Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Group Processes, Human Development, Intergroup Relations, Personality, selfies, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, The Self.

Description: If you were born after 1980 then you are a “millennial”, at least according to Pop-Psyc (what non-psychologists are saying that is “based in” Psychology). And, what have you heard about your “generation”? Narcissistic? Entitled? Snowflakes? Etc. etc.? Other than the older generations dumping on the current youth/young adult cohort (believe me this has been going on for generations!) is any of this true? Well THAT sounds like a hypothesis doesn’t it? How about we look and see if it has been tested? The article linked below does a very nice job walking trough some of the current contradictory theories and findings in this area and even talks a bit about why the findings out there are so discrepant.

Source: Millennials are narcissistic? The evidence is not so simple, Christian Jarrett, Personology, Psychology, BBC Future.

Date: November 17, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link —

So which line of theory and research feels more right to you (and yes I know what things “feel like” is not really scientific or thoughtful but nevertheless which feels right (based on what you know about how to evaluate theories and research in Psychology? Does Jean Twenge’s work based on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory track? How about Peter Arnett’s work on emerging adulthood? How about Brent Robert’s work on cross generational views? In sorting this out it is important to pay close attention to what one or the other of the researchers/theorists did, measured, or considered that the others did not. You may have to go and read the original studies to fully understand the differences but it is in those differences that you will start to see how the various research strands might start to fit together, where they overlap and where, it turns out, they are actually looking at different things or at least at things differently than are the other researchers. Sorting out such differences can be a very engaging way to get your head around an area of study within Psychology and this one may actually apply to you so perhaps that will make it even more interesting.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are millennials (university students of today) more narcissistic than previous students?
  2. What is the current state of the debate over answers to question 1 above with the Psychology research literature?
  3. What are some factors that might, at least to some extent, help account for the discrepancies within this research area?

References (Read Further):

Barry, C.T., Kerig, P.K., Stellwagen, K.K., & Barry, T.D. (Eds.). (2011). Narcissism and Machiavellianism in youth: Implications for the development of adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Washington, D.C.: APA.

Trzesniewski, K.H. & Donnellan, M.B. (2010). Rethinking “Generation Me”: A study of cohort effects from 1976–2006. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 5, 58–75.

Twenge, J.M., & Campbell, W.K. (2009). The narcissism epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement. New York: Free Press.

Twenge, J. M., Konrath, S., Foster, J. D., Keith Campbell, W., & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Egos inflating over time: A cross‐temporal meta‐analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of personality, 76(4), 875-902.

Dingfelder, Sadie F. (2011) Reflecting on narcissism. APA Monitor, 42(2) 64,

Posted by & filed under Aggression, General Psychology, Intelligence, Intelligence-Schooling, Language-Thought, Learning, Legal Ethical Issues, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: Ah politicians are a never-ending source of possible research topics! Assuming you have not been successful in selectively ignoring any political news from south of our border (and if you have please tell us how, as long as it does not involve a lobotomy or copious amounts of alcohol!) then you have heard about concerns and issues related to what is being referred to a ‘fake news’. I am not going to get into the “debate” about who is faking news, which news is fake, or why the person who is talking about it the most seems also to be the person most inclined to produce it or reproduce it via twitter. But, here is an interesting question that arises from that gnarly debate and that is; if someone who has been exposed to fake news is told by an authoritative (trustworthy) source that the news they have seen or heard is fake can and do they adjust their thinking so as not to take the fake news into account in forming their judgments? What do you think? And, keeping in mind that nothing is ever straightforward, what other variables are at play in the question of whether or if or when people can discount fake news “information” once they know it is not true?

Source: ‘Fake news’ study finds incorrect information can’t be corrected simply by pointing out it’s false, Eric W. Dolan, Cognition, PsyPost

Date: December 4, 2017

Photo Credit:  diy13

Links:  Article Link —

So, were you surprised by the findings of the study?  The key to putting fake news aside seems to be cognitive functioning or intelligence. People with higher levels of cognitive ability were better able to change their thoughts and evaluations of a person once they wee told that something they had “learned” about them was in fact fake news or wrong. Oh my but the implications of this finding for stereotyping in areas of the social world where fake news is found and at issue are immense and hard to avoid. It is worth reflecting a bit on how fake news should be thought of, approached and dealt with. But, of course, more research is needed before we use the results we have to start arguing for public policy, press regulation, or socio-political activity.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are people influenced by “fake news”?
  2. Can the effects of fake news be undone and if so for who and how?
  3. What sorts of things do the results of this study perhaps get us thinking about in relation to fake news, media policy and media activities (reporting guidelines)?

