Posted by & filed under Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Disorders, Research Methods, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: You have no doubt seen or heard references to growing concerns about ways in which increasing levels of anxiety and stress among young adults may be linked to screen time and social media. What you have not likely seen is much, if any research that looks specifically at the relationship (causal) between social media use and anxiety. So think for a moment about HOW social media use might be related to stress and anxiety and then choose whether you would prefer to read a brief, advertisement laden, media article referring to a research article on this topic and pointing to potentially addictive qualities of Facebook or the research article itself which looks at how Facebook users use the site as a part of distractive coping mechanisms as opposed to leaving the site when their access to the site raises their stress levels. (Hint: there are many more useful things to think about in the research article).

Source: Stress from Social Media Could Lead to Addiction, New Study, Joanna Whitehead, Independent.

Date: August 28, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link: or research article link:

The media article mentions something the research article discusses in more useful detail and that is that some individuals, when they find an item they are engaged with on social media site stressful leave the site while others diver deeper into the site rather than leave it. The researchers point out that past claims that social media site use can be addictive have not investigated just how the patterns of use of social media sites tie into use habits and coping strategies that together could start to look like addictive behavior patterns. This research into the details of technostress is exactly what we need to do more of if we are to get past the sorts of general “screen time and social media use is bad for you” claims and start to move toward becoming better informed about what is actually going in in social media use (and screen time). Oh, and reading the research is much more informative than reading many of the media articles reporting on the research.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might an “addiction” to social media look like?
  2. How might patterns (habits) of social media use and distractive coping styles interact to produce something that could look like a social media addiction?
  3. Considering both the original research article and the media article that described its findings what else might people benefit from knowing about the actual research article that would better inform them about the nature of something like a social media addiction?

References (Read Further):

Tarafdar, M., Maier, C., Laumer, S., & Weitzel, T. (2019). Explaining the link between technostress and technology addiction for social networking sites: A study of distraction as a coping behavior. Information Systems Journal.

Blackwell, D., Leaman, C., Tramposch, R., Osborne, C., & Liss, M. (2017). Extraversion, neuroticism, attachment style and fear of missing out as predictors of social media use and addiction. Personality and Individual Differences, 116, 69-72.

Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2017). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review, 35(5), 576-586.

Andreassen, C. S., Pallesen, S., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). The relationship between addictive use of social media, narcissism, and self-esteem: Findings from a large national survey. Addictive behaviors, 64, 287-293.

Andreassen, C. S., Torsheim, T., Brunborg, G. S., & Pallesen, S. (2012). Development of a Facebook addiction scale. Psychological reports, 110(2), 501-517.

Al-Menayes, J. J. (2015). Social media use, engagement and addiction as predictors of academic performance. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 7(4), 86-94.


Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion.

Description: Wonder what is going on in sport psychology (the overall themes of today’s posts)? Well you could search the web, search library or journal databases and you would get a LOT of things to look at. A search of the phrase “sport Psychology” on Google scholar returned 2 million hits – not exactly light reading! But here is an alternative (that works for many other Psychology research areas as well). Go to frontiers in Psychology (an online open source journal site), type the word “sports” into the search field in the middle of the top part of the home page and hit return. Frontiers in psychology opens research topic sections I areas where new, interesting research is being done and then encourages researchers to submit work on those topics. This approach makes Frontiers in Psychology a great place to find out what is new and what is hot in Psychology or in the Psychology of many content areas – like sport Psychology. Go to the link below, enter sports in the search bar and look through the 41 distinct sports psychology topics currently in the online journal.

Source: Sport Psychology: Topics on Frontiers in Psychology.

Date: September 21, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

So, what drew your attention? Psychology and Extreme Sports? Progress in Computer Gaming and Esports? Performance Analysis in Sports? The Psychophysiology of Action? Using Substances to Enhance Performance: A Psychology of Neuroenhancement? Mental Health Challenges in Elite Sport?  Lots and lots to choose from and a clear demonstration of the diversity and breadth of the burgeoning field of sports psychology. Frontiers in Psychology is a great starting place for interest exploration AND for term paper starting places with over 15,000 online articles. And , no, I am not marketing for the online journal, rather, I am advocating for YOU to dig into Psychology and find and explore your curiosities and interests, who know what you will learn that might even be useful (but will certainly be interstijng)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What did you find on the site that intrigued you??
  2. If you dug into a topic area on the site where did it lead you?
  3. What else would you like to know about the topic or topics you dug into? How might you pursue them further? (Hints: search by key word on this blog site, search the topics that interest you on Google Scholar and look for research article citations that have links to the actual articles, ask your psychology teacher or professor for suggestions). Follow your curiosities and interests is a good strategy for your academic development but also for figuring out your life (career, interests, commitments and beliefs) so practice on the Frontiers in Psychology site and then apply those skills all over the place!

