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Showing posts from 2020

Self-distancing helps you reflect on stressful past and future events

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As humans, we don't just think about what is happening in our lives here and now. We also have the ability to think about the past and the future. How we think about the events in our life has a lot like how we feel. Research has shown that self-distancing can help reflect on past negative events in our lives. Recent research looked at the effect of self-distancing when thinking about a feared future. 

Self-support works better than self-control

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Research from self-determination theory suggests that autonomy-support by educators, teachers and managers contributes to the well-being and functioning of children, students and staff. What about the effects of supporting your own autonomy? 

Does distanced self-talk work with intense emotions and with vulnerable people?

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Researchers Orvell et al. (2020) further investigated the effects of self-distancing. They investigated whether distanced self-talk also works with intense emotions and vulnerable people. 

Self-affirmation interventions lead to more trust and better behavior in students

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One of the well-known psychological interventions that is often used in education, among other things, is the so-called self-affirmation intervention. Binning et al. (2019) investigated the effects of self-affirmation exercises on student behavior in a longitudinal study. 

Distanced self-talk changes how we see ourselves

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Distanced self-talk has positive effects on our self-control and wisdom. It also changes how we think about ourselves. This is shown by new research from Izzy Gainsburg and Ethan Kross. 

Interview with Igor Grossmann

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Igor Grossmann was born in the Soviet Union, grew up in Ukraine and Germany, and studied in Germany and the USA. Currently, he is the director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is one of the leading researchers in the field of wisdom research (view his Google Scholar profile ). His work focuses on demystifying wisdom and modeling of cultural change. He also co-hosts the On Wisdom Podcas t and initiated worldaftercovid.info . In this interview we will talk about topics like what wisdom is, why there now appears to be an ever-greater call for wisdom, how individuals may reason and act more wisely, and how wisdom may be taught. 

Ethical leadership is linked to employee engagement and performance

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What is the role of ethics in leadership? Lee et al. (2019) conducted two studies (N = 92 and N = 195) in South Korea on how ethical leadership is related to employee performance and how it differs from some other leadership concepts.

World After Covid website: scholars' answers to 5 questions

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Igor Grossmann has interviewed more than 50 prominent behavioral and social scientists from around the world to forecast the World after Covid , and share their advice on the wisdom people can use now to make it a better place. 

To what extent does intellectual humility contribute to learning new things?

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To what extent does intellectual humility contribute to learning new things? Could it be that intellectual humility makes you more likely to seek out new challenges, try harder and persevere in the face of adversity? Tenelle Porter and her colleagues investigated this. 

Humble leadership and employee performance

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How is humble leadership related to the confidence of employees? A paper by Cho et al (2020) provides insight into this.

Leadership humility leads to follower authenticity

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A study by Oc et al. (2019) looks at the relationship between the humility of managers and the authenticity of employees. Their finding: leaders' humility leads to followers' authenticity. Read more.

Morality as a basic psychological need

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In a new book chapter, researchers Jayawickreme, Prentice & Fleeson (2020) describe preliminary evidence for morality as a basic psychological need . Below I will discuss some parts of this chapter. 

Pure altruism: does it exist?

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What does human nature look like? Are humans naturally good or bad? Are we selfish by nature or are we capable of purely selfless (altruistic) action? Are we mainly engaged in a constant battle with each other or is it more correct to say that we mainly work together and take care of each other? How we answer these kinds of questions for ourselves is quite important. Our answers to these questions determine to a large extent what we expect from ourselves and what we expect from others. And as a result, they also determine how we treat others and how we interpret behavior of others.

Looking at culture through a psychological lens

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Psychology is mostly associated with domains such as child rearing, education and work. But the application of psychological knowledge can go further. We can look at our society and culture through a psychological perspective. 

The theory of reasoned goal pursuit (TRGP)

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A well-known psychological theory is the theory of planned behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991 , 2012 ). This theory helps to predict, understand and influence human behavior. Much research has shown the effectiveness of interventions based on the TPB (see, among others, Steinmetz et al., 2016 ).  However, a limitation of TPB is that it pays too little attention to the goals of individuals. In order to remove this limitation and thus broaden the applicability of the TPB, Ajzen & Kruglanski (2019) integrate the TPB with a theory about goals, the goal systems theory (GST) in a new article. 

