Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Cultural Variation, Early Social and Emotional development, Human Development, Indigenous Psychology, Research Methods, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Let’s start by thinking about the role that culture can play in individual behavior. First, do you believe your culture can influence your behavior? Well, cross-cultural developmental psychologists make the clear argument that, generally speaking, Japanese mothers work to socialize their young children to be more dependent upon or to see themselves as less important than their larger family or other social groups whereas American mothers are more likely o focus upon ways to increase the individuality and independence of their young pre-school children. The difference or the “reason”? Yup, its culture (or the influence of culture on child rearing practices). Now how about this hypothesis: Whether one’s ancient ancestors (think many generations back) grew wheat or rice will have an impact upon how one will navigate through a crowded Starbucks coffee shop in search of a place to sit. Those with wheat farmer ancestors will be more likely to move chairs that are in their way while those with rice growing ancestors will be more likely to leave the chairs alone and creatively contort their body and walking path in order to get around in the coffee shop. The difference, which is seen in actual in Starbucks behavior, is ascribed to cultural differences arising from the fact that rice is harder to grow and requires social collaboration and adaptation to environmental conditions whereas wheat growing is less complex and thus allows individuals to make changes to their environments in order to expand their wheat growing advantages and crop yields. So, what do you think of that hypothesis? Is it a solid example of how culture can influence behavior? Think about it and think about what else you might want to know or find out before agreeing that this is an example of culturally influenced behavior tied to the crops grown by one’s ancestors and then read the article linked below to see if that clears up any doubts or uncertainties you might have about this “cultural” hypothesis.

Source: Your Behavior in Starbucks, and the Link to Your Ancestors, Nathaniel Scharping, D-brief, Discover Magazine.

Date: April 25, 2018

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images

Article Links:

So, what do you think after reading the article? Are you convinced that farming behavior is the (or an) active causal cultural variable in predicting behavior in a Starbucks café? Did you notice the comment added down at the end of the article which pointed out that Northern Chinese are, at least partly, descended from the Mongolian people that included Genghis Khan who would, I suspect, be more the chair mover rather than the chair dodger type were he looking for a place to sit with his Starbucks coffee. An interesting historical cultural question might be, does the wheat growing make the Mongol or does the Mongol pick or prefer wheat farming? Which is the cultural causal force? Or are they both correlationally, and thus not directly causally, linked? I DO appreciate that the researchers indicate that they worked diligently to control for other possible causal variables (though I will need to go and find and read their original article before deciding how I feel about that). I DO strongly believe that there are may ways in which our current and our historic cultures and cultural practices reflect and perhaps, in some cases, influence our current behavior. I ALSO think we need to be VERY cautious about trying to draw any simple causal lines across generations in the cultural space as there are a great many ways in which the past can influence the present. Take, for example, what we have relatively recently come to more fully understand about the transgenerational traumas among Canadian aboriginal people that can be linked back to Residential Schools, the 60’s child welfare scoop and the related consequences of damaged parents, stigma, and related developmental impacts upon generations of aboriginal children, youth and adults. Such “cultural” impacts are every bit as present today in the lives of aboriginal children and youth as were the effects of residential schooling on their ancestors. I believe that cultural psychology has the potential to tell us a LOT that is useful about why we are the ways we are and about what we need to look at more closely and work on in order to change things that are problematic or stressful or developmentally counterproductive but to do so there must be more examined than ancestral agricultural practices, I think.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do the researchers whose work is discussed the article linked about think is the relationship between ancestral farming practices and Starbucks café navigation?
  2. Can you think of any alternative possible cultural links that could contribute to explaining people’s Starbucks navigating behaviors?
  3. Describe, in general terms, how things that happened to ones’ ancestors or things that one’s ancestors did could have developmental or behavioral impacts upon people growing and living today.

References (Read Further):

Talhelm, T., Zhang, X., & Oishi, S. (2018). Moving chairs in Starbucks: Observational studies find rice-wheat cultural differences in daily life in China. Science advances, 4(4), eaap8469.

Sasaki, J. Y., & Kim, H. S. (2017). Nature, nurture, and their interplay: A review of cultural neuroscience. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(1), 4-22.