References (Read Further): Schinke, R. J., Stambulova, N. B., Si, G., & Moore, Z. (2018). International society of sport psychology position stand: Athletes’ mental health, performance, and development. International journal of sport and exercise psychology, 16(6), 622-639.

Thelwell, R. C., Wood, J., Harwood, C., Woolway, T., & Van Raalte, J. L. (2018). The role, benefits and selection of sport psychology consultants: Perceptions of youth-sport coaches and parents. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 35, 131-142.

Wagstaff, C. R. (2019). Taking stock of organizational psychology in sport.

Ong, N. C., & Harwood, C. (2018). Attitudes toward sport psychology consulting in athletes: Understanding the role of culture and personality. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7(1), 46.

Aoyagi, M. W., Cohen, A. B., Poczwardowski, A., Metzler, J. N., & Statler, T. (2018). Models of performance excellence: Four approaches to sport psychology consulting. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 9(2), 94-110.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Group Processes, Intergroup Relations, Motivation-Emotion, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: What makes people into fans of particular teams? Do the teams have to be good? Do the teams have to be local – the team or teams you grew up with? Do the teams have to be marketed well? And how do you recognize fans? At the games with painted faces? On team email notification lists? Think about what might be involved in generating the deep levels of loyalty and commitment many fans have for their teams and once you have your hypotheses in mind read the article linked below and find out about the life work of Rich Luker, a social psychologist who has studies fandom over his entire research career as a sports pollster (and it starts with the idea that being getting a tattoo of your team’s name is a way of demonstrating how big a part of your personal identity that team is.

Source: What Makes Someone a Fan? Ken Belson, The New York Times.

Date: September 19, 2019

Photo Credit: American Sports Network

Article Link:

My general take-away at the end of the linked article was that, other than learning about the importance of sport tattoos I did not learn much in the way of specific things relating to what makes people fans. BUT, …. the article raises a point that was also raised in my previous post on skill in fantasy sports leagues and that is that the increasing tendency to treat clicks and looks and likes as data (correlated with sales) does not help us understand what being a fan means to fans. If you are interested in THAT question have look through some of the articles linked in the reference section below. And what about cosplay?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the big deal about the huge array of online material and fandom?
  2. What might the point of a team logo tattoo be in relation to fandom?
  3. What research might we do to try and develop a better understanding of fans and fandom and the importance of their teams to them?

References (Read Further):

Aden, R. C., Armfield, G. G., Beard, D. E., Berg, K., Billings, A. C., Boone, J., … & Fortunato, J. A. (2011). Sports fans, identity, and socialization: Exploring the fandemonium. Lexington Books.

Boyle, B. A., & Magnusson, P. (2007). Social identity and brand equity formation: A comparative study of collegiate sports fans. Journal of Sport Management, 21(4), 497-520.

Heere, B., & James, J. D. (2007). Sports teams and their communities: Examining the influence of external group identities on team identity. Journal of Sport Management, 21(3), 319-337.

Bernache-Assollant, I., Lacassagne, M. F., & Braddock, J. H. (2007). Basking in reflected glory and blasting: Differences in identity-management strategies between two groups of highly identified soccer fans. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26(4), 381-388.

Gibbons, T. (2011). English national identity and the national football team: the view of contemporary English fans. Soccer & Society, 12(6), 865-879.

Lamerichs, N. (2011). Stranger than fiction: Fan identity in cosplay. Transformative Works and Cultures, 7(3), 56-72.

Laverie, D. A., & Arnett, D. B. (2000). Factors affecting fan attendance: The influence of identity salience and satisfaction. Journal of leisure Research, 32(2), 225-246.

Havard, C. T., Wann, D. L., & Ryan, T. D. (2018). I love to see them lose: Investigating fan perceptions and behaviors toward rival teams. In Exploring the rise of fandom in contemporary consumer culture (pp. 102-125). IGI Global.

