Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Group Processes, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: How good are you at waiting in line? Would your answer be different if you were thinking of waiting in line to pay for your groceries as compared to waiting in what, these days, passes for an ill-defined virtual line that will determine when you get your vaccination for Covid-19? Culturally, the British are very good at politely queuing for everything from busses to a tern at the bar in a pub. Other cultures use a more mob-based approach that can seem quite disorganized, but which often involves everyone there keeping mental track of who is next. In all of this, but especially in the line for vaccines, how do people respond to line crashers and do the responses vary depending on the reason for the line? Certainly, public shame and rebuke has been heaped on those who sneak into remote northern communities or dress up as old women in order to get shots they are not actually qualified to receive but what are the variables that seem to be involved in how people deal with queuing for a shot? Think about that for a moment and then read the article linked below to see what research suggests.

Source: How to Wait in Line, Malia Wollan, The New York Times Magazine.

Date: March 17, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by veverkolog from Pixabay

Article Link:

The number of opportunities to buy you way into a faster line are increasing. Disney has mastered the science of giving people things to look at and not making them contemplate (by seeing it all) just how long their wait line is. Disney also has fast passes that anyone can get (one of at a time) but also gives multiple fats passes to people who consider buying a timeshare at the resort. Universal Studios lets anyone pay a premium to avoid ride lines. High end tour companies are currently offering trips to Dubai that include accommodation and vaccination and which have optional, extra cost, post vaccination desert safaris. Perhaps it is better that we do not hear much about how many people and who are taking advantage of such pricey options. Better that we wait in line virtually for our turn at a jab and properly distance when actually in line at a clinic when we have out appointment. The phrase “we are all in this together” has been used a LOT throughout the pandemic and perhaps it is better if we do not look too closely at examples and situations where things are not really playing out that way. We have enough stress as it is.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. When are people good about waiting in lines and when are they not so good at it?
  2. How are waiting for a place on a Disneyland ride and for a vaccination the same and different Psychologically?
  3. What might government and health officials learn from the research about queuing that could help them managing the Covid-19 vaccine rollout?

References (Read Further):

Larson, R. C. (1987). OR forum—perspectives on queues: Social justice and the psychology of queueing. Operations research, 35(6), 895-905. Link

Belenky, A. S., & Larson, R. C. (2006). To queue or not to queue. OR/MS Today, 33, 30-34. Link

An, L., Machra, M., Moser, A. M., Simonovikj, S., & Larson, R. C. (2019). Queues in service systems: Some unusual applications. In Handbook of Service Science, Volume II (pp. 327-348). Springer, Cham. Link

Alexander, M., MacLaren, A., O’Gorman, K., & White, C. (2012). Priority queues: Where social justice and equity collide. Tourism Management, 33(4), 875-884. Link

LARSON, R. C. (1987). THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OUEUEING. Operations Research, 35(6). Link


Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Depression, Group Processes, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: No matter how you spent the past year I suspect that it was different than the previous 5, 10, or many many more years and that the biggest difference was the nature and extent of your social contacts. Perhaps you got really good at zoom (despite the force personal appearance fixations it can produce); perhaps you spent a lot of time chatting with friends in open spaces at a distance or, more likely on-line using social media; perhaps you ignored the heath guidelines and socialized however you wanted (I hope not); perhaps you enjoyed your solitude; or perhaps you struggled with depression and anxiety related to your isolation. One way or another (well or not so well) you adapted. But think about the term “social distancing” which has been used a lot over the past year and while, yes, it meant keep your distance (6 feet or 2 meters) from others it is also worth reflecting on that 6 feet is NOT a comfortable social distance for social “face-to-face interaction, except, perhaps, in situations where we are concerned that the other person might attach us. Generally, we adapted to the new reality brough on by Covid-related health guidelines. Some of that adaptation was conscious but a lot of it was unconscious (leading to the jumps in anxiety and depression). Now, with vaccination rates ramping up, we are beginning to be able to at least contemplate a return to ….. to what? To normal? How will that go? Well just as we adapted more or less well to our Covid reality we will now adapt more or less well to out new, hopefully post-Covid, reality. We typically do not pay a lot of attention to the nuances and subtleties of in person social interaction but think you a moment about what it will be like to adapt back to a post-covid social reality. What will be easy? What will be hard? What will not pay attention to in our adaptive shift that we perhaps should if we would like to adapt well as opposed to not so well. Once you have your hypotheses in order have a read through the linked article to see if your speculations overlap with those of the author and those shown in research studies.

