Posted by & filed under Child Development, Clinical Health Psychology, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Prenatal Development, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: In the 31 years that I have been teaching courses in child development I have said a number of things that, in the face of more recent research, discussion, and intervention designs and outcomes, have turned out to have been wrong (or at least in need of adjustment). One of these is the statement that infants born to mothers who are addicted to narcotics are essentially born addicted and have to suffer the consequences of withdrawal. One of the consequences of this (not because I said it but because of the medical view of the situation) is that newborns, born to mothers addicted to narcotics have, for years, routinely been separated from their mothers almost immediately after their birth and placed in neonatal intensive care units (NICU’s). One of the consequences of this separation has been the loss, for the infant and the mother of an early opportunity to start to expand upon a relationship that has been building for 9 months. In addition, this practice has meant that the infant has lost the potential maternal connection and support for the short period of time when they are going trough the process of no longer being exposed to the narcotic their mother had been taking during pregnancy. Oh, and do NOT assume that the mothers in question are “street” users of their drugs or that they are inevitably going to be negligent parents unable to connect with their newborns – stigma, stigma everywhere!  What sort of research would we need to see if we are to challenge these beliefs? Well how about an intervention that is spreading across North America that involves having these newborns room-in with their mothers in the first few days after they are born? Listen to the radio piece on this question linked below to hear about this work from the physician who put it together (and who gathered data on the effectiveness of the program).

Source: Separating newborn babies from mothers with addiction does more harm than good, says doctor, The Current, CBC Radio.

Date: March 13, 2018

Photo Credit: Rebecca Dowds, via CBC, The Current

Links:  Article Link –

Audio Link for the radio program piece:

This is a very good example of what Stigma is and how it can affect the ways in which propel are treated, even in (or especially in) the health care system. Dr. Ron Abrahams, the physician running the program, goes so far as to point out the similarities between the practice of isolating newborns from their addicted mothers at birth and the historical ugliness of residential schools for aboriginal children.  A strong statement to be sure but, on the other side, the cost-benefit analyses (short term so far) suggesting a 4 to 1 advantage in rooming-in for addicted mothers of newborns are very persuasive even before you consider the basic developmental attachment and relationship formation, not to mention maternal self-efficacy considerations. As a result of listening to this story and reading about the program I have revised what I am going to say about this issue the next time I teach a birth and the newborn section of a child development course. Staying current means noticing when tings you have been saying are not just wrong but potentially contributory to problematic issues like stigmatization.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does it make sense to say that infants born to mothers who were addicted to narcotics during pregnancy are, essentially born addicted?
  2. How does stigmatization work in relation to addicted mothers and their newborns?
  3. Are there other areas where it might be worthwhile to reconsider our assumptions about people and the things they are dealing with (for example, think about harm reduction approaches to things like addicts and safe injection sites)?

References (Read Further):

Abrahams, R. R., Kelly, S. A., Payne, S., Thiessen, P. N., Mackintosh, J., & Janssen, P. A. (2007). Rooming-in compared with standard care for newborns of mothers using methadone or heroin. Canadian Family Physician, 53(10), 1722-1730.

Wong, S., Ordean, A., Kahan, M., Gagnon, R., Hudon, L., Basso, M., … & Farine, D. (2011). Substance use in pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 33(4), 367-384.

Hodgson, Z. G., & Abrahams, R. R. (2012). A rooming-in program to mitigate the need to treat for opiate withdrawal in the newborn. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 34(5), 475-481.

Strauss, M. E., Lessen-Firestone, J. K., Starr Jr, R. H., & Ostrea Jr, E. M. (1975). Behavior of narcotics-addicted newborns. Child Development, 887-893.

Chasnoff, I. J. (1985). Effects of maternal narcotic vs. nonnarcotic addiction on neonatal neurobehavior and infant development. Consequences of maternal drug abuse, 84-95.

