Posted by & filed under Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Research Methods, Social Psychology.

Description: What do sports psychologists do? The fields of sports psychology has grown dramatically in recent years. The realization that Psychology can contribute a lot to our understanding of human performance and motivation is at the core of this growth and the expansion continues. For example, you have, perhaps heard about the field of baseball analytics? Baseball analytics uses large datasets to guide owners and managers in their choices of players and short- and long-term team strategies such as the value in choosing a less exciting player who get to first base more often over a more glamorous homerun hitter. But that is all actuarial data; what about psychology (getting into players brains), what might that involve? Think about possibilities and then have a look through the article linked below to see how the neuropsychology of baseball players might be the next new frontier in baseball analytics. Oh and while you are doing that keep track of what you still want to know more about beyond what is discussed in the article.

Source: IWU Professor Studies Data, Psychology Link in Baseball, Eric Stock, WGLT.ORG, NPR from Illinois State University.

Date: February 12, 2020

Photo Credit:  Keith Johnston from Pixabay

Article Link:

So does the idea that we might be able to identify ways to optimize players performance profiles by keeping an eye on their brain functioning make sense? The notion of load management such as was practiced by the Toronto Raptors coach, Nick Nurse, last year with his then top player Kawhi Leonard was  mainly focused on his physical wellbeing but conceptually it would seem possible to track other markers relating to focus and stress and expand the notion of rest to apply to those areas as well. What I wanted to know more about at the end of the article linked above was just what the researcher (baseball brain analyst) was proposing to look at and to track and what he was hoping to sort out in the way of “rest.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might it mean to expand the field of Baseball Analytics to include more Psychology and especially more Neuropsychology?
  2. What might one look at if you were interested in monitoring a baseball players mental focus?
  3. What might be some of the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Baseball Analytics in the ways suggested in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Rees, L. P., Rakes, T. R., & Deane, J. K. (2015). Using analytics to challenge conventional baseball wisdom. Journal of Service Science (JSS), 8(1), 11-20.

Koseler, K., & Stephan, M. (2017). Machine learning applications in baseball: A systematic literature review. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 31(9-10), 745-763.

Fry, M. J., & Ohlmann, J. W. (2012). Introduction to the special issue on analytics in sports, part I: General sports applications.

Swartz, T. B. (2017). Hockey Analytics. Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online.

Bornn, L., Cervone, D., & Fernandez, J. (2018). Soccer analytics: Unravelling the complexity of “the beautiful game”. Significance, 15(3), 26-29.,5&scillfp=6010092713439709609&oi=lle

Castaneda, B., & Gray, R. (2007). Effects of focus of attention on baseball batting performance in players of differing skill levels. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(1), 60-77.

Bickman, L. (2012). Why can’t mental health services be more like modern baseball?. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 39(1-2), 1-2.

Posted by & filed under Memory, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: Perhaps not the best topic for Valentine’s day but the fact is some relationships end and some end badly with the former participants struggling to come terms with heartache. Heartache is a very general term, one which has a lot of poetic weight but what does it involve Psychologically and how might it be fixed? Now before you dive into your poetic bag of tricks for a fix (take a vacation, buy some ice cream, talk to a friend) think a bit more analytically and psychologically. A broken heart involves a memory of the breakup and feelings associated with it. Both likely lean pretty heavily on betrayal or loss of trust and those bring big emotions with them. So, what to do? Well what if we could essentially, under controlled conditions, call up the memory and all its emotional entanglements and then do something to the memory that would result in reducing the emotions associated with it. If we could do that how would we do that? Read the article linked below and find out!

Source: Can a blood pressure drug help ease the painful memory of an ex? Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Toronto.

Date: February 12, 2020

Photo Credit:  OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Article Link:

Seems hard to believe doesn’t it that calling up a painful memory and focusing on it in detail could end up making it less painful with the addition of a simple drug. It helps to see that perhaps when we call up a memory we work on it a bit and then reconsolidate it or recommit it to memory using pretty much the same process we used when we first aid the memory down. It sounds counter intuitive that working on a memory might help us forget at least parts of it. Add to that the idea that the memory and the emotions that are associated with it are processed and stored in different areas of the brain and that the drug used disrupts emotional processing but not memory processing and your have a possible fix for the emotional pain of heartbreak. Promising stuff. NO go and enjoy Valentine’s Day!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are memories and particularly emotionally charged memories stored?
  2. What is reconsolidation in relation to memory?
  3. What sorts of therapeutic areas might benefit from this work on adaptive reconsolidation of memories?

