Posted by & filed under Emerging Adulthood, Health Psychology, Legal Ethical Issues, Psychological Health.

Description: There are concussions in hockey and football. The data on this is getting clearer and clearer. But the question of what this means for those games remains unclear. Can better helmets be made? Can rules against headshots (consistently enforced) reduce the rate and severity of concussion and related head injuries? Research is ongoing. Here is another question you may have heard tossed about. Should teenagers be playing these sports at all? Would shifting to non-contact versions of those sports up to higher ages than is currently the case be considered? These are more developmental questions and they need to be addressed with developmental research … research with teenage players of hockey and football. What would those sorts of studies need to look at and how would they need to be designed in order to provide useful data to address those questions? Think about that and then have a look at the article linked below that summarized a study looking directly at of those questions…. What happens to the brains of teenagers over a single year of football even if they do not sustain a concussion?

Source: Playing high school football changes the teenage brain, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: November 16, 2018

Image Credit: Nan-Jie Gong and Chunlei Liu, UC Berkley

Article Link:

Ok now…. What questions would you like to see addressed either by the researchers who conducted the study described in the link above and what research questions remain to be asked after the study was completed? Certainly one question is: what is diffusion kurtosis and does it provide the sort of data the researchers say it provides? Another question might be, what do we know from other studies about the impact of white and grey matter damage to the brain in general AND over time with development from the teenage years onward? Also, how much detail could helmet placed accelerometers they employed in the study provide about the nature and severity of the head insults received by the teenage players studied? Finally, and this is not really a direct research question but, when (after how much of what kind(s)of research will we be in a position to make health, developmental, and/or ethical policy recommendations about hockey and football played by teenagers (and would making such statements make a difference)?


Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does playing a single season of football as a teenager do to a teenaged brain?
  2. What issue are there with the generalizability of the results of this study and what do those issues suggest about possible policy statements arising from this study?
  3. From a research and policy perspective in relation to teenage brain health and development what does research and do research hers need to do next?


References (Read Further):

Nan-Jie Gong, Samuel Kuzminski, Michael Clark, Melissa Fraser, Mark Sundman, Kevin Guskiewicz, Jeffrey R. Petrella, Chunlei Liu. Microstructural alterations of cortical and deep gray matter over a season of high school football revealed by diffusion kurtosis imaging. Neurobiology of Disease, 2018; 119: 79 DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.07.020

Guskiewicz, K. M., Weaver, N. L., Padua, D. A., & Garrett, W. E. (2000). Epidemiology of concussion in collegiate and high school football players. The American journal of sports medicine, 28(5), 643-650.

Monson, P. (2018). Case Report: A Novel Ocular Screening Aid for Detection of Sport-related Concussion in High School Athletes.

Montenigro, P. H., Alosco, M. L., Martin, B. M., Daneshvar, D. H., Mez, J., Chaisson, C. E., … & McClean, M. D. (2017). Cumulative head impact exposure predicts later-life depression, apathy, executive dysfunction, and cognitive impairment in former high school and college football players. Journal of neurotrauma, 34(2), 328-340.

Deshpande, S. K., Hasegawa, R. B., Rabinowitz, A. R., Whyte, J., Roan, C. L., Tabatabaei, A., … & Small, D. S. (2017). Association of playing high school football with cognition and mental health later in life. JAMA neurology, 74(8), 909-918.

Steven, A. J., Zhuo, J., & Melhem, E. R. (2014). Diffusion kurtosis imaging: an emerging technique for evaluating the microstructural environment of the brain. American journal of roentgenology, 202(1), W26-W33.



Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Legal Ethical Issues, Neuroscience, Physical Changes In Aging, Physiology.

Description: The prospect of vision loss is scary and while my parents and grandparents would say things like don’t run with scissors or you cannot have a BB gun (for fear of “putting out an eye”) or make sure you have a good light on when you are reading because “those are the only set of eyes you got”….I have since learned that there are many more things to be afraid of in relation to your vision. How about detached retinas? Retinitis pigmentosa? Or macular degeneration. Now there are some rapid roads to blindness. The scariest thing about all these things is that they are permeant, … not fixable. But what of they were fixable? How cool would that be? Well, read the article linked below for a glimpse of a possible future in this area!

