Department of Psychology

When do children begin to recognize hypocrisy?

Practice what you preach. Suit your actions to your words. Walk the talk. Hypocrisy is ingrained as a moral failing for most adults, but when do children learn to make the same distinction? According to a new study from University of Chicago psychologists, the shift seems to happen early in elementary school. The researchers discovered that children who were at least 7 years old began to predict future behavior based on a person’s statement about morals. Unlike their younger peers, those...

Data science predicts which failures will ultimately lead to success

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job in television. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school multiple times, and Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school’s varsity basketball team. Stories like these fuel motivational mantras about learning from failure and coming out stronger on the other side. But little research has been done to support these anecdotes, and even less has examined the mechanisms as to how failure leads to success. In a study published Oct. 30 in Nature , data...

Why you may learn less from failure than success

Failure may not be the great teacher that conventional wisdom says it is. New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that, contrary to common belief, people learn less from failure than from success. “Our society celebrates failure as a teachable moment,” write the study’s authors, Prof. Ayelet Fishbach and postdoctoral fellow Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, who found in a series of experiments that “failure did the opposite: It undermined learning.” Their research is...

Why fight? Negative escalation appears to be rooted in gut reactions

When someone lashes out in an argument, are they doing so to strategically end the conflict? Or are they simply acting rashly, without considering the consequences? According to new research from University of Chicago scholars, negative escalation is more often rooted in impulsive gut reactions—suggesting that many conflicts could be avoided with more deliberate thought and consideration of future consequences. “People are often motivated by retribution, even if they themselves don’t realize...

Why fight? Negative escalation appears to be rooted in gut reactions

When someone lashes out in an argument, are they doing so to strategically end the conflict? Or are they simply acting rashly, without considering the consequences? According to new research from University of Chicago scholars, negative escalation is more often rooted in impulsive gut reactions—suggesting that many conflicts could be avoided with more deliberate thought and consideration of future consequences. “People are often motivated by retribution, even if they themselves don’t realize...