n Therapists are less likely to offer
appointments to black and working-
class patients than to white, middle-
class ones, according to research
published in June in the Journal
of Health and Social Behavior. The
researcher left voice mail messages
for 320 psychotherapists in New York
City, requesting a weekday evening
appointment. The messages were left
by actors who used varied vocabulary,
grammar, accents and names to suggest
the callers’ race and social class. Among
the middle-class callers, 28 percent
of whites were offered appointments,
but only 17 percent of blacks. Of the
working-class callers, only 8 percent
of both black and white appointment-
seekers were offered a spot.
n You can tell whether people are
friends or strangers by listening to
them laughing together, according
to a study led by a University of
California, Los Angeles, psychologist.
The researchers played 48 short audio
clips of two people laughing together for
966 listeners from 24 different societies
around the world. The laughter was
recorded during conversations between
pairs of U.S. undergraduate students
— some who were friends and some
who were strangers who had just met.
Overall, listeners from every society
could correctly identify whether the
people they were hearing were friends
or strangers 61 percent of the time.
However, when the pair was two women
friends laughing together, listeners
were accurate more than 80 percent of
the time (Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, online April 11).
Snapshots of some of the latest peer-reviewed research within psychology and related fields.
It’s harder for black and working-class people to make appointments with therapists.