Ugh, yeah, I hate those “did you know” websites/blogs.
Anyhow, it all depends on what you like about psychology. The field is extremely broad, and there are blogs that specialize in specific disciplines of psychology. That being said, there are also many general psychology blogs.
The fella who runs the Psychology Jokes blog has a page with a list of other tumblr psychology blogs (you can find the page here). Some of them are funny (mostly posting psychology or Freud jokes), others are more serious (like your’s truly), and others I wouldn’t even trust because they do the whole “psychological fact” BS.
I think this is good time as any to plug in my second psychology blog where I share links to things that I find interesting but are not quite consistent with the theme of this blog: Psycops. I actually co-run the blog with another psych blogger on tumblr. In fact, we are looking for other people who may want to help out by contributing to that blog. If anyone is interested just message me for more details.
Here’s a short list of psychology and psychology related blogs I follow using feedly. They’re not listed in any particular order.
- Assessing Psyche
- Beautiful Minds
- BPS Research Digest
- Daniel Simon’s blog
- Dr. Mark Griffiths’ blog
- Mind Hacks
- Mind the Brain
- The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
- Brain Metrics
- Cargo Cult Contrarian
- David Eagleman’s blog
- The Moral Universe
I am not saying these are the best psychology blogs out there, but I like them because they cater to my interests and are written by academics. If anyone else has any blog recommendations, let me know and I’ll list them here.
From now on I’ll be answering your questions in this format because it’s easier for me to work on a post for an extended period of time. You can read my previously answered questions here, and ask me new ones here.
I received this question a few months ago, but I’ve only now had a chance to do the research and the time to write this post. SPOILER: There is an answer.
But before we get to that, what are the only child stereotypes? When I received this question I was not aware these stereotypes existed. So I consulted my good friend Google. Apparently, only children are sometimes thought of as being more spoiled, selfish, and lonelier (among other things), compared to children with multiple siblings. According to Blake (1981), in 1950, when asked if being an only child was an advantage or a disadvantage, 76% of survey responders said it was a disadvantage; in a 1977 survey, 67% said it was a disadvantage. When responders in the latter survey were asked to specify the major disadvantage of being a single child, Blake (1981) found that
sixty percent cited a personality or character defect—self-centered, domineering, anxious, quarrelsome, “spoiled,” or “overprotected.” An additional 22 percent claimed that the only child has a lonely childhood (p. 43)
Unfortunately, I could not find data of more contemporary views on the subject.
Two researchers reviewed a number of meta-analyses to answer some of these concerns. They noted, “only children are not substantially different from other children who are raised with siblings with respect to personality characteristics,” (Polit & Falbo, 1987, p. 318). These personality characteristics included “character” (such as cooperation and maturity), personal control, adjustment, and sociability. One major difference was that only children showed more achievement motivation than every other subgroup studied, especially in comparison with later-born children and children with larger families.
One study based on teacher’s ratings of kindergarten children found that only children are at a social disadvantage compared to children with at least one sibling (Downey & Condron, 2004). However, in a recent study looking at adolescents—this one based on peer nominations of friendship—only children did not differ in number of friendship nominations received compared to their multiple sibling peers (Bobbitt-Zeher & Downey, 2013). This later finding suggests that any social problems only children face while in kindergarten are resolved by the time they become adolescents. As a matter of fact, a study by Trent and Spitze (2011) found only one significant difference between adults who were only children and adults who were raised with siblings: on average, adults who were only children visited relatives around 32 times a year, while their multiple sibling counterparts saw relatives slightly over 40 times a year. The authors note:
…with the exception of social activities with relatives, we find no significant main effects of growing up without siblings. Adults who grew up without siblings do not appear to be different from others in their patterns or frequency of interaction across a wide variety of social interactions…Nor do adults who grew up without siblings differ from others in their engagement in other social activities…(p. 1189)
Based on the studies I found, there doesn’t seem to be a significant difference between children/adults who are only children and children/adults who have multiple siblings. Although there have been studies which find negative outcomes to being an only child, the larger portion of studies report no difference. In fact, some studies find more advantages to being a single child, especially when it comes to achievement motivation, intellectual development, and career orientation. I’ll probably discuss these advantages in a later post.