The illusion of transparency

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We think we know that how we perceive reality is really what that reality is like. But research from about the last 50 years has shown in countless ways that our perception and reality are sometimes much less alike than we think.  How we subconsciously perceive reality in a distorted way has all kinds of consequences (often negative) for our choices and our social behavior. In this article I want to talk about a not so widely known bias: the illusion of transparency.

The liking gap in teams

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  A new study has come out about the liking gap in teams. Do team members like each other more than they realize? If so, what are the consequences? And can anything be done about it?

Opportunity for progress: large-scale investement in renewable energy NOW

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Max Roser, founder of Our World in Data , has written an article that I think everyone should read and share with others. The article states that the price of renewable energy sources has fallen spectacularly in the past ten years. He explains why this has happened and that we have a great opportunity to take a big step forward in the energy transition. Below is a summary of the article.

The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity

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A new book has come out progress on the largest imaginable time scale. It's called The Precipice and it was written by Oxford-based Australian moral philosopher Toby Ord . The book states that we, as humanity, may only be at the beginning of our development. Humanity has existed for 200,000 years and there could be millions of future human generations. In the time we have had as humanity so far, we have made significant progress in improving the human condition, particularly in the last few hundred years. As humanity, we have collaborated with each other over time and distance.

Discover positive possibilities in difficult circumstances

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  Sometimes, maybe even often, it is possible to see something positive in adversity. The setback is not just something we have to survive or overcome. We can then see it as a harbinger for growth or a positive breakthrough.

"Do you really believe I can change?"

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  Growth mindset interventions can sometimes have a enormous positive impact in lives. That shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can lead to meaningful changes in the lives of individuals is something I've seen up close several times in my own environment. In a recent book there is an impressive example of such a strong positive impact. Here are the words of the founder of mindset theory, Carol Dweck :

Upward spiral between autonomy support and autonomous motivation

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Research in self-determination theory has shown that individuals who are autonomously motivated make more progress and feel better. Research has also shown that autonomy support by parents, teachers or supervisors increases the autonomous motivation of children, students and employees respectively. That sounds logical and simple. But there is a little more to the interplay between these variables. New research by Levine et al. (2020) shows that an upward spiral occurs between autonomous motivation and autonomy support.

4 Elements of Wise Leadership

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Who still wants to have a leadership role in a large organization in these complex times? The role of leaders seems quite challenging. To begin with, organizations themselves are often extremely complex. As a leader within organizations, you are faced with all kinds of problems, differences of opinion and diverse interests. As a leader, how can you ever have the information, knowledge and skills to bridge these contradictions and to find solutions to these problems? In addition to that, consider the environments in which organizations have to operate. These are also characterized by enormous complexity, change and uncertainty. As a leader in all this turbulence, how can you ever know for sure which way the organization should go? Doesn't being a leader require almost superhuman energy, capabilities, and social skills? 

How wisdom is needed to solve complex problems

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Traditionally, philosophers have studied wisdom. But within psychology, this subject has received relatively little attention until recently, especially when compared to a subject like intelligence. But this has changed in recent years. There has been more consensus on what we mean by wisdom, to what extent it occurs in humans and what it correlates with. Grossmann & Brienza (2018) describe in a new article how wisdom can make a unique contribution to solving the complex issues of our time.  

The importance of wisdom and how we can teach it

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Intelligence is relatively important in both psychology and Western societies. Two Canadian psychologists have pointed out the importance of other aspects of our cognitive functioning that they consider to be just as important and have wrongly received less attention. One is Keith Stanovich who argues for much more attention to rationality. The other is Igor Grossmann who points out the great importance of wise reasoning. In two new articles that he co-wrote with colleagues, he explains what wise reasoning is, why it is so important and how we can teach it. 

