Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Intergroup Relations, Language-Thought, Learning, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, The Self.

Description: Even if you have not seen the media coverage of how mask use is breaking out along political lines in the United States you have very likely had your own experience of being hesitant about wearing a mask when going to the grocery store or if you did wear one feeling a bit weird about it in ways that went beyond just having something on your face (think about it and admit it… it is true).  Thinks about why that might be. Partly it is because we are being told by experts that masks that we wear will not do much to protect us from virus laden spray coming from others (sorry, that is a bit graphic). At the same time, we are told wearing a mask will protect others from OUR virus laden spray but, so what if we are not (believe we are not) sick? Won’t we know if we are sick? (well, no we may well not). So, what is the deal, the Psychology deal, with the wearing or not wearing of masks? Think of your theories might include and then read the article linked below to see what several psychologists have suggested.

Source: The Psychology behind why some people won’t wear masks, Scottie Andrew, Health, CNN.

Date: May 6, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Sumanley xulx from Pixabay 

Article Link:

Yes of course there is some uncertainty as to just how effective masks are at blocking Covid-19 infection even leaving aside the question of who is protecting who by wearing a mask. But that presumes that we are only reflecting and acting on the basis of slow or System 2 thinking (Google Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow). However, the fact is that when we are stressed and uncertain, as opposed to scientifically curious and uncertain, we use Fast or System 1 thinking. Fast thinking has powerful adaptive characteristics as it involves automated, reactive responding based on past experience or on previously established social/experiential norms. If you encounter a snarling dog, or a bear, in the woods you do best to slowly back away or to run to the nearest safe location. You would not likely do so well if you decided to reason through exactly what type of dog or bear the threat seemed to be or to carefully and systematically review every account you can recall of what one should do in such situations in order to weigh out your best course of action. In such situations fast thinking has more survival value. The problem is that fast thinking trades not just on our own past experiences but on social or cultural meaning norms. In western cultural history who wears masks? … Bandits, outlaws, bank robbers, home invaders, evil villains in horror films or cartoons wear masks so we have an automatic distrust of people in masks as well as a reticence about putting one on ourselves and “going over to the dark side.” But those are social/cultural norms based on historical (past) vicarious and direct experiences. They do not apply universally and so are part of some of the racist and prejudicial verbal and sometimes physical attacks on mask wearing Asians linked also to fast thinking relating to the geographic origins of Covid-19. This despite the cultural fact that mask wearing in many Asian cultures is taken up quickly as part of the wearers’ concern and respect for those close to them and NOT as a self-protective measure… a different kind of fast thinking grounded in collectivistic cultural norms that we in the west have to turn on our slow thinking to appreciate. There are a multitude of ways in which the current social circumstances associated with Coronavirus outbreak have shifted, obscured or challenged our social markers of normality and that IS stressful. Unfortunately, that has also led to a lot of fast thinking based on social norm-based assumptions that may not actually apply to our current reality. For now, perhaps we would be better off if we wore a mask in public, practiced healthful distancing, and, when we have a moment, take a few deep breathes and find the cognitive space and capacity to engage in some slow thinking and then, maybe to relax for a bit …. that is what we need.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of our NON-health related issues with mask wearing?
  2. How might we help people to deal with some of these non-health related issues with masks (so more will wear them)?
  3. What are some other Covid-19 related social issues or areas that might make more sense if we examined the socio-cultural norms and assumptions that are involved and driving fast thinking responses?

References (Read Further):

Azar, O. H. (2004). What sustains social norms and how they evolve?: The case of tipping. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 54(1), 49-64. Link

World Health Organization. (2009). Changing cultural and social norms that support violence. Link

Shleifer, A. (2012). Psychologists at the gate: a review of Daniel Kahneman’s thinking, fast and slow. Journal of Economic Literature, 50(4), 1080-91. Link

Evans, J. S. B. (2008). Dual-processing accounts of reasoning, judgment, and social cognition. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 59, 255-278. Link

Evans, A. M., Dillon, K. D., & Rand, D. G. (2015). Fast but not intuitive, slow but not reflective: Decision conflict drives reaction times in social dilemmas. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(5), 951. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Consciousness, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: What will tomorrow bring? Que sera sera. Are you happy with that as an answer? Yes, what will be will be BUT how do we plan for that? As has been discussed previously in this blog, anxiety and uncertainty are tightly intertwined. We manage and we stay sane when we have at least some idea of how things are going to unfold. It helps us to see where we can apply our time, our resources, and our energy in ways that will produce positive future outcome for ourselves, our families and other we care about. Uncertainty, like fog, takes away our navigational skills, talents and opportunities and THAT makes us quite anxious. Where does this put us right now as many jurisdictions are talking about cautiously starting to relax Covid-19 related restrictions? Think about that and then read the article linked below for a few suggestions.