Oh and wow! Morgan, M. (2004). The payment of drug addicts to increase their sterilisation rate is morally unjustified and not simply ‘a fine balance’. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 24(2), 119-123.’_A_Fine_Balance’/links/00b4951cff3728c668000000/The-payment-of-drug-addicts-to-increase-their-sterilisation-rate-is-morally-unjustified-and-not-simply-A-Fine-Balance.pdf



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Antidepressants work wonderfully well in the treatment of the symptoms of depression, right? They have saved us from having no treatment that works or from resorting to ECT (Electro-Convulsive Shock Therapy), right? Well, if you believe these statements to be true then you have been paying attention to what the general media has had to say about the efficacy of antidepressants and you have perhaps also read some of the research literature on the topic as well. But, yes but, these statements may not be entirely true. Leaving ECT aside for the time being, the questions of whether antidepressants work, and if so how well, and for who are harder to properly address AND communicate effectively in research and research publications than you might think. Think for a minute about what sorts of issues might make answers to drug efficacy questions unclear or incomplete and then read the article linked below which lays them out quite nicely.

Source: Do Antidepressants Work? Aaron E. Carroll, The Upshot, The New York Times.

Date: March 12, 2018

Photo Credit: Jonathan Nourok/Getty Images

Links:  Article Link –

So, are you surprised by what the article had to say? It is common to say things like “research has shown” or “research indicates,” but it is important to understand the ways in which published research is limited in terms of things like positive results bias and the related “file drawer” issues (where researchers dump study results that are non-existent or negative and thus less likely to be considered publishable). So perhaps the efficacy of antidepressants has been overstated. As well, we can consider additional contextual information. When antidepressants based on SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), like Prozac, were first released they were typically described in the media as new, effective treatments for depression. They WERE new but studies at the time indicated they were about as effective as the already available antidepressants. Called “tricyclics” because the existing antidepressants effected levels of three neuro transmitters (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) while SSRI’s impact only one (serotonin). This difference at is at least partially reflected in tricyclics having a more complex side-effect profile than SSRI’s. Fewer side effects meant people tended to stay on the drugs and physicians were possibly less reticent about having patients try out an SSRI. So, more people were prescribed antidepressants. This is interesting given the finding reported in the article that antidepressants seem to have moderate effects in people with severe depression and mild or no effect in people with milder symptoms. It raises questions about what we care calling depression and about when or for whom antidepressants are advisable. Oh, and not to mention the findings suggesting that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) may well be as effective in treating depression as antidepressants. More to think about!

All that aside, it is VERY important to understand how the current research publication processes can limit the data considered when we are dealing with questions about things like the efficacy of widely used drugs like antidepressants. It is also important to understand the limitations of meta-analytic studies which are often described as the collecting together of multiple studies in order to address big deal questions like drug efficacy once and for all. The article linked above makes it very clear that meta-analytic studies may well NOT decide such questions once and for all, despite what claims the popular media make about such studies. So, the next time you see big claims being made about what research results collectively have to say about an issue or treatment you should, after reading the linked article closely, be able to assess how true or how limited such claims actually may be. In terms of antidepressant medications, well, we have a LOT to think about as the answers to seemingly simple questions like do they work, how well do they work, who do they work for and how long do they work for are actually not that simple at all.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How well do antidepressant medications work?
  2. What do meta-analytic studies do for us? How are meta-analytic studies looking at things like drug effectiveness limited?
  3. What sorts of things should people considering taking antidepressant medications be thinking about?

References (Read Further):

Global antidepressant use:

Turner, E. H., Matthews, A. M., Linardatos, E., Tell, R. A., & Rosenthal, R. (2008). Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(3), 252-260.

Kirsch, I., Deacon, B. J., Huedo-Medina, T. B., Scoboria, A., Moore, T. J., & Johnson, B. T. (2008). Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS medicine, 5(2), e45.

Ioannidis, J. P. (2008). Effectiveness of antidepressants: an evidence myth constructed from a thousand randomized trials?. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 3(1), 14.

Cipriani, A., Furukawa, T. A., Salanti, G., Chaimani, A., Atkinson, L. Z., Ogawa, Y., … & Egger, M. (2018). Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. The Lancet.