References (Read Further):

Lonergan, M. H., Olivera-Figueroa, L. A., Pitman, R. K., & Brunet, A. (2013). Propranolol’s effects on the consolidation and reconsolidation of long-term emotional memory in healthy participants: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience.

Lonergan, M., Saumier, D., Tremblay, J., Kieffer, B., Brown, T. G., & Brunet, A. (2016). Reactivating addiction-related memories under propranolol to reduce craving: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 50, 245-249. Link

Moore, S. A., & Zoellner, L. A. (2007). Overgeneral autobiographical memory and traumatic events: an evaluative review. Psychological bulletin, 133(3), 419.

Krinsley, K. E., Gallagher, J. G., Weathers, F. W., Kutter, C. J., & Kaloupek, D. G. (2003). Consistency of retrospective reporting about exposure to traumatic events. Journal of Traumatic Stress: Official Publication of The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, 16(4), 399-409.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Chronic Illness, Depression, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Have you heard the phrase “We The North?” It was associated with the enjoyable run of the Toronto Raptors to the successfully through the NBA championships in 2019. Despite having a great basketball team, however, there are some challenges associated with living in the north. Throughout much of Canada in the winter it is cold, and it is dark for much of the day. That this has consequences for wellness could be reflected in the fact that over 70% of Canadians live below the 49th parallel which is often noted as being on or near out southern border. Given this Seasonal Affective Disorder is something that could be well known to Canadians. Especially if you ARE Canadian, or a north-person of any sort (a Viking perhaps?), think for a minute about what you know about the potential impact of SAD on you throughout the fall and winter months (or at other times of the year) and about what you do or should be aware of in the ways of means for coping with this possible winter impact. Once you have completed your mental inventory of this topic read through the article linked below for a brief overview of these issues (and through some of the articles in the Read Further section further below if you would like more to chew on in your dark cold winter).

Source: An Ottawa psychologist on managing seasonal affective disorder, Moira Wilson, Fulcrum.

Date: February 2, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, were there tidbits of information about SADs in the linked article that you were not aware of? If you live well north of the equator it is worthwhile to reflect on the impacts that light and weather patterns associated with winter have on our health and wellbeing. I have posted about the circadian implications of northing living previously. Perhaps you noted that you already make some good and perhaps adjustments to you living patterns in winter. These might include ensuring you are getting regular exercise, carefully managing your sleep routines (blue screen exposure etc.). But what about things like high-fat winter comfort food which was shown to not be good for cognitive and emotional wellbeing in mice and which may also be true with us humans? If you live in the North it would be advisable to spend a bit of time looking into the possible impact that winter has on you and perhaps consider making a few adjustments, like getting g a light therapy light. Oh, and enjoy the Raptors! They provide some winter respite.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is SAD?
  2. Why does SAD seem to be linked to winter (other than that those of us who do not ski have less to do in winter)?
  3. What sorts of things should we consider doing in order to manage our possible exposure to impacts of SAD?

References (Read Further):

Sleep Foundation, Sleep Hygiene.

Rosenthal, N. E., Sack, D. A., Gillin, J. C., Lewy, A. J., Goodwin, F. K., Davenport, Y., … & Wehr, T. A. (1984). Seasonal affective disorder: a description of the syndrome and preliminary findings with light therapy. Archives of general psychiatry, 41(1), 72-80.

Geoffroy, P. A., Schroder, C. M., Reynaud, E., & Bourgin, P. (2019). Efficacy of light therapy versus antidepressant drugs, and of the combination versus monotherapy, in major depressive episodes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep medicine reviews, 101213. Link

Wirz‐Justice, A., & Benedetti, F. (2019). Perspectives in affective disorders: Clocks and sleep. European Journal of Neuroscience.

McGrath-Hanna, N. K., Greene, D. M., Tavernier, R. J., & Bult-Ito, A. (2003). Diet and mental health in the Arctic: is diet an important risk factor for mental health in circumpolar peoples?-a review. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 62(3), 228-241.

