Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | September 18, 2015

Friday Five – September 18, 2015

It has been another crazy, busy week. Exams in 3 of my 4 courses, and a short week for me, as I’m away at a conference (Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology) today and tomorrow. The conference doesn’t start until noon, today. So I have some time to get the blog posted.

Here are this week’s links:

Mental_floss (Jennifer M. Wood)

Mental_floss is reporting an infographic originally produced by Business Insider about common cognitive biases that impact our decision making.

Slate (Jessica Lahey)

Slate is sharing an excerpt from Jessica Lahey’s book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Although my son is only 19-months old, his dad and I have been working hard to let him make mistakes and learn from them. As a control freak, this is challenging at times for me, but I know that, in the end, he’ll be much better off for it.

PsychCentral: Always Learning (Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS) – September 17, 2015

I mentioned at the start that 3 of my 4 classes had exams this week, didn’t I? I strongly suspect that many students were a bit surprised by their grades. They probably thought they had studied enough. I think it’s safe to say that many didn’t. Perhaps they can learn from this link.

Psychology Today (Lisa Aronson Fontes, Ph.D.) – August 26, 2015

An abusive relationship may not just be about physical abuse.

Slate: XX Factor (Christina Cauterucci) – September 14, 2015

This is a make your think column, so I don’t want to influence your thoughts with any of my commentary. It will be interesting to see what those of you who chose this link think.

Just a reminder: Because I am using the free version of WordPress, I do not have control over the ads that may appear at the end of my posts. I hope none are offensive, and click with caution.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | September 13, 2015

Friday Five – September 11, 2015 (A bit delayed)

The challenge of a 4-day week is that I spend most of it trying to figure out what day it is. When Friday rolled around, I honestly thought it was Thursday and that I still had another day before the blog needed to go up. Oops!

Sorry for the delay. Here are this week’s links:

Psychology Today: Your Online Secrets (Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D.) – August 19, 2015

The person next to you yawns, then you yawn — unless you’re a psychopath? One of the reasons I am sharing this link is because the work of the new study on contagious yawning is based on the work of Steven Platek who was a grad student at University at Albany at the same time as I was earning my Ph.D. He was in the Physio Psych program, but we did have a few classes together. It’s kinda scary how small the world of psychology can be at times.

About Education (Kendra Cherry)

Made some bad decisions? Here’s some tips on making better ones in the future.

By the way, Kendra Cherry has a lot of good psychology information on

PsychCentral (Janice Wood) – September 12, 2015

Always checking your social media accounts? Might not be the best thing, especially at night before (or instead of) sleeping. I have several friends who have initiated conscious choices to cut back on their social media consumption – a few quit completely. They said it was just getting to be too much and they felt disconnected from the actual people around them.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – September 1, 2015

While not the catchiest of titles, and not the most engaging read, this link is to a LOT of information shared by the CDC about teen sexuality and health.

Advertising Age (Ann-Christine Diaz) – September 13, 2015

What does it mean to “Run like a girl”? You may have seen the Always commercial before, but watch again.

One last comment: Because I am using the free version of WordPress, I do not have control over the ads that appear at the end of my posts. I hope none are offensive, and click with caution.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | September 4, 2015

Friday Five – September 4, 2015

I have two classes (potentially) following this blog, so I have some pretty strong motivation to keep things going this semester. If I teach General Psychology II in the Spring, I will likely keep up the Friday Five posts.

Just a reminder to my students, make sure to post your comments HERE and not on the site of the links you follow. Also, remember that initial comments are moderated by me. I have to approve them before they are posted. In future weeks, if you use the same email address, your comments will appear as soon as you post them.

Here are the links to this week’s Friday Five:

Jezebel (Mark Shrayber) – September 3, 2015

Nothing like leading with the attention grabber. A friend shared this link on Facebook, last night. I commented that I was going to retweet the link and include it in the Friday Five. Because when you have a job that lets you blog about penis size, you just have to do it. She replied that it was a moral imperative that I include this.

