Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 9, Number 5, January 2015

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,111 other interesting links related to personality psychology, please visit:

This month we just discovered a page which lets visitors take personality tests (e.g., Five Factors, Myers Briggs) and as part of the results, matches test takers to celebrities who allegedly have the same personality. I know this sounds suspect, but we recently had some fun and discovered something interesting. If you take the so-called “President Test” and answer, not as yourself, but as Barak Obama would, that is, if you purposely tried to answer so as to appear Emotionally Stable, Extroverted, Conscientious, and high in Openness (and moderately Agreeable), the page will give you a graph of your personality along with Obama’s — and here’s the really cool part — as rated by personality psychologists David Winter, Sam Gosling, Dan McAdams, and Samuel Barondes! We have always wondered about the trait scores of President Obama and this web page appears to provide an answer. We’re not making any claims about the reliability or validity of the tests on this page, but we’re pretty sure you’ll find something here to spark the interest of your students (if only to inspire their own critical thinking!).

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. New TOPSS Unit Lesson Plan: Personality

The APA Education Directorate and the Teachers of Psychology in the Secondary School (TOPSS) Committee are pleased to announce a new unit lesson plan on Personality written by Simine Vazire. The unit plan includes a content outline, classroom activities, critical thinking and discussion questions, references and suggested readings, and two appendices. The six lessons cover An Introduction to Personality, Assessment of Personality, Psychodynamic Theories of Personality, Trait and Social-Cognitive Theories of Personality, Humanistic Theories of Personality, and Personality: Culture, Work, and Health.

3. How Mindfulness Works

C. Nathan DeWall writing for the “APS Observer” on “Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science” describes two exercises which illustrate how mindfulness works based on the research of J. David Creswell and Emily Lindsay (2014). Posted January 2015.

4. Talkin’ About Your Generation

Science examines how pivotal events and cultural trends shape individuals and entire birth cohorts in this article from the “APS Observer”, January 2015.

5. Nature or Nurture? The New Role of Epigenetics

In this lecture from August, 2014, Eastern Illinois University psychologist Jeffrey Stowell, PhD, discusses epigenetics, including a look at genetics and behavior and epigenetic mechanisms. From his APA Pre-Convention Workshop for Introductory Psychology Teachers. Runs 30 minutes, 24 seconds.

6. Celebrity Types

This page lists the 16 Myers-Briggs Types along with famous (and infamous) “celebrities” who exemplify each personality type. You can find your own type by taking their 44-item survey.

7. Is Jungian Typology Scientific?

The blog portion of takes up the question of whether the Jungian Typology is “scientific”. Here, they answer some of the criticisms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

8. Freudian Personality Types Test

This 48-item test purports to measure the classic Freudian adult personality types of oral receptive, oral aggressive, anal expulsive, anal retentive, phallic aggressive, phallic compensative, classic hysteric, and rententive hysteric. Though little information is given about the test’s validity and reliability, the questions and results do illustrate Freud’s idea and may spark class discussion.

9. A Double Life

Psychologist Nancy Segal has spent her career studying what makes identical twins unique — and what the pairs can teach us about the role genes and environment play in shaping ourselves. From the APA “Monitor”, volume 46, number 1, January 2015.

10. Early Bird or Night Owl, Your Sleep Schedule Says a Lot About Your Personality

ASAP Science presents this animated graphic presentation on sleep patterns. “Early birds tend to display more positive social traits, such as being proactive and optimistic, and are less prone to depression or addictions to nicotine, alcohol, and food,” Mitchell Moffit, co-creator of the series, says in the video. “Night owls exhibit significantly less white matter [in their brains], and as a result, there are fewer pathways for feel-good hormones such as serotonin or dopamine to travel through, but it’s not all bad for the late-nighters. In fact, they tend to be much more creative, have been found to have higher cognitive abilities, and are known to be risk-takers.” Runs 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

11. Self-Esteem and Flirting

The “Science of Relationships” website presents this two part series on self-esteem and flirting. This first link is on how self-esteem affects how people flirt; this second one is on how self-esteem affects when people flirt.

12. Are American Becoming Less Secure?

The “Science of Relationships” website reports “In a recent meta-analysis, researchers combined data from 94 different samples, involving more than 25,000 American undergraduate students, collected between 1988 and 2011. In 1988, 49% of people said they had a secure attachment style (51% were insecure in one form or another). By 2011 there was a 7% decline in security, with 42% reporting that they were secure (vs. 58% insecure).” Posted December 2014.

13. Men and Women Process Emotion Differently

“Women rate emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men do and are more likely to remember them. However, there are no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal as far as neutral images are concerned. These were the findings of a large-scale study that focused on determining the gender-dependent relationship between emotions, memory performance and brain activity” according to research published in January 2015 in the “Journal of Neuroscience” and summarized here by “Science Daily”.

14. Favorite Link Revisited: The Five Factor Model

Sanjay Srivastava at the University of Oregon compiled this helpful overview page of the Big Five and the various ways researchers measure them including links to many different on-line measures.


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