Butler, A. C., Chapman, J. E., Forman, E. M., & Beck, A. T. (2006). The empirical status of cognitive-behavioral therapy: a review of meta-analyses. Clinical psychology review, 26(1), 17-31.

Berinsky, A., Druckman, J. N., & Yamamoto, T. (2017). Why Replications Do Not Fix the File Drawer Problem: A Model and Evidence from a Large-Scale Vignette Experiment.


Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Genetics: The Biological Context of Development, Human Development, Neuroscience.

Description: First let me explain the form of the title of this post. It is related to the amount of time I spent in the late 1970’s watching the Muppet Shop on TV. (Enough said, but if you actually want to understand the reference watch this ). OK to continue with the general theme for today of fixing what we thought we knew and/or what the media mis-states about psychological research, consider the “natural experiment” taking two identical twins and sending one of them into space on an extended mission while the other stayed on Earth and then comparing the expression of their genes when the one in space returns to Earth. Like a LOT of research done involving twins it is called a natural experiment because one of the twins was NOT sent into space for the sole purpose of seeing if the experienced changes his gene expression compared to that of his twin. Basically he was going into space anyway, because he is and astronaut, and NASA and other researchers thought to take advantage of that as an experimental opportunity (with no random assignment though, so it is really a natural quasi-experiment). Before reading the blog linked below that talk about this study and its coverage in NASA press releases and other news stories think about this claim: the twin who went into space came back with a DNA profile that was 7% different than that of his identical earth-bound twin brother. Now read the article.

Source: Twins in Space: Learning about space biology and science communication, Jaime Derringer, Why We Vary, Psychology Today.

Date: March 16, 2018

Photo Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Links:  Article Link –

OK so, hopefully you are now clear that a 7% difference in the DNA of the space twin compared to the earth twin, would mean that the space twin was no longer human and while that would not be a stretch if this a Star Trek episode it is really just not true. The difference between genes and gene expressions is the key to seeing what was wrong about the 7% change claim. Further, there is no control data to tell us how much expression change their might have been in the space twin if he had stayed in Earth with his brother instead of going into space. We need good foundational “earth” science before we can do sensible “space” science. We (Psychology) has actually figured out that making nature versus nurture statements is wrong headed and that really we need to think and talk in terms of nature and nurture as the Psychology Today blogger, Jaime Derringer makes clear but then, once in a while, a Star Trek plot-like research opportunity comes along and we get a little carried away. Psychological science does not have to stay on Earth, but it does need to keep its feet on the ground (of what we know about how things, like genes, work)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What did the early articles talking about the twin in space study get wrong?
  2. What HAD changed in the space twin compared to the earth twin?
  3. What is a natural experiment and what sorts of things do we need to keep in mind inf we are to deal appropriately with the results such studies produce?

References (Read Further):

The effect of  year in space: original article

The correction:

The NASA piece:

An overview of the media mess-up:

Rutter, M. (2007). Proceeding from observed correlation to causal inference: The use of natural experiments. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(4), 377-395.

McGue, M., Osler, M., & Christensen, K. (2010). Causal inference and observational research: The utility of twins. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(5), 546-556.



Posted by & filed under Group Processes, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology.

Description: You have, do doubt, encountered toxic people in your life. Even without labels, you know the sorts of things they do – manipulating social situations, taking advantage of others, particularly when the others are honest and humble, or currying favor with those in charge. In day-to-day life you can often simply walk away from such people and decide to not have any more to do with them, thus saving yourself the challenges of interacting with a toxic person (personality). But, in a workplace setting where the toxic person is in a position of authority within your organization, your options are more limited. And, how is it possible for someone with a toxic personality profile to end up in a position of authority, to have been promoted? Good question! Have you heard of the Dark Triad? (I have blogged about it previously). Within personality, the Dark Triad consists of a tendency to exploit others (Machiavellianism), little or no feeling or regard for others (psychopathy), and a strong drive to be the center of attention (narcissism). Quite a combination. Think about how someone with this lovely sort of personality trifecta might fare in organizational settings (how they would actually fare and not how you think they should deserve to fare) and then read the article linked below to see what research says about these matters.

