Archives for Students

General

Can You Believe Findings from Psychology Studies? New York Times Casts Doubt

The New York Times caused a stir with its article, "Many psychology findings not as strong as claimed, study says." It quickly climbed to the top of the "most emailed" list. Should you be concerned? Can you really believe the results of all the studies you read about here at Psych Central and in so many other places?

I wrote about this issue previously, when similar questions were being raised at the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Columbia Journalism Review. I'm sharing that article here. (See below.) As you will see, I'm less concerned with researchers who try to do the same study and come up with different results (that can happen for reasons that are not at all nefarious or troubling) and much more concerned with the reporting and interpretation of research findings in wildly inaccurate ways.

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General

Who Changed Your Life?

In the Community of Single People, we have been trying to come up with a list of movies that do not feature a romantic plot or end with a wedding. It is amazing how challenging it can be to do so. The same is true of fiction. When I have the time to read a novel, I don't want to get sucked into the same trite story of two people meeting, facing obstacles, and ending up together in the end. My list of relevant titles is never long enough. On TV, even shows that should be safe from the typical matrimaniacal themes rarely are. It is as if the most creative minds in screenwriting and in literature are sapped of all imaginativeness when it comes to fashioning a plot or a sensibility that is not a romantic cliché.

We need ways of thinking about life that are bigger and broader than marriage and romance. So when I find someone who has burst out of the box of boredom, I like to give some credit. Those people are showing us the way to recognizing and celebrating lives that are not all about marriage and romantic relationships.

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General

Why Are Millennials Still Living with Their Parents Now that the Recession Is Over?

Millennials have been the targets of a lot of bashing lately. They have been described as basement kids, nest dwellers, generation stuck, the go-nowhere generation, and the "failure-to-launch" group, all because they have been living with their parents at numbers that have been increasing since 1980.

Not everyone engaged in the sport of mocking millennials, but even among those who did, there was one silver lining they foresaw: Part of the problem was the lousy economy. Once that improved, millennials would be on their way out of their parents' places and into their own.

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Love & Affection

Can You Know You Want to Be Single If You’ve Never Had a Serious Romantic Relationship?

A reader emailed me, telling me about some of the ways she fits the profile of people who are single at heart. For example, she loves solitude and can go for days at a time without seeing anyone else and not feel lonely. But she has never had a serious romantic relationship – for example, she's never lived with a romantic partner. So can she really know if she is single-at-heart if she has not experienced an intense romantic involvement with another person?

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Love & Affection

The Good News No One Ever Tells You about Single Parents and Their Children

I have been scrutinizing the research on single parents and their children for more than a decade. I've learned lots of things, but perhaps the most important one is this: all those predictions you hear about how the children of single parents are doomed are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong.

I included a chapter on the topic in Singled Out and have continued to write blog posts and other articles after the book was published. I thought that was sufficient. But the wording of the recent Supreme Court ruling sent me over the edge. While trying to make a positive case for same-sex marriage, Justice Kennedy egregiously put down families that do not include married parents. The claims he made were not just derogatory, they were inaccurate.

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General

Creating a Community of Single People

All sorts of people get in touch with me, hoping that I can put them in touch with other single people who want to live their single lives fully (and not just escape them). Others want me to point them to helpful resources. A few of the many examples are listed below in the next section, "What Are People Looking For?"

Every time I get one of those requests, I try to generate names or resources offhand. That's not very efficient. Plus, I only know a very tiny fraction of the single people (or scholars of single people or professionals who work with single people) who might be interested in helping out or who might also want to be in touch with other single people (for friendship, discussion, workshops, or just about anything else except dating).

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Love & Affection

Are We Happiest When We Are with Our Friends?

In an article in the prestigious journal Science, Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues reported the results of a study in which 909 adults described whom they were with all day long during the previous day. For each of their social interactions, they also indicated how they were feeling. How happy were they? How much were they enjoying themselves? To what extent were they experiencing negative feelings such as anger, worry, or sadness?

The participants spent time with lots of different kinds of people – their spouse or romantic partner, relatives, friends, children, clients or customers, co-workers, and their boss.

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General

Hector’s Search for Happiness Ends with a Cliché

Fair warning: This post includes a spoiler and the spoiler (about the end of the movie) is the whole point. I'm talking about "Hector and the Search for Happiness."

I stumbled upon the movie when I was browsing Netflix for something to watch. I didn't know that before the story became a movie, it was an "international bestseller with more than two million copies sold." I had never heard of the book or the movie before. I don't know if the movie is faithful to the book. I sure hope not.

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General

Amidst All the Matrimania, the Power of Friendship Endures

We've heard a lot of flowery prose about marriage lately, both within the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide and in the ensuing commentaries. I don't think marriage is the key relationship of the 21st century, though – I believe it is friendship.

Somewhere around half of all American adults are single. Many who do marry cycle in and out of coupled life (as, for example, when they get married and then divorced). This is the big picture of our lives today: Americans now spend more years of their adult life unmarried than married – and that's been true for years.

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General

SCOTUS Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage: Wiser Views Than Those of the Justices

"We need to have a conversation." How often have we heard these words when some controversial issue is broached? The Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the nation has launched countless conversations.

Many of the conversations are celebratory. To activists, the ruling is a huge step forward on a long path to social justice. I'm all for social justice and civil rights. But the ruling lets more people into marriage while all single people are still unjustly left out of all of the benefits and protections awarded only to those who are legally married. It is a broader conceptualization than we had before the ruling, but it is still a very narrow view of the people and relationships and life pursuits that matter.

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