Posted by & filed under Child Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Research Methods, Social Cognition, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: What do horses that seem to be able to spell and do math, grade school children, and stereotypes of poor people or smokers have in common? The Pygmalion Effect. Well that is not enlightening but what about expectancy effects and not their own expectancies but expectancies or assumptions that other have about them? How might our expectations about other people effect how those people behave in the world? No, telekinesis or other extrasensory abilities are NOT involved. Think for a minute about what might actually be involved that links those things together and then read the article linked below to see what psychological research tells us.

Source: The Pygmalion Effect: Proving Them Right, Shane Parrish, Farnam Street.

Date: April 7, 2019

Photo Credit: Public Domain,

Article Link:

So how many possible examples of the Pygmalion Effect can you come up with from your life? As we are most often acting in a social world, we need to note and acknowledge the social impacts of our expectations of those around us and the situations we and they are acting within if we wish to understand our own and others’ behaviours over time. Our expectations are things that we can change, for the betterment of the behaviors or others around us.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the Pygmalion Effect?
  2. Describe the Pygmalion Effect as it played out in the study of elementary school children but do so without blaming the teachers involved (there is an expectation you can change!)?
  3. Describe one or two places or regular situations in your life where you could potentially use the Pygmalion Effect to general advantage?

References (Read Further):

Samhita, L., & Gross, H. J. (2013). The “Clever Hans Phenomenon” revisited. communicative & integrative Biology, 6(6), e27122.

Ladewig, J. (2007). Clever Hans is still whinnying with us. Behavioural processes, 76(1), 20-21.

Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom. The urban review, 3(1), 16-20.

Friedrich, A., Flunger, B., Nagengast, B., Jonkmann, K., & Trautwein, U. (2015). Pygmalion effects in the classroom: Teacher expectancy effects on students’ math achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 41, 1-12.’s_cognitive_ability_A_multilevel_analysis/links/5845559808ae8e63e627f799/Teacher-judgments-as-measures-of-childrens-cognitive-ability-A-multilevel-analysis.pdf

White, S. S., & Locke, E. A. (2000). Problems with the Pygmalion effect and some proposed solutions. The Leadership Quarterly, 11(3), 389-415.

Rosenthal, R. (1997). Interpersonal Expectancy Effects: A Forty Year Perspective.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, Neuroscience, Personality.

Description: While it might seem like ancient history to some the 1960’s were not that long ago (well OK, it was over 50 years ago). What have you heard or read that the 1960’s were known for? Student activism, Vietnam war protests, and experimentation with recreational drugs. Related to all of those things was an intense interest in raised consciousness. Students becoming aware of the nature of the social structures around them (e.g., the military industrial complex) was one form of consciousness expansion. The use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD and peyote were also viewed by many as consciousness expanding experiences. Ralph Metzner, who passed away recently, was a psychotherapist and researcher who had an intense interest in the potential implications and applications of psychoactive drugs. He worked with personality psychologist turned counter culture guru and LSD advocate Timothy Leary on experiments on the effects of LSD. They were dismissed from Harvard in 1963 for giving LSD to students as part of their investigations. Later Metzner wrote a book with Leary and Richard Alpert, a clinical Psychologist who took the name Ram Dass (servant of God) called The Psychedelic Experience: A manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. While Leary and Alpert moved wholesale into the counter culture movement Metzner remained in academia writing and conducting research. It was an interesting time and involved some broad speculations about the nature of human consciousness and the potential roles played by psychedelic in expanding consciousness. Have a read thought the article linked below to get a glimpse of the 1960’s influence on thought and experimentation (at a number of levels) into consciousness.