Melrose, S. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: an overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Depression research and treatment, 2015.

Kräuchi, K., Reich, S., & Wirz-Justice, A. (1997). Eating style in seasonal affective disorder: who will gain weight in winter?. Comprehensive psychiatry, 38(2), 80-87.

Roecklein, K. A., & Rohan, K. J. (2005). Seasonal affective disorder: an overview and update. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 2(1), 20.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Clinical Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Disorders of Childhood, Disorders of Childhood, Families and Peers, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: In addition to this post I also posted today aboutthe issue of Seasonal Affective Disorder among those of us who live well north of the equator. While we reflect on SAD in our winter, we see stories of the issues of wildfires well south of the equator in Australia. Bushfires such as those experienced in Australia (in 2019/2020 and in previous years) are certainly natural disasters and their impact upon communities, families and on children are immense. Think about the impact such disasters could have on children and then think about what sorts of factors should be carefully considered when trying to prepare to, and then to actually, respond to the impact of those events over time on developing children.  Once you have your thought and hypotheses in order read the article linked below for an overview from a clinical developmental perspective.

Source: Bushfires could trigger mental health issues for thousands of children, Caitlin Fitzsimmons, The Brisbane Times.

Date: February 1, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, I suspect you may have anticipated the general issues of fear and anxiety among children around and following such disasters as bushfires and perhaps the standard advice to parents of only answering the specific questions their children ask about them about such events and their consequences. You may not have thought about children being more likely, perhaps than adults, to focus upon the massive loss of animals in bushfires. But did you anticipate the advice about the optimal timelines for intervening and about waiting for a few months before doing so? As with much that can arise over the course of child development the challenge is distinguish what is natural, normal and transient from that which is potentially poised to negatively impact wellbeing and development. As will much in development, timing is the key. There is more detailed sources on this topic in the Read Further section below.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How should parents speak with their children about natural disasters such a wildfires?
  2. How might the sorts of conversations noted in the previous question vary when the disasters are distant and opposed to local?
  3. What are the important timing issues involved in figuring out not just how but when to intervene with children and their anxieties related to natural disasters?

References (Read Further):

Kar, N. (2009). Psychological impact of disasters on children: review of assessment and interventions. World journal of pediatrics, 5(1), 5-11.

Myers-Walls, J. (2002). Talking to children about terrorism and armed conflict. In The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues (Vol. 7, No. 1).

Berson, I. R., & Berson, M. J. (2008). Weathering natural disasters with a net of safety. Social Education, 72(1), 27.

Vernberg, E. M., Steinberg, A. M., Jacobs, A. K., Brymer, M. J., Watson, P. J., Osofsky, J. D., … & Ruzek, J. I. (2008). Innovations in disaster mental health: Psychological first aid. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(4), 381.

Petriwskyj, A. (2013). Reflections on talk about natural disasters by early childhood educators and directors. Australian Journal of Communication, 40(1), 87.

Midtbust, L. G. H., Dyregrov, A., & Djup, H. W. (2018). Communicating with children and adolescents about the risk of natural disasters. European journal of psychotraumatology, 9(sup2), 1429771.

Lazarus, P. J., Jimerson, S. R., & Brock, S. E. (2003). Helping children after a natural disaster: Information for parents and teachers. National Association of School Psychologists, Bethesda. PDF Link

Miller, P. A., Roberts, N. A., Zamora, A. D., Weber, D. J., Burleson, M. H., Robles, E., & Tinsley, B. J. (2012). Families coping with natural disasters: Lessons from wildfires and tornados. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 9(4), 314-336. PDF Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Legal Ethical Issues, mental illness, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Intervention, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Think about how relationships tend to go for you. Think about how relationships end for you (assuming you have had one or two relationships end). Now imagine you have been seeing a psychotherapist for the past 6 months, perhaps to help you sort of what is or did go on in your relationships. How would you see THAT relationship, the psychotherapeutic one, ending? Psychotherapy, since the days of Freudian analysis is typically short term, a matter of weeks or perhaps months but rarely years. So, if you have not been involved in a psychotherapeutic relationship, or if you have, think about how it would or did end. Did you (would you) initiate the ending process, did your therapist, or was it mutual?  Did you (would you) just stop going or was it something your discussed with your therapist? Did the (would the) nature of your relationship with your therapist make parting harder or easier than other relationships? Many of the broad array of ethical requirements and standards to which psychotherapists are committed relate to how their relationships with clients are managed, given that they involve and inherent difference in power between the client who is seeking assistance and the therapist who is providing it. That power imbalance can make ending the relationship difficult or confusing even despite the ethical requirements that exist. So how should you end your relationship with your therapist? Slip out the back Jack? Make a new plan Stan? No need to be coy Roy, just get yourself free (or at least so says Paul Simon in 50 Ways). Have a look at the article linked below to se what it suggests as an alternative to ghosting.

