Posted by & filed under Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Motivation-Emotion, Student Success.

Description: Do you know what Advanced Placement exams are? High school students can study or take courses on advanced (beyond high school) topics and then, in May, write an exam in their chosen topic area and if they score high enough they can be granted an advanced standing that most colleges and universities will redeem for credit for a post-secondary course so the students can move to higher level courses quicker and perhaps graduate more quickly as well. In addition, beyond the leg-up in their chosen AP course subject area, students who take AP courses my also obtain a boost in their developmental readiness and their academic preparedness for their coming transitions to post-secondary lives and endeavors. So with this background information in mind do you think that particular AP courses or course topics might do a better job in these areas of post-secondary readiness and preparedness? Well, the College Board is an organization that works with all post-secondary education institutions. It maintains and administers all AP courses and exams and it also manages the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and related selection tests. Because the College Board is supported by its affiliations with post-secondary education institutions it can, and does, amass huge amounts of longitudinal data looking at things like SAT scores, who takes which AP courses/exams AND how well do they all do once they engage in post-secondary studies? So, the College Board asked the question about which AP courses/exams most contributed to post-secondary success and what do you think those two courses/exams were focused on? Well, have a guess or two and then read the article linked below to find out what the data says. Oh, and do not get captured by the American context of College Boards analysis of their data. Instead, think about what the results might suggest if they are viewed within a more general context that the United States

Source: The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know, Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times.

Date: February 12, 2019

Photo Credit: Sarah Blesener for the New York Times

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/opinion/college-board-sat-ap.html

A large part of what makes the world and the future that students are looking towards as they make their post-secondary transitions are the complexities and uncertainties associated with the challenge of figuring out what to do, where to get and how to get there. What the AP courses that the College Board data suggests are of most assistance in the process of post-secondary transition share is that they shed some light on the complexities and they offer means to address some of the uncertainties associated with the emerging adults’ challenge of charting their own path in to the future these days. It is not so much the “codes” themselves that are of value but, rather, the understanding of what the codes do and how they came about that are of value. So understanding how building an app linked to an area of personal interest, curiosity, and creativity could provide a clearer view on the future through the informational/virtual realities we are moving towards could certainly be encouraging and empowering. As well, understanding the need for more, complex rather than fewer, simpler social engagements as students try and figure out what their own and their communities’ futures will be like could also be very helpful. So now all we have to do is to figure out how to provide these sorts of experiences to ALL high school students in ways that are more general and pervasive that American AP courses and exams.

 

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might learning how to code and develop App relevant to your own interests and curiosities be good for you?
  2. How might we generalize what focusing on the development of the US constitution can provide to high school students and emerging adults beyond the American Constitution?
  3. AP courses are typically viewed as something that academically “high flying” students do. How might we approach what the linked article suggests more generally in order to provide something of the suggested experience to most rather than just to a relative few students?

References (Read Further):

Côté, J. E. (2002). The role of identity capital in the transition to adulthood: The individualization thesis examined. Journal of youth studies, 5(2), 117-134. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James_Cote/publication/233264246_The_Role_of_Identity_Capital_in_the_Transition_to_Adulthood_The_Individualization_Thesis_Examined/links/0c96052519c1fca3ec000000.pdf

Johnson, E. A., & Nozick, K. J. (2011). Personality, adjustment, and identity style influences on stability in identity and self-concept during the transition to university. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 11(1), 25-46. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7097/3bd43c250e89bf58f8ef48e68f94c25ed55f.pdf

Berzonsky, M. D., & Kuk, L. S. (2000). Identity status, identity processing style, and the transition to university. Journal of adolescent research, 15(1), 81-98. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Berzonsky/publication/247721460_Identity_Status_Identity_Processing_Style_and_the_Transition_to_University/links/578548f508aec5c2e4e11c3c/Identity-Status-Identity-Processing-Style-and-the-Transition-to-University.pdf

Phillips, T. M., & Pittman, J. F. (2007). Adolescent psychological well-being by identity style. Journal of Adolescence, 30(6), 1021-1034. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tommy_Phillips/publication/6366033_Adolescent_psychological_well-being_by_identity_style/links/59f0e513a6fdcc1dc7b8f286/Adolescent-psychological-well-being-by-identity-style.pdf

Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Physical Illness, Physiology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Not feeling well? Perhaps a good night’s sleep is just what you need. Even if you believe this to be true do you know why it is true? What is actually going on at the cellular level in our immune system while rest and recover? No idea? Well, have a read through the article linked below to see what a recent study is suggesting about what sleep does for us and what the costs of sleep deprivation could involve at the cellular level.

Source: New Study Pinpoints Why Sleep is Often the Best Medicine Chris Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today.

