Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 10, Number 1, September 2015

September 30, 2015

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,221 other interesting links related to personality psychology, please visit:

Did you know that September 18 was “Jeans for Genes Day”, a campaign by this British charity to raise awareness of genetic disorders? As part of their educational campaign, they started a web page loaded with information and resources for teachers about genetics and genetic disorders. To celebrate with them, check out the links below and our Favorite Link Revisited.

Presidential hopefuls are often subject to name calling in the press, but have you heard about Donald Trump as “Narrcissist-in-Chief”? A touch of narcissism may actually be a helpful trait for the U.S. President…or at least a presidential hopeful according to research reviewed in the New York Times (see link 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 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. Raising Awareness of Genetic Disorders: Jeans for Genes Day

As part of their mission, Jeans for Genes Day, which raises awareness of genetic disorders and money for people with genetic disorders, created “five minute films that are narrated by children who are either affected by a genetic disorder themselves or have an affected sibling. Each film is accompanied by a teacher fact sheet and a number of resources that can be used in the classroom.”

3. Six creative ways to teach genetics

A selection of creative ways to help students of all ages and abilities understand genes and genetic disorders. From “The Guardian”, September 7, 2015.

4. Your Family Health History: A DNA Day Activity

This PDF describes how to create a family tree or pedigree documenting medical conditions which may run in families, but you can easily adapt the activity to focus on personality traits.

5. Science says these 2 personality traits predict whether you’ll be a successful leader

“Every organization, from Apple and Google to the US government, demands different skills and personal qualities in its leadership. But research suggests there are two traits that are common to the majority of successful leaders: extroversion and conscientiousness”. According to a meta-analysis by Timothy Judge and colleagues as summarized here for “Business Insider”, July 14, 2015.

6. What does your selfie reveal about your personality?

According to research by Lin Qiu and colleagues published in “Computers in Human Behaviour” “[P]eople who scored higher in agreeableness (similar to friendliness) were more likely to show positive emotion in their selfies and to hold the camera in a lower position; high-scorers on conscientiousness were less likely to reveal a private location in the background (presumably because of concerns about privacy); people who scored higher in neuroticism (suggestive of emotional instability) were more likely to pull a duck face; and finally, higher scores in openness-to-experience correlated with showing more positive emotion. Levels of extraversion were not correlated with any of the cues, perhaps because so many people attempt to appear outgoing in their selfies.” From “BPS Research Digest”, August 11, 2015.

7. This personality test can signal if you have selfish or manipulative tendencies

“Do you deceive other people for your own benefit, see others as weak and untrustworthy, and ignore moral codes? If so, you may be” a high Mach according to this summary presented in “Business Insider”, August 27, 2015.

8. Machiavellianism Scale

This is an interactive version of the MACH-IV test of Machiavellianism.

9. The Narcissist in Chief

Writing for the “New York Times”, Gerard DuBois summarizes research on the kind of leaders narcissists make with an eye toward evaluating presidential candidates.

10. Research Tool Demonstrates How Your Facebook Likes Reveal Your Personality

Eric Ravenscraft, writing for “LifeHacker”, discusses a tool developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge to analyze your Facebook like to reveal what people can learn about you. This link takes you directly to the tool should you wish to try it out for yourself.

11. How Changeable Is Gender?

Richard A. Friendman, professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College writes about how research in neuroscience suggests that gender identity and how it exists on a continuum in this thought-provoking essay. From “The New York Times”, August 22, 2015.

12. Here’s a Quick Way to Figure Out What You Should Do With Your Life, Based on Your Personality

Check out this colorful flow chart, based on the work of John Holland, which asks a series of questions to help you find your ideal career. From “The Muse”, July 13, 2015.

13. 6 Sample Questions Employers Ask to Assess your Personality

These 6 questions may be questions you are likely to see the next time you apply for a job. From “Business Insider”, July 16, 2015.

14. The Good Habit Which Boosts Self-Control

Research by Pilcher et al. (2015) and published in “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience” finds that good sleep habits like going to bed at the same time every night, can boost attention, improve decision-making, and strengthen the ability to resist impulses. From PsyBlog, July 10, 2015.

15. This Obvious Happiness Strategy Really Does Work, Study Finds

According to research by Catalino et al. from the journal “Emotion”, explicitly trying to feel happier as well as paying too much attention to how happy you feel have both been linked to feeling worse. The secret to happiness appears to be “prioritizing positivity”. From PsyBlog, July 3, 2015.

