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Science of Mothers and Families, and More

Update Date: May 12, 2012 08:21 PM EDT

New in SPSP journals

New in the journals: From how our attachment with our moms affects our future relationships, to the connection between family size and general intelligence.... and more.

Attachment to mom predicts ability to cope with future loss

How children cope with the loss of a loved one depends on their attachment to their mother and activity within their nervous system, according to a recent study. Adolescents with more attachment anxiety to their mom at age 14 had a harder time adjusting to the loss of a close social partner than adolescents with less attachment anxiety. "Adolescent Attachment Insecurity and Parasympathetic Functioning Predict Future Loss Adjustment," Christopher P. Fagundes ( et al., Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin – in press, June 2012.

Family size, not birth order, matters for intelligence

Whether you are mom's first or third child will not affect your intelligence, but the overall size of your family may, according to a new study. Looking at intelligence data from a British longitudinal study of more than 17,000 people, a new paper has found that, contrary to past research, birth order does not affect general intelligence. Smaller family size, however, is linked to higher intelligence. "Intelligence, Birth Order and Family Size," Satoshi Kanazawa (, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin – in press.

Also in the Journals-

When Enemies Seem Closer

How we view threats to our group identity shapes how we view the world physically, according to a suite of new studies. In one study, New York Yankees fans estimate that Fenway Park – the stadium of a rival group – was closer than did non-Yankees fans. In another study, Americans who perceived Mexican immigrants as a threat estimated that Mexico City was closer. "See your friends close, and your enemies closer: Social identity and identity threat shape the representation of physical distance," Y. Jenny Xiao & Jay J. Van Bavel (, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online April 17, 2012 – forthcoming, July 2012.

Feminine Math and Science Role Models Do Not Motivate Girls

Very feminine women who are good at math and science may actually demotivate girls to pursue those fields, according to a new study that looked at how middle school girls perceive female role models. The researchers say that everyday women will be more likely to get young women interested in math and science. "My Fair Physicist? Feminine Math and Science Role Models Demotivate Young Girls, Diana Betz ( and Denise Sekaquaptew, Social Psychological and Personality Science, online March 27, 2012 – forthcoming in print.

Tracking Happiness Daily

Will you be happier the more you track your happiness? On the whole, no – according to a new study in which young adults reported their happiness via text messaging. Participants who reported their happiness 3 or 6 times a day showed the same patterns of happiness over 13 days as those only reporting once. However, people who had more symptoms of depression had a decrease in happiness levels as they reported more frequently. "Effects of Intensive Mobile Happiness Reporting in Daily Life," Tamlin S. Conner ( and Katie A. Reid, Social Psychological and Personality Science, May 2012.

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology

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