Posted by & filed under Language-Thought, Research Methods.

Description: There is no question but that playing professional sports requires a lot of skill (and likely a fair bit of Psychology too). Here is a question though: Do fantasy sports require skill? Certainly not the same skills as actually playing the particular sports they focus upon, but do they require skill and if so what sorts of skills? Why dos this questions matter (other than in terms of philosophy por psychology)?  Well, think about this. Online gambling is not permitted across most jurisdictional (provincial or state) boundaries, BUT, games of skill are NOT so restricted (that is also why many contests using random draws – chance events — have skill testing questions). Now, before you start speculating about what sort of skills might be involved in fantasy sports think about a more basic methodological challenge. Yes, there are likely lots of skills involved (such as reading statistics, tracking news stories on players’ day to day fitness or wellness, factoring in weather, and avoiding biases associated with your beliefs about your home team or your favorite players) but what if all you were trying to show is that there IS skill involved and that fantasy sports are NOT games of chance (luck)? If a large fantasy sports online platform (that allows members to put together their dream teams by selecting players from many teams in a pro sport and highest scoring “teams” win daily, weekly and season prize-money) gave you access to all their data for a given year what “tests” would you run to look for evidence of chance and/or skill? Remember, all you have to show is that skill matters over chance – you do NOT have to show what skills are involved in order to help fantasy sports site make their case for having their games cross jurisdictional lines. Once you have given some thought to how you would proceed read through the article linked below to see what those researchers set up and ran.

Source: There’s real skill in fantasy sports, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: September 21, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:   

So, yes, skill IS involved in fantasy sports. Players are consistently good or bad, their win/loss rates were very similar when the first and second half season performances were compared, players that played MORE games were consistently better at them than players who only played a few games,  and human players consistently did better in the fantasy leagues than did computer algorithms that picked players at random). Taken together, these tests demonstrated that there IS skill involved in fantasy league play despite telling us nothing about what those skills are. The lead researcher summarized it nicely by saying that their research would not help fantasy players pick better teams, but it would help them talk better smack when they are sitting at the top of their fantasy league standings.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the difference between a game of chance and a game of skill and why does the difference matter to fantasy sport websites?
  2. How did the researchers address the question of skill in fantasy sports without actually measuring any skills?
  3. What skills might be involved in performing well in fantasy sports and how might we design a study or several studies to test your hypotheses?

References (Read Further):

Getty, D., Li, H., Yano, M., Gao, C., & Hosoi, A. E. (2018). Luck and the Law: Quantifying Chance in Fantasy Sports and Other Contests. SIAM Review, 60(4), 869-887.

Scott, R. A. (2016). Updating your fantasy lineups and the federal law: The case for federal regulation of daily fantasy sports. Seton Hall L. Rev., 47, 603.

Parikh, N. (2015). Interactive tools for fantasy football analytics and predictions using machine learning (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).;sequence=1

Olson, C. K. (2013). Sports videogames and real-world exercise. Sports Videogames. New York: Routledge, 278-294.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Depression, Development of the Self, Disorders of Childhood, Health Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: The media storm of concern over the ways in which screen time might be related to levels of depression and anxiety among teens and emerging adults has been heating up in recent months. As has been the case before with other global technological innovations (TV) good research on the questions being raised is hard to find. Like television, usage of screens and social media went from unique and rare to “what most people do” in a very short time. This means that there has not only not been enough time for good prospective (following children and youth over time) development research on screen time and social media effects to be done but it has also become harder to do given the ubiquity of the phenomena of concern. Add to that the uncertainty of what is meant by screen time and screen use (who watches or engages in what for how long etc.) and you can see where even with some large datasets in hand looking at things like “media use” and mental health and wellbeing among children and teens it is hard to sort out what is going on causally speaking. For example, consider the question of whether large amounts of social media use causes depression or rather whether depressed teens spend more time on social media. These sounds like simple questions but they are devilishly hard to convincingly address even with large datasets especially when the large datasets were not actual created with social media usage effects in mind. What to do? Well, think about that for a moment and then read the article linked below that looks at both the large dataset question and at the conceptual issue of needing to sort out screen time from screen use.

Source: Is Social Media Toxic to Your Teen’s Mental Health? Alison Escalante, Shouldstorm, Psychology Today.