Source: The Psychological toll of uncertainty and not knowing what’s coming next, Cory Stieg, Health and Wellness, Make It, CNBC.

Date: May 17, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, there IS a little but of “que sera sera” in this but there is also a lot of “manage what you can and take care of yourself along the way” in it as well. The essential aspects of Mindfulness, of being in the moment, involve working on being in YOUR moment and not in everybody else’s moment or in all your present and possible future moments at the same time. Do what you can right now, … sharpen your tools and/or cut some bait, as in inventory the kernels that make up your repertoire of self-efficacies (your competencies, goals, plans and opportunities) and you wil be fishing or whatever, before too much longer.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are anxiety and uncertainty related?
  2. If there is a lot of things you cannot do now or miss doing now, what are some things you CAN do?
  3. What does your repertoire of self-efficacies (or self-efficacy development plans and goals) include? What can you be working on right now?

References (Read Further):

Hirsh, J. B., Mar, R. A., & Peterson, J. B. (2012). Psychological entropy: A framework for understanding uncertainty-related anxiety. Psychological review, 119(2), 304. Link

Carleton, R. N., Mulvogue, M. K., Thibodeau, M. A., McCabe, R. E., Antony, M. M., & Asmundson, G. J. (2012). Increasingly certain about uncertainty: Intolerance of uncertainty across anxiety and depression. Journal of anxiety disorders, 26(3), 468-479. Link

Smith, I. H., & Woodworth, W. P. (2012). Developing social entrepreneurs and social innovators: A social identity and self-efficacy approach. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11(3), 390-407. Link

Scott, A. B., & Ciani, K. D. (2008). Effects of an undergraduate career class on men’s and women’s career decision-making self-efficacy and vocational identity. Journal of Career Development, 34(3), 263-285. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, General Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Ok quick, what are the first 5 things that come to mind when you think of Covid-19 and the world right now? Now, of those 5 things, how many are psychological? I suspect stress or anxiety, or both are one the list but other than being facts of life currently how are you thinking about them? Like the weather as things to be tolerated, cursed, or ignored? How about as personal threat indicators like the beeps or steering wheel vibrations in new vehicles that are designed to warn you when you are drifting into something risky like a lane divider or shoulder of the driving surface? If stress and anxiety are like the weather then there may not be much you can do about it.. the rain is going to fall and the clouds will obscure the sun and being told to “put on a happy face because grey skies are going to clear up” just does not cut it as useful advice these days. Psychology has a lot more to say about stress and anxiety that just “here is your forecast for today” so read though or listen to the podcast of the article linked below that at least suggests some things to wear in our current stress storm and even some things you can do to manage or lessen its intensity.

Source: APS Roundtable: Psychological Science and Covid-19, What We Know and What We Can Do. Association for Psychological Science.

Date: March 23, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

Our threat monitoring and detection systems are evolutionarily very old and while virus epidemics are also very old the social, economic personal circumstances through which we are experiencing the current pandemic are both old and quite new (and quite personal). As such, Psychology, which as a scientific discipline is itself quite new has some very useful things to offer as we try to come to coping terms with THIS pandemic NOW. Take advantage of what is available, it WILL help.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does the sentiment that “we are all in this together” play out psychologically?
  2. Media IS a source of potentially useful information in times like this but what are some the other issues it raises for us psychologically?
  3. What sorts of things can we do to better manage and deal with our stress and anxiety these days?

