Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Disorders of Childhood, Health Psychology, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Ok there are two levels of engagement possible with this linked article. The first is epidemiological. Epidemiology is the study of the rates of things (illnesses, disorders, conditions) within populations. From an epidemiological perspective, when the incidence or rate of a disorder in a population changes (increases or decreases) there are number of key questions that must be carefully considered and addressed with data. They include: Is the change real or just an artifact of how the disorder is measured or defined? If it seems to be real, what is contributing to the change? The second level of reflection and analysis follows this first one. IF the change does appear to be real and not due to something like a removal or reduction (or addition or increase) of social stigma which could be increasing then what does it suggest? If it is a real increase what conditions are driving the increase (or decrease) and what would be worth considering or doing in the way of public awareness or treatment, support and intervention? As you read through the article liked below to keep these two levels of analysis in mind and see if you develop an option as to which one the author of the article is leaning towards.

Source: Autism Prevalence Increases: 1 in 59 US Children, Susan Scutti, CNN.

Date: April 26, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

My reading of the linked article suggests to me a bit of uncertainty on the part of the author of the article about which level of analysis they are pushing but they seem to be leaning towards a “changes in definitions of the disorder” explanation except that the material on large changes moving prevalence within diverse racial groups closer to parity might suggest another focus. A VERY typical speculation which often arises in such discussions is that the incidence of the disorder IS on the rise and we need to figure out what water, dietary or social practices additive is driving the change before it is too late to stop it.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did the prevalence rate of Autism increase as the article suggests?
  2. What sorts of things might have contributed to the change in the observed rate of Autism?
  3. What steps should be followed as we decide what, if anything, should be done in response to this apparent increase in Autism incidence?

References (Read Further):

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2010 Principal Investigators. (2014). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years—autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 sites, United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 63(2), 1-21.

Soke, G. N., Maenner, M. J., Christensen, D., Kurzius-Spencer, M., & Schieve, L. A. (2017). Brief Report: Estimated Prevalence of a Community Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Age 4 Years in Children from Selected Areas in the United States in 2010: Evaluation of Birth Cohort Effects. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(6), 1917-1922.

Durkin, M. S., Maenner, M. J., Baio, J., Christensen, D., Daniels, J., Fitzgerald, R., … & Wingate, M. S. (2017). Autism spectrum disorder among US children (2002–2010): socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities. American journal of public health, 107(11), 1818-1826.

Jacobi, F., Wittchen, H. U., Hölting, C., Höfler, M., Pfister, H., Müller, N., & Lieb, R. (2004). Prevalence, co-morbidity and correlates of mental disorders in the general population: results from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey (GHS). Psychological medicine, 34(4), 597-611.


Posted by & filed under Aggression, Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Child Development, Consciousness, Early Social and Emotional development, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, Human Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What is shame? When do people feel shame or feel ashamed? How is shame different than guilt? At its simplest level, shame involves a loss of social connection or a loss of social respect. Think about what feelings, thoughts, and social scenarios would come to mind if someone opened a conversation with you by saying “Shame on you”! What sort of thing(s) might you have done to warrant that conversation opener? The developmental roots of shame are deep indeed. Shame (and even shunning) is something that communities visit upon their members (sometimes) or what parents visit upon their children. It is a form a social censure or social disapproval and often involves a withdrawal, short or long term depending upon the group or the incident that instigated it, of social connection. Developmentally infants are very attuned to the social consequences of shame. Think about a situation where a parent is interacting with their infant in a socially and facially animated way and then suddenly “shuts down” their facial expressions and simply starts at the infant with no facial expression (so neither happy or sad or angry but just blank). How do you think an infant would react to this and if they eventually start to cry why would they do that? Think about all of these questions and then read the article linked below to see a description of the, at least four, ways that shame can play out in our social interactions.

Source: A Psychotherapist says there are four types of shame – Here’s what they are and how they affect us. Lindsay Dodgson, Business Insider, Independent, UK.

