What do psychological studies really say?

What do psychological studies really say?

Felix Schonbrodt also knows such examples. For example, when someone often appears to be in a bad mood, angry or condescending, even if they don’t feel like it at all – a phenomenon sometimes known publicly as a “resting bitch face”. “As a result, the people around you may react more unfriendly to this person each time.” A single negative feedback doesn’t make much difference at first. But if people behave this way over and over again, the person concerned may at some point lean on or hold back.

In any case, though, you’ll have to watch carefully to see if a small effect actually increases over time, warns Schonbrod. Or the whole thing has been brought to the fore to save the honor of psychology.

Find out what really matters

Psychological interventions make it clear how important it is to properly assess the effects. For example, people starting psychotherapy often feel a great deal of pain. Treatment also costs time and money. So it is not only psychologists who are very interested in finding out which interventions work in behavior as well. Until now, studies have often focused primarily on whether there is a statistically significant difference between the treatment and control group. If there is an impact it is checked to see how big it is. But psychologists have long been arguing about its importance in practice.

“A new idea is to see if the test subjects themselves notice a change,” says Felix Schonbrod. Psychologists Fareed Anvari and Daniel Lekens from the Technical University of Eindhoven Examines test subjects’ emotions at two different points in 2021. For this purpose, they should indicate on various scales how strongly they were currently feeling certain emotions (such as euphoria, pride, nervousness or sadness). In addition, the researchers wanted to know in the second survey whether participants felt better or worse than those in the first round of questions. Although the researchers were able to see changes on their scale, some test subjects reported that they felt the same as before – so subjectively they felt no difference. According to Felix Schonbrodt, such results can be used for intervention studies. “That way you can determine how big a change needs to be to the psychological measurement tool so that the patient can also feel a subjectively noticeable improvement.”

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