Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Human Development, Intergroup Relations, Work Retirement Leisure Patterns.

Description: Ok, quick, think of a typical 22-year-old. What are they like? Yes, they are all different but step back for a minute and generalize. Now do the same with a typical 66-year-old. Now, with each of those generalizations in mind don’t compare them to one another but, instead, compare them to what each generalization might have looked like even just 20 years ago, say to your parents or grandparents. Now consider this question: Do we need to reorganize or re-think our understandings of adult development? Think about that for a minute and then read the linked article by a developmental psychologists, Jeffery Arnett, who believes (with the support of many other researchers) that we need to do just that.

Source: Life’s stages are changing – we need new terms and new ideas to describe how adults develop and grow, Jeffery Arnett, The Conversation.

Date: January 25, 2022

Image by maz-Alph from Pixabay     

Article Link:

So, can you see that we likely need to adjust or even renovate our concepts and assumptions about adult the course and pathways of adult development? Individual development is comprised of an ongoing interaction between general developmental changes, individual issues, opportunities and challenges all occurring within a web of social expectations, role assumptions and opportunities. Just as economies and climates change over, sometimes surprising brief periods of historical time, so to do the developmental pathways and lived experiences of the people living, aging and developing within them. Life-span accounts of development must include consideration of individual development, social contents and changes and historical shifts and charges that impact both of these areas of consideration. So, regardless of what your 20’s were or are going to be like, your 40’s, 50’s 60’s and beyond could well be quite different that those people living within those age ranges today.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is emerging adulthood and how is it different that adolescence and different that adulthood?
  2. Describe several examples of individual developmental, social and historical considerations that interact to shape peoples’ experiences in their 20’s and in their 60’s?
  3. How might these accounts of the changing nature of developmental ages and stages be useful for and important in life planning?

References (Read Further):

Arnett, J. J., Robinson, O., & Lachman, M. E. (2020). Rethinking adult development: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 75(4), 425-430. Link

Mehta, C. M., Arnett, J. J., Palmer, C. G., & Nelson, L. J. (2020). Established adulthood: A new conception of ages 30 to 45. American Psychologist, 75(4), 431. Link

Infurna, F. J., Gerstorf, D., & Lachman, M. E. (2020). Midlife in the 2020s: Opportunities and challenges. American Psychologist, 75(4), 470. Link

Gerstorf, D., Hülür, G., Drewelies, J., Willis, S. L., Schaie, K. W., & Ram, N. (2020). Adult development and aging in historical context. American Psychologist, 75(4), 525. Link

Ackerman, P. L., & Kanfer, R. (2020). Work in the 21st century: New directions for aging and adult development. American Psychologist, 75(4), 486. Link

Zacher, H., Rudolph, C. W., & Baltes, B. B. (2019). An invitation to lifespan thinking. In Work across the lifespan (pp. 1-14). Academic Press. Link

Overton, W. F., & Müller, U. (2013). Metatheories, theories, and concepts in the study of development. In R. M. Lerner, M. A. Easterbrooks, J. Mistry, & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Developmental psychology (pp. 19–58). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Link

Kornadt, A. E., Kessler, E. M., Wurm, S., Bowen, C. E., Gabrian, M., & Klusmann, V. (2020). Views on ageing: a lifespan perspective. European Journal of Ageing, 17(4), 387-401. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Depression, Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: There has been a lot of discussion in the media about social media and about whether or not it is potentially harmful to young people and particularly to teenage females. I have posted a number of times  regarding articles looking at this question (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5). Throughout this ongoing, broad, debate there is little discussion or consideration of HOW social media could be used in ways that are not harmful to short- or longer-term wellbeing. This is most likely due to the fact that most research is done at the population level meaning that population wide levels of social media use and anxiety and depression are gathered and changes among them over (historical) time are examined for patterns that might suggest problematic influences typically of social media use on anxiety and depression though sometimes the other what around. The result is often rather similar to concerns raised about telephones and television when they were first widely available suggesting that use should be seriously limited or avoided all together if health and “normal” growth and development were to be assured. Eventually discussion shifted (thanks to more, better research data) from use or do not use to how to use sorts of questions. Think for a few minutes, based on what you know NOW about social media, about what advice you would offer to young teenagers and perhaps to their parents and teachers about optimal and appropriate use of social media apps and sites. Once you have collected your thoughts have a read through the article linked below which tries to offer a version of that sort of advice.

Source: How to Decode Your Social Media Use. Lou Cozollno, Chloe Drulls, and Carly Samuelson, Psychology Today.