References (Read Further):

Roets, A. (2017). ‘Fake news’: Incorrect, but hard to correct. The role of cognitive ability on the impact of false information on social impressions. Intelligence, 65, 107-110.

Conroy, N. J., Rubin, V. L., & Chen, Y. (2015). Automatic deception detection: Methods for finding fake news. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Rubin, V. L., Chen, Y., & Conroy, N. J. (2015). Deception detection for news: three types of fakes. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Chen, Y., Conroy, N. J., & Rubin, V. L. (2015). News in an online world: The need for an “automatic crap detector”. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Alowibdi, J. S., Buy, U. A., Philip, S. Y., & Stenneth, L. (2014, August). Detecting deception in online social networks. In Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 2014 IEEE/ACM International Conference on (pp. 383-390). IEEE.

Silverman, C., & Singer-Vine, J. (2016). Most Americans who see fake news believe it, new survey says. BuzzFeed News.

Posted by & filed under Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Health Psychology, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Student Success, The Self.

Description: How quickly can you come up with a personal example of a situation where you’re a choice that you made (or did not make) resulting in regrets, wishing you had done something different or simply wondering if perhaps you should have done something different or not acted at all. If people are honest then they can usually come up with an example or two pretty quickly. It seems that having regrets (even if it just a few, …. too few to mention; according to Frank Sinatra in his classic “I did it my way”) is a part of being human. But can our experience of regret be managed and where does the whole business of regret come from? The brief article linked below provides a light overview of how we might begin to answer these questions. Give it a look and if anything there peaks your curiosity then have a look in the Further Reading section down at the bottom of this post for a few places to start expanding your understanding of regret.

Source: How to Have Fewer Regrets, Malia Wollan, The New York Times, Magazine.

Date: December 8, 2017

Photo Credit:  Radio, The New York Times

Links:  Article Link —

So, the onset of the ability to experience regret is developmental. That is, we have to be able to consider counterfactuals (coulda, woulda, shoulda…..) before regret is possible. From there it can be quite demanding. We can think of OCD as perhaps at least partially driven by regret (going back over a behavioural scheme over and over and over again). Regret can also figure in life choices. Leaving romance aside for another time, regret can play a central role in how we make decisions about things like our career directions. Think about this standard life process: you generate a list of career options, you gather data about what each is like, what each involves, and you think about what each would be like if you picked it and you narrow your choices down to 2 to 4 of the better options and then you  …. What?…….., you agonize…. Well, if you have difficulty letting go of counterfactuals you do and you especially do if you decide or believe that you have only made the right choice of a career path if it is, in fact, the very best possible career path for you (be the best you, you can be) and as a result your life could be quite miserable. This is a good example, however, of how we can benefit greatly from a mental set change. I think of this as akin to the travelers’ dilemma ( . You are planning a trip to an exotic part of the world and you are going to stay for 2 weeks. You read extensively about what there is to do there you research accommodations, historical sites, day trips to nearby amazing places and you plan an itinerary. At some point either before you go or after you get there you will likely be hit with the paralyzing realization that you are not going to be able to “do it all” and there are going to be some wonderful things you are going to miss in or around your destination. So what are you to do? How are you going to be sure you put together the “best possible” itinerary? Agonize, agonize, agonize and regret regret, regret. Counterfactuals have you firmly in their life sapping grip! Except, you do not have to be in that place, full of mental/emotional agony and regret. The solution to the travelers’ dilemma that also applies to career and other life decisions is to shift you thinking and to start with the understanding that while there ARE many possible voyages or journeys, if you build one based on what interests you, what engages you and what energizes you, the results will be a wonderful trip (and a wonderful life). In my own work on identity development and life planning and decision making among people of all ages but particularly among emerging adults (18 to 28) an appreciation of this mind set adjustment virtually eliminates the “agonize” stage of the process and also virtually eliminates pre-and post-decision regrets. It is well worth thinking about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are regrets and how do they arise in the course of human decision making?
  2. How do regrets arise in the course of trip or life planning?
  3. What sorts of strategies make sense to you as ways of dealing with regret?

