Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 7, Number 6, February, 2013

Hello and welcome to the seventy-eighth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,740 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Have you ever wondered what is all the fuss about the “Twilight” series? This month we are pleased to bring you a chapter from Donna Ashcraft’s new book “Deconstructing Twilight”. In it, she takes psychological and feminist approaches to understanding the characters. She and her publisher have graciously agreed to let “Personality Pedagogy” publish Chapter 7 from her book. Here, she analyzes Bella and her relationships with her parents and with Edward to illustrate aspects of Karen Horney’s theory. Ashcroft’s analysis is sure to spark discussion among your fan-students and to get you to think about young adult literature — and personality theories — in a new way.

This month, in honor of using fictional characters as case studies to illustrate personality theories, we revisit one of our favorite links. The NPR program “In Character” presents an in-depth look at more fictional characters suitable for analysis in your personality class.

Finally, I just couldn’t resist throwing in the “World’s Shortest Personality Test” (see link below). My students enjoyed taking it and critiquing it afterwards. We were able to draw on their “results” to see if it matched up to their personality according to a valid measure of the Five Factors. They could readily understand convergent validity and the need for criterion validity through this little demonstration. Try it!

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

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2. Deconstructing Twilight

Drawing on classic theorists including Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Erik Erikson, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others, Donna Ashcraft takes a psychological and feminist approach to understanding the “Twilight” characters in her book “Deconstructing Twilight: Psychological and Feminist Perspectives on the Series”. Thanks to her publisher, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., you can read and download a PDF of Chapter 7 in which she uses Karen Horney’s 10 neurotic needs to understand the dynamics between Bella and her parents, Bella and Edward, and more. The second link takes you to the page for her book.

3. World’s Quickest Personality Test

Are you imaginative, analytical, or suspicious? Richard Wiseman describes how to assess your personality via this quick measure. A fun way to introduce personality testing and the importance of validity to your students. (runs 1 minute, 26 seconds).

4. Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth

“From empathy and sexuality to science inclination and extroversion, statistical analysis of 122 different characteristics involving 13,301 individuals shows that men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups” according to research by Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis (2013) published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”. Includes a graphic comparing distributions of men and women on physical strength and masculinity-assertiveness; and a video of Harry Reis explaining their work and what it means (runs 3 minutes, 24 seconds).

5. Willpower Expert Roy Baumeister on Staying in Control

Roy Baumeister explains what willpower is, what depletes our willpower, and how we can manage our willpower to achieve our goals in this interview from “Time”, January 14, 2013.

6. Mistakes Improve Children’s Learning While Building Competence and Autonomy

We need not always protect children from mistakes; mistakes can be part of the learning and discovery process and actually increase learning. Children build competence through mastering challenges, and autonomy though trying new approaches.

7. How to Become Highly Skilled in CBT

“In this video from a recent Beck Institute Workshop, Drs. Aaron and Judith Beck discuss the process of improving as a therapist. Like most skills, excellent therapy skills are achieved over time with good training and experience. Dr. Aaron Beck emphasizes the importance of utilizing patient feedback, as well as learning from colleagues and supervisors. Dr. Judith Beck discusses the importance of keeping an open mind in one’s progression as a therapist, including incorporating new techniques from other fields of therapy within the CBT framework.” Published by the Beck Institute, January 16, 2013.

8. Design Your Own Implicit Association Tests (IAT)

Adam Meade, North Carolina State University, has created this website where researchers can create their own IATs using free open-source software on this website.

9. Research Methods and Statistics Concept Maps

Alexis Grosofsky, Beloit College, created these concept maps of topics typically covered in undergraduate methods and statistics courses. These maps will help students organize material and see the “bigger picture” of how these concepts relate to each other. Each of these 11 maps could be used as an introduction, summary, or quick refresher (opens in PDF format).

10. Teaching Statistics: Not Awful and Boring

Jessica Hartnett, Gannon University, started this blog where she shares online resources for teaching statistic to undergraduates. In her own words: “Most of [the suggestions] are funny. A few of them are serious but engaging. At no point will I suggest that you count M&M colors (although there is nothing wrong with that). Also, I’m not making any money off of this, I just know how hard it can be to teach statistics/research methods and thought I would share what I have.”

11. fMRI: Real-Time Self-Regulation of Emotion Networks

Using fMRI, 8 patients with depression were able to increase activity in areas of the brain related to positive emotion and lowered their depression through neuro(bio)feedback. A control group who went through similar cognitive strategies but without the feedback did not show such improvement. Includes downloadable slides of their findings.

12. Mindfulness neuroscience

Neuropsychologist Deric Bownds summarizes findings from a special issue of the journal “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” devoted to meditation and the brain. He describes four possible mechanisms by which meditation works and discusses the problem of control groups and random assignment in meditation research.

13. Do You Know What Determines Your Happiness?

Eric Karpinski, muses on the impact of genetics, external circumstances, and our own actions and thoughts on our happiness. Posted August 11, 2011.

14. Favorite Link Revisited: In Character: Tricksters, Vamps, Heroes, Scamps

“From Darth Vader to Scarlett O’Hara, the best fictional characters reflect something about who we are and how we got here.” In Character, “a [2008] six-month series from NPR, explores indelible American characters from fiction, folklore and pop culture.” Hear experts discuss the psychology of characters such as Vernon Waters (“A Soldier’s Story”), Willie Stark (“All the King’s Men”), Charlotte (“Charlotte’s Web”), Auntie Mame, Uncle Tom, Henry Fleming (“The Red Badge of Courage”), The Joker, Norman Bates, Nancy Drew, Jo March (“Little Woman”), King Kong, Mr. Spock, Carrie (“Sex and the City”), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ricky Ricardo, Charlie Brown, Fred Sanford, Indiana Jones, Dora the Explorer, Mama Rose, Hanibal Lecter, Portnoy, Eric Cartman (“South Park”), Walter Mitty, Catwoman, Blanche DuBois, Captain Ahab, Barbie, Harriet the Spy, Hester Prynne (“The Scarlet Letter”), Elmer Gantry, Darth Vader, Gordon Gekko (“Wall Street”), Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Cookie Monster, George Jefferson, Willy Loman (“Death of a Salesman”), Huckleberry Finn, Scarlett O’Hara, Pollyanna, Holden Caulfield, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, Bugs Bunny, and others.


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