Kline, M. A., Shamsudheen, R., & Broesch, T. (2018). Variation is the universal: making cultural evolution work in developmental psychology. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 373(1743), 20170059.

Chopik, W. J., O’Brien, E., & Konrath, S. H. (2017). Differences in empathic concern and perspective taking across 63 countries. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(1), 23-38.

McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430.

Wilk, P., Maltby, A., & Cooke, M. (2017). Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review. Public Health Reviews, 38(1), 8.

Kuhl, J. L. (2017). Putting an End to the Silence: Educating Society about the Canadian Residential School System. Bridges: An Undergraduate Journal of Contemporary Connections, 2(1), 1.

Jaramillo, J. M., Rendón, M. I., Muñoz, L., Weis, M., & Trommsdorff, G. (2017). Children’s Self-Regulation in Cultural Contexts: The Role of Parental Socialization Theories, Goals, and Practices. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 923.

Posted by & filed under Group Processes, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Personality Disorders, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Ok so, I am going to talk about Narcissists but as many of us are not entirely familiar with the myth of Narcissus and, regardless, Narcissus did not live in the modern world, so we need another example to hold in mind as we consider the role that the generation of social chaos plays in the day-to-day lives of narcissists. After reading the article linked below you may well be able to bring to mind, as examples, several people with whom you have regular contact. In the meantime, it might help the call up your recent memories involving a rather high ranking politcal figure in North America who shall not be named but whose behaviors often work quite well as examples for the purposes of psychological consideration and discussion. The research discussed in the article linked below looked a tendency for those high on the personality dimension of Narcissism to engender social chaos in the situations in which they find themselves (e.g., workplace settings, friend or family gatherings). Think about what you know about the trait of narcissism and see if you can predict why it might be that people high on this dimension might actively sow seeds of social chaos even if they find it somewhat distressing. Once you have an hypothesis or two in mind have a look at the article linked below to see what the researchers found.

Source: Why Narcissists Thrive on Chaos, Susan Krause Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today

Date: May 5, 2018

Photo Credit: J.W. Waterhouse, 1903. Public domain. And

Article Links:

So do the behavior and social attribution patterns found to be associated with narcissism in the research article make sense? Do the patterns of contingent self-esteem, entitlement rage, hiding the self, and devaluating others fit the social chaotic behaviors of people you know who may have narcissistic tendencies? How about he who shall not be named? Seeing the patterns over time can be quite fascinating. The article also suggests research based strategies for engaging with or even confronting the chaotic person in your life (other than through the ballot box).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does Narcissism involve?
  2. How and perhaps why do narcissists create and take advantage of social chaos?
  3. What are some of the strategies you might consider using when you find yourself in social situations with a narcissist?

References (Read Further):

Dawood, S., & Pincus, A. L. (2018). Pathological narcissism and the severity, variability, and instability of depressive symptoms. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9(2), 144.

Wetzel, E., Brown, A., Hill, P. L., Chung, J. M., Robins, R. W., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). The narcissism epidemic is dead; long live the narcissism epidemic. Psychological science, 28(12), 1833-1847.

O’Reilly III, C. A., Doerr, B., & Chatman, J. A. (2017). “See You in Court”: How CEO narcissism increases firms’ vulnerability to lawsuits. The Leadership Quarterly.

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.

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Child Development, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Human Development, Psychological Health, Social Psychology, Student Success, The Self.

Description: I have written about growth mindsets and other mindsets previously but have tended to focus upon the research that has been done on the differences between growth and fixed mindsets and academic performance. Soooo you may be thinking, well, I don’t need to look further at this blog post as I already know about that stuff. Buy wait a moment and consider how well you actually understand what a mindset is and more importantly what a growth mindset is. More importantly   think about the extent to which (the REAL extent to which) you consistently deploy a growth mindset in your day to day life and especially in terms of your goal, career and life planning. Carol Dweck herself points out that people and organizations typically assume too quickly they they, or their organizations are doing everything they can and should to deploy or support growth mindsets when, in fact it simply is not true. The article linked below does a very good job of laying out the particulars of growth versus fixed mindsets and talking about ways to ensure you are tending in the direction of utilizing a growth mindset more often. One you have read the article and thought a bit more about how consistency you use a growth mindset in your day to day activities spend a few more minutes exploring the website where the article is located. You may find it quite interesting!