Source: Evidence of restored vision in rats following cell transplant, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: November 10, 2018

Image Credit: UCI School of Medicine

Article Link:

So, what do you think? While the description of what the researchers actually did is a bit unclear, essentially, they transplanted a sheet of retina materials into a dysfunctional rat retina and got a functioning mouse retina out of the deal…. a retina transplant. Now we need to think about the many steps still to be done before we can even hope that we have a “fix” for macular degeneration but even just the hint of a possibility is amazing. Of course we need replication, expansions out of a rat model, steps to generalize the results to humans AND ethical reflection. Ethical reflection? Well, where are the replacements parts to come from??? Still…. Wow!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What was it exactly that the researchers accomplished?
  2. What are the immediate implications of the results of this study?
  3. What are the broader implications of this study (and the related necessary next steps)?

References (Read Further):

Andrzej T. Foik, Georgina A. Lean, Leo R. Scholl, Bryce T. McLelland, Anuradha Mathur, Robert B. Aramant, Magdalene J. Seiler, David C. Lyon. Detailed visual cortical responses generated by retinal sheet transplants in rats with severe retinal degeneration. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2018; 1279-18 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1279-18.2018

Friedman, D. S., O’Colmain, B. J., Munoz, B., Tomany, S. C., McCarty, C., De Jong, P. T., … & Kempen, J. (2004). Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in the United States. Arch ophthalmol, 122(4), 564-572.

Hartong, D. T., Berson, E. L., & Dryja, T. P. (2006). Retinitis pigmentosa. The Lancet, 368(9549), 1795-1809.

Davis, R. J., Alam, N. M., Zhao, C., Müller, C., Saini, J. S., Blenkinsop, T. A., … & Lederman, P. L. (2017). The developmental stage of adult human stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells influences transplant efficacy for vision rescue. Stem cell reports, 9(1), 42-49.

Garg, A., Yang, J., Lee, W., & Tsang, S. (2017). Stem cell therapies in retinal disorders. Cells, 6(1), 4.

Caplan, A., & Purves, D. (2017). A quiet revolution in organ transplant ethics. Journal of medical ethics, medethics-2015.

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

Description: If you have been anywhere near a post-secondary education institution in the past 10 years you cannot have missed overhearing discussions or seeing programs aimed at or investigating student engagement – as in, student engagement in the institute, college or university and/or in their studies. It is considered so important that it is measured internationally using a survey called the NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) which regularly surveys students at the end of their first year at college or university and again at the end of their 4 year degree programs and asks, among a great number of other questions, things like if you had tit to do over again (go to the college or University you went to) would you? Colleges and Universities live and die by their NSSE ratings and there are many many initiatives, orientations, and programs launched with the main purpose of increasing student engagement and thus institutional NSSE scores. I, personally, think that a lot of the things that are done in the name of student engagement are likely helpful for students working their way not only through their chosen educational instruction but, more importantly, along their own developmental journey. I also think, however, that a great many concepts, theories and not particularly clear ideas have been rolled into these, sometime frenzied actions around student engagement. I mean, here is a question; “What does (educational) engagement mean to you (as a student)?” If you think about it, I bet words like “connection” or “connected” or feeling like having what you do and how you do it “matter” will be part of how you respond to that general question. The researchers who conducted the studies described in the research article linked below began with what seem to me to be a very sensible, if rarely considered in the engagement research, domain premise that it might be a good idea to ask actual students what they see as being involved in feeling connected to their educational institutions and, by extension, to their own ongoing educational and evelopmental processes. So, think a bit more about what it might mean to feel connected to your educational experience and your school and then go and have a look at the research article linked below. Now the article is a bit thick (academic) in spots but basically what they did was ask a bunch of students what being connected meant to them (study 1) and then looked to see if they could capture what they heard in the form of a series of survey questions. So, read as much or as little of the article as your interest level dictates. At a minimum, have a look through the initial introduction to see what research HAS been done already under the engagement banner and then read the results sections for each study to get a sense of what they found then read the last bit of the paper where they tell you what they think it all means.

