Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Language-Thought, Learning, Memory, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology.

Description: The internet provides us with access to vast arrays of information and research. Given this shouldn’t our beliefs be much more research based than they used to be? Weeelll, what about anti-vaxers? What about climate change deniers? Think about what the access to information provided by search engines like Google might do for us or to us especially when we are searching for information about things that we are afraid of? You have likely heard about confirmation bias, the notion that we are more likely to “see” or “hear” things on-line that confirm our existing beliefs and to not “see” or “hear” things on-line that challenge our current beliefs. Think about why that might be AND then think about how we might present information to people in ways that will move their beliefs in ways that better fit accepted scientific findings?

Source: Facts Aren’t Enough: The Psychology of False Beliefs, Shankar Vedantam, Tara Boyle, Maggie Penman, Camila Vargas Restrepo, Laura Kwerel, Hidden Brain, NPR.

Date: May 9, 2019

Photo Credit: Rene Klahr, NPR.

Article Link:

So, we generally act on our beliefs rather than acting on the basis of the weight of scientific research finding in related areas. While being interesting and somewhat alarming, when we consider things like vaccination and climate change, it becomes more important that we not only understand the impact of false beliefs and fake news but that we figure out how to overcome its impact of public health and the very survival of the planet. Important things to think about AND then act upon!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might searching on-line for information about something we are afraid of lead to or support false beliefs?
  2. Why might fake news and false beliefs matter in relation to population health?
  3. Is there an “ethics” of false beliefs and fake news and if so who is responsible for understanding what it involves and for generating policies for moving it forward?

References (Read Further):

Weatherall, J. O., & O’Connor, C. (2018). Do as I say, not as I do, or, conformity in scientific networks. arXiv preprint arXiv:1803.09905.

O’Connor, C., & Weatherall, J. O. (2019). The misinformation age: how false beliefs spread. Yale University Press.

Sharot, T. (2017). The influential mind: What the brain reveals about our power to change others. Henry Holt and Company.

Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., … & Quattrociocchi, W. (2016). The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(3), 554-559.

Vosoughi, S., Roy, D., & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146-1151.

Bolsen, T., & Shapiro, M. A. (2018). The US news media, polarization on climate change, and pathways to effective communication. Environmental Communication, 12(2), 149-163.



Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Emerging Adulthood, Motivation-Emotion, Personality, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: You have very likely heard about grit? Grit is perseverance and a tendency to push on through adversity rather than simply giving up. Grit is often presented as something we should all get more of, but other than being told to get more we are not told how to go about doing that. The impression is that grit is something like a general trait that some people have more or less of than others. To be fair, Angela Duckworth, who initiated our recent research interest in grit does suggest that we can add to our grit profile but a broader understanding of grit and what it is related to (and different from) would be very helpful. So, is grist a general trait? What else is grit associated with and what of grit and these related things can we work on? Think about your own hypotheses in relation to these questions and then read the article liked below to find out what a recent Canadian study has to say on these related matters.

Source: Do People Who Have Grit Have It All The Time? Christopher Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today.

Date: May 8, 2019

Photo Credit: Christopher Bergland.

Article Link:

The distinction between traits and states can be an important one for many reasons but quite important is the impact of our understandings of and beliefs about traits and states. Generally, we see states as transient and more open to influence than are traits which are seen as more constitutive of who we are and less open to change. This sort of dichotomous thinking is, on its own, sometime problematic. In terms of grit the research discussed in the linked article represents a first step towards unpacking how grit plays out in our lives and that could potentially be very helpful for both our understanding of the nature of grit and for developing action plans to change what we can for the better in the various areas related to grit. So, grit is more specific than general, and it is related to issues of maladaptive perfectionism. As well the idea that a growth mindset is significantly more adaptive than focusing on finding and pursuing as passion is potentially quite helpful as well. The bits of this study start to show us the potential advantages of broadening our understanding of concepts like grit and how they do or could play out in our lives. An important new line of research for sure. Oh, and here is a useful term: wabi-sabi, which is a Japanese term for accepting transience and imperfection (think about how that might relate to ikigai).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Is grit a state or trait or is this not the right sort of question to ask?
  2. What is maladaptive perfectionism and what sorts of things does it impact?
  3. How might we understand the interplay of grit, maladaptive perfectionism and growth mindset?

References (Read Further):

Cormier, D. L., Dunn, J. G., & Dunn, J. C. (2019). Examining the domain specificity of grit. Personality and Individual Differences, 139, 349-354.