Blake, J. (1981). The only child in America: Prejudice versus performance. Population and Development Review, 7(1), 43-54.
Bobbitt-Zeher, D. & Downey, D. B. (2013). Number of siblings and friendship nominations among adolescents. Journal of Family Issues, 34(9), 1175-1193.
Downey, D. B. & Condron, D. J. (2004). Playing well with others in kindergarten: The benefit of siblings at home. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(2), 333-350.
Polit, D. F. & Falbo, T. (1987). Only child and personality development: A quantitative review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 49(2), 309-325.
Trent, K. & Spitze, G. (2011). Growing up without siblings and adult sociability behaviors. Journal of Family Issues, 32(9), 1178-1204.
A few days ago several online news outlets and blogs (e.g. here and here) reported that where we choose to sit in a cinema “could actually define [our] personality.” The sentence ends with my favorite phrase (tumblr needs a sarcasm font): “…, psychologists say.” And by psychologists they mean one psychologist: Japanese psychologist Hiromi Mizuki. According to these news stories and blogs, Dr. Mizuki believes that “the inner workings of a person’s heart and mind can affect their choice of cinema seat.”
According to these websites, Dr. Mizuki broke down a cinema, or movie theater, seating into six sections:
- Center front rows: People who sit in the front rows are sociable and want to feel connected with other people.
- Front corners: These people accept being inconvenienced. Since these people usually yield to the wants and desires of others, “Mizuki warns that people may take advantage of [their] weakness.”
- Center rows: People who like to sit in the center of movie theaters are supposed to be confident and decisive.
- Middle row sides: These people crave personal space and only gravitate towards those they feel they can be themselves with.
- Center back rows: People who sit in the center back rows are clam, collected, timid, and afraid of being influenced by others.
- Back corners: People who sit in the back corners want to know everything that’s going on without getting involved (out of lack of confidence).
But here’s the problem: From what I can gather from the articles, these ideas are based solely on Dr. Mizuki’s thoughts. They are not based on a psychological study. I did a Google search on “Dr. Hiromi Mizuki and personality” but could not find out more about her. All that came up were articles talking about this same thing, usually in identical sentences.
Furthermore, just because a psychologist says something DOES NOT mean the thing is automatically true. In fact, as I have expressed in a previous post, psychologists can be victims of cognitive biases, just like everyone else.
Lastly, as I have explained in previous posts (here and here), human personality is complex and cannot be “analyzed” with simple behaviors such as where we choose to sit in a movie theater, the way we sleep, or the way we eat freaking Oreos.
There are so many factors that influence our decisions in different situations. Maybe I chose to sit near the edges because I had an upset stomach that day. Maybe I chose to sit in the front row because I couldn’t find parking space, or because the employees at McDonalds took forever making my bacon-stuffed burger and I arrived late to the movie. Or maybe I chose to sit in the back corners because I was on a date and I wanted to fool around with her (don’t judge me—we have all done this at least once in our lifetimes!).
Disagree with my thoughts on the subject? Send me a message or leave a comment below!
That’s a hard question. I love everything about psychology. It’s the science about tells us about us. It tells us about our flaws—cognitive biases, faulty perceptions, memory distortion, psychological and personality disorders, etc; and tells us why we’re so special—why we love, seek justice, have empathy, jealousy, and so many more strong emotional reactions.
So I guess Positive Psychology is the area that interests me the most currently. I am filled with awe every time I remember that we have the same origins as every other animal in this planet (as far as we know), yet we have accomplished so much (e.g. landing on the moon, sending rovers to Mars)—all thanks to these awe-some brains of ours!
Yes, I am definitely going to continue on to graduate school. I think I’ll go into a Masters program first instead of going straight to a PhD, just so that I can get extra research experience. The university where I am doing my Bachelors has three psychology Masters programs: Police Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and a General Psychology program w/thesis. Hopefully I’ll get accepted to the General Psychology program. This, too, will hopefully give me extra time to decide what PhD program works best for me.
Thanks for the question!