Posted by & filed under Legal Ethical Issues, Memory, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: Sometimes an individual who has confessed to a crime recants or withdraws their confession. What comes to mind when you read that sentence? Knowing nothing else about an individual case, what would you estimate is the likelihood that the person recanting a confession is actually guilty of what they origin ally confessed to? Now consider this fact. Police in the United States and Canada (where the practice if frowned upon) are allowed to lie to possible suspects while they are interrogating them. To what extent might police interrogators lying to a possible subject who then pled guilty change your original answer to the “what comes to mind” question I asked above? Think about that and then read through the article linked below to see what sorts of considerations and research might be involved in trying to sort out these question.

Source: It’s Time for Police to Stop Lying to Suspects, Saul Kassin, The New York Times.

Date: January 29, 2021

Photo Credit:  Photo by Martin Lopez from Pexels

Article Link:

It is hard to wrap one’s head around the circumstances under which an individual might end up confessing to a crime they did not commit. The role that explicit lies by their interrogators might play in their confessions is hard to sort out. Clearly being presented with false incriminating information plays a strong role as reflected by the American Psychological Association’s and a large group of confession experts stated opinions against such police behavior reflects. It is important to note that these positions include the statement that such police behavior can alter a suspect’s memory for the events in question. It is not that they give up and go along with the lies of their interrogators but rather that they come to think that they remember doing things they did not do. IT would seem that in Canada we should perhaps do more than frown upon such police behavior during interrogations and the United States should consider moving well away from condoning such actions. The research data support such changes.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might a suspect confess to a crime they did not commit?
  2. What role might interrogators’ lying about evidence implicating a possible suspect play in that suspect possibly confessing to a crime they did not commit?
  3. How might it be that some of those who confess to crimes they did not commit actually “remember” that committed the crimes?

References (Read Further):

Kassin, S. M., Drizin, S. A., Grisso, T., Gudjonsson, G. H., Leo, R. A., & Redlich, A. D. (2010). Police-induced confessions: Risk factors and recommendations. Law and human behavior, 34(1), 3-38. Link

Gudjonsson, G. H., & Pearse, J. (2011). Suspect interviews and false confessions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(1), 33-37. Link

APA (2014) Resolution on Interrogations of Criminal Suspects. Link

Kassin, S. M., Redlich, A. D., Alceste, F., & Luke, T. J. (2018). On the general acceptance of confessions research: Opinions of the scientific community. American Psychologist, 73(1), 63. Link

Stewart, J. M., Woody, W. D., & Pulos, S. (2018). The prevalence of false confessions in experimental laboratory simulations: A meta‐analysis. Behavioral sciences & the law, 36(1), 12-31. Link

Gubi-Kelm, S., Grolig, T., Strobel, B., Ohlig, S., & Schmidt, A. F. (2020). When do false accusations lead to false confessions? Preliminary evidence for a potentially overlooked alternative explanation. Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 20(2), 114-133. Link

Vick, K., Cook, K. J., & Rogers, M. (2020). Lethal leverage: false confessions, false pleas, and wrongful homicide convictions in death-eligible cases. Contemporary Justice Review, 1-19. Link

Paton, W., Bain, S. A., Gozna, L., Gilchrist, E., Heim, D., Gardner, E., … & Fischer, R. (2018). The combined effects of questioning technique and interviewer manner on false confessions. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 15(3), 335-349. Link

Bernhard, P. A., & Miller, R. S. (2018). Juror perceptions of false confessions versus witness recantations. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 25(4), 539-549. Link


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

Description: How important and how valuable in terms of long-term wellbeing are mindfulness and positivity? Well, if you have been paying just half-attention to well-ness buzz in the media in recent years you will probably say that positivity and mindfulness are two of the corner stones of success and wellbeing. I don’t really want to talk you out of that view if you hold to it as that would be a nasty thing to do but how about this question? Can you think of situations or circumstances where version of grumpiness and angriness might actually be good for you? And might there be ways in which having grumpiness and angriness (or perhaps surliness) might be good for you? Intrigued? Have a read through the article linked below to see what quite a bit of Psychological research has to say about all of these questions.

Source: Why it Pays to Be Grumpy and Bad-Tempered, Zaria Gorvett, BBC Future.

