Thinking, Language, and Intelligence

Failing to Learn from Experience about Catastrophes

How do people make decisions about protecting themselves from low-probability, high-consequence events like earthquakes and hurricanes? According to Meyer (2012), anecdotal evidence suggests that we have a short memory for the results of such disasters. For example, although the purchase of flood insurance policies increased dramatically immediately following Hurricane Katrina, the rate quickly dropped to [...]

The Effect of Jury Deliberation on Juvenile Offender Stereotypes

Although jurors are instructed to focus on the evidence presented and to remain open-minded, pre-existing stereotypes may influence jurors’ attention, encoding and recall of evidence, and ultimately their judgments about the case. Haegerich and colleagues (2012) investigated the impact of pre-existing and experimentally activated juvenile offender stereotypes on the decisions of mock jurors who heard [...]

The Denial of Mind to Animals Used for Human Consumption

Bastian and colleagues (2012) identified a form of cognitive dissonance they termed the “meat paradox” in which people’s concern for animal welfare conflicts with their meat-eating behavior. They proposed that individuals reconcile this conflict by mentally separating meat from animals and by denying that animals possess the mental qualities (such as the capacity for fear [...]

Stereotype Threat in Criminal Investigations

Research on racial disparities in law enforcement indicates that African Americans are disproportionately targeted as suspects, interrogated, and wrongfully convicted. Evidence also suggests that people of color are more likely than Whites to have falsely confessed to crimes. Najdowski (2011) reviewed literature related to the potential role of stereotype threat in these false confessions. In [...]

Participation in a School-Based HPV Vaccination Program

Research on decisions about HPV vaccination has focused primarily on attitudes as opposed to behavior. These studies have found more favorable attitudes among parents with older adolescents, greater knowledge about or experience with HPV, greater perceptions of risk, and exposure to the positive recommendations of authority figures. On the other hand, parents who perceive their [...]

Why Low-Income Children Miss Opportunities to Participate in Activities Outside of School

Children in low-income families may have few opportunities to participate in activities that provide the developmental enrichment central to children’s social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. Previous research identified numerous benefits of participation in these activities (such as sports, music lessons, and community clubs), including higher levels of academic achievement and lower levels of substance abuse.  [...]

College Student Language Brokers

“Language broker” is the term used to describe children from immigrant families who are placed in the role of translating written and spoken communication for their parents.  The literature on language brokers has been inconsistent in terms of the effects on identity and well-being.  Weisskirch, Kim, Zamboanga, Schwartz, Bersamin, and Umaña-Taylor (2011) suggested that language [...]

What “No Child Left Behind” Leaves Behind

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 requires each state in the United States to administer an achievement test every year in order to receive funding for K-12 public schools.  These tests are the primary means of determining whether a school has improved student performance and are intended to be an objective measure which [...]

“Global Warming” vs. “Climate Change”

Does the public react to the terms “global warming” and “climate change” differently? Political strategists have suggested that “climate change” is perceived as less threatening than “global warming.” In a survey of Americans and Europeans from 25 European Union countries, Villar and Krosnick (2011) asked participants to rate the seriousness of either “global warming” or [...]

Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming

Li, Johnson, and Zaval (2011) examined the process of attribute substitution — a tendency to replace a more complex, less easily accessed judgment with a simple, more accessible one. In assessing this tendency, the researchers studied the relationship between the current day’s temperature (a simple judgment) and the participant’s beliefs about global warming (a complex [...]