Imagine That: How You Envision Others Says a Lot About You in Real Life

Newswise — Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.

Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.

The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author.

Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.

“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.”

The study consisted of hundreds of working adults in a range of fields, Harms said. It specifically targeted their “psychological capital,” a cluster of personality characteristics associated with the ability to overcome obstacles and the tendency to actively pursue one’s goals.

After asking participants to conjure up imaginary workers in a series of hypothetical situations, they were then asked to make ratings of the individuals they imagined on a wide range of characteristics.

Those who envisioned workers as engaging in proactive behaviors or readily rebounding from failures were actually happier and more productive in their real-life work, the researchers found.

Researchers have long acknowledged the benefits of having a positive mindset, but getting an accurate assessment has always been difficult because people are typically unwilling or unable to make accurate self-appraisals, Harms said.

Through the use of projective storytelling, the UNL researchers were able to predict real-life work outcomes above and beyond other established measures.

“We’ve known that workplace relations are a self-fulfilling prophecy for some time,” Harms said. “If a manager believes that their workers are lazy and incompetent, they will elicit those patterns in their employees.

“It’s hard to be motivated and enthusiastic for someone you know doesn’t think of you very highly. But most people don’t want to disappoint someone who sincerely believes in them.”

The study, which will appear in a forthcoming edition of theJournal of Organizational Behavior, was co-authored by Fred Luthans, the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Management at UNL.

Released: 1/18/2012

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/imagine-that-how-you-envision-others-says-a-lot-about-you-in-real-life

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We May Be Less Happy, but Our English Language Isn’t

Newswise — “If it bleeds, it leads,” goes the cynical saying with television and newspaper editors. In other words, most news is bad news and the worst news gets the big story on the front page.

So one might expect the New York Times to contain, on average, more negative and unhappy types of words — like “war,” ” funeral,” “cancer,” “murder” — than positive, happy ones — like “love,” “peace” and “hero.”

Or take Twitter. A popular image of what people tweet about may contain a lot of complaints about bad days, worse coffee, busted relationships and lousy sitcoms. Again, it might be reasonable to guess that a giant bag containing all the words from the world’s tweets — on average — would be more negative and unhappy than positive and happy.

But new research shows just the opposite.

“English, it turns out, is strongly biased toward being positive,” said Peter Dodds, an applied mathematician at the University of Vermont.

The UVM team’s study “Positivity of the English Language,” is presented in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

This new study complements another study the same Vermont scientists presented in the Dec. 7 issue of PLoS ONE, “Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network.”

That work attracted wide media attention showing that average global happiness, based on Twitter data, has been dropping for the past two years.

Combined, the two studies show that short-term average happiness has dropped — against the backdrop of the long-term fundamental positivity of the English language.

In the new study, Dodds and his colleagues gathered billions of words from four sources: twenty years of the New York Times, the Google Books Project (with millions of titles going back to 1520), Twitter and a half-century of music lyrics.

“The big surprise is that in each of these four sources it’s the same,” says Dodds. “We looked at the top 5,000 words in each, in terms of frequency, and in all of those words you see a preponderance of happier words.”

Or, as they write in their study, “a positivity bias is universal,” both for very common words and less common ones and across sources as diverse as tweets, lyrics and British literature.

Why is this? “It’s not to say that everything is fine and happy,” Dodds says. “It’s just that language is social.”

In contrast to traditional economic theory, which suggests people are inherently and rationally selfish, a wave of new social science and neuroscience data shows something quite different: that we are a pro-social storytelling species. As language emerged and evolved over the last million years, positive words, it seems, have been more widely and deeply engrained into our communications than negative ones.

“If you want to remain in a social contract with other people, you can’t be a…,” well, Dodds here used a word that is rather too negative to be fit to print — which makes the point.

This new work adds depth to the Twitter study that the Vermont scientists published in December that attracted attention from NPR, Time magazine and other media outlets.

“After that mild downer story, we can say, ‘But wait — there’s still happiness in the bank,” Dodds notes. “On average, there’s always a net happiness to language.”

