social psych snapshot: week of 10/5/15

This week, Hannah provides the research highlights of early fall 2015!

You may already know about the cognitive consequences of Google but this article explores some social consequences of Google and technology more broadly.

Promising lab research suggests that comedy may be an effective means of coping with emotional distress.

New research conceptually replicates an old finding – that taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) can blunt negative emotions – and extends it, suggesting that acetaminophen may blunt strong positive and negative emotions alike.

Hm… I won’t be trying this unusual method of enhancing self-control based on the theory of inhibitory spillover: that trying to control your behavior in one domain might help you control your behavior in another.

Hannah graduated with a degree in Psychology from Reed College, and worked in educational research and meta-analysis as a lab manager at Duke University before entering the Social Psychology PhD program in 2014. Her research focuses on social psychological processes at work in educational contexts.

Psych in Sum: The Google Effect

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Do you ever wonder what the internet is doing to our brains? You’re not alone!

In 2011, Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu and Dan Wegner published an article about the “Google effect,” a phenomena where people neglect to commit information to memory when they know they can easily find it later. Across 4 studies, Sparrow et al found that participants were more likely to remember where they could find information (i.e. the file location on a computer), than the information itself (2011). So the next time you find yourself looking up the address to your favorite bar to tell your Uber driver for the umpteenth time, commit it to memory and best the Google effect!

Sparrow, B., Liu, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2011). Google effects on memory: Cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips. Science, 333(6043), 776-778.