Psychology

Three new studies by a University at Buffalo psychologist offer the first known evidence that some people anxiously expect that they will be rejected by others because of their physical appearance, and that this sensitivity, if not mitigated, has serious implications for their mental and physical health.

"Appearance-based Rejection Sensitivity: Implications for Mental and Physical Health, Affect, and Motivation" by Lora Park, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, UB College of Arts and Sciences, reports on three of Park's studies and is currently in press for publication in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Nobody questions that the color of our eyes is encoded in our genes. When it comes to behavior the concept of "DNA as fate" quickly breaks down -- it's been long accepted that both genes and the environment shape human behavior. But just how much sway the environment holds over our genetic destiny has been difficult to untangle.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a clever way to sort one from the other: They compared the social behavior of children with Williams syndrome -- known for their innate drive to interact with people -- across cultures with differing social mores. Their study, published in a forthcoming issue of Developmental Science, demonstrates the extent of culture's stamp on social behavior.