Source: Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Your Success Hinges On It, Anna Kucirkova, Careers in Psychology

Date: May 5, 2018

Photo Credit: Careers in Psychology

Article Links:

It is important to see that a mindset is perhaps best thought of a thought “tendency” or as a typical way of thinking, interpreting your experiences and relating to the world. In other words, a mindset need not be something that we are typically very aware of. This means that, like many of our more behavioral habits, we often have to work hard to even see them and, more importantly, we have to work even harder to change them as they are typically rather deeply ingrained. So, if you are convinced of the value in moving towards more consistently using a growth mindset then you should set aside some time weekly to review how you have been approaching tasks and especially task outcomes and see how consistently you are using a growth mindset. Sticking with it will produce more of the benefits discussed in the article inked above.  Lastly as to the Careers in Psychology website I have discussed elsewhere how Psychology is a “Hub” science. This means that many areas of study and work are grounded either in whole or in part in Psychological theory and research. The Careers in psychology site talks about some of the core careers in Psychology but as you look through the site it is worth thinking of the many other career pathways that draw on Psychology.  Everyone needs a little (or a lot) of psychology.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is a growth mindset?
  2. What are some on the things you can do to ensure you are more typically using growth mindset?
  3. What are some of the things you could do, or better yet, what are some of the things you are GOING to do to ensure you are using more of a growth mindset?

References (Read Further):

Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20-24.

Caniëls, M. C., Semeijn, J. H., & Renders, I. H. (2018). Mind the mindset! The interaction of proactive personality, transformational leadership and growth mindset for engagement at work. Career Development International, 23(1), 48-66.

Schroder, H. S., Yalch, M. M., Dawood, S., Callahan, C. P., Donnellan, M. B., & Moser, J. S. (2017). Growth mindset of anxiety buffers the link between stressful life events and psychological distress and coping strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 110, 23-26.

Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2017). The origins of children’s growth and fixed mindsets: New research and a new proposal. Child development, 88(6), 1849-1859.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Psychology, Depression, General Psychology, Student Success.

Description: To carry the epidemiology theme a bit further think about the answer to this question: Are children and teens more anxious today than in the past (in previous generations)? Think about what you have heard or read in the media about this question and then think about whether you have seen any research data bearing on the question. Good research data is important as it should help us to decide whether things like the rates of Anxiety and Depression among north American children and youth are changing or have changed in ways that we should be thinking about. The article linked below discusses some data that bears on the incidence part of this question. Give it a read and then think about what it might suggest about how concerned and ready for intervention related action we should be in this area.

Source: More than 1 in 20 US children and teen have anxiety or depression, ScienceDaily.

Date: April 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Article Links:

The research discussed in the article linked above points us in some important directions. It suggests that the rates of anxiety and depression among children and teens have been going up and that the burden this places on developing teens and their family’s needs to be understood and addressed.  When such changes occur over a relatively short time line it is important to consider the possible social, family and community changes that may be contributing to the change as these changes may be very informative of possible opportunities for intervention, support and management of anxiety among children and teens. Very worth thinking about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What seems to be happening to the rate of anxiety among children and teens?
  2. What sorts of things might be contributing to the increase in anxiety among children and teens (in the US)?
  3. What sorts of support or intervention strategies should we be considering in relation to this apparent increase in anxiety levels among children and teens?

References (Read Further):

Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Ghandour, R. M., Blumberg, S. J., Visser, S. N., Perou, R., & Walkup, J. T. (2018). Epidemiology and Impact of Health Care Provider–Diagnosed Anxiety and Depression Among US Children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

January, J., Madhombiro, M., Chipamaunga, S., Ray, S., Chingono, A., & Abas, M. (2018). Prevalence of depression and anxiety among undergraduate university students in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol. Systematic reviews, 7(1), 57.