16. The Personality Trait Linked To The Strongest Immune System

Outgoing, sociable people also have the strongest immune systems according to a study by Vedhara et al. (2014) published in the journal “Psychoneuroendochrinology” and summarized here in PsyBlog, December 14, 2014.

17. The Psychological Secret to Great Exercise Habits

Here’s the secret: “It’s all about making sure there are regular cues which prompt you to automatically exercise”. The catch? These cues are likely to be different for different people. From PsyBlog, July 15, 2015.

18. Take the Narcissism Test and Find Out If You’re ’Normal’

Ames et al. (2006) created a short 16-item test for narcissism which was published in the “Journal of Research in Personality”. You can take an online version of their test here.

19. Is Life’s Happiness Curve Really U-Shaped

Evidence suggests that happiness is likely to increase as we age according to research summarized here in “The Guardian”, June 24, 2015.

20. Why CBT is Falling Out of Favour

What’s going on? “After analysing 70 studies conducted between 1977 and 2014, researchers Tom Johnsen and Oddgeir Friborg concluded that CBT is roughly half as effective in treating depression as it used to be.” Read about their results and possible explanations for this trend in this summary for “The Guardian”, July 3, 2015.

21. Favorite Link Revisited: Teach Genetics

The Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah built this website as a companion to their Learn.Genetics website. Here you will find classroom activities to teach the basics of heritable traits and take-home activities to help students share what they’ve learned with their families. PDFs are available for download including instructions, student worksheets, overhead masters, and answer keys. Some of the material may be too basic for a college class (although the graphics which review the basics of inheritance would make an excellent review), the topics do include Epigenetics, gene therapy, personalized medicine, cloning, and other fairly sophisticated topics. Most of the activities can be modified to fit the needs of your students and the topic of personality.

Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 9, Number 11, July 2015

July 22, 2015

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,179 other interesting links related to personality psychology, please visit:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you no doubt have heard of this summer’s hit movie “Inside Out”. This charming movie depicts life inside the head of 11-year old Riley focusing on her emotions personified by different characters and grounded in psychological theory and research.

Turns out, social-personality psychologist and emotion researcher Dacher Keltner is long time friends with Pixar director Pete Docter. The two became intrigued by the mysterious ways of emotions in their own kids (according to link #3 below). Keltner explains that pre-teens often experience a drop in happiness and a rise in anxiety. “It’s like the world crashes down on them,” Keltner said. The movie traces that shift, with tear-inducing as well as laugh-inducing effects.

Keltner was joined by facial expressions expert psychologist Paul Ekman in working with the Pixar team to portray childhood emotions, memory and character development in a scientifically sound way. The result speaks for itself. We here at Personality Pedagogy urge you to take you and your little friends to see this family-friendly movie, if you haven’t already done so.

Also new this month, it was announced that work has begun on a new film depicting Viktor Frankl’s account of his experience during the Holocaust. Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” is being adapted by screenwriter Adam Gibgot. Gibgot explains, “The movie is about the best and worst of humanity, but how out of the worst the best can emerge.”

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. Science of Sadness And Joy: ‘Inside Out’ Gets Childhood Emotions Right
The hit of the summer of 2015, “Inside Out”, depicts life for an 11-year old girl. Much of the film takes place inside her mind, in a control center staffed by five emotions personified: Joy, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust. Read about the science behind the movie and the contributions of psychologists Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman who were consultants to the film.

3. ’Inside Out’ Movie Reflects the Realities and Fantasies of Neuroscience
Kids and the general public may be learning about how the brain and emotions work from an unlikely source: the hit movie “Inside Out” (2015). This article takes a look at the science behind the movie.

4. The Harry Potter Personality Test
According to a study published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” a person’s preferred Hogwart’s house from the fictional Harry Potter series may be related to their personality traits.

5. What it Means to Come Out in the Transgender Community
Inspired by the recent debut of Caitlyn Jenner on the June 2015 cover of “Vanity Fair” magazine, “Time” ran this article explaining that the process of coming out as a transgendered person is not linear; it varies from person to person. From “Time”, June 2, 2015.

6. Epigenetics and Its Major Influence on Life
In this essay James D. Baird explains how the science of epigenetics is finding that genes aren’t our destiny despite popular thinking. “Brain Blogger”, June 11, 2015.