Date: September 14, 2019

Photo Credit: Sara Kurfeß on Upsplash

Article Link:

So, the article linked above points out a few key things that we need to get sorted if we are going to be having to speak clearly and with data in hand to questions of the impacts of screen time and screen content (social media use). We are looking at different things when we look at screen time in general and happiness self-ratings as opposed to more specifically at social media use alongside retrospective accounts of issues related to depression and anxiety. For example, the relationship between social media use and depression changes a bit when we control for past issues with depression and anxiety. So, we are starting to see the sorts of research being done that will begin to sort of these pressing questions, but we have a long, long way to go before we can properly address the questions being asked in the current screen time media storm. More research IS needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are the concepts of screen time and social media use related?
  2. Is the amount of time spent in from a screen on any sort a useful research variable?
  3. What sort of list of variable related to screen time and social media use do we need to draw up and consider if we are to be able to conduct research that will usefully address the current storm of media concerns over the developmental and mental health and wellbeing effects of such things?

References (Read Further):

Riehm, Kira, MsC., Feder, Kenneth, Phd., et al. (Sept. 11, 2019) “Associations Between Time Spent Using Social Media and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among US Youth” JAMA Psychiatry.

Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.,5&scillfp=16637530904598992641&oi=lle

Ophir, Y., Lipshits-Braziler, Y., & Rosenberg, H. (2019). New-Media Screen Time is Not (Necessarily) Linked to Depression: Comments on Twenge, Joiner, Rogers, and Martin (2018). Clinical Psychological Science, 2167702619849412.

Jensen, M., George, M. J., Russell, M. R., & Odgers, C. L. (2019). Young Adolescents’ Digital Technology Use and Mental Health Symptoms: Little Evidence of Longitudinal or Daily Linkages. Clinical Psychological Science, 2167702619859336.


Posted by & filed under Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Personality, Persuasion, Research Methods, Social Psychology.

Description: Usually, when designing a line of psychological research, we start from the psychology and predict the behavior – makes sense, because it is Psychological theories that we are developing. So, for example, think about what predictions you would make about people’s shopping (buying) behavior based on what you know or can find out about their personality. What would high or low scores on the Big Five personality model (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) predict in the way of shopping patterns and purchases? We would likely test this by assessing personality and then asking people what they bought in the last week, month, or year. What sorts of results might you expect? Would you be concerned about the retrospective recall you would be asking your participants to engage in? Might their memory be influenced by their personality? Now, what if we went about that research the other way? What if we took advantage of the fact that many people are making most of their purchases electronically rather than with cash and what if one could access that data (and ask people to complete a personality test)? Would this approach cause you to make any adjustments in the hypotheses you came up with a few moments ago? Give the article linked below a read to see what the researchers using this other research direction found.

Source: Your Spending May Reveal Aspects of Your Personality. Association for Psychological Science.

Date: September 3, 2019

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Article Link:

So, though not as accurate as Facebook likes, shopping patterns do provide some moderate predictive links to aspects of personality. There was not much reported that was surprising (likely matching personality to shopping predictions). High scores on Openeness to Experience being linked to travel purchases makes sense as does Extroverts doing more dining and drinking out and those high on Agreeableness donating more to charity. The decrease in predictive utility of purchase histories in low SES areas where disposable income is low or non-existent also makes sense. Some findings were somewhat new or unique such as those high in self-control paying lower banking fees and those higher in neuroticism spending less on mortgage payments (because they are less stable and more likely to rent or ….  ?). Perhaps the most interesting (concerning?) finding was that spending predicted personality less well than Facebook likes but as well as music preferences and Flickr photos. So perhaps we will soon have a whole new set of algorithms helping companies decide what to market to whom based on predictions about their personalities derived from their purchase patterns and all the ethical issues that go with that.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How did purchasing patterns and personality seem to be related in the study?
  2. Why were some aspects of personality, such as materialism and self-control, better predicted by purchase data than the dimension of the Big Five personality model?
  3. What are some of the ethical, privacy or consumer protection issues that come to mind in relation to this research approach?

References (Read Further):

Gladstone, J. J., Matz, S. C., & Lemaire, A. (2019). Can Psychological Traits Be Inferred From Spending? Evidence From Transaction Data. Psychological science, 0956797619849435.

