Category Archives: psychological research and other things academic

personality tests

looking for a site with lots of personality tests? similar minds (link below) is not a bad resource for that. not only do you get the standard meyers briggs but also other ones. here is my cattell 16 PF result. the “16PF” refer to 16 personality traits. wikipedia will tell you lots more about it.

Cattell’s 16 Factor Test Results

Warmth ||||||||||||||||||||| 62%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Aggressiveness ||||||||||||||||||||| 62%
Liveliness ||||||||||||||| 42%
Dutifulness ||||||||| 30%
Social Assertiveness ||||||||||||||||||||| 66%
Sensitivity |||||||||||| 38%
Paranoia |||||||||||| 34%
Abstractness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Introversion |||||||||||| 38%
Anxiety ||||||||| 22%
Openmindedness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Independence |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Perfectionism ||||||||||||||| 42%
Tension |||||||||||| 34%

Take Cattell 16 Factor Test (similar to 16pf)
personality tests by similarminds.com

decisions

yesterday we went car shopping. after driving the sixth test car, in which we were quite interested, the salesperson made us a very tempting offer. we did the rational thing and retired for a family powwow to a nearby fast food place. after briefly going through the pros and cons of another car that was quite attractive, the decision to accept the offer came fast and unanimous.

then we finalized the deal, and the question of warranty insurance came up. my husband left the decision up to me. it had gotten dark outside, i was getting tired from a day of car shopping, and suddenly that decision, which was much less important, and involved much less money, suddenly began to wear on me. after 30 minutes of back and forth, we finally came to a decision on that one, too.

afterwards we went to an east indian restaurant. i hadn’t been to one for a while and chose to eat a bit more than i had planned.

(hold on, i’m going somewhere with this :))

before i went to bed, i realized that i hadn’t done any exercise yet. what to do, what to do? go for a

the fool, a tarot card

image by ark in time on flickr

walk, use the stationary bike, or dance downstairs in my studio? argh! i hadn’t been outside enough and the stationary bike would be really easy, and my studio is beautiful! then i decided to just quickly draw a tarot card and drew the fool. pretty clear image: the fool is on a hike. so i went for a walk.

what i found really interesting was that each step underscored what we know about decision making:

the first step, when we decided to buy the car, was very much carried out along the lines of rational decision making. we gathered all the information, didn’t get swayed by cute arguments (“it has heated seats and adjustable cup holders!”) and didn’t act without reflection.

and then decision fatigue started to set in. i started getting tired, my glucose level went down, and things started to slow down.

by the time i reached the east indian restaurant and one of my favourites, palak paneer (spicy spinach with fresh cheese curds), was particularly well cooked, ego depletion was in full force – all my rational “muscle” was used up, and my food choice was made by that little gremlin inside of me jumping up and down, slobbering with anticipation of devouring yet another tasty morsel.

it was the last situation that i found perhaps the most interesting. typically i consider myself a happy and vigorous decision maker (note to self: ask family how delusional i am with that assessment.) and yet, here i was like a deer in the headlight – quick, tell me with way to go! it looks like indecision is not as well researched as decision . but there was another level to it: i knew at some level that i did not want to choose any of the options. but because a) i want to see myself as someone who engages in at least moderate exercise and b) the option of not doing anything was VERY tempting, i could not add that forth option. instead i head to tell myself that “i don’t know what to do.” i knew EXACTLY what i wanted to do, which was nothing! having removed my favourite option, the next best thing i came up with is to shift the burden of decision to someone/something else. i wonder how often that happens?

by the way, the walk was lovely. the moon, still almost full, poured a magical light over the neighbourhood full of sparkling christmas lights.

psychology dailies

a few months ago, some people in switzerland came up with paper.li, a program that organizes links shared on twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. newspapers can be created for any twitter user, list or #tag. (there is a fun little wordplay to the name: the “li” at the end, a sort of diminuitive, is a hallmark of switzerdeutsch, the swiss version of german.)

i think this is a neat idea. here are some examples:

the psychology daily
the mental health bloggers daily
and one i put together: the world changers daily

change questionnaire, part 2

part 2 of the change questionnaire. let me know what you think – it’s really just an adapted draft at this stage.

17. Please rate these areas of your life on a scale of 1-10. 1 would be very poor, 5 would be acceptable and 10 very good.

a. Finances ___
b. Relationships ___
c. Work ___
d. Emotions ___
e. Motivation ___
f. Spirituality ___
g. Physical Health ___
h. Mental Health
i. Recreation / Down Time / Fun ___
j. Other ___

I. Change History
What has been your own response to change in the past?

18. Changing the way I DO things – e.g. a change how I do things at work, or a change from eating lots of carbohydrates to eating more vegetables.
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

19. Changing the way I COMMUNICATE – e.g. how I communicate with my spouse, children, coworkers, relatives, friends, etc.
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

20. Changing the way I THINK – e.g. how I talk to myself, how I think about others, etc.
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

21. Changing ROLES – e.g. from single to married, from parent to empty nester, or a change in your role at work?
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

22. A CAREER/WORK change – e.g. becoming unemployed, changing careers, starting work after university
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

23. A change in _________________________________________________ (a significant change in your life)
a) No problem
b) A few difficulties but not many
c) Not so easy
d) Almost impossible
e) No experience with this kind of change

24. Have you experienced any changes which normally would have bothered you, but which did not disturb you? Describe what the change was, and what the factors were that made it worthwhile for you to change.

