Hello and welcome to the eighty-fifth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at http://personalitypedagogy.arcadia.edu. For more about the links below and approximately 2,905 other interesting links related to personality, please visit: http://personalitypedagogy.arcadia.edu.
As we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving by reflecting on all that we are thankful for, it only seems fitting that we here at Personality Pedagogy share our gratitude with you. This month we are particularly grateful for new scales to add to our extensive online collection of legitimate personality questionnaires, Google (and their “doodle” honoring Herman Rorschach in particular), selfies, a certain fox who says things, and, of course, you, our loyal readers.
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Oxford dictionaries choose ’selfie’ as their Word of the Year 2013. To celebrate, several scholars from different fields shared their thoughts selfies including psychologists Robert Arkin and Mark R. Leary.
Jill Payne, George Mason University via the PsychTeach discussion list, suggested that the episode of the TV series M*A*S*H titled “Bless You Hawkeye” (1981) “nicely illustrates some Freudian constructs. The tone of the episode is serious–not derisive–and emotional as well.” In this episode (Season 9, Episode 17), Hawkeye develops a sneeze, which cannot be explained by an allergy or other medical condition. Eventually, the psychiatrist, recurring character Sidney Freedman, is brought in to talk to him and they discover the root of his problem lies in an event from childhood triggered by a specific smell. The episode illustrates Freudian concepts such as reaction formation, psychosomatic symptoms, importance of childhood memories, slips of the tongue, repressed memory, stream of consciousness, and talk therapy. The entire episode runs about 24 minutes, but you could cut the first two scenes (before the Psychiatrist interviews Hawkeye) and the final scene (the Poker game) if time is an issue. If the link above does not work for you, try searching for it elsewhere on the Internet. See a synopsis of the episode here: http://aftermash.blogspot.com/2009/11/episode-211-bless-you-hawkeye.html.
Summarizes research by Scott Barry Kaufman, identifying four factors of Openness/Intellect: Affective Engagement, Aesthetic Engagement, Intellectual Engagement, and Explicit Cognitive Ability. Each factor relates slightly differently to creative achievement in arts and sciences. He concludes that “These results support the need to separate different forms of cognitive engagement when trying to predict creative achievement. Different forms of engagement are related to different modes of information processing. What’s more, people differ in their drive to engage in various aspects of the human experience, and these drives are related to different forms of creative achievement.” From “Scientific American”, November 25, 2013.
Back in 1959 geneticist Dmitry Belyaev started an experiment in Russia in which he bred silver foxes to make them tamer, and thus easier to raise for their prized fur. However, selecting for friendly behavior had the unanticipated result of also selecting for certain facial features. The result is that the same hormones which regulate behavior also regulates physical development. But even more amazing is the implication that beauty and an even temperament and friendliness also co-occur in humans. Read all about the findings in this fascinating article from “The Economist”, November 16, 2013.
Entrepreneur Faisal Hoque, writing for “Leadership Now” argues that resilient people, those who are able to bend but not break during adversity, possess the paradoxical traits of control, acceptance, and using adversity to change for the better.
The PANAS-X, contains 60 items measuring general positive and negative affect and 11 specific affects including fear, sadness, guilt, hostility, shyness, fatigue, surprise, joviality, self-assurance, attentiveness, and serenity. This link is to the manual by David Watson and Lee Anna Clark (1994). Opens in PDF format. Also available in a Japanese version here: http://www2.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/Clark/J-PANAS.pdf
“The GQ-6 is a short, self-report measure of the disposition to experience gratitude. Participants answer 6 items on a 1 to 7 scale (1 = ‘strongly disagree’, 7 = ‘strongly agree’). Two items are reverse-scored to inhibit response bias. The GQ-6 has good internal reliability, with alphas between .82 and .87, and there is evidence that the GQ-6 is positively related to optimism, life satisfaction, hope, spirituality and religiousness, forgiveness, empathy and prosocial behavior, and negatively related to depression, anxiety, materialism and envy. The GQ-6 takes less than 5 minutes to complete, but there is no time limit.” From McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The Grateful Disposition: A conceptual and Empirical Topography. “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82”, 112-127.
According to Watkins et al. (2003), “A grateful person would not feel deprived in life, they would have a sense of abundance […] acknowledge the contribution of others to their success and well-being, […] appreciate life’s simple pleasures, and […] acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude. Their conceptualisation of gratitude was shown to correlate with measures of subjective well-being and positive affect. The revised GRAT consists of 44 items measuring these characteristics. The short-form GRAT consists of 16 items. Both scales are rated on a nine point scale from I strongly disagree to I strongly agree with the statement”. From Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationship with subjective well-being. “Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 31”, 431-452.
Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationship with subjective well-being. “Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 31”, 431-452. Opens in PDF format.
On November 8, 2013, “Google” honored Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach with a shape-changing doodle reminiscent of the famous personality test with his name (and controversial validity and reliability).
Maintained by the National University of Ireland, Galway, this site is “designed to be a repository for instruments that are used to collect data from across the social sciences. Please use the site to discover instruments you can use in you own research. We now have more than 500 instruments concerned with a wide range of topics (e.g. autism, health, pain). You can use the search function above to search the database using pre-identified key words, or generate your own terms to search the instrument titles.” Researchers are welcome to submit any scales, questionnaires, and instruments that they have developed in an easy to use wiki-like format. See the site for details.
“[B]elonging to a group provided meaning over and above the value of others or the help they could provide. It’s more than just bonding, therefore, but really feeling like you are fitting in with others which is associated with higher levels of meaningfulness. Just the reverse effect has been shown in previous studies. People who feel excluded from social groups tend to feel that life has less meaning”, according to new research by Lambert et al. (2013) and summarized here in “PsyBlog”, November 25, 2013.
“Your brain is a goal-setting machine, and research is illuminating why”, according to this article in “Psychology Today”, October 22, 2013.
Is our sense of time, not our lack of willpower, the real issue? While we generally think that delay of gratification is a good thing, research on decision making by Joseph Kable and Joseph McGuire suggests that since the timing of real-world events is often unpredictable, giving up can be a rational response to a time frame that is off. From “The New York Times”, November 16, 2013, by Maria Konnikova.
In this activity, by Barbara Frederickson, participants explore the positive emotions of hopeful, joyful, peaceful, playful, and thankful, and brainstorm ways of increasing the frequency and intensity of these positive emotions in their lives. From the January 2010 issue of the Thiagi Gameletter (Seriously fun activities for trainers, facilitators, performance consultants, and managers, see their website: http://www.thiagi.com/).