Date: January 28, 2022

Image by Stux from Pixabay

Article Link:

A number of years ago now (maybe 10?) a student of mine and I gathered some data from first year university students regarding their adjustment (in 9 areas) to post-secondary life and life at university and, as well, we asked them a rather long list of questions about the nature and extent of their use of and engagement with Facebook (which was a much bigger, more universally used thing s then than it is now). We asked them about their current use and about their use of Facebook back when they were in grades 11 and 12 in high school. Of the number of significant results, the most interesting one was that those participants who were functioning most well (having adapted positively to their university experiences) had reduced and shifted their Facebook use from their high school to their university years. They used it less (in terms of hours per week) and they were more likely to have shifted their type of use from reviewing others page and working on their own to using Facebook as a way to find out about organizations and opportunities of relevance to their current educational and career plans. Basically, they were using Facebook more strategically in ways that contributed to their own developmental directions than were other students. The article linked above speaks to some of the areas of social media use or practice that can be adjusted based on self-reflection and self-reflection is at the core of positive development throughout the years of emerging adulthood (from 17 to 29 years of age).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How would you summarize the nature and extent of your own use of social media?
  2. Do you think you need to make any changes to the nature or extent (or both) of your current social media use?
  3. What sorts of research do you think should be done if we want to clarify the nature and extent of possible issues associated with social media use?

References (Read Further):

Bekalu, M. A., McCloud, R. F., & Viswanath, K. (2019). Association of social media use with social well-being, positive mental health, and self-rated health: disentangling routine use from emotional connection to use. Health Education & Behavior, 46(2_suppl), 69S-80S. Link

Ostic, D., Qalati, S. A., Barbosa, B., Shah, S. M. M., Galvan Vela, E., Herzallah, A. M., & Liu, F. (2021). Effects of social media use on psychological well-being: a mediated model. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 2381. Link

Sharma, M. K., John, N., & Sahu, M. (2020). Influence of social media on mental health: a systematic review. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 33(5), 467-475. Link

Mitev, K., Weinstein, N., Karabeliova, S., Nguyen, T. V., Law, W., & Przybylski, A. (2021). Social media use only helps, and does not harm, daily interactions and well-being. Technology, Mind, and Behavior, 2(1). Link

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, General Psychology, Research Methods, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: I suspect you have, more than once had this experience. You wake up in the middle of the night, say around 3 AM, and cannot get back to sleep. You mind races, you worry about things that you really may not worry about much during the day, and you also worry that you are not getting the sleep you are going to need in order to manage your next day. Sound familiar? If not, well good for you, but what about the rest of us? In any introductory class focusing on research methods the notion that we should be cautious of any assumptions we may have about the phenomenon we are going to study as those assumptions might seriously limit the range of hypotheses we might consider when we set up our research. What does that have to do with sleep “disturbances”? Well, how about this. Some medieval author, in passing in their writing, mentioned first and second sleeps (think of the Hobbit notion of first and second breakfast). What there seem to have been referring to is a habit of going to sleep when it got dark out then waking up in the middle of the night, getting up and doing a few things and then going back to bed and sleeping until morning. Why? Who knows BUT what if THAT is how were all used to sleep and this current practice of aiming to sleep through the night and freaking out when we cannot do that is essentially not how we have been built or shaped evolutionarily? So, if believing it is right and natural to sleep through the night and that not doing so is odd and problematic is a sort of sleep bias what might we do, in the way of research to investigate this? Once you have your research plan in mind have a read through the linked article that discusses both historical and current research into this question.

Source: Can Medieval Sleeping Habits Fix America’s Insomnia? Derek Thompson, The Atlantic.

Date: January 27, 2022

Image by Conmongt from Pixabay

Article Link:

Isn’t it fun when research does NOT lead us to clear definite conclusions? It suggests that, as in many things, we are habitually adaptive and can do things like out night’s sleep in a number of ways. It is certainly true that the advent of artificial light changed a number of sleep related things and potentially limited or reduced sleep but then, looking farther back, the advent of controlled fire (that we could light and put out as needed) made sustained sleep possible by keeping us warm and keeping predators at bay. SO, we are adaptable and perhaps knowing that we are adaptable might make it easier for us to not get too wrapped up in anxiety on those nights where we wake at 3 AM and have trouble getting back to sleep.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does waking up in the middle of the night and worrying about things mean that you are not coping well?
  2. What are some things you could do if you find yourself waking up at 3 or 4 AM and worrying?
  3. What sorts of a theory of sleep could we come up with that would be able to include the differences in sleep patterns discussed in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Yetish, G., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M., Wood, B., Pontzer, H., Manger, P. R., … & Siegel, J. M. (2015). Natural sleep and its seasonal variations in three pre-industrial societies. Current Biology, 25(21), 2862-2868. Link

Samson, D. R., Manus, M. B., Krystal, A. D., Fakir, E., Yu, J. J., & Nunn, C. L. (2017). Segmented sleep in a nonelectric, small‐scale agricultural society in Madagascar. American Journal of Human Biology, 29(4), e22979. Link

Smit, A. N., Broesch, T., Siegel, J. M., & Mistlberger, R. E. (2019). Sleep timing and duration in indigenous villages with and without electric lighting on Tanna Island, Vanuatu. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-16. Link

Ekirch, A. R. (2016). Segmented sleep in preindustrial societies. Sleep, 39(3), 715-716. Link

Hegarty, S. (2012). The myth of the eight-hour sleep. BBC News Magazine, 22. Link