Both studies drew on a service from Amazon called Mechanical Turk. On this website, the UVM researchers paid a group of volunteers to rate, from one to nine, their sense of the “happiness” — the emotional temperature — of the 10,222 most common words gathered from the four sources. Averaging their scores, the volunteers rated, for example, “laughter” at 8.50, “food” 7.44, “truck” 5.48, “greed” 3.06 and “terrorist” 1.30.

The Vermont team — including Dodds, Isabel Kloumann, Chris Danforth, Kameron Harris, and Catherine Bliss — then took these scores and applied them to the huge pools of words they collected. Unlike some other studies — with smaller samples or that elicited strong emotional words from volunteers — the new UVM study, based solely on frequency of use, found that “positive words strongly outnumber negative words overall.”

This seems to lend support to the so-called Pollyanna Principle, put forth in 1969, that argues for a universal human tendency to use positive words more often, easily and in more ways than negative words.

Of course, most people would rank some words, like “the,” with the same score: a neutral 5. Other words, like “pregnancy,” have a wide spread, with some people ranking it high and others low. At the top of this list of words that elicited strongly divergent feelings: “profanities, alcohol and tobacco, religion, both capitalism and socialism, sex, marriage, fast foods, climate, and cultural phenomena such as the Beatles, the iPhone, and zombies,” the researchers write.

“A lot of these words — the neutral words or ones that have big standard deviations — get washed out when we use them as a measure,” Dodds notes. Instead, the trends he and his team have observed are driven by the bulk of English words tending to be happy.

If we think of words as atoms and sentences as molecules that combine to form a whole text, “we’re looking at atoms,” says Dodds. “A lot of news is bad,” he says, and short-term happiness may rise and and fall like the cycles of the economy, “but the atoms of the story — of language — are, overall, on the positive side.”

Released: 1/12/2012

Source: University of Vermont

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/we-may-be-less-happy-but-our-language-isn-t

Looking For Love: Drexel Researchers Put Online Dating to the Test

Today, one-in-five Americans finds his or her spouse via online dating websites, but according to Drexel researchers, marriage isn’t the only measure of success among people looking for love in cyberspace.

Rachel Magee and Christopher Mascaro, both second-year Ph.D students in The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology, and their advisor Dr. Sean P. Goggins, completed a study that takes a closer look at the success stories of online daters. Their results point toward a more accurate interpretation of why people decide to use online dating technology, why they choose a specific site and what they consider a successful online dating experience.

“We each had used online dating sites, and were both fascinated with how and why people use these services,” Magee said “We started to look at the research out there, and realized that what was missing was research into what constitutes successful online dating experiences. This is an extremely important part of most people’s lives, and we wanted to look at the big picture.”

The Drexel study, entitled “Not Just a Wink and a Smile: An Analysis of User-Defined Success in Online Dating,” examined data gathered during a two-week sample period in the spring of 2011 from success stories listed on the dating sites Match.com, eHarmony and OkCupid. The researchers looked at a random sampling of 20 percent of the success stories from each site.

Their findings concluded that a vast majority, 84 percent, of users who reported “successful” experiences on eHarmony where referring to marriage. By contrast, 46.7 percent of the reported success stories from Match.com were marriage stories and only 23 percent of the success stories on OkCupid were about marriage.

“What we found in our research confirmed some of our experiences and anecdotal evidence, that certain dating sites fostered certain cultures and the range of success stories indicated as much,” Mascaro said. “Our findings also indicate that even with the proliferation of technologically and mediated social networking sites, real world social networks still play a significant role in technological adoption and mate selection.”

Each of the sites broke down their results into three categories of success: dating, engaged and married. An analysis of the data revealed that most users who had a successful experience on OkCupid, considered dating to be successful with slightly fewer stories of engagement and the fewest stories in the category of marriage.
The frequency of stories for both eHarmony and Match.com increased in each category from dating to marriage.