Mortier, P., Cuijpers, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R. P., Demyttenaere, K., Green, J. G., … & Bruffaerts, R. (2018). The prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviours among college students: a meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 48(4), 554-565.

Bruffaerts, R., Mortier, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R. P., Cuijpers, P., Demyttenaere, K., … & Kessler, R. C. (2018). Mental health problems in college freshmen: Prevalence and academic functioning. Journal of affective disorders, 225, 97-103.


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Disorders of Childhood, Health Psychology, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Ok there are two levels of engagement possible with this linked article. The first is epidemiological. Epidemiology is the study of the rates of things (illnesses, disorders, conditions) within populations. From an epidemiological perspective, when the incidence or rate of a disorder in a population changes (increases or decreases) there are number of key questions that must be carefully considered and addressed with data. They include: Is the change real or just an artifact of how the disorder is measured or defined? If it seems to be real, what is contributing to the change? The second level of reflection and analysis follows this first one. IF the change does appear to be real and not due to something like a removal or reduction (or addition or increase) of social stigma which could be increasing then what does it suggest? If it is a real increase what conditions are driving the increase (or decrease) and what would be worth considering or doing in the way of public awareness or treatment, support and intervention? As you read through the article liked below to keep these two levels of analysis in mind and see if you develop an option as to which one the author of the article is leaning towards.

Source: Autism Prevalence Increases: 1 in 59 US Children, Susan Scutti, CNN.

Date: April 26, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

My reading of the linked article suggests to me a bit of uncertainty on the part of the author of the article about which level of analysis they are pushing but they seem to be leaning towards a “changes in definitions of the disorder” explanation except that the material on large changes moving prevalence within diverse racial groups closer to parity might suggest another focus. A VERY typical speculation which often arises in such discussions is that the incidence of the disorder IS on the rise and we need to figure out what water, dietary or social practices additive is driving the change before it is too late to stop it.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did the prevalence rate of Autism increase as the article suggests?
  2. What sorts of things might have contributed to the change in the observed rate of Autism?
  3. What steps should be followed as we decide what, if anything, should be done in response to this apparent increase in Autism incidence?

References (Read Further):

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2010 Principal Investigators. (2014). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years—autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 sites, United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 63(2), 1-21.

Soke, G. N., Maenner, M. J., Christensen, D., Kurzius-Spencer, M., & Schieve, L. A. (2017). Brief Report: Estimated Prevalence of a Community Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Age 4 Years in Children from Selected Areas in the United States in 2010: Evaluation of Birth Cohort Effects. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(6), 1917-1922.

Durkin, M. S., Maenner, M. J., Baio, J., Christensen, D., Daniels, J., Fitzgerald, R., … & Wingate, M. S. (2017). Autism spectrum disorder among US children (2002–2010): socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities. American journal of public health, 107(11), 1818-1826.

Jacobi, F., Wittchen, H. U., Hölting, C., Höfler, M., Pfister, H., Müller, N., & Lieb, R. (2004). Prevalence, co-morbidity and correlates of mental disorders in the general population: results from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey (GHS). Psychological medicine, 34(4), 597-611.


Posted by & filed under Aggression, Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Child Development, Consciousness, Early Social and Emotional development, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, Human Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What is shame? When do people feel shame or feel ashamed? How is shame different than guilt? At its simplest level, shame involves a loss of social connection or a loss of social respect. Think about what feelings, thoughts, and social scenarios would come to mind if someone opened a conversation with you by saying “Shame on you”! What sort of thing(s) might you have done to warrant that conversation opener? The developmental roots of shame are deep indeed. Shame (and even shunning) is something that communities visit upon their members (sometimes) or what parents visit upon their children. It is a form a social censure or social disapproval and often involves a withdrawal, short or long term depending upon the group or the incident that instigated it, of social connection. Developmentally infants are very attuned to the social consequences of shame. Think about a situation where a parent is interacting with their infant in a socially and facially animated way and then suddenly “shuts down” their facial expressions and simply starts at the infant with no facial expression (so neither happy or sad or angry but just blank). How do you think an infant would react to this and if they eventually start to cry why would they do that? Think about all of these questions and then read the article linked below to see a description of the, at least four, ways that shame can play out in our social interactions.