Date: January 30, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay

Article Link:

The research talked about in the linked article mirrors other work on the personality dimension of Agreeableness. We might naturally think that being agreeable would be a good trait to have. It would make us easier to get along with, wouldn’t it? Sure, but perhaps there is a line between agreeable and gullible. Being less agreeable means that you are more likely to think critically about claims others make and, perhaps, be more likely to think things through and make you own decision. That is very much like the research on grumpiness. It suggests that a little anger here and there provides better outcomes for us and a singular focus on positivity contributes to binge drinking, overeating, and unsafe sex. So, perhaps in stead of sorting emotions into bad and good or negative and positive piles we should pay a bit closer attention to what ALL emotions or personality traits might do for us, including grumpiness.

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):

Sinaceur, M., Van Kleef, G. A., Neale, M. A., Adam, H., & Haag, C. (2011). Hot or cold: Is communicating anger or threats more effective in negotiation?. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(5), 1018. Link

Neff, L. A., & Geers, A. L. (2013). Optimistic expectations in early marriage: A resource or vulnerability for adaptive relationship functioning?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(1), 38. Link

Henley, A., Dawson, C. G., de Meza, D., & Arabsheibani, G. R. (2015). The Power of (Non) Positive Thinking: Self-Employed Pessimists Earn More than Optimists. Link

Lang, F. R., Weiss, D., Gerstorf, D., & Wagner, G. G. (2013). Forecasting life satisfaction across adulthood: Benefits of seeing a dark future?. Psychology and Aging, 28(1), 249. Link

Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good. Perspectives on psychological science, 6(3), 222-233. Link

Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K., & Nijstad, B. A. (2011). Creative production by angry people peaks early on, decreases over time, and is relatively unstructured. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(6), 1107-1115. Link

Sell, A., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2014). The human anger face evolved to enhance cues of strength. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35(5), 425-429. Link

Judge, T. A., Livingston, B. A., & Hurst, C. (2012). Do nice guys—and gals—really finish last? The joint effects of sex and agreeableness on income. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(2), 390. Link


Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Health Psychology, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: If you have taken an introductory Psychology course that included a section on stress you may be aware that ongoing stress can have a negative impact upon your immune system. Those with sustained moderate to high levels of stress are at increased risk for things ranging from colds to cancer as a result of the stress-linked reductions in the functioning of their immune systems. An obvious Covid related issue is that those who are stressed may be at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and at risk for a more serious case as well. While it is not like we need anything more to worry about these days think for a moment about the possible relationship between levels of stress and the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine(s) now that the vaccines are slowly rolling out and people are getting their “jabs” (as the British call them). So as not to just be adding to our stress, also take a moment and thinks about what sort of intervention(s) might be mounted in order to try and reduce the negative influence of stress on vaccine efficacy. Once you have your thoughts in order have a read through the article linked below to se what some Psychological researchers looked at and what their results suggest (positively) in this area.

Source: Depression and Stress Could Dampen Efficacy off COVID-19 Vaccines: Interventions and Health Behavior Changes Could Boost Immunity, Association for Psychological Science.

Date: January 13, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, as scary as the possibility that stress reduces vaccine efficacy, or more specifically, reduces the immune response of our immune systems to virus targeted by the vaccine can be it is a great relief to see that simple things like a vigorous work out and a good night’s sleep in the 24 hours before getting the jab can significantly reduce the negative impact of stress on our immune systems reaction to the vaccine. It is a useful reminder that while we tend to think of stress as a subjective or psychological phenomenon we cope with its effects much more successfully when we focus in on the physiological aspects of our stress response and realize the exercise and getting a good night’s sleep can significantly reduce the impact that stress has upon us.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does stress effect out immune response?
  2. How might stress impact the efficacy of vaccines?
  3. What sorts of interventions reduce the potential negative impacts of tress on our immune system responses to Covid vaccines and how might we set up and implement such interventions at the population (public health) level?

References (Read Further):

Madison, A., Shrout, M. R., Renna, M. E., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. Psychological and Behavioral Predictors of Vaccine Efficacy: Considerations for COVID-19. Perspectives on Psychological Science. Link

Glaser, R., Sheridan, J., Malarkey, W. B., MacCallum, R. C., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2000). Chronic stress modulates the immune response to a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. Psychosomatic medicine, 62(6), 804-807. Link

Reiche, E. M. V., Nunes, S. O. V., & Morimoto, H. K. (2004). Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. The lancet oncology, 5(10), 617-625. Link

Arora, S., & Bhattacharjee, J. (2008). Modulation of immune responses in stress by Yoga. International journal of yoga, 1(2), 45. Link