Date: April 4, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

So, did the descriptions of the four types of shame make sense to you? My first reaction to the simple statement that the first type was unrequited love was to say “Huh? How so?”  but if you unpack what is going on when attraction or love are not reciprocated it makes sense. Like the “infant still face” procedure I described earlier, and which is mentioned in the article unrequited love involves situations where social narratives or story lines are cut off or simply do not evolve. One sided relationships are NOT relationships and trying to move a one-sided half ignored relationship along can be heart breaking and what it produces in the unrequited “lover” is one form of shame or social casting out. Th second type of shame involves being called out socially (publicly) for an error or a mistake. These situations are more readily accessible as we all have been in situations where we or someone else was shamed or humiliated publicly.  The third example, failure, is a bit more complicated as failures are not always public and can be sources of internal motivation as well as situations that involve feelings of shame or perhaps even guilt. The fourth type of shame involves exclusion or being left out and can be viewed as an active component of all types of shame as it is social connection, standing or benevolence we are seeking, and shame is one of the things we feel when it is lost or dialed back. It is worth thinking about the impact of shame on development. A LOT is said about the potential impact of our early (pre-2 years-of-age) attachment relationships on our subsequent development (well supported by longitudinal data) but a LOT can also be said about the next developmental moment or task. This next developmental task or moment starting at around 2 years of age involves autonomy, sometimes referred to colloquially as the “terrible twos”. It involves the drive on the child’s part to start to do things for themselves (not always stated diplomatically as they are only two and have limited language skills). As Erickson suggested, the developmental downside of the Autonomy developmental moment is “Shame and Doubt”. If parents, older siblings, or the extended family or community reacts to a child’s early autonomy plays with criticism, derision or indifference the result can be shame and a shutting down of individual social initiative. You are likely well aware of the developmental downstream impact insecure attachment can have on the subsequent development of play connections, friendships, intimate relationships and eventually on parenthood. Think a bit about the potential downstream developmental impact of being shamed for your early efforts at establishing a sense of autonomy. That is an area that needs some more research work.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is shame and how is it manifest in social interactions?
  2. What are the short-term impacts and implications of being shamed or ashamed?
  3. What are some of the longer term developmental or psychological adjustment issues that could arise from shame either for children or for adults?

References (Read Further):

van Dijk, W. W., van Dillen, L. F., Rotteveel, M., & Seip, E. C. (2017). Looking into the crystal ball of our emotional lives: emotion regulation and the overestimation of future guilt and shame. Cognition and Emotion, 31(3), 616-624.

Duarte, C., Matos, M., Stubbs, R. J., Gale, C., Morris, L., Gouveia, J. P., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The impact of shame, self-criticism and social rank on eating behaviours in overweight and obese women participating in a weight management programme. PloS one, 12(1), e0167571.

Perret, V. (2017). Shame, the scourge of supervision. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research & Practice, 8(2).

Mahtani, S., Melvin, G. A., & Hasking, P. (2017). Shame Proneness, Shame Coping, and Functions of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) Among Emerging Adults: A Developmental Analysis. Emerging Adulthood, 2167696817711350.


Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, The Self.

Description: Have you travelled? If so, did you pick up any souvenirs on your trip? What did you get? Think back to when you picked out (and bought) or picked up (and pocketed) your souvenirs. What were you thinking about at the time? Why did you pick the thing or things that you picked? Where are they now? If you know where they are or can go and see or hold them again now what thoughts do they bring to mind? There is a LOT of buzz about “trashy souvenirs” … things like miniature Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers, fridge magnets, shells, peddles or rocks, postcards, handicrafts, but the collecting of souvenirs or mementoes vastly predates the “made in China” souvenir shop merchandise tidal wave. The word “souvenir” comes from the French word meaning “to remember.” So, think a bit about the psychological roles that souvenirs (buying them, seeking them, putting them in visible places back home) might play in our lives and then read the article linked below that summarizes what a recently published book (based on academic research) has to say about these questions.

Source: Souvenirs 101, Stephanie Rosenbloom, The Getaway, The New York Time Travel Section.

