Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 7, Number 12, August, 2013

Hello and welcome to the eighty-fourth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,837 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Special thanks go out this month to Michael Britt of “The Psych Files” podcast. In illustrating a new tool called “Storify” (see for the Psych News discussion list for teachers of high school psychology, he pointed out three real-world examples of how forced ranking systems for employee assessment may backfire. We have added them to “Personality Pedagogy” under Assessment.

In addition, to herald the end of summer and the beginning of a new year and a new semester, we present three new links for teaching and leaning: Teaching Chance, Teaching Ethics, and The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University and we revisit the Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning. These later two resources contain everything you need to know about teaching and learning from designing syllabi, to ideas for what to do the first day of class to how to assess students’ learning and your teaching. We hope that you will find something here to inspire you to try something new and make this year a great one!

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. Other People Matter: Three International Positive Psychology Association Tributes to Chris Peterson

Nansook Park, Barbara Fredrickson, and Martin Seligman each gave moving tributes to the late Christopher Peterson at the Third World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association. Their talks are summarized here in “Positive Psychology News Daily”, July 26, 2013.

3. 10 Easy Activities Science Has Proven Will Make You Happier

Grounded in research, these activities including practicing gratitude, controlling counter-factual thinking and others may be used to spark discussion or to introduce topics in stress, resilience, cognition, emotion, and positive psychology.

4. Optimists Better at Regulating Stress

“It’s no surprise that those who tend to see a rose’s blooms before its thorns are also better at handling stress. But science has failed to reliably associate optimism with individuals’ biological stress response — until now” according to “Science Daily”, July 23, 2013, summarizing research by Joelle Jobin and Carsten Wrosch published in “Health Psychology”.

5. Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung on Human Personality in Rare BBC Interview

Maria Popova of “Brain Pickings” introduces this video: “On October 22 of 1959, BBC’s Face to Face — an unusual series of pointed, almost interrogative interviews seeking to “unmask public figures” — aired a segment on Jung […] Eighty-four at the time and still working, he talks to New Statesman editor John Freeman about education, religion, consciousness, human nature, and his temperamental differences with Freud, which sparked his study of personality types”. Includes a transcript of the highlights. (Runs 39 minutes, 28 seconds).

6. 6 Things You Thought Wrong About Introverts

The “Huffington Post,” July 28, 2013, presents this list of 6 common misconceptions about introverts based on stereotypes.

7. Acceptance of What Can’t Be Changed Is Key To Satisfaction In Later Life, Research Shows

“When it comes to life satisfaction in one’s later years, the ability to accept what cannot be changed is equally important to the feeling of being able to exert control over one’s life” according to research published in the “Journal of Happiness Studies” and summaries here in the “Huffington Post”, July 12, 2013.

8. Scientific Literacy in a Psychology Curriculum Module (2013)

“The authors describe 9 scientific literacy activities to teach Introductory Psychology students how to read original research reports, critically and thoroughly evaluate secondary research reports, and analyze the utility of each. A 25-page document describes the activities without answers for instructors, a 34-page booklet provides students with the materials they need, and 148 slides contain material without answers that instructors can use in class. Versions with answers to students’ assignments are available to members after logging into STP’s website.” Find the link under the INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY category.

9. Seeing Narcissists Everywhere

Jean M. Twenge, author of “Generation Me” and “The Narcissism Epidemic” talks about her research and the high rate of narcissism today compared to earlier generations in this interview with the “New York Times”, August 5, 2013.

10. Detachment

Virginia Hughes, writing for “Aeon Magazine” describes the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, in which Romanian orphans living in orphanages were randomly assigned to foster care or to stay in the orphanage. Preliminary results suggest that children raised in foster care showed gains in IQ, healthier psychological development, better motor skills, different EEG brainwave patterns when looking at emotional faces, and more white matter than children left in orphanages. This fascinating study, begun in 2000 and continuing today, raises ethical, social, and political questions as it vividly demonstrates the power of social interaction and attachment. Published July 29, 2013.

11. Who Feels Treated Unfairly After Taking An Assessment?

Researchers Laura Honkaniemi, Taru Feldt, Riitta-Leena Metsäpelto, and Asko Tolvanen identified three personality types who differ in their Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness. They found that people hold different perceptions of the fairness of personality testing depending on their personality type: Overcontrolled, Undercontrolled, Resilient, or Bohemian according this summary published in the “British Psychological Society Research Digest”, August 1, 2013.

12. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Worksheets

Free downloadable cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) worksheets, formulations, and self-help resources including blank formulations, thought records, cognitive restructuring worksheets, diaries/data gathering sheets, mechanisms, information sheets, techniques/procedures, useful tools, forgiveness tools, and formulations for specific disorders, all in PDF format.

13. Stacked (Forced) Ranking

From Michael Britt at “The Psych Files”: “Here’s a sound byte from an episode of TWIT (This Week in Technology: podcast in which Leo Laporte and John Dvorak discuss the negative effects of a performance appraisal system often called Stacked or Forced ranking. Psychologists refer to scales like this as ordinal scales”. From July 15, 2012, show #362. (This audio clip runs 1 minute, 55 seconds).

14. Forced Ranking: The Poisonous Employee-Ranking System That Helps Explain Microsoft’s Decline

Writing for “Slate Magazine”, Will Oremus, on August 23, 2013 claims that “Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer oversaw a system called “stack ranking,” in which employees on the same team competed directly with one another for money and promotions. Critics say this rewarded brown-nosing and sabotage”.

15. Microsoft’s Lost Decade Due to Forced Ranking Appraisal Systems

Kurt Eichenwald argues that a forced ranking system may have had negative effects on Microsoft’s corporate culture. From “Vanity Fair”, August 2012.

16. Chance

J. Laurie Snell of Dartmouth College presents this page of resources for teaching a course in probability and statistics including videos, audios, syllabi, activities, computer simulations, data sets, links to internet resources, and a Teacher’s Guide for teaching a quantitative literacy course.

17. The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University presents this extensive online resource which features resources to help new and established faculty design and teach a course, incorporate technology, assess teaching and learning, apply principles of teaching and learning, and more.

18. Teaching Ethics to Undergraduate Psychology Students (TEUPS)

TEUPS is a centralized location for faculty looking for ideas for activities, articles, books, associations, videos, films, lectures, and other resources that are related or could be useful in incorporating ethics into the undergraduate psychology curriculum. This website will be an invaluable resource for those interested in following APA recommendations regarding the teaching of ethics as presented in the Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology (2011) and the Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (2007).

19. Favorite Link Revisited: U.C. Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning

U.C. Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning presents this compendium of classroom-tested strategies and suggestions designed to improve the teaching practices of all college instructors, including beginning, mid-career, and senior faculty members. The page features links to teaching tools that cover both traditional practical tasks–writing a course syllabus, delivering an effective lecture–as well as newer concerns such as technology and online learning.


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