Source: A Psychotherapist says there are four types of shame – Here’s what they are and how they affect us. Lindsay Dodgson, Business Insider, Independent, UK.

Date: April 4, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

So, did the descriptions of the four types of shame make sense to you? My first reaction to the simple statement that the first type was unrequited love was to say “Huh? How so?”  but if you unpack what is going on when attraction or love are not reciprocated it makes sense. Like the “infant still face” procedure I described earlier, and which is mentioned in the article unrequited love involves situations where social narratives or story lines are cut off or simply do not evolve. One sided relationships are NOT relationships and trying to move a one-sided half ignored relationship along can be heart breaking and what it produces in the unrequited “lover” is one form of shame or social casting out. Th second type of shame involves being called out socially (publicly) for an error or a mistake. These situations are more readily accessible as we all have been in situations where we or someone else was shamed or humiliated publicly.  The third example, failure, is a bit more complicated as failures are not always public and can be sources of internal motivation as well as situations that involve feelings of shame or perhaps even guilt. The fourth type of shame involves exclusion or being left out and can be viewed as an active component of all types of shame as it is social connection, standing or benevolence we are seeking, and shame is one of the things we feel when it is lost or dialed back. It is worth thinking about the impact of shame on development. A LOT is said about the potential impact of our early (pre-2 years-of-age) attachment relationships on our subsequent development (well supported by longitudinal data) but a LOT can also be said about the next developmental moment or task. This next developmental task or moment starting at around 2 years of age involves autonomy, sometimes referred to colloquially as the “terrible twos”. It involves the drive on the child’s part to start to do things for themselves (not always stated diplomatically as they are only two and have limited language skills). As Erickson suggested, the developmental downside of the Autonomy developmental moment is “Shame and Doubt”. If parents, older siblings, or the extended family or community reacts to a child’s early autonomy plays with criticism, derision or indifference the result can be shame and a shutting down of individual social initiative. You are likely well aware of the developmental downstream impact insecure attachment can have on the subsequent development of play connections, friendships, intimate relationships and eventually on parenthood. Think a bit about the potential downstream developmental impact of being shamed for your early efforts at establishing a sense of autonomy. That is an area that needs some more research work.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is shame and how is it manifest in social interactions?
  2. What are the short-term impacts and implications of being shamed or ashamed?
  3. What are some of the longer term developmental or psychological adjustment issues that could arise from shame either for children or for adults?

References (Read Further):

van Dijk, W. W., van Dillen, L. F., Rotteveel, M., & Seip, E. C. (2017). Looking into the crystal ball of our emotional lives: emotion regulation and the overestimation of future guilt and shame. Cognition and Emotion, 31(3), 616-624.

Duarte, C., Matos, M., Stubbs, R. J., Gale, C., Morris, L., Gouveia, J. P., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The impact of shame, self-criticism and social rank on eating behaviours in overweight and obese women participating in a weight management programme. PloS one, 12(1), e0167571.

Perret, V. (2017). Shame, the scourge of supervision. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research & Practice, 8(2).

Mahtani, S., Melvin, G. A., & Hasking, P. (2017). Shame Proneness, Shame Coping, and Functions of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) Among Emerging Adults: A Developmental Analysis. Emerging Adulthood, 2167696817711350.


Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, The Self.

Description: Have you travelled? If so, did you pick up any souvenirs on your trip? What did you get? Think back to when you picked out (and bought) or picked up (and pocketed) your souvenirs. What were you thinking about at the time? Why did you pick the thing or things that you picked? Where are they now? If you know where they are or can go and see or hold them again now what thoughts do they bring to mind? There is a LOT of buzz about “trashy souvenirs” … things like miniature Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers, fridge magnets, shells, peddles or rocks, postcards, handicrafts, but the collecting of souvenirs or mementoes vastly predates the “made in China” souvenir shop merchandise tidal wave. The word “souvenir” comes from the French word meaning “to remember.” So, think a bit about the psychological roles that souvenirs (buying them, seeking them, putting them in visible places back home) might play in our lives and then read the article linked below that summarizes what a recently published book (based on academic research) has to say about these questions.