Source: Why Toxic People Get Ahead: New research shows how toxic people manage to take charge and rise to the top. Susan Kruass Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.

Date: March 10, 2018

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Links:  Article Link –

It is perhaps a somewhat depressing set of results in that it seems that toxic people, high on the Dark Triad of traits, are able to utilize them as a form of political skill to move upwards in organizational settings. Honesty and humility ARE linked to rewards for team facilitation skills in organization settings, but this is an alternative pathway to advancement. Those high on the Dark Triad, the researchers suggest, possess a set of skills that, while not pretty, are sometime needed within organizations. Sometime difficult and even ruthless things need to be done and those who are equipped to take them on and accomplish them are rewarded with organizational standing. SO, as the researcher suggests, if you ARE honest and humble consider honing your political savvy and enter the impression management game. Or, became a consummate team player as that can be a road upward as well.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does the dark triad consist of?
  2. How do those scoring high of the Dark Triad traits succeed in organizational settings?
  3. Is this just inevitably the way things are in the world and in organizational setting or are there other ways that we might proceed?

References (Read Further):

Templer, K. J. (2018). Dark personality, job performance ratings, and the role of political skill: An indication of why toxic people may get ahead at work. Personality and Individual Differences, 124, 209-214.

Le, H., Oh, I. S., Robbins, S. B., Ilies, R., Holland, E., & Westrick, P. (2011). Too much of a good thing: Curvilinear relationships between personality traits and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(1), 113.

Spain, S. M., Harms, P., & LeBreton, J. M. (2014). The dark side of personality at work. Journal of organizational behavior, 35(S1).

Judge, T. A., LePine, J. A., & Rich, B. L. (2006). Loving yourself abundantly: relationship of the narcissistic personality to self-and other perceptions of workplace deviance, leadership, and task and contextual performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 762.,%20LePine,%20and%20Rich%20JAP%202006.pdf

Johnson, M. K., Rowatt, W. C., & Petrini, L. (2011). A new trait on the market: Honesty–Humility as a unique predictor of job performance ratings. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(6), 857-862.

Lee, K., Ashton, M. C., & de Vries, R. E. (2005). Predicting workplace delinquency and integrity with the HEXACO and five-factor models of personality structure. Human performance, 18(2), 179-197.

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Personality, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Student Success.

Description: Ok imagine you are trying to get to know someone – someone with whom you might form a long term intimate relationship. Forget running your own version of a reality TV show (The Bachelor or the Bachelorette) but what sort of data would you want to gather as you contemplate moving forward with the relationship? How would you go about getting the data? Well you can certainly make use of your Emotional Intelligence skills and, by observing how the other person behaves in day-to-to situations you can get a sense of their personality profile, their character, and many other things. But what about seeing how they behave under pressure and stress? You may not have an opportunity to observe them in such situations and it is perhaps a bit too manipulative (and could make you look a bit calculating) to engineer stressful situations just to see how the other person might respond. Ah, but what about an escape room? Haven’t heard of an escape room? Well imagine that a small group of friends or perhaps just a couple book time in a room where they will, under time pressure, have to solve puzzles, riddles and sort out some sort of mystery all in a diminishing time frame. What sort of data would THAT provide, and would it be useful? After you have pondered those two questions read the article linked below to see how this worked for a few couples.

Source: What escape rooms can teach you about relationships, Alexandra E. Petri, The Washington Post.

Date: March 2, 2018

Photo Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Links:  Article Link –

So, what do you think? Would an escape room experience provide you with valuable data early in a potential ling term relationship or perhaps it would just be fun or not. As far as I have seen escape rooms are not really being marketed this way but, who knows maybe that will be part of their ongoing market expansion. At the very least it potentially gets us thinking about the data that we routinely track as we get to now people and how that data informs us about their personality, their EQ, their character, and their strengths and their weaknesses. No wonder escape room ARE being marketed as organizational team building opportunities!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do day-to-day social situations and interactions tell you about people you are getting to know?
  2. Have you ever consciously taken note of how a new friend behaves in particular social situations (especially when their behaviour seems to tell you something about them you did not know before?
  3. Might there be a sort of “ethics” we should consider before we put our new friends to certain “tests”?

