Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Prevention, Social Psychology.

Description: I am sure you have heard something of the debates going on as to whether we should be shifting our clocks forward in spring and backwards in fall each year. Part of the science discussed within that debate concerns the impact of the time change (especially the one in spring) on our circadian rhythms or the multitude of bodily and mental functions that are tied to our daily cycles: our circadian cycles. However, another big part of those debates concerns social rhythms or social time. We would adapt much better to losing an hour in the spring if we social life shifted forward by an hour at the same time (if school or work started at 10 am rather than 9 am, for example) but that would defeat the purpose of the daylight-saving time change. Well, think about this: COVID-19 has hugely impacted our social time. We have not had to leave our homes at regular times each day (if at all), meals have become unstuck from our previously usual comings and goings, and our usual daily routines and schedules are… well messed up. Some television morning programs are (a little bit seriously) providing public service of announcing what day it is each morning. Think about how your perception of time has wobbled or been odd over the past year and think a bit about why, specifically, that might be and then have a read through the article linked below for some psychological perspectives.

Source: How COVID-19 Has Altered Our Perception of Time, Joseph Mazur, Psychology Today.

Date: April 2, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

A big difference between daylight-saving time changes and the past year of COVID-19 has been that while we may or may not like our twice annual time shifts, we have experience with them, see them coming, and can name (blame) the effects they have on us clearly and directly. With COVID, we did not see the changes coming as their impacts unfolded slowly over time. COVID messed with our social contacts, social time, our social rhythms in ways we did not see coming. Managing within social time is difficult at the best of times (just search work-life balance if you want to see how difficult it can be) but when COVID social distancing protocols hit we were in new territory and we are still figuring out the multitude of ways this has impacted us. It is well worth thinking a bit about this as the shift back to “normal” will likely be just about as disorienting and our shift into COVID social reality was.

Questions for Discussion:  

  1. Why do the time changes associated with daylight-savings mess us up?
  2. Why does the spring (forward) daylight-savings time change affect s more profoundly than the fall (back) daylight-savings time change?
  3. How has COVID messed up our time sense and our social time routines and how might “getting back to normal” also mess us up a bit?

References (Read Further):

Meck, W. H. (1996). Neuropharmacology of timing and time perception. Cognitive brain research, 3(3-4), 227-242. Link

Glicksohn, J., Berkovich-Ohana, A., Mauro, F., & Ben-Soussan, T. D. (2017). Time perception and the experience of time when immersed in an altered sensory environment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 487. Link

Di Lernia, D., Serino, S., Pezzulo, G., Pedroli, E., Cipresso, P., & Riva, G. (2018). Feel the time. Time perception as a function of interoceptive processing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 74. Link

Üstün, S., Kale, E. H., & Çiçek, M. (2017). Neural networks for time perception and working memory. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 83. Link

Davydenko, M., & Peetz, J. (2017). Time grows on trees: The effect of nature settings on time perception. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 54, 20-26. Link

Droit-Volet, S., Gil, S., Martinelli, N., Andant, N., Clinchamps, M., Parreira, L., … & Dutheil, F. (2020). Time and Covid-19 stress in the lockdown situation: Time free,«Dying» of boredom and sadness. PloS one, 15(8), e0236465. Link

Van Way III, C. W. (2020). The Curse of Time. Missouri medicine, 117(2), 105. Link

Roenneberg, T., Wirz-Justice, A., Skene, D. J., Ancoli-Israel, S., Wright, K. P., Dijk, D. J., … & Klerman, E. B. (2019). Why should we abolish daylight saving time?. Journal of biological rhythms, 34(3), 227-230. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Classification Diagnosis, Disorders of Childhood, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Over the past year with COVID-19 there has been a marked increase in the number of adults who are either revealed to have ADHD or in whom ADHD has emerged as they struggled with the broad array of issues such as social distancing, social isolation, and work and economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19. Does this statement make sense to you? It very well might seem to make sense because we seem to have a readiness to believe that any indications of difficulties in focusing, concentrating, and staying on task likely reflect an emerging Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). Now consider this finding. A clinic that specializes in diagnosing and treating ADHD reviewed its long-term records and reported that of the hundreds of people who came into the clinic convinced they had adult ADHD only 5% (yes, only one in twenty) actually turned out to meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. This finding suggests two things. First, perhaps we should question our sense that the statement I opened with above is true. Second, we really need to ask and find out what is going on; why are so many people looking for help with what they think is an attention deficit disorder that it turns out they do not have? Give the article linked below a read to see what research has to say on this matter.