Date: February 12, 2019

Photo Credit: Dimitrov et al, 2019

 Article Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-athletes-way/201902/new-study-pinpoints-why-sleep-is-often-the-best-medicine

Rather than just being interesting in terms of what is going on in our immune system at a microscopic level the article linked above points in two directions. It certainly suggests a line of inquiry and potential development that could postnatally lead to treatment strategies that involve nudging and supporting the natural actions of the immune system. In addition, however, the article also shows that research and development work done at the cellular level can actually support the sorts of folksy, holistic examples of health advice captures by the Irish saying quoted in the article: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are “T cells” and what role do they play in the functioning of our immune system?
  2. What do sleep, and sleep deprivation, do to our sleep cells?
  3. How might old sayings be of assistance in guiding our research at the cellular level?

References (Read Further):

Dimitrov, S., Lange, T., Gouttefangeas, C., Jensen, A. T., Szczepanski, M., Lehnnolz, J., … & Besedovsky, L. (2019). Gαs-coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine, jem-20181169.

Sakaguchi, S., Yamaguchi, T., Nomura, T., & Ono, M. (2008). Regulatory T cells and immune tolerance. Cell, 133(5), 775-787. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867408006247

Kamdar, B. B., Needham, D. M., & Collop, N. A. (2012). Sleep deprivation in critical illness: its role in physical and psychological recovery. Journal of intensive care medicine, 27(2), 97-111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299928/

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Depression, Emerging Adulthood, General Psychology, Human Development, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: The article linked below is important and potentially interesting on three levels. First, if you are currently an undergraduate student somewhere then it is important because it may be directly relevant to you or to a friend close to you. Second, It is important because it shines light onto and asks important questions about a potential crisis in mental health care involving emerging adults attending post-secondary education institutions across the country. Third, it poses but only hints at possible directions we might search for answers to the important questions of where this issues came from, whether it is new or just new to our awareness and what social, developmental, and historical factors might we consider as we try to get a handle of just what is going on. Here is the “tag line:” Alarming numbers (more than before) of undergraduate students are seeking assistance at campus mental health centers across the country for issues relating to anxiety, stress, and depression and many are presenting with complex combinations of mental health issues and campus wellness centers are struggling to address the needs for assistance. So, think for a moment about which of the three levels of potential interest in this article may apply to you (perhaps all three) and then give it a read.

Source: As more students seek mental health care, they face long waits – or pay out of pocket – as universities struggle with demand, Victoria Gibson, The Globe and Mail.

Date: February 14, 2019

Photo Credit: Jackie Dives/The Globe and Mail

Article Link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-faced-with-long-waits-for-mental-health-care-students-and/

So, the questions you likely have in mind after reading the article linked above will vary depending upon which, or how many, of the three levels of interest/analysis noted above apply to you. If it applies directly to you or to someone you know then it describes the challenges being encountered by you in trying to obtain access to stable and reliable supports. If you are wondering where this issue came from you likely did not find much in the article to help you get traction on beginning to answer your questions. Has the incidence of mental health issues increased among undergraduate students recently or has it only seemed to do so as the result of the success of recent efforts to reduce the stigma historically associated with mental health issues? In either case the issues of the challenges to access to services and support remain but if there has been an increase then what sorts of social and psychological events and forces are at play in causing that to occur? Possible lines of thought and inquiry were hinted at in the article but not developed. If you search emerging adulthood on this blog site you will see a number of possible lines of investigation.  My own view is that this is one of the most important areas currently in need of developmental inquiry to come along in quite a while. Instead of asking versions of questions like “what is wrong with post-secondary students these days” we need to try to understand the social, historical, and (developmental) psychological forces involved in producing this situation AND, regardless, we need to figure out how to fund and make available sufficient treatment and support resources that the current crisis of access to mental health care among emerging adults goes away while we are trying to figure out where it came from.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are more students (than 10 or 20 years ago) in need of assistance for mental health issues or has the number feeling able to seek assistance increased due to other factors?
  2. What social, historical, and developmental-psychological areas should we be looking in for possible answers to some of the questions raised by the article linked above?
  3. What legislative e or social policy changes might we consider in order to address this issue?