Eskreis-Winkler, L., Duckworth, A. L., Shulman, E. P., & Beal, S. (2014). The grit effect: Predicting retention in the military, the workplace, school and marriage. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 36.

Larkin, P., O’Connor, D., & Williams, A. M. (2016). Does grit influence sport-specific engagement and perceptual-cognitive expertise in elite youth soccer?. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 28(2), 129-138.

Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Luyten, P., Duriez, B., & Goossens, L. (2005). Maladaptive perfectionistic self-representations: The mediational link between psychological control and adjustment. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(2), 487-498.

Stoeber, J., & Otto, K. (2006). Positive conceptions of perfectionism: Approaches, evidence, challenges. Personality and social psychology review, 10(4), 295-319.

Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20-24.

Treviranus, Jutta (2010) The value of imperfection: The Wabi-Sabi Principle in aesthetics and learning. In: 7th Annual Open Education Conference, 2010, Barcelona, Spain.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Perhaps you have heard about the use of ECT (electroconvulsive shock therapy) to treat “treatment resistant depression. It involved(s) the induction of a grand mal seizure (random firing of all neurons in the brain) through the application of electrical stimulation of the brain. Why does it work (when it does)? It seems to “rest” the neural systems in the brain. Taking the notion of a neural reset further is the experimental treatment for anxiety and depression described by Heather Armstrong, a woman who went through the treatment, in the excerpt from a radio interview linked below. A few details of the treatment are covered in the interview (more in the references section below) but most striking is Heather’s vivid description of what it was like to awaken from the treatment and in particular after her fifth treatment. One of the huge benefits of case studies (despite the limits to their generalizability) are the rich insights they can provide into the subjective experience of disorders such as depression and of the subjective impact of treatments that seem to work.

Source: This woman went to the brink of death – and back – to treat her depression, The Current, CBC Radio.

Date: May 7, 2019

Photo Credit: Angela Monson; Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

Article Link:

The induction of a comatose state using an anesthetic called propofol is thought to act on symptoms of anxiety and depression by resetting or reawakening the brain’s inhibitory systems. Heather’s description of it as “something marvelous” is quite striking. Of course more research is needed but the early returns on this experimental treatment seem quite promising.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do ECT and propofol do when used as a treatment for “drug treatment resistant” depression?
  2. Is the phrase “neural reset” simply a literary shorthand or is it a useful description for the treatment described in the interview/story linked above?
  3. What sorts of research are needed going forward if we are to both understand and properly regulate this form of treatment for anxiety and depression?

References (Read Further):

Eranti, S. V., Mogg, A. J., Pluck, G. C., Landau, S., & McLoughlin, D. M. (2009). Methohexitone, propofol and etomidate in electroconvulsive therapy for depression: a naturalistic comparison study. Journal of affective disorders, 113(1-2), 165-171.

Mickey, B. J., White, A. T., Arp, A. M., Leonardi, K., Torres, M. M., Larson, A. L., … & Sakata, D. J. (2018). Propofol for treatment-resistant depression: a pilot study. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 21(12), 1079-1089.

Tadler, S. C., & Mickey, B. J. (2018). Emerging evidence for antidepressant actions of anesthetic agents. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, 31(4), 439-445.

Ogawa, K., Uema, T., Motohashi, N., Nishikawa, M., Takano, H., Hiroki, M., … & Takeda, M. (2003). Neural Mechanism of Propofol Anesthesia in Severe DepressionA Positron Emission Tomographic Study. Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 98(5), 1101-1111.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, mental illness, Neuroscience, Research Methods, Schizophrenia.

Description: What causes schizophrenia? If you said something like “a chemical imbalance in the brain” you are not alone and that fits with what else you likely know which is that there are a wide array of drugs available that are used as parts of efforts to address that “imbalance.” However, you know those drugs are NOT a cure, don’t you? SO back to the original question: What causes schizophrenia? Is there a genetic basis for the disorder and what would that mean as genes are fixed but schizophrenia emerges in adolescence or later? So, what do we need in order to answer the question? Well maybe, epigenetics, which is the study of the changes in brains and elsewhere that are caused by modifications of gene expression as opposed to the structure of the basic genetic code. How does that work and how might it help us to begin to understand the causes of schizophrenia (and/or bipolar disorder)? Well have a read through the article link below to get at least a glimpse of the possibilities.