References (Read Further):

Shakeri, H., Singhal, S., Pan, R., Neustaedter, C., & Tang, A. (2017, October). Escaping Together: The Design and Evaluation of a Distributed Real-Life Escape Room. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 115-128). ACM.

Coffman-Wolph, S., Gray, K. M., & Pool, M. A. (2017). Design of a Virtual Escape Room for K-12 Supplemental Coursework and Problem Solving Skill Development.

Detwiler, S., Jacobson, T., & O’Brien, K. (2018). BreakoutEDU: Helping students break out of their comfort zones. College & Research Libraries News, 79(2), 62.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Schizophrenia, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population and while there are treatments that can be partially effective there is no real cure. An understanding of the origins of schizophrenia, of how it emerges, could move us towards earlier identification and could suggest new treatment avenues. As it has been discussed in our textbooks, schizophrenia is said to involve chemical changes in the brain and, over time, may also be associated with physical changes in the brain as well. An early speculative debate turned around whether the physical changes in the brain (loss of mass) occurred prior to the onset of observable symptoms or later, after the emergence of symptoms. The current view (see DeLisi et al, article in Further Reading below) is that the structural changes to the brain occur prior to the onset of symptoms. The article linked below talks about something that could contribute to this. Specifically, the line of research reported upon suggests that brain molecules tasked with supporting the development of the vascular system (shown in the interesting, if a bit creepy, photo below), or angiogenesis, in and around the head and brain my systematically under-function in those who have or go on to develop symptoms of schizophrenia. What might some of the implications of these finding be for the identification and treatment of schizophrenia? Well read the article linked below and find out.

Source: Looking for the origins of schizophrenia, D’Or Institute for Research and Education and ScienceDaily.

Date: February 22, 2018

Photo Credit:Julia Tomaszewski,

Links:  Article Link –  

When we consider schizophrenia in an introductory Psychology course we typically speak about the possible links between changes in neurochemical functioning in the brain (involving neurotransmitters) and the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, given the limits to the effectiveness of therapies aimed at adjusting the neurochemistry of those showing symptoms of schizophrenia it seems likely that this level of description will be insufficient. The study linked above suggests an interesting array of possibilities. If, for example, vascularization issues are part of the schizophrenia puzzle and differences can be seen in the angiogenic capacity of brain cells in those who do not yet show any symptoms of schizophrenia then an early detection opportunity may exist. It is not clear if this could also lead to an early treatment, but the possibilities are intriguing.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. In very general terms how might schizophrenia be viewed differently than other disorders like, say, depression?
  2. Why might issues in vascularization be important for a fuller understanding of the origins of mental disorders like schizophrenia?
  3. What might some of the treatment advantages be of very early identification of possible preconditions for the eventual emergence of symptoms of schizophrenia?

References (Read Further):

Bárbara S. Casas, Gabriela Vitória, Marcelo N. do Costa, Rodrigo Madeiro da Costa, Pablo Trindade, Renata Maciel, Nelson Navarrete, Stevens K. Rehen, Verónica Palma. hiPSC-derived neural stem cells from patients with schizophrenia induce an impaired angiogenesis. Translational Psychiatry, 2018; 8 (1)

DeLisi, L. E., Szulc, K. U., Bertisch, H. C., Majcher, M., & Brown, K. (2006). Understanding structural brain changes in schizophrenia. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 8(1), 71.

Dietsche, B., Kircher, T., & Falkenberg, I. (2017). Structural brain changes in schizophrenia at different stages of the illness: A selective review of longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging studies. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 51(5), 500-508.

Sigmundsson, T., Suckling, J., Maier, M., Williams, S. C., Bullmore, E. T., Greenwood, K. E., … & Toone, B. K. (2001). Structural abnormalities in frontal, temporal, and limbic regions and interconnecting white matter tracts in schizophrenic patients with prominent negative symptoms. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158(2), 234-243.