References (Read Further):

World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 18 March 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/MentalHealth/2020.1). World Health Organization. Link

Horesh, D., & Brown, A. D. (2020). Traumatic stress in the age of COVID-19: A call to close critical gaps and adapt to new realities. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(4), 331. Link

Garfin, D. R., Silver, R. C., & Holman, E. A. (2020). The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak: Amplification of public health consequences by media exposure. Health Psychology. Link

Liu, N., Zhang, F., Wei, C., Jia, Y., Shang, Z., Sun, L., … & Liu, W. (2020). Prevalence and predictors of PTSS during COVID-19 outbreak in China hardest-hit areas: Gender differences matter. Psychiatry research, 112921. Link

Rajkumar, R. P. (2020). COVID-19 and mental health: A review of the existing literature. Asian journal of psychiatry, 102066. Link


Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: Suppose you were told that a friend of yours was anxious, just generally anxious. In preparing to talk with them about how they are doing you are thinking a bit about the sorts of questions you might ask them in order to better understand their situation and their mental state. What are you anxious about is certainly a candidate question but maybe that is diving in too deep too early. How about, what are you uncertain about? Think about how uncertainty may play around your friend’s anxiety and then read through the article linked below to see what a clinical psychologist who has studied and counseled people struggling with anxiety to see his perspective.

Source: Living With Uncertainty During Covid-19: Low tolerance of uncertainty will heighten your anxiety about the pandemic, David A. Clark, The Runaway Mind, Psychology Today.

Date: March 29, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Wessels De Wet from Pixabay

Article Link:

It is not simply the case that anxiety and uncertainty are correlated. The linked article’s author talks about how some people have a low uncertainty tolerance. I think this is a good way to notice how intertwined anxiety and uncertainty are. However, it is also important to consider both developmental and historical variation in anxiety and uncertainty as well. Elsewhere and prior to the arrival of Covid-19, there was considerable concern about the levels of anxiety (and depression) among emerging adults (those born since 1984). Efforts to link this jump in anxiety to smart phones or overprotective parenting have only been marginally successful, not accounting for much of the population anxiety variance. But what about uncertainty? Emerging adults are entering a developmental moment in which they are expected (and expect) to make life shaping decisions about what they will do, what they will believe, and who they will be or become. Pre Covid-19, the possible worlds they could discern as they prepared to set and navigate their life-courses were not just uncertain in the “everybody feels that way at this developmental point” sort of way but they are more uncertain, unclear, and ill defined than they have been for many generations. Now, today’s generation of emerging adults need the world of Covid-19 about as much as they need a pair of badly smudged wrongly prescribed glasses through which to see how to place their steps as they try to move forward. The uncertainty we are all experiencing today as we try to peer into and plot navigational courses towards our possible futures can help us all to see how tightly anxiety and uncertainty are entwinned. The steps offered in the linked article for strengthening our tolerances for uncertainty are timely and worth considering. However, we also can and should take advantage of this historical moment of uncertainty as an opportunity to better understand the anxiety levels of emerging adults as they entered developmental moments of future direction and navigation planning prior to Covid-19. As well, we should save some of our own anti-anxiety and uncertainty thoughts and coping efforts to consider what the addition of Covid-19 into the developmental mix means for our current and soon to be emerging adults. They do, or will, need our understanding and support.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are anxiety and uncertainty related?
  2. Given the above, what might you predict about the incidence of problematic perfectionism among high school students and emerging adults?
  3. What sorts of supports and understanding might benefit emerging adults in the weeks and months to come?

References (Read Further):

Hirsh, J. B., Mar, R. A., & Peterson, J. B. (2012). Psychological entropy: A framework for understanding uncertainty-related anxiety. Psychological review, 119(2), 304. Link

Carleton, R. N., Mulvogue, M. K., Thibodeau, M. A., McCabe, R. E., Antony, M. M., & Asmundson, G. J. (2012). Increasingly certain about uncertainty: Intolerance of uncertainty across anxiety and depression. Journal of anxiety disorders, 26(3), 468-479. Link

Grupe, D. W., & Nitschke, J. B. (2013). Uncertainty and anticipation in anxiety: an integrated neurobiological and psychological perspective. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14(7), 488-501. Link

Hirsh, J. B., & Kang, S. K. (2016). Mechanisms of identity conflict: Uncertainty, anxiety, and the behavioral inhibition system. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20(3), 223-244. Link

Carleton, R. N. (2012). The intolerance of uncertainty construct in the context of anxiety disorders: Theoretical and practical perspectives. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 12(8), 937-947. Link


Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Health Psychology, General Psychology, Learning, mental illness, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Health, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Most of us have been spending a LOT of time in the past couple of months looking outward, using television and online media, at the world around us and at how the other people in it have (or have not been) coping with the impacts associated with Covid-19. We are also starting to see what will likely be a tidal wave of speculation about what the world might, can or will look like once things “get back to normal,” whatever THAT means. Many people are rationing or limiting their Covid-related media consumption in order to manage their anxiety levels. It is also important that individuals (me AND you), take time and find opportunities to reflect a bit on how we are feeling and how we are managing, and we all need to engage in a bit of self-care. What does self-care involve? Well, first it requires that you know you could use some of it and then you need to give yourself some of it. If you are not sure about either of these steps go to the page linked below and check out some of the resources you will find there.