The researchers also examined geographic distribution of the people who logged on to write about their online dating success stories. Success stories followed population trends across the country. The region with the most respondents was the South Atlantic, while California boasted the most success stories as a state and Houston, Chicago and New York, respectively, were the top cities in generating online dating stories. The stories and locations of successful online daters indicate that in-person social networks may influence why individuals select online dating sites.

“Geography might not play a big role in dating site selection, but the people you know, especially if they are successful at online dating, might influence site adoption,” Magee said. “This has implications for the design of online dating sites, and for people using these sites or interested in participating in online dating. There are so many sites out there, and many different success stories.”

Via Newswise

Released: 1/5/2012

Source: Drexel University

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/looking-for-love-drexel-researchers-put-online-dating-to-the-test

New Findings…Elderly Can Be As Fast as Young in Some Brain Tasks

Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – Both children and the elderly have slower response times when they have to make quick decisions in some settings.

But recent research suggests that much of that slower response is a conscious choice to emphasize accuracy over speed.

In fact, healthy older people can be trained to respond faster in some decision-making tasks without hurting their accuracy – meaning their cognitive skills in this area aren’t so different from younger adults.

“Many people think that it is just natural for older people’s brains to slow down as they age, but we’re finding that isn’t always true,” said Roger Ratcliff, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the studies.

“At least in some situations, 70-year-olds may have response times similar to those of 25-year olds.”

Ratcliff and his colleagues have been studying cognitive processes and aging in their lab for about a decade. In a new study published online this month in the journal Child Development, they extended their work to children.

Ratcliff said their results in children are what most scientists would have expected: very young children have slower response times and poorer accuracy compared to adults, and these improve as the children mature.

But the more interesting finding is that older adults don’t necessarily have slower brain processing than younger people, said Gail McKoon, professor of psychology at Ohio State and co-author of the studies.

“Older people don’t want to make any errors at all, and that causes them to slow down. We found that it is difficult to get them out of the habit, but they can with practice,” McKoon said.

Researchers uncovered this surprising finding by using a model developed by Ratcliff that considers both the reaction time and the accuracy shown by participants in speeded tasks. Most models only consider one of these variables.

“If you look at aging research, you find some studies that show older people are not impaired in accuracy, but other studies that show that older people do suffer when it comes to speed. What this model does is look at both together to reconcile the results,” Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff, McKoon and their colleagues have used several of the same experiments in children, young adults and the elderly.

In one experiment, participants are seated in front of a computer screen. Asterisks appear on the screen and the participants have to decide as quickly as possible whether there is a “small” number (31-50) or a “large” number (51-70) of asterisks. They press one of two keys on the keyboard, depending on their answer.

In another experiment, participants are again seated in front of a computer screen and are shown a string of letters. They have to decide whether those letters are a word in English or not. Some strings are easy (the nonwords are a random string of letters) and some are hard (the nonwords are pronounceable, such as “nerse”).

In the Child Development study, the researchers used the asterisk test on second and third graders, fourth and fifth graders, ninth and tenth graders, and college-aged adults. Third graders and college-aged adults participated in the word/nonword test.

The results showed that there was a rise in accuracy and decrease in response time on both tasks from the second and third-graders to the college-age adults.

The younger children took longer than older children and adults to respond in the experiment, Ratcliff said. They, like the elderly, were taking longer to make up their mind. But the younger children were also less accurate than younger adults in this study.

“Younger children are not able to make as good of use of the information they are presented, so they are less accurate,” Ratcliff said. “That improves as they mature.”

Older adults show a different pattern. In a study published in the journal Cognitive Psychology, Ratcliff and colleagues compared college-age subjects, older adults aged 60-74, and older adults aged 75-90. They used the same asterisk and word/nonword tests that were in the Child Development study. They found that there was little difference in accuracy among the groups, even the oldest of participants.

However, the college students had faster response times than did the 60-74 year olds, who were faster than the 75-90 year olds.

But the slower response times are not all the result of a decline in skills among older adults. In a previous study, the researchers encouraged older adults to go faster on these same tests. When they did, the difference in their response times compared to college-age students decreased significantly.