Antoni, M. H., & Dhabhar, F. S. (2019). The impact of psychosocial stress and stress management on immune responses in patients with cancer. Cancer, 125(9), 1417-1431. Link

Schakel, L., Veldhuijzen, D. S., Crompvoets, P. I., Bosch, J. A., Cohen, S., van Middendorp, H., … & Evers, A. W. (2019). Effectiveness of stress-reducing interventions on the response to challenges to the immune system: a meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 88(5), 274-286. Link

Morey, J. N., Boggero, I. A., Scott, A. B., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2015). Current directions in stress and human immune function. Current opinion in psychology, 5, 13-17. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Health Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Families and Peers, Genetics: The Biological Context of Development, Human Development, Neuroscience, Sensory-Perceptual Development, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: You have likely heard about the research looking at the longer term imp0acts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) on later development and functioning as children grow into adulthood. In has supported and spurred on an ongoing push for early intervention with at-risk families in an effort to minimize the existence of or to mitigate the impact of ACE’s on later development. Such programs (e.g., Home Visitation, Head Start etc.) have been shown to be effective in this regard and Head Start, in particular, has been shown to produce a 7 to 1 cost/benefit ratio (for every dollar spent on Head Start programming 7 dollars are saved in longer term social costs (e.g., welfare, underemployment, criminal justice etc.). Assuming that these social “corrections” for ACE’s are effective with a group of individuals should we be at all concerned about how the children go on to have when they reach adulthood will do? Think about that for a moment or two and include in your thoughts how the neurodevelopment of the next generation children might proceed and then read through the linked article. I suspect you will be surprised by the reported results.

Source: Childhood neglect leaves generational imprint. ScienceDaily.

Date: January 19, 2021

Photo Credit:  Tama66 at Pixabay

Article Link:

The difficulty with brain focused work like this is that while it can point to differences in the brains of 1-month-olds, in this case finding stronger functional connections between the amygdala and cortical regions in infants of mothers who experienced neglect as infants it does not provide clear indications as to why this might be the case. To their credit the researchers suggest the possibility that such structures could contribute to resilience if needed. As to causal hypotheses, perhaps the mothers’ adaptation to their own past experience created a prenatal environment for their own children and contributed to the observed differences. The closing statement that longitudinal research is needed to sort this out more definitively is well stated.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might a mother’s own ACE’s influence the early (even pre-natal) development of their own infants?
  2. What do the results of the research discussed in the linked article suggest about the research into early intervention programming?
  3. What might we do to improve our responses and our interventions to ACE’s in light of the research discussed in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Hendrix, C. L., Dilks, D. D., McKenna, B. G., Dunlop, A. L., Corwin, E. J., & Brennan, P. A. (2020). Maternal childhood adversity associates with frontoamygdala connectivity in neonates. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Abstract Link

Burke, N. J., Hellman, J. L., Scott, B. G., Weems, C. F., & Carrion, V. G. (2011). The impact of adverse childhood experiences on an urban pediatric population. Child abuse & neglect, 35(6), 408-413. Link

Finkelhor, D. (2018). Screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs): Cautions and suggestions. Child abuse & neglect, 85, 174-179. Link

Felitti, V. J. (2009). Adverse childhood experiences and adult health. Academic pediatrics, 9(3), 131. Link

Brown, D. W., Anda, R. F., Tiemeier, H., Felitti, V. J., Edwards, V. J., Croft, J. B., & Giles, W. H. (2009). Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of premature mortality. American journal of preventive medicine, 37(5), 389-396. Link

Hughes, K., Bellis, M. A., Hardcastle, K. A., Sethi, D., Butchart, A., Mikton, C., … & Dunne, M. P. (2017). The effect of multiple adverse childhood experiences on health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health, 2(8), e356-e366. Link

Garces, E., Thomas, D., & Currie, J. (2002). Longer-term effects of Head Start. American economic review, 92(4), 999-1012. Link

Reynolds, A. J., Temple, J. A., Robertson, D. L., & Mann, E. A. (2002). Age 21 cost-benefit analysis of the Title I Chicago child-parent centers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(4), 267-303. Link

Ludwig, J., & Phillips, D. A. (2007). The benefits and costs of Head Start (No. w12973). National Bureau of Economic Research. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Depression, General Psychology, Health Psychology, mental illness, Motivation-Emotion, Prevention, Psychological Intervention, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: When we look back on the year or two (or whatever it finally turns out to be) of the Covid-19 pandemic what do you think we will find happened to the suicide rate during the pandemic? If the rate increased significantly why might that have occurred? What factors were (are) involved? The study of suicide is incredibly difficult. It is a rare event and most contributing factors we can identify are either solely correlational (e.g., being an indigenous youth) or apply to such a large number of people who do NOT consider or act in suicidal ways that they are not particularly informative or useful. So, think for a moment about what you would predict we will find looking back at the Covid months in terms of suicide rates and suicidal behavior and think a bit about why there might be a change (if you think there will be one (hint, there very likely WILL be) and then have a read through the linked article for a Psychological consideration of thee questions.