Ekirch, A. R. (2001). Sleep we have lost: pre-industrial slumber in the British Isles. The American Historical Review, 106(2), 343-386. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Legal Ethical Issues, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Intervention, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: The Canadian cellular services company, Bell, launched the Let’s Talk campaign in 2010. It is focused on reducing/eliminating stigma associated with mental illness. Stigma, related to mental illness, is a social phenomenon involving beliefs about the nature of mental illness (e.g., that it is somehow the fault of the people who struggle with it) and its consequences (e.g., that people who have had issues with mental illness cannot be trusted and perhaps should be avoided or shunned). Such beliefs are not founded on any objective data and they make it difficult for those in need of assistance to access what they need and to stay connected with the very social support networks that they need as they deal with mental health challenges. Bell’s campaign has been very successful, not just in relation to how the general public thinks and talks about mental illness and mental health and wellness but also in terms of the 4121 million dollars the Let’s Talk campaign has committed to mental health in Canada. There has been some criticism of the campaign along the way pointing to the PR payoff Bell has enjoyed from the Let’s Talk campaign. There is no doubt, however that it has done a lot of good in relation to stigma and associated attitudes towards mental illness. One additional issue regarding the campaign involves a bit of concern that it may stop short in some ways as it suggests that just being able to talk to someone, to be told that someone is there and prepared to listen when someone wants or needs to talk about their mental health issues is all people need at such times. Taking nothing at all away from the message that being heard and not stigmatized by those close to us is a vital part coping what about the additional “talk” that is very likely needed in the quest for mental health? Think for a minute about what you know or believe about what sort of therapeutic talk might be needed. Who should provide it? What should it look /sound like? What sorts of signs, criteria or markers should one be looking for and asking about when trying to decide which therapist to engage in healing talk with? Once you have your thoughts in order, read the article linked below in which two Psychologists work through this important aspect of talk related to mental health.

Source: This Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s talk about how we’re talking about therapy, Skye Fitzpatrick and Candice Monson, Opinion, The Globe and Mail.

Date: January 25, 2022

Image by mohamed_hassan from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did your thoughts, criteria and suggested questions map out in relation to those provided by the Psychologists in the linked article? They are right in saying that is should not entirely be the responsibility of those seeking therapeutic assistance to judge the value and validity of what is being offered. The model of practice adopted by the Canadian and American Psychological Associations and legislatively supported, in Canada by provincial Colleges of Psychologists and in the United States by similar state level regulatory bodies is most generally described as the Scientist Practitioner model. At the core of this model is the belief that therapists in clinical practice must have a deep undressing of the scientific roots of their therapeutic practice and an ongoing commitment to remaining current with relevant psychological science, to utilize scientific principles in their ongoing practice evaluation (what is working for who and how well is it working), and, most importantly, to only utilize therapeutic approaches and practices that have been shown by scientific research to be effective. This is seen not just as a good idea but also as a key ethical commitment that psychotherapists must hold to and regularly reflect upon. It is an important part of assuring that therapeutic talk is therapeutically effective talk. So, yes, there IS more to talk about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sort of talk does the Let’s Talk campaign try to encourage?
  2. Why is the sort of talk address in the previous question important?
  3. What is different about the talk that people have with their psychotherapists and how and why is this (or should this be) an important ethical issue for psychotherapists?

References (Read Further):

Lyra (2022) research suggests most health plan providers are not practicing evidence-based treatments, A White Paper. Link

American psychological Association, Division 12, Society of Clinical Psychology (2016) Psychological Diagnosis and Other Targets of Treatment. Link

Shafi, Hana (January 27, 2016). “Let’s Talk About The Corporatization of Mental Health”. Torontoist. Retrieved October 22, 2018. Link

Krashinsky, Susan; Ladurantaye, Steve (February 13, 2018). “‘Let’s Talk’ campaign a boost for mental health and Bell”. Globe And Mail. Retrieved December 7, 2018. Link

Magder, Jason (October 6, 2014). “Bell Let’s Talk Day: a good deed, or just good PR?”. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved January 24, 2019. Link

Shapiro s, D. (2002). Renewing the scientist-practitioner model. Psychologist-Leicester-, 15(5), 232-235. Link

Rupp, D. E., & Beal, D. (2007). Checking in with the scientist-practitioner model: How are we doing. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 45(1), 35-40. Link

Petersen, C. A. (2007). A historical look at psychology and the scientist-practitioner model. American Behavioral Scientist, 50(6), 758-765. Link

Blair, L. (2010). A critical review of the scientist-practitioner model for counselling psychology. Counselling Psychology Review, 25(4), 19-30. Link

Callahan, J. L., & Watkins Jr, C. E. (2018). Evidence-based training: The time has come. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 12(4), 211–218. Link

Posted by & filed under Basic Cognitive Functions In Aging: Information Processing Attention Memory, Child Development, Cognitive Development: The Information-Processing Approach, Consciousness, Development of the Self, Human Development, Social Cognition, Social Psychology.