“For these simple tasks, decision-making speed and accuracy is intact even up to 85 and 90 years old,” McKoon said.

That doesn’t mean there are no effects of aging on decision-making speed and accuracy, Ratcliff said. In a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Ratcliff, McKoon and another colleague found (like in studies from other laboratories) that accuracy for “associative memory” does decline as people age. For example, older people were much less likely to remember if they had studied a pair of words together than did younger adults.

But Ratcliff said that, overall, their research suggests there should be greater optimism about the cognitive skills of seniors.

“The older view was that all cognitive processes decline at the same rate as people age,” Ratcliff said.

“We’re finding that there isn’t such a uniform decline. There are some things that older people do nearly as well as young people.”

Ratcliff co-authored the Child Development paper with Jessica Love and John Opfer of Ohio State and Clarissa Thompson of the University of Oklahoma. Ratcliff and McKoon co-authored the Cognitive Psychology and Journal of Experimental Psychology: General papers with Anjali Thapar of Bryn Mawr College.

Some of the research was supported with grants from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Released: 12/26/2011

Source: Ohio State University

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/elderly-can-be-as-fast-as-young-in-some-brain-tasks

Time for a Change? Johns Hopkins Scholars Say Calendar Needs Serious Overhaul

Newswise — Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have discovered a way to make time stand still — at least when it comes to the yearly calendar.

Using computer programs and mathematical formulas, Richard Conn Henry, an astrophysicist in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and Steve H. Hanke, an applied economist in the Whiting School of Engineering, have created a new calendar in which each new 12-month period is identical to the one which came before, and remains that way from one year to the next in perpetuity.

Under the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, for instance, if Christmas fell on a Sunday in 2012 (and it would), it would also fall on a Sunday in 2013, 2014 and beyond. In addition, under the new calendar, the rhyme “30 days hath September, April, June and November,” would no longer apply, because September would have 31 days, as would March, June and December. All the rest would have 30. (Try creating a rhyme using that.)

“Our plan offers a stable calendar that is absolutely identical from year to year and which allows the permanent, rational planning of annual activities, from school to work holidays,” says Henry, who is also director of the Maryland Space Grant Consortium. “Think about how much time and effort are expended each year in redesigning the calendar of every single organization in the world and it becomes obvious that our calendar would make life much simpler and would have noteworthy benefits.”

Among the practical advantages would be the convenience afforded by birthdays and holidays (as well as work holidays) falling on the same day of the week every year. But the economic benefits are even more profound, according to Hanke, an expert in international economics, including monetary policy.

“Our calendar would simplify financial calculations and eliminate what we call the ‘rip off’ factor,’” explains Hanke. “Determining how much interest accrues on mortgages, bonds, forward rate agreements, swaps and others, day counts are required. Our current calendar is full of anomalies that have led to the establishment of a wide range of conventions that attempt to simplify interest calculations. Our proposed permanent calendar has a predictable 91-day quarterly pattern of two months of 30 days and a third month of 31 days, which does away with the need for artificial day count conventions.”

According to Hanke and Henry, their calendar is an improvement on the dozens of rival reform calendars proffered by individuals and institutions over the last century.

“Attempts at reform have failed in the past because all of the major ones have involved breaking the seven-day cycle of the week, which is not acceptable to many people because it violates the Fourth Commandment about keeping the Sabbath Day,” Henry explains. “Our version never breaks that cycle.”

Henry posits that his team’s version is far more convenient, sensible and easier to use than the current Gregorian calendar, which has been in place for four centuries – ever since 1582, when Pope Gregory altered a calendar that was instituted in 46 BC by Julius Caesar.

In an effort to bring Caesar’s calendar in synch with the seasons, the pope’s team removed 11 days from the calendar in October, so that Oct. 4 was followed immediately by Oct. 15. This adjustment was necessary in order to deal with the same knotty problem that makes designing an effective and practical new calendar such a challenge: the fact that each Earth year is 365.2422 days long.

Hanke and Henry deal with those extra “pieces” of days by dropping leap years entirely in favor of an extra week added at the end of December every five or six years. This brings the calendar in sync with the seasonal changes as the Earth circles the sun.