Source: Will the Pandemic Result in More Suicides? Kim Tingley, The New York Times

Date: January 21, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Anja🤗#helpinghands #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay

Article Link:

The distinction between predictive (correlational) factors and causal factors is important in general but is crucially important if we are to figure out why people attempt suicide and how we might help them not do so. Covid-related data might give us some insight into this question but as we wait it is vital to heed the suggestions offered as to what we can do in the meantime. Asking someone if they have or are considering suicide DOES NOT nudge them towards doing so and it can, in fact, open a line of communication and support that could well reduce the likelihood that they will act on such thoughts if they are having them. So, ask, if you are concerned and offer support even if it is just to help someone make a call to a suicide prevention hotline or distress center. Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566), Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. For an internationalist of suicide crisis lines visit .

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is it difficult to conduct informative (useful) research into the factors associated with suicide?
  2. What is the difference between a predictive and a causal factor when trying to sort of the questions associated with why people commit suicide?
  3. What might we learn about suicide by studying it during these times of COVID-19?

References (Read Further):

Franklin, J. C., Ribeiro, J. D., Fox, K. R., Bentley, K. H., Kleiman, E. M., Huang, X., … & Nock, M. K. (2017). Risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors: a meta-analysis of 50 years of research. Psychological bulletin, 143(2), 187. Link

Fox, K. R., Huang, X., Guzmán, E. M., Funsch, K. M., Cha, C. B., Ribeiro, J. D., & Franklin, J. C. (2020). Interventions for suicide and self-injury: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials across nearly 50 years of research. Psychological bulletin. Link

Bridge, J. A., Horowitz, L. M., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., Greenhouse, J., Kelleher, K. J., & Campo, J. V. (2018). Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 through 2015. JAMA pediatrics, 172(7), 697-699. Link

Mann, J. J., Apter, A., Bertolote, J., Beautrais, A., Currier, D., Haas, A., … & Hendin, H. (2005). Suicide prevention strategies: a systematic review. Jama, 294(16), 2064-2074. Link

Zalsman, G., Hawton, K., Wasserman, D., van Heeringen, K., Arensman, E., Sarchiapone, M., … & Zohar, J. (2016). Suicide prevention strategies revisited: 10-year systematic review. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(7), 646-659. Link

Yip, P. S., Caine, E., Yousuf, S., Chang, S. S., Wu, K. C. C., & Chen, Y. Y. (2012). Means restriction for suicide prevention. The Lancet, 379(9834), 2393-2399. Link

Sisask, M., & Värnik, A. (2012). Media roles in suicide prevention: a systematic review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 9(1), 123-138. Link


Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Health Psychology, Legal Ethical Issues, Memory, Persuasion, Research Methods, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Think back over the past 10 days and then itemize everything you did, everywhere you went, everyone you saw, interacted with, for how long and how far apart were you during that interaction? Include every place or situation you encountered over that same period that involved groups of people. How many people? How close where they to you and for how long. Oh, and who were they? How well would you do at this task? How accurate would you be? Now what if some of what you did in that 10-day period was a bit sketchy in terms of any Covid social contact rules, requests or suggestions? What if YOU were the one asking the questions as part of your new job as a contact tracer trying to gather the sorts of data that have been identified as part of the most effective thing we can do (other than complete vaccination) to control and limit the spread of the Coronavirus? How would you engage with the people you are interviewing (likely by phone? What questions would you ask? How would you ask them? How would you describe the purpose of the interview to the person you are interviewing? What sorts of things would you try and avoid doing or saying? While there is a solid history of research looking at witnesses and witness interviewing there is actually not very much research at all on interviewing by contact tracers and on what sorts of questions asked in what sorts of ways produce the most complete, most reliable contact data, which is crucial to the efficacy of contact tracing. So, what sorts of things should good, valid, contact tracing interviewing involve?  Have a look through the article linked below to see what Psychological research on human memory and cognition suggests we consider.