Posted by & filed under Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: The transition from high school to college or university can be easy or challenging. Those of you contemplating your own upcoming transitions to post-secondary settings may be wondering how it will go for you. The best predictor of post-secondary educational success in secondary educational success, or on other words, if you got good marks in high school the odds are good you will get good marks in college or university. But…..hearing that your odds are good or not so good (if your GPA is just going to get you in the door at a college or university) are really just statements about your likely standing in a normative distribution of other transitioners. What would be more encouraging, or more motivating if you need to change things to succeed, would be some insight into the personal characteristics you might have or that you could work on that will contribute to success in college or university. There are two things that make this sort of information useful.

First, there is a restricted range issue. Most people make it through high school but only those with suitably high GPA’s get to go to college or university. This means that by entering college or university you have left a lot of people behind (well, maybe better to say a lot of people made other career path decisions) and this means that you and your new college and university peers (all with good to great GPA’s) are going to re-sort yourselves into new distributions that will be determined by grades certainly but also by interests, choices, motivational drive, study skills, academic and personal commitment an engagement – many of which are not directly academic in nature. Figuring out how these other dimensions work and apply to you can be an important part of making a successful post-secondary transition.

Second, your shift to post-secondary settings is associated with your shift into a stage of emerging adulthood which will last from around 18 to 29 years of age and while this life stage has a lot of thing going on in it one of its biggest features is that in involves your taking up personal responsibility not just for the signs and symptoms of adulthood but for how you are taking up and getting engaged in the processes involved in becoming a functional adult member of your communities. It is more up to you now than at any previous point in development.

So, the article linked below talks about an array of non-academic factors that differentiate Thrivers (top 10% of academic performers in 1st year) from Divers (bottom 10% of academic performers in 1st year). The results are potentially quite useful. The article itself is a bit daunting, being 56 pages long but navigating it can help you develop research paper reading skills that will be of great assistance to you going forward. First, there is a LOT of detail in the paper regarding the data management strategies and statistical tests the researchers used in processing their data. These things are important in some contexts as they help us to evaluate the value of the data. However, if you just want to see what the researchers found that might be worth thinking about then you can set the technical sections aside for now. Read the introduction first (pages 1 through 4) then skip down into the results section (the part starting on the bottom of page 14) and read from there to the end of the article.  Oh, and before you start, think about what you believe might be some of the important non-academic things that students can do to increase the likelihood that they will move through first year as Thrivers rather than Divers. This will help you to see more clearly if there are thin gs in the paper that you can take away and apply usefully to your own situation!

Source: Beattie, Graham, Laliberte, Jean-William P., and Oreopoulos, Philip (2016) Thrivers and Divers: Using non-academic measures to predict college success and failure. Working Paper 22629 National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.

Date: March 4, 2018

Photo Credit: tes teach

Links:  Article Link –

I am hoping you found the article interesting and potentially useful. Avoiding procrastination, cultivating a conscientious outlook, showing patience about longer term outcomes and aiming to make societal contributions are all important. Their bottom line conclusion is important: “Overall, our findings suggest that effort (study hours), rather than conscientiousness

or patience, is the key predictor to an exceptionally successful transition to college.” Some good things to think about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are Thrivers different from Divers in terms of their academic performances?
  2. How are Thrivers different from Divers in terms of their non-academic performances?
  3. Are there any insights in this study that you feel are worth “taking away” and applying to your own circumstances? What are they and how do you see yourself acting upon them?

References (Read Further):

Dexter, L. R., Huff, K., Rudecki, M., & Abraham, S. (2018). College Students’ Stress Coping Behaviors and Perception of Stress-Effects Holistically. International Journal of Studies in Nursing, 3(2), 1.

Fromme, K., Corbin, W. R., & Kruse, M. I. (2008). Behavioral risks during the transition from high school to college. Developmental psychology, 44(5), 1497.

Bozick, R., & DeLuca, S. (2005). Better late than never? Delayed enrollment in the high school to college transition. Social Forces, 84(1), 531-554.

Hicks, T., & Heastie, S. (2008). High school to college transition: A profile of the stressors, physical and psychological health issues that affect the first-year on-campus college student. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 15(3), 143.