Source: How will we face the world again? Linda Besner, The Globe and Mail.

Date: March 14, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Christelle PRIEUR from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what do you think? I hope that the thrill of perhaps getting back to something like a state of normality is not dulled by the idea that there will be adaptations required as we move towards that desired future state. Adaptation or actually, social adaptation, is simply a part of the reality of human experience, albeit one that perhaps we do not think about as much as we could or should.  Perhaps now, as we are only just contemplating the upcoming adaptive shift, is a good time to think a bit about how it is going to go or about what we might do to help ourselves see, understand, and more effectively negotiate the social adaptations it will require of us. If we do, celebrating the taming of Covid will be easier and more fun!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What ways have you socially adapted (well or not so well) over the past year?
  2. How do you think your adaptation to a post-covid world will go?
  3. What sorts of things should we anticipate and perhaps work on preparing people for as well all adapt to a post-covid social world?

References (Read Further):

Kwon, J., Grady, C., Feliciano, J. T., & Fodeh, S. J. (2020). Defining facets of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic: twitter analysis. Journal of biomedical informatics, 111, 103601. Link

Marroquín, B., Vine, V., & Morgan, R. (2020). Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Effects of stay-at-home policies, social distancing behavior, and social resources. Psychiatry research, 293, 113419. Link

Tesar, M. (2020). Towards a post-Covid-19 ‘new normality?’: Physical and social distancing, the move to online and higher education. Link

Paremoer, L., Nandi, S., Serag, H., & Baum, F. (2021). Covid-19 pandemic and the social determinants of health. bmj, 372. Link

Akesson, J., Ashworth-Hayes, S., Hahn, R., Metcalfe, R. D., & Rasooly, I. (2020). Fatalism, beliefs, and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic (No. w27245). National Bureau of Economic Research. Link

Saltzman, L. Y., Hansel, T. C., & Bordnick, P. S. (2020). Loneliness, isolation, and social support factors in post-COVID-19 mental health. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Link

Florida, R., Rodriguez-Pose, A., & Storper, M. (2020). Cities in a post-covid world. Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG), 2041. Link


Posted by & filed under Memory, Personality, Research Methods, Social Influence, Social Psychology.

Description: Think about this statement. Extroverts have better memories than Introverts. If you were to find a study (and there is a link below to a description of just such a study) that showed a correlation between scores on the personality dimension of Introversion/Extroversion you could just take the statement at face value (e.g., yes, introverts’ memory ability sucks) but I hope you do not do that. So, if you are not going to take the simple route and move on, think about what else you need to know about the study and about what the searchers did or did not do before you can more productively fire up your speculation over the casual forces at work behind the correlational statement above. Once you have your questions sorted out read the linked article/post to see what the researchers did and what the article’s author suggests about their methods and results.

Source: The Memory Problem That Makes Life Difficult for Introverts, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.

Date: March 13, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Article Link:

One of the biggest problems with the way people outside of Psychology typically interpret their own and others’ Personality profiles is that they assume personality to be fixed as in, if you have a high score on the Introversion Extroversion dimension then you ARE an extrovert. That line of thinking tends to go hand in hand with the sort of simple causal attributions I noted above (e.g., Introverts’ memory sucks). It makes things a lot clearer if we think of personality as the result of a reflective sampling of social behavior or of how the person we are “rating” behaved in social situations that we can recall from the past. Based on this, Personality does provide some predictive utility but not nearly as much utility or accuracy as we sometimes act like we believe it provides. Rather than just taking a score on a personality dimension at face value as marker of an aspect of an individual’s consistent disposition how about if we see it as a reflection of past behavior? That way, when we are shown a correlation between scores on the Introversion/Extroversion dimension we can ask a much more useful hypothesis generating question like: what have Introverts been doing that has contributed to their lower level of memory performance relative to Extroverts AND what sorts of things might they do to change that? Much more useful questions.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the relationship between Introversion/Extroversion and memory?
  2. What kinds of memory are involved in the above?
  3. Does this article and what I have said about it change how YOU think about personliaty?