Source: How to Break Up with Your Therapist, Malia Wollman, Tip, The New York Times Magazine.

Date: January 28, 2020

Photo Credit:  BedexpStock from Pixabay 

Article Link:

The author of the linked article offers some useful advice in suggesting that yourself if there is something familiar in your desire to leave your therapist (in fact it is a question the therapist might well ask you to consider). The business and the process of deciding that it is time to end therapy is a complicated one, sometimes for both client and therapist. The therapist bears a larger share of responsibility for managing that process given that clients, by definition, enter therapy with uncertainty about their abilities to understand and manage themselves and/or their relationships. However, clients need to keep in mind that they can and should be open to the possibility that the idea to move on or to change from one therapeutic relationship to another might be their own idea and involve initiative that is more theirs than their therapist’s. Sorting out if it is time and good to be moving on or whether it is “one of those things again” can be challenging but all good, and all not so good, therapy come to an end, and, hopefully, end positively and professionally.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some reasons why one might consider ending a psychotherapeutic relationship?
  2. What responsibilities do (should) psychotherapists be aware of and keep in mind over end of therapy moments?
  3. How should clients be monitoring their progress and their experiences in psychotherapeutic relationships and how should they decide if the one they are in needs to change or end?

References (Read Further):

Knox, S., Adrians, N., Everson, E., Hess, S., Hill, C., & Crook-Lyon, R. (2011). Clients’ perspectives on therapy termination. Psychotherapy Research, 21(2), 154-167.

Charman, D. P., & Graham, A. C. (2008). Ending therapy: Processes and outcomes. Core processes in brief psychodynamic psychotherapy, 275.

Råbu, M., Binder, P. E., & Haavind, H. (2013). Negotiating ending: A qualitative study of the process of ending psychotherapy. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 15(3), 274-295.

Råbu, M., & Haavind, H. (2012). Coming to an end: A case study of an ambiguous process of ending psychotherapy. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12(2), 109-117.

Owen, J., Imel, Z., Adelson, J., & Rodolfa, E. (2012). ‘No-show’: Therapist racial/ethnic disparities in client unilateral termination. Journal of counseling psychology, 59(2), 314.

Vasquez, M. J., Bingham, R. P., & Barnett, J. E. (2008). Psychotherapy termination: Clinical and ethical responsibilities. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 653-665.

Posted by & filed under Clinical Health Psychology, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Research Methods, Research Methods in ADA, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: You cannot have missed the multitude of posts, offers and claims out there regarding the value of Mindfulness. Learning how to be more present in our current moments has been suggested as a way of focusing attention, reducing anxiety, and avoiding stress. But what about the data? Does it support the claims? And more importantly, should doctors start to prescribe Mindfulness practices and training and if they are contemplating doing so what sort of research would we need to see to support such a practice and how would we define Mindfulness for the purpose of such research? In the UK physicians can now write social prescriptions for things like gardening classes for patients who might experience health benefits from such things so perhaps we need o figure out how we will demonstrate effectiveness and how we will define things like dosage and treatment specificity? Get your researcher cap on and think about this and then read the article linked below for another’s thoughts on the subject.

Source: Can Mindfulness Evolve From Wellness Pursuit to Medical Treatment? Kim Tingley, Studies Show, The New York Times Magazine.