Source: Hotspot in the genome may drive psychosis in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: May 3, 2019

Photo Credit: Maksim Koval/iStock

Article Link:

So, most of the antipsychotic drugs in use today work in one way or another by reducing the storm of dopamine that is related to the symptoms of schizophrenia. But that is only half of the story. The other part involves a scrambling of the neural synapses responsible for the “rapid-fire neural impulses responsible for healthy function.” This second process may emerge epigenetically earlier (that the dopamine flood). If so, then if it become possible to find markers of these shifts then earlier identification of the epigenetic pathways that may be heading towards schizophrenia and THAT may lead to earlier, more effective interventions on our way to actually figuring out the causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Exciting stuff!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do we mean when we say that schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are the results of chemical imbalances in the brain?
  2. What does the epigenetic study and analysis discussed in the linked article suggest about the possible causes of schizophrenia?
  3. Where does this line of research take us in relation to causes and/or cures for schizophrenia?

References (Read Further):

Pai, S., Li, P., Killinger, B., Marshall, L., Jia, P., Liao, J., … & Labrie, V. (2018). Differential DNA modification of an enhancer at the IGF2 locus affects dopamine synthesis in patients with major psychosis. bioRxiv, 296756.

Roth, T. L., Lubin, F. D., Sodhi, M., & Kleinman, J. E. (2009). Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-General Subjects, 1790(9), 869-877.

Shorter, K. R., & Miller, B. H. (2015). Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia. Progress in biophysics and molecular biology, 118(1-2), 1-7. Shorter, K. R., & Miller, B. H. (2015). Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia. Progress in biophysics and molecular biology, 118(1-2), 1-7.

Akbarian, S. (2014). Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 16(3), 405.

Connor, C. M., & Akbarian, S. (2008). DNA methylation changes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Epigenetics, 3(2), 55-58.

Posted by & filed under Assessment: Intellectual-Cognitive Measures, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intelligence, Legal Ethical Issues, Personality.

Description: How do you feel about personality tests? If your response to this question is some version of “meh” you might want to reconsider. Aside from being a part of all introductory psychology course curricula many people view personality tests as those diversions they encounter in magazines (well, on line these days). However, it is worth considering the full extent of the industry of personality testing. Outside of the frivolous use noted above think about where and how personality tests are used. Think hard because I guarantee you that you have not thought of the full extent of their use and of the potential impacts their use have upon us. Ready for a deeper look? Ok, have a read through the article liked below that provides a brief historical overview of the uses of personality tests and provides a broader context for understanding their current (and increasing) use.

Source: Our ongoing love-hate relationship with personality tests, Kira Lussier, The Conversation.

Date: April 5, 2019

Photo Credit: Shutterstock, The Conversation

Article Link:

So how does the historical perspective, provided in the linked article and its linking personality testing to recent heavy concerns about the privacy of our personal data, affect your thoughts and feelings about personality tests? While individual difference psychology, where personality tests (and many other tests) come from, is typically depicted as a pragmatic sub-discipline focused upon the nuts, bolts, and minutia of measuring human characteristics, attitudes, values etc. the linked article points to a  number are areas which may suggest to you a need to open a lie of ethical consideration of personality testing. Such possible questions will be of increasing importance as we move forward into a worlds (lives) of bigger and bigger data.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are personality tests supposed to do (to measure)?
  2. How are personality tests used by organizations and by marketers?
  3. What questions do you NOW feel like we should be starting to ask about personality tests?

References (Read Further):

How to cheat on personality tests and other pseudosciences,

Young, J. L. (2017). Numbering the mind: Questionnaires and the attitudinal public. History of the Human Sciences, 30(4), 32-53.

O’Doherty, K. C. (2017). Deliberative public opinion: Development of a social construct. History of the Human Sciences, 30(4), 124-145.

Gould, S. J. (1996). The mismeasure of man. WW Norton & Company.

Hogan, J., Barrett, P., & Hogan, R. (2007). Personality measurement, faking, and employment selection. Journal of applied psychology, 92(5), 1270.

Gibby, R. E., & Zickar, M. J. (2008). A history of the early days of personality testing in American industry: An obsession with adjustment. History of psychology, 11(3), 164.


