Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 5, January, 2011

Hello and welcome to the fifty-third Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,175 other interesting links related to personality, please visit us.

If the winter weather is getting you down, earlier this week news outlets were reporting snow fall in every single state . . . except Florida! This suggests that you’re in good company, so just sit back, sip a warm drink, and read on for the latest news in personality psychology.

This month, we’ve been catching up with our backlog of links. Perhaps some of the items below will look familiar from this month’s APA Monitor or from recent PsychTeach threads.

We also continue our new feature: Favorite Links Revisited. In this feature we’ll be calling your attention to some of our favorite links from Personality Pedagogy that are worthy of a second look. This month, we re-run the short film “i” written by a student to illustrate the search for identity.

We wish you and yours a Happy New Year and a happy start to the next quarter/semester/year teaching 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

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2. Better than sex! US college students value self-esteem boosts more than bodily pleasures

”[N]ot only do US college students have higher self-esteem than previous generations, they now value self-esteem boosts more than sex, food, receiving a salary payment, seeing a friend or having an alcoholic drink” according to new research by Brad Bushman and his co-workers published in ”The Journal of Personality” and summarized in the British Psychological Society ”Research Digest”, December 23, 2010.

3. Emotional Intelligence Peaks as We Enter Our 60s

”Older people have a hard time keeping a lid on their feelings, especially when viewing heartbreaking or disgusting scenes in movies and reality shows, psychologists have found. But they’re better than their younger counterparts at seeing the positive side of a stressful situation and empathizing with the less fortunate, according to research” by Robert Levenson and colleagues and summarized here in ”Science Daily,” December 18, 2010.

4. Propensity for One-Night Stands, Uncommitted Sex Could Be Genetic, Study Suggests

”[I]ndividuals with a certain variant of the [dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism] DRD4 gene [linked to sensation-seeking behavior] were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity,” according to author Justin Garcia and summarized here in ”Science Daily,” December 2, 2010.

5. ASPIRES Spiritual Transcendence Scale

According to creator Ralph L. Piedmont, ”Spiritual Transcendence (ST) represents the ability of an individual to stand outside of his/her immediate sense of time and place and to view life from a larger, more objective perspective.” Take this 9-item test to see where you fall on this personality variable. Includes scoring instructions, interpretations, and group norms.

6. Full Text of Darwin’s ”Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals”

Among Project Gutenberg’s many gems is this free version of the complete text of Charles Darwin’s (1899) classic book ”Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals”.

7. Control Your Emotions (1950) Part 1 (8:17) and Part 2 (5:01)

This black-and-white documentary presents a 1950’s view of emotions, taking a stimulus-and-response view of the emotion of ”rage”. The film warns that emotions which are out of control can lead to a ”permanently warped personality”. To develop a ”more pleasant personality” young people should learn to control their emotions, by eliminating or modifying the emotional stimulus or by modifying their responses. Though quite dated and inaccurate, parts of it would make an entertaining introduction to current research on emotion or spark a lively discussion among students.

8. Are the men of the African Aka tribe the best fathers in the world?

Describes the fascinating Aka tribe in Africa in which males and females have set roles which are virtually interchangeable: women hunt while men take care of children. From ”The Guardian”, June 15, 2005.

9. When it Comes to Emotions, Eastern and Western Cultures See Things Very Differently

People from Eastern cultures take the context into account when judging emotions more so than people from Western cultures. The emotions of background figures were more likely to influence the judgements of Japanese participants more so than that of North Americans in this research by Takahiko Masuda published in the ”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” and summarized in ”Science Daily” March 7, 2008.

10. Our Stories, Ourselves

”The tales we tell hold powerful sway over our memories, behaviors and even identities, according to research from the burgeoning field of narrative psychology” and summarized in this article from the ”APA Monitor” by Sadie F. Dingfelder, January 2011, Volume 42(1), p. 42.

11. The Risks of Night Work

”Millions of American workers fight against their circadian clocks every day, putting them — and others in their paths — in danger”. Read about the latest research on the problem of and solutions for working against our circadian clocks in this this article from the ”APA Monitor” by Michael Price, January 2011, Volume 42(1), p. 38.

12. Dan Gilbert Asks, Why are We Happy?

”Dan Gilbert, author of ”Stumbling on Happiness”, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our ‘psychological immune system’ lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned” in this TED talk filmed February 2004. Subtitles are available in 32 different languages. Runs 21 minutes and 20 seconds.

13. Dan Gilbert On Our Mistaken Expectations

”Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness — sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself” in this TED talk filmed July 2005. Subtitles are available in 25 different languages. Runs 33 minutes and 35 seconds.

14. Dan Gilbert: Stumbling on Happiness

Harvard Psychologist and author of the best-selling “Stumbling on Happiness” Daniel Gilbert discusses his book and how humans find — and don’t find — happiness” in this talk from the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival. Runs 51 minutes and 4 seconds.

15. Dodge Morgan

Dodge Morgan (1932-2010), at the age of 54, sailed solo around the world in 150 days. During the trip, he participated in an intensive psychological case study including psychological testing, the results of which were published in an entire special issue of the ”Journal of Personality” (by William Nasby and Nancy Read, December 1997, Volume 65(4), 757-1111, with an editorial introduction by Dan McAdams and Steve West). Read about his remarkable life in ”The Lives They Lived” year-end retrospective from the ”New York Times” (December 21, 2010; the first link) and in his ”New York Times” obituary (September 17, 2010; the second link). Results were also presented by Charles Palus, Bill Eaton, and Randy Eaton in an article in the ”Journal of Applied Behavioral Science” (1990, 26, 501-527), and in a book, ”Understanding Executive Performance: A Life-Story Perspective” by Charles J. Palus (1991).

16. On Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science: An Interview with Wilma Bucci

David Van Nuys, a clinical psychologist, writes the podcast ”Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy”. In this show, from August 1, 2010, he talks with Dr. Wilma Bucci about her work integrating psychoanalytic theory with cognitive science. This page contains the audio of the podcast, as well as a transcript of the interview. Van Nuys also summarizes and links to a PDF of her 2009 paper: ”How Does The Psychoanalytical Process Work? New Perspectives From Cognitive Sciences and Affective Neuroscience”.

17. A Favorite Link Revisited: “i,” a short film by Chris Ladd

Skidmore senior Chris Ladd created this 32 minute film about the search for identity. From the website: ””i” is a short documentary with a simple question as its premise: Who am I? Who is anybody? What is identity? To find out, “i” looks to psychology, to philosophy, to friends, and a professional psychic, and comes to a conclusion that shakes the film’s premise to its core.” Along the way the film summarizes Freud, projective testing, Jung, objective testing, the MBTI, the MMPI,  criterion keying, and existentialism. (In case you are wondering, Chris Ladd is now graduated and living in Cambridge, MA as a free-lance writer and occasional radio story and film maker.)


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