Description: Do you like magic tricks? Thinking back to your childhood (assuming you say one or two magic shows) can you remember the point in your development where your reaction to seeing a magic trick shifted from “Wow that was amazing magic” to “Wow, how did they do that.” At some point we (well almost all of us) figure out that while it is not “real” Magic is still amazing and trying to figure out how the magician led us to believe something that was not true or the way we thought can be very engaging. Have you ever tried that “pretend to throw the ball or toy but don’t” trick with your dog? Most dogs are quite easy to fool. They believe you have thrown the ball and dash around looking for it until you show it then again, in your hand. Or what about the trick repeated countless times in social media videos where a person plays peekaboo with their pet using a large blanket and then tosses the blanket up in the air slightly and “disappears.” We could call these sorts of tricks “playing with animals’ minds” and that IS what a lot of the video producers are doing but we can also say that the videos involve explorations into the animals’ minds. Watch a few of the videos and see if you can tell whether the animals involved have any hypotheses about what happened to their humans. In the series of videos linked above it looks to me like most of the dogs seem to be looking to one side of the door or other for their human while the cats seem more likely to be looking at the blanket piled on the floor as if the human might still be in there. How might researchers use “magic” to explore questions about how animals’ minds work? Think about how that might work, about what sorts of situations you would set up, what types of tricks you might use, and which types of animals might to include in your studies. After you have your magical research thoughts sorted watch the video linked below to see what some researchers have done by way of magic for birds.

Source: Animal magic: The scientists do magic tricks on jays, New Scientist, YouTube.

Date: January 23, 2022

Image by Bev from Pixabay

Article Link:

The research discussed and shown in the video focused in upon reactions in jays to disappearance or to the unexpected or “magical” transformation of a preferred food into a less preferred food or vice versa. We can use such experiments to build a better understanding of how jays understand their world and navigate their way within it. A related area of research involves looking at whether animals develop Theories of Mind as human preschoolers do. Up to 3 to 4 years of age, preschoolers base their predictions about what they AND others will do in a situation on what they themselves (the 3-year-olds) believe to be true. For example, have a 3-year-old watch a puppet show in which a child puppet helps his or her mother put away some groceries and makes a big deal out of putting some chocolate that was purchased (their favorite thing!) into the red cupboard and then they go outside to play. While they are outside the mother puppet makes some cookies and after using some of the prized chocolate, pouts it away in the other, blue, cupboard then she leaves the room. The child puppet returns saying they are going to have some of that yummy chocolate and at that moment the action is stopped and the watching 3-year-old is asked which cupboard the child puppet is going to look in for the chocolate, the red one where the child puppet put it or the blue one where it really IS because the mother puppet put it there. What do you think they say? Well, 3-year-olds tend to go with what they know to be true and say the puppet will look for the chocolate in the blue cupboard where it actually is while 4-year-olds tend to say the child puppet will look in the red cupboard where they put the chocolate before going out to play. In other words, 4-year-olds can properly “read minds” while 3-year-olds cannot. Now, lastly, here is an animal example (a true story). A troop of monkeys live in a large research enclosure at a research university. The troop has a typical dominance hierarchy which means that if a more dominant monkey sees that a monkey that is below them on the dominance hierarchy has a food prize (a banana), the more dominant monkey will rush over and take it away for themselves. Troop life can suck if you are lower down the hierarchy. However, the treats are sometime delivered in a special way. Throughout the habitat that the troop lives in are “treasure boxes” which are locked boxes big enough to hold things like banana treats. All members of the troop know this a regularly check to see if they can open the treasure boxes as they more around their large enclosure. The locks on the boxes are radio controlled so that researchers can unlock a treasure box without being there but while watching via a video camera. The locks make a slight clicking sound when they are unlocked that is only loud enough to be heard by monkeys that are within a meter or so of the box. Do you see what is coming? A juvenile member of the troop that is rather low in the dominance hierarchy is sitting near a box and hears its lock click to open. What does it do? Well, first it looks around carefully. If it is alone, it retrieves the treasure and eats it quickly or climbs high up in a tree with it and then eats it. BUT, if a more dominant troop member is in sight, but far enough away that they did not hear the click the monkey carefully ignores the box, looking away, fiddling with leaves etc. until the other troop member wanders off and then the monkey retrieves the treasure. They use a theory of mind to deceive their treasure foe so they can get the treat for themselves. They are showing the theory of mind ability of a human 4-year-old! If you ant to find out more about animal mind theories or animal magic use have a look at some of the articles in the References/Further Reading list below.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do animals respond to magic tricks??
  2. What sorts of things can magic trick responses tell us about the minds of the animals we are showing the tricks to?
  3. What is a theory of mind and how do we use ours? How do animals use theirs (or do they even have one)?