References (Read Further):

Krott, N. R., & Oettingen, G. (2017). Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies attenuates disappointment, regret, and resentment. Motivation and Emotion, 1-20.,%20N.%20R.%20&%20Oettingen,%20G.%20(2017).%20Motivation%20and%20Emotion.pdf

Byrne, R. M. (2016). Counterfactual thought. Annual review of psychology, 67, 135-157.

Roese, N. J., & Epstude, K. (2017). The Functional Theory of Counterfactual Thinking: New Evidence, New Challenges, New Insights. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology.

McCormack, T., O’Connor, E., Beck, S., & Feeney, A. (2016). The development of regret and relief about the outcomes of risky decisions. Journal of experimental child psychology, 148, 1-19.

Feldman, G., & Albarracín, D. (2017). Norm theory and the action-effect: The role of social norms in regret following action and inaction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 69, 111-120.


Posted by & filed under Cultural Variation, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Here is a good example of how we need to think a bit when we are going to try and conduct research into something like a social behaviour that we are fairly sure we already understand completely. If you were having a conversation with someone and, throughout the conversation while you were speaking they nodded their head regularly. How would you feel about that interaction? What about if you did not actually consciously notice the head nodding? Yes, of course, it would suggest that they agree with you but how might that behavior effect your liking of that person or your ratings of their attractiveness and approachability? Once you have hypotheses in mind in relation to these questions read the brief article linked below that discuses research into these questions. BUT, as you read the article, pay close attention to questions about the research and its generalizability, among other things, that occur to you as you read it. Those sorts of thoughts/questions are an important part of what it means to hold yourself, and others, to criteria of scientific validity and credibility in terms of our thoughts and beliefs about the social world and THAT is a big part of doing Psychology properly.

Source: Nodding raises likability and approachability, Science Daily, Science News.

Date: November 27, 2017

Photo Credit:  Kawahara J. and Osugi T., Perception, September 24, 2017

Links:  Article Link —

So, what additional studies do you think are needed in this area? It is particularly important to be able to think clearly about what other research is needed in areas where the behaviors in question are so much a part of typical social interaction. While we might not think of ourselves as biased when looking at research or theories about the impact of nodding on social interaction and social beliefs and expectations it is certainly true that when we think that we understand something (a social behaviour) outside of any knowledge or awareness of research looking at that behavior we DO run a risk of assuming we know all there is to know about that social, behavior and THAT IS a form of bias. No we do need to read or conduct research in advance of every single social move we make but we DO need to be aware that knowledge based on our personal experiences may NOT be generalizable. So, did you think of the need to replicate the described study with male anima’s and with real people? Good for you if you did (before the researcher raised those issues). But what else might we need to think and potentially do research about? Well how about the fact that the study described was conducted in Japan, a culture where nodding and bowing ( are important and subtly nuanced features of formal social interaction. And what about if the study were done in India where a nod signifies disagreement? Cultural variation is often something we need to remember to consider especially when reflecting upon research into aspects of social interaction.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does nodding or head shaking impact our perceptions of others in social interaction?
  2. How might Jung’s view of dreams be viewed as different than that of Freud?
  3. What might we gain by taking some time to reflect upon our dreams (on those we can recall upon waking up)?

References (Read Further):

Takayuki Osugi, Jun I. Kawahara. Effects of Head Nodding and Shaking Motions on Perceptions of Likeability and Approachability. Perception, 2017; 030100661773320 DOI: 10.1177/0301006617733209

Kawato, S., & Ohya, J. (2000). Real-time detection of nodding and head-shaking by directly detecting and tracking the” between-eyes”. In Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, 2000. Proceedings. Fourth IEEE International Conference on (pp. 40-45). IEEE.

Fukunaga, N. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Learning, Legal Ethical Issues, Psychological Intervention.