Source: Is it adult ADHD? COVID-19 has people feeling restless, lacking focus and seeking diagnosis, Allyson G. Harrison, The Conversation.

Date: March 24, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, do the questions seem a bit more sorted out now after having read the article? The bottom line is that our ability to focus our attention and maintain that focus is a core part of how we mentally manage ourselves on a day-to-day and even moment-to-moment basis and there are a LOT of things that can mess with our attentional abilities. ADHD only accounts for a tiny proportion of this as only 4.4% of adults meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Now, functional ADHD is a much bigger thing and life in the time of COVID-19 HAS created conditions that have seriously attacked our ability to manage our attention and maintain our focus. Luckily, the symptoms Can be dealt with and the authors of the linked article provide a good list of things you can do to improve your attentional skills and abilities these days so re-read them and try some of them out if you have been wondering about your current ADHD status.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the difference between having ADHD and having difficulties maintaining attentional focus?
  2. What is the relationship between childhood and adult ADHD?
  3. What does the research discussed in the linked article suggest about the role of attention and attention management in our day-to-day functioning?

References (Read Further):

Kessler, R. C., Adler, L., Barkley, R., Biederman, J., Conners, C. K., Demler, O., … & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2006). The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. American Journal of psychiatry, 163(4), 716-723. Link

Fayyad, J., De Graaf, R., Kessler, R., Alonso, J., Angermeyer, M., Demyttenaere, K., … & Jin, R. (2007). Cross-national prevalence and correlates of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(5), 402-409. Link

Harrison, A. G., Nay, S., & Armstrong, I. T. (2019). Diagnostic accuracy of the Conners’ adult ADHD rating scale in a postsecondary population. Journal of attention disorders, 23(14), 1829-1837. Link

Mannuzza, S., Klein, R. G., Klein, D. F., Bessler, A., & Shrout, P. (2002). Accuracy of adult recall of childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(11), 1882-1888. Link

Harrison, A. G., Alexander, S. J., & Armstrong, I. T. (2013). Higher reported levels of depression, stress, and anxiety are associated with increased endorsement of ADHD symptoms by postsecondary students. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 28(3), 243-260. Link

Offord, Catherine (2020) How Social Isolation Affects the Brain, The Scientist. Link

Harrison, A.G. and Medd, J. (2011) Screening Young Adults for Possible ADHD: Think Horses Not Zebras, paper presented at the Canadian Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Resource Alliance Conference, Toronto, Canada Link

Sibley, M. H., Rohde, L. A., Swanson, J. M., Hechtman, L. T., Molina, B. S., Mitchell, J. T., … & Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) Cooperative Group. (2018). Late-onset ADHD reconsidered with comprehensive repeated assessments between ages 10 and 25. American Journal of Psychiatry, 175(2), 140-149. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Neuropsychology, Consciousness, Depression, Legal Ethical Issues, Neuroscience.

Description: Even if you are not old enough to have experienced the 1960’s and 70’s personally you are no doubt aware that one of the things that era was known for is the illicit use of drugs and of psychedelics like LSD, peyote, mescaline and magic mushrooms. Within what was referred to as counterculture (outside of the mainstream or the “establishment”) they were referred to as mind expanding substances. The idea was that use of such substances could open one’s mind up to a broader, deeper perception of reality. Beyond recreational use there were also, later reveled, “experiments” conducted on mental patients with the interest and support of the CIA that were not intended as investigation of their potential healing capacities but more as investigations of their potential for use in interrogation procedures. Nothing about those uses of psychedelic drugs sound particularly ethical or useful, right? So, given this, would it surprise you to learn that the state of Oregon has provided limited approval for the use of magic mushrooms in clinical settings under the supervision of clinical therapists for the treatment of things from anxiety and depression to smoking cessation? Want to find out more about these uses and about what brain scans are showing about how they work? Well, then read the article linked below to find out.