Source: College Connectedness: The Student Perspective, see full reference in the reference list below.

Date: November 11, 2018

Image Credit:

Article Link:

So, did you see anything interesting? … anything that reflected or spoke to your own post-secondary experiences? Clearly feeling connected to a college or university is about feeling cone ted to the people there. These play out through student connectedness, faculty connectedness, and connectedness with old friends, new friends and diverse friends. All of this reflects the basics of the identity formation process: reflecting on where you have come from, where you are currently, and where you could or might go from there into the future. Connectedness, unlike larger, vaguer notions of engagement IS personal. I will be interested to see where this line of research goes from here and if you are currently at college or university notice your connections and notice which of them make you feel like you matter because they are the important ones.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might it mean to say that students are engaged in their college or university?
  2. What does the concept of connectedness do for us that the concept of engagement does not?
  3. What does thinking in terms of connectedness do for you and for you own thoughts and feeling about how things are going for you at college or university?

References (Read Further):

Jorgenson, D. A., Farrell, L. C., Fudge, J. L., & Pritchard, A. (2018). College Connectedness: The Student Perspective. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 18(1), 75-95.

Schwartz, S. E., Kanchewa, S. S., Rhodes, J. E., Gowdy, G., Stark, A. M., Horn, J. P., … & Spencer, R. (2018). “I’m Having a Little Struggle With This, Can You Help Me Out?”: Examining Impacts and Processes of a Social Capital Intervention for First‐Generation College Students. American journal of community psychology, 61(1-2), 166-178.

Pascarella, E. T., Seifert, T. A., & Blaich, C. (2010). How effective are the NSSE benchmarks in predicting important educational outcomes?. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 42(1), 16-22.

Gordon, J., Ludlum, J., & Hoey, J. J. (2008). Validating NSSE against student outcomes: Are they related?. Research in Higher Education, 49(1), 19-39.

McCormick, A. C., Gonyea, R. M., & Kinzie, J. (2013). Refreshing engagement: NSSE at 13. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 45(3), 6-15.


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Neuroscience, Research Methods, Research Methods in ADA, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP.

Description: What have you heard about what Psychology has to say about dreams? Well, if you have had an introductory course from me you would have heard me say that theories like those of Freud, that our dreams contain deep life insights and meaning, are not supported by research, especially in terms of dream interpretation by psychoanalysts. How does that fit with your own thoughts on the possible meanings in dreams? Have you had a dream and, when thinking about it after waking, felt that you had learned something useful or gained insight or perspective on some aspect of your life? Well, … me too. So, what is that about? Are dreams just internal secret Rorschach tests (ha, there is scientifically under supported Sigmund again!) that we interpret after waking with our first-hand personal access to our experiential life/reality? Or is there something more going on? What do you think? Now, hold that thought and read the article linked below and we will return to that thought later below.

Source: Why Do You Keep Dreaming You Forgot Your Pants? It’s Science, Alice Robb, The New York Times.

Date: November 10, 2018

Image Credit: Cristina Daura, The New York Times

Article Link:

At the very core of the scientific enterprise (in Psychology and elsewhere) is curiosity and questions. What if… What about…. How come…. Etc. So, why is it that we tend to mainly experience negative emotions like anxiety in our dreams? And why is it that we have such negative dreams about the very real-life things that are stressing us (like upcoming exams)? Maybe working through anxiety in a low risk environment? Maybe simulating threats so they do not seem weird or foreign when we actually encounter them for real? And maybe all this reflects an evolutionary advantage or selection and we have just replaced bears and other predators with exams and public speaking events. Something to think about and there IS some research that speaks to the possibilities somewhat, at least.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. While dreams might not be “real” how might they reflect on our realities?
  2. How did the dreams of medical students relate to their performances on their licensing exam?
  3. How are dram emotions related to dream content (and to our lives)?