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Sensation-Perception, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: There has been a lot of research and debate lately about the developmental impact of social media and smartphones. That debate IS important, but it is worth revisiting an issue that, while not that old, is not a particularly salient part of our conversations about development and particularly about risk management. Most jurisdictions have enacted some form of distracted driving legislation intended to limit a range of driver distractions including cell phone use, while driving. If you are a driver, even a newly licensed driver, I am sure you know you need to be careful about how you use your cellphone while driving (handsfree is permissible in many jurisdictions) and you also know that you should not text while driving. So, no problem, right? Well how about this finding? In 2015 27% of teenaged Ontario (Canada) drivers admitted to texting while driving and 3 years later the percentage had dropped to 6%. Fantastic, this reflects a huge positive change in risk related behavior, right? Well, what if the young drivers in question have NOT reduced their frequency of texting while driving but have, rather, realized that had better not admit that they are doing so? Everyone could use a research-based reality check regarding driving and distraction (and not just involving cell phones). So, think for a minute about how well you manage your limited attentional resources while driving and think about what a list of possible distractors while driving might include and then read the article linked below for your own driving reality audit.

Source: Distracted Driving and Cellphones: What Are the Risks? Romeo Vitelli, Media Spotlight, Psychology Today.

Date: May 3, 2019

Photo Credit: Dan Toulgoet, The Vancouver Courier

Article Link:

So how did your driving distraction audit go? One of the largest challenges to effectively managing distraction risk while driving is the distance (or time) one typically drives between driving events that are seriously hazardous. This is a perfect circumstance for growing an illusion of control and for lowering one’s concern about distracting actions, thoughts and strategies. It is a VERY good idea to take stock from time to time of how well you are actually managing your precious limited attentional resources while driving! It is also worth noting that we cannot always trust that our research participants are fully disclosing the behaviors we are asking them about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of (categories of) things contribute to driver distraction?
  2. What research methodologies are needed if we want to get a clear picture of what drivers are really doing behind the wheel?
  3. What are some things we could do to better prepare new drivers to properly and reflectively manage their attentional risks and hazard exposures while driving?

References (Read Further):

Dénommée, J. A., Foglia, V., Roy-Charland, A., Turcotte, K., Lemieux, S., & Yantzi, N. (2019). Cellphone use and young drivers. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne. Advance online publication.

Adeola, R., & Gibbons, M. (2013). Get the message: Distracted driving and teens. Journal of trauma nursing, 20(3), 146-149.

Wilson, F. A., & Stimpson, J. P. (2010). Trends in fatalities from distracted driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008. American journal of public health, 100(11), 2213-2219.

Tucker, S., Pek, S., Morrish, J., & Ruf, M. (2015). Prevalence of texting while driving and other risky driving behaviors among young people in Ontario, Canada: Evidence from 2012 and 2014. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 84, 144-152.

Lesch, M. F., & Hancock, P. A. (2004). Driving performance during concurrent cell-phone use: are drivers aware of their performance decrements?. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 36(3), 471-480.

Delgado, M. K., Wanner, K. J., & McDonald, C. (2016). Adolescent cellphone use while driving: An overview of the literature and promising future directions for prevention. Media and communication, 4(3), 79.

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Physiology, Psychological Health, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: You have no doubt heard a story or two about an elderly couple where, when one of them dies, the surviving partner also passes away fairly soon after. Can you recall if an explanation as to why this occurred was offered? Some version of a broken heart perhaps? Or maybe that the surviving partner did not want to go on without their life-companion and so gave up? Well, maybe think about this for a minute and hypothesize about why it might actually be the case that the death of a close loved one predicts increased mortality in the surviving member of the couple? Assuming that broken hearts, as poetic as that might be, are not mortality causal factors unless they are actually physically broken, which is not likely how a bereavement effect would work. Oh, and we should probably check to see if there actually IS a bereavement mortality effect as well. Once you have your hypotheses worked out have a read thought eh article lined below to see what research has had to say about this question.

Source: How Does Bereavement Impact the Immune System? Tim Newman, Medical News Today.

Date: April 15, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

Indeed, bereavement seems to increase mortality (peaking 9 to 12 months after loss). More importantly, recent meta-analytic studies (that gather together available studies to provide a bigger picture view of what is going on) are beginning to show more clearly how this works – by driving inflammation which dampens the activity and effectiveness of the immune system. As well, some research is suggesting that depression is a mediating factor in this re4lationship and that could serve as a clinical marker of who should be provided treatment in addition to bereavement support. The results suggest  number of ways in which the story of the elderly couple who die within weeks or months of one another might be re-written more positively (if less romantically.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does bereavement impact mortality?
  2. How does bereavement impact mortality? What other factors mark or moderate between bereavement and mortality?
  3. What medical/psychological practice guidelines might we suggest for GP’s and Psychologists working with bereaved clients?