Date: April 6, 2018

Photo Credit: Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Article Links:

There are number of interesting and, I think, important psychological points in the articled linked above about Souvenirs. The categorization suggestions are interesting but tend to focus on concepts that are more descriptive of the souvenir articles themselves than of their psychological roes or significance (e.g., markers, pictorial images, symbolic shorthand, etc.). The historical references are quite interesting. Jefferson and Adams carving off bits of Shakespeare’s writing chair could simply be seen as acts of violence or vandalism (after all there was that little business of the war of independence). However, such a view would sell the American fathers of independence and many modern souvenir hunters short. What about the crusaders and especially those who went off in search of the Holy Grail. Yes, they could have simply been following through on a charge to seek a holy relic but souvenir searching and acquiring can also get us thinking about the purposes or personal impacts of our travels. Souvenirs stand for things. On the surface they stand for the things they depict or represent (go back to little Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers) but, perhaps it is much more productive to think of the roles such things play in our processing of our own travel experiences. What did being in New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty or being in Paris and seeing the Eifel Tower (it was very cool) mean to you? Was it just an opportunity to put a check on your bucket list or was it something more? In my own work on identity development and particularly on the identity development of emerging adults (18 to 19-year-olds) I have gathered data and read a lot of other studies indicating that travel does not just open our eyes to the broader world but can also open our eyes to ourselves, to our identities (a BIG part of the developmental work of emerging adulthood and beyond). As the author of the Souvenir book puts it, we acquire souvenirs “not to evaluate the world, but to narrate the self” or as I have said, travelling the world is not so much about site-seeing as it is about self-seeing. So get out there, see the world and bring those experiences back with you in terms of tangible souvenirs but more importantly in terms of memories, reflections and personal insights into yourself (your identity) and the world.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the categories researchers have used to sort out the types of souvenirs people acquire while travelling?
  2. How are the souvenirs we acquire related to the paces we have visited (psychologically speaking)?
  3. What sorts of roles can travel play in the development of our sense of personal identity? Who (what sorts of people) would you recommend travel to and why?

References (Read Further):

Potts, Rolf, (2018) Souvenir (Object Lessons). Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK.

Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. (2003). “The big OE”: self-directed travel and career development. Career development international, 8(4), 170-181.

Eagles, P. F. (1992). The travel motivations of Canadian ecotourists. Journal of Travel Research, 31(2), 3-7.

Chen, G., Bao, J., & Huang, S. (2014). Developing a scale to measure backpackers’ personal development. Journal of Travel Research, 53(4), 522-536.

Sthapit, E., & Coudounaris, D. N. (2018). Memorable tourism experiences: Antecedents and outcomes. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 18(1), 72-94.

Stone, M. J., & Petrick, J. F. (2013). The educational benefits of travel experiences: A literature review. Journal of Travel Research, 52(6), 731-744.

Swanson, K. K., & Horridge, P. E. (2006). Travel motivations as souvenir purchase indicators. Tourism management, 27(4), 671-683.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Clinical Neuropsychology, Disorders of Childhood, Human Development, Neuroscience, Physiology, Psychological Health, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness.

Description: Consider this well supported research finding. One third of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are also diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy is the unregulated firing of neurons in the brain, sometime limited to small brain areas (petite mal seizures) and sometime spreading throughout the entire brain (grand mal seizures). Folks with ASD are more likely to have a mutated gene called CNTNAP2 or referred to colloquially as “catnap2”. While this has been known for a while what has not been clear is how the presence of this mutated gene is related to higher incidents of epilepsy. The article linked below describes a recent study looking at this question directly and suggesting a possible explanation for how the catnap2 gene might be related to epilepsy. Read the article linked below to see this possible explanation.

Source: When kids’ autistic brains can’t calm down, ScienceDaily.

