Waiting Games

For so many people across the globe, 2020 has been a year of waiting and uncertainty. Waiting to see friends and family in far-flung locales. Waiting to hear about unemployment aid, or job opportunities. Waiting to hear about loved ones in the hospital. And even though the end of 2020 does not mean the end of these hardships, many of us are letting out a sigh of relief as we say goodbye to this difficult year. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the psychology of relief and waiting, and how we can make periods of limbo less painful.

Additional Resources

Sweeny, Kate, Rankin, Kyla, et. al., “Flow in the Time of COVID-19: Findings from China“, Psyarxiv.com, March 26, 2020.

Sweeny, Kate, et al. “The Psychological Experience of Awaiting Breast Diagnosis.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 53, no. 7, pp. 630–641, 18 Sept. 2018.

Sweeny, Kate, and Kathleen D. Vohs. “On Near Misses and Completed Tasks.” Psychological Science, vol. 23, no. 5, 3, pp. 464–468, 10.1177/0956797611434590. Apr. 2012.‌

Nova Science Now. “Kate Sweeny: Waiting Is The Hardest Part” PBS.org, PBS.org, 25 Feb. 2014.

Sweeny, Kate, “Waiting Well: Tips for Navigating Painful Uncertainty“, Social and Personality Psychology Compass 6, pp. 258–269, 2012.

Rankin, Kyla, et al. “A Better Distraction: Exploring the Benefits of Flow During Uncertain Waiting Periods“, American Psychological Association, pp. 1528-3542/18, 2018.


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