References (Read Further):

Robb, Alice (2018) Why we Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey, Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY.

Revonsuo, A. (2000). The reinterpretation of dreams: An evolutionary hypothesis of the function of dreaming. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23(6), 877-901.

Martinez-Gonzalez, D., Obermeyer, W., Fahy, J. L., Riboh, M., Kalin, N. H., & Benca, R. M. (2004). REM sleep deprivation induces changes in coping responses that are not reversed by amphetamine. Sleep, 27(4), 609-617.

Stickgold, R., Scott, L., Rittenhouse, C., & Hobson, J. A. (1999). Sleep-induced changes in associative memory. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 11(2), 182-193.

Revonsuo, A., & Salmivalli, C. (1995). A content analysis of bizarre elements in dreams. Dreaming, 5(3), 169.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, General Psychology, Human Development, Moral Development, Personality, Personality Disorders, Personality Disorders.

Description: Before setting up the article that is the focus of this post let me start by saying that, if you have not run across this before, you should look for some of the amazingly descriptive words the German language has for aspects of the human condition. Some have been borrowed into English (like Wanderlust for example). How about Ohrwurm (earworm) as a very apt word to describe a song you cannot get out of your heard or Kummerspeck (grief bacon) to describe the weight bumps that people experience after a breakup. Now, have you heard the word schadenfreude?  It refers to taking pleasure at the misfortune of others and while you would likely not admit it out loud, you have likely felt it at one point or another. If schadenfreude IS a regular (if often denied) human feeling where does it fit into the dimensions of human experience, as in relation to other personality dimensions for example? Think about that for a moment and then go and read the article linked below which talks about an extensive review of research into just what schadenfreude involves and how it fits in human experience and functioning.

Source: Schadenfreude sheds light on the darker side of humanity, Science News, Science Daily.

Date: October 23, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

So, do you understand the concepts associated with schadenfreude (harm/joy) better now? It has facets tying it to aggression, rivalry and justice. What they have in common, according to the researchers may be dehumanization where the ‘other’ being observed is viewed as not deserving of full human status for a variety of possible reasons. There are possible links as well to the ‘dark’ personality traits (discussed in a previous post and include sadism, narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Some research also shows that aspects of schadenfreude may be VERY basic to the human condition as infants as young as 8 months of age will “punish” a puppet that behaved in an antisocial manner and suggesting that socialization creates social ties and friendships AND outgroup others to whom positive social bonds and graces may not apply. Understanding the temporary loss of empathy for others that can lead to isolated feelings of schadenfreude may help us to better understand the actions of those who, as a result of personality disorders (the dark sides of personality) experience schadenfreude more as a way of life. Fascinating stuff this schadenfreude!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is schadenfreude?
  2. When might the loss of empathy associated with schadenfreude be defensible (if not appropriate)?
  3. How does schadenfreude fit in with our theories of development and with notions of things like the dark side of personality?

References (Read Further):

Wang, Shensheng, Scott O. Lilienfeld, and Philippe Rochat. “Schadenfreude deconstructed and reconstructed: A tripartite motivational model.” New Ideas in Psychology 52 (2019): 1-11.

Takahashi, H., Kato, M., Matsuura, M., Mobbs, D., Suhara, T., & Okubo, Y. (2009). When your gain is my pain and your pain is my gain: neural correlates of envy and schadenfreude. Science, 323(5916), 937-939.

Leach, C. W., Spears, R., Branscombe, N. R., & Doosje, B. (2003). Malicious pleasure: Schadenfreude at the suffering of another group. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(5), 932.

Li, X., McAllister, D. J., Ilies, R., & Gloor, J. L. (2017). SCHADENFREUDE: A COUNTER-NORMATIVE OBSERVER RESPONSE TO WORKPLACE MISTREATMENT. Academy of Management Review, (ja).

Lange, J., Weidman, A. C., & Crusius, J. (2018). The painful duality of envy: Evidence for an integrative theory and a meta-analysis on the relation of envy and schadenfreude. Journal of personality and social psychology, 114(4), 572.




Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Learning, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Student Success.

Description: You may have heard someone somewhere bemoaning their observation that some people treat their pets like they are human beings (sneaking them into restaurants etc.) But, have you heard anyone bemoan the opposite – treating humans like pets (and I am NOT thinking here of consensual dog collar wearing OR examples of abuse). Here is some context to help you consider the above issue. When I lecture about operant conditioning, as part of a typical section on learning theory in intro-Psych, I usually begin by saying that if anyone in the class has or does in the future taken a dog to puppy or dog obedience classes they will hear/ have heard the instructor tell them that they are about to learn the basic principles of operant conditioning. Training a dog IS all about managing rewards, consistencies of reinforcement and limited use of punishment. At the end of that section of the course I also typically point out that the same learning principles work fairly well in shaping the behavior of small children but not so well with older children, youth and adults and then I leave it there. However, we (society, people in general etc.) do not seem to leave it there. From parenting to managing teenagers to corporate management practices there is A LOT said about the importance of the proper use of incentives or rewards. So, ARE rewards the optimal way to shape up and manage human behavior? Really…… think about it and then read the article linked below to see what systematic Psychological science has had to say about this question.

Source: Science Confirms it People Are Not Pets, Alfie Kohn, Opinion, The New York Times.

Date: October 27, 2018

Photo Credit: Zeloot, The New York Times

Article Link:

Did the research results discussed in the article, that rewards effectively kill interest and excellence in assigned tasks, surprise you?  Children paid to play with magic markers stop doing so when the pay stops while those playing with them ‘for fun’ play with them more over time. Paying kids for good grades seems to backfire too as do many work bonus payment (reward) schemes. There is some important stuff to know about just how to reward or whether to reward at all. Actually changing people’s behavior or otherwise creating an ongoing commitment to action is not simple or easy and providing rewards are simple, short term solutions that are NOT effective in the longer term. What this suggests is that parents, teachers, managers, and we ourselves need to find different starting places and different practices if we want to have long term impacts on the positive behaviours of others and ourselves. More research IS needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do rewards not seem to work, long-term, in changing or shaping people’s behaviour?
  2. Where do the similarities and utilities of using operant conditioning for shaping a dog’s behaviour and that of child end and why?
  3. What does this article suggest about how we should approach questions of effective management practices in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology?

References (Read Further):

Chao, M. M., Dehejia, R. H., Mukhopadhyay, A., & Visaria, S. (2015). Unintended Negative Consequences of Rewards for Student Attendance: Results from a Field Experiment in Indian Classrooms.

Berns, Gregory (2008) In hard times, fear can impair decision-making. Preoccupations, The New York Times.

Pittman, T. S., Tykocinski, O. E., Sandman‐Keinan, R., & Matthews, P. A. (2008). When bonuses backfire: An inaction inertia analysis of procrastination induced by a missed opportunity. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 21(2), 139-150.

Ramirez, A. (2001). How Merit Pay Undermines Education. Educational Leadership, 58(5), 16-20.

Brewer, T. J., Myers, P. S., & Zhang, M. (2015). Islands Unto Themselves: How Merit Pay Schemes May Undermine Positive Teacher Collaboration. Critical Questions in Education, 6(2), 45-54.

Robertson, L. S. (1984). Insurance incentives and seat belt use. American journal of public health, 74(10), 1157-1158.