Date: April 5, 2018

Photo Credit: Lori Werhane / Fotolia

Article Links:

The researchers suggest, in the article linked above, that the Ccatnap2 mutated gene may not provide the “brain calming” influences that it normally would and that this is what may contribute to increased rates of epilepsy in ASD individuals. They suggest that this information my guide the development of new approaches to controlling epilepsy in this population. What was not discussed in the linked article is the possible role that mutations in the catnap2 gene might play in the emergence of the symptoms associated with ASD. Certainly, one can quickly imagine how the effects of the mutation to the catnap2 gene might be related to symptoms of ADHD (lack of “brain calming”) but it is less clear how it might be related to other ASD symptomatology. Several articles cited in the Further Reading section below provide a bit more information in relation to this particular question.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does the catnap2 gene mutation potential contribute to higher rates of epilepsy?
  2. What sorts of ways might treatments based on this information about the role of catnap2 gene mutations lead to treatment possibilities?
  3. What are some possibly ways in which the lack of “brain calming” associated with eh catnap2 gene mutation be related to some symptoms associated with ASD ?

References (Read Further):

Gao, R., Piguel, N. H., Melendez-Zaidi, A. E., Martin-de-Saavedra, M. D., Yoon, S., Forrest, M. P., … & Surmeier, D. J. (2018). CNTNAP2 stabilizes interneuron dendritic arbors through CASK. Molecular psychiatry, 1.

Peñagarikano, O., & Geschwind, D. H. (2012). What does CNTNAP2 reveal about autism spectrum disorder?. Trends in molecular medicine, 18(3), 156-163.

Rodenas-Cuadrado, P., Ho, J., & Vernes, S. C. (2014). Shining a light on CNTNAP2: complex functions to complex disorders. European journal of human genetics, 22(2), 171.

Peñagarikano, O., Abrahams, B. S., Herman, E. I., Winden, K. D., Gdalyahu, A., Dong, H., … & Golshani, P. (2011). Absence of CNTNAP2 leads to epilepsy, neuronal migration abnormalities, and core autism-related deficits. Cell, 147(1), 235-246.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Personality Disorders, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, The Self.

Description: You may recall, if you are regular reader of this blog, that I have written before about the Dark Triad of personality traits (Psychopathy, Machiavellianism and Narcissism, a lovely combination). Recent research has added Sadism to the list and created the Dark Tetrad (social interaction gets better and better!). Some recent research has done something I find very interesting. Rather than look at the general behaviors of people scoring high on the personality scales that make up the Dark Triad or Dark Tetrad these researchers looked at what sorts of first impressions people with varying Dark profiles make on others in real face-to-face first tie interactions. Given the potentially seriously negative consequences of engaging in long-term interactions with people scoring high on the dimensions of the Dark Tetrad it could be important to know if we have any ability to notice or at least get a “feel” for people who score high on Dark Triad traits. In addition, it could be very helpful if we could figure out how to get better at doing this with thought or practice. Do you think you have Dark Tetrad radar for first impressions of people who score high on those dimensions? If you do can you tell what it is based on or is it just a more intuitive feeling of creepiness? Do you think people who score high on the Dark Tetrad traits are aware of the sorts of first impressions they leave when interacting with others? Once you have thought about these questions read through the article linked below to find out more about the Dark Tetrad traits and about their impact upon first impressions. Oh and a lot of research is linking the Dark Tetrad to the behaviors of internet “Trolls” (look it up if you do not know what they are or read one or two of the articles linked in the Further Reading section below).

Source: Why Psychopaths Make Such Bad First Impressions, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.

Date: April 21, 2018

Photo Credit: Psychology Today

Article Links:

Have you had experiences where you pick up a “bad vibe” or a sense of “creepiness” from someone with whom you are briefly interacting for the first time? If you were lucky or smart you acted on those feelings as the research discussed in the link above suggests that we CAN pick up on Dark Tetrad traits in others in short first social interactions. This is a good example of Psychological research that is helping us to think about, better understand, and perhaps use more effectively and consciously social abilities we may not even be aware that we possess. It is also interesting to see more clearly how people scoring high on the Dark Tetrad traits (defined nicely in the linked article) see and reflect upon how they are perceived by others in initial social interactions. You can see how their Dark Tetrad traits impact BOTH their beliefs about how they are perceived by others in initial social interactions AND the developmental implications (for them) of the impressions they make on others. Basically if you tend to creep people out when you meet them this will most certainly impact your thoughts and beliefs about other people.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are the traits that make up the Dark Tetrad?
  2. If you have had the experience of feeling as though someone you are interacting with for the first time is “creepy” what sorts of things were they doing that might have contributed to your feelings during the interaction?
  3. How might you train yourself or train others to develop and pay proper attention to forms of creepiness first impression social radar?

