American Psychological Association, Aug. 3-6
The annual meeting of the American Psychological Association was held from Aug. 3 to 6 in Washington, D.C., and attracted more than 10,000 participants from around the world, including psychological scientists, practitioners, and educators. The conference featured the latest advances in psychological knowledge, with presentations focusing on immigration, racism, bullying, eating disorders, clinical practice, social networking, and psychotherapy.
In one study, Christina Richardson, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, surveyed 330 college-aged men (median age, 20; most white and heterosexual) about the age at which they first viewed pornography; whether their first exposure to pornography was intentional, accidental, or forced; and the extent to which they adhere to or believe in traditional masculine norms of power over women (e.g., men should be in control, men should be dominant, a hierarchical relationship between men and women) and playboy norms (e.g., men should be highly sexually active, have multiple sexual partners).
"We had three major findings: First, the type of exposure (accidental, intentional, or forced) did not have a significant impact on men's endorsement of masculine norms; there was no difference in power over women or playboy beliefs among the men with different types of first exposure experiences," Richardson said. "Second, the younger men were when they first viewed pornography, the more likely they were to endorse the power over women norm, which is consistent with our hypothesis and what we know about social learning theory."
Thirdly, the investigators found that the older men were at first exposure to pornography, the more likely they were to endorse playboy norms, which was not what the researchers anticipated discovering.
"There is not much research on pornography and masculine norms to help us interpret this finding, but we have a few ideas about why this would be the case. First, there are many different variables which we did not account for that could impact the relationship, like religiosity, other media influences, parental influences, sexual education, etc.," Richardson said. "Secondly, based on reports from heterosexual male clients with whom I've worked with in therapy, men may experience sexual performance anxiety in real world interactions with women if they do not live up to the expectations of male sexuality portrayed in pornography or feel disappointment when sexual interactions with women do not go as easily and smoothly as they do in pornography. These points may make them less likely to want to be a playboy."
In another study, Sarah Lyons-Padilla, Ph.D., of Stanford University in California, and colleagues aimed to better understand the phenomenon of homegrown radicalization, which often involves people with recent immigrant backgrounds becoming radicalized in their country of settlement.
"We surveyed 198 American Muslims and found that people who felt torn between cultures and discriminated against felt threats to their sense of personal significance. This, in turn, was associated with support for extremist groups and ideology," Lyons-Padilla said. "Experiences of marginalization and discrimination can produce the psychological conditions that are associated with support for extremism. That being the case, counterterrorism policies that discriminate against Muslims are likely to backfire."
During a presentation on the mechanics of influence and persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., of Arizona State University in Tempe, discussed his universal principles of influence, including reciprocation, concession, consistency, endorsement, liking, authority, and scarcity. Cialdini reviewed his approach to promoting influence rather than control. He provided insight into effective influence strategies that are fundamental to human nature.
"Changing the self-directed behavior of a patient requires exercising influence rather than control," Cialdini said. "As with all aspects of medicine, influence strategies can do good or harm depending on the care with which they are directed. An awareness of how to help patients make beneficial choices may be a necessary skill for clinicians to provide effective care."
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