Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 8, Number 9, May 2014

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,996 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month we are mourning the loss of Sandra Bem, feminist scholar and psychologist who died on May 20 just short of her 70th birthday. She will be remembered for her theoretical work and research on gender schema theory, the social construction of gender and sexuality, and her unconventional views on gender and child rearing.

Like many of our readers this month, we welcome the unofficial start of summer and the end of a semester (and school year!). We hope the summer is a time of rest and rejuvenation and we’ll be doing our best to keep the inspiration coming as you look ahead to teaching personality in a future semester.

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

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2. Love Makes You Strong: Romantic Relationships Help Neurotic People Stabilize Their Personality

Romantic relationships can help young adults who are high in Neuroticism to become less anxious, insecure, and easily annoyed according to research by Christine Finn and colleagues in the “Journal of Personality” and summarized here for “Science Daily” May 9, 2014.

3. Rice Theory Explains North-South China Cultural Differences

From the page: “A new cultural psychology study has found that psychological differences between the people of northern and southern China mirror the differences between community-oriented East Asia and the more individualistic Western world — and the differences seem to have come about because southern China has grown rice for thousands of years, whereas the north has grown wheat.” From “Science Daily”, May 8, 2014.

4. Does Facebook Affect Our Self-Esteem, Sense of Belonging?

From the page: “With 1.11 billion users per month on average, Facebook has become a global phenomenon offering continual and direct communication with friends and family. Research into how social media websites define us socially, and the influence that social media has on our personal welfare, suggests that a lack of social participation on Facebook leads to people feeling less meaningful.” From “Science Daily”, May 8, 2014.

5. Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient

Sam Kean for “Slate” magazine provides this retelling of the Gage tale, this time with the debunking of some myths and with additional information demonstrating that “The true story of Phineas Gage is much more fascinating that the mythical textbook accounts”. Includes new computer models of Gage’s injury and how it may have affected his brain functioning.

6. I Want You To Know That I’m Tyrion Lannister

The Forer (Barnum) Effect has found a new home: The Internet Quiz. Writer Maria Konnikova suggests that the reason why we are so drawn to these obviously false personality quizzes may have to do with our fascination with the self and our fundamental need to belong. From “The New Yorker”, May 1, 2014.

7. This is the Personality Trait That Most Often Predicts Success

Writing for “Inc.” magazine, Drake Baer describes the research which demonstrates that being high in Conscientiousness will help you succeed in many domains of life across the life span. From May, 2014.

8. Teaching Sexual Orientation

Psychologist David G. Myers suggests ways of teaching controversial topics like sexual orientation by focusing on evidence-based conclusions and how psychologists might test whether social policies affect the health and well-being of gay people. From the APS “Observer”, 27(5), May/June, 2014.

9. Epigenetics 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Explaining Everything

Genetics researcher Cath Ennis wrote this primer for The Guardian newspaper explaining what epigenetics is and how it can help us understand human health and disease. Posted April 25, 2014.

10. Do we Get Nicer With Age?

Amy Kluber, for Newsy, reports on a study by Christopher Soto and colleagues which found that people who were happier at the start of the study become more emotionally stable, conscientious, agreeable and introverted as they matured over the course of the study demonstrating that personality changes with life events. Posted April 22, 2014. Runs 1 minute 34 seconds.

11. Cultivating Happiness Often Misunderstood

From the page: “The concept of maximizing happiness has been explored by researchers, who have found that pursuing concrete ‘giving’ goals rather than abstract ones leads to greater satisfaction. One path to happiness is through concrete, specific goals of benevolence — like making someone smile or increasing recycling — instead of following similar but more abstract goals — like making someone happy or saving the environment.” From “Science Daily”, April 15, 2014.

12. Outgoing Behavior Makes for Happier Humans: Across Cultures, Extroverts Have More Fun

From the page: “Happy is as happy does, apparently — for human beings all over the world. Not only does acting extroverted lead to more positive feelings across several cultures, but people also report more upbeat behavior when they feel free to be themselves.” From “Science Daily”, April 15, 2014.

13. Biological Evidence of Positive and Negative People in the World

From the page: “The ability to stay positive when times get tough — and, conversely, of being negative — may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research.” From “Science Daily”, April 2, 2014.

14. Computer Maps 21 Distinct Emotional Expressions — Even “Happily Disgusted”

From the page: “Researchers have found a way for computers to recognize 21 distinct facial expressions — even expressions for complex or seemingly contradictory emotions such as “happily disgusted” or “sadly angry.” The study more than triples the number of documented facial expressions that researchers can now use for cognitive analysis.” From “Science Daily”, March 31, 2014.

15. Favorite Link Revisited: The Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI)

According to the site: “The Bem Sex Role Inventory was developed in 1971 by Dr. Sandra Lipsitz Bem. It characterizes your personality as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated. The BSRI is based on gender stereotypes, so what it’s actually measuring is how well you fit into your traditional sex role. Thus, your score may say as much about how our cultural expectations have changed over the last 35 years as it does about your personality.” You can take the original 60-item scale and receive your scores automatically online here.


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