Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 9, Number 4, December 2014

December 18, 2014

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,098 other interesting links related to personality psychology, please visit:

If you are looking for signs of the season, look no further than this issue. Below, we are pleased to present to you links to research on children’s emotions while waiting for Santa and a special name-that-psychologist version of Michael Britt’s holiday classic “The Psych Elves”. Of course, we also have more academic links like theories of emotion, brain imaging and risk-taking, chronotypes, and the possible benefit of mixed emotions like nervous laughter and tears of joy.

We wish you and your students a very happy holiday season!

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. Comparing the 5 Theories of Emotion

Psychiatrist Beppe Micallef-Trigona briefly reviews the James-Lange theory, the Canon-Bard theory, the Schachter two-factor theory, the Cognitive-Mediational theory of Lazarus, and the facial feedback theory in this article for “Brain Blogger”. Posted October, 2014.

3. Can Brain Imaging Detect Risk Takers?

Apparently so, according to new research summarized here. Research by DeWitt et al. published in “Psychiatry Research” and by Helfinstein et al. published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” found correlations between brain structures and risk-taking. From “Brain Blogger” October 2014.

4. You’ve heard of “Owls” and “Larks”, now sleep scientists propose two more chronotypes

Research by Arcady Putilov and his colleagues finds evidence for a “high energetic” group who feel high energy in both the morning and in the evening, and a “lethargic” group who feel sleepy in both the morning and in the evening. From the “British Psychological Society Research Digest”, November 5, 2014.

5. Personality Disorders in the Media

The “Psychology in Action” website presents this look at famous characters who may fit the criteria of a personality disorder. Summarizes the criteria and the evidence for schizoid,  schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, and dependent personality disorders. Posted October, 2013.

6. How Good Are You At Reading People?

How good at you at identifying the basic emotional expressions in the eyes and face? Here is a fun quiz based on the research by Paul Ekman and others on facial expression of the basic emotions.

7. Scary Santa Scholarship

Summarizes the work of John Trinkaus, called the Scary Santa Studies, on the facial expressions of children waiting to see Santa at a department store. The emotion most often shown across the four studies? Indifference.

8. How To Become A Morning Person

The “Business Insider” published this info graphic summarizing the research on chronotypes, including helpful information on how to shift your body clock to be more of a morning person. Published December 16, 2014.

9. Nervous Laughter, Tears of Joy

These incongruous — and other often inappropriate and embarrassing emotional expressions — may actually help us to regulate our emotions. “That is, when we are at risk of being overwhelmed by our emotions — either positive or negative — expressing the opposite emotion can have a dampening effect and restore emotional balance” according to psychologist Wray Herbert writing for “The Huffington Post”, November, 2014.

10. The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, while generally an important social skill, may also have a dark side. According to a study recently published in the “Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology”, “Young women with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to commit acts of delinquency”. From “The Huffington Post”, November, 2014.

11. Acing the Marshmallow Test

Lea Winerman, writing for the APA “Monitor on Psychology,” presents this interview with Walter Mischel on his research on delay of gratification and the marshmallow test.

12. Did B. F. Skinner Raise His Children in a Skinner Box?

Michael Britt of “The Psych Files” podcast created this animation of Skinner talking — using Skinner’s actual voice and responses — to answer this long held belief in unique and entertaining way (Runs 3 minutes, 59 seconds). Posted October, 2014.

13. Psychology’s Most Famous Elves

Michael Britt, of “The Psych Files” podcast, did it again. He turned these 8 famous psychologists — among them Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud — into Elves with a special guest appearance by Melanie Klein. Can you identify who they all are? (runs 2 minutes 1 second). Posted December, 2014.

14. Favorite Link Revisited: The Psych Elves

Michael Britt, of “The Psych Files” podcast, had the temerity to turn these three personality psychologists into Elves. Can you identify them? (Runs 51 seconds).