Date: January 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  John Hain from Pixabay 

Article Link:

So, do you have a feel now for how complicated the task of operationalizing (defining and specifying for research measurement purposes) Mindfulness training and experience is going to be? That does not mean we should dismiss it as unresearchable as there is a LOT to be learned and a LOT of potential benefit to figuring out just what works, how, when and for what in relation to Mindfulness practices. More research IS needed but figuring out how to design and execute that research is going to be very challenging.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Should we be working on research into the effectiveness of Mindfulness practices?
  2. What are some of the challenges to designing research into Mindfulness?
  3. What might be some of the variables we will need to define if we want to know what sort of Mindfulness training or practice works for what sort of health issues and for whom?

References (Read Further):

Loucks, E. B., Nardi, W. R., Gutman, R., Kronish, I. M., Saadeh, F. B., Li, Y., … & Britton, W. B. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP): Stage 1 single-arm clinical trial. PloS one, 14(11).

Ludwig, D. S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Mindfulness in medicine. Jama, 300(11), 1350-1352.

Mrazek, M. D., Franklin, M. S., Phillips, D. T., Baird, B., & Schooler, J. W. (2013). Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering. Psychological science, 24(5), 776-781.

Greeson, J. M. (2009). Mindfulness research update: 2008. Complementary health practice review, 14(1), 10-18.

Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness interventions. Annual review of psychology, 68, 491-516.

Buchholz, L. (2015). Exploring the promise of mindfulness as medicine. Jama, 314(13), 1327-1329.

Van Dam, N. T., van Vugt, M. K., Vago, D. R., Schmalzl, L., Saron, C. D., Olendzki, A., … & Fox, K. C. (2018). Mind the hype: A critical evaluation and prescriptive agenda for research on mindfulness and meditation. Perspectives on psychological science, 13(1), 36-61.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Learning, Neuroscience.

Description: I am sure you do not need to be told how important play is in terms of infants and toddlers developing a solid understanding of their world and how to get around in it. Especially early on, in infancy, a great deal of that vital play is initiated by and involves parents (or older siblings). You may have also seen or heard some of the increasingly stated claim that parents’ engagements with their young children are vital to the adaptive growth of infants’ brains – in other words that interactive play with parents grows infant brains. If this is true what do you think that might look like if we were able to simultaneously monitor the brain activity of a parent and an infant while they played together? Think for a moment about what that might look like and then also think for a moment about the challenges one might face in trying to measure parent and infant brain activity in real time while they play and then read through the article linked below to see what one group of researchers found and how they managed the challenges of how to look for it in the brains of their research participants.

Source: Baby and adult brains ‘sync up’ during play, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: January 9, 2020

Photo Credit:  kamilabogumila from Pixabay

Article Link:

The processes that have evolved in order to support the complex adaptation of infants and children to the worlds in which they find themselves is amazing to observe from outside. The fact that human infants/children have the longest period of developmental dependency on caregivers of any species indicates that there must be a LOT going on ‘under the hood’ in their brains. The research described in the linked article gives us a look at just how that likely proceeds in real time. As well, did you catch the comment towards the end of the article suggesting that this sort of research might help us to better understand what happens when the parent-infant social connection or engagement falters or fails to establish when, for example, infants and children are on the Autism Spectrum. It is going to be fascinating to see what comes of this new possible line of inquiry into the basics of brain-building.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What seems to happen to the brains of an adult and an infant while they are playing?
  2. Why might your answer to the previous question matter in terms of infant development and adaptation?
  3. How might the line of research described in the linked article help us to better understand what goes on developmentally for children on the Autism Spectrum?

References (Read Further):

Piazza, E. A., Hasenfratz, L., Hasson, U., & Lew-Williams, C. (2020). Infant and adult brains are coupled to the dynamics of natural communication. Psychological Science, 31(1), 6-17.

Nastase, S. A., Gazzola, V., Hasson, U., & Keysers, C. (2019). Measuring shared responses across subjects using intersubject correlation.

Santamaria, L., Noreika, V., Georgieva, S., Clackson, K., Wass, S., & Leong, V. (2019). Emotional valence modulates the topology of the parent-infant inter-brain network. NeuroImage, 116341.

Chen, C. H., Castellanos, I., Yu, C., & Houston, D. M. (2019). What leads to coordinated attention in parent–toddler interactions? Children’s hearing status matters. Developmental science, e12919.

