longer way toward combating mental illness than the emphasis on therapy and medication we’ve had over the past 30 years. Says Dr. Pūras: “This would be the best ‘vaccine’ against mental illness and would be much better than the excessive use of psychotropic medication which is happening.” This comes on the eve of the doctor’s report on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.