Source: Coping With Coronavirus, Self-Help Guides, Various Practicing Trainee Clinical Psychologists, University College London

Date: May 10, 2020

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

So, did you come away from the site smug that you are doing just fine but it is good that there are such resources there for folks who need them? If so, I might suggest you are not taking yourself seriously enough. Hopefully, you found one or two things there that you can use right now and perhaps even a slightly broadened perspective on what you need and how you can help yourself get it.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How anxious are you these days?
  2. Are there some things you have already been doing that are helping ou manage your feelings of anxiety or stress or uncertainty?
  3. What, if any, of the self-care resources did you find interesting and perhaps helpful and how might you integrate them into your day-to-day new and emerging reality?

References (Read Further):

Hawton, A., Green, C., Dickens, A. P., Richards, S. H., Taylor, R. S., Edwards, R., … & Campbell, J. L. (2011). The impact of social isolation on the health status and health-related quality of life of older people. Quality of Life Research, 20(1), 57-67. Link

Kravits, K., McAllister-Black, R., Grant, M., & Kirk, C. (2010). Self-care strategies for nurses: A psycho-educational intervention for stress reduction and the prevention of burnout. Applied Nursing Research, 23(3), 130-138. Link

Hansson, A., HilleråS, P., & Forsell, Y. (2005). What kind of self-care strategies do people report using and is there an association with well-being?. Social Indicators Research, 73(1), 133-139. Link

Badali, M. A., & Habra, M. E. (2003). Self-care for psychology students: Strategies for staying healthy & avoiding burn out. Psynopsis: Canada’s Psychology Newspaper, 25(4), 14. Link

Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Health Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Research Methods, Research Methods in ADA, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP, Social Cognition, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: Occasionally during one of my lectures something unexpected would happen, nothing serious, but perhaps a construction crew renovating a neighboring classroom would start to use a jackhammer or power drill. In such situations I would typically comment that the event was NOT part of a Psychology experiment of the effects of annoying background noise on student learning because that sort of study, without informed consent, would be unethical! Sometimes, however, events in the world create “natural experiments” usually involving some wort of natural or human-made disaster. No informed consent is involved but we can usually find comparison groups, neighbourhoods, towns or countries for comparison purposes and if not, we can compare those effected to what was know about them before the disaster hit. Well, our current situation is a bit different in that while it is, of course, experienced locally, the locations are everywhere. We ARE in the midst of perhaps the largest Psychology experiment ever, though we cannot complain about the ethical status of the experiment because it is real. What should we do with this challenge/opportunity? Really, what shall we do? Think about that and then have a look through the article linked below for some research and for the thoughts of a psychologist specializing in the psychological impacts of disasters on these matters.

Source: Lockdown is the world’s largest psychology experiment – and we will pay the price, Elke Van Hoof, World Economic Forum, Global Agenda, Covid-19, Mental Health, Global Health.

Date: April 9, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Ashim Shres from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what do you think? Do we need to get going on erecting the “second tent” through which we can prepare to provide psychological assistance and support of the HUGE numbers of people that this current “experiment” is already showing us do or will need them? I think we do.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the “second tent” the author of the linked article talks about?
  2. What ae some of the barriers facing any efforts to erect a second tent?
  3. The reality, of course, is that we are NOT in the midst of a HUGE Psychology experiment, but we ARE in the midst of a global challenge that effects everyone. What research do we have that we can consider and what research do we need to do as we figure out how to increase the likelihood that most of us will get out of this in one piece –even if that piece seems different than what was thee before Covid-29?