Source: Can Magic Mushrooms Heal Us? Ezra Klein, Opinion, The New York Times.

Date: March 18, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Scotty Frey from Pixabay

Article Link:

So did it surprise you to read that what is being tried in Oregon is not so much a modern turn in the exploration of psychedelics in general psilocybin mushrooms in particular but a revisitation of work done in the 1950’s and 60’s on these same questions? The biggest consideration is that Oregon is not simply looking at legalization (magic mushrooms cannot be sold retail) and nor are they looking at reducing harms associated with a war on drugs approach to magic mushrooms. Rather they are building on the idea that the carefully managed use of magic mushrooms in clinical settings with clinical supervision has the potential to contribute to powerful, positive life change. What do you think? It is not the 1960’s “flower power” but perhaps a new mushroom power (and NOT a Super Mario version at that)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What has Oregon actually done with regards to Psilocybin mushroom use?
  2. What impact do Psilocybin mushrooms have in the brains of those who inject them?
  3. What sorts of clinician/therapeutic ethical issues should be considered in relation to the therapeutic use of Psilocybin mushrooms?

References (Read Further):

Slate Star Codex Is There A Case For Skepticism Of Psychedelic Therapy? Link

Davis, A. K., Barrett, F. S., May, D. G., Cosimano, M. P., Sepeda, N. D., Johnson, M. W., … & Griffiths, R. R. (2020). Effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy on major depressive disorder: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry. Link

Keim, Brandon (2014) Science Graphic of the Week: How Magic Mushrooms Rearrange Your Brain, Wired. Link

Kaertner, L. S., Steinborn, M. B., Kettner, H., Spriggs, M. J., Roseman, L., Buchborn, T., … & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2021). Positive expectations predict improved mental-health outcomes linked to psychedelic microdosing. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-11. Link

Aday, J. S., Davis, A. K., Mitzkovitz, C. M., Bloesch, E. K., & Davoli, C. C. (2021). Predicting Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: A Systematic Review of States and Traits Related to Acute Drug Effects. ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science. Link

Yaden, D. B., & Griffiths, R. R. (2020). The Subjective Effects of Psychedelics Are Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects. ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science. Link

Garcia-Romeu, A., Barrett, F. S., Carbonaro, T. M., Johnson, M. W., & Griffiths, R. R. (2021). Optimal dosing for psilocybin pharmacotherapy: Considering weight-adjusted and fixed dosing approaches. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881121991822. Link

McCoy, A. W. (2007). Science in Dachaus shadow: HEBB, Beecher, and the development of CIA psychological torture and modern medical ethics. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 43(4), 401. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Neuropsychology, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: You have heard of service dogs, right? They help out people struggling with PTSD and help them get on with their lives with fewer of the issues that can be associated with PTSD. However, what do you know about what having a service dog actually does for a person with PTSD? Perhaps you just “know” that having a canine best friend is obviously good for anyone and likely confirms additional benefits to those with PTSD but what does a service dog actually DO for those with PTSD and how does what they do compare to the potential positive impacts of medications or therapy? Well, there IS research on tis. Have read through the linked article to see what it has to say about the added therapeutic value associated with service dogs.

Source: Service dogs can help veterans with PTSD – growing evidence shows they may reduce anxiety in practical ways, Leanne Nieforth and Marguerite E. O’Hare, The Conversation.

Date: March 26, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by CLVann from Pixabay

Article Link:

I found it fascinating to see what service dogs can do for those with PTSD and how service dogs have therapeutic impact above and beyond that provided by medications and therapies. The suggestion that more information needs to get out to the public at large about the nature and role of service dogs has at least two components. First, it is important for those of us who like dogs to understand the role that service dogs play in their owners’ lives so that we do not simply start interacting with the “good dogs” that are service companions without first considering their job and their owners’ needs. Second, as with mental health issues in general we need to work to reduce stigma in society in general and, by extension to reduce and eliminate the impact of stigma on those dealing with issues like PTSD.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do service dogs do for individuals with PTSD?
  2. How does what service dogs do for folks with PTSD compare or interact with medications and psychotherapies?
  3. What does the public need to know or be aware of with regards to service dogs and why?