Source: Ralph Metzner, LSD and Consciousness Researcher, Dies at 88, Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

Date: April 4, 2019

Photo Credit: Ralph Metzner Archive

Article Link:

So, what do you think? Lawrence Kohlberg, a developmental psychologist who studied the emergence and development of moral reasoning looked at the level of moral reasoning used by those university students who were most actively involved in the free speech movement at Berkley in California. He found that while many of those actively involved scored as using the higher moral reasoning levels in his model there were a small subset who scored at one o his lowest stages, focused primarily on self-interest. As a statement about the 1960’s this suggests that while some emerging adults at the time were involved because the parties were good and interesting recreational drugs were available there were also many who were thinking hard and trying to discover new ways to be. Ralph Metzner took that sort of approach to psychedelic drugs and consciousness. You can read further about his explorations by following some of the links below in the References section.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why were individuals like Ralph Metzner and Timothy Leary interested in the effects of psychedelic drugs?
  2. Can you see some ways in which interest in psychedelic drugs is related to interest in drugs that can positively influence the symptoms of psychological disorders like schizophrenia?
  3. What sorts of ethical issues should be considered if one were to be interested in studying the effects of psychedelic drugs on human consciousness?

References (Read Further):

Leary, Timothy, Ralph Metzner, and Ram Dass. The psychedelic experience. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1966.

Metzner, R. (1998). Hallucinogenic drugs and plants in psychotherapy and shamanism. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 30(4), 333-341.

Metzner, R. (1980). Ten classical metaphors of self-transformation. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 12(1), 47-62.

Adamson, S., & Metzner, R. (1988). The nature of the MDMA experience and its role in healing, psychotherapy and spiritual practice. ReVision, 10(4), 59-72.

Leary, T., Metzner, R., Presnell, M., Weil, G., Schwitzgebel, R., & Kinne, S. (1965). A new behavior change program using psilocybin. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 2(2), 61-72.

Doblin, R. (1998). Dr. Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment: a 34-year follow-up study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 30(4), 419-426.’s_Concord_Prison_Experiment_A_34-Year_Follow-up_Study/links/0deec533220f38bf01000000/Dr-Learys-Concord-Prison-Experiment-A-34-Year-Follow-up-Study.pdf

KUTNICK, P. (1986). Judgment and Moral Action: Kohlberg’s Theory, Criticism and Revision. Lawrence Kohlberg, Consensus and controversy, (1), 125.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: As we are entering the time of the academic year where brick walls loom and the s*%# hits the fan it seemed timely to have a look at procrastination. I mean it is not like we have other more pressing things to do, right? Virtually everyone procrastinates in some ways at some times. If you procrastinate (and notice that you do) what do you tell yourself about what it is and what you need to do about it? That you have little willpower and that you need to find some organizational skills and grit? But perhaps that is NOT what procrastination is about and perhaps thinking about it that way will NOT get you going. How about if we were to look at procrastination as a(n emotion-focused) coping strategy? What if we looked at it as strongly related to self-continuity? And what if we were to take on a strategy for dealing with it that essentially tells us to pay attention to everything else we want to do instead of focusing on what we HAVE to do? Think about what these shifts might mean in terms of how you think about procrastination and then read the two articles linked below to see what psychological research has to tell us that could really help us with our procrastination.

Source: The Smart Guide to Procrastination Zaria Gorvett, and Why Your Brain Loves to Procrastinate, Susannah Locke, Vox.

Date: March 26, 2019

Photo Credit: Vox/Shutterstock

Article Links : and

So, did you find some ideas or strategies you can use as finals and other bits of term-end fun loom?  The recent research on procrastination discussed in the linked articles are good examples of how psychological research digging into things we already think we know well and understand can sometimes come up with new, research supported,  ways of looking at, thinking about, and taking action in relation to aspects of our lives that we have been sort of stuck with  based on our unreflected (un unresearched!) assumption and explanations. So, what are you waiting for? Put one or two of the suggested new strategies in place and then get back to work of what you have to get done before term ends!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do you understand and think about procrastination?
  2. What are two things you now know about procrastination (after having read the linked articles) that change or challenge something you knew before?
  3. What are some of the important things that psychological research can do for us in relation to bothersome or sometimes even dangerous thigs like procrastination?

References (Read Further):

Rahimi, S., Hall, N. C., & Pychyl, T. A. (2016). Attributions of responsibility and blame for procrastination behavior. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1179.

Gagnon, J., Dionne, F., & Pychyl, T. A. (2016). Committed action: An initial study on its association to procrastination in academic settings. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5(2), 97-102.

Shanahan, M. J., & Pychyl, T. A. (2007). An ego identity perspective on volitional action: Identity status, agency, and procrastination. Personality and individual differences, 43(4), 901-911.

