Fathali Moghaddam: On Nationalism & Government

Dr. Fathali Moghaddam - moghaddf@georgetown.edu  White Gravenor Hall, 3rd floor, 301A Georgetown University  Washington, DC 2005  cell: 301 919 3226  office: 202 687 3642. Portrait for APA Monitor

Portrait for APA Monitor: photo credit Lloyd Wolf

Dr. Fathali Moghaddam is a professor of psychology at Georgetown University and editor-in-chief of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.  He has published many books with APA over the years on a variety of topics, including:

  • His 2008 book Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations: Implications for Democracy in the Global Context applied psychological theories to explore intergroup relations and conflicts across the globe, seeking effective ways to manage cultural diversity and avoid intergroup violence and terrorism in a rapidly globalizing world (for a video interview with the author on this book, click here).
  • His 2013 book The Psychology of Dictatorship asked: How do countries become dictatorships?  What social, political, and interpersonal dynamics create opportunities for despots to take and maintain control?  And how are dictatorships overthrown?
  • His most recent book, The Psychology of Democracy, explores political development through the lens of psychological science, examining the factors influencing whether and how democracy develops within a society.

Now, in the latest issue of APA’s Monitor on Psychology, Dr. Moghaddam discusses the recent rise in nationalism across the world as well as within the United States, as well as threats—both external and internal—to our American form of government. He also examines the critical role that psychologists can and must play in fostering the health and growth of a democratic society.  Check out the interview!

 

Congratulations!

If there’s one question psychologists are always asking, it’s:

When will I be invited to the Academy Awards?

starsFor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Psychology Department at Temple University, the answer was: this year!  Her son Benj Pasek was nominated for Best Original Song, for La La Land’s “City of Stars.”  And when he won the Oscar, he thanked his mother—who was there in the audience—in a very moving speech.

hirsch-pasekDr. Hirsh-Pasek’s research examines the development of early language and literacy, as well as the role of play in learning. With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, she recently published Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children.

To read an interview with Drs. Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek about their book, click here.

Congratulations, Benj, and to Kathy!

 

 

Women’s Day: Be Bold for Change

International Women’s Day is March 8, and the theme of this year’s holiday is “Be Bold for Change.” The campaign challenges us to help forge a more inclusive, gender-equal world. In particular, it calls on people everywhere to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious bias, promote gender-balanced leadership, value women and men’s contributions equally, and create flexible inclusive cultures. womens-day-2110797_1920

Although feminism and the psychology of women began with an emphasis on White, middle-class women, they have become much broader in recent years. Increasingly, scholarly work in this area focuses on the intersection of women’s multiple social identities, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, and age.

APA Books’ Psychology of Women series is designed to support and disseminate feminist scholarship that can improve the lives of women and other disempowered groups. The series explicitly seeks to promote a more diverse feminism.

A recent volume in the series, Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage, edited by Thema Bryant-Davis and Lillian Comas-Díaz, introduces the psychologies of womanists and mujeristas—African American women and Latinas, respectively, who have a broad and inclusive approach to feminism and liberation. Although the two psychologies differ (most notably in their racial and ethnic roots and histories of activism), they share an emphasis on spirituality and connection, creativity, self-definition, resiliency, and the liberation of all oppressed peoples. The book explores the thoughts, feelings, behavior, learning, and development of African American and Latina women and girls, the risks and traumas they frequently experience, as well as the unique cultural strengths that can help promote fulfillment and empowerment.

 

Online Dating: Blessing or Curse?

me4by Katie ten Hagen

Let’s talk about dating. And by dating, I mean: online dating.

Online dating is both loved and reviled. Sites like Tinder and OKCupid make meeting new people easier than ever. But sifting through thousands of matches, starting and abandoning conversations like half-written novels, and repeatedly ditching bad first dates, can be draining.  Many yearn for a return to “simpler” days, and want to meet someone the “old fashioned way,” no matter how nostalgia-based and romanticized this yearning may be.

But still, these sites are still thriving. Those who are exhausted from the search for love keep going back, time and time again. What makes us do this? Why do we put ourselves through the heartbreak and stress again and again?

heart-1990963_1920There’s no simple answer other than that this is how the world is evolving. We shop for everything on the internet, from food to clothes to things to do. So why not love as well?  There is undeniable appeal to being able to “preview” a person before really trying them out. Why waste a night on a bad date if you can establish from a profile or a few sentences of conversation that there’s no possibility? Even sites like Tinder, where a match is based simply on mutual physical appeal, allow for quick weeding-out based on preliminary conversation.

Some may claim online dating is just a game, or a cure for boredom. People may join simply to peruse, with no intention of starting a relationship or even meeting someone. I had a friend who joined Tinder solely to talk to people about their dogs. (This was a bit disingenuous; she was in a happy, committed relationship, and the people she was “matching” with were presumably looking for slightly more than for her to just ask “what kind of dog is that?” But to be fair, her profile did clearly (and only) state “I swipe for dogs.”)