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Group Processes, Health Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Intergroup Relations, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: While not trying to be overly dramatic it is possible to say that the 2018 American midterm elections which are occurring in 2 days are the centerpiece in a social climate fraught with uncertainty. There are legions of reporters, supporters, pundits and even a few politicians telling us how we should think about this uncertainty or how we should be thinking in order to make the uncertainty go away. As current and as new as this all might seem it is interesting and possible helpful to think a bit about how human beings have come to deal with uncertainty not just in recent or recorded history but through the ages. In ancient (evolutionary) times many, perhaps most, social groups had one or more individual whose role was, among other things, to deal with uncertainty and to work with the social group to help them deal with uncertainty. These individuals are referred to as shaman, though their local labels vary (e.g., angakok among the Inuit, böö among the Mongolian Buryat, fugara among the Bedouin, txiv neeb among the Hmong). One of the common attributes ascribed to shaman whenever and wherever they are found is their ability to see or to enter the spirit or spiritual realm, however it was defined locally. What does this have to do with uncertainty? Well, think for a moment about how important the ability to step back from or out of the moment is to human problem solving, decision making, and future action planning. Now think about the potential importance to a hunting/gathering clan of not just having that ability but having someone who could channel it and focus it for the group. Why might this be worth your reflection? Well for all that our world is now “modern” and different than the world of the hunter/ gatherers the commonality across those world is us – internally, mentally, how human beings think about their engagements with and their plans to move forward in the world likely are functionally the same as they ever were at least in terms of evolutionary time (which groups us with, not apart from, our hunter/gatherer ancestors). So, open up your mind (without the use of any mind-expanding substances – through shaman knew/know a LOT about those too) and read the article linked below to see something of our past and something of how we (you) deal with uncertainty.

Source: Masters of Reality, Thomas T. Hills, AEON and the British Psychological Society Readers Digest.

Date: November 1, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

Much of how we understand, plan, and reflect upon our world and our experiences in it involves stepping out of the moment, out of the here and now. Decision making (career planning for example) is possible because we can think about possible futures and try options on for size and think about where they might take us or what we might require to get there. Similarly, we can review past events perhaps using counterfactuals – how would that meeting, that plan, that relationship have gone if I had or had not done that? The roles shaman play in cultures/societies/groups reflect and amplify some of most unique and most important aspects of how we humans have adapted to our world(s). Rather than viewing shaman and shamanistic practices as primitive ‘voo doo’ thinking about what they have done or do for us makes it possible for us to glimpse some of the bigger pictures of human problem solving, planning, cognition, adaptation and evolution. Pretty cool stuff I think!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does personal problem solving (potentially) involve stepping ‘out of the moment’?
  2. What role(s) did (do) shaman and shamanistic ceremonies and practices in the cultures and groups that have them?
  3. Psychology tends to get quite tightly focused on the internal workings on our minds/brains. What does thinking about the possible role of a spirit or spiritual realm in human thought and decision-making potentially do for our Psychological work (Theory and research) in those areas?

References (Read Further):

Gaissmaier, W., & Gigerenzer, G. (2012). 9/11, Act II: A fine-grained analysis of regional variations in traffic fatalities in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Psychological science, 23(12), 1449-1454.

Buyandelgeriyn, M. (2007). Dealing with uncertainty: shamans, marginal capitalism, and the remaking of history in postsocialist Mongolia. American Ethnologist, 34(1), 127-147.

Hills, T. T. (2006). Animal foraging and the evolution of goal‐directed cognition. Cognitive science, 30(1), 3-41.

Buckner, R. L., & Carroll, D. C. (2007). Self-projection and the brain. Trends in cognitive sciences, 11(2), 49-57.

Hills, T. T., Todd, P. M., Lazer, D., Redish, A. D., Couzin, I. D., & Cognitive Search Research Group. (2015). Exploration versus exploitation in space, mind, and society. Trends in cognitive sciences, 19(1), 46-54.

Park, N., Park, M., & Peterson, C. (2010). When is the search for meaning related to life satisfaction?. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 2(1), 1-13.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Personality, Research Methods, Research Methods in SP, Social Psychology, Student Success, The Self.

Description: Quick! Who is happier, or who is more often happier, introverts of extroverts? Well, consistently research seems to show that extroverts are happier than introverts more of the time. Why do you think that might be? If it is the case that being extroverted or perhaps acting in an extroverted manner makes you happier what do you think would happen if we counselled, encouraged, or simply asked people to act in more extroverted ways. If they are introverts and role-play being extroverted what do you think will happen to their level of happiness? Also, what think about how the study should be designed to properly address this hypothesis? Once you have thought it through give the article linked below a read and see how the researchers who conducted the studies is discusses handled the design question and what they found.