Rutchick, A. M., Slepian, M. L., Reyes, M. O., Pleskus, L. N., & Hershfield, H. E. (2018). Future self-continuity is associated with improved health and increases exercise behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24(1), 72.

Hershfield, H. E. (2018). The self over time. Current Opinion in Psychology.

Martiny-Huenger, T., Martiny, S. E., Parks-Stamm, E. J., Pfeiffer, E., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2017). From conscious thought to automatic action: A simulation account of action planning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 1513-1525.

Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, Pain-General, Physiology, Research Methods, Sensation-Perception.

Description: A big part of the current opioid crisis that does not perhaps get the level of attention it deserves is that many people caught up in it got there through their experiences and issues with pain management. Pain experience and pain management is a very complex area of psychological and medical research and a big part of what makes it challenging is the lack of a full understanding of haw pain is carried and managed within our brain and nervous system. While case studies are typically viewed almost as novelties that tell us interesting stories about individual people which, while sometime fascinating, do not provide us with a lot that we can generalize to other people or to larger populations. But sometimes that can provide us with starting points for potentially hugely valuable lines of research and eventual application of interventions/treatments to a great many people.  The article linked below describes one such case study – that of a woman who, throughout her life, has essentially not experiences any pain or anxiety, not because she has led a lucky or charmed life but because of something in her genetic code or genotype. Think for a minute about what such a case might provide to pain researchers and then give the article a read.

Source: At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why. Heather Murphy, The New York Times.

Date: March 28, 2019


Video Credit: Mary Turner for The New York Times

Article Link:

The account of how the women whose experiences (or the lack thereof) with pain and anxiety came to the attention pf pain researchers and what they found when they began to try and account t for her pain/anxiety non-experiences is quite fascinating. While it seems clear that there are downsides to the nature of her pain/anxiety experiences due to the mutations on her FAAH-OUT gene — pain IS usually an important clue to things we need to attend to in life – understanding of how these mutations play out in development and life may provide some deep insights into the human pain process. The researchers quoted in the article do, appropriately, indicate that the route from finding cases like this and the FAAH-OUT mutations do not immediately or easily point to any clear pathways to applications or pain or anxiety related interventions, but they DO provide a new window into part of the processes involved in experiencing and perhaps managing pain. There will be more to see on this in the not to distant research future.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might some of the day-to-day life implications be of having the gene mutations that resulted in the women discussed in the article not experiencing pain or anxiety?
  2. What are some of the next research steps that might be worth considering in light of the information reported in this case study?
  3. Are there ways in which you can see possible connections between this case study and the opioid crisis?

References (Read Further):

Habib, Abdella M. et al (in press, 2019) Microdeletion in a FAAH pseudogene identified in a patient with high anandamide concentrations and pain insensitivity, British Journal of Anaesthesia.

Waxman, S. G. (2018). Chasing Men on Fire: The Story of the Search for a Pain Gene. MIT Press.

Hayasaki, Erika (2017) End Pain Forever, Wired,

Hansen, G. R., & Streltzer, J. (2005). The psychology of pain. Emergency Medicine Clinics, 23(2), 339-348.

Scholz, J., & Woolf, C. J. (2002). Can we conquer pain?. Nature neuroscience, 5(11s), 1062.

Keane, H., & Hamill, K. (2010). Variations in addiction: The molecular and the molar in neuroscience and pain medicine. BioSocieties, 5(1), 52-69.

Giordano, J. (2010). The neuroscience of pain, and a Neuroethics of pain care. Neuroethics, 3(1), 89-94.


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Language-Thought, Neuroscience.

