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10 Scientific Facts About Spite

Though its benefits may not be immediately obvious, spite isn’t just an aberrant emotion that makes us act with malice: It can be a tool we use to our advantage.

In psychology, the dark triad of personality traits are psychopathy (the inability to experience emotions like remorse, empathy, and be social with others), narcissism (the obsession with one’s self), and Machiavellianism (willingness to be duplicitous and disregard morality to achieve one’s own goals).

David Marcus.
David Marcus

In 2014, researchers at Washington State University, led by psychologist David Marcus, had more than 1200 participants take a personality test, in which they were presented with 17 statements like “I would be willing to take a punch if it meant that someone I did not like would receive two punches” and “If my neighbor complained about the appearance of my front yard, I would be tempted to make it look worse just to annoy him or her,” then had to indicate how much they agreed with those statements.

The results, published in Psychological Assessment, showed that high scores in spitefulness correlated highly with psychopathy as well, along with the other two dark triad traits.

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Mental Floss

Keenan: A man’s guide to marijuana and its potential side-effects

The upcoming Canada-wide legalization of recreational marijuana will have all sorts of consequences, both intended and unintended. But what, specifically, will it do to the male body? Quite a lot, it appears.

Rebecca Craft.
Rebecca Craft

For starters, pot affects males and females differently. A team of researchers from Washington State University, a state where cannabis has been legal since 2012, has given us some answers. Psychology professor and researcher Rebecca Craft found that, in female rats, the effects of THC were closely linked to hormone levels, with a spike in sensitivity right around ovulation.

Craft also notes that “the majority of research in humans suggests that women are more likely to be affected by cannabinoids than men, with reports of enhanced and decreased performance on various tasks.” She has also studied cannabis withdrawal symptoms, and says that women often have a harder time discontinuing pot after heavy use, with symptoms like irritability and sleep disruption. In rats, THC withdrawal has even caused changes in the menstrual cycle timing.

Smoking pot also can also affect the male hormone balance.

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Calgary Herald

Summer got you feeling stressed? Cannabis may help

Cannabis has been considered a stress reliever for nearly half a millennia and modern science has verified that this treatment works. Not only has research confirmed the efficacy of the medical marijuana, more and more Americans are treating stress-related conditions with the herb.

Carrie Cuttler.
Cuttler

In a recent study, clinical assistant professor of psychology Carrie Cuttler and fellow scientists at Washington State University examined how peoples’ self-reported levels of stress, anxiety, and depression were affected by ingesting different quantities and types of cannabis.

Their work, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, reveals that cannabis can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety. The study marks one of the first efforts by American scientists to examine how cannabis with varying amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) affect consumers’ feelings of well-being when consumed outside of a research lab. » More …

Three Reasons Russians Smile Less Than Americans

World Cup soccer fans in Russia have been laughing, crying, and screaming as their favorite teams win or lose. But Russians themselves aren’t known for their emotional displays. In fact, in the lead up to the World Cup, Russian workers actually got training on how to smile at visiting fans. Which raises a question: Why?

Masha Gartstein
Gartstein

Why do some cultures smile more than others? Masha Gartstein is a professor of psychology and director of advanced programs at Washington State University and she’s written about what she calls, “the smile gap.”

“Russians are suspicious of people who appear to be smiling for no reason, and at worst are probably thinking that perhaps there is some intellectual deficits, or maybe even mental illness behind this seemingly unnecessary expression of positive emotionality,” Gartstein said.

There are a variety of reasons for this cultural difference. One of them is the fact that historically, there used to be vast differences in commerce.

“Back in the days of USSR there was of course no pressure to provide any kind of customer service because nothing was consumer driven.”

That’s part of the backdrop. Another part, Garstein noted, is that there really isn’t a smiling deficit in Russia. It’s a smiling gap.

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The Washington Post

Communities for the golden age

A new, interdisciplinary senior-living degree at WSU is in the works, with not only hospitality business operations but also nursing, technology, and psychology, to reflect how many communities serve a broad range of seniors’ needs.

Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe
Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe

After business professor Nancy Swanger developed a senior living-specific course in the business college, she began talking with other faculty around WSU who had interest in the field of aging and senior living, including Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe in psychology and colleagues in human development, electrical engineering, and nursing, to name a few. The discussions led to the idea of a holistic degree and a research institute.

The Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living will focus on three dimensions: workforce development, collaborative management and sponsored research, and undergraduate education. Some of that research includes smart home technology.

WSU has also started a noncredit online certificate program that will allow people to train in senior living management over the course of a year. The industry isn’t meeting current demand for people to run senior-living communities, Swanger said, and this certificate can help get people up to speed.

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Washington State Magazine