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

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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 8, Number 11, July 2014

July 22, 2014

Hello and welcome to the eighty-sixth Personality Pedagogy newsletter highlighting what’s new at For more about the links below and approximately 3,030 other interesting links related to personality, please visit:

This has been a good month for personality psychologists and teachers of personality psychology. News sources and social media have been buzzing with interesting findings directly related to personality psychology. Perhaps you’ve heard about the infamous Facebook study on emotional contagion or seen the Verizon ad illustrating the social factors which can undermine young girls’ achievements in science and math? Or, like, um, you know, how that annoying “Teenspeak” language is actually related to personality or how friends share similar genes? And, have you ever wondered about the attachment style of contestants on the TV reality shows “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”? Yes, we have all this and more for you in this month’s newsletter.

This month we have added a new page on “Testing and Personnel Selection”. This includes many links that were previously included in the “Tests and Measurement” page, which, by the way, is now named “Personality Assessment” to better reflect the current state of the field.

Quick, grab your favorite chilled drink, browse the links below and place your bets on how “The Bachelorette” will end next Monday, secure in your knowledge of personality!

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. Virtuous Cycles: Night Owls and Early Birds

New research published in “Psychological Science” and summarized here by Wray Herbert suggests that there is an interaction between cognitive depletion and circadian fluctuations in tiredness. That is, people are more likely to cheat when they experience low energy, i.e., a dip in their biological clock. This suggests that early birds are likely to make bad choices later in the day and nights owls earlier in the day.

3. Powerful Ad Shows What A Little Girl Hears When You Tell Her She’s Pretty

According to the National Science Foundation, 66% of 4th grades girls say they like math and science, yet women make up only 18% of engineering majors in college. This Verizon commercial illustrates the social cues which may discourage girls from math and science during their early childhood. Runs 1 minute and 3 seconds.

4. Resilience: Motorcyclist Thrown After Crash, Walks Away

“I can either land on my feet or my head right now” is what was going through the mind of 24 year old Michael Smith as he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle through an intersection in Florida. Amazingly, he flips head-over-heels, lands on his feet, and walks away. Runs 51 seconds.

5. The Secret of Effective Motivation

Psychologists Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz summarize their research of the internal or instrumental motives of Cadets at the United States West Point Military Academy: “Our study suggests that efforts should be made to structure activities so that instrumental consequences do not become motives. Helping people focus on the meaning and impact of their work, rather than on, say, the financial returns it will bring, may be the best way to improve not only the quality of their work but also — counterintuitive though it may seem — their financial success.” From, “The New York Times”, July 4, 2014.

6. The Conscientiousness of Kidspeak

The “like”s and “you know”s ubiquitous in the language of 12-14 year olds are not, as parents bemoan, due to “sloppy indifference” but rather to “undue scrupulousness”. According to research by linguists at the University of Texas, youth high in Conscientiousness use these markers to signal that they have left out the details of what they are relating for the sake of economy. By Adam Gopnik for “The New Yorker”, July 20 2014.

7. Study Cracks How Brain Processes Emotions

From the website: “Although feelings are personal and subjective, the human brain turns them into a standard code [of neural activation] that objectively represents emotions across different senses, situations and even people, reports a new study. “Despite how personal our feelings feel, the evidence suggests our brains use a standard code to speak the same emotional language,” one researcher concludes.” From “ScienceDaily”, July 9, 2014.

8. Research Ethics: The Facebook Experiment: Reaction From Psychologists

According to former psychology professor Michael Britt in his podcast “The Psych Files”: “You’ve probably heard about the controversy over the Facebook manipulation of user’s News Feeds and the (possible) effect this had on user’s emotions. In the latest episode of The Psych Files I summarize the study and my conclusions about it. Also included on the website is a (large) concept map that also summarizes the study, links to references and Facebook’s official response. Also included in the map and the episode: suggestions for students regarding how a proper informed consent form might have been written and presented to students.” Episode 22, July 1, 2014. Runs 33 minutes and 16 seconds.

9. Do Friends Have Similar Genomes?

According to research by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, “We are more genetically similar to our friends than we are to strangers. […] Looking at differences between nearly 2,000 people, recruited as part of a heart study in a small US town, they found that friends shared about 0.1% more DNA, on average, than strangers.” From “BBC News”, July 15, 2014.

10. 7 Ways You Can Easily Increase Your Willpower

Eric Barker of the “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” blog presents these 7 evidence-based ways of increasing your willpower in your daily life. July 20, 2014.

11. 11 Interview Questions Hiring Managers Ask To Test Your Personality

From the website: “In an effort to find new hires that are great cultural fits, employers are putting more emphasis on soft skills, or intangible qualities […] some qualities that are a good indication of success in a role include organizational and communication skills, great team player, strong leadership skills, an ability to think on your feet, drive, and initiative.” From “Business Insider”, June 11, 2014.

12. Here’s How Amazing Leaders Adapt to Crazy Situations

According to research by clinical psychologist Leslie Patch, personality profiling of executives at GE, McDonald’s, Merrill Lynch, and more, found that active coping is the greatest predictor of managerial success. From “Business Insider”, June 20, 2014.

13. New Social Media Study Investigates Relationships Among Facebook Use, Narcissism and Empathy

A study by Tracy Alloway and colleagues and summarized here for “ScienceDaily” suggests that a some features of Facebook, like profile photos are linked to narcissism, while others, like chatting are linked to empathy. According to Alloway, “Every narcissist needs a reflecting pool. Just as Narcissus gazed into the pool to admire his beauty, social networking sites, like Facebook, have become our modern-day pool.” July 3, 2014.

14. What Attachment Style is The Bachelorette’s Andi Dorfman?

Erica Djossa writing for the “Science of Relationships” blog explains her evidence for why this latest eligible lady from the reality TV series may have secure attachment, even though secure attachment doesn’t make for “juicy reality TV”.

15. How Your Mood Changes Your Personality

Research by Jan Querengässer and Sebastian Schindler found “When participants answered questions about their personality in a sad state, they scored “considerably” higher on trait neuroticism, and “moderately” lower on extraversion and agreeableness, as compared with when they completed the questionnaire in a neutral mood state”. From “BPS Research Digest”, July 17, 2014.

16. Self-Motivation: How “You Can Do it!” Beats “I Can Do It”

Research by Sanda Dolcos and Dolores Albarracín published in the “European Journal of Social Psychology” and summarized here for the “BPS Research Digest” suggests that second-person self-talk (e.g., “You can do it!”) is more effective than first-person self-talk. The researchers surmised that second-person talk may be effective because it “cues memories of receiving support and encouragement from others, especially in childhood”. July 9, 2014.

17. Favorite Link Revisited: Making Connections: Social Issues in the Psychology Classroom

Susan Goldstein of the University of Redlands established and maintains this site to: provide teachers of psychology with resources to assist them, both pedagogically and conceptually, in making connections between current social issues and specific topics across the psychology curriculum. The site features summaries of research findings, suggestions for videos, podcasts, and other multimedia resources, pedagogy-focused resources on relevant classroom activities and teaching strategies, and links to professional organizations and scholarly web resources with information on social issues.