7. Group Memberships Boost Self-Esteem More Than Friends Alone
“Belonging to multiple groups that are important to you boosts self-esteem much more than having friends alone” according to research published in PLOS ONE and summarized here for “ScienceDaily”, June, 2015.

8. Abraham Maslow: Father of Modern Management
Presents an overview of Maslow’s theories including the hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, theory Z, peak experiences; a summary of his books; quotes; and other resources.

9. Muppet Wiki: Walter Mischel
Muppet Wiki is a collaborative encyclopedia for everything related to Jim Henson, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and The Muppets Studio. It includes this page on Walter Mischel and features the musical sketch “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait” illustrating the concept of delay of gratification.

10. Awaken: Fritz Perls
Presents an overview of Perls’ life and theory including links to articles and videos.

11. Fritz Perls Treats People With Demons
The video includes Fritz Perls treating a man with a psychosis and a women with grief from parent issues. (Runs 31 minutes, 29 seconds).

12. Fritz Perls: Spiritual Training
Fritz Perls speaks about how to use your spiritual energy. (Runs 1 minute 18 seconds.)

13. Fritz Perls Gestalt Segment
Fritz Perls recites the Gestalt prayer. (Runs 8 minutes 16 seconds.)

14. Fritz Perls on Gestalt Therapy
Fritz Perls speaks to students about Gestalt therapy, the self and spirit. (Runs 6 minutes 49 seconds.)

15. Fritz Perls Workshop
Excerpt from a Fritz Perls workshop. (Runs 1 minute 37 seconds.)

16. Frederick Perls: A Son’s Reflections
From the webpage: “In celebration of the centennial of the birth of Frederick Perls, The Gestalt Journal invited his son Stephen, to address our Fifteenth Annual Conference on the Theory and Practice of Gestalt Therapy. Dr. Perls delivered this talk on the morning of April 23, 1993, at the Hotel du Parc in Montreal.”

17. The Gestalt Therapy Network
Includes digital forums for practitioners, students, and interested others; a directory of practitioners; and a comprehensive bibliography.

18. Night Owl or Morning Lark?
Should you pull an all-nighter or wake up early to study? This blog post reviews the evidence and concludes that it all depends on your chronotype.

19. The Perils of Novelty Seeking
World-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist Christopher Bergland reviews the concept of Novelty Seeking, how it relates to the Big Five, and how sometimes the need for novelty may lead to extreme sports, ultra-endurance, and ultimately life-threatening experiences.

20. Desperately Seeking Sensation: Fear, Reward, and the Human Need for Novelty
“Sensation-seeking, the tendency to seek out novel experiences, is a general personality trait that has been extensively studied in psychological research, but neuroscience is just beginning to take aim at it.”

21. Novelty and the Brain: Why New Things Make Us Feel So Good
“We all like shiny new things, whether it’s a new gadget, new city, or new job. In fact, our brains are made to be attracted to novelty—and it turns out that it could actually improve our memory and learning capacity. The team at social sharing app Buffer explains how.” From LifeHacker, May 21, 2013.

22. Better Get to Work: Procrastination May Harm Heart Health
New evidence suggests that chronic procrastinators may be more vulnerable to serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease and hypertension. From the Association for Psychological Science, May 5, 2015.

23. Attachment Training
Alan Sroufe and June Sroufe provide information about attachment in the John Bowlby-Mary Ainsworth tradition and training in the assessment of attachment across the lifespan along with a primer on attachment theory, a list of suggested basic readings, and more.

24. An Attachment Primer: Fundamentals of Attachment Theory
Presents a brief overview of attachment theory.

25. Favorite Link Revisited: The British Museum of Science on Emotions
The British National Museum of Science has an extensive interactive web site. This online exhibit on recognizing emotions, emotions and the brain, faking emotional expression, animal emotions, and more.

Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 9, Number 2, October 2014

October 24, 2014

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,072 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

Did you know that Walter Mischel doesn’t like marshmallows? At age 84 psychologist Walter Mischel published a new book “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control” summarizing over 50 years of his research on delay of gratification and self-control. He and his book are featured all over the media, from a personal appearance on the Colbert Report to summaries of his work in various print and online publications. Check out our links to some of these items below to learn more about Mischel and his work.