Source: Acting like an extrovert has benefits, but not for introverts, Christian Jarrett, AEON and the British Psychological Society Readers Digest.

Date: October 31, 2018

Photo Credit: Poseiden at the Mermaid Parade, Coney Island. See-Ming Lee/Flickr

Article Link:


So, the past finding that “acting like” an extrovert makes everyone including introverts happier is not as solid a finding as was once thought. This is interesting given the large number of “fake it until you make it” strategy suggestions there are out there. There DO seem to be short term mood bumps, but maybe longer terms outcomes are not as resoundingly positive as was once thought. What does that suggest about claims like — acting extroverted buys you extrovert benefits? Well, of course, as the article author suggests it indicates that more research is needed but what should we look at to try and sort this out? What do you think? Maybe impacts on our personality are the rolling sum of our actions in many social situations and, if so, a positive mood bump from a single social situation will get averaged out pretty quickly. Interesting and, indeed, more research is needed!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does acting in extroverted ways impact our mood states?
  2. Why might extroverted behaviour lead to a short term mood bump?
  3. What do the results of the study discussed in the article linked above suggest for the “fake it ‘till you make it” personal improvement or advancement strategy?

References (Read Further):

Sun, J., Stevenson, K., Kabbani, R., Richardson, B., & Smillie, L. D. (2017). The pleasure of making a difference: Perceived social contribution explains the relation between extraverted behavior and positive affect. Emotion, 17(5), 794.

Jacques-Hamilton, R., Sun, J., & Smillie, L. (2018). Costs and Benefits of Acting Extraverted: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Hanna, J. (2010). Power posing: fake it until you make it. HBS Working Knowledge.

Nielsen, K. (2015). ‘Fake It’til You Make It’’ Why Community College Students’ Aspirations ‘‘Hold Steady’. Sociology of Education, 88(4), 265-283.

Rafaeli, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1989). The expression of emotion in organizational life. Research in organizational behavior, 11(1), 1-42.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Legal Ethical Issues, Personality, Personality Disorders, Psychological Disorders, Social Psychology, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: These days, and with increasing frequency as the November 6, 2018 American midterm elections approach, when people I meet find out I am a psychologist I am often asked some version of a “… so what is with Trump” question or in other words questions about how for “out there”  is Trump or is, or what kind of disordered is he? In responding to such questions I usually start by saying a couple of things: First that as a developmental psychologist I am not formally qualified to provide individual diagnoses of psychological disorder and second that, in line with the ‘Goldwater rule’ and with general ethical principles laid out by the Canadian and American Psychological Associations even if I were diagnostically qualified I have not met or psychologically assessed Donald Trump and am therefore unable to offer a diagnostic opinion. Boring huh? What I usually go on to say though, is that being a psychology teacher (33 years) I love to talk to people about Psychology and Psychological disorders and then I ask them what parts of Psychology and Psychological disorders they think might apply to Mr. Trump. We can then talk about Psychological theories, concepts, disorders and diagnostic criteria in general without my having to offer and opinion of the state of Mr. Trumps mind (though, privately, I have a few of those). So, from a psychological perspective, what do you think of Donald Trump? Once you have your thoughts in order read the article linked below for a discussion of possibilities and limits (and there are a couple of related articles in te Reference list down below that you might find intersting too).