4 Differences between Maslow's Pyramid and the basic psychological needs from self-determination theory

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The " Pyramid of Maslow " is one of the more famous ideas in psychology. Abraham Maslow formulated the basis for this idea in his publications " A Theory of Motivation " (1943) and Motivation and Personality (1954).  In short, this idea implies that people have hierarchically ordered basic needs that are essential for healthy development. This idea has proved intuitively appealing as it has become very popular within and outside of psychology. That it is popular in psychology is shown by the fact that it is hardly missing in any introductory psychology handbook. That it has become popular outside of psychology is shown, among other things, by the fact that a joke in which WiFi has been added as a new basic need to the  Maslow pyramid is immediately understood by almost everyone. It is therefore not surprising that we regularly receive questions about how Maslow's pyramid differs from the now dominant motivation theory within psychology, the self-determination

19 Wise interventions from social psychology

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The recently published Handbook of Wise Interventions (Walton & Crum, Eds., 2020) provides an overview of wise interventions through contributions from leading researchers. These are brief interventions based on social psychological research that lead to shifts in the way people understand themselves, others and social situations. These other ways of thinking can help make progress in a variety of contexts. Think of school performance, health, well-being and personal relationships. The effects of these types of interventions can sometimes lead to long-term improvements ( read why ). 

Implementation science for higher education

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The relatively new scientific discipline of implementation science aims to bridge the gap between science and practice. Soicher et al., 2020 wrote an introduction to implementation science for higher education. Below I briefly summarize their paper. 

The illusion of understanding

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The illusion of understanding is our tendency to overestimate how well we understand things. This illusion, also known as "knowledge illusion" and "illusion of explanatory depth," occurs in all of us.  The book The Knowledge Illusion by cognitive scientists Steven Sloman & Philip Fernbach is devoted entirely to this cognitive bias. Below I explain what this illusion entails and why it is important to know about it. 

Which characteristics of situations mainly evoke differences in how we behave?

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People don't always behave the same. One situation evokes something different in us than the other. That's why we behave differently in different situations. But which aspects of our personality are relatively stable and which are relatively situation-dependent? And which characteristics of situations mainly evoke differences in how we behave? A new study sheds some light on these questions. 

Autonomy-supportive teaching works (also in Chinese schools)

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Does autonomy-supportive teaching also work in other cultures than Western cultures? Researchers Yu et al. (2016) conducted a longitudinal study of the effects of autonomy support among Chinese students transitioning from primary to secondary education (N = 236). The study lasted 18 months. The researchers administered questionnaires at 4 times: in the autumn of the 1st class (T1), in the spring of the 1st class (T2), in the autumn of the 2nd class (T3) and in the spring of the 2nd class ( T4).  Content of the questionnaires  These questionnaires related to  Teacher Autonomy Support (TAS), experienced autonomy support by teachers. Scale consisting of 5 items.  Basic psychological needs satisfaction (BPNS), fulfillment of basic psychological needs. Scale consisting of 18 items.  School engagement . Scale consisting of 15 items.  Anxiety and depression . Scale consisting of 8 items.  Expectations  Based on the self-determination theory, the researchers expected that autonomy support

Self-concordant goals, optimism and well-being

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  A new study ( Sheldon et al., 2020 ) combines the self-concordance theory with the attribution theory. 

Towards a better definition of student engagement

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  Student engagement plays an important role in achieving good school performance. Traditionally, researchers have assumed that there are three ways in which students can be engaged (behavioral, emotional and cognitive). In two longitudinal studies, Reeve et al. (2020 ) show that student engagement needs to be redefined in two ways.

Do motivation and mindset predict life outcomes of older people?

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Recent research by Lee et al. (2020) links self-determination theory and mindset theory . The research provides insight into how mindset and motivation are relevant to a good life in older people. The research also provides insight into how the fulfillment of basic psychological needs and mindset are related.

How a fixed mindset is related to depression

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  Mindset is about more than learning and performing. A new paper by Seo, et al. (2020) shows how the relationship between a fixed mindset and internalizing symptoms (such as depression) comes about.

Save American Democracy

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  Here are some thoughts on the importance turning around the downward slide of American democracy which has been going on for decades and which is now accelerating.

Meta-analysis: antecedents and consequences of motivation in teachers

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In a recent article, Slemp et al. (2020) present the results of a meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of controlled motivation and autonomous motivation in teachers. The meta-analysis, which analyzed 1117 correlation coefficients from 102 samples, tested important predictions of the self-determination theory .

Why vegan?

