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

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

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

Date: March 10, 2018

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Links:  Article Link –

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: March 2, 2018

Photo Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Links:  Article Link –

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: February 22, 2018

Photo Credit:Julia Tomaszewski,

Links:  Article Link –  

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: March 4, 2018

Photo Credit: tes teach

Links:  Article Link –

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

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Date: March 4, 2018

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

Links:  Article Link –

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

Teen Depression Symptoms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: March 4, 2018

Photo Credit: Andrew Rich/Getty Images

Links:  Article Link –

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: February 25, 2018

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

Links:  Article Link –

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Moral Development, Personality, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Can you tell when someone is lying to you? If you do a You Tube search on lie detection you will find a great many postings showing versions of the classic lie detection game where someone tells you several things about themselves one of which is a lie and you have to figure out which one it is based on your “reading” of their body language, tone of voice eye contact or lack thereof etc. It is a hard thing to do with strangers but not quite as hard to do with people we know. Why do you think that might be? Well, of course, one possibility is that you simply know more of the truth about people you know well and can therefore check facts within your own memory. It may be that your knowledge of the other person will give you the ability to note atypical body language or vocal characteristics and thus to spot lying. But think about that a minute. What if the person you know well is simply a good liar? I am not suggesting that you conduct a psychological audit of all your friends in order to calibrate how you will think about them or act in response to them (that might not help your relationship with them if they found out) but think for a minute about what sort of data might help you sort out this question of just how honest the people you know actually are. Might there be some part of their personality profile that could be informative about this question? Which personality dimensions might be useful? Think about that, and about what sorts of dimensions would be useful if the standard Big Five dimensions do not seem to give you what you can use here, and then read the article linked below that makes use of the HEXACO personality model developed by a colleague of mine Kibeom Lee of the University of Calgary.

Source: Get to the Truth with This New Way to Spot a Liar, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.

Date: February 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Pam Douglas, Huffington Post / Adam the Teacher WordPress

Links:  Article Link –

Kibeom Lee’s work with the HEXACO model includes the development of a dimension that seems to capture honesty-humility (Kibeom’s book on the subject is listed in the Further Reading section below). Certainly honesty, or the lack thereof, would potentially be related to lying and cheating but the way the personality dimension relates to real-world cheating and lying is a bit more complicated. In a two-part predictive process, the suggestion is that being honest translates to being fair and trustworthy and thus unwilling to gain through unethical means. When this is paired with humility, wherein people avoid being greedy because they do not feel entitled to special treatment, you have a personality combination that makes it less likely people who possess it will exploit, steal, lie or cheat. That is the hypothesis that the study discussed in the article/post linked above evaluated. The results supported the hypothesis. So, you now have an audit tool to use quietly. Consider a person’s sense of fairness and their greed avoidance and you will have a angle on their character in this area. You can do this without having to figure out how to get them to complete a HEXACO profile. Simply watch how they behave in situations with limited resources such as a shared meal or after a meal in a restaurant or an evening in a bar when it comes time to address the shared bill. Both of these situations are good sources of evaluative data related to the honesty-humility dimension.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are honesty and humility (in terms of personality dimensions)?
  2. How do honesty and humility relate to behaviors like cheating, lying, and stealing?
  3. Besides the ones noted in the paragraph above what are some social situations where you might be able to gather data from people on these dimensions? Be specific about the sorts of behaviors you would look for and how you would do so in ways that would not influence the behavior of the person or persons you are observing (and yes this sounds sneaky but, think about it, a LOT of personality data gathering IS rather sneaky, isn’t it?

References (Read Further):

van Rensburg, Y. J., de Kock, F. S., & Derous, E. (2018). Narrow facets of honesty-humility predict collegiate cheating. Personality and Individual Differences, 123199-204.


Lee, Kibeom, and Aston, Michael, C. (2012) The H Factor of Personality: Why some people are manipulative, self-entitled, materialistic and exploitive – Why it matters for everyone, Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Baiocco, R., Chirumbolo, A., Bianchi, D., Ioverno, S., Morelli, M., & Nappa, M. R. (2017). How HEXACO Personality Traits Predict Different Selfie-Posting Behaviors among Adolescents and Young Adults. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 2080.

Visser, B. A., Book, A. S., & Volk, A. A. (2017). Is Hillary dishonest and Donald narcissistic? A HEXACO analysis of the presidential candidates’ public personas. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 281-286.


Posted by & filed under Clinical Assessment, Clinical Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: The Calgary Distress Centre (in my home town) started out as a call-in center, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Until recently its only form of contact with distressed individuals was over their phone lines and that worked very well as a way for people to find someone to talk to in critical moments of personal crisis and, besides a human contact and a friendly ear, potentially receive suggestions and even direct referrals for additional assistance. Recently the Distress Center has added a chat interface option and more recently a text connection option. Initially they offered this service through their “ConnectTeen” service aimed at teens in crisis but are looking at expanding this to their other services. While there are concerns about the validity of non-face-to-face therapy, in crisis situations any contact that works is good. Putting aside for the present purposes the question of whether non-face-to-face therapy is viable think a bit about the huge potential that social media and the web in general could have on issues of mental health and wellness. Of course, we need a lot of data on these possibilities BUT to get data we also need to have possibilities out there to examine and evaluate. Now, if you have heard of the show Dragon’s Den, where entrepreneurs and product/service developers pitch their ideas to a panel of deep pocketed potential investors, imagine what an opportunity to pitch web or app-based ideas for promoting mental health and wellness might look like. With those thoughts in mind read the article linked below to see some bold thinking and actions in this area.