Description: If you have had an introductory psychology course you have likely learned something about phobias. Phobia’s are usually described as irrational fears. Learning theorists (John Watson foremost among them) argued that phobias are learned when a situation or object or animal is associated with a fear inducing stimulus such as an unexpected loud sound. Watson demonstrated the formation of such an association in his work with “Little Albert” (if you do not know that name then have a look at the links in the Further Reading section below and prepare yourself for a textbook description of unethical research behavior). A major challenge to the learning theorists’ view of phobias is the observation that some phobic associations are much much easier to establish than others. In simple term this means that phobias to snakes are common and easy to establish whereas phobias to chairs or bowties are either nonexistent or at least very difficult to create via associative terrors. What might that be? Well, perhaps we have genetically linked fears that were created through evolutionary forces. Think of it this way. Would children in hunting and gathering societies who though all snakes were cute and huggable likely survive to reproduce (and thus pass on their genes)? How about children who so love to look at vast open views that they rush right up to the edge of every cliff top they find to better see the new view? What about children who so love confined spaces they craw into every bear sized cave they find without a moment’s hesitation? I think you probably get the picture. But how to assess this claim? After all, as it sits, it is really just a good story, much like the origin myths of many cultures. So what sorts of things might we do, empirically, to at least partially test this evolutionary theory? Well, think about that and then, once you have, read the article linked below to see how the researchers who designed the study discussed went about addressing this question.

Source: Scaring Babies for Science, Bill Andrews, D-Brief, Discover.

Date: October 20, 2017

Photo Credit:  Sutterstock

Links:  Article Link —

Ethical considerations aside (no babies were harmed in the conducting of this study.?) the researchers demonstrated that very young infants show more signs of trepidation or fear when shown pictures of snakes or spiders that other things. While not entirely conclusive it seems likely that such early fears may well be “primordial” or genetically wired in.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are phobias?
  2. Can phobias be learned? Are all phobias learned?
  3. What sorts of ethical considerations might apply or at least be at play in relation to the study described in the article linked above?

References (Read Further):

Hoehl, S., Hellmer, K., Johansson, M., & Gredebäck, G. (2017). Itsy bitsy spider…: Infants react with increased arousal to spiders and snakes. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1710.

Harris, B. (1979). Whatever happened to little Albert?. American psychologist, 34(2), 151.

Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding little Albert: A journey to John B. Watson’s infant laboratory. American Psychologist, 64(7), 605.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Neuroscience, Physical Illness, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: In Egypt, rates of clinical depression are highest in December and rates of mania are highest in June. Why might that be? ….“Sunlight on my shoulders makes me happy” to quote John Denver. A signature line in a kitschy song but is there some truth to it from a clinical perspective? What do you think? How does being in sunlight make you feel? How might being in sunlight relate to things like mood and rates of recovery from physical illness, surgery and even depression? How do you think they might be related? Once you have a hypothesis in mind read the article linked below that will take you back to detailed observations made by non-other than Florence Henderson (nursing pioneer and inveterate data gatherer) and provide an overview of research into the possible impact of sun and of light therapy on a range of conditions and disorders.

Source: Sunlight is the Best Medicine, Abigail Strubel, in blog of Michael Terman, Chronotherapy, Psychology Today.

Date: December 1, 2017

Photo Credit:  wikipedia

Links:  Article Link —

So what do you think about the relationship between sun/light exposure and many many positive things? If the results did not surprise you, what thoughts do you have about how it is that sunlight has the effects it seems to have? The work described is a good example of how certain things that have demonstrably positive clinical value can be used as part of treatment even if we do not actually know why they seem to help and what their mechanism of action actually is. The key is the collection of consistent and copious data that can support our treatment plans and remaining open to figuring out just why the treatment is having a positive effect.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the conditions and situations that seem to be helped by sunlight?
  2. How is it that sunlight has the effects it has been shown to have?
  3. What sorts of evaluation research design considerations should we have in mind if we were to attempt to evaluate the effects and impacts of sunlight therapy on disorders like depression, surgical patient recover rates and schizophrenia?

References (Read Further):

Hobday, R. (2007). The Light Revolution: Health, Architecture and the Sun. Findhorn Press.

Benedetti, F., Colombo, C., Barbini, B., Campori, E., & Smeraldi, E. (2001). Morning sunlight reduces length of hospitalization in bipolar depression. Journal of affective disorders, 62(3), 221-223.