References (Read Further):


Rogers, K. H., Le, M. T., Buckels, E. E., Kim, M., & Biesanz, J. C. (2018). Dispositional malevolence and impression formation: Dark tetrad associations with accuracy and positivity in first impressions. Journal of Personality, doi:10.1111/jopy.12374

Buckels, E. E., Trapnell, P. D., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Trolls just want to have fun. Personality and individual Differences, 67, 97-102.

Book, A., Visser, B. A., Blais, J., Hosker-Field, A., Methot-Jones, T., Gauthier, N. Y., … & D’Agata, M. T. (2016). Unpacking more “evil”: What is at the core of the dark tetrad?. Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 269-272.

Chabrol, H., Melioli, T., Van Leeuwen, N., Rodgers, R., & Goutaudier, N. (2015). The Dark Tetrad: Identifying personality profiles in high-school students. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 97-101.

Greitemeyer, T. (2015). Everyday sadism predicts violent video game preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 19-23.

Southard, A. C., Noser, A. E., Pollock, N. C., Mercer, S. H., & Zeigler-Hill, V. (2015). The interpersonal nature of dark personality features. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 34(7), 555-586.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Depression, Health Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Psychological Health, Research Methods, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: In my previous post ( I talked about the role of culture in Psychological development and adjustment and the role of culture in the discipline of Psychology. While I am planning to move away from suicide and suicidal ideation as my focus on understanding the role of aboriginal and metis culture in individual development and adaptation I thought it would be instructive to have you look at a research article that specifically examines the role of historical cultural experiences (First Nations residential school attendance). The study linked below looks at knowledge of whether one’s parents or grandparents attended Indian Residential School (IRS) and the incidence of suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide) among the First Nations adults in the study. I would suggest that you read the abstract then the introduction and then the discussion of the study (you can, of course, read it all if you like). After reading the article I would suggest you think a little bit about what you now know about the relationship between IRS attendance by one or two previous generations of one’s family and thoughts of suicide. I would also suggest you also think a bit after reading the study about what you now know or do not know about the role of culture in suicidal thoughts.

Source: McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430

Date: June 1, 2017

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

If you read my previous post you may have seen how the article linked above is a reasonably good example of the sort of culture/heritage as symptom approach to indigenous psychology I talked about as being rather common in mainstream North American Psychology. If you are not sure you see this connection think a little bit about what the causal contribution of the attendance of previous generation(s) of relative at IRS to current adult levels of suicidal ideation and you should start to see the issue. For an alternative, culturally grounded, perspective I would encourage you to have a look at one or another of the three references by Chandler I have re-posted below in Further Reading. If suicidal thoughts are linked to struggles finding viable ways to articulate a sense of self-continuity, then the role of previous generations of IRS attendees in the issue of suicidal ideation might be better crafted and understood as an issue of lack of cultural continuity.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why were substantial number of aboriginal and metis children sent to Indian Residential Schools?
  2. How do you think cultural- and self-continuity might be related in situations of heightened suicidal ideation?
  3. What other thigs would be helpful to find out about if one wished to more clearly understand the role of IRS, culture, and self-continuity in aboriginal and metis thoughts of suicide?

References (Read Further):

McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural psychiatry, 35(2), 191-219.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural continuity as a protective factor against suicide in First Nations youth. Horizons, 10(1), 68-72.

