Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Consciousness, Depression, Emerging Adulthood, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Think about this distinction for a moment in relation to your own experiences within and related to our time with the Covid-19 pandemic. How much of our negative emotional, social and cognitive experiences could or should we attribute to bad things that have happened to us (e.g., health challenges, job losses, life disruptions) and how much might we better attribute to things just being different now than they were 6 months ago? It is a tough question because things in the “different” category are often harder to see, harder to name, and as such harder to process. Measures of stress such as the Homes-Rahe Life Events Stress Scale, for example, have been criticized for not considering life events that did not happen (e.g., not getting a promotion, not having anything to do on a weekend evening). Loss and grief associated with missed opportunities are also examples of the impact of non-events. If the distinction is still hard to see think about this as an example. If you are or were feeling down as a result of Covid-19 related social isolation, how much of what you are feeling might appropriately do attributed to aspects of depression and how much might, more simply, be attributed to boredom? This question highlights a clear example of a possible distinction between what could well be an emerging mental health epidemic associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and what could be a general social adjustment challenge associated with the many ways in which life is or will be different during and after Covid-19. Think about your own emotions, thoughts and experiences over the past few months in terms of depression versus boredom and then read the article linked below for a Psychology research grounded reflection on this question.

Source: Is the Lockdown Making You Depressed or Are You Just Bored? Richard A. Friedman, Sunday Review, Ney York Times.

Date: August 21, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Article Link:

The main point in the questions I suggested above was not that we need to decide which is right and which is wrong. Covid-19 has provided many of us with challenges to mental health and wellness AND is requiring us to do a lot of what we used to do differently. What the questions, and the linked article, suggest is that by becoming aware of the distinctions between depression and boredom, between stress or anxiety due to negative life events and stress and anxiety related more to uncertainty due to things, social things mainly, being different opens up ways of looking at, at least some of what we are facing differently, as things we have the ability to DO something about which draws on aspects of our self-efficacy and through that leads to positive coping. All of this is a big part of what makes up resilience which is not simply coping with stress and anxiety better than other people but sorting through your situation and finding the parts of it you can do something about and taking them on. Isn’t that much better than being so bored you decide that giving yourself a shock is better than nothing?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some examples of ways in which things are just different today rather than being inherently stressful or noxious to our mental health?
  2. What are some of the important differences between boredom and depression?
  3. What might you do to check on your own wellbeing in this area from time to time? What sorts of things might you look at or reflect upon in order to cope more resiliently as opposed to remaining enmeshed in stress, anxiety and uncertainty?

References (Read Further):

Wilson, T. D., Reinhard, D. A., Westgate, E. C., Gilbert, D. T., Ellerbeck, N., Hahn, C., … & Shaked, A. (2014). Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind. Science, 345(6192), 75-77. Link

Fernandez, Luke and Matt, Susan J. (2020) Americans’ inability to cope with boredom is spurring the spread of coronavirus, Salon, Aug 2. Link

Bajaj, B., & Pande, N. (2016). Mediating role of resilience in the impact of mindfulness on life satisfaction and affect as indices of subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 93, 63-67. Link

Ramasubramanian, S. (2017). Mindfulness, stress coping and everyday resilience among emerging youth in a university setting: a mixed methods approach. International Journal of adolescence and youth, 22(3), 308-321. Link

Goldberg, Y. K., Eastwood, J. D., LaGuardia, J., & Danckert, J. (2011). Boredom: An emotional experience distinct from apathy, anhedonia, or depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 30(6), 647-666. Link

Wolniewicz, C. A., Rozgonjuk, D., & Elhai, J. D. (2020). Boredom proneness and fear of missing out mediate relations between depression and anxiety with problematic smartphone use. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2(1), 61-70. Link

Bargdill, R. W. (2019). Habitual Boredom and Depression: Some Qualitative Differences. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 59(2), 294-312. Link