Bosnjak, M., Galesic, M., & Tuten, T. (2007). Personality determinants of online shopping: Explaining online purchase intentions using a hierarchical approach. Journal of Business Research, 60(6), 597-605.

Tsao, W. C., & Chang, H. R. (2010). Exploring the impact of personality traits on online shopping behavior. African Journal of Business Management, 4(9), 1800-1812.

Gohary, A., & Hanzaee, K. H. (2014). Personality traits as predictors of shopping motivations and behaviors: a canonical correlation analysis. Arab Economic and Business Journal, 9(2), 166-174.

Miyazaki, A. D., & Fernandez, A. (2001). Consumer perceptions of privacy and security risks for online shopping. Journal of Consumer affairs, 35(1), 27-44.

Cary, C., Wen, H. J., & Mahatanankoon, P. (2003). Data mining: Consumer privacy, ethical policy, and systems development practices. Human Systems Management, 22(4), 157-168.


Posted by & filed under Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience.

Description: What factors predict who will take bigger risks when gambling for money? Could it be linked to personality? And if there are links to personality is that because of early experience or perhaps due to genetic variations in risk attraction or risk aversion, perhaps related to the functioning of specific brain regions? After you have come up with your own list of factors look them over and consider this question: Are most of the factors you have come with likely stable or usually true or present? Given your response to that question how would your collection of factors and the theory that holds them together deal with significant inconsistencies in individual behavior over time – or, in other words, that sometimes people accept risky gambles and sometimes they do not? My own response to this question would be that it likely depends on the individual’s thought processes at the time and that clearer thoughts would lead to taking less risk. But what if your risk choices were also affected by very basic brain activity? Read the article linked below and/or have a look at the original research article it discussed (in the reference list further down below) to see what effects the general level of activity in the dopamine areas of the brain have on risk-taking.

Source: What Fuels Your Appetite for Taking a Gamble? Robert Preidt, Health News, US News and World Reports.

Date: September 11, 2019

Photo Credit: HealthDay, US News and World Reports

Article Link:

You may have already been aware of the suspected role of dopamine in certain forms of risk taking that involves viewing a dopamine rush as the brain-based component of a reward received in a video game or perhaps on a video lottery terminal. What the study discussed in the linked article suggests is a bit different than that. What it suggests is that the general level of brain activation (and in particular in the dopamine pathways) at any point in time may, in a small way, contribute to the level of gambling risk one is prepared to take on with lower levels of dopamine activation being associated with higher levels of gambling risk-taking. Now what we need to figure whether or not this effect is related to a sort of search for dopamine rush opportunities or whether it is another sort of effect on risk and consistency (or the lack thereof) in decision making.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might personality be related to risk-taking?
  2. How does the level of general brain activity seem to be related to gambling risk-taking?
  3. What advantages might there be to the inconsistencies in risk-taking associated with general brain activity levels?

References (Read Further):

Chew, B., Hauser, T. U., Papoutsi, M., Magerkurth, J., Dolan, R. J., & Rutledge, R. B. (2019). Endogenous fluctuations in the dopaminergic midbrain drive behavioral choice variability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(37), 18732-18737.

Mayo, M. J. (2007). Games for science and engineering education. Communications of the ACM, 50(7), 30-35.

Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2006). The cognitive neuroscience of video games. Digital media: Transformations in human communication, 211-223.

Weinstein, A. M. (2010). Computer and video game addiction—a comparison between game users and non-game users. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 36(5), 268-276.

Steinberg, L. (2008). A social neuroscience perspective on adolescent risk-taking. Developmental review, 28(1), 78-106.

Kuhnen, C. M., & Chiao, J. Y. (2009). Genetic determinants of financial risk taking. PloS one, 4(2), e4362.

Clark, C. A., & Dagher, A. (2014). The role of dopamine in risk taking: a specific look at Parkinson’s disease and gambling. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 8, 196.

