Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 7, Number 10, June, 2013

Hello and welcome to the eighty-second Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,801 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month we are very excited to present a hard-to-find example of insecure infants in the Strange Situation. While it is easy to find videos of secure attachments between parents and their children in the strange situation, it is much harder to find good illustrations of insecure attachment. This brief clip shows how children with avoidant and ambivalent attachment react to maternal separation and reunion.

Also, this month it seems that we have amassed quite a few links to happiness research and positive emotions. And maybe that’s just the way it ought to be while summer is in full throttle. So, why fight it! Check out our Favorite Link Revisited for ways to increase the healing power of positive emotions in your life by having more fun this summer.

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. Chimpanzees’ Personas Seem More Complex Than People’s

Using the same techniques as the early (human) trait theorists did, Hani Freeman and her colleagues found evidence that chimpanzee personality consists of 6 dimensions. These include extroversion, agreeableness and openness, shared by humans, but also reactivity (related to the human trait of neuroticism, perhaps?), dominance and methodicalness which are not. Their research was published in the “American Journal of Primatology” and summarized here in “The Economist”, June 15, 2013.

3. Arrogant, Moi? Investigating Narcissists’ insight into Their Traits, Behavior and Reputation

Research by Erika Carlson and colleagues suggests that “Narcissists do have genuine insight into their narcissism” [but] “They seem to perceive narcissism as a ‘get ahead’ trait that brings them personal gain … a personal strength, and [they] justify their narcissism in terms of the benefits it has for them.” Read more in this summary from the “British Psychological Society Research Digest”, June 4, 3013.

4. Anxious? Activate Your Anterior Cingulate Cortex With a Little Meditation

Research by Fadel Zeidan and colleagues published in “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” found that area of the brain which regulate worrying are activated during mediation, leading to lowered anxiety according to this summary in “Science Daily”, June 4, 2013.

5. Secure, Insecure, Avoidant & Ambivalent Attachment in Mothers & Babies

This brief video clip features the analysis and voice-over of Everett Waters, as three mothers and babies react to the strange situation by showing patterns of secure, avoidant, or ambivalent/resistant attachment. Runs 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

6. The Strange Situation – Mary Ainsworth

This brief video clip illustrates the Strange Situation used to assess attachment using a 14-month old girl who shows secure attachment with her mother. Runs 3 minutes, 15 seconds.

7. How Positive Emotions Lead to Better Health

Research by Bethany Kok and colleagues suggests that “Positive emotion, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining, upward-spiral dynamic.” Read a summary of their research from “Psychological Science” here in “Pacific Standard”, May 8, 2013.

8.Teaching Students About the Sunny Side of Stress

Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers offer their advice and guidance about teaching an area of research recently highlighted in “Current Directions of Psychological Science”. In this column for the May/June 2013 APS “Observer” they discuss how people can use arousal reappraisal to lessen the experience of stress in both mind and body.

9. Teaching Students About How Simple, Positive Activities Can Increase Well-Being

Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers offer their advice and guidance about teaching an area of research recently highlighted in “Current Directions of Psychological Science”. In this column for the May/June 2013 APS “Observer” they discuss numerous classroom activities to illustrate the effect—how simple activities can increase well-being—and spark discussion.

10. Richard III: Psychopath or Mere Control Freak? Psychologists Weigh In

“Was England’s King Richard III (1452–85) a murderous psychopath? Thanks to Shakespeare’s play, the hunchbacked monarch has gone down in history as the heartless ruler who ordered the murders of the brother and young nephews who stood between him and the throne.” However, psychologists Mark Lansdale and Julian Boon of the University of Leicester re-analyzed Richard’s character using biographies and other written accounts. They conclude that “the king likely suffered from anxiety, not psychopathy” in this summary from the APA “Monitor on Psychology”, June 2013.

11. Transgender Today

“Throughout history, transgender people have been misunderstood and seldom studied. That’s beginning to change” according to this article by Eve Glicksman for the “APA Monitor on Psychology”, April 2013, volume 44, number 4, page 36.

12. The Psychology of Motivation Explained (in under 300 words)

According to Jeremy Dean of “PsyBlog”, the way to “harness the power of self-guiding, internal motivation” is to look for competence, autonomy, and relatedness in any activity. Read his succinct summary of the self-determination theory of motivation and engagement here.

13. It’s Nature, Not Nurture: Personality Lies in Genes, Twins Study Shows

“Genes play a greater role in determining key personality traits like social skills and learning ability than the way we are brought up by our parents”, according to research by Timothy Bates and colleagues in “The Journal of Personality” and summarized in this article from “The Telegraph”, May 16, 2013.

14. Could We Record Our Dreams?

“Have you ever wished your could record your dreams and watch them later? It may be possible sooner than you think” according to this video by Asap Science. While the premise may sound a bit like science fiction, the video does a great job of explaining the latest fMRI studies which do come eerily close to mind-reading. (runs 3 minutes, 55 seconds).

15. Social Connections Drive the ‘Upward Spiral’ of Positive Emotions and Health

“People who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions may have better physical health because they make more social connections” according to a study by  Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kok published in “Psychological Science” and summarized here by the Association for Psychological Science, May 8, 2013.

16. Facebook Profiles Raise Users’ Self-Esteem and Affect Behavior

“A Facebook profile is an ideal version of self, full of photos and posts curated for the eyes of family, friends and acquaintances. A new study shows that this version of self can provide beneficial psychological effects and influence behavior” according to research by Catalina Toma sand colleagues published in “Media Psychology” and summarized here in “Science Daily”, May 31, 2013.

17. Personality and Social Relationships

In 2008 a group of researchers established the “Personality and Social Relationships” or PERSOC group to help others integrate findings from social psychology and personality psychology. “PERSOC is based on the idea that the interplay of personality and social relationships is influenced by three classes of variables: dispositions (as measured by self-report questionnaires, indirect tests of personality or biological measures), cues (appearances, behaviors, and behavioral residues, as measured by direct observation), and interpersonal perceptions (as measured by other-reports at zero, short-term, or long-term acquaintance).” Their website contains a description of their work, tools for teaching and for statistical analysis, and links to important papers. Teaching materials are available in German with English versions to come.

18. Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes

This fascinating article explains the process of epigenetics and how “Your ancestors’ lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.” By Dan Hurley for “Discover Magazine”, May 2013.

19. Can Money Buy Happiness? 5 Smart Ways to Spend It

According to Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn, it can, if you know how to spend it. Check out these 5 suggestions from Erik Barker on his “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog.

20. 10 Research-Based Steps to a Happier Life

What do Christopher Peterson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggest lead to a happier life? Check out these 10 suggestions by Erik Barker on his “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog.

21. Favorite Link Revisited: The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

Get focused, be creative, use your wisdom, take action and in the end have more fun in your life. This multi-media presentation is also available in a French and Spanish version.


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