Description: When I was in graduate school (back in the stone age) I took a seminar course in cognitive psychology that was run by Daniel Kahneman (who would later receive the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on human decision making and cognitive biases) and his wife Anne Treisman (also a noted cognitive psychology superstar). Each of us enrolled in the seminar had to take responsibility for doing a presentation at some point in the course in which we were to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge in an assigned area of cognitive science. I actually do not recall what my assigned topic was (though that likely means I survived without serious criticism) but I do recall the presentation of the unfortunate graduate student (who was actually working with Daniel Kahneman) who was charged with presenting on the topic of consciousness. She seemed quite nervous as she led us through a very informative overview of the concept of consciousnesses address in eastern religions and philosophies and of early “scientific” efforts to locate consciousness within the pituitary gland. She then talked a little bit about sleep research and research into metacognition and then turned to her supervisor and apologized for the fact that she was not able to find any work in cognitive psychology that directly addressed the question of the nature and location of consciousness. Daniel’s comment was to simply shrug and to say something like “No there really hasn’t been anything sensible done on that question yet – what’s next”?” In the nearly 40 years since I took that seminar and during which I have taught introductory psychology which typically contains a section on consciousness and I can tell you that Daniel Kahneman’s summary comment has largely continued to apply, until recently. We are seeing an increasing number of questions being raised about the status of Artificial Intelligence and part of that has begun to involve questions about AI and consciousness, partly just out of curiosity and partly out of concern over what might happen if or when AI becomes conscious (see I Robot, Ex Machina, Transcendence, or even Blade Runner for a sci-fi treatment). We are also seeing a resurgence of versions of the age-old ethical question of whether lobsters experience pain when they are boiled alive for dinner that are broadening into deeper questions about animal consciousness and their ethical standing on our planet. So, where to start on the question of the nature and location of consciousness? Well, enter Giulio Tononi, neuroscientist. Read the article linked below to see where he is proposing we go to try and develop a coherent, testable theory of consciousness (and not just human consciousness but general and even hive and perhaps, at some point, AI consciousness).

Source: Are we close to solving the puzzle of consciousness? David Robson, future,

Date: March 27, 2019

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Lafont

Article Link:

So, what do you think of Integrated Consciousness Theory? There is something compelling, to me at least, about the idea that consciousness is likely about the integration of information – it just seems to fit with what has always seemed to be a necessary part of any account of the nature of consciousness – that ist must be greater than the sum of any amalgam of information gathering parts. As many of the commenters quoted in the linked article say, Integrated Consciousness Theory is a good starting point and it IS explorable AND, to a degree, testable. It is going to be fascinating to see where this line of (conscious) thought and inquiry takes us!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is consciousness?
  2. What does consciousness do for us?
  3. What do you make of Integrated Consciousness Theory and what do you think ir can do for us?

References (Read Further):

Tononi, G., & Koch, C. (2015). Consciousness: here, there and everywhere? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1668), 20140167.

Sarasso, S., Boly, M., Napolitani, M., Gosseries, O., Charland-Verville, V., Casarotto, S., … & Rex, S. (2015). Consciousness and complexity during unresponsiveness induced by propofol, xenon, and ketamine. Current Biology, 25(23), 3099-3105.

Barrett, Adam (2018) We need to figure out a theory of consciousness. The Conversation.

Massimini, M., Ferrarelli, F., Murphy, M. J., Huber, R., Riedner, B. A., Casarotto, S., & Tononi, G. (2010). Cortical reactivity and effective connectivity during REM sleep in humans. Cognitive neuroscience, 1(3), 176-183.

Tononi, G., Boly, M., Massimini, M., & Koch, C. (2016). Integrated information theory: from consciousness to its physical substrate. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 17(7), 450.

Casarotto, S., Comanducci, A., Rosanova, M., Sarasso, S., Fecchio, M., Napolitani, M., … & Gosseries, O. (2016). Stratification of unresponsive patients by an independently validated index of brain complexity. Annals of neurology, 80(5), 718-729.

Toker, D., & Sommer, F. T. (2019). Information integration in large brain networks. PLoS computational biology, 15(2), e1006807.

Engel, D., & Malone, T. W. (2018). Integrated information as a metric for group interaction. PloS one, 13(10), e0205335.


Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Cultural Variation, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: You cannot have missed at least some of the range of stories regarding the amount of screen time children are spending and the concerns being raised about its possible impact on their development. We should be concerned but we should also be cautious about treating screen time like this month’s Tickle me Elmo, Furby, or whatever is more recently and passingly popular. We most certainly need to look at the impact of screen time and on screen-contents on the development of children and adolescents of all ages. However, especially with the sort of vast scale socio-historical technological changes associated with things like the internet and the ubiquity of screen in out lives, we need to step back from time to time and look at a bigger picture of screen time or whatever else we are concerned about. How to do that? Well, first do not restrict your thinking to children and child development alone. While that might be one of the points of greatest impact, we need to think about what screen time might represent more broadly. What might this involve? Well think about two things: First, how might screen time issues impact the elderly? And second, who is working VERY hard to reduce or eliminate screen time in their young children’s lives? Think about those questions for a moment or two and then read the article linked below and find out who Sox is (in relation to question one) and WWSJD (what Steve Jobs would do).

Source: Human Contact is Now a Luxury Good, Nellie Bowles, News Analysis, The New York Times.

Date: March 23, 2019

Photo Credit: Marta Monteiro, The New York Times

Article Link:

Well, what do you think now? If “real” human contact is only for the wealthy and if we as a species (and the young of our species in particular) have evolved to grow, develop and rely on direct social contact then where will we be developmentally when screen time replaces social contact with real people (not Sox or even Facetime)? Understanding the differences and trade-offs between Sox and human and community contact could turn out to be one of the most important lifespan developmental tasks of our time. So, what research do we need to do?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Is Sox a good thing?
  2. What might it mean that very well-off parents who made or are making their fortunes in Silicon Valley are working hard to reduce or eliminate screen time in their children’s lives?
  3. What other areas of interest, concern and needed research in relation to the wholesale jump in the amount of screen-time in people’s lives can you think of ?

References (Read Further):

Asan, O., D. Smith, P., & Montague, E. (2014). More screen time, less face time–implications for EHR design. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 20(6), 896-901.

Sigman, A. (2012). Time for a view on screen time. Archives of disease in childhood, 97(11), 935-942.

Subrahmanyam, K., Kraut, R. E., Greenfield, P. M., & Gross, E. F. (2000). The impact of home computer-use on children’s activities and development. The future of children, 123-144.

Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., Wight, D., & Henderson, M. (2013). Do television and electronic games predict children’s psychosocial adjustment? Longitudinal research using the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Archives of disease in childhood, 98(5), 341-348.

Crone, E. A., & Konijn, E. A. (2018). Media use and brain development during adolescence. Nature Communications, 9(1), 588.

Nesi, J., Choukas-Bradley, S., & Prinstein, M. J. (2018). Transformation of adolescent peer relations in the social media context: part 1—a theoretical framework and application to dyadic peer relationships. Clinical child and family psychology review, 21(3), 267-294.


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intelligence, Learning.

Description: How do you feel about self-driving cars? Would you trust your safety if they started driving though your neighbourhood (perhaps delivering packages or food)? What is a major challenge to computers (AI) learning to drive and to drive safely? Well, recognizing what they “see” so they can respond appropriately. A common position is that computers make mistakes that humans do not make such as not recognizing objects or animals that should lead to action changes. This leads to the related common belief that computers do not “think” like we do. The researchers whose work is discussed in the article linked below challenge this by trying to see if they could create conditions in which humans would “see things” the same way that computer do. How might our thinking about computer thinking and decision making be changed if we can see communalities in AI and Human perception and information processing? For an understanding of the problem give the article linked below a read (or have a look at the original research articled linked down below in the References section).

Source: Researchers get humans to think like computers, Science News, Science Daily.

Date: March 22, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

So when humans are asked to respond to what they are seeing using the same options available to computers they look like they “thinking” in very similar ways. The human ability to look at images and decide what they “look like” as opposed to what they actually are (like cloud gazing) may be something humans do that computer are not allowed to do when they are learning how to drive (and other things). Being restricted to decide what everything you see really really is makes sense for learning how to drive and when we restrict ourselves to making those sorts of decisions, we start to act more like computers do in similar circumstances. What this might mean for self-driving vehicles is not really very clear but perhaps it opens an avenue for us to develop a bit more empathy for what the computer in self-driving vehicles are going through!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does thinking about children as orchids and dandelions help us to more effectively examine child development?
  2. What does it mean to say that resilience is relational?
  3. What sorts of things should parents be trying to do for their orchid child(ren)? And what about for their dandelion children?