Also, 75 years ago last month Sigmund Freud died as a refugee in London. “The New York Times” marked the occasion by reprinting the original 1939 obituary from the “International Herald Tribune”.

Finally, just in time for Halloween, science has figured out what causes teenagers to act like zombies in their morning classes and how to minimize the problem. It all has to do with the teenage body clock. Check out an article describing research on this phenomenon complete with a lesson plan including discussion questions for instructors and their zombies, er, students.

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. Walter Mischel on The Colbert Report

“The Colbert Report”, a popular late-night satirical television program, featured special guest psychologist Walter Mischel to discuss his new book on the marshmallow test. In this segment, Mischel performs the test on Colbert with hilarious results. Through it all, Mischel remains cool despite Colbert’s antics, summarizes the results of this classic research program, and even admits to not liking marshmallows! From September 25, 2014. The segment with Mischel starts at 15:23 and runs about 5 minutes.

3. Learning How to Exert Self-Control

Writer Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel on his famous research using the marshmallow test to study self-control. Mischel “explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.” From “The New York Times”, September 12, 2014.

4. The Struggles of a Psychologist Studying Self-Control

Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova talks with Walter Mischel about his research using the marshmallow test to study self-control and delay of gratification. Here, she discusses strategies Mischel used to help himself quit smoking and eat healthier. “Self-control is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Avoiding something tempting once will help you develop the ability to resist other temptations in the future.” From “The New Yorker”, October 9, 2014.

5. Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students

From the American Psychological Association (APA): “[T]eachers can apply a wealth of psychological research in their classrooms. Psychology’s insights can help teachers manage behavior problems, motivate students, assist struggling learners, handle stress and support talented youth.” In this module “Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students” (2014) psychologist Barbara McCombs describes how teachers can use findings from Self-Determination theory and developmental psychology to help create autonomous, self-regulated learners from kindergarten through high school and beyond.

6. Debriefed Stories: How to Conduct a Debriefing Discussion

According to trainer and games guru Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, “People don’t learn from experience. They learn from reflecting on their experience.” In this interactive story, he presents six questions for debriefing which facilitators can use to help participants reflect and learn from their experience. Very useful for teachers, trainers, facilitators, group leaders, and others who like to use experiential learning in their work. From the “Thiagi Gameletter”, October 2014.

7. Which Personality Traits Are Most Important to Employers?

Summarizes research by Paul R. Sackett and Philip T. Walmsley published in the journal “Perspectives in Psychological Science” (2014) which found that employers seek candidates who are high in conscientiousness and agreeableness and that these traits are related to success across a range of jobs.

8. The Link Between Your Spouse’s Personality And That Promotion You Just Got

It’s known that personality plays a role in professional success. However, research published in “Psychological Science” and summarized here suggests that your spouse’s personality can greatly affect your career as well. From “The Huffington Post”, September 24, 2014.

9. Buy Experiences, Not Things

Research by Amit Kumar, Matthew Killingsworth and Tom Gilovich published in “Psychological Science” and summarized here for “The Atlantic” (2014) suggests that happiness comes from acquiring positive experiences, not material goods. In particular, both the anticipation of a positive experience and the reflecting back on a past experience makes people happier than anticipation of or the reflecting back on, a material good. From “The Atlantic”, October 7, 2014.

10. Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova describes the link between expectations and outcomes for cynics and optimists, while incorporating research on locus of control, learned helplessness, depressive realism, perceived control, optimism, pessimism, self-fulfilling prophesies and more. From “The New Yorker”, June 18, 2014.

11. Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized

Maria Popova, writing for “Brain Pickings”, wonders if there is a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The results of her query led to this graphic illustrating the sleep cycle of 37 famous writers and their literary accomplishments. The result suggests that having a set routine is more important for productivity that whether one is a morning lark or a night owl. Posted December 2013.

12. How Entrepreneurs Can Develop Grit, The Most Important Trait Of Successful People

Writer Faisal Hoque describes about how entrepreneurs can build “Perseverance and passion for long-term goals”, called GRIT by psychologist Angela Duckworth, by developing the characteristics of gut, resiliency, inventiveness, tenacity, and trusting instincts in this piece published in “Business Insider”, October 8, 2014.

13. How To Go From Dreaming To Doing: 4 Steps To Motivation

Eric Barker, writing for his “Barking up the Wrong Tree” blog, describes the work of Gabriele Oettingen on the WOOP method to maintain motivation. According to Oettingen’s research, people who focus on Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan achieve their goals better than people without this strategy. Posted October 5, 2014.

