Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 8, Number 6, February 2014

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,948 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month, the genes have it! Read below to hear about some interesting cross-cultural work about a genotype-environment correlation that leads to greater cultural value-learning among both European-Americans and Asians, social experience affecting our genetic functioning, and the genetic predisposition to focus on the negative. Don’t fret, in our “Favorite Link Revisited” feature, we provide you with background information to help your students understand the latest research findings in this fascinating area.

Also, we’ve done some housekeeping this month and have caught up on our backlog of older links we are only just getting around to updating. Please excuse the “mess” of slightly older links below.

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. The Remarkable Human Self

According to Roy Baumeister in his Award Address delivered at the 25th APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC, “the self is not part of the human anatomy, but rather a powerful interface between our animal bodies and the complex cultural systems in which we live. Without the concept of self … scientific analysis of social and economic processes would be all but impossible.” You can read a summary of his talk or watch a video of the entire talk (48 minutes and 24 seconds) here. Posted January 2014.

3. Young And In Love? Thank Mom and Dad, At Least A Little

“Teenagers’ relationships with their parents have a small but measurable impact on their romantic relationships up to 15 years later, according to researchers at the University of Alberta” according to research published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family” and summarized here for NPR, February 2014.

4. Facebook Now Offers Over 50 Genders to Choose From in Your Profile

Facebook now lets users self-identity using a multitude of terms to customize their gender beyond “male” and “female”.

5. The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking

Writer Adam Alter describes the paradoxical finding that positive fantasies may actually lessen our chance of succeeding — if they prevent us from taking concrete steps to realize our goals. From “The New Yorker”, February 19, 2014.

6. Mapping Mindsets: The World of Cultural Neuroscience

Summarizes research suggesting that cultural differences in emotional expression may be linked to neuroplasticity, genetics, and a genotype-environment interaction. From the “APS Observer”, December 2013.

7. Social Experiences Affect Our Genes and Health

“Scientists are uncovering increasing evidence that changes in the expression of hundreds of genes can occur as a result of the social environments we inhabit. As a result of these dynamics, experiences we have today can affect our health for days and even months into the future” according to research by George Slavich and Steven Cole at the University of California, Los Angeles, and summarized here in the “APS Observer”, May/June 2013.

8. Psychology 411

“Psychology Degree 411 is a comprehensive resource for prospective students interested in pursuing a degree in psychology or becoming a psychologist. Explore popular psychology degree options, find schools with psychology programs, and learn about some of the top careers in psychology.”  Includes information on degrees in psychology, schools, licensure to become a psychologist, scholarships, careers, interviews with professionals, jobs and more.

9. The Grad Cafe Forum

This website provides a platform for people who are applying to or in graduate programs — psychology included — to post questions, suggest strategy, and share information about specific graduate programs.

10. The Genetic Predisposition to Focus on the Negative

Research by Rebecca Todd and colleagues suggests that people with the ADRA2b gene are more likely to take not of negative emotional events than people without the gene. The was no difference in the processing of positive emotion words by people with and without the gene. From “PsyBlog”, October 2013.

11. 19 Reasons Why Willpower Fails You, And What To Do About It

David DiSalvo, writing for “Psychology Today”, describe 19 science-based reason “why will and will alone isn’t enough” and what we can do about it.

12. What Every Parent Needs to Know About Praise

How to shift your dialogue from judging to loving by Laura Markham for “Psychology Today”, July 31, 2013.

13. Criticizing (Common Criticisms of) Praise

Psychology Alfie Kohn weighs in on the issue in this blog from “Psychology Today”, February 2012.

14. Why It’s a Bad Idea to Praise Children

Raul Raeburn weighs in a response to the Kohn article (above).

15. 6 Secrets You Can Learn From The Happiest People On Earth

Eric Barker takes a look back at what we can learn from the happiest people to make our own lives better in this post from his “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog, December 2013.

16. Are Extroverts Really Happier?

Arnie Kozak redefines what happiness is for extroverts and introverts for “Psychology Today”, November 2013.

17. Are Extroverts Happier Than Introverts? Yes, But . . .

Susan Cain reflects on different meanings of happiness. While extroverts may define happiness as something more like exuberance, introverts may define happiness on other ways including flow, gratitude, solitude, melancholy, and meaning. From “Psychology Today”, December 2011.

18. Favorite Link Revisited: Learn Genetics

The Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah built this website to disseminate educational materials on genetics, bioscience, and health. Includes animations to teach the basics of DNA, genes, heredity and traits, and more.


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