Chandler, M. J., Lalonde, C. E., Sokol, B. W., Chandler, M. J., & Turiel, E. (2000). Continuities of selfhood in the face of radical developmental and cultural change. Culture, thought, and development, 65-84.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Indigenous Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Social Influence, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: If you look within Psychology textbooks and scan the Psychological research literatures you can find a fair amount of discussion about culture and about the roles that culture (cultural heritage, cultural background, and current cultural connections) play in Psychological development and functioning. In many instances, however, culture is mainly employed as a marker for problems of psychological adjustment, health or functioning. Suicide, for example, is seen as a particularly serious problem among aboriginal youth in North America. In the case of suicide, culture is often viewed simply as a marker of higher risk, though challenges in cultural continuity, once articulated, can provide a much more nuanced picture of the phenomenon AND suggests a number of culturally grounded strategies that could significantly reduce rates of suicide among aboriginal youth (see the Chandler references below in Further Reading). It is somewhat difficult to describe the importance of a culturally informed or culturally aware or culturally grounded approach to psychological adjustment, health and development when the mainstream, North American, approach to Psychology and to personal identity development too for that matter is essentially entirely blind to culture. Members of minority cultural groups, especially in urban settings, do, certainly, encounter racism in various forms from time to time. However, at least as large an issue can be linked not to racism but rather to the indifference (see DeVerteuil & Wilson reference below in Further Reading) that flows from the mainstream belief that adjustment, wellbeing and development are simply human and in no ways flavored, organized, or otherwise influenced by culture, history and heritage. By not consciously acknowledging and practicing their own culture, members of the mainstream (white) culture simply relegate issues of culture and heritage to a back seat or to the “back of the developmental textbook” (where they are typically found) perspective. The fix to this shared oversight or majority blindness is not quick or simple but read the article linked below for an overview of some of what it could mean to consider an indigenous model of mental health and, by extension, of psychological functioning and development.

Source: Is there such a thing as indigenous mental health? Implications for research, education, practice and policy-making in psychology, Carlota Ocampo, Communique, American Psychological Association.

Date: April 8, 2018

Photo Credit: Cross-Cultural Psychology OVERVIEW Prof. Djamaluddin Ancok, Yopina Galih Pertiwi.

Article Links:

So what do you think of the three theoretic perspectives on culture captured in the definitions shown in the graphic above? The Indigenous Psychology approach challenges many of our mainstream assumptions about the universal nature of psychological development and adaptation. It also provides us with opportunities to much more inclusively understand and engage with aboriginal and Metis cultural communities and, as well, to more deeply understand cultural variation across the whole of Psychological knowledge and practice. I will be posting more articles and comments in this area to think about over the next few months. As we, in Canada, struggle to discern how to effectively proceed with recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission one of the things that will necessarily change as part of that process is the understanding of culture within theories of Psychological development and functioning and the extent to which Psychology can be indigenized without perpetuating or expanding past aspects of Colonialism. A fascinating and interesting challenge indeed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Where in Psychology (or in our standard psychology books) is culture in general and indigenous culture in particular considered?
  2. Which of the three theoretic approaches to Psychology shown in the image above fits most closely with your view of how culture fits into or in found within Psychology?
  3. Looking at the disciplinary definitions provided in the image above how would each of the three perspectives differ in their approaches to personal identity development or to youth suicide in aboriginal or metis communities?

References (Read Further):

Ancok, Djamaluddin  & Pertiwi, Yopina Galih, (2017) Cross-Cultural Psychology OVERVIEW Prof. Ph.D. M.A,

DeVerteuil, G., & Wilson, K. (2010). Reconciling indigenous need with the urban welfare state? Evidence of culturally-appropriate services and spaces for Aboriginals in Winnipeg, Canada. Geoforum, 41(3), 498-507.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural psychiatry, 35(2), 191-219.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural continuity as a protective factor against suicide in First Nations youth. Horizons, 10(1), 68-72.

Chandler, M. J., Lalonde, C. E., Sokol, B. W., Chandler, M. J., & Turiel, E. (2000). Continuities of selfhood in the face of radical developmental and cultural change. Culture, thought, and development, 65-84.

Posted by & filed under Basic Cognitive Functions In Aging: Information Processing Attention Memory, Clinical Neuropsychology, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Neuroscience, Research Methods.