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Health Psychology, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Research Methods, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: How does Covid-19 effect children? Wait! Before you answer, set aside the fact that children are less likely to experience serious negative symptoms should they contract the Covid-19 virus. Think of children at the population level (as a group or groups). Now, how does or might the Covid-19 pandemic as a while effect children? In addition, consider that children are not simply a voting block of short people (they cannot vote and most will be taller before very long), they are a group that is particularly vulnerable to effects of largescale events like Covid-19 by virtue of the fact that they are engaged in rapidly emerging developmental processes that are laying the foundations for their own later development and for their very future lives. SO, now, how does Covid-19 effect children and low SES (poor) children in particular? The number of children living in poverty today is significantly higher than it was just 6 months ago in Canada and especially in the United States and while the situation may get better over the next 12 to 24 months that period of time is huge when considered from the perspective of the development of young children. What should we do? Well, the complexity of the relationship between poor developmental outcomes and poverty could cause you to believe that even a hypothetical answer this that question is beyond you and I would agree if we want a full account of all of the poverty linked forces and factors that could influence child development (even without considering parental Covid-19 related stress and anxieties). However, what if we threw some money at the problem? Sounds too simple? Sounds like something that would simply amplify to individual, family and social problems that lead families into poverty in the first place? Well, keep an open mind for a few minutes and read the article linked below that looks at this simpler option with the benefit of quite a bit of research data.

Source: The Coronavirus Generation, Jason DeParle, New Analysis, The New York Times.

Date: August 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by sippakorn yamkasikorn from Pixabay

Article Link:

Canada has provided child allowances to low SES families for a while now (pre-Covid) resulting in significant reductions in the number of children growing and developing in poverty. American programs such as Food Stamps have addressed core consequences of living in poverty for many children and the fact that such programs have been administered locally has provided much evidence (as did research on the local impacts of Casino benefits to Indigenous children) of the positive impacts of such direct anti-poverty interventions. There has not been much discussion of the impacts of Covid-19 on young developing children beyond potential direct health effects. Perhaps we should consider that today’s young children are tomorrow’ adult citizens (and voters) as we consider short and longer-term economic aid initiatives related to the current pandemic.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some ways in which Social Economic Status (SES) impacts development?
  2. When we talk about the impact of Covid-19 on families what should we consider in particular when we think about the situations of low SES families?
  3. What are some of the potential implications of (Covid-19) back to school initiatives for low as opposed to mid to high SES children and families?

References (Read Further):

Akee, R. K., Copeland, W. E., Keeler, G., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2010). Parents’ incomes and children’s outcomes: a quasi-experiment using transfer payments from casino profits. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(1), 86-115. Link

Costello, E. J., Copeland, W., & Angold, A. (2016). The Great Smoky Mountains study: developmental epidemiology in the southeastern United States. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 51(5), 639-646. Link

Duncan, G. J., Magnuson, K., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2014). Boosting family income to promote child development. The Future of Children, 99-120. Link

Yoshikawa, H., Aber, J. L., & Beardslee, W. R. (2012). The effects of poverty on the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and youth: implications for prevention. American Psychologist, 67(4), 272. Link

Cooper, K., & Stewart, K. (2017). Does money affect children’s outcomes? An update. CASEpapers (203). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK Link

Le Menestrel, S., & Duncan, G. (2019). A roadmap to reducing child poverty. National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine Link

Schwandt, H., & Von Wachter, T. (2019). Unlucky cohorts: Estimating the long-term effects of entering the labor market in a recession in large cross-sectional data sets. Journal of Labor Economics, 37(S1), S161-S198. Link

Guldi, M., Hawkins, A., Hemmeter, J., & Schmidt, L. (2018). Supplemental Security Income and child outcomes: Evidence from birth weight eligibility cutoffs (No. w24913). National Bureau of Economic Research. Link

Hoynes, H., Schanzenbach, D. W., & Almond, D. (2016). Long-run impacts of childhood access to the safety net. American Economic Review, 106(4), 903-34. Link

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, General Psychology, Language-Thought, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Student Success.