References (Read Further):

Zhenglong Zhou, Chaz Firestone. Humans can decipher adversarial images. Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1)

Sivak, M., & Schoettle, B. (2015). Road safety with self-driving vehicles: General limitations and road sharing with conventional vehicles.

Bojarski, M., Del Testa, D., Dworakowski, D., Firner, B., Flepp, B., Goyal, P., … & Zhang, X. (2016). End to end learning for self-driving cars. arXiv preprint arXiv:1604.07316.

Howard, D., & Dai, D. (2014, January). Public perceptions of self-driving cars: The case of Berkeley, California. In Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting (Vol. 14, No. 4502, pp. 1-16).


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Think of all the different ways in which you can think about and talk about developing children: shy – outgoing, independent – dependent, leaders—followers and on and on. All such dichotomies tend to focus on a part or aspect of children or child development and do not scale up well, into big pictures of how development can proceed and what differences might be useful in describing the process. So maybe we do not need any more dichotomies but let’s try one more on for size. Think about children you know and then think about which of them are orchids and which of them are dandelions. What images of development come to mind as you think about these two types of flowers? Well, orchids require very particular soils and environments to thrive whereas dandelions sprout up almost anywhere in almost any conditions. After you have thought for a moment or two about what the dichotomy might point to in the way of different developmental processes and outcomes have listen to the radio story that looks into what Thomas Boyce suggests about orchid and dandelion  children.

Source: Is your child an orchid or a dandelion? How one expert’s theory can help us raise better people, Anna Maria Tremonti, The Current, CBC Radio.

Date: March 21, 2019

Photo Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Article Link:

This dichotomy between orchid and dandelion children is different and more useful that many other “there are two kinds of children” hypothesis mainly because this one does not dwell on basic or characterological differences between children. Instead Boyd asks us to consider the child within their entire developmental environment and, as well, not just how the child responds to their environments but how their environments (Parents, peers, teachers etc.) respond to them. Boyd points out that resilience is not a genetic-like attribute of children but is something that is relational and that exists in and through all of the social connections and relationships that children live in and grow up through. As the last bit of the sub-title of Boyd’s book suggests “All Can Thrive,” and thinking about orchids and dandelions helps us work on making that come to reality.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does thinking about children as orchids and dandelions help us to more effectively examine child development?
  2. What does it mean to say that resilience is relational?
  3. What sorts of things should parents be trying to do for their orchid child(ren)? And what about for their dandelion children?

References (Read Further):

Boyce, W. Thomas (2019) The orchid and the dandelion: Why some children struggle and how all can thrive. Allen Lane

Dobbs, D. (2009). Dandelion Kids and Orchid Children How vulnerability is responsiveness, danger opportunity, and an apparent weakness—genetically conferred sensitivity to environment—may be the secret to human (and humankind’s) success. Atlantic.

Herbert, W. (2011). On the trail of the orchid child. Scientific American Mind, 22(5), 70-71.

Posted by & filed under Aggression, Child Development, Cultural Variation, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Indigenous Psychology, Moral Development, Motivation-Emotion, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: A huge part of growing up (well of developing and being “raised”) is learning how to self-regulate. Think of what small children do from time to time – they may have a tantrum when they do not get their way, they may eat all the cookies on the counter, they may be distracted by their toys when asked to go and collect the car keys they “borrowed” for a game in their room, etc. etc. Self-regulation, or the lack thereof covers all of those examples of child behavior. Another example and a participially important one developmentally is anger management. The ability to control or manage ones’ anger is an important prerequisite to being ready to enter the social world starting with preschool and kindergarten but also involving peer relations and all social contacts. A recent radio documentary described an alarming jump in incidents of violence perpetrated towards peers, aides and teachers in early grades within elementary schools in Ontario, Canada (you can listen at the link in the References section below). So, it maybe that parents need some advice about how to help their children develop self-regulation, especially as it relates to anger management. A cultural group that has been astoundingly good at just that sort of self-regulation development is the Inuit of Canada’s north. Read the article linked below for a fascinating account of the early work of Jean Biggs and the follow up by the author of the linked article looking at just how the Inuit address the issues of self-regulation and anger among their young children.