Note that Jezebel is reporting on a story shared in the Daily Beast who, in turn, are reporting on a scholarly article published in PLOS One. The most accurate report of the study results are the ones in PLOS One.

Psychology Today: In Practice (Alice Boyes, Ph.D.) – August 20, 2015

You may say you don’t have negative views of that group, but what does your behavior say? This post talks about implicit and explicit attitudes and how to bring them more in line with one another.

PsyBlog (Jeremy Dean) – August 28, 2015

Jeremy Dean is reporting on a study published in the American Anthropologist on cultural views on romantic kissing. Like many popular press reports of scholarly studies, it is missing some of the finer details of the original article. One of my friends was annoyed that the PsyBlog post didn’t provide a breakdown of the countries and their views. That information IS in the full article.

Medical News Today – September 4, 2015

What are the symptoms of depression? How does depression affect one’s work and daily life? Results of a survey of depressed adults shows instances of cognitive dysfunction.

PsyPost (Washington State University) – September 1, 2015

How much sleep you get is important, but so is when you sleep.

One last comment: Because I am using the free version of WordPress, I do not have control over the ads that appear at the end of my posts. I hope none are offensive, and click with caution.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | September 2, 2015

Has it Really Been a Year?

Another semester…
Another year…
Another attempt to revive the blog.

Once again, I am providing my students the opportunity to earn some course credit by following my blog. I have two classes that have this opportunity, so I hope I will do a better job of posting regularly. I’m aiming to bring back the Friday Five. But to make life easier for me, I’m not going to spend as much time summarizing the links I provide.

Students: to get your credit, make sure to post your responses on this blog. Do not make the mistake of students of past semesters and comment on the linked source.

For the curious, here’s a brief recap since the last post.

  • Manuscript

My co-author and I finally got notice that our Teaching of Psychology article will appear in 2016!

  • Conference Submissions

Still going strong on those. Have a presentation later this month and have two presentations in October.

  • Running

After nearly 18 months of not running, I needed some motivation to get back into it. I ran the Newport 10 Miler in June 2015. I didn’t really do my best in terms of training, but I liked the long runs and the race distance. So, challenging myself to do better, I signed up to run the Newport Half Marathon in October. I’ve joined a local training group, and hoping to put in a faster time than my first half marathon.

  • Human Hatchling

My son is now 19 months old. It’s amazing to watch him develop and learn.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | September 1, 2014

A Lot Happens in 18 Months

Another semester has begun, and I am providing my students the opportunity to earn some course credit by following my blog. That means I actually need to post on a more regular basis than every 18 months!

So, what have I been doing in that time? Obviously, not having my students follow my blog. I thought I’d go back to my post from January 25, 2013 to start with the recap.

  • Manuscript

After several rounds of Revise and Resubmit, the manuscript was finally accepted by Teaching of Psychology for publication. Not sure when it will appear in press, but it’s done!

  • Conference Submissions

Still going strong on those. Had three conference presentations last academic year. Have two presentations already lined up for this October.

  • New Course Development – Course 1

The Social Influence course ended up going rather well. Students and I both enjoyed it.

  • New Course Development – Course 2

In the Fall 2013 semester, I taught a course designed to introduce students to writing within the social sciences. It was a pilot test of the course, and it had some bumps, but it went well. I’m teaching the course for a second time this fall.

  • Half Marathon Training

I ran the Long Branch Half Marathon on May 5, 2013. I finished with a time of 02:51:33.

  • Student Loans

My student loans were officially paid off in April 2013. Nothing like spending as much time paying off one’s education as one spent earning it.

  • Hatching a Human

Much to nearly everyone’s surprise, I hatched a human. On February 1, 2014 my son was born. He’s an amazing little guy, and it’s hard to believe he’s already 7 months old.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | March 1, 2013

What will the Impact of Sequestration be?