References (Read Further):

El Haj, M., Allain, P., De Bont, L., & Ndobo, A. (2021). Personality and social memory: High source and destination memory in extroverts. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Link

Allen, M. S., Laborde, S., & Walter, E. E. (2019). Health-related behavior mediates the association between personality and memory performance in older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 38(2), 232-252. Link

Adali, S., & Golbeck, J. (2012, August). Predicting personality with social behavior. In 2012 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (pp. 302-309). IEEE. Link

Paulhus, D. L., & Martin, C. L. (1988). Functional flexibility: A new conception of interpersonal flexibility. Journal of personality and social psychology, 55(1), 88. Link

Hitt, M. A., Keats, B. W., & DeMarie, S. M. (1998). Navigating in the new competitive landscape: Building strategic flexibility and competitive advantage in the 21st century. Academy of Management Perspectives, 12(4), 22-42. Link

Pincus, A. L., & Ansell, E. B. (2003). Interpersonal theory of personality. Handbook of psychology, 209-229. Link

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Group Processes, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: Social psychology often involves examining the social give and take between individuals and at some of the ways that individuals may bias their perceptions or out and out act in their own interest at the expense of other’s outcomes. This work includes things like the Just World Hypothesis (e.g., maybe people who flaunt social distance guidelines and then get sick with Covid deserve what they get) and the Fundamental Attribution Error (e.g., thinking that you are prudently stockpiling toilet paper given early pandemic demand while ithers are recklessly hoarding it because there are heartless and selfish). Have you heard about the prisoner’s dilemma game? If not, you have likely seen a version of it portrayed in a television show or film involving police procedures. Two prisoners are arrested on bit of evidence connecting them to a crime. The evidence is not enough to convict them and so they are placed in separate interrogation rooms and placed in a version of the prisoners’ dilemma. Separately, they are asked if they will confess to their crime and implicate their partner in crime. The deal on the table is this: if one of them confesses and implicates the other while the other remains silent then the one who confesses goes free and the silent one gets 20 years. If they both confess, they get 5 years each and it neither of them confess they each get 1 year based on a lesser charge supported by the minimal evidence in hand. You can see the research possibilities, right? A dilemma bult around issues of individual versus shared considerations and outcomes; is it You Are On Your Own (YOYO) or W are In This Together (WITT). So, the arrival of Covid vaccines has created a sort of dilemma. Will we act based on YOYO or WITT? Certainly, there are broad differences of privilege and means. Some can afford to fly to Dubai and pay for a shot, some can fly to a remote northern community and pretend to be locals to get a shot, and some are elderly and confined to care homes or unsophisticated in matters of navigating online booking systems over overloaded phone booking systems. How do you think we are doing in our current vaccine dilemma (NOT a game)? What might social psychological research tell us about the grade we or our governments and health systems deserve so far in dealing with this dilemma? Give it some thought and then read the article linked below and maybe have a look at a couple of the further reading links to see what other think about this matter.

Source: The vaccine game: Baffling rules, surprise winners, Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail.

Date: March 12, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay

Article Link:

A full answer to the questions posed by the Covid-vaccine rollout dilemma will have to wait for more time and more data but it is encouraging so far. Unlike Russia which put its “unproductive” seniors at the back of the vaccination line, Canada put its elderly up front along with others at higher risk (remote indigenous communities, health care workers, food store workers, meat packing plant employees, etc. As well, those who jumped to the front, or who ignored requests to avoid offshore travel for recreational purposes, were quickly and seriously shamed (even fired). While we might hope that public health would be one area where a WIFF approach trumps a YOYO approach a lot of social psychological research shows us that it is often the other way around. Let us hope we WIFF the rest of our efforts to curtail the Covid virus!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the prisoners’ dilemma game and how is it set up?
  2. How would you, ethically, set up a version of the Prisoners’ Dilemma (PD) game to use in a social psychology study (hint – you could vary monetary rewards as opposed to jail time)?
  3. How are the PD game and the current vaccine rollout similar?