Source: ‘Money Supermarket for mental health’: Could the future of treatment be digital? Mark Rice-Oxley, Mental Health: The Upside, The Guardian.

Date: February 15, 2018

Photo Credit: Fixing a hole. Illustration: Blok Magnaye

Links:  Article Link –

“…this [metal health] is a crisis that is ripe for innovation.” Isn’t THAT a fascinating quote? And how about this one: “We want to build a whole new global system for mental health. A platform with answers for people rich and poor,” (Jim Woods). I have written previously about the challenges associated with mental health when compared to our (In Canada) commitment to global health care provision. Moving large on mental health issues is a HIGE challenge. If you are interested in this new angle on mental health and related issues, then check out Zinc ( ) and start developing your pitch!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How is the way we approach physical health different than the way we approach mental health?
  2. How might we re-think how we talk about and think about mental illness (and mental health) in ways that would get us moving in some of the direction suggested by the Zinc initiative?
  3. What are some of the ways in which thinking about mental health is different than thinking about mental illness?

References (Read Further):

Links to Check Out (provided for interst not as a recomendation):


Rochlen, A. B., Zack, J. S., & Speyer, C. (2004). Online therapy: Review of relevant definitions, debates, and current empirical support. Journal of clinical psychology, 60(3), 269-283.

Cook, J. E., & Doyle, C. (2002). Working alliance in online therapy as compared to face-to-face therapy: Preliminary results. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5(2), 95-105.

Sundram, F., Hawken, S. J., Stasiak, K., Lucassen, M. F., Fleming, T., Shepherd, M., … & Merry, S. N. (2017). Tips and traps: lessons from codesigning a clinician e-monitoring tool for computerized cognitive behavioral therapy. JMIR mental health, 4(1).

Sprenger, M., Mettler, T., & Osma, J. (2017). Health professionals’ perspective on the promotion of e-mental health apps in the context of maternal depression. PLoS One, 12(7), e0180867.

Grist, R., Porter, J., & Stallard, P. (2017). Mental health mobile apps for preadolescents and adolescents: a systematic review. Journal of medical internet research, 19(5).

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Clinical Neuropsychology, Language Development, Language-Thought, Neuroscience, Sensation-Perception.

Description:  Two questions before we get into this topic. First, who has strokes? Second, if someone has a massive left hemisphere stroke what will likely happen to their spoken language abilities? Old people and language will suffer right? Well, not entirely. You see, infants, and in fact, newborns (about 1 in 4000) can have strokes. The birth process is stressful and can involve huge spikes in baby blood pressure which, in turn, can lean to strokes. What are the impacts of such strokes, especially when they are large? Well, before you try to answer make sure your response involves using the term “plasticity.” If you are unsure what that means then read the article linked below to find out and even if you do know what plasticity is read the article to see if what it says matches your responses to the first two questions I posed above.

Source: Newborn babies who suffered stroke regain language function I opposite side of brain, Science Daily.

Date: February 17, 2018

Photo Credit: Elissa Newport, Georgetown University

Links:  Article Link –    and

If you have had an introductory level Psychology course you have likely heard about Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, their roles in the processing and production of spoken language and the finding that they are typically located in the left hemisphere of your brain. You also have likely heard about how stroke damage in the left hemisphere of the brain can be associated with mild to severe loss of language production or language processing ability (look up the two areas of the brain noted above for more information). All this is supported by a lot of research. But, if the person who has the stroke is a newborn language development and language processing may not be impacted at all and, in fact those tasks might actually be taken up by the right hemisphere of the brain. THAT is neural plasticity, where other brain areas take up functions that would “normally” be in areas of the brain damaged by strokes. An additional, and potentially quite important finding of the study reported in the linked article is that there are constraints on precisely what areas of the brain take over what functions following stroke. In other words language processing does not get written any old place but in specific regions of the right hemisphere following severe left hemisphere strokes. The researchers are looking ahead to study the molecular basis of plasticity as an understanding of those processes may be very informative as to opportunities for assisting in the recovery of function following stroke at any age.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do some newborns have strokes?
  2. Why do newborns who have strokes often show little or no long term detrimental effects?
  3. Why might there be specific “back-up” areas for certain specifically located functions in the opposite hemisphere of the brain and how might that back-up function (or back-up potential) work?

References (Read Further):

Westmacott, R., Askalan, R., MacGregor, D., Anderson, P., & Deveber, G. (2010). Cognitive outcome following unilateral arterial ischaemic stroke in childhood: effects of age at stroke and lesion location. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 52(4), 386-393.

Oakes, L. (2017). Introduction to Special Issue:“Current Perspectives on Neuroplasticity”. Cognitive Development, 42, 1-3.

Oakes, L. M. (2017). Plasticity may change inputs as well as processes, structures, and responses. Cognitive development, 42, 4-14.

Chen, C. Y., Georgieff, M., Elison, J., Chen, M., Stinear, J., Mueller, B., … & Gillick, B. (2017). Understanding brain reorganization in infants with perinatal stroke through neuroexcitability and neuroimaging. Pediatric physical therapy: the official publication of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association, 29(2), 173.

Stiles, J. (2017). Principles of brain development. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 8(1-2).