References (Read Further):

Medical and Psychological Emergency Units (CUMP) Link

Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., & Rubin, G. J. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet. Link

Raphael, B. (1986). When disaster strikes: How individuals and communities cope with catastrophe. New York: Basic Books. Link

Raphael, B. (2006). Overview of the development of psychological support in emergencies. ADVANCES IN DISASTER MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT, 6. Link

Neria, Y., Galea, S., & Norris, F. H. (2009). Disaster mental health research: Exposure, impact, and response. Mental health and disasters, 1-4. Link


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Cognitive Development: Piagetian and Vygotskian Approaches, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, Human Development, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: No doubt you have heard about the stresses being experienced by parents as they isolate at home with their children and try to manage, entertain, and perhaps educate them until schools and other places children can go re-open. Which parents would you predict are experiencing the hardest stress hit, based on the age of their at home all the time children? We do not have direct data on the current situation but if you said “parents of early teens” there is supporting data suggesting that the frequency and intensity of “disagreements” between parents and their offspring peak at around 13 years of age. For many this also speaks developmentally to why junior high schools are described by some who teach there and some who attend there in very negative terms. However, some additional developmental reflection could shift your thinking on this matter. Consider that we have been noting a HUGE rise in levels of anxiety among high school and early college/university students. Such jumps over just one or two generational cohorts cannot, at their roots, be the fault the students, their parents, or even their schools. There has been some very large shifts, globally, in the levels of scarcity and uncertainty in many things and areas that, in the recent past, played large and important roles in how young people (emerging adults) envisions, plotted out, and worked towards their futures. Anxieties spike when the pathways and signposts one has been led to believe will appear and guide you into your future are not there, are obscured by fogs of uncertainty or just seem wrong.  Developmentally, 13-year-olds are just starting to get glimpses of the life tasks that await them and the self-reflection and analytic skills they will need to take those tasks on are just starting to emerge. In that developmental space, one’s parents can look pretty unreasonable and pretty stupid. With all that in mind have a read through the article linked below which suggests that the current situation may be a huge developmental opportunity for early teens.

Source: The War Between Middle Schoolers and Their Parents Ends Now, Judith Warner, The Sunday Review, The New York Times.

Date: May 3, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Article Link:

OK so saying this Covid-moment might be good for early teens does not necessarily make it so for them and for their closely sequestered families. On the other hand, though, having a break from the academic and social worlds of the junior high school might provide them with the very space they need to start to get their newly emerging development “feel” under them without the usual demands and distractions and anxieties. A consistent piece of Life Design advice for people of any age is particularly relevant and useful for young teens, older teens and emerging adults is quite simple: Find out what you are curious about…. Find out what you are interested in … and explore those things. If you do that you will, along the way, find out about yourself and you will begin to develop a sense of purpose and direction that does not require the sorts of pathways and sign posts to the future you may be anxiously look for in the world around you. So, for developmental novices of any age but particularly for young teens this current socially isolated state may be a wonderful opportunity for self-discovery and future possibilities.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the stereotypical reasons given for what parents find their young teenaged children so hard to get along with?
  2. What are some of the mor developmentally informed, not so negative, reasons why young teens might be hard to get along with?
  3. What sorts of things could/should parents of young teens do to encourage a more positive isolation experience for their young teens?

References (Read Further):

Renk, K., Liljequist, L., Simpson, J. E., & Phares, V. (2005). Gender and age differences in the topics of parent-adolescent conflict. The Family Journal, 13(2), 139-149. Link

Beevi, A., & Fasna, L. Relations between Parent-Teen Conflict and Emotional Intelligence of Adolescents. IJPEN, 11. Link

Smetana, J. G., Yau, J., Restrepo, A., & Braeges, J. L. (1991). Adolescent-parent conflict in married and divorced families. Developmental Psychology, 27(6), 1000. Link

Smetana, J. G. (1989). Adolescents’ and parents’ reasoning about actual family conflict. Child development, 1052-1067. Link

Arnone, M. P., Small, R. V., Chauncey, S. A., & McKenna, H. P. (2011). Curiosity, interest and engagement in technology-pervasive learning environments: a new research agenda. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(2), 181-198. Link

Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Luyckx, K., Meca, A., & Ritchie, R. A. (2013). Identity in emerging adulthood: Reviewing the field and looking forward. Emerging Adulthood, 1(2), 96-113. Link

Posted by & filed under Legal Ethical Issues, Research Methods, Research Methods in ADA, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP.