Source: Souvenirs 101, Stephanie Rosenbloom, The Getaway, The New York Time Travel Section.

Date: April 6, 2018

Photo Credit: Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Article Links:

There are number of interesting and, I think, important psychological points in the articled linked above about Souvenirs. The categorization suggestions are interesting but tend to focus on concepts that are more descriptive of the souvenir articles themselves than of their psychological roes or significance (e.g., markers, pictorial images, symbolic shorthand, etc.). The historical references are quite interesting. Jefferson and Adams carving off bits of Shakespeare’s writing chair could simply be seen as acts of violence or vandalism (after all there was that little business of the war of independence). However, such a view would sell the American fathers of independence and many modern souvenir hunters short. What about the crusaders and especially those who went off in search of the Holy Grail. Yes, they could have simply been following through on a charge to seek a holy relic but souvenir searching and acquiring can also get us thinking about the purposes or personal impacts of our travels. Souvenirs stand for things. On the surface they stand for the things they depict or represent (go back to little Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers) but, perhaps it is much more productive to think of the roles such things play in our processing of our own travel experiences. What did being in New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty or being in Paris and seeing the Eifel Tower (it was very cool) mean to you? Was it just an opportunity to put a check on your bucket list or was it something more? In my own work on identity development and particularly on the identity development of emerging adults (18 to 19-year-olds) I have gathered data and read a lot of other studies indicating that travel does not just open our eyes to the broader world but can also open our eyes to ourselves, to our identities (a BIG part of the developmental work of emerging adulthood and beyond). As the author of the Souvenir book puts it, we acquire souvenirs “not to evaluate the world, but to narrate the self” or as I have said, travelling the world is not so much about site-seeing as it is about self-seeing. So get out there, see the world and bring those experiences back with you in terms of tangible souvenirs but more importantly in terms of memories, reflections and personal insights into yourself (your identity) and the world.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the categories researchers have used to sort out the types of souvenirs people acquire while travelling?
  2. How are the souvenirs we acquire related to the paces we have visited (psychologically speaking)?
  3. What sorts of roles can travel play in the development of our sense of personal identity? Who (what sorts of people) would you recommend travel to and why?

References (Read Further):

Potts, Rolf, (2018) Souvenir (Object Lessons). Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK.

Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. (2003). “The big OE”: self-directed travel and career development. Career development international, 8(4), 170-181.

Eagles, P. F. (1992). The travel motivations of Canadian ecotourists. Journal of Travel Research, 31(2), 3-7.

Chen, G., Bao, J., & Huang, S. (2014). Developing a scale to measure backpackers’ personal development. Journal of Travel Research, 53(4), 522-536.

Sthapit, E., & Coudounaris, D. N. (2018). Memorable tourism experiences: Antecedents and outcomes. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 18(1), 72-94.

Stone, M. J., & Petrick, J. F. (2013). The educational benefits of travel experiences: A literature review. Journal of Travel Research, 52(6), 731-744.

Swanson, K. K., & Horridge, P. E. (2006). Travel motivations as souvenir purchase indicators. Tourism management, 27(4), 671-683.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Clinical Neuropsychology, Disorders of Childhood, Human Development, Neuroscience, Physiology, Psychological Health, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness.

Description: Consider this well supported research finding. One third of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are also diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy is the unregulated firing of neurons in the brain, sometime limited to small brain areas (petite mal seizures) and sometime spreading throughout the entire brain (grand mal seizures). Folks with ASD are more likely to have a mutated gene called CNTNAP2 or referred to colloquially as “catnap2”. While this has been known for a while what has not been clear is how the presence of this mutated gene is related to higher incidents of epilepsy. The article linked below describes a recent study looking at this question directly and suggesting a possible explanation for how the catnap2 gene might be related to epilepsy. Read the article linked below to see this possible explanation.

Source: When kids’ autistic brains can’t calm down, ScienceDaily.

