Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Group Processes, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Memory, Motivation-Emotion, Research Methods, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: So how can you get people to do things that are good for them? Yes, I know, yelling, nagging, and threatening have their places but what if you want to try and influence how things are done within an organization? Well I/O or Industrial/Organizational Psychologists are quite interested in such questions. Here are three issues that, if addressed, would greatly improve life conditions and wellbeing for employees. Consider each and think about some simple things you might try to produce improvement in each area. 1. How might you get employees to contribute more money more regularly to their retirement savings plans? 2. How might you get employees to follow through more consistently on citations for Health and Safety Guideline violations in their organizations? 3. How might you get more unemployed people to sign up for and complete re-employment programs that are offered for free? Once you have your thougts and hypotheses in order read the article linked below that talk about what I/O psychologists did in each case. Pay attention as you read not only to their results but to how they evacuated (assessed using research techniques) their interventions.

Source: Behavior and Brain Sciences Help Optimize Labor Programs, Association for Psychological Science.

Date: August 24, 2017

Photo Credit:  Association for Psychological Science

Links:  Article Link — https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/behavior-and-brain-sciences-help-optimize-labor-programs.html

So how did you do? I/O psychologists are increasingly active in consulting to or, through their research, better informing Human Resource department and managers about what their research has to say about how to attract, select, train, and retain good employees and how to optimize employee and, by extension, organizational performance as well.  What struck me about the solutions was their basic simplicity. Drawn from research examining barriers to the implementation and sustainability of behavior the I/O psychologists suggested several straightforward always to optimize employee behavior. The results were encouraging. As well the results also illuminated areas where further work is needed (such as in getting employees who have not been making ANY retirement savings to start to do so. We will be hearing more and more about I/O psychology in the future and it is an area of psychological specialization worth considering as a career path.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Select one of the problems or issues noted in the article and describe what was done in an effort to improve things.
  2. For the problem or issue you selected above, how was the intervention evaluated?
  3. Think of an area within an organization you are familiar with (perhaps your school or your workplace) where some aspect of employee behavior could be improved and come up with several simple ways that might be accomplished.

References (Read Further):

Mathematica Policy Research. Behavioral Insights Help Make Labor Programs More Effective. Accessed August 3, 2017. https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/news/behavioral-insights-help-make-labor-programs-more-effective

Amin, S., Chojnacki, G., Perez-Johnson, I., Darling, M., Moorthy, A., and Lefkowitz, J. (2017). Emails Prompt Employees to Save More for Retirement. DOL Behavioral Interventions Final Project Brief. Mathematica Policy Research. https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/emails-prompt-employees-to-save-more-for-retirement

Chojnacki, G., Deutsch, J., Perez-Johnson, I., Amin, S., Darling, M., and Lefkowitz, J. (2017). Pilot OSHA Citation Process Increases Employer Responsiveness. DOL Behavioral Interventions Project Brief. Mathematica Policy Research. https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/pilot-osha-citation-process-increases-employer-responsiveness

Darling, M., O’Leary, C., Perez-Johnson, I., Lefkowitz, J., Kline, K., Damerow, B., Eberts, R., Amin, S., and Chojnacki, G. (2017). Simple Encouragement Emails Increased Take-Up of Reemployment Program. DOL Behavioral Interventions Project Brief. Mathematica Policy Research. https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/simple-encouragement-emails-increased-take-up-of-reemployment-program

Posted by & filed under Clinical Psychology, Families and Peers, Gender-Role Development Sex Differences, General Psychology, Human Development, Psychological Disorders, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Even if you have not taken a psychology course that included a section on either personality or abnormal psychology you have certainly heard about Sigmund Freud. Either way you likely have also pondered or at least run across the question of how, today, we should think about Freud: as forefather or at least as an instigator of what would become modern Psychology or as a possible crazy old psychological relative of whom current psychologists would rather not speak. The debate about what Psychology can or should do about old “Papa Freud” is long and complicated. As you read through the “debate” linked below keep in mind that the two participants are coming from different perspectives. Susie Orbach comes from a clinical or therapeutic perspective where one must engage with clients one at a time and MUST, one way or another, link things back to their individual clients’ subjective perspective on their lives. As such the powerful interpretive narratives that Freud spun are examples of, if not currently viable or defensible, ways of making complex sense of the complexity of human experience. Frederick Crews, on the other hand is coming at Freud from a broader theoretic perspective and is asking is Freud’s views are helpful ways of explaining the general human condition. Crews is further saying that ANY attempt to theoretically address the human condition (that IS Psychology after all) MUST do so in ways that are empirically testable and based when and where possible on solid research data (which was NOT true of Freud’s work. I strongly suspect (actually I guarantee) that after reading the debate you will likely have many more questions than answers and that is just fine because just as Psychology is still trying to figure us humans out so to is it trying to figure out its progenitors like Sigmund Freud.

