Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 9, May, 2011

May 30, 2011

Hello and welcome to the fifty-seventh Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,235 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Happy unofficial start of summer!

Ah, is there anything as glorious as being curled up with a good book on a summer’s day? If you love summer reading (especially fiction) and already have a stack of titles awaiting your attention, you’ll be interested to know that what you always suspected is true: Reading fiction like ”Twilight” or ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for just 30 minutes can make people feel like they are part of an entirely different world. Researchers found that not only does this feel good, as any young Harry Potter fan can attest to, but it also changes us. Read all about it in our second link below. And dust off your library card, Kindle, or beloved old favorites from your shelves and get busy exploring new worlds . . . and yourself! But don’t stay up too late, as sleep deprivation has its own problems as you can read 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 read old newsletters, comment on newsletters, view the current newsletter or re-read what you missed in last month’s newsletter by checking out our blog at and you can even receive Personality Pedagogy newsletters via an RSS (”Really Simple Syndication”) 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. We Actually ‘Become’ Happy Vampires or Contented Wizards When Reading a Book
”[R]eading satisfies a deeply felt need for human connection because we not only feel like the characters we read about but, psychologically speaking, become part of their world and derive emotional benefits from the experience” according to research by Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young, published this month in ”Psychological Science” and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, May 10, 2011.

3. Over 40 Playful Yet Practical Ways to Cultivate Creativity
Margarita Tartakovsky presents these ways to boost creativity to make you happier and more productive. From ”Psych Central”.

4. From the Beginning, the Brain Knows the Difference Between Night and Day
“The brain is apparently programmed from birth to develop the ability to determine sunrise and sunset, [according to] new research on circadian rhythms” by August Kampf-Lassin and Brian Prendergast and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, April 28, 2011.

5. Snooze Control: Fatigue, Air Traffic and Safety
Richard R. Bootzin presented his paper ”If Sleep is So Important, Why Do We Get So Little of It?” at the 23rd Annual APS Convention earlier this month. Read about his work inspired by some recent notable near-misses of aircraft due to fatigued air traffic controllers. The problem is not with individuals but with the recovery time between shifts for shift workers according to this summary from ”Science Daily”, April 25, 2011.

6. Peak Experiences: Big Moments
”Life can drone along at a hum for years—then break into a short but glorious chorus that changes us forever. It’s impossible to predict such peak experiences; in fact, that’s part of their charm. But it is possible to prepare for them” as Rebecca Webber explains in this article from ”Psychology Today,” September 01, 2010.

7. 10 Quick Stress Busters
Therese Borchard, editor at ”Psych Central”, has 10 tips for dealing with stress (e.g., simplify, prioritize, laugh, exercise, etc.). Borchard readily admits that she uses an average of 5 per day, and as much as all 10 on a truly bad day.

8. The Healing Power of Laughter
Theresa Borchard outlines the stress-busting and healing power of laughter in this essay from ”Psych Central”.

9. The Psychology of Cells
”New techniques are allowing researchers to measure how the environment affects gene expression, leading to some remarkable insights, including the finding that loneliness primes the immune system to turn on its inflammatory response — a risk factor for disease.” according to research summarized in this article by Beth Azar for the APA ”Monitor”, May 2011.

10. 7 Tips for Giving Effective Praise
Gretchen Rubin distills much of the research on praise to these 7 tips including be specific, be sincere, and more, in this article from ”Psych Central”.

11. Happiness Has A Dark Side
”It seems like everyone wants to be happier and the pursuit of happiness is one of the foundations of American life. But even happiness can have a dark side […] people who strive for happiness may end up worse off than when they started” according to research by June Gruber, Iris Mauss and Maya Tamir published this month in ”Perspectives on Psychological Science” and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, May 17, 2011.

12. What Does Your Handshake Say About You?
While not exactly a window into the soul, handshakes do play an important part in generating a first impression. People can accurately judge a target’s extraversion and, for men only, conscientiousness, from a handshake. Given that consciousness is an effective predictor of success at work, both men and women may want to think about the impression their handshakes create, according to research by Frank Bernieri and Kristen Petty published this month in ”Social Influence” and summarized here in The British Psychological Society’s ”Research Digest”, May 13, 2011.