Cañigueral, R., & Hamilton, A. F. D. C. (2019). The role of eye gaze during natural social interactions in typical and autistic people. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.


Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Health and Prevention In Aging, Research Methods, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: What do you think and what have your read or heard about the possibly contrasting life circumstances and futures of optimists and pessimists? The idea that it matters has been around forever (you know that some line, “grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face”). Ah but what I hope you are thinking is something like “It is all and only correlational!” and yes that is largely true. People who experiences better outcomes in their life challenges might develop a feeling that their luck will continue whereas those who do not fair so well, like Martin Seligman’s dogs, learn to be helpless or pessimistic. All true BUT think for a minute about how one might design a research strategy to see if there is a direct (causal) effect of optimism on wellbeing or at least to figure out how optimism tweaks the sorts of thoughts, plans, and behaviors or habits that can be shown to be causally connected to wellbeing. Once you have given that some thought have a read through the article linked below for a brief overview of some of recent thinking and even research into these questions.

Source: Looking at the Bright Side May Be Good for Your Health. Jane E. Brody, Personal Health, The New York Times.

Date: Januar27, 2020

Photo Credit:  Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, did you follow how the researchers whose work was discussed tried to unpack the important questions of just HOW optimism could lead to or at least support better behaviors or habits? As well, there is the possibility that pessimism drives stress response which, in and of themselves, create wear and tear on our systems. So perhaps optimism in and of itself does not do much for us. However, what the research described in the linked article suggests is that if we open and unpack the bundle of stuff that is optimism, we may find some very useful suggestions and maybe even a few positive gifts for better living. Digging in might be worth it (just what an optimist might say)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. If we say that past statements and finding regarding the positive impact of optimism on health and wellbeing are correlational does that mean we should just stop looking at the question of how optimism might play in matters of health and wellbeing?
  2. If optimism does not directly cause better health and wellbeing what sort of research should we do in this area?
  3. What would boosting optimism and its connected benefits involve/require?

References (Read Further):

Rozanski, A., Bavishi, C., Kubzansky, L. D., & Cohen, R. (2019). Association of optimism with cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA network open, 2(9), e1912200-e1912200.

Huffman, J. C. (2019). Optimism and Health: Where Do We Go From Here?. JAMA Network Open, 2(9), e1912211-e1912211.

Trudel-Fitzgerald, C., Millstein, R. A., von Hippel, C., Howe, C. J., Tomasso, L. P., Wagner, G. R., & VanderWeele, T. J. (2019). Psychological well-being as part of the public health debate? Insight into dimensions, interventions, and policy. BMC public health, 19(1), 1-11.

Boehm, J. K., Chen, Y., Koga, H., Mathur, M. B., Vie, L. L., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2018). Is optimism associated with healthier cardiovascular-related behavior? Meta-analyses of 3 health behaviors. Circulation research, 122(8), 1119-1134.

Lee, L. O., James, P., Zevon, E. S., Kim, E. S., Trudel-Fitzgerald, C., Spiro, A., … & Kubzansky, L. D. (2019). Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(37), 18357-18362.

Kim, E. S., James, P., Zevon, E. S., Trudel-Fitzgerald, C., Kubzansky, L. D., & Grodstein, F. (2019). Optimism and Healthy Aging in Women and Men. American journal of epidemiology, 188(6), 1084-1091.



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

Description: Think about one or two things about yourself or your life or your regular habits that you would like to change. Now without too much reflection think about what you would do if you wanted to implement a change in each of those areas. How big a first step did you imagine taking? If you think you need more sleep perhaps you thought about going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night. If you need to exercise more perhaps you thought about getting to the gym for an hour every day (or perhaps every other day). We typically think in terms of big changes … of fixing our faults or addressing our shortcomings in short order. I suspect I do not have to tell you that such big steps or leaps forward fail almost every time and our knowing that may well be why we do not attempt such big steps very often. So, what should you do if you want to make a sustainable change? How does the suggestion that you should think insignificantly small sound? Do not dismiss the suggestion so quickly. Read the article linked below for a rationale.

Source: To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits, Sabina Nawaz, Motivating People, Harvard Business Review.