References (Read Further):

Szolnoki, A., Perc, M., & Danku, Z. (2008). Making new connections towards cooperation in the prisoner’s dilemma game. EPL (Europhysics Letters), 84(5), 50007. Link

Perc, M., & Szolnoki, A. (2008). Social diversity and promotion of cooperation in the spatial prisoner’s dilemma game. Physical Review E, 77(1), 01190 Link

McNamara, J. M., Barta, Z., & Houston, A. I. (2004). Variation in behaviour promotes cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. Nature, 428(6984), 745-748. Link

Johnson, T., Dawes, C., Fowler, J., & Smirnov, O. (2020). Slowing COVID-19 transmission as a social dilemma: Lessons for government officials from interdisciplinary research on cooperation. Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 3(1). Link

Busby, J. W. (2020). Understanding the anemic global response to COVID-19. Journal of health politics, policy and law, 45(6), 1013-1021. Link

Columbus, S. (2021). Honesty-Humility, beliefs, and prosocial behaviour: A test on stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collabra: Psychology, 7(1). Link

Emmanuel, A. R. I. S. (2020). Do we experience a prisoner’s dilemma when choosing to wear a face mask?. Authorea Preprints. Link

Karlsson, C. J., & Rowlett, J. (2020). Decisions and disease: a mechanism for the evolution of cooperation. Scientific reports, 10(1), 1-9. Link

Bollyky, T. J., & Bown, C. P. (2020). The tragedy of vaccine nationalism: Only cooperation can end the pandemic. Foreign Aff., 99, 96. Link

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Description: Research ethics in place around psychological studies require that participants be asked for and provide informed consent before they take part in the study. What would you say it mean to provide informed consent? How does this sound? Participants should be provided with a reasonable description of what their participation in the study will include before they are asked in their consent to participate in the study. Sounds reasonable right? How about studies that are going to involve deception, like one’s in which the experimenter is going to give participants false feedback about how they did on an opening test in order to manipulate their mood by telling them did very well or very poorly on the test (when the test was not actually even scored). Would such a study violate the ethical principle of informed consent? Should such studies be allowed, ethically, to proceed? Now how about a real-world example, from the article linked below. Ellen and Frank meet in a night course and have drink a few times after. As the drinks start to feel more like dates Ellen asks Frank if he is married and makes it very clear that she will not participate in adultery.  Frank lies and says he is single when, in fact he is married, and they sleep together. Is Frank guilty of rape (non-consensual sex)? Ellen gave consent to sex, but it was not really informed consent was it? According to law, Frank is not guilty of a crime. What do you make of that and what other situations also skate a bit around the issue of how consent is defined? Think about other possible situations and then read the article linked below for a research-based discussion.

Source: You Were Duped into Saying Yes. Is that Still Consent? Roseanna Sommers, The New York Times.

Date: March 5, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, were you surprised by the results of the research reported upon in the article? Most respondents were only concerned when there was coercion or threats used to obtain sex (and therefore with no consent). Certainly, most people would say at a relationship level that Ellen has powerful reasons for being very angry with Frank but under the law Frank is not chargeable even though Ellen’s consent was not fully informed. The research also shows that this is not simply a legal issue as the majority of participants believed that Ellen’s consent was not vacated by Frank’s lie. That, along with the other examples make for some fascinating opportunities for reflection on the laws and social interaction. Interestingly the ethical work around for actually using, rather than just asking about, deception in a psychology study involves first showing that there is no other way to get the desired data without deception; second, a good argument as to why getting the data is important enough to offset the use of deception and; third, that supports must be made available to participants who are upset or otherwise disoriented by the deception once it is revealed after the participation sessions end the participant is informed at that point of the deception. I am not sure how this makes me think and feel about deception in research (especially when you see that some are wondering is the use of placeboes in double blind studies is a form of deception), though, it has certainly got me thinking about the lack of consequences for uninformed consent issues in relationships like that of Ellen and Frank.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is informed consent and what does it involve in psychological research ethics?
  2. Is the use of deception in psychological research studies something that should be permitted under special circumstances? And if so, what might those circumstances be?
  3. Do you think changes need to be made to our legal definitions of consent across the situations assessed in the search? Why or why not?