13. Why Extroverts are the Happiest People
”Extroverts are the cheeriest personality type, and a new study finds that the root of their happiness may be in their memories. People who are extroverted remember the past in a more positive light than other personality types” according to new research by Ryan Howell, as summarized in this article from ”Life Science”, May 3, 2011.

14. Psychologists Discover We’ve Been Underestimating the Unconscious Mind
Neurologists and cognitive psychologists once believed that we need awareness for integration of stimuli into a coherent whole. However, ”integration can happen even when we’re unaware of the stimulus […] Unconscious processes are much more sophisticated and deeper than was previously believed” according to research by Liad Mudrik, Dominique Lamy, Assaf Breska, and Leon Y. Deouell published in ”Psychological Science” and summarized here in ”Medical Xpress”, May 12, 2011.

15. I Control Therefore I am: Chimps Self-Aware
”Chimpanzees are self-aware and can anticipate the impact of their actions on the environment around them, an ability once thought to be uniquely human” according to research by Takaaki Kaneko and Masaki Tomonaga and summarized here in PhysOrg.Com, May 4, 2011.

16. Think It’s Easy to Be Macho? Psychologists Show How ‘Precarious’ Manhood Is
”Manhood is a “precarious” status — difficult to earn and easy to lose. And when it’s threatened, men see aggression as a good way to hold onto it” according to research by Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph A. Vandello, published in ”Current Directions in Psychological Science”, and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, May 3, 2011.

17. When Self-Esteem Is Threatened, People Pay With Credit Cards
”People shop for high status items when they’re feeling low, and they’re more likely to make those expensive purchases on credit”, according to a study in ”Social Psychological and Personality Science” by Niro Sivanathan and Nathan Pettit and summarized here in ”Science Daily”, May 6, 2011.

18. Scientists Find Genetic Link to Depression
”Scientists say they have discovered the first solid evidence that variations in some peoples’ genes may cause depression […] And in a rare occurrence in genetic research, a British-led international team’s finding of a DNA region linked to depression has been replicated by another team from the United States who were studying an entirely separate group of people,” ”Reuters”, May 16, 2011.

19. Happiness Gene Located
”A gene which regulates the movement of serotonin in the brain has been labeled the “happiness gene” by researchers from the London School of Economics and reported in the ”Journal of Human Genetics”. This is the first study to demonstrate a direct link between an individual’s happiness and a specific genetic condition” according to research by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and summarized here in ”Medical News Today”, May 7, 2011.

20. Song Lyrics Suggest Narcissism Is On the Rise
Nathan DeWall and his colleagues ”analyzed the lyrics of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart from 1980 to 2007. They found a statistically significant trend toward narcissism in the music, with the words “I” and “me” gradually replacing “we” and “us.”” Read about his work in this article from ”Life Science”, April 26, 2011.

21. Activity: The Soundtrack of Your Life
Describes an activity where students identify eight major events in their lives (e.g., deaths, first car, entering high school, etc.) and find songs (music and lyrics) to correspond to these events, designing an imaginary soundtrack of their lives. Students write about the experience, submit their compilations, and/or present a song to the class with an explanation of its import. Originally designed to be a writing assignment, with some additional guidance this activity can be used to illustrate narrative psychology, the self, Erikson’s stages, and other theories of personality psychology.

22. Favorite Link Revisited: Review Fun: Grab That Spoon!
Educator and simulation game guru Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan maintains a web site with tons of ideas to get participants involved and playing with ideas. Grab That Spoon! is a quick, five-minute game with a dash of friendly competition. It’s a game in which everyone participates regardless of the size of the group (5 or 500, it still works!). It’s a game that allows the learners to generate the review information, to participate in it, and to discuss their own understanding of the material learned. In other words, it’s a game in which the participants learn a lot in a little time!

Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 4, Number 11, July, 2010

July 28, 2010


Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 4, Number 11, July, 2010

Hello and welcome to the forty-seventh Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and the approximately 2,107 other interesting links related to personality, please visit Personality Pedagogy:

Anybody going to APA next month? We are! If you happen to see Marianne at a Division Two: Society for the Teaching of Psychology event, please introduce yourself and say hi.