In addition to advocating the adoption of this new calendar, Hanke and Henry encourage the abolition of world time zones and the adoption of “Universal Time” (formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time) in order to synchronize dates and times worldwide, streamlining international business.

“One time throughout the world, one date throughout the world,” they write in a January 2012 Global Asia article about their proposals. “Business meetings, sports schedules and school calendars would be identical every year. Today’s cacophony of time zones, daylight savings times and calendar fluctuations, year after year, would be over. The economy — that’s all of us — would receive a permanent ‘harmonization’ dividend.”

View a website about the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar here:
http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/calendar.html

Read Hanke and Henry’s January 2012 Global Asia article about calendar reform here:
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=13940

Released: Released: 12/27/2011

Source: Johns Hopkins

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/time-for-a-change-johns-hopkins-scholars-say-calendar-needs-serious-overhaul

Health News….Breakthrough in Treatment to Prevent Blindness

Photo Credit: UCSF, Bruce Gaynor, MD, performs an ocular examination on a patient in Ethiopia, where there is a high prevalence of trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness.

Newswise — A UCSF study shows a popular treatment for a potentially blinding eye infection is just as effective if given every six months versus annually. This randomized study on trachoma, the leading cause of infection-caused blindness in the world, could potentially treat twice the number of patients using the same amount of medication.

“The idea is we can do more with less,” said Bruce Gaynor, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology. “We are trying to get as much out of the medicine as we can because of the cost and the repercussions of mass treatments.”

In a paper published this month in The Lancet(http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2961515-8/fulltext), researchers conducted a cluster-randomized trial, using an antibiotic called azithromycin to treat trachoma in Ethiopia, which has among the highest prevalence in the world. They picked 24 communities and randomized the two treatment options: 12 villages were given azithromycin every six months and the other 12 were treated every 12 months.

“What we found was the prevalence of trachoma is very high at baseline. Forty to 50 percent of the children in these communities have this condition,” Gaynor said. “They are the most susceptible and it can quickly spread from person to person by direct or even indirect contact.”

Researchers tracked both groups and found the prevalence of infection decreased dramatically.

“We found that from as high as 40 percent, the prevalence of trachoma went way down, even eliminated in some villages regardless of whether it was treated in an annual way or a biannual way,” Gaynor said. “You can genuinely get same with less.”

Their finding is significant because of how easily the disease spreads. Trachoma can be transmitted through touching one’s eyes or nose after being in close contact with someone who is infected. It can also be spread through a towel or an article of clothing from a person who has trachoma. Even flies can transmit the disease.

Approximately 41 million people are infected with trachoma globally, and 8 million go blind because of lack of access to treatment. More than 150 million doses of azithromycin have been given out worldwide to treat this disease. Unlike other antibiotics, resistance to azithromycin has not been found in Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria that causes trachoma.

This and the paper’s major finding give hope to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Latin America and Australia, where trachoma is still a major problem.

“We will now be able to reach more people and make the treatment go twice as far as before,” Gaynor said. “This will make a huge impact in slowing down trachoma-related blindness globally.”

Gaynor is the corresponding author of the paper; the lead author is Teshome Gebre, PhD, of the Carter Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Atlanta, GA; co-authors are Berhan Ayele, MSc, and Mulat Zerihun, MPH, and Paul M. Emerson, PhD, of the Carter Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Atlanta, GA; Asrat Genet, MD, of Amhara Regional Health Bureau, Ethiopia; Thomas Lietman, MD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation, UCSF Dept. of Ophthalmology, UCSF Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and UCSF Institute for Global Health; Travis C. Porco, PhD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation, UCSF Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and UCSF Institute for Global Health; Nicole E. Stoller, MPH, Zhaoxia Zhou, BA, Jenafir I. House, MPH, Sun N. Yu, MPH, and Kathryn J. Ray, MS, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation; Jeremy D. Keenan, MD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation and UCSF Department of Ophthalmology.

