Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 2, October, 2010


Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 2, October, 2010

Hello and welcome to the fiftieth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,136 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

The big news for this month is that we’ve added a new feature to the newsletter: Favorite Links from Personality Pedagogy. In this feature we’ll be calling your attention to some of our favorite links from the site that are worthy of a second look. There is so much on Personality Pedagogy that we wouldn’t want you to overlook anything!

Given that today is Halloween we wish you many treats and no tricks in your pursuit of teaching materials for personality psychology!

As ever, please pass this newsletter on to interested colleagues and invite them to sign up for future issues and to visit the home of Personality Pedagogy: Remember, you can read old newsletters, comment on newsletters, view the current newsletter or re-read what you missed in last month’s newsletter by checking out our blog at and you can even receive Personality Pedagogy newsletters via an RSS (”Really Simple Syndication”) feed as soon as they are posted, by clicking on the ”RSS-posts” button on the bottom right.


Marianne Miserandino
miserandino “at” arcadia “dot” edu

1. The Personality Pedagogy Monthly Newsletter

Sign up here to receive this newsletter delivered to your e-mail inbox once a month! We promise never to share your information with anybody else or to use it for any other purpose than Personality Pedagogy.

2. Resilience: The Nick Vujicic Story

Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 without arms or legs but with the strength of character and spirit to overcome these challenges: ”By the age of 19 Nick started to fulfill his dream of being able to encourage other people and bring them hope, through motivational speaking and telling his story. [Nick] found the purpose of [his] existence, and also the purpose of [his] circumstance. Nick wholeheartedly believes that there is a purpose in each of the struggles we encounter in our lives and that our attitude towards those struggles that can be the single most effective factor in overcoming them.” Click here for a 4-minute and 11-second film about him featuring excerpts from some of his talks to young people.

3. How to Study Like A Pro: 9 Evidence-Based Study Strategies

The editor of the ”Research Digest,” published by the British Psychological Society, compiled these 9 strategies for a special issue for students. Each of the tips are described and include a link to a summary of the published research which supports the usefulness of the strategy. Strategies include: adopt a growth mindset, sleep well, pace your studies, test yourself, and more.

4. Study Confirms: Whatever Doesn’t Kill Us Can Make Us Stronger

”A new national multi-year longitudinal study of the effects of adverse life events on mental health has found that adverse experiences do, in fact, appear to foster subsequent adaptability and resilience, with resulting advantages for mental health and well being” According to a study by Mark Seery, Alison Holman, and Roxane Silver in this 2010 article from the ”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” and summarized by Science Daily, October 15, 2010.

5. Culture Wires the Brain

According to research by Denise Park and colleagues from ”Perspectives on Psychological Science,” ”Where you grow up can have a big impact on the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and even how your brain works […] There is evidence that the collectivist nature of East Asian cultures versus individualistic Western cultures affects both brain and behavior.” according to this summary from ”Science Daily”, August 3, 2010.

6. A Revised Coding System for Need for Achievement

From the site: ”Recently, Blankenship et al. (2003) developed 10 new pictures for eliciting achievement imagery and, in the process, revised the coding system for nAch, first developed by McClelland, Atkinson, Lowell, and Clark in 1953. In this manual we [Blankenship et al.] describe the revised method for scoring nAch from stories written to new PSE pictures and provide examples and practice materials for researcher assistants to learn the revised method.” Includes references and links to examples of nAch categories and subcategories including Standard of Excellence, Unique Accomplishment, Long Term Involvement, Positive Anticipatory Goal State, Negative Anticipatory Goal State, Blocks to Achievement and others.

7. Revenge of the Introvert

Provides a good overview of what it’s like to be an introvert in a fast-paced individualistic culture where talking, networking, and self-promotion is expected. Life is just different for introverts, and this essay explains some of the differences between introverts and extroverts, especially when it comes to the pursuit of happiness. Includes a list of what not to say to an introvert. Written by staff writer Laurie Helgoe, published on September 01, 2010.

8. Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex

The dating site OKCupid collects background research on its over 3.2 million gay and straight users. Using charts and numbers, Christian Rudder used the data to test common misconceptions about gays and lesbians, including gay promiscuity, homophobic thinking, and sexual desire. He went even further and identified personality and interest differences between gay and straight men and lesbian and straight women who used the site. The charts are interactive, so you can click to see the answers of different groups (e.g., men, women, straight, gay/lesbian). Lots of findings here sure to spark discussion in your class.

9. Cross-Dressing Girls in Afghanistan: Social Rules and Accommodations

The website Sociological Images presents this discussion about how in Afghanistan some families without sons pick a girl-child in the family to dress, act, and pass as a boy. These biological girls cross-dress as social boys to obtain more male privileges. This gives all of the children in the family extra privileges such as the freedom to leave the house, attend school, and even work outside the home. ”By dressing her a boy, however, they are effectively nodding to the rules, even as they break them… And, because other Afghanis understand, they are willing to look the other way.’

10. A Neuroscientist Uncovers a Dark Secret

Neuroscientist James Fallon, upon learning that he came from a lineage of violent people, compared the brain scans of his family and was disturbed to realize that his brain resembled the brain of a psychopath. In this story by Barbara Bradley Hagerty from NPR’s ”Morning Edition” from June 29 2010, Fallon reflects upon the science of genetics, neuroscience, and the role of nurture in making us who we are. First of the three-part series ”Inside the Criminal Brain” this link is to the text version of the story. Links to the other parts are listed below. Links are also available to audios of the original broadcasts, each about 8 minutes long.

See also:
Part 2: Inside a Psychopath’s Brain: The Sentencing Debate

Part 3: Can Your Genes Make You Murder?

11. The Barnum Effect

Pierre Ysewijn created this on-line personality ”test” which gives false feedback. Despite the obviously invalid questions people still rate the feedback as accurate, illustrating the Barnum Effect.

12. The Barnum Effect – A Favorite Link Revisited

The first link is to an online test of 47 questions plus some background demographics which give the appearance of a legitimate personality test. Respondents receive the typical Barnum feedback and rate how accurate it is. The beauty of this on-line version is that students can change some of their answers and see that their description never changes. In the words of Prof. Birnbaum at Fullerton State who developed this page, ”Self-validation is no validation” according to the explanation given here.


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