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Attitude Formation Change, Depression, Health Psychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Persuasion, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: One of the biggest challenges in dealing with depression in the population is getting those who are struggling with it to seek help. Efforts to set up screening systems for any psychological (or physical) health matter are potentially very costly and very difficult to design effectively (just think about two issues – false negatives, people with the problem who do not turn up on the screen test and so are missed and false positives, people who screen positive as having the condition but actually do not have it. Both of these errors come with costs that can be prohibitive and can essentially make screening too foggy to be useful. There ARE alternatives. The article linked below describes one such alternative. The project described is based on a peer-to-peer model where small numbers of high school students are trained and then lead a depression awareness campaign amongst their school peers and the results are encouraging. Before you read the article think a bit about what sorts of tings it might or should involve and a bit about how effective you think it might be AND about other issues that might benefit from a peer-to-peer approach.

Source: Teen-Led Depression Awareness Can Help Others Get Help, Janice Wood, PsycCentral.

Date: March 4, 2018

Photo Credit: The Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Program developed by the Univ. of Michigan

Links:  Article Link –

So, as you saw in the article the peer-to-peer program for depression awareness and action described in the article worked very well. In ways that reflect efforts to reduce mental illness stigma the peer-to-peer depression awareness program with its key points including identification od symptoms, asking for help, understanding depression’s immunity to willpower fixes, helper self-efficacy, and help seeking. The peer-to-peer approach is as much about challenging negative assumption as it is about outreach.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might a teen struggling with depression not seek help?
  2. How did the peer-to-peer approach to depression work?
  3. What are some other situations or issues that might benefit from a peer-to-per approach and where else might such approaches be useful outside of high schools?

References (Read Further):

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Depression. Retrieved from  on February 27, 2018.

Teen Depression Symptoms:

Peer-to-peer Depression Awareness Campaign: 2016-2017 school year.

Eysenbach, G., Powell, J., Englesakis, M., Rizo, C., & Stern, A. (2004). Health related virtual communities and electronic support groups: systematic review of the effects of online peer to peer interactions. Bmj, 328(7449), 1166.

Morris, R. R., Schueller, S. M., & Picard, R. W. (2015). Efficacy of a web-based, crowdsourced peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform for depression: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 17(3).

Ali, K., Farrer, L., Gulliver, A., & Griffiths, K. M. (2015). Online peer-to-peer support for young people with mental health problems: a systematic review. JMIR mental health, 2(2).

Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., … & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives of general psychiatry, 60(2), 184-189.

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, General Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Legal Ethical Issues, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: What makes a Psychology experiment a “classic”? Well perhaps that s too broad a question but, in truth, “classic” psychology experiments, even, or perhaps especially, the ones that would not get through an ethic panel review today can cause us to reflect upon some important issues and variables in our lives. Think about what seem to you to be a few of Psychology’ classic studies and think about what each might offer in the way of insights or reflection opportunities for managers and leaders in organizational settings. With those thoughts in mind have a look through the article linked below and see what its author came up with (and see if you agree with his analyses).

Source: What 5 Classic Psychological Experiments Can Teach Workplace Leaders, Ric Kelly, Leadership, Business Psychology,

Date: March 4, 2018

Photo Credit: Andrew Rich/Getty Images

Links:  Article Link –

The power of the situation and social roles (Zimbardo’s Prison Study), the power of expectation (Rosenthal and Jacobson’s Pygmalion Effect), making exercise options fun, the abandonment of personal moral judgement in situations, and seeing only what you focus upon ARE classic psychological studies and whether we apply their lessons to developing our leadership potential or just to trying to be better people they are well worth reflecting upon. How did your own choices and predictions as to leadership applicability fare?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Pick two of the classic studies noted in the article and explain what could be seen to make them “classic”.
  2. Pick one of the studies noted and explain how its results might apply to management or leadership development in organizations.
  3. What are one or two other classic studies that could have been mentioned and what might each have to say about leadership in organizations?

References (Read Further):

Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., & Platow, M. J. (2007). The new psychology of leadership. Scientific American Mind, 18(4), 22-29.