14. 1939: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalyst, Dies Refugee in England at 83

“Sigmund Freud, originator of psychoanalysis and considered by many as the greatest single influence on the thought of the twentieth century, died at his home in Hampstead, England, early yesterday morning at the age of eighty-three.” A reprint of the original 1939 obituary from the “International Herald Tribune”, September 23, 2014.

15. Happiness: 10 Fascinating New Psychology Studies Everyone Should Know

Reviews 10 recent psychological studies on happiness including findings from genetics, neuroscience, emotions, traits, and more. From “PsyBlog”, September 11, 2014.

16. Early School Starts Can Turn Teens Into “Zombies”

The body clock of teenagers shifts as they get older so that they end up being sleep deprived zombies in their early morning classes. “By the time [a teen] is 17 or 18, however, her body now naturally wants to stay up until 10:30 or 11 p.m. […] for biological reasons, the average teen just can’t go to sleep much before 11 p.m.” Also see the lesson plan which accompanies this article here []. Published by the “Society for Science and the Public”, September 11, 2014.

17. Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People: Narcissistic, Machiavellian, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

Research by Erin E. Buckels, Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” (2014) found that Internet trolls — people who intentionally incite discord in online communities — tended to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.

18. Favorite Link Revisited: The Thiagi Group: The Source for Training Games and Interactive Experiential Strategies

Educator and simulation game guru Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan of “Barnga” fame, maintains a web site with tons of ideas to get participants involved and playing with ideas. According to the website: “We Do Training. And we do it differently. We use games and activities that engage participants. We keep them interacting with each other and with the content. We design training faster, cheaper, and better with an irreverent process that eliminates unnecessary steps that don’t add value. Come play with us! We’ll have you laughing and learning.” Check out their many ideas and sign up for their monthly e-mail newsletter.

Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 6, Number 2, October, 2011

October 18, 2011

Hello and welcome to the sixty-second Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,322 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This month we have a record number of links to share with you, everything from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Magic Mushrooms, with Jeopardy, comedians, laughter, narcissism, the upside of pessimism, and the very first mention of Sigmund Freud in ”The New York Times” in between.

Know somebody high in Neuroticism? This month we are pleased to bring you a rare upside to this trait: People high in Neuroticism tend to lose themselves in movies more than people low in Neuroticism. This means that they experience movies more richly, including both the positive emotions of happy and uplifting movies and the negative emotions of sad and scary movies.

While we’re on the topic of Neuroticism, while you may think of Woody Allen or Richard Lewis when it comes to neurotic comedians, it turns out that comedians are not higher in Neuroticism than non-comedians. They are, however, lower in Agreeableness and higher in Openness.

Speaking of Openness, people who have taken hallucinogenic mushrooms (!) do indeed experience more Openness. This bit of folk wisdom left over from the 1960s now has scientific backing. Further, this change in Openness may last up to a year later. Not that we’re advocating hallucinogens, but this study is sure to spark discussion in your classes about the ethics of research, how experience can change personality, and the consistency of personality over time.

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 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. Self-Promotion: Why Arnold’s Self-Statue Is Very Serious. Really.

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a larger-than-life bronze statue of himself in his body-building days as part of a museum dedicated to Schwarzenegger in his hometown of Thal, Austria. Is this an example of egoism or merely the latest example of self-promotion harkening back to the ancients? From ”LiveScience”, October 2, 2011, by Stephanie Pappas.

3. Life’s Extremes: Early Bird vs. Night Owls

A good overview of circadian rhythm and the chronotypes of morning larks and night owls including genetic influences and sleep-phase disorders. From ”LiveScience”, October 2, 2011, by Adam Hadhazy.

4. Magic Mushrooms May Permanently Alter Personality

Even just one dose of hallucinogenic mushrooms can alter a person’s level of Openness for more than a year according to research by Katherine MacLean and colleagues as summarized in ”LiveScience”, September 29, 2011 by Stephanie Pappas.

5. Neurotics Experience More Immersion When Watching Films

People who score high in Neuroticism tend to feel more absorbed in films, both enjoying comedies more and horror and sad films less than people lower in Neuroticism. This, according to research by David Weibel and colleagues published this month in ”Personality and Individual Differences” and summarized here.

6. Neuroticism Influences Brain Activity During Anticipation and Experience of Pain

Neuroticism ”significantly affects brain processing during pain, as well as during the anticipation of pain”, according to a new study in ”Gastroenterology” and summarized here in ”ScienceDaily”, September 20, 2011.

7. Pessimism — It Could Save Your Mind

Summarizes research by O’Mara, McNulty, and Karney (2011) in the ”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” which found that optimism led to increased mental health when participants were faced with less stressful situations, but that pessimism was more adaptive in the face of highly stressful situations. From ”Brain Blogger”, October 11, 2011 by Radhika Takru.

8. First Mention: Sigmund Freud, 1909

From the website: ”Sigmund Freud visited the United States only once, in 1909, to give a series of lectures. ”The New York Times” found nothing about the visit worth mentioning except his departure. ”Prof. Sigmund Freud” appears on Page 9 on Sept. 21, along with ”Dr. C. G. Jung,” in a list of passengers sailing to Bremen, Germany, aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse. It was the first time the newspaper mentioned his name […] A search of The Times database from the early 1920s until Freud’s death yields nearly 300 references to him and almost 1,000 to psychoanalysis. ”

9. How Not to Spot Personality Test Fakers

Can response times reveal test fakers? Maybe not. This notion was tested in research by Mindy Shoss and Michael Strube and summarized here in ”Research Digest”, September 14, 2011.

10. US Views on Gays, Lesbians, Shift Sharply

According to the 2010 update of the General Social Survey (GSS) at NORC at the University of Chicago, not only do a plurality of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, but they overwhelmingly support freedom of expression and basic civil liberties for gays and lesbians. This article summarizes these findings and includes two graphs which illustrate this trend toward increased tolerance over time.

11. Gender Non-Conformity in a Tide Ad

This ad depicts a mom who is exasperated at her daughter’s non-conformity with gender roles. While the mom tries to be supportive of her daughter’s non-traditional efforts, her obvious discomfort illustrates that gendered expectations for behavior still run strong.

12. It’s Ok to Be Neither: Teaching That Supports Gender-Variant Children

Melissa Bollow Tempel discusses her realization that just as gender training begins early, teaching about gender expectations and breaking down gender stereotypes should begin early as well. In this article Tempel describes how she changed her classroom to be more supportive of gender variance.

13.How to Get the Most Out of Studying

Stephen Chew, Samford University, created this series of 5 videos to help students. Grounded in his own research on using cognitive principles to improve teaching and learning, Chew presents basic principles of how people learn and tries to correct counterproductive beliefs so that students can improve their learning by designing their own effective study strategies and avoiding ineffective strategies.

14. Psychologists Discover A Gene’s Link to Optimism, Self-Esteem

According to research by Shelley E. Taylor and colleagues, and summarized here, researchers have identified a gene linked to optimism, self-esteem, and mastery. From ”Science Daily”, September 14, 2011.

15. Why We Dream

The BBC produced this video documentary on dreams: ”People who study dreaming to find out why we dream have found several potential answers: they help keep us asleep, they contribute to good mental health, and they help us find answers to questions we seek. But what do they mean, and can we control them? This excellent documentary interviews scientists, dreamers, and people with sleep and dream disorders to find out more about this always fascinating subject.” (Runs 58 minutes and 24 seconds).

16.Life’s Extremes: Outgoing vs. Shy

Summarizes research on early temperaments related to extraversion,  introversion, and shyness. Includes an excellent graphic summarizing these differences. From ”LifeScience”, September 25, 2011.

17. What’s On Your Genes?

Written for kids, this overview of genetics nonetheless does an excellent job of explaining Mendellian inheritance and epigenetics.

18. Goodness Has Nothing to Do With It

This article from ”The Economist” summarizes research by Daniel Bartels and David Pizzaro which suggests that people with a utilitarian outlook tend to be Machiavellian or psychopathic.

19. It’s All About Autonomy: Consumers React Negatively When Prompted to Think About Money

From the webpage: ”Whether they are aware of it or not, consumers dislike being reminded of money — so much that they will rebel against authority figures, according to a new study in the ”Journal of Consumer Research” and summarized here in ”ScienceDaily”, September 15, 2011.