Source: How Inuit Parents Teach Their Kids to Control Their Anger, Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh, Goats and Soda, NPR.

Date: March 13, 2019

Photo Credit: Jean Biggs Collection / American Philosophical Society

Article Link:

So, do you think the Inuit approach to helping children deal more socially and positively with their anger makes sense? Note that their approach runs at a number of levels. First they indicate that parents need to keep in mind that while their children may well be “pushing their buttons” remaining calm and not responding to child anger with adult anger keeps parental blood pressure low AND models self-control to their children. It works by not responding in the moment that the child is displaying anger but, rather, later and in a story telling (with moral) manner. Finally, their entire approach makes clear to everyone (children included) that acting in angry ways is considered immature and childlike and has no place in the larger social environment of the family and local community. Teaching strength in a playful manner sounds like a very positive approach to facilitating the development of self-regulation. Worth thinking about and perhaps trying out.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is self-regulation and why is it an important issue in development?
  2. List out as many things that you can think of in the way of “signs of emerging maturity” that reflect aspects of developing self-regulation.
  3. How do the Intuit go about helping their young children to develop control over their anger and anger related behavior?

References (Read Further):

Alisa Siegal, Violence in Elementary Schools, CBC Radio, Sunday Edition (starts and minute mark 4:58)

McClelland, M. M., & Cameron, C. E. (2012). Self‐regulation in early childhood: Improving conceptual clarity and developing ecologically valid measures. Child development perspectives, 6(2), 136-142.

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2000). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation. Development and psychopathology, 12(3), 427-441.

Rothbart, M. K., Sheese, B. E., Rueda, M. R., & Posner, M. I. (2011). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation in early life. Emotion review, 3(2), 207-213.

Raver, C. C. (2004). Placing emotional self‐regulation in sociocultural and socioeconomic contexts. Child development, 75(2), 346-353.

Fry, D. P. (2000). Conflict management in cross-cultural perspective. Natural conflict resolution, 334-351.

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Posted by & filed under Depression, Legal Ethical Issues, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Perhaps hearing or reading that there is a strong relationship between rates of depression and socio-economic status (SES) would not be a surprise to you. While it may lead you to start to ponder what the connections between poverty and depression might involve it is worth stepping back from that important line of potential thought and inquiry for moment and thinking about the implications of this for social policy and particularly for the funding and the provision of mental health care generally. The ongoing debate about health care in the United States is one thing that makes Canadians, such as me, feel a bit smug about what we have in place in our country in the way of universal health care. However, any sense of superiority is short lived when one steps back and considered mental health care in which Canada is pretty much as “everyone for themselves” as is the United States. Across North America, rates of depression are higher among the lower SES ranks and access to treatment is significantly lower there too. Have a read through the article linked below and think about how the srearch findings it discusses may apply to your country of residence.

Source: Education Level Predicts Depression Rates and Access to Care, Guy Winch, The Squeaky Wheel, Psychology Today.

Date: March 16, 2019

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Article Link:

The issue of access (or rather the lack thereof) to mental health services is discussed in the linked article form the American perspective but, as I noted above, it is a North America-wide issue. I have previous posted a number of times about a set of articles by the Globe and Mail looking at this issue in Canada (see links in the References list below). It is becoming increasingly clear that the line that we seems to have drawn between how we treat mental and physical health issues is a very problematic on and one which needs to be looked at seriously.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the relationship between SES and the incidence and treatment of depression?
  2. Why is there a relationship between SES and the incidence and treatment of depression?
  3. What are some of the things we should be looking into as possible ways to address the SES depression (and mental health in general) relationship?

References (Read Further):

Todd, M., & Teitler, J. (2018). Darker days? Recent trends in depression disparities among U.S. adults. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Lorant, V., Deliège, D., Eaton, W., Robert, A., Philippot, P., & Ansseau, M. (2003). Socioeconomic inequalities in depression: a meta-analysis. American journal of epidemiology, 157(2), 98-112.

The State of Canada’s Mental Health Treatment System: Broken? Fixable?

Goldman, N., Glei, D. A., & Weinstein, M. (2018). Declining mental health among disadvantaged Americans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(28), 7290-7295.