Posted by & filed under Assessment: Self-report Projective Measures, Clinical Assessment, Clinical Health Psychology, Health Psychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Psychological Disorders, Schizophrenia, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: You are no doubt aware of the standard medical observation that the earlier an emerging health challenge is identified the more effectively it can be treated or even prevented from fully emerging. There is also a lot of talk about the sorts of things one can do to contribute positively to one’s mental health (e.g., managing stress, being mindful, focusing on positive coping strategies, maintaining social support connections, etc.). What you likely have not heard, because it is not being discussed very much, are ways in which we might used early detection and early intervention as ways of warding off the advancement Serious mental disorders like schizophrenia. The idea makes sense but the challenge is that the early stages of the onset of schizophrenia are most likely to occur in late adolescence or in emerging adulthood (18 to 25 years-of-age) and that means that the signs to look for are often confused with things that are normatively a part of adolescence. If you were asked to design a program to look for early signs of psychosis (a symptom of schizophrenia) and to follow up with early interventions what would it involve and what challenges would you have to overcome? After you have your thoughts in order have a read through the article linked below that describes a rather well designed version of such a program.

Source: Interventions to Prevent Psychosis, Jane E. Brody, Personal Health, The New York Times.

Date: September 2, 2019

Image Credit: Gracia Lam, The New York Times

Article Link:  

You have likely heard a fair bit lately about the issue of stigma associated with mental health, but it is important to also notice that stigma can also make it less likely that we may consider the early signs of psychosis as what they are. The early signs of psychosis are listed in the article and are well worth keeping in mind so that the pattern will be something you consider when it may apply to a friend or relative. The prevention data discussed in the article are particularly encouraging as is the broad, multidisciplinary nature of the Pier program. As the program developer points out, “this isn’t about drug treatment.” The 75% effectiveness associated with early intervention when compared to the 25% effectiveness when the program is applied later point to the importance of finding and exploiting the early intervention window of opportunity. This is something we can all work on.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are the early warning signs of psychosis?
  2. How might issues of stigma associated with mental illness make implementing an effective early identification and intervention program for psychosis difficult?
  3. What are some things that school, colleges and universities and the staff and students within them do to advance the awareness and availability of early identification and intervention programs for psychosis?

References (Read Further):

National Alliance on Mental Illness – NAMI (2019) – Know the Common Warning Signs of Mental Illness.

van der Gaag, M., Smit, F., Bechdolf, A., French, P., Linszen, D. H., Yung, A. R., … & Cuijpers, P. (2013). Preventing a first episode of psychosis: meta-analysis of randomized controlled prevention trials of 12 month and longer-term follow-ups. Schizophrenia research, 149(1-3), 56-62.

Oliver, D., Davies, C., Crossland, G., Lim, S., Gifford, G., McGuire, P., & Fusar-Poli, P. (2018). Can we reduce the duration of untreated psychosis? A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled interventional studies. Schizophrenia bulletin, 44(6), 1362-1372.

Woodberry, K. A., Seidman, L. J., Bryant, C., Addington, J., Bearden, C. E., Cadenhead, K. S., … & Perkins, D. O. (2018). Treatment precedes positive symptoms in North American adolescent and young adult clinical high risk cohort. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 47(1), 69-78.

McFarlane, W. R., Levin, B., Travis, L., Lucas, F. L., Lynch, S., Verdi, M., … & Cornblatt, B. (2014). Clinical and functional outcomes after 2 years in the early detection and intervention for the prevention of psychosis multisite effectiveness trial. Schizophrenia bulletin, 41(1), 30-43.

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Depression, Development of the Self, Human Development, Social Influence, Student Success, The Self.

Description: Often when we are looking at what is going on at certain points in human developmental trajectories, we make assumptions. We assume that something that most individuals at that particular age or stage are doing is normative. Normative technically just means most frequent but additional meaning is usually included with term. We frequently assume that if a pattern of behavior or a certain activity is normative that it is also normal and perhaps even a pre-requisite or essential part of positive development. Simply put, we assume people who do what most people their age or stage are doing are developing normally and people who do not engage in that normative behavior are atypical and potentially at risk for sub-optimal developmental outcomes. OK, with that intro in mind, consider dating among teenagers. Dating is considered to be a normative part of teenage development and to contribute importantly to identity development, social skill development emotional growth, and social understanding. No argument so far, right? Ok, so what about teens that do not participate in dating? Think about what you would hypothesize regarding their development and standing relative to and within their peer group. Once you have your hypotheses in mind have a read through the article linked below which describes a study looking at this very question.

