January 31, 2009

Personality and Motivations Associated with Facebook Use

personality,sociology — alice @ 2:13 am

Craig Ross, Emily S. Orr, Mia Sisic, Jaime M. Arseneault, Mary G. Simmering and R. Robert Orr
Article in Computers in Human Behavior

Abstract
Facebook is quickly becoming one of the most popular tools for social communication. However, Facebook is somewhat different from other Social Networking Sites as it demonstrates an offline-to-online trend; that is, the majority of Facebook Friends are met offline and then added later. The present research investigated how the Five-Factor Model of personality relates to Facebook use. Despite some expected trends regarding Extraversion and Openness to Experience, results indicated that personality factors were not as influential as previous literature would suggest. The results also indicated that a motivation to communicate was influential in terms of Facebook use. It is suggested that different motivations may be influential in the decision to use tools such as Facebook, especially when individual functions of Facebook are being considered.

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March 5, 2008

Gene variants may increase risk of anxiety disorders

anx.jpegFrom physorg: Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers – in collaboration with scientists at the University of California at San Diego and Yale University – have discovered perhaps the strongest evidence yet linking variation in a particular gene with anxiety-related traits. In the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, the team describes finding that particular versions of a gene that affects the activity of important neurotransmitter receptors were more common in both children and adults assessed as being inhibited or introverted and also were associated with increased activity of brain regions involved in emotional processing.

“We found that variations in this gene were associated with shy, inhibited behavior in children, introverted personality in adults and the reactivity of brain regions involved in processing fear and anxiety,” says Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, of the MGH Department of Psychiatry, the report’s lead author. “Each of these traits appears to be a risk factor for social anxiety disorder, the most common type of anxiety disorder in the U.S.”

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New issue: Self & Identity

selfidentity.gifA new issue of Self & Identity is out, with articles including topics such as cultural differences in self-esteem, the self in change, and the self in life transitions.

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January 9, 2008

Cheap drugs against aggression don’t work

Study shows placebos as good as antipsychotics for the intellectually disabled.

Scientists have discovered that taking a sugar pill is more effective than routine medications in treating aggression in people with intellectual disabilities. Until now, patients with intellectual disabilities have been prescribed antipsychotic drugs — normally given to people with a psychiatric disease like schizophrenia — to treat aggressive behaviour such as head banging. But evidence for the drugs’ effectiveness has been thin.

“Antipsychotic drugs are widely used because they are cheap and at high doses they sedate people,” says Eric Emerson at Lancaster University, an expert in the behaviour of intellectually disabled people.

Peter Tyrer, based at Imperial College London, led an international research project looking at 86 people with intellectual disability at clinics across England, Wales and at one centre in Australia. Patients being treated for aggressive behaviour randomly received one of two antipsychotic drugs — respiridone or haloperidol — or a placebo.

Nature News

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December 14, 2007

Personality & Individual Differences — new issue

human nature,journal,personality — thomasr @ 3:28 am

A new issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Volume 44, Issue 3) hosts a number of interesting articles including:

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Cognition & Emotion new issue

A new issue of Cognition & Emotion is out, including articles on emotional memory and awareness, music and emotions, and anger-induction methods.

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November 22, 2007

Morality starts young

The key to successful social interactions is the ability to assess others’ intentions — be they friend or foe. A new study in 6- and 10-month-old infants shows that humans engage in social evaluations even earlier than was thought, before they can use language. The infants could evaluate actors on the basis of their social acts — they were drawn towards an individual who helps an unrelated third party to achieve his or her goal, and they avoided an individual who hinders a third party’s efforts to achieve a goal. The findings support the claim that precursors to adult-like social evaluation are present even in babies. This skill could be a biological adaptation that may also serve as the foundation for moral thought and action later in life.

Editor summary in Nature

Nature article by Hamlin, Wynn & Bloom

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November 12, 2007

Contextualized Self-Representations in Adulthood

personality,self-awareness — thomasr @ 6:10 am

Theorizing has focused on individuals’ self-representations as a psychological resource for coping with life stress and developmental challenges in adulthood. Many of the prominent theories have conceptualized self-representations with regard to specific social contexts (e.g., role-specific self-representations) and have examined specific structural organizations of the self-concept with regard to psychological adjustment.

This article describes research on the associations between self-concept structures and psychological well-being in adulthood. Specific emphasis is given to the feature of self-concept differentiation (SCD). Most research suggests that a high level of SCD tends to indicate self-fragmentation and tends to be associated with poorer adjustment and psychological well-being.

Findings from a daily diary study with adults of all ages are reported showing that different levels of SCD were in a consistent and meaningful way related to the daily endorsement of positive and negative self-attributes. Daily self-representations, in turn, were significantly related to individuals’ level of daily negative affect and to intra-individual variation in negative affect.

These findings suggest that SCD may exert its effect on adjustment and psychological well-being through specific ways of processing self-related information.

Manfred Diehl & Elizabeth L. Hay in Journal of Personality
Volume 75 Issue 6 Page 1255-1284, December 2007

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October 25, 2007

New issue: Personality and Individual Differences

A new issue of PID is out, including articles on borderline and self-regulation, black anti-white attitudes and personality, and stress reactions and personality.

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September 6, 2007

New insights into OCD

abnormal psych,personality,psychiatry — thomasr @ 3:48 pm

ocd.jpegObsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common debilitating psychiatric disorder, yet the cause of OCD is unknown and few effective treatments are available. A recent study of mutant mice reveals a novel mechanism leading to OCD-like behaviors in mice and suggests potential new therapeutic strategies.