References (Read Further):

O’haire, M. E., & Rodriguez, K. E. (2018). Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 86(2), 179. Link

Reisen, Jan (2021) Service Dogs, Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs: What’s the Difference? American Kennel Club. Link

Rodriguez, K. E., LaFollette, M. R., Hediger, K., Ogata, N., & O’Haire, M. E. (2020). Defining the PTSD service dog intervention: perceived importance, usage, and symptom specificity of psychiatric service dogs for military veterans. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 1638. Link

Rodriguez, K. E., Bryce, C. I., Granger, D. A., & O’Haire, M. E. (2018). The effect of a service dog on salivary cortisol awakening response in a military population with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 98, 202-210. Link

Nieforth, L. O., Rodriguez, K. E., & O’Haire, M. E. (2021). Expectations versus experiences of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) service dogs: An inductive conventional content analysis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Abstract Link

O’haire, M. E., & Rodriguez, K. E. (2018). Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 86(2), 179. Link

Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., Hellyer, P., Cheung, L., & Kogan, L. (2017). Public perceptions of service dogs, emotional support dogs, and therapy dogs. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(6), 642. Link

LaFollette, M. R., Rodriguez, K. E., Ogata, N., & O’Haire, M. E. (2019). Military veterans and their PTSD service dogs: associations between training methods, PTSD severity, dog behavior, and the human-animal bond. Frontiers in veterinary science, 6, 23. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Psychology, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Language-Thought, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Psychological Intervention.

Description: I will not even ask whether you know what anxiety is, of course you do, especially given how much experience we have all had with it recently. Have you also heard about the Yerkes-Dodson Law?  Basically, it says that for most tasks that we take on, a certain amount of stress increases our performance on that task while a lot of stress reduces our performance and the “sweet spot” for optimal performance varies with the complexity of the task. For complex tasks, the inverted U-shaped curve of the Yerkes-Dodson Law shifts left so that the amount of stress that starts to cause performance to degrade is lower while for simple tasks the curve shifts right so that increases in stress lead to increased performance for higher levels of stress. We tend to think the same way about anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling we experience in situations of threat and uncertainty. How does anxiety relate to our motivation and performance? I suspect you think that something like the Yerkes-Dodson Law applies there too. Low to moderate levels of anxiety get us going on required tasks while high levels of anxiety shut us down. That is why many people procrastinate, right? They put things off in order to build up a sufficiently motivating level of anxiety. Makes sense, does it not? But what if all of this is not really based on a solid research foundation? If anxiety is a reactive response to threat, then it is not something we would be able to dial up and down. What we can dial up and down is worry or thinking about things that could produce anxiety. We seem to believe that we can cognitively control our anxiety, by thinking about it. But what if our worry and particularly the debilitating worry that many people are struggling with is a habit? What if, when we experience anxiety, we find that we distract ourselves from it by worrying (ruminating) about possible negative outcomes and that distraction reduces our experience of anxiety and thus is negatively reinforcing? That negative reinforcement can lead us to a habit of worrying as a way of fending off anxiety, much like how eating cake or chocolate can be negatively reinforcing when we are anxious or stressed and can lead to an overeating or a sweets stuff eating habit. Our current treatments for anxiety really do not work very well at all. Would treating what we do in response to anxiety as a worry habit make a difference in treatment efficacy? Wouldn’t THAT be something? Read the article linked below to find out more about this possible approach.

Source: Why Targeting Entrenched Habits Can Treat Anxiety, Judson Brewer, The Craving Mind, Psychology Today.

Date: March 19, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Article Link:

I must say I was surprised to see the data on the small level of empirical support or the Yerkes-Dodson Law. I will certainly be updating my lecture notes. The data on the treatment effects of various approaches to treatment anxiety disorders was also surprising to me with only 1 in over 5 people responding to drug-based treatment and CBT producing 50/50 rates of impact. The data on the positive impacts of treating the worry associated with anxiety issues the same way that eating and smoking habits might be treated is very intriguing. I am going to dig in a bit deeper to Brewer’s work in those areas and to his anxiety treatment app as well. Could be worth consideration!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the Yerkes-Dodson Law?
  2. How might the Yerkes-Dodson Law apply to anxiety issues?
  3. What might approaching the worry cycles associated with anxiety issues as a habit provide us in that way of a new anxiety treatment approach?