Source: How do we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate is legacy, The Observer, The Guardian.

Date: August 20, 2017

Photo Credit:  Everett Collection/ Rex Feature

Photos Credit: Mike Boyes

Links:  Article Link — https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/20/feel-about-freud-debate-frederick-crews-susie-orbach-making-of-an-illusion#img-2

I do not have a lot more to add at this point. My own view is that Freud is an interesting historical figure within Psychology. I have a lot of trouble with how closely his ideas at the time were tied to assumptions and stereotypes (particularly about masculinity and femininity) of his time or era. On the other hand, the notion that Psychology needed (and still needs to) acknowledge the good the bad AND the ugly within humans and the human condition if we are to properly understand ourselves is, I think, an important one. In preparing for a recent trip to Paris I read a rather academic book about the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the 1860’s. I was particularly interested in the Chimera (people usually call them the gargoyles – but gargoyles are the animal or beast headed water downspouts) around the upper levels of the cathedral. The Chimera were not original to the cathedral but were designed by the architect (Eugène Viollet-le-Duc) in charge of the refurbishment and were to reflect the Gothic revival/facination that was underway in Paris at the time. I was most taken with a passage in the book I read that talked about how the chimera contemplating Paris were popular  as reflections of the animalistic or instinctual side of humans. The passage went on to say that whenever he had a chance when in Paris Freud liked to climb the spiral steps in the tower of Notre Dame and spend the afternoon gazing over Paris and contemplating the beastly and fantastic chimera. While there, I enjoyed a couple of hours contemplating Paris and the chimera as had Freud. We might have figured out the chimera’s symbolic importance without Freud but, regardless, he is certainly associated with the more well-rounded (for good or evil) view we now have of human beings and humanity. Oh and when you get to Paris be SURE and find the time to climb the stairs at Notre Dame and contemplate Paris and the Chimera as Freud did a century ago.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What were some of the positive things that Freud did for Psychology and for our understanding of human beings?
  2. What were some of the negative things that Freud did for Psychology and for our understanding of human beings?
  3. How should we think about Freud within Psychology today?

References (Read Further):

Crews, Frederick (2017) The Making of an Illusion, New York, NY: Metropolitan Books.

Noddings, Nel (1984) Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Britzman, D. (2015). Reading Freud Today For the Destiny Of A Psychology Of Education. Knowledge Cultures, 3(2). https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Deborah_Britzman/publication/272816494_Reading_Freud_today_for_the_destiny_of_a_psychology_of_education/links/554144b80cf232222731563b.pdf 

Camille, M. (2008). The gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the monsters of modernity. University of Chicago Press.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Memory, Sensation-Perception.

Description: Last week we drove 9 hours south from where we live in order to be in the zone of totality for the eclipse on August 21st. We lucked out (well the location we went to was chosen to maximize our luck in this area) and found a comfortable place to sit and watch the eclipse develop in a cloudless sky. I had debated about whether to have my camera out and with me during the event. I did not have the filters needed to take pictures of the partial eclipse but thought I might try and snap a few pictures during the totality when the moon totally obscured the sun leaving only the solar corona visible. My internal debate turned on the fact that the totality was going to last a grand total of 2 minutes and 18 seconds where we were located and that seemed like a tiny amount of time in which to fully take in the event. On the one hand there was little time to take in the amazing and rare celestial event and I am only an amateur photographer and could download many many better pictures than I could take (even with my fancy Nikon). On the other hand I typically take a few pictures anytime I am somewhere with the purpose of looking at something (e.g., celebrating social events, traveling, hiking etc etc). So what did I do? Well I lost about 20 seconds of the totality struggling with the fact that there was not enough light for me  to see to adjust the ISO setting on my camera but after that I took a few pictures of the eclipse and of the 360 degree sunrise/sunset it created and then just looked at and took in the event in the remaining time of totality. So, should I have avoided taking any pictures in order to ensure I took in the event as deeply as possible? Figure out what your advice to me would be if I go to Argentina in 16 months for another totality (with my camera’s ISO settings set in broad daylight prior to the time of totality!) and then read the article linked below.