But online dating sites aren’t just for millennials. In fact, the main characteristics that people are looking for on dating sites don’t seem to vary by age. One study, (Menkin, Robles, Wiley, & Gonzaga, 2015) of users ranging from 20-95 on eHarmony, “found that users consistently valued communication and characteristics such as personality or kindness more than sexual attraction.” The researchers also found that “there was little evidence that older users valued companionship more,” and that older users valued sexual appeal just as highly as younger users.  This finding is echoed in the work of Nancy Schlossberg, whose LifeTools books Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life, and Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity, Relationships, and Purpose examine themes of “positive aging.”  Her forthcoming book, Too Young to Be Old: Love, Learn, Work, and Play as You Age (to be released in April, 2017), tackles the world of online dating for retirees head-on.

At the same time, Menkin et al. cautioned that their results were “similar to the finding that across the life span, people generally want to experience more low-arousal positive emotions (such as the warmth and comfort companionship provides) compared to high-arousal positive emotions (such as the excitement associated with sexual attraction).” This came as a surprise to me when I first read it, but makes sense upon reflection; plenty of people like to flirt with no intention of anything more.

Perhaps this explains people like my friend, who only swipe for dogs.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

References

Menkin, J. A., Robles, T. F., Wiley, J. F., & Gonzaga, G. C. (2015). Online dating across the life span: Users’ relationship goals. Psychology and Aging, 30(4), 987-993. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039722

 

Successful New Year’s Resolutions

by Jessica Jeffers

new-years-day-1892263_960_720Another holiday season has come and gone. The decorations are starting to come down, the gifts have been dispensed, and we are turning our attention towards a new year. For many people, that means it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. Whether we want to lose weight, stop smoking, or start getting organized, January 1 is a popular time to start making changes in our lives and our behavior.

But now we’ve hit the mid-January slump. Unfortunately many people who make New Year’s resolutions give up on their goals before the month is even over. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed to fail, though. It just means we need to approach our resolutions with a game plan meant to encourage success. A 2002 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that resolvers with a concrete plan were much more likely to have succeeded in sticking to their resolutions at the six-month mark (Norcross et al, 2002).

Abigail Levrini and Frances Prevatt outline one such plan in their book Succeeding with Adult ADHD (2012). Though meant specifically to help adults with ADHD, the basic principles can be generalized to many people looking to make their own behavioral changes.

 

  1.  Set long-term goals

Goals should be measurable, time sensitive, and process-based. What does that mean? You have to be specific when identifying what it is you want to achieve. Your goal should be something that you can empirically demonstrate you have accomplished. But that’s not all. To stay on track, it’s important to give yourself a timeline to define the actions that you will take to reach the goal. It’s not enough to just say that you want to lose weight. Tell yourself “I want to lose 15 pounds by June 1 by going to the gym three times a week and replacing sweet snacks with veggies.”

 

  1.   Create weekly objectives

New-Year_Resolutions_listYou’re not going to reach your goals overnight. Making changes in your life takes time and patience. Get there by identifying steps along the way, so that you practice new behaviors until they become habits. If you want to train for a half marathon, create a schedule in which you start out running just a mile or two and gradually add a little more distance week by week.

 

  1.   Add rewards and consequences to increase motivation

It feels good to cross objectives off your list. But feeling good isn’t always enough to keep some people working steadily towards their resolutions. The concept of rewards and consequences is a basic psychological principle that can help. As you make progress, remember to treat yourself! If your weekly objective was to spend an hour at the gym, kick off those running shoes and catch up on your favorite TV show when you’re done. But remember to hold yourself accountable if you slip-up. These consequences don’t need to be big—if you decide to skip your workout on Wednesday, the consequence can be as simple as also skipping that grande latte on Thursday morning.

 

  1.   Use metacognition to discover what works

Metacognition is defined as the “awareness of one’s own cognitive processes, often involving a conscious attempt to control them” (VandenBos, 2015). In this context, it means thinking about the way you approach your goals, acknowledging what works, and identifying how you can change what doesn’t work. Levrini and Prevatt suggest tracking your progress by keeping a journal. As you notice patterns emerging, you can adjust your weekly objectives, rewards, or consequences accordingly.

 

Committing to long-term change can be difficult, but applying these psychological principles and making a plan can go a long way towards helping you succeed with your New Year’s resolutions.

 

References

Levrini, A., & Prevatt, F. F. (2012). Succeeding With Adult ADHD: Daily Strategies to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Manage Your Life. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Norcross, J.C., Mrykalo, M.S., & Blagys, M.D. (2002). Auld Lang Syne: Success Predictors, Change Processes, and Self-Reported Outcomes of New Year’s Resolvers and Nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397-405.

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2015). APA Dictionary of Psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.