Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 6, Number 1, September, 2011

Hello and welcome to the sixty-first Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,302 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Happy Birthday to the Personality Pedagogy newsletter! This month we are starting our 6th year. We have enjoyed brining you the latest in news, assignments, activities, examples and more. We thank you, our loyal readers and visitors, for making Personality Pedagogy the place to go for resources for teaching personality psychology. Don’t you feel like sending us a birthday card now? (see the third link below)

Science or science fiction? One of the most interesting pieces of news this month is a new study out of UC Berkeley which was able to reconstruct the ”movies” inside of our heads — like dreams and memories — from fMRIs and computer modeling. This is a very exciting breakthrough and one that, while not directly related to personality psychology, illustrates cutting-edge research in neuroscience these days. It is just a matter of time before this technique will be used to study personality and the brain.

Permit us a moment of shameless self-promotion. This month we are pleased to announce a new textbook for personality psychology written by our own editor, Marianne Miserandino. ”Personality Psychology: Foundations and Findings” (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2012) introduces students to the basic foundations and latest findings in personality psychology by presenting the fundamental questions, accumulated knowledge, and latest research in traits, genetics, neuroscience, self and identity, intrapsychic aspects, regulation and motivation, and cognition, as well as the integration across these areas. The book is written specifically for students at small liberal arts and community colleges. The best part of all is that Miserandino wrote the instructor’s manual too! The IM is chock full of discussion points, active learning exercises, self-assessments, crossword puzzle vocabulary reviews, and much more gleaned from her almost 20 years of teaching personality psychology at Arcadia University. If you like Personality Pedagogy, you are sure to love this new approach to teaching personality psychology. Check it out here.

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 RSS 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. Scientists Use fMRI to Reveal the Movies in Our Mind

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers Jack Gallant and colleagues have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers, according to this summary and published September 22 2011 in the journal ”Current Biology”. Includes excerpts from the actual movies participants viewed alongside images recreated from their brain scans.

3. The Pavlovian Response to Seeing Birthday Announcements on Facebook

Mike Masnick discusses an ”experiment” conducted by David Plotz of ”Slate” magazine. Plotz noted that well-wishers responded automatically when they saw that a friend was having a birthday on Facebook.

4. Bobby McFerrin’s ”Don’t Worry, Be Happy”: An Explication Grounded in Research

Maria Popova presents this explication of the ”iconic happiness anthem” grounded in the latest research in personality and social psychology. Includes links to original sources.

5. The Use of Active Imagination in Jungian Sandplay

Shrink Rap Radio: A Psychology talk and Interview Show (Podcast; Show #278, September 9, 2011). In this episode, Dr. Dave talks with Maria Hess, Ph.D., a Jungian Analyst who teaches Sonoma State University. Maria teaches, practices and presents workshops in sandplay and other non-verbal expressive modalities.

6. Carl Jung: Psychology’s Magician

According to Algis Valiunas, in ”The New Atlantis”, ”… Newton was not the last magician. Jung was. The method of his analytical psychology — as he called it, to distinguish it from Freudian psychoanalysis — was nothing short of fantastic.” [For example] ”[t]o penetrate the psyche of a woman destined for schizophrenic disintegration, he would study dreams, reveries, her ”borderland phenomena” — the apparitions that came to her as she was half-asleep — and explicate them in the light of Mithraic religious symbols, Old Testament wisdom, the words of Jesus, passages from Shakespeare, poems by Nietzsche, Teutonic and Persian and Chinese and Indian legend… Although Jung focuses intently on a particular patient with a particular disorder, his study has a far more extensive cultural reach. He was out to dethrone arid modern scientism and restore the symbolic imagination — which is to say, religious feeling — to its rightful place in the life of men.”

7. Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale

From Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R. K., Cooper, M. L., & Bouvrette, A. (2003). Contingencies of self-worth in college students: Theory and measurement. ”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85”, 894-908. Includes background information, limitations, scale validity, scoring instructions and links to the scale in English, Japanese, Spanish, German, Dutch, French, and Turkish.

8. Wounded Warriors Softball Team

NBC Nightly News did this feature story on the inspirational Wounded Warriors softball team. These veteran service members play on an amputee softball team, made up entirely of players who have lost limbs. They take on able-bodied teams for camaraderie and the love of good hard competition. Aired September 5, 2011 (Runs 3 minutes and 28 seconds).

9. Nonexperimental Methods

Mark Mitchell, Clarion University, provides this extensive overview of nonexperimental methods including quizzes to test your comprehension of the material presented.

10. Core Concepts in Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience sponsors this extensive website filled with useful and up-to-date resources including a downloadable e-book on the core concepts of neuroscience and a matching Powerpoint presentation.