As my friends and family know, I am generally not one to get into discussions of politics. I am not a fan of conflict, and experience has taught me that it is nearly impossible to discuss politics without some sort of conflict arising from the discussion. Honestly, I never suspected that sequestration would be the topic for this month. I’ve spent most of the week searching for inspiration for today’s post. Not really finding any, I was very tempted to just bail on today’s post and call it a victim of mid-term madness. However, as I sat down after class to eat my lunch, a link to this Chronicle of Higher Education article came across my Twitter feed. As I started to read it, I found my inspiration.

I have several friends who work at Big Public Research schools who have been watching the possibility of sequestration more carefully than I have been. I even had one who joked on Twitter last night about it being Sequester Eve. These friends have directly felt the pressure of the fact that federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Institutes for Health, and National Institute for Mental Health) have been prophylactically cutting back on grant funding for a while now. Not only does this hurt the Principal Investigators leading the research, it also affects the grad students and others employed in labs. I have of one friend who is now unemployed because the grants ran out for the research she was working on. Who knows what will happen in regards to future funding for research.

Unlike my friends, I am at a Small Private Teaching-Focused school, where research is rare and federally-funded research is even rarer. However, this doesn’t leave me unaffected by sequestration. It just means it comes in a different form – the impact of sequestration on federal student aid. Much of the student body of my school (and many small schools like mine, given the changing face of college students is dependent on federal student aid. Like many small schools without large endowments to fall back on, my school is dependent on enrollment. Given a number of changes in the landscape of higher education, many small privates are already struggling to stay in the game. Who knows what is going to happen if the students can’t afford to attend.

So, what will the impact of sequestration be? I don’t know. I’m somewhat scared to find out. I can say I empathize with the families of those who are likely to be furloughed. I can remember what it was like to be the child of a federal employee during the Reagan era budget mess. I remember the fear and incomplete understanding of what was happening, on several occasions as I recall, when my dad would have his job “cut”.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | February 1, 2013

Hindsight Bias: The “I knew it all along” phenomenon

One of the courses I am teaching this semester is Social Psychology. At the beginning of last week, I was covering the introductory material, including the hindsight bias. The hindsight bias is the tendency to exaggerate our ability to have known how an event was going to play out – after the event has occured. In other words, when we look back after something has happened, we feel very certain we “knew all along” that events would go as they did. The bias is in the fact that we really don’t have such accurate foresight. It only seems accurate after the fact.

The hindsight bias comes into play in a lot of areas of our lives – from personal to political.

I was prompted to choose the hindsight bias as my first post this semester after listening to NPR on the way home from work last Wednesday. They were reporting on Hillary Clinton’s testimony regarding the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Lybia. I particularly noted Clinton’s response to Senator Ron Johnson, in saying “What difference, at this point, does it make?” I was impressed because, in that moment, she diffused some of the blame going on due to hindsight bias.

I’m not entirely sure of what different people knew or didn’t know about plans for attacks in Benghazi. What I do know is that everything seems so much clearer now, because we know it. Of course we can easily connect the dots between different slips of information. At the time leading up to the attacks, those slips of information were likely not as clear.

An interesting thing about the hindsight bias is that we tend to engage it more after negative events than positive events. We blame politicians for poor decisions and fail to praise them for good decisions. We beat ourselves up about relationships gone wrong.

So, next time, don’t be so quick to conclude you knew it all along. Pause and think about whether you (or someone else) really knew how events would turn out. Also, take it easy on yourself and others if those events were negative.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | January 25, 2013

Friday Five: January 25, 2013

I’m not having any of my courses interact with my blog for credit this semester, and this clearly decreases my motivation to post with any regularity. I’ve given some thought to what to do with blog posts this semester, and think that I’ll aim for at least posting the first Friday of each month. That’s four posts I’m committing myself to – I think I can manage that without the pressure of students needing me to post so they can do their assignments.

This week doesn’t count as one of those posts. Instead, I figured I would take a twist on my Friday Five posts and update readers in regards to the status of five ongoing projects.