Description: Given your direct and indirect experiences with Covid-19 and its impact on the world overt the past 6 months you are something of an expert on the subject, right?  Well, here is a pop quiz on that subject. Imagine there are a large number of people who regularly interact closely without masks or what is now considered appropriate social distancing, indoors. Assume we start with just one person who is infected with Covid-19 and is contagious. Off the top of your head, how many people will be infected with Covid-19 by the end of one month? Six weeks? Seven weeks? Eight weeks? When you have your estimates in mind (maybe write them down). Have a look down below the picture below to see how your estimates match what epidemiology tells us is the potential reality and then have a look at the article linked below to see why your estimates (or maybe those of folks who are resistant to mask wearing) are off.

Source: Exponential Growth Bias: The numerical error behind Covid-19, David Robson, Future, BBC.

Date: August 12, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by _Alicja_ from Pixabay

Article Link:

After 1 month just over 1000 people would be infected; after 6 weeks nearly 33,000; after 7 weeks over 130,000 and after 8 weeks over 1 million people would be infected. Infection rates are exponential not linear so when you think just a little bit beyond you and your immediate contacts, well, you should wear a mask and practice social distancing right? We are NOT alone, oh my no we are most certainly now alone and we need to stop acting like we are.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might it be that many people do not do a good job estimating viral infection rates?
  2. How might the errors in estimation noted in your answer to the previous question impact things like mask wearing and social distancing practice adherence?
  3. How might we use the information provided by the linked article to increase conscious commitment to social distancing and mask usage in the general population?

References (Read Further):

Siegel, Ethan (2020) Why ‘Exponential Growth’ Is So Scary For The Covid-19 Coronavirus, Forbes, Link

Lammers, J., Crusius, J., & Gast, A. (2020). Correcting misperceptions of exponential coronavirus growth increases support for social distancing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(28), 16264-16266. Link

Banerjee, R., Bhattacharya, J., & Majumdar, P. (2020). Exponential-growth prediction bias and compliance with safety measures in the times of COVID-19. arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.01273. Link

Schonger, M., & Sele, D. (2020). How to better communicate exponential growth of infectious diseases. medRxiv. Link

Robson, D. (2019). The intelligence trap: Why smart people make dumb mistakes. WW Norton & Company. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Consciousness, Early Social and Emotional development, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: I have posted previously about the stress associated with the high degrees of uncertainty associated with our immediate and longer-term futures in relation to the coronavirus. It is important to keep in mind that while many of the factors contributing to our uncertainty and the related stresses that accompany them are obvious; our health and those of others, our own, our country’s and the world’s economic situation, many more are not at all obvious. Indirect sources of uncertainty and related anxieties are harder to see and thus harder to address and include things like the shifts in unconscious social norms due to the demands of social distancing, mask wearing, etc., and the broad uncertainties of doing what we used to do but doing it differently, like “going to school, college or university” but doing so via a mix of masked limited attendance or by some form of astral projection. Oh, and the anxieties and emotions associated with all this uncertainty? Well that adds to our overall stress levels too! One advantage we DO have, if we care to use it is that our feelings of anxiety, our emotions, are right here with us and we can address them directly even if we cannot see what is driving them clearly enough to plan and engage in solid, problem focused coping strategies. By managing our anxiety levels, we effectively reduce their negative impact upon our ability to think clearly and to effectively and positively plan our behavior. How does THAT work? Have a read through the article linked below for some suggestions that are solidly grounded in Psychological research and clinical practice.

Source: Five-Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets: How to get unstuck from your anxiety, Jenny Taitz, New York Times

Date: August 16, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by 畅 苏 from Pixabay

Article Link:

The main point of the linked article is dealing locally (within yourself) with the physiological and psychological consequences of uncertainty and anxiety frees up your powerful cognitive resources making it possible for you to move forward positively despite uncertainties. The suggestions in the article are things you can do in order to adaptively cope with the fact that we will likely be doing a LOT of the same things differently in the coming months and with a little planning and a little more than usual mindfulness we can manage very well.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Can you clearly account for or point to ALL of the things that you are currently anxious or uncertain about?
  2. Are you sure? What might be some areas where your anxiety levels are being bumped up by things that you do not easily focus on?
  3. Do you have a plan in place to regularly take a few moments to reflect on how you are feeling and about how things are going for you? If not, what might such a plan look like? What might it include?