Source: Contact Tracing: A Memory Task with Consequences for Public Health, Maryanne, Garry, Lorraine Hope, Rachel Zajac et al., Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Date: January 16, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Article Link:

Maybe it is just me, but I have found that when I have been reading research on eyewitness memory and testimony in the past it has seems a bit distanced from my own experience mainly because it either involves witnessing criminal activity or low frequency incidents like automobile collisions. As such, the faults, shortfalls and frailties of human (eyewitness) memory somewhat feel like other people’s problems. However, every single one of us (unless you are living alone in a cave of on a desert island) could be asked to answer a series of questions about our activities and whereabouts if we think we have or are thought to have been exposed to Coivid-19. Add to that the reality that effective, valid contact tracing does or could significantly flatten the current or future curves and asking and getting goo, complete as possible, answers to those questions matters even more. We need a Psychological science of contact tracing research and research informed practice, as soon as possible!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Assuming that your recollection of everything you did and everyone you encountered over a 10-day period was not perfect (and it would NOT be) what sorts of errors or emissions would you make?
  2. What sorts of things can contact tracers do as part of their standard interviewing practice to optimize the data they collect from those they interview?
  3. Why can’t we just fix these problems with a decent tracking app?

References (Read Further):

Garry, M., Hope, L., Zajac, R., Verrall, A. J., & Robertson, J. M. (2020). Contact Tracing: A Memory Task With Consequences for Public Health. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1745691620978205. Link

Mosser, A. E., & Evans, J. R. (2019). Increasing the number of contacts generated during contact tracing interviews. Memory, 27(4), 495-506. Abstract Link

Eames, K. T., & Keeling, M. J. (2003). Contact tracing and disease control. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 270(1533), 2565-2571. Link

Gabbert, F., Hope, L., Carter, E., Boon, R., & Fisher, R. P. (2016). The role of initial witness accounts within the investigative process. Communication in investigative and legal contexts, 107-131. Link

Ferretti, L., Wymant, C., Kendall, M., Zhao, L., Nurtay, A., Abeler-Dörner, L., … & Fraser, C. (2020). Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing. Science, 368(6491). Link

Newton, C. (2020). Why Bluetooth Apps Are Bad at Discovering New Cases of COVID-19. The Verge, April, 10. Link

Posted by & filed under Clinical Psychology, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Human Development, Research Methods, Social Psychology.

Description: How would you decide which Psychological research articles were the 10 most important of 2020?  Well, you could read a lot and come up with your own list but that would not be very scientific would it? So, what would you use for metrics? Well, how about the impact articles have on society in general and, as well, the impact they have on future Psychological research (and research in related disciplines? Social impact or newsworthiness can be checked with versions of google searches to see how widely the research is picked up and covered by new media. As to impact on future research there is actually something called an impact index which looks at both how many times other researchers include a particular article in their own citation lists in their own research and, as well, the impact ranking of the journal in which the article and the ones that cite it are published can also be factored in. Based on a blend of these factors, the Association for Psychological Science has produced a list of the “top 10” Psychology Research Discoveries and Breakthroughs of 2020. So, without further fanfare, have a read through the linked article to see what stood out and had the greatest impact in the way of Psychology research last year!

Source: Breakthroughs and Discoveries in Psychological Science: 2020 Year in Review, Psychological Science.

Date: January 16, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay

Article Link:

You likely anticipated the number of Covid related articles on the list. We have needed, and have seen, a lot of research into the Psychology of Covid-19 over the past year and perhaps the articles on misinformation on social media and on why people might claim that reputable journalism is “Fake News” did not surprise you either. As I noted in another post this week, there is a LOT of Psychologizing going on generally these days and it is most encouraging to see that Psychological research is diligently working to keep up with current issues and concerns and provide valid, research-grounded input to our efforts to understand what is going on within and around us these days AND inform our efforts to decide how best to proceed towards resilience and wellness.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Pick one of the breakthrough or discovery articles and compose a brief description of what it did and what it found?
  2. Which breakthrough or discovery did you find most interesting or surprising and why?
  3. What area or areas of possible research were NOT represented in the list and what would you like to see in the way of future Psychology research?

References (Read Further):

The titles of each article in the list within the linked article are hyperlinks that will take you to each of the articles themselves.