Source: Taking Photos Won’t Take Your Out of the Moment, Study Suggests, Steph Yin, Science, New York Times

Date: August 18, 2017

Photo Credit:  mediocre Photos by Mike Boyes, PhD

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/science/living-in-the-moment-taking-photos.html

So taking pictures does not necessarily take you out of or away from the moments you take them in. In fact, it seems that looking at things around you for possible pictures to take increases the likelihood that you will recall visual information about the situation or events later. Think of it as a sort of sensory tuning effect. However, the purpose for which you are taking the pictures matters! If you are talking pictures to post on social media then you are not really staying in the moment as you are thinking about tour social networks and your profile and not about what you are “seeing”. Aside from this you can also have a look at the article link in the Reference section below that suggests that awe inspiring events (and I can tell you from personal experience that a total eclipse DOES inspire awe) have positive impacts on our happiness. I am not sure if I am happier today than before we went down into the zone of totality but I did enjoy our brief time in the zone immensely and would love to do it again!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might taking pictures of events impact your processing of information and formation of memories related to that event?
  2. Is the question of whether or not to take pictures at important event simply a yes or no question?
  3. What else might be important to know about people’s picture taking habits if we are to make more sense out of the impact of the 1,3 trillion photos taken each year (yes we DO take a LOT of pictures)?

References (Read Further):

Barasch, A., Diehl, K., Silverman, J., & Zauberman, G. (2017). Photographic Memory: The Effects of Volitional Photo Taking on Memory for Visual and Auditory Aspects of an Experience. Psychological Science, 0956797617694868.

Diehl, K., Zauberman, G., & Barasch, A. (2016). How taking photos increases enjoyment of experiences. Journal of personality and social psychology, 111(2), 119. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-pspa0000055.pdf

Can Real Life Compete With an Instagram Playground? https://www.theringer.com/tech/2017/8/9/16110424/instagram-playground-social-media

Awe, Happiness, and the Solar Eclipse: New interventions with beauty show a boost to happiness.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-matters-most/201708/awe-happiness-and-the-solar-eclipse

Diessner, R., Woodward, D., Stacy, S., & Mobasher, S. (2015). Ten once-a-week brief beauty walks increase appreciation of natural beauty. Ecopsychology, 7, 126 -133. doi: 10.1089/eco.2015.0001

Proyer, R. T., Gander, F., Wellenzohn, S., & Ruch, W. (2016). Nine beautiful things: A self-administered online positive psychology intervention on the beauty in nature, arts, and behaviors increases happiness and ameliorates depressive symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 94, 189-193

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, General Psychology, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Intelligence.

Description: What makes something creative? The answer to THAT question is complicated and uncertain despite decades of reflection in Psychology. But sidestepping that question for the moment think about this: What would make young children more creative than teenagers or adults? Are their brains less “committed” to typical question answers? Are they simply more open to “crazy” possibilities? Are adults just getting cognitively slower? Think about what hypotheses you might come up with in response to this question and then read the article linked below written by two research psychologists who have direct assessed several of their hypotheses in this area.

Source: What Happens to Creativity as We Age? Alison Gopnick and Tom Griffiths, Grey Matter, Sunday Review, New York Times

Date: August 19, 2017

Photo Credit:  Marion Fayolle, New York Times

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/19/opinion/sunday/what-happens-to-creativity-as-we-age.html

So did the researchers address some or all of your hypotheses while assessing their own? We often think of creativity as that which takes us beyond the typical, standard and known and into the novel, new and unknown, reorganizing what we see or know or entertaining new ways of viewing and thinking about things in the world around us. The developmental implications are interesting. Perhaps creativity is that which young children use in their efforts to organize and make sense out of new (to them) experiences when a ready explanation or knowledge kernel is not available to them. Perhaps it makes sense to say that sometimes children are simply making it up as they go along. It is also interesting that for adolescents it seems the physical world has largely resolved into the known background and less creativity is needed in relation to it as their foundational knowledge about the physical world is built. The social world, however, is still of intense interest to adolescents. Developmentally they have only recently figured out that much of the social world is driven by people’s inner thoughts, emotions, and personalities – things that are not directly observable or easily inferred.  This leads adolescents into intense and creative efforts to figure out the people and social events and situation around them. (Yes that IS why junior high is the way it is…). Beyond this, it is worth hypothesizing a bit about what the advantages might be of encouraging creativity or creative thought processes into adulthood.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does the use of creative thinking seem to change developmentally?
  2. What are exploration and exploitative thinking? How are they different? What role might each kind of thinking play in development at different ages?
  3. What does this view of creativity suggest about the way we think about creativity in adulthood? Is that characterization of creativity sufficient to account for your own thoughts about creativity in adulthood?

References (Read Further):

Gopnik, A. (2016). The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. Macmillan.

Christian, B., & Griffiths, T. (2016). Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions. Macmillan.

Gopnik, A., O’Grady, S., Lucas, C. G., Griffiths, T. L., Wente, A., Bridgers, S., … & Dahl, R. E. (2017). Changes in cognitive flexibility and hypothesis search across human life history from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(30), 7892-7899. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544286/ \

Taylor, I. (2017). Perspectives in creativity. Routledge.

Smith, J. K., & Smith, L. F. (2017). The Nature of Creativity: Mayflies, Octopi, and the Best Bad Idea We Have. In Creative Contradictions in Education (pp. 21-35). Springer International Publishing.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Assessment, Depression, Disorders of Childhood, General Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Think about what sports of factors might be involved in how refugees cope with distress once they have arrived in a relatively safe place and are trying to get on with their lives. Certainly the potentially horrific stressful events they endured in their original homes and in their flight towards safety could be important factors in their ability to adjust in a new (safer) setting. However, those providing counseling and therapy to refugees are telling us that a sole focus on previous traumatic events is not sufficient to help refugees find ways to cope and thrive. Think about what else might be involved and think about the implications of those other factors for what therapy plans might need to look like or involve if refugee well-being is to improve.

Source: What Are the Roots of Distress Among Refugees? Kenneth E. Miller, Psychology Today.

Date: August 16, 2017

Photo Credit:  Esfera/Shutterstock

Links:  Article Link — https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-refugee-experience/201708/what-are-the-roots-distress-among-refugees

In developmental psychology (my main area of work) we have figured out that single life events (bad or good) by themselves have little impact upon developmental outcomes. To have long term impact something from that event must be carried forward through development either by the developing individual or by their environment if downstream developmental outcomes are to be effected. Parent mistakes need not be a big deal but ongoing parental incompetence or ongoing parental aggressiveness or a defensive attachment model within the developing child are all things that follow children along their developmental pathways and continue to nudge them towards negative or atypical developmental outcomes.  The points in the article linked below on the impact of current and ongoing stressors on the mental health and well-being of refugees essentially makes the same point. Related to this is the recent observation that resilience, reflected in the fact that some people cope and even thrive in the face of life challenges, is not an individual difference variable (something that is part of individual character or personality) but a contextual variable lining personal traits and skills with social and community variables and together helping people cope and thrive. Given the state of the world it is critically important for us to better understand the situations and the coping and resilience supports needed by refugees.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Do past traumatic life events have impacts upon current adjustment and mental health?
  2. What other factors are involved in the adjustment and mental health of refugees?
  3. Beyond the implications of the finding in the linked article for individual refugee therapy what are some implications for how we process and manage refugee claimants at local and national levels?

References (Read Further):

Miller, K. E., & Garbarino, J. (2016). War torn: stories of courage, love, and resilience. Larson Publications.

Miller, K. E., & Rasco, L. M. (2004). An ecological framework for addressing the mental health needs of refugee communities. The mental health of refugees: Ecological approaches to healing and adaptation, 1-64. http://www.drkenmiller.org/Ken_Miller,_Ph.D./CV_files/Mental%20Health%20of%20Civilians%20Displaced%20by%20Armed%20Conflict_1.pdf

Betancourt, T. S., & Khan, K. T. (2008). The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: protective processes and pathways to resilience. International review of psychiatry, 20(3), 317-328. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613765/

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American psychologist, 56(3), 227. http://www.ocfcpacourts.us/assets/files/list-758/file-935.pdf

Posted by & filed under Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What sorts of things in our personal profiles make or break our relationships? Certainly religious differences might lead to us not pursuing a relationship — whether or not the other person wants children may be another such thing. But what about brand preferences? Coke or Pepsi? Think about how differences in brand preferences across a couple in a relationship might impact the well-being of the relationship and the individuals involved. Once you have a hypothesis or two in mind (not just does it matter but how differences might play out within the relationship) than have a look at the article linked below.

Source: Coke or Pepsi? Partner’s choices can make you miserable. ScienceDaily.

Date: August 14, 2017

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock, Nasdaq.com

Links:  Article Link — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170814125347.htm

Perhaps it was not a surprise to see that differences in brand preferences can make a difference in people’s happiness in a relationship. From a research design point of view it is important to note that brand preference differences alone are not necessarily sufficient to produce impacts on well-being within a relationship. The researchers also measured relationship power as in whose preferences and decisions most often hold sway in the relationship. Being the lower power member in a relationship means you end up putting up with the brand choices or preferences (among other things) of your partner more often than not. It is the combination of these variables that seems to negatively impact ones feelings within a relationship. These sorts of linking variables or mediating or moderating variables are very important parts of research design with psychology because as I hope you already know things are rarely simple in human functioning and human interaction.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How can brand preference differences impact ones well-being in a relationship??
  2. What other variables might be useful to consider in this area of research besides relationship power?
  3. How might these findings apply in organizational settings?

References (Read Further):

Danielle J. Brick, Gráinne M. Fitzsimons, Tanya L. Chartrand, Gavan J. Fitzsimons. Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucx079

Hafeman, D. M. (2017). Relationship Power in Health Care: Science of Behavior Change, Decision Making, and Clinician Self-Care.

Brick, D. J., & Fitzsimons, G. J. (2017). Oppositional brand choice: Using brands to respond to relationship frustration. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(2), 257-263.

Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2017). The Natural Principles of Love. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 9(1), 7-26.

Posted by & filed under Basic Cognitive Functions In Aging: Information Processing Attention Memory, Child Development, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Learning, Motivation-Emotion.

Description: Back when I was a child (a loooong time ago) one of the biggest parental concerns was whether or not they should limit the amount of time we spent watching television. After a couple of decades of research it was decided that the amount of television watched mattered partly because of what was watched (non-cognitively stimulating fare) and what was NOT done (physical activities replaced by “couch potatoing”). So where are we at with such concerns today? It must be all figured out right? Oh my no! One of today’s largest points of popular and developmental research debate is not TV time but “Screen Time”, including internet use, gaming and smartphone use with numbers that make TV use back in my childhood look like nothing at all. Think about what you think our level of concern should be about teenager’s screen time these days and then read the article linked below. As you do think about what sorts of studies we need to do to start to sort ot the questions assictaed with concerns over the amount and content of screen time among children and youth these days. (These sorts of questions have NOT been even slightly sorted out as yet).

Source: Are smartphones really making our children sad? Ian Tucker, the Observer.

Date: August 13, 2017

Photo Credit:  Alamy

 

Links:  Article Link — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/13/are-smartphones-really-making-our-children-sad

So obviously there are strong and extreme views on this matter. But sporting our the questions and the answers with research is difficult in the same way it was difficult with TV. When most people have or use something it is VERY hard to sort out its effects from the compounding effects of other things. We need to pay attention to what is being done on the screens but we also need to attend to what is NOT being done; like physical activity — Pokemon Go was supposed to be a fix for that – like face-to-face social interaction (we are still trying to figure out the impact of THAT reduction. And how much is just that things like life in the world is simply going to be different going forward. We have a LOT of research AND thinking to do! And parents need some guidance.

 Questions for Discussion:

  1. So how big a deal is the amount of screen time spent by children and youth these days?
  2. What does research tell us about the developmental effects of screen time?
  3. What sorts of research are need to clearly address the questions and issues that are posed by screen time concerns and how should (or can) that research be designed?

References (Read Further):

Stop children binging on social media during holidays, parents urged. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/05/children-bingeing-social-media-anne-longfield-childrens-commissioner

Encourage children to spend more time online, says former GCHQ head, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/encourage-children-to-spend-more-time-online-says-former-gchq-head

Screen-based lifestyle harms children’s health, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/25/screen-based-lifestyle-harms-health-of-children 40 academics weigh in.

Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype, https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2017/jan/06/screen-time-guidelines-need-to-be-built-on-evidence-not-hype , More than 40 academic respond to this concern calling it moral panic.

Twenge, Jean (2017) iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Simon and Schuster.

Lowe, B., Smith, M., Jaine, R., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., … & Mhurchu, C. N. (2016). Watching the watchers: quantifying the duration and nature of children’s after-school screen time. Obesity Reviews, 17, 181. https://diet.auckland.ac.nz/sites/diet.auckland.ac.nz/files/Watching%20the%20watchers%20quantifying%20the%20duration%20and%20nature%20of%20children’s%20after%20school%20screen%20time.pdf

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Cognitive Development: Piagetian and Vygotskian Approaches, Cognitive Development: The Information-Processing Approach, Development of the Self, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Human Development, Student Success.

Description: In discussing one of the courses I developed a couple of years ago (a dual credit course for high school students focused upon the psychology of student transition and adjustment to post-secondary developmental pathways) I often found myself consistently pointing out that Psychology as a discipline is uniquely situated to provide insight and opportunities for self-reflection and development to students studying its content. After all, human development and learning are right in our research and application wheelhouse. The article/blog linked below does a fantastic job of providing an overview of areas of psychological research enquiry that speak directly to how students learn and develop. While aimed at teachers of elementary and secondary level students there is much here for learners at ALL levels to become interested in and to reflect upon. Especially, for students heading off to colleges and universities next month there is much here that can be filed in your virtual backpack and reflected upon as you figure out what it means for you to be a college or university student.

Source: 20 Psychology Principles That Will Help Your Students Learn Effectively, Nancy Fenton, Psych Learning Curve, American Psychological Association.

Date: August 17, 2017

Photo Credit:  American Psychological Association

Links:  Article Link — http://psychlearningcurve.org/these-psychological-principles-will-help-your-students-learn-more-effectively/

The 20 areas of research covered in the article linked above can be usefully used in several ways by students either on their way to college or university or by those already there. If you have wondered what it will be like to be a college or university student this list provides a rich Psychological overview of what you can expect in ways that will allow you to reflect upon how the issues discussed in each area apply to you and what this might mean for you as you start to figure out how you will manage and thrive in the post-secondary learning environment. Alternatively, this article is a good place to start if you are already a post-secondary student and you are finding that some parts of your experience are not as positive, as engaging, or as successful as you had hoped they would be. The areas covered in the article can provide you with some clues as to which of your post-secondary tactics or strategies or which of your personal commitments or approaches to your current development might stand with some reflection and tweaking.  Finally, it can serve as a valuable resource for you to pass along to friends who might talk with you about aspects of their own post-secondary experiences that are not going as they had hoped. There is LOT here to think about, discuss and apply as, ultimately, what you get out of your post-secondary  learning and developmental opportunities is up to you (well and to the insight, support and assistance you can go and find related to some of the 20 areas of Psychology that bear upon the quality of your learning experiences).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are your (Psychological) preparations for your first year post-secondary experience going (or how are things now that you have been “in” for a year or two?
  2. Are there areas within the 20 presented in the article that clarify some of your concerns or challenges?
  3. If pathways to the improvement of your future or current post-secondary situation are still not clear what options are available to you at your college or university for assistance (look for student advising, student wellness centers, etc. and GO and talk to them, you will find they can help you try some of these psychological finding and insights on for size)?

References (Read Further):

Follow the many links in the article linked above to find additional resources.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Psychology, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Health Psychology, Human Development, Intervention: Adults-Couples, mental illness, Neuroscience.

Description: You have likely heard that the baby-blues or post-partum depression is a very real issue and concern. This is true. Postpartum depression is very much a form of real depression that is triggered by the hormonal and circumstantial changes associated with giving birth. Recognizing its signs and symptoms and treating it as we would treat depression in general is very important given the potential impact of a depressed parent on infant development (as well as on parental well-being). With this in mind what might you hypothesize (or guess) about possible relationships between symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and having a new baby? Include in your hypotheses some thinking about potential relationships between genetics, psycho-social circumstances and OCD symptoms then read the article linked below to see what research has said about these things.

Source: Maternal Instinct or OCD? Kelly Kautz, Well, Family, New York Times.

Date: August 2, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/well/family/maternal-instinct-or-ocd.html

So how did your hypotheses do? What is the relationship between formal OCD and the behaviours in new parents sometime called “ocd” without data based links to the formal disorder?  While the population rate of OCD symptom bursts following birth is low at 2% this rate is still double that of the general population. This suggests a relationship between birth and increased risks for OCD and 1% of the estimated 360,000 birth per day globally is a rather large number. Our understanding of the shifting patterns of risk and how they might be linked to important developmental moments in the lives of parents and children is growing. Findings like those discussed in the linked article can inform professionals (such as pediatricians and GP’s) and others (if information is made generally available) about the sorts of negative and positive issues possibly associated with moments of developmental life change. With this knowledge we can respond more quickly and more effectively when developmental advancements are put at risk.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are symptoms of depression or OCD related to life events such as giving birth?
  2. What information should be generated and provided to professionals such as pediatricians and GP’s in relation to OCD and new parents?
  3. What additional research is needed if we are to properly engage in the actions suggested in question 2 above or to make information about things like OCD and birth available to the public in general?

References (Read Further):

Abramowitz, Jonathon (2017) Beyond the Blues: Postpartum OCD. Accessed August 2017, https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/postpartum-ocd/

National Institute of Mental Health (2016) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, accessed August 2017, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Fairbrother, N., & Woody, S. R. (2008). New mothers’ thoughts of harm related to the newborn. Archives of women’s mental health, 11(3), 221-229. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nichole_Fairbrother/publication/5387569_New_mothers%27_thoughts_of_harm_related_to_the_newborn/links/574b377908ae5c51e29ea689/New-mothers-thoughts-of-harm-related-to-the-newborn.pdf

Fairbrother, N., Barr, R. G., Pauwels, J., Brant, R., & Green, J. (2015). Maternal thoughts of harm in response to infant crying: An experimental analysis. Archives of women’s mental health, 18(3), 447-455. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nichole_Fairbrother/publication/267931686_Maternal_thoughts_of_harm_in_response_to_infant_crying_an_experimental_analysis/links/574b373308ae5c51e29ea685.pdf

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Consciousness, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology.

Description: OK so you are an open and honest individual right? Of course you are. But do you have any secrets from anyone? Come along, be honest! Keeping secrets from other people comes with a toll. The easy thing to say is that it is hard work to keep a secret and that is likely true but what actually IS the hard part of keeping a secret exactly? Well think on that for a moment and then read the article linked below to see an account of some interesting Social Psychological research into the nature of the tolls associated with secret keeping.

Source: The worst part of keeping a secret, Julie Beck, The Atlantic.

Date: May 15, 2017

Photo Credit:  Roxi/Flickr

Links:  Article Link – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-death-and-the-self/201705/why-social-stigma-matters

What I find fascinating about the research discussed in the linked article is that none of the usual social memes about the psychological weight of keeping a secret are seriously examined. Rather we hear of an inquiry into the cognitive consequences of noting the secret being held in our own minds over and over and over. It ties in the ways in which our minds wander and continue to stumble over the secrets we are keeping. It is a very innovative way to think about an individual/social issue.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is keeping a secret hard?
  2. What factors contribute to the fact that keeping a secret id hard?
  3. What would the research discussed in the link about suggest we should do to lessen the psychological impacts of keeping a secret? And what if we cannot simply be more honest – what then?

References (Read Further):

Slepian, M. L., Chun, J. S., & Mason, M. F. (2017). The Experience of Secrecy.

Wismeijer, A. A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2006). The emotional burden of secrets. Consequences for somatic health and implications for health care.

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., Toosi, N. R., & Ambady, N. (2012). The physical burdens of secrecy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(4), 619. http://web.stanford.edu/group/ipc/pubs/Slepian-Masicampo-Toosi-Ambady_Physical-Burdens-of-Secrecy_2012_JEPG.pdf

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., & Ambady, N. (2014). Relieving the burdens of secrecy: Revealing secrets influences judgments of hill slant and distance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(3), 293-300. https://www.ericaceae.org/~masicaej/Slepianetal2013SPPS.pdf