11. Neuroscience Education Resources Virtual Encycloportal (NERVE)

The Society for Neuroscience sponsors the website NERVE, the Neuroscience Education Resources Virtual Encycloportal. Built for instructors of k-12, the site is organized around the themes of addictions, drugs, and the brain; anatomy; cells; sensation, perception and movement; mental health, brain disorders, and disease; nervous system injuries; brain basics; and neuroscientists at work. Filled with activities, cases, fact sheets, images, experiences, quizzes, simulations and much more, many of which are easily tailored to the level of high school and college audiences.

12. Finding Little Albert

Michael Britt created an episode for his podcast, ”The Psych Files,” which discusses the curious story of how Little Albert, one of the most famous subjects in the history of psychology, was finally found. In this video episode (#114) Britt takes us through each step of the extensive and fascinating detective work which led to Albert’s identity. Includes some never seen before pictures.

13. The Little Albert Study: What You Know is Mostly Wrong

Michael Britt created an episode for his podcast, ”The Psych Files,” which discusses the real story behind Little Albert, one of the most famous subjects in the history of psychology. In this episode (#47) Britt explains, ”If you think you know a lot about the little Albert experiment conducted by John Watson? Well, guess what – you’d be surprised at how much of the story is simply not true. If you’re wondering whatever happened to little Albert, whether the little Albert study created a lasting phobia in a small boy, or even what place this story has in the history of behaviorism, then I suggest you take a listen to this episode of The Psych Files and get the facts on this fascinating part of psychology’s history.”

14. Twins

In August 1997 the magazine ”Psychology Today” ran this summary of twin research and the misperceptions of twin research written by twin researcher Nancy Segal and colleagues.

15. Celebrating Diversity in Schools

Celebrating Diversity in Schools provides a range of resources for teachers, parents and others who work with young people to help make schools more supportive and inclusive for same sex attracted and transgender young people and staff. Their website contains training resources, materials, activities, handouts, references and more.

16. Sexual Trichotomy: Understanding the Fluidity of Sexuality and Gender

One of the many activities featured on the Celebrating Diversity website is this trichotomy of sexual identity, sexual behavior, and sexual orientation. Students discuss how this trichotomy might apply to 6 hypothetical people and in the process discover how sexuality is fluid and how a person’s identity, orientation and behavior can change throughout life.

17. Heterosexual Privilege

The Student Counseling Center at Texas Tech University features a number of activities, handouts and other resources on their website. In this activity, students answer 32 questions that illustrate heterosexual privilege in ways straight people do not have to think about. For example, questions range from ”I can, if I wish, legally marry my life partner” to ”My sexual orientation is represented in the media and I don’t feel excluded”.

18. Assessing Assumptions About Gender

This exercise by Amy Taylor won Honorable Mention for the 2009 Social Psychology Network Action Teaching Award. In this activity, students read a dialog between a man and a woman and report their impressions of the characters. Half the class have the genders of the characters switched. According to Taylor, the objectives of this activity are to: (1) illustrate how subtle gender biases can influence social perceptions, (2) help students recognize their own implicit assumptions about gender, and (3) explore the implications these biases may have for gender equality.

19. Teach Genetics

The Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah built this website as a companion to their Learn.Genetics website. Here you will find classroom activities to teach the basics of heritable traits and take-home activities to help students share what they’ve learned with their families. PDFs are available for download including instructions, student worksheets, overhead masters, and answer keys. Some of the material may be too basic for a college class (although the graphics which review the basics of inheritance would make an excellent review), the topics do include Epigenetics, gene therapy, personalized medicine, cloning, and other fairly sophisticated topics. Most of the activities can be modified to fit the needs of your students and the topic of personality.

For example, there is an activity to create a DNA recipe to create dog by randomly selecting strips of paper that represent DNA. Though the activity is recommended for grades 5-10 some of the advanced discussion points are applicable, or at least a good review for a personality psychology class. The ”Your Environment, Your Epigenome” activity, where students record some of the epigenome-influencing factors present in their environment, is suitable for high school and college classes.

20. Learn Genetics

The Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah built this website to disseminate educational materials on genetics, bioscience, and health. Includes animations to teach the basics of DNA, genes, heredity and traits, and more.

21. Favorite Link Revisited: Jung Speaks

PsicoMundo, a Spanish language website about psychoanalysis, has two audio clips in their Galería de Sonidos (Gallery of Sounds) of Carl Jung speaking (the clips are in English). Fragmento 1 (Fragment 1) is 16 seconds, Fragmento 2 (Fragment 2) is 23 seconds. They are available for listening (para escuchar) on line or off line.


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