Description: What were you told about the cells in the human brain and aging? That our neurons die off as we age and are not replaced? That we have the most neurons we are ever going to have at birth and things go downhill from there? Well if so, it may be time to rethink that stuff. Have read through the article linked below and be prepared to change a few basic bits of your knowledge around. As well, pay particular attention to things that might be useful in talking about or accounting for age related changes in brain function (if a diminishing number of neurons is not going to a viable explanation).

Source: Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people, ScienceDaily, Science News

Date: April 5, 2018

Photo Credit: gorbovoi81/Fotolia

Article Links:

So, the hippocampi of many aging brains continue to generate neurons and limits to functioning may relate more to declines in vascularization or in the number of progenitor cell possessed at different ages. These changes may also be linked to changes on cognitive-emotional resilience, something else to consider in the mix that is brain-based aging.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Do we stop producing neurons at some point in development?
  2. If we DO continue to generate neurons into old age what sorts of other things might account for any aged-related brain-based declines in function?
  3. What might the findings of this research suggest about new possible courses of treatment or life style planning related to brain function in aging?

References (Read Further):

Maura Boldrini, Camille A. Fulmore, Alexandria N. Tartt, Laika R. Simeon, Ina Pavlova, Verica Poposka, Gorazd B. Rosoklija, Aleksandar Stankov, Victoria Arango, Andrew J. Dwork, René Hen, J. John Mann. Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists throughout Aging. Cell Stem Cell, 2018; 22 (4): 589 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.03.015

Lazarov, O., Mattson, M. P., Peterson, D. A., Pimplikar, S. W., & van Praag, H. (2010). When neurogenesis encounters aging and disease. Trends in neurosciences, 33(12), 569-579.

Klempin, F., & Kempermann, G. (2007). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and aging. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 257(5), 271-280.

Varela‐Nallar, L., Aranguiz, F. C., Abbott, A. C., Slater, P. G., & Inestrosa, N. C. (2010). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews, 90(4), 284-296.’s%20Disease.pdf?sequence=1

Marr, R. A., Thomas, R. M., & Peterso, D. A. (2010). Insights into neurogenesis and aging: potential therapy for degenerative disease?. Future neurology, 5(4), 527-541.




Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Learning, Physical Development: Birth, Motor Skills, and Growth.

Description: You may have heard about research suggesting that we need to rethink bussing schedules for grade school and junior high school students. Basically, it has been shown that the typical practice of busses taking the older junior high school students to school first (early) and then taking the elementary school students to school next (later) contributes to the junior high students not getting the extra sleep the need in their early teens and suffering academically as a result. Young children are typically up earlier anyway and could go to school first (before the teenagers) with little or no ill effects. This is a developmental effect, but what about college and university students? While they are largely past the sleep need bump of the early teen years there still might be an issue. What is your circadian rhythm related to sleep? Do you stay up late and sleep in or go to bed early and get up early? What are your high and low points during the day? Now, if you are in college or university or when you were do/did you select your courses to match your circadian patterns? Think about that and then ready the article linked below to see what impact this may be having or have had on your grades. Oh, and while you are thinking, reflect a bit on how you might measure the degree of concordance between people’s circadian rhythms and their class schedule selections without asking them directly about their circadian rhythms.

Source: Poor grades tied to class times that don’t match our biological clocks, ScienceDaily, Science News

Date: March 29, 2018

Photo Credit: ScienceDaily

Article Links:

While most people know a bit about circadian rhythms many do not make conscious or strategic choices when it comes to matching their daily routines with their daily sleep/wake cycles. In fact, as the linked article suggested only about 40% of students they assessed have class schedules that match their sleep/wake cycles, and this may have negative impacts on their class performances and marks. Some thin worth thin king about as you plan any upcoming terms. Also, did you notice how the researchers assessed activity patterns on non-class days? The use of learning system access patterns provides a reliable indication of activity patterns and these sorts of data gathering opportunities are important as it can be difficult to obtain reliable data in many areas involving alertness and physiological functioning (and circadian patterns are one of these areas) using self-reports.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are most students’ circadian patterns related to their course schedule choices?
  2. Can you think of some other ways in which students’ non-class day patterns of sleep/wake, activity patterns and alertness might be assessed?
  3. Thinking about your own weekly, day-to-day schedules requirements how well is your typical pattern of activity matched to your circadian cycles? If you are not sure how might you find out?