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Book description: In Why Vegan? , Singer brings together the most consequential essays of his career to make this devastating case against our failure to confront what we are doing to animals, to public health, and to our planet.

How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk?

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As parents, we think few things are more important than that our children are doing well. Fortunately, through the way we raise them, we can have a significant impact on their mental health. In order to be able to use that influence properly, it is important to know what works well in parenting. Joussemet et al. (2018) are currently conducting research of which the results are not yet in. Their description of their research is interesting anyway because it provides insight into some key aspects of effective parenting.

8 Autonomy-Supportive Practices for Raising Toddlers

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Autonomy support is useful in many contexts such as leadership, teaching, and parenting. Research provides indications that autonomy support by parents contributes to children functioning well, developing well and feeling good. A study by Andreadakis et al. (2019) examines how parents can provide autonomy support to toddlers in situations where toddlers need to do things that are important but not interesting to them, such as cleaning up, taking a bath, washing hands, etc.

Donald Trump is very dangerous but eventually he will lose

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When Donald Trump was a nominee in 2015/2015 I was very surprised that Trump, despite his apparent incompetence and amorality, appeared to be practically unstoppable. First, he defeated one after the other of his Republican rivals.  Then, he defeated one after the other of opponents within the Republican party establishment. Rivals, who clearly saw Trump for what he was (a liar, a narcissist, a con man, an autocrat) like Nikki Haley , Marco Rubio , Ted Cruz , turned into loyalists.  Many people aware of Trump's autocratic ambitions said that checks and balances would prevent a slide into autocracy. But journalist and author Masha Gessen warned: "Institutions will not save you". What happened next?

The problem as the beginning of progress

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In the progress-focused approach , a problem is often viewed as the potential beginning of progress. Both individual conversations and team sessions often start with discussing problems, things that are not going well or things that have gone wrong. Having problems is, of course, unpleasant and can lead to dissatisfaction, frustration or even a feeling of powerlessness.

How teachers' motivation and mindset predicts how they teach

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A new study ( Vermote et al., 2020 ) examines how the motivation and mindset of higher education teachers (N = 357) relates to their teaching styles. This research is interesting for the following reasons: It investigates the circumplex model of motivational styles . Aelterman et al. (2019) have previously investigated and confirmed the circular structure in secondary schools. The current study does this in higher education,  It looks at the separate relationship between motivation and mindset on the one hand and teaching styles on the other.  Does teacher motivation predict their teaching style? Does the mindset of teachers predict their teaching style? Read answers to these questions below.

Making psychological knowledge available to managers

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In an email I received the following question: “Do you have any ideas on how to deal with the fact that there is so much psychological knowledge that it is difficult for the typical manager to remember it in the moment, even if they have learned it? I keep leaning towards AI solutions, but that could be technophilia. ” Off the cuff I wrote an answer to his question:

We must give psychology away

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George Miller was one of the founders of cognitive psychology and psycho-linguistics. He reached fame with his article The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two , in which he showed that the capacity of human short-term memory is limited to the capacity to remember roughly 7 elements. When Miller became president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1969, he made a statement that appealed to me.

12 quotes from Michael Cohen's book Disloyal

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I read Michael Cohen's book Disloyal . Here are some quotes from the book and some thoughts about the book and Trump. 

Social Progress Index 2020: Is the world making (enough) progress?

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The Social Progress Index (SPI) of 2020 has been published today. The SPI uses non-economic indicators to chart how well countries are doing. Read below how it works in the 163 countries described in the SPI. Overall, is the world continuing to make progress? How is your own doing? Are there certain things that clearly need improvement? Which countries are progressing the fastest? Which countries are actually declining? How is the United States doing in the era of Donald Trump?

Difficult Conversations: Dealing with the tension between honesty and benevolence

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We all have had to have difficult conversations at some point, like conversations where we say no to a request, give negative feedback, or communicate a negative decision or assessment. In these kinds of bad news conversations, people often experience a tension between two moral motivations, namely to be honest and to be benevolent. Emma Levine, Annabelle Roberts, and Taya Cohen explain, in a new paper , that people often make ineffective choices in how to deal with that tension, and they provide practical tips on how to better approach situations like this.