References (Read Further):

Sommers, R. (2019). Commonsense consent. Yale LJ, 129, 2232. Link

Eyal, N. (2014). Using informed consent to save trust. Journal of medical ethics, 40(7), 437-444. Link

Beins, B. C. (1993). Using the Barnum effect to teach about ethics and deception in research. Teaching of Psychology, 20(1), 33-35. Link

Miller, F. G., Wendler, D., & Swartzman, L. C. (2005). Deception in research on the placebo effect. PLoS Med, 2(9), e262. Link

Boynton, M. H., Portnoy, D. B., & Johnson, B. T. (2013). Exploring the ethics and psychological impact of deception in psychological research. IRB, 35(2), 7. Link

Athanassoulis, N., & Wilson, J. (2009). When is deception in research ethical?. Clinical Ethics, 4(1), 44-49. Link

Smith, D. (2003). Five principles for research ethics. Monitor on psychology, 34(1), 56. Link

Massoumi, N., Mills, T., & Miller, D. (2020). Secrecy, coercion and deception in research on ‘terrorism’and ‘extremism’. Contemporary Social Science, 15(2), 134-152. Link


Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Description: A lot of people are not doing very well these days, and this was true even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. We can certainly see that the levels of stress, anxiety and uncertainty in the general population and among young, emerging adults in particular are sky high. Given this I do not imagine that you think it would help to start telling people to just cheer up. However, it may seem like that is what is being suggested when we turn for advice to Laurie Santos at Yale University researcher who studies Happiness and ask her for advice. The study of happiness, however, is not fluffy, cheer up, stuff but is, instead, one of the centerpieces of the rapidly expanding research area known as Positive Psychology. What Laurie Santos has to say about her own and other research can be very helpful these days and, if the interview linked below is not enough then use the link down in the Referenced – Read Further section that you can use to access and take her Yale online course on the subject, for free, a well proceed and timely opportunity.

Source: Laurie Santos: Can we learn how to be happy? Interview with Stephen Sackur,

Date: January 30, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by 5688709 from Pixabay

Article Link: Scroll down to the Feb 3 video image and click to play audio interview

Happiness science is a central part of Positive Psychology and the research it has produced over the past 30 years is quite informative and in increasingly offering a lot that we can think about and try as ways of pushing back against the stress, anxiety and uncertainties of life these days. Interested? Check out the course!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What good might come of being somewhat grumpy or somewhat angry more of the time?
  2. What might some of the limitations of all the time positivity be?
  3. What might a balance of positivity and grumpiness look like? How might we manage the balance (and know how to make adjustments to it)?

References (Read Further):

The Science of Wellbeing (The course with Laurie Santos)

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2012). World happiness report [2012]. Link

Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2005). Happiness research: State and prospects. Review of social economy, 63(2), 207-228. Link

Oishi, S., & Gilbert, E. A. (2016). Current and future directions in culture and happiness research. Current Opinion in Psychology, 8, 54-58. Link

Frawley, A. (2015). Happiness research: A review of critiques. Sociology Compass, 9(1), 62-77. Link

Brockmann, H., & Delhey, J. (2010). Introduction: The dynamics of happiness and the dynamics of happiness research. Social Indicators Research, 97(1), 1-5. Link

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Attitude Formation Change, Personality, Persuasion, Social Psychology.

Description: What sorts of people resist Covid-19 related health guidelines such as mask wearing, the use of hand sanitizer when entering public spaces and limits of social gatherings? Ok, Ok, I suspect you may have a few choice words to use in your response to that question but hang on a moment. Understanding more about people who are not inclined to follow public health guidelines during our current pandemic, rather than writing them off with a stream of negative descriptors, could be an important part of coming up with more effective ways to increase compliance with public health guidelines and thus reduce the impact of the current (and future) pandemic(s). Psychology researchers have started to look at this question. Would it surprise you to hear that one of the points of focus in this research is the concept or the subjective dimension of entitlement? That word gets tossed around a lot these days in the media but pause for a moment and think about what it might involve and an individual difference dimension. What would it involve? How would it influence how people react and response to Covid-19 public health guidelines and how might a better understanding of what entitlement involves help us improve overall compliance with public health guidelines? Once you have your hypotheses sorted out have a read through the two articles linked below that discuss recent Psychological research into entitlement and Covid-19 related public health guideline compliance (or the lack thereof).

Source: Psychological entitlement products non-compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines, study finds, Eric Dolan, PsyPost. And Psychological entitlement linked to defiance of COVID-19 rules via perceptions of unfairness, study finds, Eric Dolan, PsyPost.

Date: March 1, 2021

Photo Credit:  Photo by Skylar Kang from Pexels

Article Link:


So, how does the basic definition of entitlement work for you? “A personality characteristic whereby an individual feels more deserving of positive outcomes than other people.” Perhaps that feels a bit to reductionistic, by which I mean that like the old research on instincts it may not be helpful to name a new instinct, or in this case, a new personality dimension, to explain any observed patterns of social behavior. This may be true but, consider the piles of research on the Just World hypothesis that is built on the research documented tendency for us to hold tightly to the idea that bad things happen to bad people and as such bad things will not happen to us (good people). It is a small step from that mindset to the more individually focused concept of entitlement and the ways it may be seen to play out for individuals in the context of the set of global threats that make up the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps entitled behavior is primarily self-defensive behavior. Though it is not simple as noted by the researchers who found that telling people high on entitlement that they could reduce their risk by complying with public health guidelines. An interesting and important problem to ponder as the pandemic is not over and who know when there might be another and behavior that seem to reflect entitlement will not go away by themselves.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is entitlement and how do we recognize it when we see or hear it socially?
  2. How do high levels on entitlement influence people’s observance of public health guidelines?
  3. What sorts of interventions or approaches might reduce the influence of entitlement and increase adherence with public health guidelines? Are there things that could be done at a general social level rather than trying to find and change entitled individuals>

References (Read Further):

Zitek, E. M., & Schlund, R. J. (2020). Psychological entitlement predicts noncompliance with the health guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personality and individual differences, 110491. Link

Li, H. (2021). Follow or not follow?: The relationship between psychological entitlement and compliance with preventive measures to the COVID-19. Personality and Individual Differences, 174, 110678. Link

Kittel, B., Kalleitner, F., & Schiestl, D. W. (2021). Avoiding a public health dilemma: Social norms and trust facilitate preventive behaviour if individuals perceive low COVID-19 health risks. Link

Lee, A., Schwarz, G., Newman, A., & Legood, A. (2019). Investigating when and why psychological entitlement predicts unethical pro-organizational behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 154(1), 109-126. Link

Lange, J., Redford, L., & Crusius, J. (2019). A status-seeking account of psychological entitlement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(7), 1113-1128. Link

Hart, W., Tortoriello, G. K., & Richardson, K. (2019). Deprived and grandiose explanations for psychological entitlement: Implications for theory and measurement. Journal of personality assessment. Link

Zitek, E. M., & Jordan, A. H. (2019). Psychological entitlement predicts failure to follow instructions. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(2), 172-180. Link

Holderness Jr, D. K., Olsen, K. J., & Thornock, T. A. (2017). Who are you to tell me that?! The moderating effect of performance feedback source and psychological entitlement on individual performance. Journal of Management Accounting Research, 29(2), 33-46. Link

Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Language-Thought, Learning, Memory.

Description: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (both psychologists) won the Nobel Prize in economics for their work on biases in human decision making in 2002. More recently, Kahneman wrote a book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow in which he describes, in detail, the different systems we use when we are thinking quickly and “instinctively” as opposed to when we are thinking more slowly, purposefully and hopefully rationally. There IS survival value in fast thinking. If a bear comes crashing out of the bush and charging at you it is much better to react quickly and to not waste time reflecting on what type of bear it is or on what the Parks Canada bears country guide might have suggested. So, can you come up with a hypothesis as to why Kahneman’s book is considered required reading (and re-reading) by members of the management and office staff of a number of major league baseball teams? Think about why that might be and then have a read through the article linked below to see what several people who work for major league teams have to say.

Source: This Book is Not About Baseball, But Baseball Teams Swear by It, Joe Lemire, The New York Times.

Date: February 24, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Article Link:

Have you seen the Clint Eastwood film “Trouble with the Curve?” One of the story lines focuses on the tensions between the “old” ways of scouting baseball prospects by going and watching them play and the “new way” of looking closely and only at prospects’ numbers, their playing statistics. In the film (spoiler alert, but not surprisingly) the old ways do a lot better, at least in the case of the prospect that the film focusses on, the one who has trouble hitting curve balls. In contrast with message of the film, the application of Kahneman and Tversky’s work to the task of selecting prospects in baseball suggests that the challenge can actually be to get past what your eyes are telling you about what a prospect looks like and pay attention to the data you have in hand. If you would like to further explore this approach to baseball team building read Michael Lewis’ book Money Ball.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do mistakes in prosect selection or ordering in Major League Baseball tell us about human cognition?
  2. What does Kahneman’s work and book suggest is the fix for the selection errors or mistakes noted in the previous question?
  3. Does this approach take some of the fun out of baseball or does it actually support merit and diversity among players/prospects?

References (Read Further):

Daniel, K. (2017). Thinking, fast and slow. Link (to whole book)

Gines, S. (2017). Tastes for true talent: How professional baseball scouts define talent and decide who gets to play. Link

Danovitch, J. (2019). Trouble with the Curve: Predicting Future MLB Players Using Scouting Reports. arXiv preprint arXiv:1910.12622. Link

Weller, E. (2020). The Data Revolution: An Examination of the Use of Scouting and Analytics in Major League Baseball Front Offices. Link

Guenter, R. (2018). Exploring the ‘Intangible Player Characteristics’ that Junior Hockey Scouts Consider when Evaluating Draft-Eligible Prospects. Link

Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Health and Prevention In Aging, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Memory, Neuroscience, Physical Changes In Aging, Physiology, Research Methods.

Description: When I first started teaching introductory psychology a few decades ago I used to tell students that they had most of the largest number of brain neurons they would ever have at the time they were born. After their birth the number of brain cells dropped due to things like attrition and pruning (neurons that do not get recruited into networks die off). I would usually add that alcohol kills brain cells and so they should perhaps be careful about how much they drank as they were not growing any new brain cells. I stopped offering that particular lecture segment a few years in for two reasons. First, I found and added to my social psychology lectures a section on the powerful positive effect of providing baseline information to students on drinking rates. Students with problem levels of drinking tend to think other students drink as much or more than they do but if you show them the actual data indicating that most students drink less than them, they cut back on their drinking. So, I no longer needed the “drink responsibly” tweak in the section on the brain. Second, I started to run across research talking about the few areas in the brain where new brain cells are generated throughout life. This is particularly true in the hippocampus where it is thought that the ongoing generation of new cells (by the action od stem cells) may play a central role in memory. So, saying one has all the brain cells one is every going to get at birth is not entirely true. If the generation of new cells is important to memory, then might the decline in the rate of that generation associated with aging might be of concern? If so, then if would important if it turned out that there was an identifiable mechanism that drives stem cells to generate brain cells especially if we were to figure out how to limit the decline of that function with age. Have a rad through the article linked below to se how far along researchers are in this important line in enquiry.

Source: Reactivating aging stem cells in the brain, ScienceDaily.

Date: February 24, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, it may not be very long before a lamin B1 treatment or perhaps even a lamin B1 supplement could be generally available. Of course, we have quite way to go to get from the mouse-based research results in the linked study to human treatments, but it is very encouraging that we now seem to have some clear ideas about a treatment vector that may be quite useful. Yes, more research is needed but the list of memory linked neuro degenerative conditions and diseases is long and daunting and the results discussed in the linked article are intriguing and encouraging, with further research and developments well worth following.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are stem cells and what do they do in the brain?
  2. Why might the generation of new neurons in the areas of the brain associated with memory be important to memory processes?
  3. What are some of the steps that will need to be taken if we are to move the results of the research discussed in the linked article in the direction of helping those (humans) with degenerative memory related disorders and conditions?

References (Read Further):

bin Imtiaz, M. K., Jaeger, B. N., Bottes, S., Machado, R. A., Vidmar, M., Moore, D. L., & Jessberger, S. (2021). Declining lamin B1 expression mediates age-dependent decreases of hippocampal stem cell activity. Cell Stem Cell. Abstract Link

Gattinoni, L., Speiser, D. E., Lichterfeld, M., & Bonini, C. (2017). T memory stem cells in health and disease. Nature medicine, 23(1), 18-27. Link

Yu, D. X., Di Giorgio, F. P., Yao, J., Marchetto, M. C., Brennand, K., Wright, R., … & Gage, F. H. (2014). Modeling hippocampal neurogenesis using human pluripotent stem cells. Stem cell reports, 2(3), 295-310. Link