References (Read Further):

Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Schnell, A. K., Wilkins, C., & Clayton, N. S. (2021). Exploring the perceptual inabilities of Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) using magic effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(24). Link

Schnell, A. K., Loconsole, M., Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Wilkins, C., & Clayton, N. S. (2021). Jays are sensitive to cognitive illusions. Royal Society open science, 8(8), 202358. Link

Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Wilkins, C., & Clayton, N. S. (2021). The Ape That Lived to Tell the Tale. The Evolution of the Art of Storytelling and Its Relationship to Mental Time Travel and Theory of Mind. Frontiers in psychology, 4623. Link

Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2005). Theory of mind. Current biology, 15(17), R644-R645. Link

Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M., & Frith, U. (1985). Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”?. Cognition, 21(1), 37-46. Link

Wellman, H. M. (2011). Developing a theory of mind. Link

Heyes, C. M. (1998). Theory of mind in nonhuman primates. Behavioral and brain sciences, 21(1), 101-114. Link

Báez-Mendoza, R., & Williams, Z. M. (2020). Monkeys Show Theory of Mind. Cell reports, 30(13), 4319-4320. Link

Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2011). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? 30 years later. Human Nature and Self Design, 83-96. Link

Browne, D. (2004). Do dolphins know their own minds?. Biology and Philosophy, 19(4), 633-653. Link

Tomonaga, M., & Uwano, Y. (2010). Bottlenose dolphins'(Tursiops truncatus) theory of mind as demonstrated by responses to their trainers’ attentional states. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 23(3). Link

Hill, H. M., Dietrich, S., Cadena, A., Raymond, J., & Cheves, K. (2018). More than a fluke: Lessons learned from a failure to replicate the false belief task in dolphins. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 31. Link

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: What is a nudge? Might be a slight poke in the arm used to get someone’s attention or to announce your arrival to a friend who had their back turned to you. But more than a tap, nudges more typically are thought of as things that get people moving in a particular direction. As a child a friend might have nudged you to do something by actually pushing you a bit or by daring you (e.g., to ask someone to dance). Psychologists have studied things that could be called nudges for a long time. How can you get people to eat better, get more exercise, wear a mask, or get vaccinated? Well, you could order them (via rules or legislation) or you could encourage them with incentives (e.g., prizes or flat-out payments). But perhaps you could nudge them? What might that look like, and would it work? Think about these last two questions and then read the article linked below to see what a researchers in applied decision-making has to say about what the research into nudges does and does not suggest.

Source: Nudges: four reasons to doubt popular techniques to shape people’s behavior, Magna Osman, The Conversation.

Date: January 10, 2022

Image by JerzyGorecki from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, were you surprised at the lack of substantial consistent data supporting the use of nudges? Did you note that population level (i.e., big numbers) data on the efficacy of nudges suggests that they are about as effective as placebos? I think the lost importantly lacking thing is that there is no general theory of what nudges are, what they involve and how or when and if they work. Before we say more research is needed, perhaps it would be better to say that more thinking or theoretic reflection is needed in this area.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is a nudge?
  2. How would you distinguish a nudge from an incentive or a from a threat?
  3. What sorts of research need to be done to better ground the concept of nudges and what needs to be taken into account to ensure that new research in this area take into account possible ethical issues associated with nudges?

References (Read Further):

Osman, M., McLachlan, S., Fenton, N., Neil, M., Löfstedt, R., & Meder, B. (2020). Learning from behavioural changes that fail. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Link

Grüne-Yanoff, T., & Hertwig, R. (2016). Nudge versus boost: How coherent are policy and theory? Minds and Machines, 26(1), 149-183. Link

Vugts, A., Van Den Hoven, M., De Vet, E., & Verweij, M. (2020). How autonomy is understood in discussions on the ethics of nudging. Behavioural Public Policy, 4(1), 108-123. Link

Mele, C., Spena, T. R., Kaartemo, V., & Marzullo, M. L. (2021). Smart nudging: How cognitive technologies enable choice architectures for value co-creation. Journal of Business Research, 129, 949-960. Link

Boot, W. R., Simons, D. J., Stothart, C., & Stutts, C. (2013). The pervasive problem with placebos in psychology: Why active control groups are not sufficient to rule out placebo effects. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(4), 445-454. Link

Loewenstein, G., & Chater, N. (2017). Putting nudges in perspective. Behavioural Public Policy, 1(1), 26-53. Link

Hagman, W., Andersson, D., Västfjäll, D., & Tinghög, G. (2015). Public views on policies involving nudges. Review of philosophy and psychology, 6(3), 439-453. Link

Sunstein, C. R. (2017). Nudges that fail. Behavioural public policy, 1(1), 4-25. Link

Schubert, C. (2017). Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?. Ecological Economics, 132, 329-342. Link


Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology.

Description: A lot of the time, when you consider the concepts being discussed, examined and studied in psychological research I suspect that you saying to yourself things like “OK that makes sense” or “I can see how they are looking at that” or perhaps “I might define that a little bit differently.” What I am suggesting is that I bet that a lot of what psychologists talk about, when they are talking about concepts that you are familiar with thorough your lived experience, does not have you disagreeing with how they are defining these concepts and how they are relating them to everyday life. But I also bet that this is not always the case. There are social psychologists who study social concepts such a resentment, grudges, forgiveness and revenge. Can you think of a situation where you and a friend were talking about a situation (or a relationship) that one of you had experienced that had gone wrong and one of you (not the one with the lost relationship) suggests that the other should forgive the partner (though perhaps not to the extent of getting back together with them). How did that go? Does a lack of forgiveness automatically mean that the remaining option will involve revenge of some sort? What sorts of factors would turn things one way or the other? When I read about research in this area, I sometimes find that I am not sure I agree with the researchers in terms of how they are defining their terms or in how they are sketching out optimal social behaviour in such situations. Maybe it is just me. But, as a start to see where you sit have a read through the article linked below and think about whether you agree with the line the author is drawing out distinguishing holding a grudge from feeling resentment.