References (Read Further):

Brewer, Judson (2021) Unwinding Anxiety: New Sciences Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind, Avery. Link

Brewer, J. A., Mallik, S., Babuscio, T. A., Nich, C., Johnson, H. E., Deleone, C. M., … & Rounsaville, B. J. (2011). Mindfulness training for smoking cessation: results from a randomized controlled trial. Drug and alcohol dependence, 119(1-2), 72-80. Link

Mason, A. E., Jhaveri, K., Cohn, M., & Brewer, J. A. (2018). Testing a mobile mindful eating intervention targeting craving-related eating: feasibility and proof of concept. Journal of behavioral medicine, 41(2), 160-173. Link

Roy, A., Druker, S., Hoge, E. A., & Brewer, J. A. (2020). Physician anxiety and burnout: symptom correlates and a prospective pilot study of App-delivered mindfulness training. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(4), e15608. Link

Segerstrom, S. C., Tsao, J. C., Alden, L. E., & Craske, M. G. (2000). Worry and rumination: Repetitive thought as a concomitant and predictor of negative mood. Cognitive therapy and Research, 24(6), 671-688. Link

Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, General Psychology, Neuroscience, Sensation-Perception.

Description: Do you watch horror films? If you do because you like the jumps and frights or if you don’t because you dislike the jumps and frights, then either way you are reacting or responding to that film genre the way virtually everyone does. What about written horror, such a Steven King or Edgar Allan Poe novels? I avoid them almost as assiduously as I avoid horror films, they keep me awake at night and not in the good, to enjoyable to put down, way that a mystery novel can. Where is this going? Well, if you are someone who has a string opinion about horror films but tend to avoid horror novels because they do nothing for you at all one way or the other then you may have a rare condition called Aphantasia or mind-blindness. Wonder what that is? Read the article linked below to find out.

Source: I ain’t afraid of no ghosts: People with mind-blindness not so easily spooked, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: March 10, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

Article Link:

The impact that a novel passage can have upon is not solely cognitive, is it? If you read a passage about someone who is being snuck up on by a malevolent person or creature, we have an emotional or visceral reaction to it because we can visualize it and the mental image drives or physiological reaction to the scene that the passage involves. People with mind-blindness or Aphantasia cannot visualize mentally and so while they DO respond viscerally to a movie horror scene, they show no such reaction to written horror passages. It gives a whole different meaning to a phrase like “the movie was WAY different than the book!”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is Aphantasia?
  2. What role does the research suggest that mental images play in our emotional responses to written texts or novels?
  3. What are some other areas besides horror novel’s and films where we might expect to see similar response patterns in those with Aphantasia or mind-blindness?

References (Read Further):

Wicken, M., Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2021). The critical role of mental imagery in human emotion: insights from fear-based imagery and aphantasia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288(1946), 20210267. Link

Werner, M. (2010). Why Do We Crave Horror? Evolutionary Psychology and Viewer Response to Horror Films. Bright Lights Film Journal, 68. Link

Park, M. (2018). The Aesthetics and Psychology Behind Horror Films. Link

Martin, G. N. (2019). (Why) do you like scary movies? A review of the empirical research on psychological responses to horror films. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 2298. Link

McAndrew, F. T. (2020). The psychology, geography, and architecture of horror: How places creep us out. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 4(2), 47-62. Link

Ballon, B., & Leszcz, M. (2007). Horror films: tales to master terror or shapers of trauma?. American journal of psychotherapy, 61(2), 211-230. Link

Zeman, A. Z., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2015). Lives without imagery-Congenital aphantasia. Link

Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2018). The blind mind: No sensory visual imagery in aphantasia. Cortex, 105, 53-60. Link

Zeman, A., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2016). Reflections on aphantasia. Cortex, 74, 336-337. Link

Watkins, N. W. (2018). (A) phantasia and severely deficient autobiographical memory: Scientific and personal perspectives. Cortex, 105, 41-52. Link


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