Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 7, Number 8, April, 2013

Hello and welcome to the eightieth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,767 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month we have a lively mix of topics from smelling personality to the narcissism epidemic to a look at Nietzsche’s famous quip “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Funny, but that just about sums up the end of the semester around here! Here’s hoping the semester ends productively and smoothly (and not too smelly) where you are!!

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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. The Internet “Narcissism Epidemic”

Could the Internet be making us more narcissistic? Read about how social media — including Facebook activity — correlates with Narcissism.

3. How to Make Love to a Stranger?

One of the quickest ways to gain the benefits of positive emotion is to share a moment or “positivity resonance” with another person, even if that person is a stranger. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson wants us to expand our definition of love and science writer Daniel Tomasulo tells us how in this piece for the “PsychCentral” blog, April 9, 2013.

4. Do Men Have More Varied Personalities Than Women?

“A huge study involving over 12,000 participants across 51 cultures […] has concluded that men tend to have more varied personalities than women. […] men’s personalities showed more variation for four of the Big Five traits: extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The exception was neuroticism, which tended to vary more widely in women” according to research published in the “Journal of Research in Personality” and summarized here in “BPS Research Digest”, March 25, 2013.

5. Ground Down

Was Nietzsche correct when he said “That which does not kill me makes me stronger”? Apparently not, according to research by David Almeida and colleagues published in 1995 and summarized here in “The Economist”, April 13, 2013.

6. Pursuing Purpose: A Cause or Result of Feeling Connected?

Writing for the “Positive Psychology News Daily”, Genevieve Douglass muses about purpose in life and how it might relate to the three needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. She reviews research which suggests “that a sense of meaning might be embedded in the basic need of relatedness, which both contributes to and results from prosocial behaviors.”

7. Believing Self-Control Predicts Success, Schools Teach Coping

In one DC school, “The boot-camp expectations, the behavioral charts, the pinnies, all point to a calculated attempt to teach students self-discipline, focus, accountability — ultimately, self-control. Schools across the country are responding to a growing body of research that suggests a definitive and disturbing link between low levels of self-control in childhood and serious problems later in life” according to this article from “The Washington Post”, April 11, 2013.

8. How Childhood Hunger Can Change Adult Personality

According to a study published in the “Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry” a sample of children who suffered severe starvation as infants were more anxious, less sociable, less open, and more hostile than those who were more well-nourished. From “Time”, April 11, 2013.

9. Academics Question the Reliability of Neuroscience Research

“New research has questioned the reliability of neuroscience studies, saying that conclusions could be misleading due to small sample sizes.” This according to new research published in “Nature Reviews Neuroscience” and summarized here in “Medical News Today”, April 12, 2013.

10. Aaron Beck On The Future of CBT

“In this video from a recent CBT workshop at the Beck Institute, Dr. Aaron Beck discusses the theory and practice of Cognitive Therapy. He discusses the ways in which the core theory and the therapy have changed since the 1960s and how he believes they will expand and extend in the future. He also discusses how other disciplines, such as neurobiology, have contributed to CT, referencing one of his own studies in 1961 and a 1999 study by researchers in Great Britain. According to Dr. Beck, the future of CBT will likely involve an expansion of the core theory of CT in conjunction with neurobiological findings.” Published by the Beck Institute, February 27, 2013 (runs 7 minutes, 26 seconds).

11. See-Through Brains Clarify Connections

In what has been called “one of the most important advances for doing neuroanatomy in decades” scientists have found a way to reconstruct three-dimensional data from thin slices to create a transparent view of parts of the brain revealing the brain’s neuronal communication networks. Read about the technique here and see a video of the spectacular images it created of the brains of mice (runs 4 minutes, 17 seconds).

12. Can You Smell Personality?

“First impressions matter. This may not come as much of a surprise, but just how quickly we form impressions, and which cues we use to make such rapid judgements” — including smell — “may very much surprise you.” From “The Creativity Post”, April 10, 2013.

13. 2 People Described the Same Person to A Forensic Artist And This is What Happened

This amazing demonstration, actually part of the Dove soap ”Real Beauty” campaign is quite a powerful demonstration of how our own body image may differ from what others see when they look at us. (Runs 3 minutes, 1 second)

14. True Grit

”Getting to that finish line takes stamina and determination. Researchers are working to identify how gritty individuals get things done.” according to this article by Angela Lee Duckworth and Lauren Eskreis-Winkler for the APS ”Observer”, April, 2013.

15. Teaching Students About the Science of Romantic Attachment

Nathan DeWall and David Myers describe a series of activities to help students think about attachment and why our romantic partners may get under our skin. Includes background reading, self-assessment, an out-of-class activity, and discussion topics.

16. Favorite Link Revisited: How to Study Like A Pro: 9 Evidence-Based Study Strategies

The editor of the “Research Digest” published by the British Psychological Society compiled these 9 strategies for a special issue for students. Each of the tips are described and include a link to a summary of the published research which supports the usefulness of the strategy. Strategies include: adopt a growth mindset, sleep well, pace your studies, test yourself, and more.


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