Source: Why Holding a Grudge Is So Satisfying, Alex McElroy, The New York Times Magazine.

Date: January 18, 2022

Image by nastya_gepp from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did the distinction between grudge and resentment land with you? I suggested you start with that because researchers who examine forgiveness and revenge tend to see grudges and resentments and very similar. I DO like the article authors argument that grudges are focused and “smaller” than resentments. The author also implies that while resentments are carried like examples of the sorts of life baggage, we carry whereas grudges are more action based and may be things we will act upon. Perhaps it would have worked to have the article characterized as advice, “Be healthier and less burdened, bear grudges not resettlement.” What do you think? If you want to dig in a bit deeper to this research domain have a look at a few of the article linked below in the References/Further Reading section. It is interesting stuff and sometimes entertaining as you try to decide what definitions you agree with and when ones you do not.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. If you had to how would you distinguish a grudge from resentment?
  2. Do you agree with the linked article author’s distinction between grudges and resentment and why or why not? If you would sort them out differently, how would you do so?
  3. With out without consulting the additional linked article below how would you theoretically sort of grudges, resentments, revenge, anger, and, perhaps, forgiveness? Is forgiveness just another concept in the collection of concepts or is it a sort of developmentally or ethically or spiritually advance higher ground and if so how?

References (Read Further):

Kutz, C. (2015). Forgiveness, forgetting, and resentment. Calif. L. Rev., 103, 1647. Link (yes this is a law review article so this stuff really matters, right?)

Murphy, J. G. (2007). Forgiveness, self-respect, and the value of resentment. In Handbook of forgiveness (pp. 57-64). Routledge. Link

Cherry, M. (2019). The interplay between resentment, motivation, and performance. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 46(2), 147-161. Link

Ahmed, E., & Braithwaite, V. (2006). Forgiveness, reconciliation, and shame: Three key variables in reducing school bullying. Journal of social issues, 62(2), 347-370. Link

Mullet, E., Neto, F., & Riviere, S. (2005). Personality and its effects on resentment, revenge, forgiveness, and self-forgiveness. Handbook of forgiveness, 159-181. Link

Nelkin, D. (2013). Freedom and forgiveness. Free will and moral responsibility, 165-188. Link

Toussaint, L., & Webb, J. R. (2005). Theoretical and empirical connections between forgiveness, mental health, and well-being. Handbook of forgiveness, 349-362. Link

Rye, M. S., Folck, C. D., Heim, T. A., Olszewski, B. T., & Traina, E. (2004). Forgiveness of an ex-spouse: How does it relate to mental health following a divorce?. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 41(3-4), 31-51. Link

Worthington Jr, E. L. (2007). More questions about forgiveness: Research agenda for 2005–2015. In Handbook of forgiveness (pp. 581-598). Routledge. Link

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Language-Thought, Learning, Memory, Persuasion, Social Influence, Social Psychology.

Description: Given our direct and media shared experiences surrounding recent events such as the COVID pandemic, American elections and related capital events, climate change and much else you cannot be unaware of the phenomenon of misinformation and related beliefs. You may be aware of concerns over social media “echo chambers” that become sole sources for “information” that fits the desires and beliefs of particular groups. If you are currently of the view that consumers of “fake news” of any sort are simply not bright enough or are too ideologically blind to see routes to truth, then you too have been influenced by forms of misinformation. Rather than wishing such influences on public opinion would go away (not going to happen any time soon) perhaps it is time to take a deep breath and a running dive into the science of misinformation and at what can potentially be done about it. The linked article below is a review, by involved researchers, on the aspects of our psychological make up and functioning that drive our entanglements with misinformation (fake news, echo chambers, etc.). You can read through the article on your own (take your time). Alternatively, I would suggest that you take on the article with a group of people by all reading it but also be dividing up responsibility for the different sections of the article and then having each sub-team lead a group discussion of each section of the article as your move though it. As you do your work think hard about the examples the authors provide to illustrate their points and see how many other examples you can come up with from your own experience. The issue of misinformation is NOT going to simply fade away. It is an issue of our current times and we need to build a solid understanding of it so that we can intelligently address it and the discord and havoc it is driving these days.

Source: The Psychological Drivers of misinformation belief and its resistance to correction. Ullrich K. H. Ecker et al., Nature Reviews, Psychology.

Date: January 12, 2022

Image by Peggy_Marco from Pixabay

Article Link:

I do not have a detailed summary or reflection to offer on the linked article simply because you need to dive into it and work at understanding where the work regarding misinformation beliefs currently sits, what it has to offer in the way of “what to do suggestions, and what it is pointing out that we need in the way of additional research in this important area. I will ask one thing that might help you to see that the issue of misinformation belief is not new (though it IS a bigger deal today, perhaps, that in the past given the power of social media etc.) My question is, did you catch the Star Wars reference in the article? Towards the end of the section on drivers of false beliefs there is this line; “encouraging people to ‘rely on their emotions’ increases their vulnerability to misinformation.” Do you have it yet? After revealing that he is Luke’s father, Darth Vader says to Luke; “search your feelings, you know it is true!” Oh, and yes I know that the status of Vader’s paternity is not misinformation (I saw the other films too) BUT Vader’s strong belief that Luke must join him on the dark side certainly IS based on misinformation beliefs.  Not science but a poignant example, nonetheless.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are misinformation beliefs?
  2. How many examples of misinformation beliefs can you come up with (there are lots and lots out there around us)?
  3. How important is it that we develop a deeper understanding of misinformation bias and what sorts of things should we be doing both the apply what we already know about its psychological drivers and what do we need to research further?

