The Science of Self-Help

The Science of Self-Help from Psychology Today

1. The author briefly describes existing research on positive psychology and its limitations. How does the author’s proposed study either bypass or succumb to limitations?

2. What are some potential confound variables for improved happiness in the cited studies?

3. In one of the cited studies, data is collected from participants rating their happiness on a color spectrum: red being negative, to yellow being positive. What would be another way of assessing participants’ happiness?

What’s the problem with feeling on top of the world?

This article from National Public Radio explores the implications of artificially inflated self-esteem on performance.

1. Do you believe thought changes experience or performance?  Can you think of examples in your own life to support this?

2.The study states an example of participants comparing cell phone plans under various conditions.  What could be some implications of this study in the field of product marketing?

3. Vedantam states “You know, 50 or 60 years ago, people thought you should actually be mildly critical of those around you to get the best out of them. And perhaps the last 20 years we’ve gone to the other extreme where we’ve over-praised people to some extent.” What do you think of this statement, and which method do you believe better improves performance?

Are Antibiotics Making You Sick?

Antibiotics in Animals Tied to Risk of Human Infection

1. Who supported and funded this study? Can the financial backing to a research study affect the presentation of results, and in what way?

2. The presentation of the information in this article implies that the health of the American people does not appear to be a priority for the government. What can be done systemically to improve the health of American adults and children? Does something need to be done?

3. Is it ethical to provide food to individuals that is not beneficial to their health? What ethical dilemmas are raised in the current study (both those related to the health of humans and to that of the animals)?

To be Liked or Successful?

That Neurotic on the Team? Give Him Time

1. Who comes to benefit from suggesting that neurotic people are more valuable in the workplace than extroverts?

2. What is the danger of not actually addressing how much work was actually done by participants? Or, rephrased, how does not assessing the actual work done potentially invalidate the study?

3. What is potentially fallible or beneficial about the sample pool used?

The Mind of a Con Man

The Mind of a Con Man from The New York Times magazine

Questions for discussion

1. “Stapel’s fraud may shine a spotlight on dishonesty in science, but scientific fraud is hardly new.” How does this information influence the way we value published research?

2. What potential role did Dr. Diederik’s social identity play in allowing him to commit research fraud?

3.  What are some procedures or regulations that could be put in place to protect against research fraud? If there are none, why is it so hard to regulate?