References (Read Further):

Smarr, B. L., & Schirmer, A. E. (2018). 3.4 million real-world learning management system logins reveal the majority of students experience social jet lag correlated with decreased performance. Scientific reports, 8(1), 4793.

Wolfson, A. R., Spaulding, N. L., Dandrow, C., & Baroni, E. M. (2007). Middle school start times: the importance of a good night’s sleep for young adolescents. Behavioral sleep medicine, 5(3), 194-209.

Fredriksen, K., Rhodes, J., Reddy, R., & Way, N. (2004). Sleepless in Chicago: tracking the effects of adolescent sleep loss during the middle school years. Child development, 75(1), 84-95.

Kelly, W. E., Kelly, K. E., & Clanton, R. C. (2001). The relationship between sleep length and grade-point average among college students. College student journal, 35(1), 84-86.

Lund, H. G., Reider, B. D., Whiting, A. B., & Prichard, J. R. (2010). Sleep patterns and predictors of disturbed sleep in a large population of college students. Journal of adolescent health, 46(2), 124-132.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Legal Ethical Issues, Research Methods, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: In my previous post ( I discussed and provided an article link to the issue of whether clinical psychologists should (be required to) routinely objectively assess the status (wellbeing) and outcomes of their clinical clients. One of the arguments against having clients complete a status assessment prior to each therapy session is that the questions on such assessments could be perceived as irrelevant by the client or could be upsetting to the client or could be responded to randomly by the client (rendering the responses useless)whereas therapists ought to be able to monitor their client’s status and progress using their clinical insight and observational skills. Think a bit about this position and about how you would respond to it and then go back to the article linked below and (re)read the part of it containing this argument (it appears just below half way down the article page). Think about whether there are things that could be done to address these issues and still use status and outcome measure with clinical therapy clients. Also, have a look at the section entitled “Acceptability” on page 53 of the research article linked below (citation in Further Reading section) to see how this sort of question might be addressed in research.

Source: Rethinking therapy: How 45 questions can revolutionize mental health care in Canada, Erin Anderssen, The Globe and Mail and Towards a standardized brief outcome measure: Psychometric properties and utility of the CORE–OM. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 180(1), 51-60

Date: April 7, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:  and

All of the concerns about how college/university student clients might react to questions on a status/outcome measure they are asked to complete prior to each therapy session are important and need to be considered. What is not at all clear is whether simply doing away with the assessment tool is the answer to addressing these issues. One possibility would be to ensure that the purpose and usefulness of the measure is properly explained by both the clinic’s reception personnel and that it is also addressed by the therapist in the first session. Perhaps a paragraph at the top of the measure itself could also help to ensure that the purpose of the survey questions is clear to the client. An important discussion to have involves consideration of the criteria being used (or that should be used) to assess the full range of issues facing potential therapy clients and to monitor their status and outcomes during and after treatment.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How to clinical psychologists know if their clients’ issues and symptoms are improving, staying the same or getting worse?
  2. What are some of the ways in which clients entering therapy might negatively react to a status/outcome baseline assessment prior to their first and subsequent sessions?
  3. What steps might clinical psychologists take to ensure that the use of regular and routine status/outcome assessments are a positive (or at least not a negative) part of clients’ therapeutic experiences?

References (Read Further):

Evans, C., Connell, J., Barkham, M., Margison, F., McGRATH, G. R. A. E. M. E., Mellor-Clark, J., & Audin, K. (2002). Towards a standardized brief outcome measure: Psychometric properties and utility of the CORE–OM. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 180(1), 51-60.

Garland, A. F., Kruse, M., & Aarons, G. A. (2003). Clinicians and outcome measurement: What’s the use?. The journal of behavioral health services & research, 30(4), 393-405.

Brown, S. D. (2017). Meta-analysis and evidence-based career practice: Current status and future directions. Integrating theory, research, and practice in vocational psychology: Current status and future directions, 82.