  • Manuscript

Last semester, my colleague and I had submitted a manuscript to the Teaching of Psychology for consideration for publication. We heard back during final exams that the reviewers like the concept, but would like to see some revisions. In academic jargon, this is revise and resubmit. This is actually the second best thing that can happen in regards to a manuscript. We’re excited about it. But it also means we need to get to work on doing those revisions and then resubmit it.

  • Conference Submissions

My colleagues and I had our submission for the Farmingdale Teaching of Psychology Conference accepted.

My colleague and I had our submission for the Teaching Professor Conference accepted. We are very excited about this. Our submission was one of the 59 selected from over 250 submissions. This is also a national, inter-disciplinary conference, so our work will get a much broader exposure from what we are used to.

  • New Course Development

My department created a new course where faculty can share their area of expertise with students. I’m the guinea pig running the first offering of this course. I’m teaching an interactive seminar on Social Influence. Three classes in, it seems to be going pretty well – at least the students seem excited.

  • Half Marathon Training

I officially started training for the Long Branch Half Marathon on January 8th. I’m following Jeff Galloway’s plan, so this weekend I have a 5 mile run scheduled. After this point, every new distance will officially be the longest distance I’ve ever run. I am thankful that the past two weekends have been relatively nice, weather-wise, and I’ve been able to run outside at the Quabbin. I’m not certain the weather will cooperate this weekend – it’s predicted to be 24 out. I may have to spend over an hour on a treadmill – oh joy. (My current training pace hangs around 14:00/mile, my race pace from past races is closer to 13:00/mile. I’ll be happy if I can do the full 1/2 marathon distance at under 15:00/mile – that’s the limit in terms of qualifying v. getting kicked off the course.)

  • Student Loans

I am on track to have my loans for my 11 years of college (undergraduate and graduate combined) paid off in May. Had I paid attention to my loans as a student, I could have paid things off much sooner and with much less money. Students, take note if you have Stafford Loans. Pay attention to what are subsidized and what are unsubsidized loans. The subsidized loans do not accumulate interest while you are still in school and deferring payments. The unsubsidized loans do accrue interest. The bulk of the money I am paying off comes from two unsubsidized loans taken out when I was a Freshman and Sophomore. By the time I finished my Ph.D. in 2002, they had accumulated 10 years of interest. Had I known about the specifics of the loans, I probably could have scraped up the money to pay the interest while I was in graduate school.


Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | December 14, 2012

Friday Five – December 14, 2012

Good luck to my students on their finals – which start at 8am tomorrow. Good luck to my fellow professors in getting their grading finished. Congratulations on another semester (nearly) wrapped up.

Here are this week’s choices for the Friday Five:

PsychCentral  (Marie Hartwell-Walker) – December 9, 2012

Is it really so bad to re-gift? Many years ago, when I got married, a number of my friends and family members were also getting married. At the time, there seemed to be a trend to re-gift items at bridal showers and as wedding gifts. I acquired some pretty useful items that probably classify under the re-giving category of this link. However, I was also re-gifted some odd things. So, my friends and I started a tradition of the “wedding fruit cake”. The wedding fruit cake was an odd gift that was passed along to the recipient with the story that this was something purposely being passed on. The recipient could choose to keep it and pass on some other gift with the story of the wedding fruit cake, or the recipient could pass it along to another person with the story of the wedding fruit cake.

Psychology Today: Cusp (Robin Marantz Henig) – December 11, 2012

In her Psychology Today blog, Robin Marantz Henig discusses a recent story in The New Republic on older parenthood. Personally, this is an interesting discussion, and I seem to be seeing a lot more of it in recent weeks – likely spurred by The New Republic cover story. But even more interesting, is that this is not a new idea. In reading the various pieces regarding older parents, I was reminded of an essay (The Future of Reproductive Delay by Ed Klonoski) I read in 1994 while taking Advanced Composition at the University of Hartford. I no longer have the essay, but I do have a response paper I wrote about it. (Yes, I have always been that much of a pack-rat geek.)