Source: Narcissists aren’t ‘crazy’ – but they are unlikely to change, the Washington Post

Date: October 28, 2018

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Article Link:

So how did that “conversation” go for you? Do you understand the difference between personality disorders and psychiatric disorders such a depression and schizophrenia? The nature and status of personality disorders are much debated especially by those charged with potentially revising that section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It is perhaps best to think of personality disorders as extreme personalities that are reflective of enduring ways of being in the world, rather than disorders that have specific point of onset and realistic probability of recovery (which is a standard introduction to abnormal psychology slide and lecture point). This means that personality disorders reflect behavioural tendencies or traits that many people use once in a while but that some people come to have define them and their actions in the world on an ongoing basis. I suppose one of the most depressing or alarming realities about personality disorders (in light of the number of ways narcissism comes up in discussions about recent American presidents) is that it is hard to treat, largely because those who meets its diagnostic criteria do not believe that they have a problem or that they need treatment. It reminds me of a scene from the old television show Frasier in which Frasier’s brother Niles (also a psychiatrist like his brother) says, as he is leaving to run his regular group therapy session for personality disordered lawyers, “I love working with lawyers,… they have lots of money and they never get better.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are the features of personality disorders different from the features of plain old, ordinary personalities?
  2. Why should psychologists refrain from “diagnosing” public (political) figures?
  3. What sorts of things might be said or hypothesized about in relation to hypothetical questions like – If Donald Trump does, in fact, meet the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder what might psychology have to say about why so many American voters were and seem to be attracted to him (see the article link related to this in the References section below)?

References (Read Further):

Azarian, Bobby (2017), An Analysis of Trump Supporters Has Identified 5 Key Traits, Mind in the Machine, Psychology Today,

Pettigrew, T. F. (2017). Social psychological perspectives on Trump supporters. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 5(1), 107-116.

Choma, B. L., & Hanoch, Y. (2017). Cognitive ability and authoritarianism: Understanding support for Trump and Clinton. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 287-291.

McAdams, Dan P. (2016) The Mind of Donald Trump, The Atlantic,

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Group Processes, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Legal Ethical Issues, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: You have undoubtably seem or heard the increasing buzz about driverless vehicles and you might think that the one thing you do NOT need if your vehicle has no driver is Psychology. But, think about this – driverless vehicles work the way they do because of how they were designed and a crucial part of their design has to do with how they are going to “make decisions” out there on the road in the world where there are going to be real people. So, think of this – moving through the world and interacting with people requires that we make ethical and moral decisions regarding the potential impact of our actions (or our lack of action) on other around us. So here is a BIG question – what sort of moral decision-making rules, strategies or decision-making algorithms should we program into driverless vehicles before we allow them our to share the roads and the world with us? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? So, try and get your head around that question and then read the article linked below for a multinational perspective on it.

Source: How should autonomous vehicles be programmed? ScienceDaily, Quirky.

Date: October 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Edmond Awad et al. Nature

Article Link:

So, what do you think? Does it make sense to work at having the driving morality of autonomous vehicles reflect local beliefs and moral demands? What are your core driving decision-making peices? Numbr of potential acasualities? Age of Casualties? At a minimum the research as the researchers suggest, could provide a framework for both local discussions about what we want of autonomous vehicles and about what might distinguish local from general guidelines for such important programming.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does it make sense or is it important to talk about the morality of driverless vehicles?
  2. What sorts of driving dilemmas or questions should the programmers for autonomous vehicles be working on?
  3. What might be some of the wider implications and applications of this line of research and refection (like who is liable if something goes wrong)?

References (Read Further):

Edmond Awad, Sohan Dsouza, Richard Kim, Jonathan Schulz, Joseph Henrich, Azim Shariff, Jean-François Bonnefon, Iyad Rahwan. The Moral Machine experiment. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0637-6

Althoff, M., Althoff, D., Wollherr, D., & Buss, M. (2010, June). Safety verification of autonomous vehicles for coordinated evasive maneuvers. In Intelligent vehicles symposium (IV), 2010 IEEE (pp. 1078-1083). IEEE.

Marchant, G. E., & Lindor, R. A. (2012). The coming collision between autonomous vehicles and the liability system. Santa Clara L. Rev., 52, 1321.

Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2016). The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles. Science, 352(6293), 1573-1576.

Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2015). Autonomous vehicles need experimental ethics: Are we ready for utilitarian cars?. arXiv preprint arXiv:1510.03346.

Goodall, N. J. (2014). Machine ethics and automated vehicles. In Road vehicle automation (pp. 93-102). Springer, Cham.