Ingwersen, P. (1998). The calculation of web impact factors. Journal of documentation, 54(2), 236-243. Link

Moed, H. F., & Van Leeuwen, T. N. (1996). Impact factors can mislead. Nature, 381(6579), 186-186. Link

Ioannidis, J. P., & Thombs, B. D. (2019). A user’s guide to inflated and manipulated impact factors. European journal of clinical investigation, 49(9), e13151. Link

Van Leeuwen, T. N., & Wouters, P. F. (2017). Analysis of publications on journal impact factor over time. Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics, 2, 4. Link


Posted by & filed under Clinical Psychology, Cultural Variation, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Social Influence, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Ok, time to take stock! What kinds of Psychology have people been doing as they try to make sense out of other people’s behaviour in relation to the pandemic over the past few months (or whole year)? There has certainly been a LOT more “Psychologizing” going on involving many things such as failures to social distance, not wearing masks, creating a scene after being asked to wear a mask sometimes referred to as being a Karen (with apologies to my sister), hoarding toilet paper, expressing anti-vaxing views, vacationing in Mexico or Hawaii as a break from being a government official or politician and the list goes on and on. Media and just folks in zoom or phone conversations pile on with attribution s about what is “wrong with people” in ways that amount to amateur Psychology. Now, I am not opposed to amateur Psychology, but mixing it in with some professional Psychology or with peer reviewed Psychological research findings can help us to see more clearly some of the possible shortcomings in the attributions we are making in relation to others’ behavior. Take a moment and think about some areas where our attributions regarding other people’s behavior might be problematic (hint: if you have taken and Introductory Psychology course, think about typical differences in how we make attributions about our own as opposed to other people’s behavior). Once you have your thoughts in order have a read through the article linked below to see what a Psychologist has come up with after reflect ring on this question.

Source: For Psychologists, the pandemic has shown people’s capacity for cooperation, Stephen Reicher, The Guardian.

Date: January 2, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Please support me! Thank you! from Pixabay

Article Link:

One of the recurrent themes in the wide range of things I have found to post about in relation to the Psychology of Covid is the social aspects of the pandemic including, our reactions and responses to the loss of social contact, unexpected shifts in social norms and practices, and the difficulties associated with understanding what it actually means to say “we are all in this together” (why we say it and what we might do with others who seems to need to have things like that said to them). The article’s point that the fundamental attribution error pops up A LOT in our efforts to figure out “what is wrong with those people” is well worth reflecting upon. Perhaps it is not a random happenstance that issues of race, racism and equality (or the lack thereof) have been featured parts of our experience over the past year. Finally, some reflection on the social events and actions that may be the key aspects of our overall individual and shared resilience may help us to see that we are fundamentally social, even in our individual psychology. If we are all thinking Psychologically more than ever these days, we will get more benefit from doing so if we adopt a broad reflective perspective.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some differences in how we make attributions when trying to make sense out of our own and other people’s behavior in relation to the pandemic?
  2. What sorts of situations do we tend to jump too quickly to laying blame of other people’s motives for their behavior?
  3. What are some ways in which deeper consideration of the social/historical contexts of individual or group behavior might help keep us from jumping to inappropriately blaming conclusions?

References (Read Further):

Ross, L. (1977). The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 10, pp. 173-220). Academic Press. Link

Mols, F., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., & Steffens, N. K. (2015). Why a nudge is not enough: A social identity critique of governance by stealth. European Journal of Political Research, 54(1), 81-98. Link

Van Bavel, J., & Boggio, P. (2020). National identity predicts public health support during a global pandemic. Link

Reicher, S., Drury, J., & Stott, C. J. T. (2020). The two psychologies of coronavirus. PSYCHOLOGIST, 33, 7-7. Link

Zarrabian, S., & Hassani-Abharian, P. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of cognitive rehabilitation. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, 11(2), 129. Link

Pennycook, G., McPhetres, J., Zhang, Y., Lu, J. G., & Rand, D. G. (2020). Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: Experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy-nudge intervention. Psychological science, 31(7), 770-780. Link

Forsyth, D. R. (2020). Group-level resistance to health mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic: A groupthink approach. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 24(3), 139. Link