Lambert, G., Reid, C., Kaye, D., Jennings, G., & Esler, M. (2003). Increased suicide rate in the middle-aged and its association with hours of sunlight. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(4), 793-795.

Walch, J. M., Rabin, B. S., Day, R., Williams, J. N., Choi, K., & Kang, J. D. (2005). The effect of sunlight on postoperative analgesic medication use: a prospective study of patients undergoing spinal surgery. Psychosomatic medicine, 67(1), 156-163.

Labban, L. (2017). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Vitamin D Deficiency and Diabetes Mellitus. of, 2, 2.

Swanson, V., Sharpe, T., Porteous, C., Hunter, C., & Shearer, D. (2016). Indoor Annual Sunlight Opportunity in Domestic Dwellings May Predict Well-Being in Urban Residents in Scotland. Ecopsychology, 8(2), 121-130.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Early Social and Emotional development, Language Development, Language-Thought, Learning, Neuroscience.

Description:  You may have heard in and an Introductory Psychology course or in a Child Development course that when a mother talks to her infant (fathers too) the parent changes their vocal patterns by exaggerating aspects of their speech in what we sometimes call “Motherese.” You may have also heard or even seen video examples of how infants will babble conversationally and takes turns with their parent while the parent is talking to them. As well infants will synchronize their physical movements, so they match with the pace and tonal patterns in their parent’s speech when they are speaking to their infant. Given all of this, what might you predict about an infant’s brainwave patterns when their parent is looking at them and talking to them? Have a read through the article linked below and see what brainwave recordings of parents and infants interacting tell us about these interactions.

Source: Eye contact with your baby helps synchronize your brain-waves, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: November 29, 2017

Photo Credit:  University of Cambridge

Links:  Article Link —

So infant and parent brainwaves become synchronized when the parent is singing nursery rhymes to the infant but ONLY when they are making eye contact. What might we make of that? They key seems to be a mutual intention to communicate, signaled by eye contact. The synchronization did not occur when the parent was not making eye contact with the infant. It also seems that infants pick up on the deliberateness of the parent’s eye contact (when the parent’s face is slightly averted but they are still making eye contact). The infants also responded to eye contact by vocalizing more (again in turn-taking fashion). What might we make of this synchronization? One of the rsearchers indicates that while they are not sure what is driving the synchronization they are not yet thinking it is a form of telepathy. But is IS fascinating to consider what might be going on. Related work on empathy and mirror neurons might suggest that humans are prepared to engage in face-to-face communication and that the synchronization is an adaptive part of that process that assist with the processing of communicative context including things like body language. I was discussing this study with my wife, Erika, and she suggested a fascinating question. Given that one of the signature features of Autism Spectrum Disorder is a regular failure to make eye contact during social interactions it would also suggest that ASD individuals do not engage in this synchronization process while interacting with their parents or others. This gives rise to the question of what the impact of that lack of synchronization might be on the development of social understanding and on communication development and functioning in general for those with ASD. And, of course, one could also wonder if the lack of eye contact is simply a symptom of the disorder or, to some unknown extent, a contributory factor.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of things “synchronize” when infants interact (have “conversations”) with their primary caregivers?
  2. How might vocal and movement synchronization relate to brainwave synchronization between infants and their primary caregivers?
  3. What might the relationship be between the lack of eye contact by children with ASD and others in social interaction and the development of communicative competence and social understanding on the part of the individual with an ASD diagnosis?

References (Read Further):

Leong, V., Byrne, E., Clackson, K., Georgieva, S., Lam, S., & Wass, S. (2017). Speaker gaze increases information coupling between infant and adult brains. bioRxiv, 108878.

Delaherche, E., Chetouani, M., Mahdhaoui, A., Saint-Georges, C., Viaux, S., & Cohen, D. (2012). Interpersonal synchrony: A survey of evaluation methods across disciplines. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, 3(3), 349-365.

Feldman, R. (2007). Parent–infant synchrony: Biological foundations and developmental outcomes. Current directions in psychological science, 16(6), 340-345.

Tunçgenç, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2015). Rock with me: The role of movement synchrony in infants’ social and nonsocial choices. Child Development, 86(3), 976-984.