References (Read Further):

Bartrop, R. W., Lazarus, L., Luckhurst, E., Kiloh, L. G., & Penny, R. (1977). Depressed lymphocyte function after bereavement. The Lancet, 309(8016), 834-836.

Knowles, L. M., Ruiz, J. M., & O’Connor, M. F. (2019). A Systematic Review of the Association Between Bereavement and Biomarkers of Immune Function. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Kaprio, J., Koskenvuo, M., & Rita, H. (1987). Mortality after bereavement: a prospective study of 95,647 widowed persons. American Journal of Public Health, 77(3), 283-287.

Schaefer, C., Quesenberry Jr, C. P., & Wi, S. (1995). Mortality following conjugal bereavement and the effects of a shared environment. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141(12), 1142-1152.

Stroebe, M. S. (1994). The broken heart phenomenon: An examination of the mortality of bereavement. Journal of community & applied social psychology, 4(1), 47-61.

Moon, J. R., Kondo, N., Glymour, M. M., & Subramanian, S. V. (2011). Widowhood and mortality: a meta-analysis. PloS one, 6(8), e23465.

Elwert, F., & Christakis, N. A. (2008). The effect of widowhood on mortality by the causes of death of both spouses. American journal of public health, 98(11), 2092-2098.

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, mental illness, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Disorders, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: As the article linked below states at its outset, today (April 28) is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. It is certainly the case that we have seen a general push to de-stigmatize issues of mental health so that it can and will be talked about and addressed in all settings (family, work and community) and that is all good and important. However, another important emerging reality is that workplaces and the nature of work in general is becoming more stressful. As well, the changing nature of work, relying increasingly on knowledge and creativity, means we are more profoundly impacted by mental health challenges when they arise. Think about what you know and about what you feel you need to find out about mental health in your workplace and in workplaces in general in honor of World Day for Safety and Health at Work and then read the article linked below to see what else might be involved in these critical questions.

Source: Putting Mental Health on the Workplace Health Agenda, Camille Preston, Mental Health in the Workplace, Psychology Today.

Date: April 26, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

So it is not just that we need to spend some time thinking about the work side of the work/life balance question. Rather, the very nature of work is changing is ways that both add to general stress levels and which are, by works new nature, MORE susceptible to negative impacts when mental health issues arise. What to do? Well the fact that all not only comes with individual cost but it also comes with a significant impact on organizational bottom lines. That being the case there is both need and motivation for corporate leaders to invest in changes to their organizational cultures that will destigmatize mental health issues and challenges and which will positively predispose (incentivize) members of organizational communities to advantage themselves and their workplaces in relation to mental health. Something important to contemplate on World Day for Safety and Health at Work, most certainly.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What would be involved in destigmatizing mental health issues in workplace settings?
  2. How has the nature of work changed in recent years and how do those changes increase the costs associated with unaddressed mental health issues in the workplace?
  3. What sorts of individuals, organization officers, agencies, and/or regulatory or legislative groups should be involved in these matters and what sorts of things should they be doing?

References (Read Further):

Goetzel, R. Z., Roemer, E. C., Holingue, C., Fallin, M. D., McCleary, K., Eaton, W., … Mattingly, C. R. (2018). Mental Health in the Workplace: A Call to Action Proceedings From the Mental Health in the Workplace-Public Health Summit. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 60(4), 322–330.

Morra Aarons-Mele (November 1, 2018), We Need to Talk More About Mental Health At Work, Harvard Business Review,

World Health Organization (September 2017), Mental Health in the Workplace,

Aarons-Mele, Morra (2018) We Need to Talk More About Mental Health at Work, Harvard Business review, November 1, 2018

Preston, Camille (2011) Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World, Aim Leadership, Cambridge, MA.


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Consciousness, Depression, Health Psychology, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: Do you think you would be able to tell if someone close to you was contemplating suicide? There ARE things you could/should look for (more on those below). However, how do you think a mental health professional (Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatric Nurse, or Social Worker) would respond to this question? Does the typical “what to look for …what to do” advice apply to some or to most suicidal cases? Do the drugs that psychiatrists have access to help? Do the therapy techniques that are available make a difference? Think about what you hope the answers to those questions might be (and perhaps a bit about what they might actually be) and then read the article linked below to see what a practicing Psychiatrist has to say on the matter.

Source: The Empty Promise of Suicide Prevention, Amy Barnhorst, The New York Times.