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, Human Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Health, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: There has been quite a bit of speculation about what is “wrong” with emerging adults (18- to 29-year-olds) these days. This typically occurs as part of reflections upon the significant rise (jump) in levels of anxiety among undergraduate student in general and first year students in particular. Putting aside non-useful hypotheses such as that young people these days are snowflakes it is important that this very real increase in levels of anxiety and related fears of failure and perfectionism be better understood. You may have also heard reference to helicopter or bulldozer (or snowplow) parents (think thorough what these things might involve) as possible contributing factors. Those that suggest that parenting is a factor in this issue usually provide singular examples of specific things parents have done that fit these labels such as phoning their emerging adult children’s professors to complain about poor grades or to ask for preferential treatment for their children. But what are the dimensions of parenting that may be playing out differently in the lives of teenagers and emerging adults “these days” across the whole range of parent-emerging adult child interactions in ways that may be contributing to higher levels of anxiety? Parenting style has been studied by developmental psychologists for decades. Diana Baumrind, among others, suggested that parenting styles are captured by observing variation along three dimensions of parent behavior. One dimension is Warm versus Cold which capture the general extent to the parent’s connection to and engagement with their child is described as Warm (accepting) or Cold (distant, evaluative, negative emotionality). The other two dimensions have to do with control. Behavioral Control involves setting and communication clear limits on behavior which start out with things like no hitting or biting for toddlers and shift developmentally to take turns, respect others, and be responsible in later years. Psychological Control focusses upon parent’s expectations as to the extent to which it is appropriate for their children to think for themselves. This too shifts developmentally with the parents of preschools (hopefully) asking their children to consider “how the other person feels” rather than simply distracting their children when fights break out among playmates to later stepping back as their teenaged or emerging adult children begin to experiment with or work on their autonomy in areas such a life planning and self-management. You might be thinking that generational shifts in parental Behavioral Control is a likely predictive candidate for emerging adult anxiety, fear of failure, or perfectionism. Instead, think for a few moments about how issues of Psychological control may be involved in these issues of current concern. Once you have your hypotheses in order read through the linked article for a snapshot of how some researchers in this area have been examining thismatter.

Source: How parents’ psychological control may lead to young adult students’ fear of failure, Audrey-Ann Deneault and Alexandre Gareau, The Conversation.

Date: January 10, 2021

Photo Credit: Image by Jackie Ramirez from Pixabay

Article Link:

The researchers focus in upon fear of failure but rather than simply pointing to the commonly offered admission to “embrace failure” as a means of moving forward developmentally, they point out that the issue may be grounded in the developmentally more fundamental task of the taking up and acting with autonomy. Moving forward is more difficult when one is constantly looking over their shoulder for parental comment or input. A core feature of the Parenting Styles perspective involves the idea that parents must constantly adjust the expectations, controls, and engagements of and with their child as the child’s development unfolds. Parents need to move the goal posts if you like as their child develops if they are to continue to support rather than hinder that development. So, given this, here is a different question: Why are parents of emerging adult these days perhaps not moving their children’s’ developmental goal posts as they perhaps should? Might it be that parents are responding to changes they are observing in the world their children are developing into? That is a question for another post, but it suggests that an explanation for current levels of emerging adult anxiety and related issues should move past child or parent blaming and consider the world parents and developing children find themselves in “these days.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might parent levels of Psychological Control in relation to their developing teens and emerging adults be related to current troublingly high levels of anxiety among emerging adults?
  2. What sorts of things might parents be encouraged to do differently in relation to your answer to the previous question?
  3. How might issues of parental Psychological Control be related to the way the world is “these days” and what might we (educators, students and parents) do about it?

References (Read Further):

Deneault, A. A., Gareau, A., Bureau, J. F., Gaudreau, P., & Lafontaine, M. F. (2020). Fear of failure mediates the relation between parental psychological control and academic outcomes: A latent mediated-moderation model of parents’ and children’s genders. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1-16. Abstract Link

Scharf, M., & Goldner, L. (2018). “If you really love me, you will do/be…”: Parental psychological control and its implications for children’s adjustment. Developmental Review, 49, 16-30. Abstract Link

Abaied, J. L., & Emond, C. (2013). Parent psychological control and responses to interpersonal stress in emerging adulthood: Moderating effects of behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation. Emerging Adulthood, 1(4), 258-270. Abstract Link

Williams, K. E., & Ciarrochi, J. (2020). Perceived parenting styles and values development: a longitudinal study of adolescents and emerging adults. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30(2), 541-558. Link

McKinney, C., Morse, M., & Pastuszak, J. (2016). Effective and ineffective parenting: Associations with psychological adjustment in emerging adults. Journal of Family Issues, 37(9), 1203-1225. Link

Nelson, L. J., Padilla-Walker, L. M., Christensen, K. J., Evans, C. A., & Carroll, J. S. (2011). Parenting in emerging adulthood: An examination of parenting clusters and correlates. Journal of youth and adolescence, 40(6), 730-743. Link