20. Laughter is a Physical, Not a Mental Thing

From the summary: ”Laughter is regularly promoted as a source of health and well being, but it has been hard to pin down exactly why laughing until it hurts feels so good. The answer, reports Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, is not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor, but the physical act of laughing”. Read all about it here in ”3 Quarks Daily”, September 14, 2011.

21. Gender and the Narcissist

An overview of gender differences in narcissism and the finding that most narcissists are male.

22. Existential Therapy

An overview of existential theory and therapy as practiced by Rollo May and Irvin Yalom. Contains quotes, movie recommendations, training, comparisons with the humanistic tradition, and more.

23. The Strange Situation

Presents video of a mother and secure child going through Ainsworth’s Strange Situation. A voice over explains each part of the Strange Situation protocol, to which the baby reacts (runs 5 minutes and 24 seconds).

24. The Pursuit of Happiness

With the philosophy that happiness is ”understandable, obtainable, and teachable” this website presents a history of the philosophy of happiness and finding in the science of happiness along with teaching resources including syllabi, mini-lessons and PowerPoint presentations on the science and philosophy of happiness. They also welcome submissions.

25. Psychology Jeopardy

Stephen Wurst, SUNY Oswego, created these ”Jeopardy”-style games to use for review sessions with your classes. Boards are organized by theme and include: David Bowie Songs, Bruce Springsteen Songs, WordPlay, Broadway Musicals, Classic Jeopardy Categories, Dr. Strangelove and more. You play directly on the Super Teacher Tools website (see below) by choosing the number of teams and amount of time to answer questions. Correct answers are given and the site includes a scoreboard. See the Super Teacher Tools website (below) for a template you can use to make a Jeopardy review game with your own questions.

26. Super Teacher Tools

This site is ”dedicated to providing technology tools for teaching that are quick and easy to download, learn, and start using in your classroom.” Includes review games, classroom management software, and other miscellaneous tools for educators.

27. Personality: Funny in the Head

Does it take a special personality to be a stand-up comedian? Despite some notable exceptions, comedians are not more Neurotic than other people. They are, however, more Open to Experience and less Agreeable according to research by Gil Greengross and Geoffrey Miller summarized here.

28. Favorite Link Revisited: The Trait Paper Assignment

From the abstract: ”A personality trait-based term paper assignment that is appropriate for use in personality psychology courses and that is designed to foster critical thinking skills is introduced. The extent to which the trait questions correspond to generic critical thinking questions is considered, the specific thinking skills induced by each trait question are discussed, and potential limitations of the assignment are noted. Preliminary data are also presented which suggest that the trait-based term paper assignment stimulates critical thinking and enhances knowledge about personality traits. It is hoped that the ideas presented and issues discussed in the present article will encourage academic psychologists from all subdisciplines to develop writing assignments that foster critical thinking skills.” This assignment is not rooted in a particular model of traits and so is adaptable to any model. From Hittner, J. B. (1999). Fostering critical thinking in personalty psychology. ”Journal of Instructional Psychology”, 26, 92-97.

Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 1, September, 2010

September 24, 2010


Personality Pedagogy Newsletter Volume 5, Number 1, September, 2010

Hello and welcome to the forty-ninth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 2,122 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

The big news for this month is that we are celebrating the 4th anniversary of this newsletter. In that time, our mailing list has grown to nearly 200 subscribers and even more read us online at our newsletter archive blog ( We thank you all for making us one of your favorite places on the web to find materials for teaching personality psychology.

This month, we found a cute, if questionable study, conducted by a 17-year old winner of a BBC contest. Perhaps her survey of exploring why people choose their Facebook profile photos will inspire your students to conduct studies of their own.

Speaking of Facebook, thanks to John Rust, director of the Psychometrics Centre at Cambridge University who called our attention to the work of the institute. They have been collecting personality data from over 2 million (!) users of Facebook and will gladly collaborate with other researchers, including grads and undergrads, on research projects related to their dataset. Check out their site below.

If you have a suggestion of an article, summary, exercise, video or anything which you think may be helpful to others, please drop us an e-mail. This month we thank Jon Mueller, John Rust, and two anonymous commenters on our newsletter archive for their suggestions.

Alas, it has come to our attention that the link for signing up for our newsletter has been having problems since July. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused potential subscribers. We think we have the problem solved, but just in case, just drop us an e-mail and we can add you to our mailing list ”by hand”.