Date: April 5, 2018

Photo Credit: Lori Werhane / Fotolia

Article Links:

The researchers suggest, in the article linked above, that the Ccatnap2 mutated gene may not provide the “brain calming” influences that it normally would and that this is what may contribute to increased rates of epilepsy in ASD individuals. They suggest that this information my guide the development of new approaches to controlling epilepsy in this population. What was not discussed in the linked article is the possible role that mutations in the catnap2 gene might play in the emergence of the symptoms associated with ASD. Certainly, one can quickly imagine how the effects of the mutation to the catnap2 gene might be related to symptoms of ADHD (lack of “brain calming”) but it is less clear how it might be related to other ASD symptomatology. Several articles cited in the Further Reading section below provide a bit more information in relation to this particular question.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does the catnap2 gene mutation potential contribute to higher rates of epilepsy?
  2. What sorts of ways might treatments based on this information about the role of catnap2 gene mutations lead to treatment possibilities?
  3. What are some possibly ways in which the lack of “brain calming” associated with eh catnap2 gene mutation be related to some symptoms associated with ASD ?

References (Read Further):

Gao, R., Piguel, N. H., Melendez-Zaidi, A. E., Martin-de-Saavedra, M. D., Yoon, S., Forrest, M. P., … & Surmeier, D. J. (2018). CNTNAP2 stabilizes interneuron dendritic arbors through CASK. Molecular psychiatry, 1.

Peñagarikano, O., & Geschwind, D. H. (2012). What does CNTNAP2 reveal about autism spectrum disorder?. Trends in molecular medicine, 18(3), 156-163.

Rodenas-Cuadrado, P., Ho, J., & Vernes, S. C. (2014). Shining a light on CNTNAP2: complex functions to complex disorders. European journal of human genetics, 22(2), 171.

Peñagarikano, O., Abrahams, B. S., Herman, E. I., Winden, K. D., Gdalyahu, A., Dong, H., … & Golshani, P. (2011). Absence of CNTNAP2 leads to epilepsy, neuronal migration abnormalities, and core autism-related deficits. Cell, 147(1), 235-246.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Personality Disorders, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, The Self.

Description: You may recall, if you are regular reader of this blog, that I have written before about the Dark Triad of personality traits (Psychopathy, Machiavellianism and Narcissism, a lovely combination). Recent research has added Sadism to the list and created the Dark Tetrad (social interaction gets better and better!). Some recent research has done something I find very interesting. Rather than look at the general behaviors of people scoring high on the personality scales that make up the Dark Triad or Dark Tetrad these researchers looked at what sorts of first impressions people with varying Dark profiles make on others in real face-to-face first tie interactions. Given the potentially seriously negative consequences of engaging in long-term interactions with people scoring high on the dimensions of the Dark Tetrad it could be important to know if we have any ability to notice or at least get a “feel” for people who score high on Dark Triad traits. In addition, it could be very helpful if we could figure out how to get better at doing this with thought or practice. Do you think you have Dark Tetrad radar for first impressions of people who score high on those dimensions? If you do can you tell what it is based on or is it just a more intuitive feeling of creepiness? Do you think people who score high on the Dark Tetrad traits are aware of the sorts of first impressions they leave when interacting with others? Once you have thought about these questions read through the article linked below to find out more about the Dark Tetrad traits and about their impact upon first impressions. Oh and a lot of research is linking the Dark Tetrad to the behaviors of internet “Trolls” (look it up if you do not know what they are or read one or two of the articles linked in the Further Reading section below).

Source: Why Psychopaths Make Such Bad First Impressions, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.

Date: April 21, 2018

Photo Credit: Psychology Today

Article Links:

Have you had experiences where you pick up a “bad vibe” or a sense of “creepiness” from someone with whom you are briefly interacting for the first time? If you were lucky or smart you acted on those feelings as the research discussed in the link above suggests that we CAN pick up on Dark Tetrad traits in others in short first social interactions. This is a good example of Psychological research that is helping us to think about, better understand, and perhaps use more effectively and consciously social abilities we may not even be aware that we possess. It is also interesting to see more clearly how people scoring high on the Dark Tetrad traits (defined nicely in the linked article) see and reflect upon how they are perceived by others in initial social interactions. You can see how their Dark Tetrad traits impact BOTH their beliefs about how they are perceived by others in initial social interactions AND the developmental implications (for them) of the impressions they make on others. Basically if you tend to creep people out when you meet them this will most certainly impact your thoughts and beliefs about other people.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are the traits that make up the Dark Tetrad?
  2. If you have had the experience of feeling as though someone you are interacting with for the first time is “creepy” what sorts of things were they doing that might have contributed to your feelings during the interaction?
  3. How might you train yourself or train others to develop and pay proper attention to forms of creepiness first impression social radar?

