Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 8, April, 2011

Hello and welcome to the fifty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,224 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? With the end of the semester upon many of us, is anyone NOT aware of stress these days? In this spirit, we offer you some links related to the topic of stress and resilience.

For example, the insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield, at least in Pennsylvania, has put together a campaign for employers to increase awareness of stress, the negative impact of stress, how to cope with stress, and resources employees can use to manage stress. Included in the kit is a 12-item Hardiness scale (see link below). While it may seem odd to include this non-academic test as part of our resources on Personality Pedagogy — after all, we pride ourselves on being the largest repository of legitimate personalty tests on the web — the actual Hardiness scale is not available for general use. This scale, however, was created by hardiness researcher Suzanne Kobasa. While not valid for research, it will illustrate for students what hardiness is and give them a sense of their own hardiness.

Ah, spring! The time to put away heavy clothing and brighten up with the world with light jackets, bright colors, and controversial toe nails. This month J. Crew sparked a debate on gender identity by featuring a sweet photo of president and creative director Jenna Lyon and her five-year-old sharing a playful moment. The controversy? She painted her son’s toenails neon pink. The question at issue is whether a child’s gender identity be affected by engaging in cross-gender behavior. People, including psychologists, are weighing in on all sides of the issue that pits innocent fun and natural curiosity against gender confusion and a societal abandonment of gender. No doubt you and students will have an opinion on this issue, and keeping it grounded in what we know about child development, gender identity, and sexual identity, could spark some interesting discussions in your personality classes this month (see link below).

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. J. Crew Ad Showing Boy With Pink Nail Polish Sparks Debate on Gender Identity

The article in Fox News summarizes a recent debate caused by a charming photo J. Crew ran in their spring catalog featuring a company executive and her five-year-old son sporting neon pink nail polish. Parents, doctors, and psychologists are weighing in. This summary written by Diane Macedo from April 11, 2011 summarizes the controversy and provides links to commentary from both sides of the issue.

3. Stress Awareness: Hardiness Quiz

The insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield designed a stress awareness kit based on the work of Suzanne Kobasa on Hardiness. Respondents answer a dozen questions and can score themselves on control, commitment, and challenge, the Three C’s of hardiness. Included in this kit are the quiz, scoring instructions, interpretation, a summary of how stress affects the body, stress reduction exercises, and strategies for handling stress.

4. Want to Live to 100? Try To Bounce Back From Stress

”Gerontologist and commentator Mark Lachs says one of the keys to a long, health old age is the ability to keep moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks” in this piece from NPR’s ”Morning Edition”, April 11, 2011.

5. Stress and Aging

While stress is known to have a negative impact on the body (e.g., notably affecting chromosomal telomeres and leading to cancer), new evidence suggests that stress management (e.g., counseling, exercise) stops this damage and actually promotes their repair. The link is to a summary which ran in ”The Economist,” April 7, 2011. Also, see this summary from ”Science Daily”, April 2, 2011.

6. What is Psychological Resilience?

Provides an overview of what resilience is, the characteristics of resilient people, examples of resilient people, enhancing psychological resilience, measuring resilience, and more.

7. Resilience: Build Skills to Endure Hardship

The Mayo Clinic provides this guild to resilience and mental health including tips to build resilience and when to seek professional advice.

8. The Penn Resiliency Program

Based on Ellis’ Adversity-Consequences-Beliefs (ABC) model and the cognitive-behavioral theories of depression by Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, and Martin Seligman, elementary and middle school children learn to detect automatic thoughts, evaluate the accuracy of these thoughts, and to consider alternatives to challenge negative beliefs. Includes an overview of the program, references, current projects, and a summary of research findings using the program.

9. Extreme Photo Retouching

Images in the media can have a powerful effect on the self-concept and self-esteem of young people. Many are unaware of just how doctored up media images ares. This movie shows the photo retouching process in detail reinforcing the idea that images we see are often idealized and unrealistic (runs 2 minutes, 29 seconds).

10. Learning Through Digital Media Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy

This combination printed book, free e-book, and web page is a collection of methodologies, social practices, and hands-on assignments by leading educators who are using digital media to enhance learning on and off college campuses. For example, recent essays included evaluation of new technologies, principles of fair use, networking in the classroom, and using technology to improve teaching and learning.

11. Self-promotion on Facebook Correlates With Narcissism

Students who use technology for self-promotion tend to be more narcissistic than those who simply use technology to connect to others” according to research by Meghan M. Saculla and W. Pitt Derryberry” and summarized in this article in ”The Chronicle of Higher Education”, April 4, 2011.

12. Gender: Color Survey

Randall Munroe, the creator of the xkcd comic put together an online survey of color names for a friend. With the help of over 222,000 users some five million colors were named. One of the most striking results is how men and women differ in their color naming, with women, for the most part, using more precise discriminations. Scroll down for a nice graphic illustrating this gender difference.

13. Favorite Link Revisited: Pink is For Boys and Blue is For Girls?

Pink is For Boys and Blue is For Girls? In response to an article published in Current Biology claiming that there is evolutionary support for why girls prefer pink (Hurlbert & Link, 2007), Writer Ben Goldacre wrote this column for The Guardian (August 25, 2007) to debunk both the myth that “blue is for boys and pink is for girls” and this piece of “bad science” in his words. He uses cross-cultural differences in color preference and cultural changes within the U.S. to question the “Biological components of sex differences in color preference” (the title of the original article). See the whole article by Goldacre including graphs and charts at his Bad Science website.


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