Date: January 20, 2020

Photo Credit: Steffen Zimmermann from Pixabay

Article Link:

A very large proportion of the huge numbers of self-help books, sites, blogs, and videos talk about how we can accomplish big changes without actually telling us how to do so and without research supporting the claims made or tracking peoples’ actual experiences with the various “miracle” fixes offered. So, perhaps the advice to think small, no smaller, wait no smaller still is worth considering. Many complex behavior patterns are grounded in small habits and changing behavior and sustaining those changes so that they can accrue to larger changes and accomplishments could be worth trying. As well, as with all good research, keeping good simple reliable data records helps us see and stay focused on the outcomes we are achieving (or wanting to move towards). So think small….no smaller….. and get started.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. If you want to change some aspect of your life is it better to plan big or plan small?
  2. Why might focusing on what might seem like insignificantly small changes in our behavior or habits help us make positive change over time?
  3. Think of something about yourself or your life that you would like to change and then talk with one or two other people about how you might identify, implement and keep track of a small habit change in your desired direction?

References (Read Further):

Wood, W., Tam, L., & Witt, M. G. (2005). Changing circumstances, disrupting habits. Journal of personality and social psychology, 88(6), 918.

Webb, T. L., Sheeran, P., & Luszczynska, A. (2009). Planning to break unwanted habits: Habit strength moderates implementation intention effects on behaviour change. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 507-523.

Webb, T. L., Sheeran, P., & Luszczynska, A. (2009). Planning to break unwanted habits: Habit strength moderates implementation intention effects on behaviour change. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(3), 507-523.

Adriaanse, M. A., Gollwitzer, P. M., De Ridder, D. T., De Wit, J. B., & Kroese, F. M. (2011). Breaking habits with implementation intentions: A test of underlying processes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(4), 502-513.

Wood, W. (2017). Habit in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 389-403.

Posted by & filed under Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: When you buy a gift for a friend how accurately are you able to predict how well they like the gift once they open it or receive it? When you think about possible trips, merchandise purchases or watching a movie or a play how do you think your experiences of those things would compare to other’s experiences of those same things? What about rating how others, compared to you, would respond to negative things like eating an unexpectedly spicy dish or going without enough sleep over night? If I told you there is a systematic bias in terms of how people typically make such comparisons what would you hypothesize the direct ion of bias to be and would the bias be different for positive compared to negative or unpleasant events? Finally, if there are situations where the bias(es) vanish what sorts of circumstances would they involve? Once you have your hypotheses in order have a read through the article linked below and see what a recently published research article suggests about this bias.

Source: We Consistently Overestimate How Much Other People Will Enjoy Or Pay For Stuff, Emma Young, Research Digest, The British Psychological Society

Date: January 14, 2020

Photo Credit:  Anna Prosekova from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did your hypotheses fare? What did you make of the possible explanation for the biases offered by the researchers? Does it make sense that we may tend to thin k that other’s experiences are less nuanced than our own? Social Psychologists we have pointed out a number of similar tendencies that turn on us having MUCH better access to our own thoughts and emotions than we do to those of others. The fundamental attribution error is one good example where we tend to attribute other people’s behavior to their dispositions and our own to more variable situational influences. This social overestimation bias also joins an increasingly long list of cognitive biases that can mess up our decision making in many areas. We are really not nearly as rational as we like to think we are!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is overestimation bias?
  2. How does over estimation bias play out in relation to positive and negative situations, experiences or events?
  3. Why might it be that overestimation bias vanishes with some events like winning money?

References (Read Further):

Jung, M. H., Moon, A., & Nelson, L. D. (2019). Overestimating the valuations and preferences of others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Gawronski, B. (2004). Theory-based bias correction in dispositional inference: The fundamental attribution error is dead, long live the correspondence bias. European review of social psychology, 15(1), 183-217.

Maruna, S., & Mann, R. E. (2006). A fundamental attribution error? Rethinking cognitive distortions. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 11(2), 155-177.

Sabini, J., Siepmann, M., & Stein, J. (2001). ” The Really Fundamental Attribution Error in Social Psychological Research”. Psychological inquiry, 12(1), 1-15.

Mayer, R. E., Stull, A. T., Campbell, J., Almeroth, K., Bimber, B., Chun, D., & Knight, A. (2007). Overestimation bias in self-reported SAT scores. Educational Psychology Review, 19(4), 443-454.