References (Read Further):

Hussain, R., Guppy, M., Robertson, S., & Temple, E. (2013). Physical and mental health perspectives of first year undergraduate rural university students. BMC public health, 13(1), 848. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-13-848

Twenge, J. M., Martin, G. N., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technology.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8a74/241e6329e14b22f9586dec9261079cdc52cf.pdf

Lukianoff, G., & Haidt, J. (2015). The coddling of the American mind. The Atlantic, 316(2), 42-52. http://lisaboyd.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/101779978/The%20Coddling%20of%20the%20American%20Mind.pdf

Posted by & filed under Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Motivation-Emotion, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: I have posted a number of times on a related cluster of topics including: Identity Development, Life Planning, and Emerging Adulthood (you can search these terms on this site to see the posts). The topics in this cluster reflect the developmental task or moment that is at play through that life phase — figuring out what you are going to do, what you are going to believe and how you are going to live your life. There are many ways to look at how young people are managing this task. We can assess their Identity Style, we can look at their stress/anxiety levels as they negotiate the transition from high school to post-secondary pursuits and we can look at population data that tells us a bit about how emerging adults (18 to 25 or 29 years of age) are doing “these days” as opposed to how previous generations managed this transition. All of this is wonderfully descriptive but if you happen to be in the middle of this and are trying to figure out what you can do to feel like things are moving forward positively for you and the anxiety you are experiencing is, or may soon, abate then what you likely want to know is what you can DO. A good place to start is to begin by understanding that your developmental task right now is to determine what your life purpose is – what your Ikigai is (you can search that term on this site too). Yah, I know, even that is rather vague and unhelpful isn’t it. Ok how about this as a sort of ‘fake it until you make it’ strategy – set some goals and get going on them. The idea is that if set some goals and get going on them your life purpose will slowly become clearer to you as you move along. That is the is the huge paradox of this developmental stage – if you believe you have to know exactly where you are going to end up before you get started you will go nowhere. So, the article linked below does not try to answer these sorts of big existential questions it just tells you about what research has to say about what works and what does not work in relation to setting goals, working towards goals and attaining goals. It is very practical advice that could be just what you need to get going. Give it a read — life purpose and lower stress and anxiety levels await!

Source: Five tips to help year 12 students set better goals in the final year of school, Joanne Dickson, The Conversation.

Date: January 30, 2019

Photo Credit: www.pembinanorthcommunityschool.ca

Article Link: https://theconversation.com/five-tips-to-help-year-12-students-set-better-goals-in-the-final-year-of-school-109954

There is a sort of ‘Just do it’ quality to the suggestions offered in the linked article but if you found yourself wondering why or how one or the other of the suggestions offered might work you can follow the link in the article and see the research studies that support the suggested goal setting and working strategies. Through those links you can see that setting goals and working towards them are just what you need now developmentally. If the goals you set are truly yours (and not what you think you should do), are specifically worded (rather than simple aspirational statements like work harder or bee smarter), and if you are somewhat flexible as to exactly what your goals require or involve (so you can balance your various goals and current realties and make adjustments as needed or as things change nor as further opportunities open up) you will be getting somewhere. Don’t think of the goal setting process as aiming and pulling a trigger but rather think of it as a design project (search Life Design on this site) in which you are going to start with a possible goal and you are going to build or try out a number of prototypes and you are going to pay close attention to how those prototypes work (how they feel, what they show you about yourself and where you are and where you could go) and you will find a sense of purpose and direction building for you not because you are wishing for it but because you are working on, on purpose.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is it helpful to spend time working on setting goals as you enter or prepare to enter the stage of emerging adulthood?
  2. What are some of the characteristics of good (life purpose generating) goals as opposed to self-defeating goals?
  3. What are some of the psychological theories and concepts that underly good goal setting or that help us to understand just what good goal setting involves (e.g., Internal Locus of Control)?

References (Read Further):

Dickson, J. M., Johnson, S., Huntley, C. D., Peckham, A., & Taylor, P. J. (2017). An integrative study of motivation and goal regulation processes in subclinical anxiety, depression and hypomania. Psychiatry research, 256, 6-12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178116318108

Winch, A., Moberly, N. J., & Dickson, J. M. (2015). Unique associations between anxiety, depression and motives for approach and avoidance goal pursuit. Cognition and Emotion, 29(7), 1295-1305. https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/18758/Winch%20et%20al%20CE%202015%20FINAL.docx?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Watkins, E. (2011). Dysregulation in level of goal and action identification across psychological disorders. Clinical psychology review, 31(2), 260-278. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735810000905

Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Schulz, R. (2003). The importance of goal disengagement in adaptive self-regulation: When giving up is beneficial. Self and Identity, 2(1), 1-20. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carsten_Wrosch/publication/233264292_The_Importance_of_Goal_Disengagement_in_Adaptive_Self-Regulation_When_Giving_Up_is_Beneficial/links/0c960533315df7b28c000000/The-Importance-of-Goal-Disengagement-in-Adaptive-Self-Regulation-When-Giving-Up-is-Beneficial.pdf

Schmuck, P. E., & Sheldon, K. M. (2001). Life goals and well-being: Towards a positive psychology of human striving. Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Consciousness, Gender-Role Development Sex Differences, Motivation-Emotion, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Student Success, The Self.