Vugt, M. V., & Ronay, R. (2014). The evolutionary psychology of leadership: Theory, review, and roadmap. Organizational Psychology Review, 4(1), 74-95.

Wang, C. S., & Thompson, L. L. (2006). The negative and positive psychology of leadership and group research. In Advances in Group Processes (pp. 31-61). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Burger, J. M. (2009). Replicating Milgram: Would people still obey today?. American Psychologist, 64(1), 1.

Zimbardo, P. G. (1973). On the ethics of intervention in human psychological research: With special reference to the Stanford prison experiment. Cognition,().

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Classification Diagnosis, Consciousness, Psychological Disorders, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, The Self.

Description: When you consider one or another of the array of disorders you may have been presented in the Abnormal Psychology section of an Introductory Psychology course or in an Abnormal Psychology course it is easy to step back and take a broad perspective on the population of individuals who at some point meet the diagnostic criteria for a given disorder. This broad perspective is amenable to questions about incidence, prevalence, and slightly more focused questions about the relative distribution of particular symptoms or disorder trajectories across the population of those diagnosed with the disorder. What is most often NOT a part of such considerations of disorders is the lived experience of the individuals diagnosed with the disorder, that is, of what it is actually like to have the disorder. Such considerations would include BOTH an inside portrayal of the disorder AND an account of the social consequences of having the disorder (how others treat you or react to you). All of this is necessary if we are to properly understand both disorders AND their individual and social challenges and consequences. The article linked below discusses an interview with the author of a book on his experiences living with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that can involve sudden, unexpected bouts of sleep during one’s otherwise waking hours. Henry Nicholl’s book Sleepy Head describes his experiences with the disorder and with the reactions of other people to him as well. Think a bit about what such an account might include and then read the article linked below thinking about how, what he has to say might apply to people with other mental illness diagnoses.

Source: Narcolepsy isn’t funny – living with a sleep disorder, Amelia Hill, Sleep, Self and Wellbeing, The Guardian.

Date: February 25, 2018

Photo Credit: Henry Nicolls Illustration: Andrea De Santos/Observer

Links:  Article Link –

Nicholl’s account of his life with his diagnosis of narcolepsy is eye-opening both in terms of its phenomenological narrative and its accounting of social reactions to him and his disorder. His point about sleep disorders being more “usual” than typically understood is also a good one. Our understanding of mental disorders will not be complete until we have also understood and come to terms with our social reactions to them and to the people who are diagnosed with them. Terms like stigma involve a kind of tyranny of the normal and the normative that is grounded in a deeply held position that being average, normal, or “well” is the limited proper reference point for considering anyone who is an outlier, atypical, unwell or ill. We have a long way to go to sort this out but sort it out we must.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Looking through the article what are some of the ways Nicholls experienced issues of stigma in relation to narcolepsy?
  2. How do issues of stigma related to things beyond issues of mental illness or wellness?
  3. What are some other examples of the tyranny of the normative ?

References (Read Further):

Nicholls, Henry (2018) Sleepyhead: Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night, Profile Books. See also

Kornum, B. R., Knudsen, S., Ollila, H. M., Pizza, F., Jennum, P. J., Dauvilliers, Y., & Overeem, S. (2017). narcolepsy. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 3, 16100.

Ho, R. T., Potash, J. S., Ho, A. H., Ho, V. F., & Chen, E. Y. (2017). Reducing mental illness stigma and fostering empathic citizenship: Community arts collaborative approach. Social Work in Mental Health, 15(4), 469-485.

Tucker, S. E. (2017). Stigma of mental illness and multicultural counseling self-efficacy: investigating the implications of the multicultural training environment, mental health literacy, and empathy.

Patterson, P., & Sextou, P. (2017). ‘Trapped in the labyrinth’: exploring mental illness through devised theatrical performance. Medical humanities, 43(2), 86-91.

Roe, D., Corrigan, P., & Link, B. G. (2017). Mental Health Stigma: so much progress and yet a long way to go-Introduction to special issue on stigma. The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences, 54(1), 3-5.