This month we found some very interesting links on bioethics — ethical issues raised by scientific findings in genetics, neuroscience, and other biological fields. Thanks to reader/visitor Nathan Grimm for pointing this out to us. We also catch up on podcasts with Dr. Dave on Jung’s Red Book, and meditation and the brain. Perhaps, my favorite link this month is the site with web apps for the 21st century, with links to just about any tool you could imagine and many, many, which I’ll bet you never knew you needed.

We also are clearing out our inbox and (finally!) adding links that have been mentioned by folks on the PsychTeacher discussion list in recent and not-too-recent months. One of the best is a compilation of over 600 happy songs. Think of it as your soundtrack to a happy rest-of-the-summer!

I guess I better end this introduction here before you discover my personality profile on the Five Factor Model from my writing (see link below)!

As ever, please pass this newsletter on to interested colleagues and invite them to sign up for future issues. Remember, you can read old newsletters, comment on newsletters, view the current newsletter or re-read what you missed in last month’s newsletter by checking out our blog at and you can even receive Personality Pedagogy newsletters via an RSS (”Really Simple Syndication”) feed as soon as they are posted, by clicking on the ”RSS-posts” button on the top right.


Marianne Miserandino
miserandino at arcadia dot edu

1. A Guide to Bioethics Resources on the Web

Advances in biology, technology, and medicine raise new ethical questions, about human dignity and the rights of individuals especially when it comes to end-of-life care, organ transplants, abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, population control, genomics and other topics. Nathan Grimm compiled this extensive list of resources for teaching and learning about bioethics including sites in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

2. Psychopharmacology and the Self

From the website: ”The development of psychotropic drugs has stimulated a renewed interest in questions about what constitutes “the self” and one’s personality. Does an authentic, static, and incorrigible self exist? Do antidepressants alter, enhance, or corrupt the authentic self? Is cognitive enhancement possible and desirable, and if so, is it ethical?” This module, prepared by the High School Bioethics Project at the University of Pennsylvania, takes students and teachers on an exploration of the impact of psychotropic drugs on our understanding of the self, including the use of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, drugs often used by students as study aids. Includes a downloadable pdf filled with group projects, individual activities, teacher-directed classroom discussion, case study, and references. Written for high school students, much of the information can be revised for use in some college classes.

3. Neuroethics Curriculum module

From the website: ”Although bioethics has been around for more than four decades, the field of neuroethics is in its infancy. Philosophers have developed several conceptual frameworks that contain valuable insights concerning the analysis of questions of right and wrong, good and bad. These ethical theories can help us as we struggle with the moral dilemmas presented to us by advances in brain science.” Includes a downloadable pdf filled with group projects, individual activities, teacher-directed classroom discussion, case study, and references. Written for high school students, much of the information can be revised for use in some college classes.

4. Psychology Today Genetic Crossroads Blog: An ”Inborn Talent Genetic Test”? Unlikely.

For Jesse Reynolds, Project Director on Biotechnology Accountability at the Center for Genetics and Society, one test captures much of what’s wrong with personal genetics testing. Read his view here, which includes links to some controversial uses of genetic testing like genetic testing in China, Berkeley’s testing of incoming freshmen, and the Food and Drug Administration’s halting of genomic test kits in Walgreens.

5. Your Family ”Type” Can Affect Your Kids At School

The way a family interacts at home can affect how kids do in school, a study suggests today in the journal ”Child Development” by Melissa Sturge-Apple and colleagues and summarized in this article from ”USA Today”, July 14, 2010. The researchers identified three kinds of families: cohesive, disengaged, and enmeshed families. Children from disengaged families started school with the most problems, showing aggressive behavior and trouble cooperating. Children from enmeshed families entered school without problems, but later developed anxiety, loneliness, and alienation. On average, children from cohesive families showed the fewest problems.

6. The Meditating Brain With Richard Davidson

Shrink Rap Radio: A Psychology talk and Interview Show (Podcast; Show #231, February 26, 2010). In this episode, Dr. Dave talks with Richard J. Davidson, Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Director of the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison about the impact of meditation on the brain.

7. The Red Book of C. G. Jung with Nancy Furlotti

Shrink Rap Radio: A Psychology talk and Interview Show (Podcast; Show #231, February 26, 2010). In this episode, Dr. Dave talks with Jungian Analyst and past president of the Jung Institute of Los Angeles, Nancy Furlotti about the recently-published ”Red Book” of Carl Jung, which she was instrumental in helping to publish. In this book, Jung describes his own experience with the unconscious and the individuation process towards greater wholeness as reflected in mythological symbols.