Description: In a post earlier today, I asked readers to consider the individual focus of much of the theory and research in Western Psychology. The article linked below is not a part of that core perspective and provide an alternative way to view and to research issues of gender education, socialization, and science. Before reading the article think about which of the following two approaches would be more likely to increase girls’ interest in science and the possibility that they will see it as a viable direction of study and work for themselves. You invite students to try some scientific tasks by saying either “Let’s be scientists! Scientists explore the world and discover new things!” or “Let’s do science! Doing science means exploring the world and discovering new things!” Would these slightly different invitations make a difference in terms of how girls respond and if you think it might, why do you think that might be? Once you have thought about your answers have read through the article linked below to see what the researchers found.

Source: Girls are More Engaged When They’re “Doing Science” Rather Than “Being Scientists”, Latest Research News, Association for Psychological Science.

Date: February 6, 2019

Photo Credit: Association for Psychological Science.

 Article Link: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/doing-science-increases-girls-engagement.html

So, we could look at the findings reported in the linked article as reflections of different individual choices, by girls, depending upon the nature of the invitation they were offered to an opposition to engage in science tasks. However, if we want to understand why one invitation seemed to work better than the other, we need to step back and think about the social, cultural, and historical forces that gave rise to the stereotypes about girls, women, and science. “Being scientists” invokes stereotypes (of scientists as largely male) where as “Doing science” does not (at least to the same extent), making then activities of doing science more equitably available to girls and boys. The outcomes change for individuals, but they also shift the assumptions that arise from historic stereotypes so that they are not as developmentally influential with the results, potentially, being greater gender equality by the social forces that influence individual choices.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do fewer girls than boys show interest in and pursue science as a line of study and as a career path?
  2. What are the differences behind the two wordings of the science invitations discussed in the article?
  3. How can we balance social/historical influences and individual choices when we are trying to provide equal opportunities for girls and boys in science education/career pathways?

References (Read Further):

Rhodes, M., Leslie, S. J., Yee, K. M., & Saunders, K. (2018). Subtle Linguistic Cues Increase Girls’ Engagement in Science. Psychological Science, 0956797618823670. https://osf.io/p8f7w/

Brotman, J. S., & Moore, F. M. (2008). Girls and science: A review of four themes in the science education literature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching: The Official Journal of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 45(9), 971-1002. http://www.academia.edu/download/43625685/Girls_and_science_A_review_of_four_theme20160311-28917-kr6utd.pdf

Brickhouse, N. W., Lowery, P., & Schultz, K. (2000). What kind of a girl does science? The construction of school science identities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching: The Official Journal of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 37(5), 441-458. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f9ed/cd99423749b9936d3a749d47db52005cde8d.pdf \

Calabrese Barton, A., Kang, H., Tan, E., O’Neill, T. B., Bautista-Guerra, J., & Brecklin, C. (2013). Crafting a future in science: Tracing middle school girls’ identity work over time and space. American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 37-75. http://invincibility.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/AERJ-2012.IdT_.pdf

Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2012). “Balancing acts”: Elementary school girls’ negotiations of femininity, achievement, and science. Science Education, 96(6), 967-989. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.950.1315&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Child Development, Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Gender-Role Development Sex Differences, Group Processes, Human Development, Social Influence, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Psychology has a recurrent problem. Well, perhaps, it may be better to say that western (North American) Psychology, despite its commitment to empiricism and scientific objectivity, is a product of its culture. Try this thought on for size: Western Psychology strongly prefers to see the individual (singular person) as its unit of analysis. One person, one brain, acting in multiple contexts but essentially being the core of causality for explanations of how and why things work out the way they do for them. When Psychologists group people together for research and explanatory purposes they typically do so in terms of individual characteristics such as gender or age, etc. In so doing, Psychological theories and research generally stick close to explanations that can be understood to apply at the individual level in the form of choices or strategies made or taken up by individuals. Social forces, being external to individuals are seen as secondarily casual compared to individual choices or strategies – they can influence the choices that individuals make and even play a role in shaping development as a result, but individuals are favoured over social forces in Psychological theories. Does that make any sense to you? Well, regardless of your answer, but especially if you said “No” keep what I have written above in mind as you read the article linked below. It is, as its title suggests, asking why girls generally outperform boys in school and yet are outperformed by boys in the work world. Read it and see parts of it resonant with my opening statement above. Oh, and before you put it down have a look though a few of the over 1000 comments (within only 2 days after it was published online) that have been posted and linked to the article

Source: Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office, Lisa Damour, Opinion, The New York Times.

Date: February 7, 2019

Photo Credit: Wenting Li, The New York Times.

 Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/sunday/girls-school-confidence.html

So, what do you think after reading the article and perhaps having read a few comments from other readers? At the individual level, the article is a cogent account of distinct strategies typically chosen and deployed by girls and boys as they move through the school system and of the consequences of those choices and strategies once young women and men finish their formal education and head into the work world. However, that approach seems to lead to an explanation of gendered related issues in the workplace as due to the particular choices and strategies developed by girls and boys while in school. Does that seem right (or fair…. or ethical) to you? The reader comments offer a broad array of additional or even alternate theoretic/explanatory possibilities, which include concern over the “gender only” nature of the article’s focus (how about race?), and the apparent lack of consideration of socio-cultural and historical forces involving versions of male dominance or patriarchy. What to do? Well the parts of the article that speculated about what one (clinical psychologists or parents – the author is both) could do, or could help their daughters to do, provides a Psychology version of the Think Globally – Act Locally aphorism that reminds us that lives are lived individually. However, if we (if Psychology) stay(s) at the individual level we miss out on understanding and describing the individual impacts of some powerful social forces.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does the author of the article linked above describe as the differences between boys and girls in terms of how they approach school work?
  2. What does the author of the article linked above see as the impacts of these school strategies on how men and women manage in the work world?
  3. If we want to raise our vision up from the individual level of analysis in relation to the situations and questions discussed in the article linked above what else might or should we consider and are these simply additional variables or could they change the way we think about individual choices and individual development?

References (Read Further):

Fortin, N. M., Oreopoulos, P., & Phipps, S. (2015). Leaving boys behind gender disparities in high academic achievement. Journal of Human Resources, 50(3), 549-579. http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/50/3/549.full.pdf

Shipman, C. and Kay, K. (2014)  The Confidence Gap, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/the-confidence-gap/359815/

Kling, K. C., Noftle, E. E., & Robins, R. W. (2013). Why do standardized tests underpredict women’s academic performance? The role of conscientiousness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(5), 600-606. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Erik_Noftle/publication/258189743_Why_Do_Standardized_Tests_Underpredict_Women’s_Academic_Performance_The_Role_of_Conscientiousness/links/0c9605388de5299eea000000/Why-Do-Standardized-Tests-Underpredict-Womens-Academic-Performance-The-Role-of-Conscientiousness.pdf

Kim, U., Yang, K. S., & Hwang, K. K. (2006). Contributions to indigenous and cultural psychology. In Indigenous and Cultural Psychology (pp. 3-25). Springer, Boston, MA.

http://indigenouspsych.org/Resources/Indigenous%20and%20Cultural%20Psychology%20-%20Understanding%20People%20in%20Context.pdf#page=24

Becker, D., & Marecek, J. (2008). Dreaming the American dream: Individualism and positive psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(5), 1767-1780. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2008.00139.x

Oyserman, D., Coon, H. M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological bulletin, 128(1), 3. https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/89926/oysermancoonkemmelmeier2002.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Description: You would have to have been under a non-internet enabled rock lately to have missed the rising tide of concern about the extent of smartphone use, social media use, and screen time in general. We though concern over television use was a big deal 30 to 40 years ago but that looks positively rural compared to today’s screen time concerns. So here is a simple (not really) question. What is it about screen time that we should be concerned about? The fact that screen time is associated with developmental delays is not to be taken lightly but is it going to be a simple thing like that which we eventually came to with television — that time spent watching TV was time spent not doing other things (that were better for you). So, what is it about screen time these days we should be worried about both for our children and for ourselves?

Source: What we talk about when we talk about excessive screen time, Mark Kingwell, Opinion, Special to The Globe and Mail. And Study Links excessive screen time to developmental delays in children, Wency Leung, Health, The Globe and Mail.

Date: February 2, 2019 and January 28, 2019

Photo Credit: parents.com ShutterStock

Article Link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-excessive-screen-time/  and https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-excessive-screen-time-could-play-role-in-development-delays-in/

So, what are you thinking now about screen time?  The second article linked above appropriately suggests a version of the “time away from stuff that is better for you developmentally” hypothesis and that makes a lot of sense. The task that remains, however, is the big one – figuring out just what is being under done developmentally due to screen time totals. The first article linked above is somewhat more speculative in nature, but it is looking directly at this question of what is being missed. The existential hypothesis being explored is potentially quite a rich one (in my humble opinion). When we are bored we turn to screens to interest and engage us and screens these days do that very very well. But what is the boredom we experience is actually ‘pseudo boredom’? Plain old boredom is what we experience when we have nothing to do other than the same old same old. Pseudo boredom is what we experience when a parent of our basic situation of the moment directly or essentially tells us to “find something to do.” THAT is an important existential developmental ‘what-are-you-going-to-DO-about-it’ moment. As the author of the second linked article puts it in closing … “ Screen or no screen, you are still an individual, for now. Maybe your looming boredom is worth exploring rather than feeling.” Think about that, with your brain and no screens.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is screen time?
  2. What is the relationship (possible) between screen time and development?
  3. How might screen time be an existential developmental issue?

References (Read Further):

Madigan, S., Browne, D., Racine, N., Mori, C., & Tough, S. (2019). Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test. JAMA Pediatrics. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2722666?guestAccessKey=879c6c87-141e-48f8-8c95-4d684600a644

Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (2019) The health impacts of screen time: a guide for clinicians and parents, https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2018-12/rcpch_screen_time_guide_-_final.pdf

Magee, C. A., Lee, J. K., & Vella, S. A. (2014). Bidirectional relationships between sleep duration and screen time in early childhood. JAMA pediatrics, 168(5), 465-470. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1838348

Maras, D., Flament, M. F., Murray, M., Buchholz, A., Henderson, K. A., Obeid, N., & Goldfield, G. S. (2015). Screen time is associated with depression and anxiety in Canadian youth. Preventive medicine, 73, 133-138.

Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17. https://www.healthypima.com/s/suicidio2167702617723376-4tcn.pdf

 

Posted by & filed under Aging Psychological Disorders, Aging-Psychological Disorders, Clinical Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, Psychophysical Disorders Health Psychology.

Description: Imagine you are a biochemist and you have been working on finding substances that could be used against the two main toxic proteins involved in Alzheimer’s, amyloid beta and tau. Further imagine that you have found a substance that seems to do what you want, at least when tested on the proteins in petri dishes. You get approval for human trials, but you are disappointed with the results as the substance does not seems to produce the results you hoped. You hypothesize that perhaps the substance is not getting to the targeted areas in the brain in sufficient qualities so you up the dosage and see some improvement but still not what you hoped. Direct injection into the brain is not a safe option so, what do you do? Well, read the article linked below to see what some researchers at the University of Toronto are trying.

Source: Trial Tests use of focused ultrasound on Alzheimer’s, Wency Leung, Health Reporter, The Globe and Mail.

Date: February 2, 2019

Photo Credit: Verywellhealth.com GSO Images/Getty Images

Article Link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-toronto-researchers-look-at-new-approach-for-treating-alzheimers/

The blood-brain barrier makes it difficult to get more than small quantities of potential therapeutic substances in to specific locations in the brain where they might help. Increasing dosage often brings unwanted side effects and so other delivery models are needed. Targeting specific areas of the brain such as the motor control brain regions of Parkinson patients is another example of a deliver problem. Direct into the brain injections do not work for ongoing treatment and substances taken by pill or IV cannot be steered to where they are needed. The ultrasound technique discussed in the linked article provides a means of increasing the delivery of therapeutic substances in to fairly specific brain regions and may give some of the new Alzheimer’s treatments a significant boost. Sometimes it is not that we need a treatment but rather a way to deliver it effectively.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What was the problem that focused ultrasound may be a solution for?
  2. How does focused ultrasound work?
  3. What are some other examples of treatment delivery issues?

References (Read Further):

Summers, W. K. (2006). Tacrine, and Alzheimer’s treatments. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 9(s3), 439-445. http://www.academia.edu/download/37437403/2006_JAD_tacrine_20yr_later.pdf

Yiannopoulou, K. G., & Papageorgiou, S. G. (2013). Current and future treatments fo r Alzheimer’s disease. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders, 6(1), 19-33.  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1756285612461679

Galimberti, D., & Scarpini, E. (2011). Disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders, 4(4), 203-216. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1756285611404470

Dunnett, S. B., & Björklund, A. (1999). Prospects for new restorative and neuroprotective treatments in Parkinson’s disease. Nature, 399(Supplementary), A32.  http://azolla.fc.ul.pt/aulas/BiologiaCelular/docs/Parkinson.pdf

Hauser, R. A. (2011). Future treatments for Parkinson’s disease: surfing the PD pipeline. International Journal of Neuroscience, 121(sup2), 53-62. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/00207454.2011.620195

Sacks, O. (1983). The origin of” Awakenings”. British medical journal (Clinical research ed.), 287(6409), 1968. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1550182/pdf/bmjcred00586-0068.pdf

Sacks, O. (2010). Awakenings Revisited. Sacred Heart University Review, 12(1), 2. http://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=shureview

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Consciousness, Development of the Self, Early Social and Emotional development, Emerging Adulthood, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, The Self.