Source: Teens who don’t date are less depressed and have better social skills, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: September 6, 2019

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Getty Images

Article Link:  

So, what do you make of the study? Beyond the general findings (which were quite interesting) what did you think of the various data sources utilized? Do teacher ratings provide us with a clear perspective of social standing (it could, I am just not sure)?  A major take-away from this study, I think, is that we should reflect from time to time on the assumptions we make, especially in developmental studies, when we look at common behavior and call it normative and mean that it is part of how best to deal with the developmental issues at play in that moment.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What did the research project discussed in the linked article find?
  2. What did the results of the research suggest regarding the developmental issues at play through the teen years?
  3. What are other normative developmental observations that might be worth looking at the other side of a little more closely?

References (Read Further):

Brooke Douglas, Pamela Orpinas. Social Misfit or Normal Development? Students Who Do Not Date. Journal of School Health, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/josh.12818 (full article link not available, sorry).

La Greca, A. M., & Harrison, H. M. (2005). Adolescent peer relations, friendships, and romantic relationships: Do they predict social anxiety and depression?. Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology, 34(1), 49-61.

Scott, S. (2006). The medicalisation of shyness: from social misfits to social fitness. Sociology of Health & Illness, 28(2), 133-153.

Granic, I., Dishion, T. J., Hollenstein, T., & Patterson, G. R. (2003). The family ecology of adolescence: A dynamic systems perspective on normative development. Blackwell handbook of adolescence, 60-91.



Posted by & filed under Human Development, Neuroscience, Research Methods, Sensation-Perception, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: When I was in graduate school years ago, I heard about a study done by Stan Coren, at the University of British Columbia, that looked at professional baseball players (for whom detailed batting statistics indicated where they sat on the dimension of handedness. The study also looked at the retired ball player pension data and found that left-handed ball players did not live quite as long as right-handed player. Now I don’t know about you but for me that is a finding that rather significantly bumped up the importance of understanding handedness – where it comes from, what it involves, and what the design right-handed world design factors are that left-handers contend with and whether we need to do something about it. There is a reference to Stan’s book on the topic in the reference list below but as a start, have a look through the article linked just below which provides an informative overview of aspects of handedness that you may not have thought of.

Source: The New Neuroscience of Left-Handedness, Sebastian Ocklenburg, The Asymmetric Brain, Psychology Today.

Date: August 11, 2019

Image Credit: M.C. Escher, Drawing Hands,

Article Link:

There are a lot of questions regarding how handedness is mapped in the brain and how handedness emerges developmentally, especially now that we are much less likely to try and force children to be right-handed. The fact that we tend to think about handedness as categorical when, in fact, it is more of a continuum is also interesting and a research design challenge. Oh, and the idea that dogs and cats have paw preferences is intriguing as well. None of this addresses the questions raised by Stan’s longevity finding though. For that you can start with the references below and dig in further.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might handedness be related to longevity?
  2. Identify two of the research finding noted in the linked article that caused you to wonder why is that and speculate about what research we need to do to answer your wonder why questions?
  3. Why do you think it is that left-handers seem to have advantages on some sports and if that is so, how would you figure out how to train right-handed players so they are less effected by handedness differences?

References (Read Further):

Coren, S. (1993). The left-hander syndrome: The causes and consequences of left-handedness. Vintage. (Book Review — )

Harris, L. J. (1993). Do left-handers die sooner than right-handers? Commentary on Coren and Halpern’s (1991)” Left-handedness: A marker for decreased survival fitness.”.’s_1991_Left-Handedness_A_Marker_for_Decreased_Survival_Fitness/links/53f629420cf2888a7492f613.pdf

Johnston, D. W., Nicholls, M. E., Shah, M., & Shields, M. A. (2009). Nature’s experiment? Handedness and early childhood development. Demography, 46(2), 281-301.

Hagemann, N. (2009). The advantage of being left-handed in interactive sports. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71(7), 1641-1648.

De Kovel, C. G., & Francks, C. (2019). The molecular genetics of hand preference revisited. Scientific reports, 9(1), 5986.

DeLang, M. D., Rouissi, M., Bragazzi, N. L., Chamari, K., & Salamh, P. A. (2019). Soccer Footedness and Between-Limbs Muscle Strength: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 14(5), 551-562.

Ocklenburg, S., Isparta, S., Peterburs, J., & Papadatou-Pastou, M. (2019). Paw preferences in cats and dogs: Meta-analysis. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 1-31.