At some point, I’ll likely blog about some of my writings from my undergrad years. They are rather enlightening in regards to how I’ve changed and how I’ve stayed the same. In the particular paper I just mentioned, I took a bit of a tangent into my opinions about teaching human sexuality. My words today are pretty much the same as they were 18 years ago.

Psychology Today: Neuronarrative (David DiSalvo) – December 11, 2012

This link resonated with me. Friends and family who know me well know that I often get stuck inside my own head. I’ve gotten better in recent years, but I can still see myself in over half of the ways mentioned in this link.

Jezebel (Dodai Stewart) – December 10, 2012

I know, many of you are going to click this link simply because of the title, and that’s ok. Beyond the sensationalist title, Dodai Stewart provides a strong and amusing essay on how our society regards and reacts to menstruation.

Scientific American: Guest Blog (Julie Hecht) – December 12, 2012

I have to say, I’m actually proud of myself in not completely overwhelming my weekly posts with links about dogs. This link discusses how human-dog play differs from dog-dog play and the work by the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab. This also seems like a fitting link to finish the semester with. Remember, psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes in humans and non-human animals.

Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | December 7, 2012

Friday Five – December 7, 2012

This is the last week that my Intro students are required to do a web assignment. However, I have told them I will let them do an extra-credit assignment next week (also some of my Human Sexuality students still need to gather points), as long as their comments are posted by Noon on December 15th. So there will be a December 14th edition of the Friday Five.

I still haven’t decided what I’m doing over semester break and what I’m doing next semester. I lean towards doing some sort of weekly post during the semester, but not certain if I want to keep doing the Friday Five format. Whatever direction it takes, I suspect there will be a lull in posts between December 14th and January 18th.

Despite it being an odd and busy week, I did manage to retweet over 30 links this week. Several of the links this week give you a taste of the topics I’ll likely select next semester.  I’m teaching both Social Psychology and a Topics course on Social Influence, so many links will be related to those courses, no matter what format I take for the blog next semester. Don’t worry, I’ll probably still throw in a few sexuality links here and there. My interest in sexuality doesn’t stop just because I’m not teaching the course.

Here are this week’s selections:

Psychology Today: Emotional Sobriety (Ingrid Mathieu) – December 2, 2012

I don’t think we can help comparing ourselves to others. In and of itself, social comparison isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The direction in which we socially compare, and what we make of the outcome from comparison can have a big impact on us. Just the other day, a colleague and I were walking to lunch and passed an administrator on his way to yet another meeting. We joked about how happy we were to be faculty and not administration – and suddenly, we weren’t so grumpy about the classes we had just been teaching. In our case, we were engaged in downward comparison, which often results in feeling better. The Psychology Today link discusses upward comparison, which can result in feeling worse.

PsyBlog (Jeremy Dean) – December 4, 2012

This link discusses why people come to believe weird things in the first place and ways to counter that misinformation. Of course, you’ll need to beware; often the people spreading the misinformation are wise to the ways to counter that information. As I tell my students when I teach about persuasion: I’m not just teaching you how to persuade others, I’m also teaching you how to avoid being persuaded by others.

The Wall Street Journal (Sumathi Reddi) – December 4, 2012

I saw this article a few days before it made its way across my Twitter feed. A colleague had run across it and emailed the link to me. The colleague pointed it out for the fact that the journalist is not simply citing the name and affiliation of the researchers doing work, but also cites specific journals in psychology. As you may have noticed over the links this semester, there is a lot of variety in how topics are presented. Some provide a much stronger link to the scientific research behind the ideas than others do. As a consumer of research, this can make it difficult (pulling from the link above) to sort out true information from misinformation.

Bedsider: Get on Top – November 2012

I needed to provide a link for my Human Sexuality students who are still trying to earn some points off blog posts in the next two weeks. This link pretty much speaks for itself.

PsyPost (University of Iowa) – December 4, 2012

Intro students, this link connects with the Child Development chapter we just started this morning. The link describes research done at the University of Iowa on infants’ looking behaviors. They researchers found that infants as young as 6-weeks old can learn and remember objects they have seen.

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