Posted by & filed under Assessment: Intellectual-Cognitive Measures, General Psychology, Intelligence, Intelligence-Schooling, Legal Ethical Issues, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: You may not have known of Joseph White, a psychologist who died recently, but you should know about what he spent his life trying to do. White spent much of his career and life pointing out that the core theories within the discipline of psychology were blindly eurocentric. By this he meant that the theories were built both with research and with theoretic perspectives that only considered the perspectives of white people of European origins. Those eurocentric theories were then assumed to be universal and as such applied without adjustment to blacks and to people of other cultural backgrounds with the typical result that they were depicted negatively. I have written about parts of this issue in the Intelligence chapter of our textbook, Psychology Around Us, I wrote about the debates between David Suzuki and Philip Rushton (Rushton argued that blacks, on average, score lower than white on IQ tests and Suzuki pointed out that poverty impacts intelligence development and poverty is an issue of color in North America). In the same chapter I wrote about the “Chitlin” test and about the “You think you know Ghetto” test both developed to highlight forms of racial bias associated with IQ tests (see links in the References section below). Joseph White convincingly argued that assuming bias and cultural diversity issues only arise in Psychology when exotic groups are considered meant that some large biases at the core of many psychological concepts and theories involving Blacks (or Hispanics or aboriginal people) are ignored and harm results. Think a bit about areas or theories in Psychology where this might be an issue and then read the obituary/article linked below to see a bit about what Joseph White had to say. You can also read the sections from Chapter 10 in our new edition od Psychology Around Us by downloading the pdf file from the link in References (Read Further) section below.

Source: Joseph White pioneering black psychologist who mentored students at UC Irvine, dies at 84, Anna M. Philips

Date: December 1, 2017

Photo Credit:  UC Irvine Communications

Links:  Article Link —

While psychology has somewhat systematically addressed issues of cultural bias in relation to intelligence testing, Joseph White pointed out a great many other areas in Psychology that still require work. Essentially, we must be cautious when we directly or more importantly when we implicitly take positions on what is “normative.” If the full extent of human diversity has not been properly considered, then establishing normative positions (even data supported ones) can be stigmatizing, racist and exclusionary. The discipline owes it to the work of Psychologists like Joseph White to continue to keep questions and issues like this firmly in mind as we move forward.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are two or three areas within Psychology where racial biases might be of particular concern?
  2. Assuming Psychologists working in the above noted areas are not trying to be racist how might such biases, nevertheless be at play in work in those areas?
  3. What sorts of policies should, perhaps, be considered by associations such and the Canadian and American Psychological Associations or by Psychology journal editors in order to address the issue of these sorts of biases?

References (Read Further):

Excerpts from Chapter 10: Intelligence, Comer, R., Ogden, N., Boyes, Michael, and Gould, E. (2018) Psychology Around Us, 3rd Canadian Edition, Wiley.

Eberhardt, J. L., Goff, P. A., Purdie, V. J., & Davies, P. G. (2004). Seeing black: race, crime, and visual processing. Journal of personality and social psychology, 87(6), 876.

Parham, T. A., Ajamu, A., & White, J. L. (2015). Psychology of Blacks: Centering our perspectives in the African consciousness. Psychology Press.

Parham, T. A., White, J. L., & Ajamu, A. (1999). The psychology of Blacks: An African-centered perspective. Pearson College Division.

Naidoo, A. V. (1996). Challenging the hegemony of Eurocentric psychology. Journal of community and health sciences, 2(2), 9-16.

Dawes, A. (1998). Africanisation of psychology: Identities and continents. Psychology in society, 23, 4-16.

Posted by & filed under Aggression, General Psychology, Group Processes, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Persuasion, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier than American Thanksgiving but Boxing Day and its associated sales is later than Black Friday. I am not making any point there but leading up to suggesting that there are seasonal learning moment opportunities in the recent experience of Black Friday (which used to be more vicarious in the Canada but which is quickly being imported in to our shopping year calendars – assuming that the current NAFTA talks do not have anything to say about it!). After all Boxing Day sales are only about 1 month away! So Why DO so many people seem intent to stand in line for days or even weeks to be one of the early shoppers at Black Friday and by extension (as it is NOT much of a generalization leap) at Boxing Day sales? Got any hypothesis? Well if you do, dredge them up and then read the article linked below to see some research based suggestions.

