Children raised in areas with more atmospheric lead pollution grew up to have less adaptive and less mature personalities, according to a study I led of over 1.5 million people across the U.S. and Europe. As adults, they were less conscientious, less agreeable and, in some cases, more neurotic. Researchers have known for many years […]
Department of Psychology
2021 Spring and Summer titles from our college community.
March marked the one-year anniversary of the WHO declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, and to say that it’s been a rough year would be an understatement. Whether we’ve lost loved ones, jobs, or simply the ability to distinguish between Sundays and Mondays, everyone is struggling under the weight of a constantly shifting “new normal.” As […]
COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of daily life, including rituals both sacred and mundane. At the same time, the pandemic has opened a unique opportunity globally to adapt rituals to meet new needs and respond to new challenges. Rituals are social conventions that range from religious ceremonies like baptisms and bat mitzvahs to simple greetings […]
When doubts about a relationship start to creep in, people don’t just blurt them out. They might not want to worry their partner and figure they’ll ride out what could just be a rough patch. They probably think they can hide their feelings pretty easily. But it turns out, hidden signs of their turmoil appear […]
A Q&A with Anna Cash, a psychology senior from Austin who is passionate about law and justice.
Before his research helped discover the healing powers of writing and the Secret Life of Pronouns, Jamie Pennebaker’s curiosity killed the crab.
Randy and Mary Diehl, 2020 Pro Bene Meritis award recipients, share a dedication for championing education and a joy for lifelong learning.
Children’s lives revolve around social interactions that help them figure out what it means to be a member of their family and community. But recent shelter-in-place efforts have limited many of these routine yet vital experiences — especially because young kids can’t video call or text their friends as freely as others. “Social interaction is […]
The world’s new reality amid the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to confront issues and critically think about how to revive communities slowly, safely and sustainably.
In Bring Your Brain to Work, Art Markman shares what you need to know to succeed at work. He highlights research from cognitive science that supports strategies to help readers get a job, to succeed at that job once they get it, and to best enhance their career by getting the next job. You’ve probably heard […]
It might not seem like it when you’ve forgotten your email password for the third time in as many days, but your brain is capable of amazing things. It can instantly process the intricate sensory inputs needed to understand the world while simultaneously conducting motor neurons to navigate these landscapes. It can read complex emotions […]
If Paul McCartney would have written “Yesterday” based on the first words that came to his mind, the song would sound like a concupiscent teen singing about breakfast: Scrambled eggs, oh, my baby, how I love your legs… The melody of the song, which has been broadcasted on American radio more than 7 million times […]
Though an avid cyclist, Gloria Hwang was never a fan of helmets, referring to them as “sci-fi” nuisances. But after losing a friend through a cycling accident, her perspective changed. Hwang, a psychology alumna, says her mission in founding and launching Thousand, a new brand of cycling helmets, was to save lives, noting that there are […]
I’ll have to admit that I was a bit perplexed when I heard linguistic anthropologist Elizabeth Keating say, “There is a very strong preference for agreement in conversation in the U.S.” I couldn’t believe my ears — even the Pew Research Center pegged political polarization as the defining feature of modern U.S. politics. And it’s […]
The doors of the Dell Medical School have opened for its first class of future doctors, and they are on a mission to get the training they need to make a difference in the lives of future patients, their communities and even medicine itself. Of the 50 members in the school’s inaugural class, three graduated […]
During this school year in Texas we’re likely to see between 15 and 20 percent of teens with obesity and more than 15,000 cases of preventable forms of youth diabetes. We can do better, and it starts with the messaging teens receive. School administrators and parents currently try to explain to teens how their food […]
After months of being bombarded by pollsters, campaign ads and the most outlandish sound bites on repeat, the moment will come for you to finally cast your ballot. Whom will you choose? “The presidency is the one office that represents the American people: all their wishes, dreams, desires, hopes, fears and everything else,” says history […]
Editor’s note: As the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death approaches, five UT Austin scholars share how they celebrate his work and his ultimate staying power. In 10 years, people won’t care about Kim Kardashian’s face-contouring regimen or that she had 35 million Twitter followers. But William Shakespeare? Four centuries after his death he’s still […]
Scientists have already established that resting the mind, as in daydreaming, helps strengthen memories of events and retention of information, but in a new twist, UT Austin researchers have found that the right kind of mental rest and reflection can actually help boost future learning. How our brains capture and store new information is heavily […]
For the estimated 350 million people worldwide who suffer from depression, the health consequences go far beyond “feeling down.” In fact, it is a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with symptoms of depression will never receive treatment, and for those diagnosed with major […]
The smallest, most forgettable words in admissions essays — such as the, a, to, I and they — can tell us in advance how students will perform in college, according to a new study at UT Austin that included computerized text analysis of 50,000 admissions essays written by prospective college students. How a student uses small words, the study revealed, is related […]
For many, the recent trial of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has relit the inevitable question: “How could they?” One answer lies within something called familial ties, and they’re more powerful and prevalent than most people realize. Although the trial and sentencing may bring some closure, we should also not forget the overwhelmingly spontaneous humanity […]
When it comes to cellphones, we are no better than trained rats in a box. Just the other day, I was stuck behind a driver playing with a cellphone while driving. I have gotten used to assuming that everyone doing something silly on the road is driving while distracted. In Austin, San Antonio and several […]