Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 11, Number 2, October 2015

Hello and welcome to the eighty-seventh Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,240  other interesting links related to personality psychology, please visit:

This month, we bring you some fascinating links from many areas of personality, including how there may be an unintended side effect of deep brain stimulation (used to treat Parkinson’s and other diseases): personality change. Also, the “Science of Relationships” website has a fascinating psychoanalysis of sorts of Elsa and Anna, the sisters from the movie “Frozen”, suggesting that their rocky relationship may have been due to differing attachment styles. Finally, Dan Ariely, who’s psychoeconomic research always makes us think, presents a short video on how to encourage motivation at work. And at this point in the semester, who couldn’t use a little more motivation? If you’re in need of a smile, then check out the monkey selfies found under our Favorite Link Revisited.

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. Anxious-Avoidant Duos: Walking on Thin Ice in Relationships and Physical Health

Writing for “Science of Relationships”, Jena Lempke describes how Disney’s hit movie “Frozen” depicts how varying preferences for closeness in people with different attachments styles can lead to relationship problems. She describes how the friction between the sisters Elsa (with her avoidant attachment style) and Anna (with her anxious attachment style) was caused by their different attachment styles.

3. Personality Changes After Deep Brain Stimulation

“Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a well-known and accepted treatment for neurological and psychiatric diseases. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), DBS clearly improves patients’ symptoms, functionality and quality of life in the long run. Nevertheless, it seems that the electrodes do not have motor-specific functions. DBS influences mental states and personality and in some cases it can even lead to a “new personality”” by increasing impulsivity. From “Brain Blogger”, October 29, 2015.

4. What Pushes Us To Work Hard — Even When We Don’t Have To?

“Behavioral economist Dan Ariely says we work hard not because we have to, but because we want to. He examines the intrinsic values we need to feel motivated to work” in this TED talk from NPR, October 2, 2015. (runs 14 minutes and 52 seconds)

5. Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving and What Is Keeping Us from Its Mastery

“There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.” Read about Erich Fromm’s book “The Art of Loving” in this essay by Maria Popova for “BrainPickings”, October 29, 2015.

6. This Personality Trait Predicts Your Tendency to Lie and Cheat

“Researchers at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany say that a sixth personality trait,” called honesty-humility, “can predict one type of behavior that none” of the usual five-factors can: dishonesty. From “Business Insider”, June 15, 2015.

7. Tested: Whether You Can Change Your Personality At Will

According to research by Hudson and Fraley (2015) and published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”, “people may be able to change their self-reported personality traits through volitional means, and represent a first step toward understanding the processes that enable people to do so.” This summary from “PsyBlog”, June 16, 2015.

8. What the Textbooks Don’t Tell You About Psychology’s Most Famous Case Study

“If you turn to many of the leading introductory psychology textbooks (American ones, at least), you’ll find the wrong answer, or a misleading account. Richard Griggs, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, has just analysed the content of 23 contemporary textbooks (either released or updated within the last couple of years), and he finds most of them contain distortions, omissions and inaccuracies” when it comes to describing the life of Phineas Gage. British Psychological Society “Research Digest”, June 30, 2015.

9. What Holocaust Survivors Can Teach Us About Gratitude

Neuroscientists have gained new insights into how gratitude operates in the brain. Glenn Fox and his colleagues had participants read testimonies of Holocaust survivors while their brains were being scanned. They discovered that areas activated during moments of gratitude include processing reward, fairness, moral cognition, and self-reference. Published in the journal “Frontiers in Psychology”, and summarized here for “PsyBlog”, October 21, 2015.

10. Should We Genetically Screen Four-Year-Olds?

Would true equality in education mean testing children’s genetics at the age of four, so that any learning difficulties revealed can be accommodated right from the start of primary education? Hear Robert Plomin on the role genetics play in children’s success. From “The Guardian”, July 17, 2015. (audio interview; runs 42 minutes and 46 seconds).

11. Only When I Laugh: The Science of Laughter

Laughter overrides our usual vocal and physical control to make sounds we never normally hear in any other context. Read all about this intriguing response in “The Guardian”, July 6, 2015.

12. Favorite Link Revisited: Monkey Selfie

Monkey Hijacks Photographer’s Camera and Shots Self-Portraits While filming macaque monkeys in an Indonesian national park, photographer David Slater lost his camera to one of his subjects. The resulting self-portraits are both comical and all too human and illustrate nicely the question of self-recognition as a uniquely human capacity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: