Making Excuses And Panic Buying: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web

When you decline an invitation to do something with a friend, it’s better to blame a lack of money than a lack of time, according to researchers Grant Donnelly and Ashley Whillians at The Conversation. The pair found that participants felt less close to, and less trusting of, people who said they didn’t have time to come to a social occasion like a wedding or a dinner, compared to those who said they couldn’t afford to attend.


Early last year, when the country suddenly realised it was on the brink of a major pandemic, many people went out and stripped the supermarket shelves of toilet paper and canned goods. Now a new study suggests that this kind of extreme alteration in our behaviour is a common response to sudden change. When change comes about more slowly, though, we’re much more likely to continue with our old behaviours, reports Thomas Ling at BBC Science Focus.


What are the best strategies for dealing with on-going worry and rumination? Researchers Dane McCarrick and Daryl O’Connor have some tips at Psyche.


Does winning a gold medal feel more rewarding if you are motivated by your own happiness or by the promise of fame and glory? And how long does the high you get from winning last? At The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker explores what psychology can teach us about the mindset of Olympic athletes.


The language organisations use in job adverts and performance reviews can hold women back at work. For instance, studies have found that finance internship ads use words like “dominant” and “competitive”, writes Christine Ro at BBC Worklife — traits which are stereotypically associated with men, and so the inclusion of which can put women off from applying.


Rats will tend to help friends in distress — but not strangers. And yet a new study shows that when they see the plight of those strangers, the animals still show activity in brain regions involved in empathy, reports Max G Levy at Wired. The difference instead seems to be in other brain areas involved in reward and motivation. While this work was conducted on rodents, the authors wonder whether it could reveal more about what drives us humans to help — or not — suffering strangers.


People living in regions with higher density housing are more likely to feel lonely, reports Elle Hunt at New Scientist. The research draws on UK Biobank data from hundreds of thousands of people living in UK cities.

Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Research Digest