Description: You cannot have missed media coverage of the current efforts underway to develop and produce a vaccine that will help people develop immunity to Covid-19. You may not have thought about the research ethics issues and questions that this multi-faceted development dash might involve. If you have had a Psychology course you know about informed consent and perhaps about how potential risks to research participants must be presented as part of the consent process and managed as the research proceeds. Medical research ethics specifically require that trials of potential new vaccines undergo safety trials and effectiveness trials. Think about issues of informed consent and risk presentation and management might arise in the rush to develop effective Covid-19 vaccines and then read through the article linked below for a thorough discussion. The ethics associated with the issue of informed consent are introduced and discussed around the middle of the article.

Source: Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies, David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, Carl Zimmer, Katie Thomas, and Sui-Lee Wee, The New York Times.

Date: May 2, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

Article Link:

So, vaccine research is a much tougher ethical game than plain old psychological research. If a vaccine development protocol is proposed that would involve testing a vaccine by giving it to people and exposing them to Covid-19 (as some protocols do) is “fully informed consent” even possible? As well, while risks can be mitigated somewhat by being thoughtful about who (from which population groups would even be allowed to volunteer most ethical review situations do not involve considerations of the “greater good” as in while the research volunteers will be at some risk of contracting the virus and potentially of dying from it the results of the research could lead to the large scale production and distribution of a vaccine that could reduce or eliminate risk for, potentially, millions of others. Now THERE is an ethical dilemma!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the ethical considerations involved in proposing to test a Covid-19 vaccine with human research participants?
  2. What are some of the moral philosophical considerations of proposing to test a Covid-19 vaccine with human research participants (such as weighing out risks to a few and potential benefits to many)?
  3. What are some ethical considerations for the rest of us who are practicing isolation and social distancing but are not involved in vaccine research trials and how do those considerations potential tie into the ethics of vaccine development?

References (Read Further):

Bambery, B., Selgelid, M., Weijer, C., Savulescu, J., & Pollard, A. J. (2016). Ethical criteria for human challenge studies in infectious diseases. Public Health Ethics, 9(1), 92-103. Link

Yan, W. (2015). Challenge accepted: Human challenge trials for dengue. Link

Darton, T. C., Blohmke, C. J., Moorthy, V. S., Altmann, D. M., Hayden, F. G., Clutterbuck, E. A., … & Pollard, A. J. (2015). Design, recruitment, and microbiological considerations in human challenge studies. The Lancet infectious diseases, 15(7), 840-851. Link

Eyal, N., Lipsitch, M., & Smith, P. G. (2020). Human challenge studies to accelerate coronavirus vaccine licensure. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. Link

Selgelid, M. J., & Jamrozik, E. (2018). Ethical challenges posed by human infection challenge studies in endemic settings. Indian journal of medical ethics, 3(4), 263. Link

Eyal, N., & Lipsitch, M. (2020). Ethical Comparators in Coronavirus Vaccine Trials. Link


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Group Processes, Language Development, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Despite the social isolation imposed in order to help manage the consequences of Caovid-19 pandemic we are able to stay in touch and we are able to meet while we work from home (assuming we still have work). Internet connectivity and the free availability of apps such as Zoom are making it possible for us to be all over the place while we are actually staying at home. Wonderful! But why does it feel odd? Why is it tiring? Specifically, why does video chat not feel as natural as real face-to-face chat? Pull together a few psychological hypotheses regarding this question and then read through the article linked below to what a few psychologists have come up with.

Source: The reason Zoom call drain your energy, Manyu Jiang, Remote Control, Covid-19,

Date: April 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Armin Schreijäg from PixabayPixabay

Article Link:

So, video chats do not feel natural because they are NOT natural. They feel odd because the many aspects of face-to-face communications that we automatically track for information are harder or impossible to access in virtual chats. Our attention has to be focused constantly on the screen in front of us and we are aware at some level that the screen (through our camera) is staring back at us as intently. Silences as the other signs that we use to regulate things like turn-taking in face-to-face chats are not as available in virtual chats and that adds stress to those encounters. If there are delays in responses due to the technologies we are using we likely will not properly adjust the attributional tendencies we built though face-to-face encounters and as a consequence attribute less friendliness or focus to others unfairly. If we open our awareness to these differences, which comes with a fatigue cost, we CAN adjust our attributional tendencies and we can use virtual chat will less stress but the best advice is to think a bit about whether we need to use virtual chat platforms as much as we do. Sometimes a phone call is just right and sometimes a note is just perfect. Like so many new technologies we need to recalibrate and re-automate our social information processing systems in light of the new ways of things. In the short term that IS tiring but if we engage in some self-care along the way we may find we come out of this with a significantly broadened social skill set.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are several ways in which virtual chats differ from face-to-face chats?
  2. How might people be helped to notice when they are experiencing negative effects of those differences and what can they do about them?
  3. How might the concepts associated with Emotional Intelligence be applied to virtual social interaction and how might they need to be expanded?