References (Read Further):

Ecker, U.K.H., Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. et al. (2022) The psychological drivers of misinformation belief and its resistance to correction. Nat Rev Psychol 1, 13–29. Link

Almost all of the research articles cited in the linked article (cited just above) are available via links located in the reference list of the article itself. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of those links to follow your curiosities and interest deeper into this important topic!

Posted by & filed under Basic Cognitive Functions In Aging: Information Processing Attention Memory, Memory, Neuroscience, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Decades ago, when I was in grade 7, we had grade-wide exams in a number of subjects. I was particular keen to do well on the science exam. One of the topic areas on the exam was the periodic table and I set out to memorize the names, symbols and atomic numbers of all of the elements in the table. I had no idea whether it would help but I had received a small reel to reel tape recorder as a Christmas gift and so I read the name, symbol and atomic number of all of the tabled elements into the recorder and played them over and over in the background while doing things like homework or watching television. I even persuaded my parents to come into my room each night for 2 weeks after I had fallen asleep (I preset the volume fairly low) and turn on the tape to play while I was asleep. So how did I do with the periodic table questions on the exam? Great! So, did my “sleep learning” experiment work? Well, think about it for a minute. What else might you like to know or what else might you have added into my case-study “experiment” to clarify the results? It might help to know that I did very well on ALL of the questions on the exam, not just on the periodic table questions. It also took me quite a few ties to get the tape-recording set and working well (repetition). Also, science was my best class (both in terms of my interest and my resulting grades) that year. And, no, I had no idea if I even “heard” the recordings playing while I slept. Finally, I only got the second highest mark on the science exam in my school. A classmate beat me by one mark (that still smarts) and he did not have a tape recorder and did not try any sleep learning. Now before you write my 7th grade self off as a science obsessive think for a minute about how you might design a “sleep learning” study that would effectively address the question of whether sleep learning is possibly a thing or not. Once you have your design thoughts in order read the article linked below to see how real (though perhaps also science obsessed) adult researchers designed their study and what they found.

Source: Remembering Faces and Names can be improved during sleep, ScienceDirect.

Date: January 12, 2022

Image by bongbabyhousevn from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, was I onto something in Grade 7? Well, I did not have access to EEG equipment to measure sleep level and I was not systematic in my recorded stimulus materials. As well, I was using the entire periodic table and it was played in the same order each night (as well as at other times during the day when I was awake). The researchers in the linked article study used smaller lists (names of people in two classes) and they varied during sleep exposure to only some names in one of the two classes while also noting the sleep stage of each participant while the names were being recited to them. Participants’ pre-sleep work on the names they were to try and recall later was controlled so all participants had the same pre-sleep experience. The results of a 50% increase in recall for names heard while sleeping, providing that they were in deep stage sleep, are quite impressive. However, before you start making your own sleep learning recordings for your current courses or other memory tasks not that the memory task in the study were limited in scope and were focused upon rote memorization, meaning that the participants were asked to memorize the names of people in a whole class. Pictures WERE provided as paired associate memory clues, but the memory task did not involve any understanding, just memory. So, while this is intriguing, I think it is fair to say that more research is needed before we go out and market sleep learning systems!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Can you think of any life incidents you have experienced that suggest positive support for sleep learning?
  2. What are the details of the design of the study on sleep learning described in the linked article?
  3. What sorts of additional research would we need to do before we could (ethically start designing and marketing a student sleep learning system?

References (Read Further):

Whitmore, N. W., Bassard, A. M., & Paller, K. A. (2021). Targeted memory reactivation of face-name learning depends on ample and undisturbed slow-wave sleep. bioRxiv. Link

Bassard, A. M., & Paller, K. A. (2021). Reactivating Memories from a Mathematical Task over a Period of Sleep. bioRxiv. Link

Witkowski, S., Noh, S., Lee, V., Grimaldi, D., Preston, A. R., & Paller, K. A. (2021). Does memory reactivation during sleep support generalization at the cost of memory specifics?. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 182, 107442. Link

Stickgold, R., Hobson, J. A., Fosse, R., & Fosse, M. (2001). Sleep, learning, and dreams: off-line memory reprocessing. Science, 294(5544), 1052-1057. Link

Paller, K. A., & Oudiette, D. (2018). Sleep learning gets real. Scientific American, 319(5). Link

Maquet, P. (2001). The role of sleep in learning and memory. science, 294(5544), 1048-1052. Link