Cui, M., Darling, C. A., Coccia, C., Fincham, F. D., & May, R. W. (2019). Indulgent parenting, helicopter parenting, and well-being of parents and emerging adults. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(3), 860-871. Link

Luebbe, A. M., Mancini, K. J., Kiel, E. J., Spangler, B. R., Semlak, J. L., & Fussner, L. M. (2018). Dimensionality of helicopter parenting and relations to emotional, decision-making, and academic functioning in emerging adults. Assessment, 25(7), 841-857. Link

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Cultural Variation, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, General Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: Psychology tends to focus on the experience or behaviors of individual people. While social psychologists DO study people’s behavior in social situations and groups and developmental psychologists examine the effects of early social/relational experiences on later behavior the outcomes examined are those of individuals for the most part. So, if we are to speculate about what life will be like after Covid-19 from the Psychological perspective what will we likely focus upon? Levels of anxiety and depression? Happiness and wellbeing? Work-life balance and priorities? All of these are worthy of consideration. To truly step back and take in both the potential individual impacts AND the larger socio-historical contexts in which life will be unfolding post-Covid we need to be open to considering what Sociology and History might be able to show us about the shifting social and historical contexts within which individual experiences and behaviors will be playing out after Covid. Think for a few moments about what those larger contexts might include and, with them in mind, think a bit about how they might shape human adaptation and behavior in the (soon we hope) coming post-Covid times. After that read through the article linked below to see what Sociologists, Historians, Economists and others are thinking about in the area.

Source: For years, the office was not just the centre of work, but life itself. After COVID-19, let’s change that, Benjamin Leszcz, The Globe and Mail.

Date: January 9, 2021

Photo Credit: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Article Link:

The concept of Social Capital comes from Sociology but links into many concepts and theories in Psychology. Many developmental concepts are grounded in sustained relationships or social capital, relationships at all ages reflect aspects of social capital, and as new as notions of emotional intelligence might seems they arise out of and are deeply informed by issues of social capital as are important concepts like social support and wellbeing. That said, I am a bit uncertain as to whether I am convinced by the author’s suggestion that working and learning from home necessitated by Covid social distancing will effectively and positively reconfigure our idea about work-life balance. Isolation opportunities for social engagement within families and neighbourhoods sound encouraging but do not take into account the stresses and anxieties accosted with working from home, particularly for mothers. That said, the changing demands of managing work, family, and self-management are important aspects of mental health and wellbeing and as such, much Psychological research (informed by socio-historical context reflection) is certainly needed!

Questions for Discussion:
1. Why might there be reason to be concerned about rates of Domestic Violence through the Covid-19 pandemic?
2. What sorts of things might be helpful during these times of social insolation in continuing not address issues of Domestic Violence?
3. What sorts of things should we be doing NOW in order to reduce the impact of the array of post-Covid epidemics we may be facing?

References (Read Further):
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. In Culture and politics (pp. 223-234). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Link
Gelderblom, D. (2018). The limits to bridging social capital: Power, social context and the theory of Robert Putnam. The Sociological Review, 66(6), 1309-1324. Link
Wu, C. (2020). Social capital and COVID-19: a multidimensional and multilevel approach. Chinese Sociological Review, 1-28. Link
Claridge, T. (2018). Functions of social capital–bonding, bridging, linking. Social Capital Research, 20, 1-7. Link
Membiela-Pollán, M., & Pena-López, J. A. (2017). Clarifying the concept of social capital through its three perspectives: individualistic, communitarian and macrosocial. European Journal of Government and Economics, 6(2), 146-170. Link
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlôt, R., Rubin, G. J., & Williams, R. (2020). What lies beyond social capital? The role of social psychology in building community resilience to climate change. Traumatology, 26(3), 253. Link
Schwartz, S. E., Kanchewa, S. S., Rhodes, J. E., Gowdy, G., Stark, A. M., Horn, J. P., … & Spencer, R. (2018). “I’m Having a Little Struggle With This, Can You Help Me Out?”: Examining Impacts and Processes of a Social Capital Intervention for First‐Generation College Students. American Journal of Community Psychology, 61(1-2), 166-178. Link
Bano, S., Cisheng, W., Khan, A. N., & Khan, N. A. (2019). WhatsApp use and student’s psychological well-being: Role of social capital and social integration. Children and Youth Services Review, 103, 200-208. Link