Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 6, Number 7, March, 2012

Hello and welcome to the sixty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,475 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month, ”Psychology Today” online is featuring articles on the topic of Narcissism. They have collected more than two dozen articles about this personality disorder ranging from how to handle Narcissistic bosses, mothers, and politicos to how to recognize (and talk to!) a narcissist. See the Narcissism page on Personality Pedagogy to view more links in addition to the highlighted ones below (

Also new this month, LIFE magazine has released vintage photos of rock stars and their parents. While not exactly the stuff of personality psychology, it is kind of fun to see Elton John and The Jacksons pose with their parents and wonder about their early attachments. This may be an interesting way to pique your students’ interest on attachment theory, (although try not to get too depressed if Elton John and Michael Jackson are all they recognize!).

We are also very excited about a promising new resource: ”Therapy Case Notes”. Psychologist Joseph Burgo discusses events from actual therapy sessions in order to illustrate a particular issue or technique, demystify the therapeutic process, and demonstrate the healing power of talk therapy.

Finally, read about how a simple washing instructions tag found in a pair of men’s pants led to an entire gender debate on Twitter.

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 view the current newsletter, comment on newsletters, re-read what you missed in previous newsletters, or search all newsletters 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

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. “Give it to Your Woman” Pants’ Care Instructions

A certain brand of men’s trousers, sold by a British clothier, carries the washing instructions “Machine wash . . . or give it to your woman, it’s her job”. This statement caused an outcry on Twitter when first discovered by British technology writer Emma Barnett. Is the label a joke or an insult to women? Let your students be the judge.

3. Therapy Case Notes

Psych Central presents ”Therapy Case Notes” a new blog where Joseph Burgo highlights ”interesting interactions in psychotherapy sessions — things that shed light on a particular issue or dynamic within the therapy session. The purpose is to try and demystify psychotherapy, and demonstrate the powerful healing abilities of the process.”

4. Rock Stars With Their Parents

Photographer John Olson captured this series for LIFE magazine illustrating the home life of rock stars including Elton John and Little Michael Jackson: ”They had fame, reams of money, and fans willing to do wild, unmentionable things just to breathe the same air — but in its September 24, 1971 issue, LIFE illustrated a different side of the lives of rock stars: Just like other mere mortals, it seemed, they often came from humble backgrounds, with moms and dads who bragged about them, fussed over them, called them on their nonsense, and worried about them every single day.”

5. Therapeutic Analysis of Dreams — A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach

Richard Kensinger, of ”Brain Blogger” describes how he uses a cognitive-behavioral approach to conduct dream analyses with patients. In this article he describes the technique and presents the dream and analysis of a college student subject.

6. Genotype-Environment Interaction: Spanking and Genetics May Increase Childhood Aggression

Boys, but not girls, who were exposed to spanking as a disciplinary tactic were at particular risk for aggressive behavior if they have certain genetic risk factors according to research by Boutwell et all (2011), published in ”Aggressive Behavior” and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, March 5, 2012.

7. Memories, Dreams, Reflections: A Rare Glimpse Inside Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s Mind

Maria Popova, in her ”Brain Pickings” blog provides this overview of Jung’s biography including a sketch note visualization of the book by Austin Kleon. From March 13, 2012.

8. Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

In February 2012, Susan Cain gave this moving TED talk on the power of introverts (from the website): ”In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.” (runs 19 minutes, 4 seconds).

9. Epigenetics: Childhood Adversity Can Lead to Genetic Changes

According to research published online in ”PloS ONE”, February 2012, ”childhood adversity may lead to epigenetic changes in the human glucocorticoid receptor gene, an important regulator of the biological stress response that may increase risk for psychiatric disorders” and summarized here in ”Medical News Today”, February 29, 2012.

10. What Personality Traits Do Night Owls Have?

”Morning types are more concrete, logical, introverted and self-controlled. Evening types are more creative, risk-taking, independent and impulsive” according to this brief summary taken from Richard Wiseman’s book “59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute”. From the ”Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog by Eric Barker, February 26, 2012.

11. Are Morning People Happier?

Recent research from ”Emotion” February 2012 and summarized here in the ”Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog by Eric Barker, February 17, 2012, suggests that this is indeed the case.

12. How To Spot A Narcissist

The paradox of narcissism is ”If narcissists were just jerks, they would be easy to avoid. The fact that they are entertaining and exciting as well as aggressive and manipulative makes them compelling in the real world and as subjects of psychological scrutiny.” This, according to Scott Barry Kaufman for ”Psychology Today”, (published on July 5, 2011 – last reviewed on March 2, 2012).

13. Talking to a Narcissist

”We all know narcissistic people and that can make for unsatisfactory interactions. Psychotherapist Bill Snow has come up with seven rules for talking to a narcissist that are offered as straight advice but sound like a parody.” By Nigel Barber, for ”Psychology Today”, February 29, 2012.

14. Higher Rate of Narcissism for Those Born After 1982?

A brief summary of research by Twenge et al. (2007) finding a steady increase in the rate of narcissism in American college students from 1982 to 2006. By Stephanie Sarkis, for ”Psychology Today”, March 4, 2012.

15. The Healthy Side of Narcissism

Despite the problems with being narcissistic, some have suggested that it’s okay to be a little narcissistic. ”There are reasons to believe that having the right amount of adaptive narcissism may be particularly adaptive in helping people maintain healthy habits.” By Susan Krauss Whitbourne for ”Psychology Today”, January 24, 2012.

16. Are Narcissists Everywhere? In a Word . . . YES!

Between the internet, TV stars, professional athletes, and more, our society encourages and rewards narcissistic behavior. According to some, ”We live in the “Me Decade” on steroids!”. By Thomas G. Plante for ”Psychology Today”, March 6, 2012.

17. The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It out, But . . .

”When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, “dish it out” to them).” By Leon F. Seltzer for ”Psychology Today”, October 12, 2011.

18. A Day In The Life of a Narcissist

”Psychology Today” writer Susan Krauss Whitbourne outlines the characteristics that define narcissism, how it changes over the lifespan, and the problematic behavior narcissists consistently engage in. Published September 13, 2011.

19. Behind the Facade: The ”False Self” of the Narcissist

To compensate for a true sense of self, narcissists develop a ”false self” according to Randi Kreger for ”Psychology Today”, November 28, 2011.

20. Narcissism: Why it’s So Rampant in Politics

According to Leon F. Seltzer for ”Psychology Today”, narcissistic politicians ”don’t serve the people; they serve themselves.” Published December 21, 2011.

21. Favorite Link Revisited: Narcissism Among Celebrities, on Facebook and in Shakespeare

From the website: ”Are celebrities really more narcissistic than you are? Is your Facebook page telling the world that you are a narcissist? And finally: who is Shakespeare’s most narcissistic character? I’ll give you a hint: the character can be found in Twelfth Night. So if you’re looking for more information about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or just everyday narcissism, as well as examples of famous narcissists, you’ll find it in this in this episode of The Psych Files”. (Episode 110; Originally released November 22, 2009).


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