The study was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/breakthrough-in-treatment-to-prevent-blindness

One Trait Has Huge Impact on Whether Alcohol Makes You Aggressive

Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio — Drinking enough alcohol to become intoxicated increases aggression significantly in people who lack one particular personality trait, according to new research.

But people with that trait don’t get any more aggressive when drunk than they would when they’re sober.

That trait is the ability to consider the future consequences of current actions.

“People who focus on the here and now, without thinking about the impact on the future, are more aggressive than others when they are sober, but the effect is magnified greatly when they’re drunk,” said Brad Bushman, lead author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“If you carefully consider the consequences of your actions, it is unlikely getting drunk is going to make you any more aggressive than you usually are.”

Peter Giancola, professor of psychology, at the University of Kentucky, co-authored the paper with Bushman and led the experiments used in the study. Other co-authors were Dominic Parrott, associate professor of psychology at of Georgia State University and Robert Roth, associate professor of psychiatry, at Dartmouth Medical School. Their results appear online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and will be published in a future print edition.

Bushman said it makes sense that alcohol would make present-focused people more aggressive.

“Alcohol has a myopic effect — it narrows your attention to what is important to you right now. That may be dangerous to someone who already has that tendency to ignore the future consequences of their actions and who is placed in a hostile situation.”

The study involved 495 adults, with an average age of 23, who were social drinkers. Before participating, the participants were screened for any past or present drug, alcohol and psychiatric-related problems. Women were tested to ensure they weren’t pregnant.

All participants completed the “Consideration of Future Consequences scale.” They indicated how much they agreed with statements like “I only act to satisfy immediate concerns, figuring the future will take care of itself.” Scores on this measure determined how much participants were present-focused or future-focused.

Half the participants were put in the alcohol group, where they received alcohol mixed with orange juice at a 1:5 ratio. The other half were given orange juice with just a tiny bit of alcohol. The rims of the glasses were also sprayed with alcohol so that they thought they were consuming a full alcoholic beverage.

Participants in the alcohol group had a mean blood alcohol level of 0.095 just before aggression was measured and 0.105 following, meaning they were legally drunk and that their alcohol levels were rising during the measurement of their aggressive behavior.

Those in the placebo group had mean blood alcohol levels that didn’t exceed 0.015, meaning they had very little alcohol in their systems and were well below standards of intoxication.

The aggression measure used in this study was developed in 1967 to test aggressiveness through the use of harmless but somewhat painful electric shocks. The researchers measured the participants’ threshold to the electric shock pain before the experiment began to ensure that no one received a shock that exceeded what they could take.

Each of the participants was told that he or she was competing with a same-sex opponent in a computer-based speed reaction test, with the winner delivering an electrical shock to the loser. The winner determined the intensity and the length of the shock delivered to the loser.

In actuality, there was no opponent. There were 34 trials, and the participant “won” half of them (randomly determined). Each time they “lost,” the participants received electric shocks that increased in length and intensity over the course of the trials, and the researchers measured if they retaliated in kind.

“The participants were led to believe they were dealing with a real jerk who got more and more nasty as the experiment continued,” Bushman said. “We tried to mimic what happens in real life, in that the aggression escalated as time went on.”

Results were clear, Bushman said.

“The less people thought about the future, the more likely they were to retaliate, but especially when they were drunk. People who were present-focused and drunk shocked their opponents longer and harder than anyone else in the study,” he said.

“Alcohol didn’t have much effect on the aggressiveness of people who were future-focused.”

Men were more aggressive than women overall, but the effects of alcohol and personality were similar in both sexes. In other words, women who were present-focused were still much more aggressive when drunk than were women who were future-focused, just like men.

Bushman said the results should serve as a warning to people who live only in the moment without thinking too much about the future.

“If you’re that kind of person, you really should watch your drinking. Combining alcohol with a focus on the present can be a recipe for disaster.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and from the National Center for Research Resources.

Released: 12/19/2011

Source: Ohio State University

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/one-trait-has-huge-impact-on-whether-alcohol-makes-you-aggressive

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