By Dr. Jing Lu and Dr. Guoping Feng, in Scitizen.com

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August 26, 2007

When the Need to Belong Goes Wrong

socialphobia.jpegWhen the Need to Belong Goes Wrong: The Expression of Social Anhedonia and Social Anxiety in Daily Life

People possess an innate need to belong that drives social interactions. Aberrations in the need to belong, such as social anhedonia and social anxiety, provide a point of entry for examining this need. The current study used experience-sampling methodology to explore deviations in the need to belong in the daily lives of 245 undergraduates. Eight times daily for a week, personal digital assistants signaled subjects to complete questionnaires regarding affect, thoughts, and behaviors.

As predicted, higher levels of social anhedonia were associated with increased time alone, greater preference for solitude, and lower positive affect. Higher social anxiety, in contrast, was associated with higher negative affect and was not associated with increased time alone. Furthermore, greater social anxiety was associated with greater self-consciousness and preference to be alone while interacting with unfamiliar people.

Thus, deviations in the need to belong affect social functioning differently depending on whether this need is absent or thwarted.

Psychologial Science

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May 24, 2007

Narrative selves

From MindHacksPhilosophy Now has an article on how the self might be based on our ability to create narratives. The article looks at how the self has been related to our ability to make narratives out of the disconnected events in our lives, and particularly focuses on the theories of philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre and Paul Ricoeur.

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Does the brain show a lie?

noliemri.pngAmanda lies flat on her back, clad in a steel blue hospital gown and an air of anticipation, as she is rolled headfirst into a beeping, 10-ton functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) unit. Once inside, the 20-something blonde uses a handheld device to respond to questions about the playing cards appearing on the screen at the foot of the machine. With each click of the button, she is either lying or telling the truth about whether a card presented to her matches the one in her pocket, and the white-coated technician who watches her brain image morph into patterns on his computer screen seems to know the difference.

It’s unlikely anyone would shell out $10,000 to exonerate herself in a dispute over gin rummy. But Amanda, the model in a demo video for Tarzana, Calif.-based No Lie MRI, is helping to make a point: lie-detection is going high-tech. No Lie MRI claims it can identify lies with 90% accuracy. The service is meant for “anybody who wants to demonstrate that they are telling truth to others,” says founder and CEO Joel Huizenga. “Everyone should be allowed to use whatever method they can to defend themselves.

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March 24, 2007

Beliefs about the rigidity of personality

happyface.jpgHow do people reason about personality, and how people change or stay the same over time? In a study by Nick Haslam and colleagues lay theories of personality over time was explored. Among other things the researchers found that beliefs about normative personality change generally corresponded to research evidence on adult trajectories of the Big Five factors; and that recalled and anticipated personal change tended to be more positive than these norms

One potential shortcoming of the study is that it used only undergraduates. It would be interesting to see how the perception of personality continuity would also change according to ageing (as well as across different educational groups).

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February 20, 2007

Biological Psychiatry — Special issue on autism

autist.gifThe journal Biological Psychiatry has a special issue on the autism spectrum, its diagnosis and treatment.

It is a comprehensive yet diverse collection of multidisciplinary treatment of the issue, containing articles onautism and phenotypic homogeneity; cortical layering and thickness; cortical dysfunction; executive function and gaze fixation.

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January 17, 2007

Jane Goodall Podcast

goodall_461.jpgABC Radio National in Australia has an excellent podcast on a talk by Jane Goodall , an English primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, who is well known for conducting a forty-five year study of chimpanzee social and family life.

In her talk, Goodall addresses the issue of animal personality and animal minds. It is a powerful reminder of how much this issue has been a scientific taboo for not too long ago.

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A Neurobiology of Sensitivity? Sentience as the Foundation for Unusual Conscious Perception

200701021.jpg
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January 16, 2007

Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Creativity

emotions,personality — thomasr @ 6:00 am

emotionalintelligence.jpgAbstract from the Journal of Personality:

Three studies examined the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and emotional creativity (EC) and whether each construct was predictive of creative behavior. It was hypothesized that the relationship between EI and EC corresponds to the relationship between cognitive intelligence and creative ability. Therefore, EI and EC were expected to be two distinct sets of abilities. Intercorrelations and confirmatory factor analyses supported the hypothesis. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that EC, but not EI, would correlate with behavioral creativity. Self-report measures of EC significantly correlated with laboratory and self-reported creativity measures in both studies, while ability measures of EC only correlated with self-reported artistic activity. EI was uncorrelated with creative behavior.


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December 21, 2006

Personality and Individual Differences: new issue

journal,personality,self-awareness — thomasr @ 8:33 am

j_persndiff.gifA new issue of Personality and Individual Differences is out. It includes articles on

  • self-injury in female vs. male psychiatric patients
  • self-monitoring style and suggestibility
  • thought suppression
  • memory distortions in self-enhancers.

Personality and Individual Differences
Volume 42, Issue 4, Pages 609-810 (March 2007)

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December 3, 2006

Morning and evening types and creative thinking

personality — thomasr @ 7:37 am

creative.jpgWho is more creative — morning types or evening types? It seems that evening-types are more creative. Or at least so it seems. A recent preliminary study demonstrates this link, but also effects of gender and age.

Basically, we do not know enough about this topic, and the current study urges more studies into this area.  Click through for abstract. ScienceDirect

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