References (Read Further):

Graff, V., Cai, L., Badiola, I., & Elkassabany, N. M. (2019). Music versus midazolam during preoperative nerve block placements: a prospective randomized controlled study. Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, 44(8), 796-799. Link

Mongrain, M., & Trambakoulos, J. (2007). A musical mood induction alleviates dysfunctional attitudes in needy and self-critical individuals. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 21(4), 295-309. Link

Michael Panneton, W. (2013). The mammalian diving response: an enigmatic reflex to preserve life?. Physiology, 28(5), 284-297. Link

Russo, M. A., Santarelli, D. M., & O’Rourke, D. (2017). The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe, 13(4), 298-309. Link

Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 78(2), 169. Link

Boswell, J. F., Farchione, T. J., Sauer-Zavala, S., Murray, H. W., Fortune, M. R., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Anxiety sensitivity and interoceptive exposure: A transdiagnostic construct and change strategy. Behavior therapy, 44(3), 417-431. Link


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Group Processes, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Student Success.

Description: I do not have a fully developed professional Psychological opinion as yet on the question of whether or how schools should re-open in the (soon) coming fall. Some aspects if such an opinion will, of course, involve vital matters of health-related safety; will students get sick, if so, how sick, and will they infect their friends, families, extended families or neighbors? I am particularly interested, though, in what research there may be on the question of how critical face-to-face or, if at all possible, an actually equivalent, online educational experience might be to long term development, achievement, life success and happiness. I started my look into this second part of the general question of the importance of face-to-face schooling by considering an article that addressed my grandfather’s view of education which was, essentially, “get as much of it as you can laddie (he was Scottish), it will make your life better.” So, without disrespecting my grandfather, what are your thoughts on this question? Once you have them sorted have a look at the article linked below to see what a recently published large scale research project suggests.

Source: Schooling Is Critical for Cognitive Health Throughout Life, Association for Psychological Science.

Date: August 10, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Andrew Tan from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what did you make of the article’s claims? The main point that having raised yourself up educationally and thus cognitively higher means that you have much more room to decline before you start to hit non-negotiable functioning limits. While the results do not speak directly to what sort of impact the coming fall educational challenges might entail, they DO speak to one of many ways in which education should be viewed as valuable.  Another thing to think about, not noted in the article, is that the extent to which children and youth education may have been and may be further, in the fall, disrupted as a result of Covid-19 social interventions, is that the potential short and life-long impacts will be differentially experienced along socio-economic status (SES) and racial dimensions (Indigenous people and people of color are over represented in low SES populations). People with means can find more effective alternatives to face-to-face education settings (which also vary along socio-economic status (SES) and racial dimensions). This is an area where current COVID-19 related concerns and current, very appropriate, concerns over systemic racism strongly overlap. I will post further on this topic as I expend the “informed” base for a possible professional opinion on thee matters.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might one’s total educational experience influence the nature of one’s experience with dementia?
  2. What are some non-health related factors that should be considered in relation to school, college and university attendance decisions this coming fall?
  3. How might the educational impact of Covid-19 be differentially experiences by people living in low SES circumstances and/or by Indigenous people or people of color?

References (Read Further):

Lövdén, M., et al, (2020) Education and Cognitive Functioning Across the Life Span. Psychological Science in the Public Interest,  Link

Van Lancker, W., & Parolin, Z. (2020). COVID-19, school closures, and child poverty: a social crisis in the making. The Lancet Public Health, 5(5), e243-e244. Link

Dasgupta, N., Funk, M. J., Lazard, A., White, B. E., & Marshall, S. W. (2020). Quantifying the social distancing privilege gap: a longitudinal study of smartphone movement. medRxiv. Link

Beaunoyer, E., Dupéré, S., & Guitton, M. J. (2020). COVID-19 and digital inequalities: Reciprocal impacts and mitigation strategies. Computers in Human Behavior, 106424. Link

Burgess, S., & Sievertsen, H. H. (2020). Schools, skills, and learning: The impact of COVID-19 on education. VoxEu. org, 1. Link