References (Read Further):

Schoenenberg, K., Raake, A., & Koeppe, J. (2014). Why are you so slow?–Misattribution of transmission delay to attributes of the conversation partner at the far-end. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 72(5), 477-487.

Schmitt, M., Redi, J., Bulterman, D., & Cesar, P. S. (2017). Towards individual QoE for multiparty videoconferencing. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 20(7), 1781-1795. Link

Olbertz-Siitonen, M. (2015). Transmission delay in technology-mediated interaction at work. PsychNology Journal, 13. Link

Linville, P. W. (1985). Self-complexity and affective extremity: Don’t put all of your eggs in one cognitive basket. Social cognition, 3(1), 94-120. Link

Fessl, A., Rivera-Pelayo, V., Pammer, V., & Braun, S. (2012, September). Mood tracking in virtual meetings. In European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (pp. 377-382). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Link

De Mio, R. R. (2002). On Defining Virtual Emotion Intelligence. ECIS 2002 Proceedings, 149. Link

Guðjohnsen, S. (2014). Virtual teams and virtual meetings: Investigating the conventional wisdom that face-to-face communication is better (Doctoral dissertation). Link

Ford, R. C., Piccolo, R. F., & Ford, L. R. (2017). Strategies for building effective virtual teams: Trust is key. Business Horizons, 60(1), 25-34. Link


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Consciousness, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: Up to this point in our efforts to socially manage our responses to Covid-19 there has, understandably, been a lot of focus on the health systems responses and, to a lesser but also important degree, on the stresses and anxieties associated with sheltering in place. There are signs that we will soon see a lot of discussion of next steps; looking at the order and timelines by which we will start to emerge from isolation. We will need to think hard about how that process will play out from the general societal perspective and down through to the community, neighbourhood, family and individual levels and, in so doing, some consideration of how we will manage our stress and anxiety over time will be important. Our immediate or knee-jerk ways of conceptualizing stress as the “stuff” that hits us from the world around us and anxiety as the feelings in us that such stress-assaults generate, is useful in the short term for defined and passing stressful events. Covid-19 is not that sort of event and our current levels of social isolation are equally unprecedented in term so our psychological processes for understanding and coping. What can help us do the sort of thinking and planning and self-are we will need to do in order to emerge from isolation successfully? Well, I think a relationally defined version of the concept of resilience is a lot of what we need. Reflect for a few moments of what you think we need as we prepare to move forward out of isolation and then listen to (or read the transcript) of an interview with Ann Masten a recognized leader in developmental thinking and research on resilience as a relational concept.

Source: Speaking of Psychology: The Role of Resilience in the Face of COVID-19 with Ann Masten, PhD, American Psychological Association

Date: April 15, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by jhfl from Pixabay

Article Link:

It is useful to reflect a little bit on the nature of the developmentally defining moment that is our experiences with Covid-19. It is being experienced differently depending upon our location in our lifespan developmental trajectories. It is challenging for everyone but it is potentially more challenging for children who are rapidly developing ways of knowing, feeling, and being that they will use as the foundations of for how they will move forward out into their worlds. A relational understanding of resilience along with the notion of individual resilience bank accounts can help us figure out how to help our children, and ourselves, move forward positively as we emerge from isolation.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might we understand reliance relationally?
  2. What role do (or can) parents play in the development of capacity for resilience in their children?
  3. What sorts of tings might we do if we want to monitor or resilience (our resilience bank account) rather than just tabulate our stresses and anxieties?

References (Read Further):

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American psychologist, 56(3), 227. Link

Masten, A. S., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2006). Resilience in development: The importance of early childhood. Link

Masten, A. S., & Wright, M. O. D. (2010). Resilience over the lifespan: Developmental perspectives on resistance, recovery, and transformation. Link

Masten, A. S. (2014). Global perspectives on resilience in children and youth. Child development, 85(1), 6-20. Link