8. Web 2.0/21st Century Tools

This site provides links and reviews of web tools for educators including audio file management, bookmarking, charts/graphs, digital art, digital storytelling, file conversion, file sharing, photo editing, presentation/slideshow, project management, search engines, social networks, survey/polls, timelines, webQuests, word processing, video/screencasting and more. Most of the sites are open source and free.

9. The Links Between Bloggers’ Personalities and Their Use of Words

According to a content analysis of 694 blogs by Tal Yarkoni, people use different words depending on their personality. ”More neurotic bloggers used more words associated with negative emotions; extravert bloggers used more words pertaining to positive emotions; high scorers on agreeableness avoided swear words and used more words related to communality; and conscientious bloggers mentioned more words with achievement connotations.” This summary from the ”British Psychological Society’s Research Digest Blog”, July 12, 2010, original article published as: Yarkoni, T. (2010). Personality in 100,000 Words: A large-scale analysis of personality and word use among bloggers. ”Journal of Research in Personality, 44 (3)”, 363-373

10. Identical Strangers Explore Nature vs. Nature

Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were identical twins who were separated at birth and met 35 years later as identical strangers. In the course of researching the history of their birth and adoption, they discovered that they were part of a secret research project in which identical twins, particularly those of mothers with mental illness, were raised separately to asses the relative influence of nature and nurture. This NPR story describing their amazing story includes a photo gallery of the twins growing up. Based on their book ”Identical Strangers” (Random House, 2007). From ”All Things Considered”, NPR, October 25, 2007.

11. Letters from African-American Women

”The Duke University Libraries has had a long-standing reputation for their digitization projects, and this collection is certainly one of their best. This particular segment of their work focuses on the lives of African-American women, and it contains the full-text memories of Elizabeth Johnson Harris, slave letters from Hannah Valentine, and a rather unusual stand-alone letter from Vilet Lester. Hannah Valentine was born in 1867 to former slaves, and visitors can read her 85-page handwritten memoir here. In her memoir, she talks about the importance of religion in her life, and there are also a few poems by her as well. The letters from Hannah Valentine, a house slave, reveal a rare firsthand glimpse into the lives of slaves in Virginia. Finally, the very unique letter from Vilet Lester offers just a slight, but revealing glimpse, into her life in Bullock County, Georgia in 1857. [KMG]” (Copyright 2010 Internet Scout Project – The Internet Scout Project, located in the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, provides Internet publications and software to the research and education communities under grants from the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, and other philanthropic organizations. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of any of our publications or web content provided this paragraph, including the above copyright notice, is preserved on all copies.)

12. Erik Erikson’s 8-Stages Hoedown

Undergraduate Matthew Volkmann made this video for his Ed Psych class at the University of Iowa. In it, he describes Erikson’s stages of identity development. The video runs 5 minutes, 20 seconds and starts with a loud scream. P.S. Matthew proudly reports that he got an A on this project!

13. Harry Harlow Studies on Isolation in Monkeys

Excerpt from a movie on attachment showing how newborn baby monkeys, separated from their mothers, when given a choice between a cold wire mother with milk or a soft mother without, chose comfort over food. Early separation led to social problems as these monkeys grew up, demonstrating the importance of contact with a caregiver.
(1 minute, 11 seconds)

14. 7 TAT Cards 7

While this blogger suggests that we use these images for a writing assignment, astute visitors will recognize these as cards from the original Thematic Apperception Test by Henry A. Murray and Christiana D. Morgan.

15. Positive Psychology of Music – Over 600 Positive Songs

According to John Schinnerer, on his ”Guide To Self” website, ”Music has a powerful and profound impact on how we feel and think. If we are to approach Dacher Keltner & Barbara Fredrickson’s 3:1 Positivity ratio (3 times as much positive emotions as negative), we must surround ourselves with positive messages, planting tiny seeds throughout each day. This is a list of over 600 positive and elevating songs (in terms of tempo, lyrics, and/or timbre) compiled by Dr. John Schinnerer. June 2009.” Opens directly in PDF format.