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Group Processes, Neuroscience, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: How does this sound? Think carefully about what you want to get, concentrate on it, and click a button in an app that will work for a few moments and then send you a set of nearby map coordinates where you are to go to find what you mind has suggested you want to find. What do you think you would find at the coordinates provided? How would you rate your expectation that you would find some ting there that suggested that the quantum forces of your brain influenced the processes of the app’s algorithm in ways that lead it to pick a place where you would find something that seemed to make sense to you or to be something you wanted to find? As fantastic as such a proposal sounds, read the article linked below BUT as you do so, think hard and critically about the claims being made or suggested AND think about whether the claims made are testable and how would you go about testing them and what alternative hypotheses would you consider (besides quantum mind influences over the processes of handheld apps).

Source:  What is Randonautica Really About? Lena Wilson, New York Times

Date: July 31, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Article Link:

Even if you believe that there are quantum forces within your brain that can manipulate the outcomes of the app algorithms, what could you do to test that belief? Have you heard of Ouija boards? They are an example of ways in which people can cause things to happen (i.e., the planchette – look it up – to move) without being consciously aware that they are doing so. What might ideomotor actions (things done without conscious awareness) suggest about “quantum” brain forces? What about the use of facilitators to “open up” comatose patients or autistic individuals by helping them to tell their stories of coma or autism? What about confirmation bias? There IS a LOT of fascinating stuff going on here BUT may not be what the app developers (the new Ouija Board makers) say it is that is going on. Think it though and test and check it out!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might quantum brain forces effect the outcomes of an app algorithm?
  2. Why might people seriously entertain the hypothesis (belief) that quantum brain forces effect the outcomes of an app algorithm?
  3. Aside from the possible answers to the previous 2 questions what else might be going on here?

References (Read Further):

Brugger, P., & Mohr, C. (2008). The paranormal mind: How the study of anomalous experiences and beliefs may inform cognitive neuroscience. Cortex, 44(10), 1291. Link

Halligan, P. W., & Oakley, D. A. (2013). Hypnosis and cognitive neuroscience: Bridging the gap. Cortex, 49(2), 359-364. Link

Olson, J. A., Jeyanesan, E., & Raz, A. (2017). Ask the pendulum: personality predictors of ideomotor performance. Neuroscience of consciousness, 2017(1), nix014. Link

Shermer, M. (2010). Coma Man media hoax:” communication” by Coma Man is just” ideomotor” Ouija Board effect. Skeptic (Altadena, CA), 15(3), 13-14.

Andersen, M., Nielbo, K. L., Schjoedt, U., Pfeiffer, T., Roepstorff, A., & Sørensen, J. (2019). Predictive minds in Ouija board sessions. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 18(3), 577-588. Link

Hemsley, B., Bryant, L., Schlosser, R. W., Shane, H. C., Lang, R., Paul, D., … & Ireland, M. (2018). Systematic review of facilitated communication 2014–2018 finds no new evidence that messages delivered using facilitated communication are authored by the person with disability. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments, 3, 2396941518821570. Link

Busemeyer, J. R., Pothos, E. M., Franco, R., & Trueblood, J. S. (2011). A quantum theoretical explanation for probability judgment errors. Psychological review, 118(2), 193. Link

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

Description: How do you cope when you are stressed? I mean exactly what do you do? Do you act in ways that are adaptive or maladaptive? How are your coping with the current global and personal issues related to the coronavirus pandemic? If you are not sure how you typically cope you can go here and find, complete and score the Brief Cope measure to see your typical coping profile. Beyond coping styles, especially when we are dealing with a global stressor (collection of stressors) like the current pandemic, it is also very instructive to consider you mindset regarding Covid-19. Reflect for a moment on how you generally reflect upon or thin k about the current pandemic; Do you have control? Do others? Does anyone? Once you have a sense of what your current Covid-19 mindset might involve read through one or both of the articles linked below and see if your perspective fits with one of those suggested by recent Psychological research.

Source: What is the Best Mindset to Ward Off COVID-19 Stress? Mark Travers, Social Instincts, Psychology Today.

Date: August 16, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Article Link:  or

So how did your mindset perspective(s) fare? Did you find a match with one of the mindsets suggested by the article author or researchers? If you did what do the articles suggest you ought to do with it? Change it? Remain committed to it? Changing mindsets is not a simple manner of throwing a switch. To make a change in a mindset you need to seek out, understand, and eventually, perhaps, challenge some rather deeply held assumptions about a number of things. Even if it is not entirely successful efforts to reflect upon your mindsets, your self-related assumptions about you and the world you believe you are living in can be positively adaptive – worth doing!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Which of the mindsets described in the linked article best describes YOUR mindset regarding Covid-19?
  2. Are there aspects of your mindset or the mindsets of those around you or in your local and broader communities that would benefit from some adjustment?
  3. What sorts of things might you do to shift your Covid-19 related mindset? How might one help others do so as well?

References (Read Further):

Zacher, H., & Rudolph, C. W. (2020). Individual differences and changes in subjective wellbeing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist. Link is above in the articles links section.

Haimovitz, K., Wormington, S. V., & Corpus, J. H. (2011). Dangerous mindsets: How beliefs about intelligence predict motivational change. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(6), 747-752. Link

Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets and human nature: Promoting change in the Middle East, the schoolyard, the racial divide, and willpower. American Psychologist, 67(8), 614. Link

Crum, A. J., Akinola, M., Martin, A., & Fath, S. (2017). The role of stress mindset in shaping cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to challenging and threatening stress. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 30(4), 379-395. Link


Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Child Development, Consciousness, Families and Peers, Group Processes, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Influence, Social Perception, Social Psychology.

Description: I have posted several times (Link, Link, and Link) about the high degrees of uncertainty associated with the future as viewed from within the current Covid-19 pandemic. I cannot provide an antidote to such uncertainties at the individual level. I CAN, however, point you towards a few areas where there will soon be come very interesting and potentially quite useful Covid-19 related Psychological research. Frontiers in Psychology is a site that invited researchers to propose a topic and to then invite fellow researchers to contribute research papers based on that topic which are then peer reviewed and published online through the website. So despite the uncertain future you can look forward to finding out what our Covid-19 experiences might tell us about Self-transcendence and Positive Psychology; Parental Supports for Young Child Development During Lockdown; or Covid-19 related Risk, Communication, and Blame. Follow the link to one or more of these topic areas to find out more about what you can look forward to.

Source: 1. COVID-19 and Existential Positive Psychology (PP2.0): The New Science of Self-Transcendence. 2. Coping with Pandemic: Families Engagement and Early Parental Intervention to Support Child Development During and After the Covid-19 Outbreak. 3. COVID-19: Risk Communication and Blame

Date: August 16, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Article Link: 1.   2.  3.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are you thinking about the current situation involving the COVID-19 virus?
  2. Are you strategically adjusting your search or and reflections upon information related to the virus in way that help you clarify your feelings and plan your actions?
  3. In what ways can Psychology help people understand and cope as effectively as possible with their current situations in relation to COVID-19?

References (Read Further):

Vago, D. R., & David, S. A. (2012). Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 6, 296. Link

Morawska, A., & Sanders, M. R. (2006). Self-administered behavioral family intervention for parents of toddlers: Part I. Efficacy. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 74(1), 10. Link

Krause, N. M., Freiling, I., Beets, B., & Brossard, D. (2020). Fact-checking as risk communication: the multi-layered risk of misinformation in times of COVID-19. Journal of Risk Research, 1-8. Link

Ho, C. S., Chee, C. Y., & Ho, R. C. (2020). Mental health strategies to combat the psychological impact of COVID-19 beyond paranoia and panic. Ann Acad Med Singapore, 49(1), 1-3. Link

Allington, D., Duffy, B., Wessely, S., Dhavan, N., & Rubin, J. (2020). Health-protective behaviour, social media usage and conspiracy belief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Psychological medicine, 1-7. Link


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

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

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

Date: May 6, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Sumanley xulx from Pixabay 

Article Link:

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: May 17, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

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

Questions for Discussion:

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

References (Read Further):

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

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

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

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