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. The Psychometrics Centre

The University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre conducts research on personality including the five factor model, life satisfaction, self-monitoring, and other constructs collecting data via  Facebook application. They are willing to collaborate and share their data with other researchers (including grads and undergrads) who have ideas for projects. Find out more about their work (including a list of research ideas for students) by visiting MyPersonalityWiki.

2. Rebuilding Maslow’s Pyramid on an Evolutionary Foundation

In focusing on motives and self-actualization, Abraham Maslow may have missed out on key ideas from neuroscience, developmental biology, and evolutionary psychology according to Douglas Kenrick a in a paper published in ”Psychological Science”. He summarizes his view in this blog entry for ”Psychology Today”, May 19, 2010 (See link to original paper below).

3.  Self-Actualization: Parenthood?

Douglas Kenrick and his co-authors redefine Maslow’s concept of self-actualization as ”an indirect means to attracting a mate and, ultimately, parenting children”. Read about the controversy surrounding this redefinition in this ”New York Times” article by Lisa Belkin, September 10, 2010. (Remember, access to articles in the ”New York Times” is free, but you must sign up for a subscription).

4. Kenrick, Griskevicius, Neuberg & Schaller (2010)

Kenrick, D.T., Griskevicius, V., Neuberg, S.L., & Schaller, M. (2010). Renovating the pyramid of needs: Contemporary extensions built upon ancient foundations. ”Perspectives on Psychological Science”, 5, 292-314. (Opens in PDF).

5. What Does Your Facebook Profile Picture Say About You?

As one of the finalists of the BBC Radio 4’s “So You Want to Be a Scientist?” project 17-year old Nina Jones conducted a survey of Facebook users and identified the interesting ways in which people used their photos as a form of self-presentation.

6. Personality Predicts Cheating More Than Academic Struggles

According to research by Delroy Paulhus and colleagues published in the ”Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied” and summarized here, ”College students who admitted to cheating in high school or turned in plagiarized papers ranked high on personality tests of the so-called Dark Triad: psychopathy, Machiavellianism (cynicism, amorality, manipulativeness), and narcissism (arrogance and self-centeredness, with a strong sense of entitlement). Of the three dark personality types, psychopathy was most strongly linked to cheating”. From ”Science Daily”, September 8, 2010.

7. Designing Your Own Workspace Improves Health, Happiness and Productivity

”Employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier — they’re also up to 32% more productive” according to research by Craig Knight at the University of Exeter and summarized in this article from ”Science Daily”, September 8, 2010.

8. Childhood Personality Traits Predict Adult Behavior: We Remain Recognizably the Same Person, Study Suggests

”Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse elementary schoolchildren in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later […] Personality traits observed in childhood are a strong predictor of adult behavior” according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the Oregon Research Institute and University of Oregon and summarized in this article from ”Science Daily”, August 5, 2010.

9. Stories of the Middle Passage

Shrink Rap Radio: A Psychology Talk and Interview Show (Podcast; Show #244, August 19 2010). In this episode, Dr. Dave talks with Jungian analysis James Hollis as he describes the theory of Carl Jung, especially as it pertains to the second half of life (middle age and beyond) (runs 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 35 seconds).

10. Economic Status, Genetics, Together Influence Psychopathic Traits

”Researchers studying the genetic roots of antisocial behavior report that children with one variant of a serotonin transporter gene are more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits if they also grow up poor” according to research by Edelyn Verona and colleagues, published in the ”Journal of Abnormal Psychology” and summarized in this article from Science Daily, August 7, 2010.

11. ABC Model That is the Central Basis of REBT

In this essay, therapist Stacey McCall reviews her use of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy with a 17-year old male client. Posted September 4, 2010, on the Creativity and Conflict Blog.

12. What Clients Think CBT Will Be Like and How It Really Is

”People expect cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to be more prescriptive than it is, and therapists to be more controlling than they really are. That’s according to a series of interviews with 18 clients who undertook 8 sessions (14 hours) of CBT to help with their diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder” according to research by H. Westra and colleagues published in Psychotherapy Research and summarized here.

13. My Life In Therapy

Writer Daphne Merkin, who struggles with chronic depression, describes her experiences with psychotherapy which started when she was 10 years old.

14. Feeling Angry or Guilty? Maybe It’s Time to Stop “Shoulding!”

Therapist Clifford Lazarus argues that living under self-imposed “should, oughts, and musts” creates anger and guilt which makes life miserable for themselves and those around them.