Description: If you are currently in high school, college or university, or any other post-secondary educational/training setting you undoubtably regularly spend time wondering what the job market will look like when you complete your education and wonder what potential employers will want to see in you when you engage with them in search of employment. Well, in relation to those questions there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that the nature of work is shifting as things like globalization and automation change what will be available in the way of work when you graduate. In addition, employers and recruiters are saying that they are looking for more that what you are currently learning through the curricula in the courses you are taking. So, this bad news may be a bit chilling, but it need not be. The good news is that while automation and globalization are changing work options, they are not eliminating them and second, there has really never been a simple one-to-one relationship between college/university curricula and desired job skills and even when there is it is short-lived with what you learn in school becoming outdated in only a few years. Ok well that does not sound like good news really does it but what IS good about it is that it will help you get focused upon what you can be doing NOW to prepare yourself for getting a good job when you graduate. A good place to start is with what recruiters ARE looking for. Read through the article linked below (there are other ‘takes’ on the same theme at the second link below) and then think a bit about how you might go about acquiring the skills recruiters say they are looking for.

Source: Employers Want ‘Uniquely Human Skills’, Dian Schaffhauser, Research, Campus Technology.

Date: January 17, 2019

Photo Credit: Campus Technology.com

 Article Link: https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/01/17/employers-want-uniquely-human-skills.aspx  Alternative versions can be reviewed here: http://simplysuccess.com/soft-skills-evidence/

So, what do you think about the list of skills hiring managers are looking for these days? Are there opportunities in your current educational setting and experiences for you to acquire some or all of the things on that list? Well if you just think about the contents of your courses as listed on your course outlines and in your textbooks, you are likely not seeing many or any connections (unless you are taking a course in Industrial/Organizational Psychology). However, there ARE ways to turn that bad news into good news. First, consider the parts of the list that reflect what are generally referred to as ‘soft skills’ and including “the ability to listen, attention to detail and attentiveness, effective communication, and strong interpersonal abilities.” We call them soft skills because they are typically thought of as things that people are either inherently good at or that they pick up along the way. There is some truth to this characterization as soft skills or social/emotional understanding, insight and competence are built up developmentally as we grow and as we are socialized by our parents, teachers, peers, and other sociocultural involvements. Now that might sound like you either have soft skills or you do not have social skills and if you do not it is someone else’s fault, BUT, another aspect of development that is important for you to know about is that through adolescence (teenaged years) and emerging adulthood (18 to 25 or 29 years of age) you have been developing general higher order thinking skills that, if you notice them and work on them, help you to see some of the bigger picture of how the world around you works what and your possible places in it and pathways through it might involve. This higher order thinking can help you to understand that you are not simply finding things like knowledge, abilities or career prospects in the world but, rather, that you are creating them. Another way to say this is that you are beginning to see ways in which you can move beyond living reactively by taking up what comes by, and instead live with conscious purpose and chart your own way forward.

What does all that have to do with soft skills? Well, if you dig in and see what psychology has to say about emotional intelligence or EQ you will see that soft skills can be seen, understood, and learned. You can take advantage, for example, of any group projects you are assigned in your courses to hone your own soft skills and to see them (or their lack) in others. If you do that you will gain some insights and acquire some examples of your own soft skill that you can use in your future job interviews because teamwork skills are at the very top of most recruiters’ lists (and they are made up entirely of EQ/soft skills that you can develop).

As to the other things in the list, well, critical thinking is much more than just being crusty and negative. Critical thinking is a strong manifestation of the higher order thinking you are developing. It involves going beyond the obvious facts of a situation looking at how the facts are put together and at whether looking at them from other perspective might suggest other courses of action. “Being able to keep learning” or what is typically referred to as lifelong learning does not mean that you should stay in school forever. What is means, and why it is in the list with the soft skills, is that it too reflects the development of higher order thinking which allows you to understand that the facts and understandings of today may not apply to the situations of tomorrow or next year or may not be the facts we once though they were and if you can get your head around a corner of THAT then you can start to see that you should not simply keep on learning but SHOULD keep on thinking, reflecting, and living on purpose. “How to” manuals for these sorts of DIY (Do It Yourself) projects are hard to find but if you read a bit about the developmental stage of emerging adulthood (search the term and its developer JJ. Arnett) you can start to see that there is nothing soft about all of these developmental skills they are important parts of life these days. If you do you will begin to see the huge number of opportunities you have around you to develop and practice the higher order thinking and the soft skills that will give you lots to talk about with recruiters when you head out looking for work.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are ‘soft skills’ and why are they called ‘soft’?
  2. Why do employers want to have solid soft skills?
  3. How are soft skills and development through the teenage and emerging adulthood years related?

References (Read Further):

Robles, M. M. (2012). Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 453-465. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marcel_Robles/publication/258126575_Executive_Perceptions_of_the_Top_10_Soft_Skills_Needed_in_Today’s_Workplace/links/56095e8908ae4d86bb11d036/Executive-Perceptions-of-the-Top-10-Soft-Skills-Needed-in-Todays-Workplace.pdf

Schulz, B. (2008). The importance of soft skills: Education beyond academic knowledge. http://ir.nust.na/bitstream/handle/10628/39/The%20Importance%20of%20Soft%20%20Skills-Education%20beyond%20academic%20knowledge.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American psychologist, 55(5), 469. http://jeffreyarnett.com/ARNETT_Emerging_Adulthood_theory.pdf

Arnett, J. J. (2007). Emerging adulthood: What is it, and what is it good for?. Child development perspectives, 1(2), 68-73. http://www.jeffreyarnett.com/Arnett%20new%20website/Articles/EAsecondedition.pdf

Miri, B., David, B. C., & Uri, Z. (2007). Purposely teaching for the promotion of higher-order thinking skills: A case of critical thinking. Research in science education, 37(4), 353-369.  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Miri_Barak2/publication/225399805_Purposely_Teaching_for_the_Promotion_of_Higher-order_Thinking_Skills_A_Case_of_Critical_Thinking/links/543c186a0cf24a6ddb97f970.pdf

Posted by & filed under Early Social and Emotional development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, The Self.

Description: There is a tired old social meme about relationship abandonment that went sort of like “Dad went out for cigarettes one night 15 years ago and never came back.” Now while the idea of people running away from relation ships is not new the ways people are doing the running away are changing. Have you heard of ghosting? It is usually invoked as a description of people who simply vanish from contact usually by simply do longer responding to text messages. Psychology must keep up with new social trends and so think about how we might define the concept of ghosting. What does it involve? Are there levels of severity associated with ghosting (perhaps related to the nature of the relationship that has been dropped by ghosting)? Once you have gathered your thoughts about these questions and, perhaps, posed one or two of your own have a read through the article linked below that talks about some of the initial efforts on the part of research psychologists to figure out how to characterize and study “ghosting.”

Source: Why People Ghost – and How to get Over It: Time to go ghostbusting, Adam Popescu, Smarter Living, The New York Times.

Date: January 22, 2019

Photo Credit: Pablo Rochat/The New York Times

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/smarter-living/why-people-ghost-and-how-to-get-over-it.html

So how does Psychology seem to be doing in trying to get our heads around what ghosting is and how to deal with it? It is clear that ghosting is tied into relationships and into how people cope with either side on ended relationships (the same way that people had to cope when “Dad” went out for some smokes and never returned). What is perhaps different about ghosting today is how it is played out through texting and other forms of communication media. Just as Facebook’s use of the term “Friends” to describe the entire array of people one is connected to through that social media platform is drawing us to ask if this represents a sort of concept creep or if we should avoid applying much of what we know (Psychologically) about the nature of friendship to those sorts of connections. Figuring out what is the same as before (ghosting = dumping and ignoring) and what is different (end of relationship expectations in the age of social media and electronic connectedness) are interesting and important research tasks as we all try and figure out how these things work these days both personally, relationally and psychologically.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is ghosting?
  2. What aspects of human relationship dynamics and outcomes does ghosting match up with and what does ghosting add into our considerations of relationships that was not here previously?
  3. Is thinking about and deciding what, if anything, needs to be done about concept creep (e.g., Friends before and after Facebook)?

References (Read Further):

Koban, L., & Pourtois, G. (2014). Brain systems underlying the affective and social monitoring of actions: an integrative review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 46, 71-84. https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/4365065/file/7276788

Durso, G. R., Luttrell, A., & Way, B. M. (2015). Over-the-counter relief from pains and pleasures alike: Acetaminophen blunts evaluation sensitivity to both negative and positive stimuli. Psychological science, 26(6), 750-758. https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/60313/Tylenol_and_Evaluation_Hayes_Forum_Version_2014-04-28.pdf?sequence=1

Freedman, G., Burgoon, E. M., Ferrell, J. D., Pennebaker, J. W., & Beer, J. S. (2017). When saying sorry may not help: the impact of apologies on social rejections. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1375. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01375

Freedman, G., Powell, D. N., Le, B., & Williams, K. D. (2018). Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0265407517748791. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gili_Freedman/publication/322442819_Ghosting_and_destiny_Implicit_theories_of_relationships_predict_beliefs_about_ghosting/links/5a8335e6a6fdcc6f3eb001a3/Ghosting-and-destiny-Implicit-theories-of-relationships-predict-beliefs-about-ghosting.pdf

Dwyer, C. (2007, January). Digital relationships in the” myspace” generation: Results from a qualitative study. In System Sciences, 2007. HICSS 2007. 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 19-19). IEEE. https://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2007/2755/00/27550019c.pdf

Freedman, G., Powell, D. N., Le, B., & Williams, K. D. (2018). Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0265407517748791. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gili_Freedman/publication/322442819_Ghosting_and_destiny_Implicit_theories_of_relationships_predict_beliefs_about_ghosting/links/5a8335e6a6fdcc6f3eb001a3/Ghosting-and-destiny-Implicit-theories-of-relationships-predict-beliefs-about-ghosting.pdf