Source: Why stand in line on Black Friday? The Psychology Explained. Tiffany Hsu, Business Day, The New York Times

Date: November 23, 2017

Photo Credit:  Sarah Mazzetti, The New York Times

Links:  Article Link —

Family bonding by prolonged line standing? Really? Wow. Well that is one possibility but the reward value of the serious bargains awaiting the patient line stander seem to make more sense to me. The power of “gotta have it” has even lead to death and destruction when lines lose patience and become mobs. A fascinating juxtaposition between a season of community and family warmth and one-on-one consumer contending! Ah well, what to do? Oh, and Boxing Day is coming!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What factors might contribute to people’s willingness to spend d hours or days in line for major sales?
  2. What sorts of Psychology might we employ if we wanted to reduce the risk of shopper stampedes and related carnage at these sorts of big seasonal sales?
  3. Or should we just leave the Psychology at work or home in such holiday seasons? And we haven’t even begun to consider the stress of the upcoming holiday season…..

References (Read Further):

Boyd Thomas, J., & Peters, C. (2011). An exploratory investigation of Black Friday consumption rituals. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 39(7), 522-537.

Swilley, E., & Goldsmith, R. E. (2013). Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Understanding consumer intentions on two major shopping days. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(1), 43-50.

Simpson, L., Taylor, L., O’Rourke, K., & Shaw, K. (2011). An analysis of consumer behavior on Black Friday. American International Journal of Contemporary Research.

Lennon, S. J., Johnson, K. K., & Lee, J. (2011). A perfect storm for consumer misbehavior: Shopping on Black Friday. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 29(2), 119-134.

Raymen, T., & Smith, O. (2015). What’s deviance got to do with it? Black Friday sales, violence and hyper-conformity. British Journal of Criminology, 56(2), 389-405.

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Intelligence, Intelligence-Schooling, Language-Thought, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: Was the Apollo moon landing a hoax filmed entirely on Earth? There are quite a few people around who claim that it was just that. Assuming for a moment that the moon landing was NOT a hoax or that the American Government does NOT have frozen aliens and flying saucer wreckage hidden in Area 59 in Roswell, New Mexico why are some people more inclined to believe in such conspiracy theories? Are the non-believers smarter than the believers? Is it a personality thing?  Really, what is your hypothesis (again assuming the hoaxes are NOT true)? Once you have a hypothesis or two in mind have a read through the article linked below to see what a recently published research paper has to say on this matter.

Source: High cognitive ability not a safeguard from conspiracies, paranormal beliefs, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: November 13, 2017

Photo Credit:  NASA/Lee Krystek

Links:  Article Link —

So, it is not just level of cognitive functioning alone that correlates with belief in conspiracy theories (while that IS part of it). The other variable suggested by the researchers is the extent to which people are personally committed to forming their beliefs on rational grounds. Perhaps this is not surprising given how articulate some of the people arguing that vaccines cause autism (and other such unfounded/disproven things) sound. It is important to understand the variables that contribute to belief in conspiracy theories as some of them lead to seriously unhealthy behaviour. We have to think about such things AND we have to be committed to forming beliefs on the basis of and acting on the available scientific data.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do some people seem to believe in conspiracy or other unlikely or even disproven ideas?
  2. How might we address these issues in science classes? How about in Psychology classes?
  3. Are there any school policy issues here?

References (Read Further):

Ståhl, T., & van Prooijen, J. W. (2018). Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational. Personality and Individual Differences, 122, 155-163.

Schmack, K., Rössler, H., Sekutowicz, M., Brandl, E. J., Müller, D. J., Petrovic, P., & Sterzer, P. (2015). Linking unfounded beliefs to genetic dopamine availability. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 9.

Belleville, G., Foldes-Busque, G., Dixon, M., Marquis-Pelletier, É., Barbeau, S., Poitras, J., … & Marchand, A. (2013). Impact of seasonal and lunar cycles on psychological symptoms in the ED: an empirical investigation of widely spread beliefs. General hospital psychiatry, 35(2), 192-194.

Schmack, K., de Castro, A. G. C., Rothkirch, M., Sekutowicz, M., Rössler, H., Haynes, J. D., … & Sterzer, P. (2013). Delusions and the role of beliefs in perceptual inference. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(34), 13701-13712.