References (Read Further):


Rogers, K. H., Le, M. T., Buckels, E. E., Kim, M., & Biesanz, J. C. (2018). Dispositional malevolence and impression formation: Dark tetrad associations with accuracy and positivity in first impressions. Journal of Personality, doi:10.1111/jopy.12374

Buckels, E. E., Trapnell, P. D., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Trolls just want to have fun. Personality and individual Differences, 67, 97-102.

Book, A., Visser, B. A., Blais, J., Hosker-Field, A., Methot-Jones, T., Gauthier, N. Y., … & D’Agata, M. T. (2016). Unpacking more “evil”: What is at the core of the dark tetrad?. Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 269-272.

Chabrol, H., Melioli, T., Van Leeuwen, N., Rodgers, R., & Goutaudier, N. (2015). The Dark Tetrad: Identifying personality profiles in high-school students. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 97-101.

Greitemeyer, T. (2015). Everyday sadism predicts violent video game preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 19-23.

Southard, A. C., Noser, A. E., Pollock, N. C., Mercer, S. H., & Zeigler-Hill, V. (2015). The interpersonal nature of dark personality features. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 34(7), 555-586.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Depression, Health Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Psychological Health, Research Methods, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: In my previous post ( I talked about the role of culture in Psychological development and adjustment and the role of culture in the discipline of Psychology. While I am planning to move away from suicide and suicidal ideation as my focus on understanding the role of aboriginal and metis culture in individual development and adaptation I thought it would be instructive to have you look at a research article that specifically examines the role of historical cultural experiences (First Nations residential school attendance). The study linked below looks at knowledge of whether one’s parents or grandparents attended Indian Residential School (IRS) and the incidence of suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide) among the First Nations adults in the study. I would suggest that you read the abstract then the introduction and then the discussion of the study (you can, of course, read it all if you like). After reading the article I would suggest you think a little bit about what you now know about the relationship between IRS attendance by one or two previous generations of one’s family and thoughts of suicide. I would also suggest you also think a bit after reading the study about what you now know or do not know about the role of culture in suicidal thoughts.

Source: McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430

Date: June 1, 2017

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

If you read my previous post you may have seen how the article linked above is a reasonably good example of the sort of culture/heritage as symptom approach to indigenous psychology I talked about as being rather common in mainstream North American Psychology. If you are not sure you see this connection think a little bit about what the causal contribution of the attendance of previous generation(s) of relative at IRS to current adult levels of suicidal ideation and you should start to see the issue. For an alternative, culturally grounded, perspective I would encourage you to have a look at one or another of the three references by Chandler I have re-posted below in Further Reading. If suicidal thoughts are linked to struggles finding viable ways to articulate a sense of self-continuity, then the role of previous generations of IRS attendees in the issue of suicidal ideation might be better crafted and understood as an issue of lack of cultural continuity.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why were substantial number of aboriginal and metis children sent to Indian Residential Schools?
  2. How do you think cultural- and self-continuity might be related in situations of heightened suicidal ideation?
  3. What other thigs would be helpful to find out about if one wished to more clearly understand the role of IRS, culture, and self-continuity in aboriginal and metis thoughts of suicide?

References (Read Further):

McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural psychiatry, 35(2), 191-219.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural continuity as a protective factor against suicide in First Nations youth. Horizons, 10(1), 68-72.

Chandler, M. J., Lalonde, C. E., Sokol, B. W., Chandler, M. J., & Turiel, E. (2000). Continuities of selfhood in the face of radical developmental and cultural change. Culture, thought, and development, 65-84.