Bonaguidi, M. A., Song, J., Ming, G. L., & Song, H. (2012). A unifying hypothesis on mammalian neural stem cell properties in the adult hippocampus. Current opinion in neurobiology, 22(5), 754-761. Link

Lewis, M. A., & Neighbors, C. (2006). Social norms approaches using descriptive drinking norms education: A review of the research on personalized normative feedback. Journal of American College Health, 54(4), 213-218. Link

Neighbors, C., Larimer, M. E., & Lewis, M. A. (2004). Targeting misperceptions of descriptive drinking norms: efficacy of a computer-delivered personalized normative feedback intervention. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 72(3), 434. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Try this statement on for size. The way we think, the way we focus our attention, the way we organize and reflect upon our thoughts are, in large part, best thought of as adaptations to the world we are living in (the physical AND the social world). Does that make sense? OK, now, how much of the way we think, then, is due to the world or typical daily environment we find ourselves in? I suspect you might only be prepared to say something like “well maybe a little bit” because we like to think we are in charge of our thinking (at least as adults), right? How might we test the strength of this “I am in charge” assertion? Well, how about instigating a seismic shift in our environments, in the world we subjectively experience and reflect upon? That would not be ethical you say? Well, that is what you should say! However, the current Covid-19 pandemic has no ethics and it has significantly changed the world we are experiencing day-to-day and while we would like to think that we are able to “see” and factor those changes into our thought processes we are actually experiencing a great deal of uncertainty (unknowns) and those can trigger anxiety and hypervigilance without our being aware of the triggers themselves (because they are uncertain and unknowns). What do we do in such situations? We search for distractors, we miss the “noise” of our previous typical, “normal” day-to-day lives and we do NOT spend much if any time simply being with, reflecting upon, pour thoughts. Quite a natural experiment and quite a test of our ability or distinct lack of ability to be mindful. What sort of data is your personal experience with your thoughts and your stress and anxiety so far within the new day-to-day world of the pandemic? How mindful are you? Think about this for a moment and then read the article linked below for a first person case study account of these matters as well as consideration of what it suggests about our mindfulness these days.

Source: The pandemic is worsening negative thought patterns, but with mindfulness we can help the mind help itself, Aileen Lalor, The Globe and Mail.

Date: February 26, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did your inventory of your mental activities these days go? Do you think you need to do some work on mindfulness and would doing so help you adapt more effectively to your subjective world as it is today? From the times decades ago where we were all being told we needed to learn how to and to practice multitasking in order to adapt to the increasing busy and changing world we were living in then we are now being told that it might be a good idea to find some ways to mentally back away from the “noise” of our day-to-day lives these days. Mindfulness has never been more important. Find some time and quiet space and be with your thoughts for a bit on a regular basis. It will put you more in charge of your thoughts and, through that, more in charge of the anxieties and uncertainties that you likely have more of today than you are really fully aware of.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How aware of your day-to-day patterns of thought (how mindful are you)?
  2. What are some things that you noticed that you are doing that are similar to those busy making things the article’s author noted in her own experience?
  3. What role can mindfulness practice play in how we adapt to the day-to-day or subjective world around us these days and into the future?

References (Read Further):

Bos, Julie (2020) Soaring Screen Time, Vision Monday, Link

Gotink, R. A., Meijboom, R., Vernooij, M. W., Smits, M., & Hunink, M. M. (2016). 8-week mindfulness based stress reduction induces brain changes similar to traditional long-term meditation practice–a systematic review. Brain and cognition, 108, 32-41. Link

Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83. Link

Hunt, M. G., Marx, R., Lipson, C., & Young, J. (2018). No more FOMO: Limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 37(10), 751-768. Link

Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127. Link

Donald, J. N., Sahdra, B. K., Van Zanden, B., Duineveld, J. J., Atkins, P. W., Marshall, S. L., & Ciarrochi, J. (2019). Does your mindfulness benefit others? A systematic review and meta‐analysis of the link between mindfulness and prosocial behaviour. British Journal of Psychology, 110(1), 101-125. Link

Baer, R., Crane, C., Miller, E., & Kuyken, W. (2019). Doing no harm in mindfulness-based programs: conceptual issues and empirical findings. Clinical psychology review, 71, 101-114. Link

Britton, W. B. (2019). Can mindfulness be too much of a good thing? The value of a middle way. Current opinion in psychology, 28, 159-165. Link