Date: April 26, 2019

Photo Credit: Rachel Levit, The New York Times

Article Link:

The first case talked about in the article describes a build up towards suicide that was noticed by members of the individual’s family, got the person referred to a psychiatrist who suggested a course of drug treatment that successfully curtailed the individuals suicidal thoughts and lead to them moving back towards a positive life view. The author then goes on to point out that such cases are rare and that, while there are drugs that can be of assistance in treating suicidal ideation (thinking about killing one’s self), there are impulsive acts that arise with little or no warning signs and there are life circumstances that do not improve when the person living those circumstances starts taking lithium or clozapine. What to do? Well we should all be familiar with signs of suicidal ideation (see further reading section below), we should not shy away from asking people we know how they are doing and if they are thinking about suicide, and we should be thinking hard about ways that we (at community and legislative levels) can reduce access to lethal means of attempting suicide and address the social circumstances that give rise to despair. It is not even close to being all about psychiatric drugs.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the indicators that someone may be contemplating suicide?
  2. What are some of the non-psychological factors that can increase the possibility of suicidal actions?
  3. What sorts of things need to be considered when we are trying to think of ways to address suicide rates?

References (Read Further):

Suicide Prevention and Support,


Rudd, M. D., Berman, A. L., Joiner Jr, T. E., Nock, M. K., Silverman, M. M., Mandrusiak, M., … & Witte, T. (2006). Warning signs for suicide: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36(3), 255-262.

Van Orden, K. A., Lynam, M. E., Hollar, D., & Joiner, T. E. (2006). Perceived burdensomeness as an indicator of suicidal symptoms. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30(4), 457-467.

Smith, J. M., Alloy, L. B., & Abramson, L. Y. (2006). Cognitive vulnerability to depression, rumination, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation: Multiple pathways to self-injurious thinking. Suicide and Life-threatening behavior, 36(4), 443-454.

Thompson, R., Proctor, L. J., English, D. J., Dubowitz, H., Narasimhan, S., & Everson, M. D. (2012). Suicidal ideation in adolescence: Examining the role of recent adverse experiences. Journal of adolescence, 35(1), 175-186.

Madjar, N., Walsh, S. D., & Harel-Fisch, Y. (2018). Suicidal ideation and behaviors within the school context: Perceived teacher, peer and parental support. Psychiatry research, 269, 185-190.

Posted by & filed under Aggression, Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Personality, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: At least intellectually, we tend to be drawn towards the dark side. Why this may be is perhaps due to a belief that understanding the darker personality profiles that people around us may be operating under better equips us to notice and to protect ourselves from being taken advantage of. Within personality theory and research there has been much consideration of the so called dark triad of personality types including Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. As fascinating and as potentially useful as an understanding of the dark triad may be, think for a minute about what the opposite of the dark triad might involve? Of course, we could simply define the opposite of the dark triad as scoring low on the scales that assess tendencies towards Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism but are you satisfied by a definition of good as simply “not dark?” What might a Light Triad look like or involve? Think about that and then read the article linked below that describes an effort of several psychologists define a Light Triad.

Source: The Light Triad: Psychologists Outline the Personality Traits of Everyday Saints, Lacy Schley, The Crux, Discover Magazine.

Date: April 5, 2019

Photo Credit: Melitas/Shutterstock

 Article Link:

Do you like the Light Triad which includes Kantianism (treating people and people rather than instrumental opportunities for self-gain), Humanism (valuing others’ dignity and worth) and Faith in Humanity (viewing humans as basically good)? Do you have a sense of where you might fall on BOTH the dark AND light triads? If not, go to the link the article author’s provide to take a test and find out. So, while it may not be quite as fascinating, we now have a “light side” we can lean towards as a proper balance against the dark side.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the Dark Triad and why are we so fascinated with it?
  2. Is the light triad the opposite of the dark triad and if not, how is it located?
  3. There has already been a LOT of use of the dimensions of the dark triad to discuss things like presidents and other people. How might we make use of the light triad?

References (Read Further):

Kaufman, S. B., Yaden, D. B., Hyde, E., & Tsukayama, E. (2019). The Light vs. Dark Triad of Personality: Contrasting Two Very Different Profiles of Human Nature. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 467.

Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of research in personality, 36(6), 556-563.

Furnham, A., Richards, S. C., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). The Dark Triad of personality: A 10 year review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(3), 199-216.

Garcia, D., & Sikström, S. (2014). The dark side of Facebook: Semantic representations of status updates predict the Dark Triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 67, 92-96.

Laborde, S., Guillén, F., Watson, M., & Allen, M. S. (2017). The light quartet: Positive personality traits and approaches to coping in sport coaches. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 32, 67-73.