It’s been an eventful year at Research Digest: we’ve said goodbye to old staff members and hello to new ones; we’ve commissioned and published numerous guest posts and features, and sent out dozens of newsletters to our subscribers; and we were even finalists for a national science writing award. And through it all, we’ve been delighted that so many readers continue to turn to us to learn about the latest psychological research. So as we take stock before the Christmas break, here’s a look back at our most popular posts of the year:
It’s well known that children experience more negative moods as they reach their teenage years. But a study published earlier this year found that the exact pattern of these changes differs between males and females.
Certain personality traits are associated with an increased year-on-year risk of dying — partly because people with particular traits are more or less likely to engage in behaviours like drinking or smoking. Now, it seems that differences in how much sleep people get is also an important part of the relationship between personality and longevity.
We often think of loneliness as a binary construct: people are either lonely, or they’re not. But researchers have begun to disentangle different sorts of loneliness, finding that some kinds may have more detrimental effects on our mental health than others.
Through a series of in-depth interviews with people with avoidant personality disorder — the first study of its kind — psychologists have developed a better understanding of what the disorder is like for those affected.
Feeling good in an emotional sense can end up benefitting our physical health as well. But what makes people “feel good” varies between different cultures — so, as this study demonstrated, behaviours that increase well-being and physical health in one culture may not have the same effects in another.
Daughters’ later relationships are particularly affected by having had a poor-quality father, this study suggested, rather than simply a father who was absent entirely.
It’s not because depressed people deliberately act in ways that maintain their low mood, as some researchers have controversially suggested. Instead, this study found that people with depression often choose to listen to low-energy tunes because they actually boost their feelings of happiness.
A study that involves Pokémon and brain imaging?! It’ll probably come as no surprise that this one made it into our top three posts of the year.
We usually have a stable sense of self, and feel that our present identity is a continuation of our past one, no matter what changes we may have gone through. But what happens when that thread of continuity is disrupted?
There are lots of ways people might motivate themselves to make it through that strenuous run or pre-exam cram session — but they don’t all work. Our most popular post of 2019 looked at research into the strategies that are most strongly correlated with success.
That’s it from us for this year! Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back in January to bring you more psychology, digested.