Tamaki, M., Wang, Z., Barnes-Diana, T., Guo, D., Berard, A. V., Walsh, E., … & Sasaki, Y. (2020). Complementary contributions of non-REM and REM sleep to visual learning. Nature neuroscience, 23(9), 1150-1156. Link

Siegel, J. M. (2001). The REM sleep-memory consolidation hypothesis. Science, 294(5544), 1058-1063. Link

Tarullo, A. R., Balsam, P. D., & Fifer, W. P. (2011). Sleep and infant learning. Infant and child development, 20(1), 35-46. Link

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, Health Psychology, Legal Ethical Issues, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Using even limited brain wave recording equipment such as externally applied recording electrodes rather than expensive brain scanning devices, it is possible to detect and describe patterns of brain wave activity and to distinguish between brain wave patterns associated with, say, a lack of attention (in ADHD) as compared to between brain wave patterns associated with focused attention. Given that we can do tis what might we do WITH this ability? It would likely not be precise or consistent enough to be used diagnostically. However, what if we could set things up so that we could show people in real time what their brainwave patterns looked like (e.g., focused or unfocused). Could we use that information as a form of biofeedback and let people practice trying to shift their brainwave patterns into a more focused mode, for example? Biofeedback has been used to help people lower their heart rates, their blood pressure, and adjust other body reactions to positive effect. What if we could train people to lower their anxious brainwave patters or their depressed brain wave patterns? NO drugs would be involved so what do you think? Worth a try? Well and importantly, how would we know if it was working? Think about what research design requirements would be involved in looking into such neurofeedback approaches. What ethical (practice) issues would need to be considered? Once you have your thoughts on this sorted read the article linked below to find out about the current state of research and practice in the neurofeedback domain.

Source: Can Monitoring Brain Waves Boost Mental Health? David Dodge, The New York Times.

Date: January 12, 2022

Image by geralt from Pixabay

Article Link:

There is no argument that we can see and track patterns of brainwave activity and note correlations between them and certain, conditions or experiences. What is not clear is whether neurofeedback actually changes patterns of brainwave activity AND whether doing so actually in responsible for what some claim is a related reduction in negative feeling or symptoms.  I am sure you have heard the term placebo in the past but how clear are you on just what a placebo is and just how it works. There was an episode of the old TV show MASH where the mobile surgical hospital ran out of morphine. The doctors conspired quietly to make up some sugar pills which they then prescribed as a “new powerful pain medication.” The results in the show and in research into similar situations was that many patients experienced significant management of their pain when on the placebo medication. It was not that the placebo simply fooled people into lower levels of pain perception but, rather, that believing they had received a pain medication produced neurological responses similar to or the same as morphine would have produced. The deal is that placebo effects are ‘real’ even when the placebos themselves are ‘not real.’ Before seeking out and paying for neurofeedback treatment and before committing money to such treatments we might need a bit more research using placebos and double-blind designs (where neither the client OR their therapist knows if they are getting the real neurofeedback or placebo (or random) feedback. The meta-analytic research discussed in the article suggests more research IS needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is neurofeedback?
  2. How is neurofeedback related to biofeedback?
  3. What sorts of research (and research designs) are needed if we are to get to a place where we can fully, properly, and ethically discuss and construct practice and payment/insurance guidelines and policies regarding neurofeedback?

References (Read Further):

Van Doren, J., Arns, M., Heinrich, H., Vollebregt, M. A., Strehl, U., & Loo, S. K. (2019). Sustained effects of neurofeedback in ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 28(3), 293-305. Link

Dudek, E., & Dodell-Feder, D. (2020). The efficacy of real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback for psychiatric illness: A meta-analysis of brain and behavioral outcomes. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Link

What studies have been conducted about biofeedback, neurofeedback, and neurotherapy? Link

Hammond, D. C. (2007). What is neurofeedback?. Journal of neurotherapy, 10(4), 25-36. Link

Hammond, D. C. (2011). What is neurofeedback: An update. Journal of Neurotherapy, 15(4), 305-336. Link

Gruzelier, J., Egner, T., & Vernon, D. (2006). Validating the efficacy of neurofeedback for optimising performance. Progress in brain research, 159, 421-431. Link

Sitaram, R., Ros, T., Stoeckel, L., Haller, S., Scharnowski, F., Lewis-Peacock, J., … & Sulzer, J. (2017). Closed-loop brain training: the science of neurofeedback. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18(2), 86-100. Link

Thibault, R. T., Lifshitz, M., & Raz, A. (2017). Neurofeedback or neuroplacebo?. Brain, 140(4), 862-864. Link

Micoulaud-Franchi, J. A., & Fovet, T. (2018). A framework for disentangling the hyperbolic truth of neurofeedback: Comment on Thibault and Raz (2017). Link

Thibault, R. T., Lifshitz, M., & Raz, A. (2018). The climate of neurofeedback: scientific rigour and the perils of ideology. Brain, 141(2), e11-e11. Link

Micoulaud-Franchi, J. A., Fovet, T., Thibault, R. T., & Raz, A. (2018). Two part correspondence: A framework for disentangling the hyperbolic truth of neurofeedback; A Consensus Framework for Neurofeedback Research. Link