___________________________________________________________________

25. Rate your general readiness to change
a) Prepared to give all the time and energy it takes to succeed.
b) Prepared to put in quite a bit of time and energy to support the change.
c) Prepared to commit a modest amount of time and energy to support the change.
d) Prepared to support the change, but don’t have time to give.
0) Not prepared to actively support the change right now

26. Rate the readiness to support the change on the part of the important people in your life
a) Prepared to give the time and energy it takes to succeed.
b) Prepared to put in quite a bit of time and energy to support the change.
c) Prepared to commit a modest amount of time and energy to support the change.
d) Prepared to support the change, but don’t have time to give.
0) Not prepared to actively support the change right now

J. Dealing with the Stress, Loss and Trauma of Change
People often go through certain stages in dealing with change, sometimes even loss and trauma. By assessing where you stand with this, we can look at how best to support the change with the least pain

Difficulty accepting: Sometimes we find it hard to acknowledge that things need to change (or are already changing). We sometimes minimize the need for change or the fact that things are already changing. Sometimes people know things are or will be changing (e.g. at work, upcoming work shortages; in personal life, deteriorating health or relationships) but look the other way.

Disagreeing with change. E.g. We don’t take steps to prepare for change; fail to look at important signs, facts or information; search for even small evidence that “everything is ok”; actively resist change that is already occurring; react negatively to people associated with the change

In the pit: We acknowledge the inevitability of change and feel hit emotionally by
it. We don’t defend against the change anymore and may experience feelings of confusion, helplessness, lack of motivation, sadness, or perhaps even depression. The emotional and physical immune system is under a lot of stress. Sometimes we become ill; people tend to get more colds in these situations, or certain pre-existing physical or mental health conditions may flare up.

Coming to terms: Accepting the change emotionally, including the losses involved. The perception of the situation, maybe even of the “big picture” changes and begins to include the circumstances/feelings/actions which have changed. We begin to make the best of the change and look for alternate ways of meeting
our needs and become involved again. We become open to rational problem solving (thinking about/accepting alternatives, looking for/accepting information, etc.).

Adapting and coping: A stage of learning, growing, and active problem-solving. We mobilize energy and commitment to deal with the change, to overcome what problems and barriers are amenable to effort, and to develop the skills, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions helpful in dealing with the change.

27. Where are you in the change sequence? We go in and out of the different stages and are often in more than one stage at once. Please rate on a scale of 1 to 10 where you are in each stage.

a. Difficulty accepting change ___
b. Disagreeing with change ___
c. The Pit. ___
d. Coming to terms with the change ___
e. Actively adapting and coping with the change. ___

K. Change History 2
Your change history gives valuable clues to how you are likely to respond during the next change. If you have frequently undergone major change, you will probably deal with change more easily than someone whose life has been stable for a long time. On the other hand, if you have experienced a number of traumatic changes in the recent past, you may feel particularly vulnerable.

28. How frequently have you undergone significant change during the past five years?
a) Change is a way of life for me
b) Several major changes.
c) One or two major changes.
d) No major changes.

29. What has been the dominant effect of these changes on you?
a) The changes have been energizing and stimulating.
b) The changes have been coped with without overt effects on the people.
c) The changes have been stressful, physically and/or emotionally, but I have
recovered.
d) I can’t take any more change!

30. What lessons can you draw from your response to past change efforts? Give
attention to such areas as
• The way the change was introduced, the kind and amount of information given about the change.
• The degree to which you were able to participate and be involved in planning and implementing the change.
• The timing and pacing of the change.
• Other people involved in the change.

L. Assessing the Level of Pain
Optimum pain for change exists when people recognize that significant aspects of the way their life are not working; they believe that if they knew a better way to operate they could adopt it successfully; and you can find the resources of time, money, support and energy to invest in making improvements while at the same time continuing to meet current demands.

The level of pain is suboptimal for change when people generally feel things are working well enough. They perceive the costs of change to outweigh the gains.

When a person is in continual crisis, and is using all their resources just to meet current demands, they are probably in too much pain to undertake substantial change. Since change requires learning, nearly every significant change results in an initial decrement in “performance” while being “on the learning curve.” In such cases, diversion of resources to manage the change process may well reduce the current performance below the level required for survival. A person can only afford to adopt “quick fix” improvements which require little basic change. It “can’t win for losing.”

31. Rate your degree of pain
a) Little or none; relatively content
b) Some: low level unease and disquiet.
c) Substantial: definite unhappiness with the way things are.
d) Overwhelming: the organization is in crisis and can barely cope.

M. Picking the Right Place to Start Change
Many changes have failed because they got bogged down in the first place they were tried. It is important to choose the part of your life where the change is initiated carefully. Here are some factors to consider in making this choice.
• It is not normally a good idea to institute change “across the board.” Not only does it create a lot of stress, but the change resources are then spread too
thin. You lose the advantage of trying a change in one area, learning from your mistakes, and revising your approach the next time.
• Look for optimum pain (see above)
• Look for where the “free energy” is. This can be found in areas of your life that are not already overwhelmed by current demands and that have the resources necessary to take on the overload required by the change.

32. Given these considerations plus any other criteria that seem valid to you, what areas in your life seem like good candidates for beginning the change? Give your criteria for choosing them.

N. Looking at the Downside of Change
Even though the change may be desirable, there are inevitable losses and possible negative consequences to any change. It is important to be aware of these, so they may be planned for.

33. What do you personally stand to lose if the change takes place as proposed?

34. How would you deal with these losses?

35. What do you stand to lose if the change does not take place?

36. How would you deal with these losses?

37. If applicable: What do others in your life (work, family, etc.) stand to lose if the change takes place as proposed?

38. What do others in your life stand to lose if the change does not take place as proposed?

Now is a good time to return to your original formulation of your plan for change, and update it in the light of your work on the organization’s readiness for change. You may also want to reexamine and possibly revise your change goals.

change questionnaire

i am currently playing with an adaptation of the readiness for change questionnaire for personal changes.  there are 50-odd questions (i’ll probably pare it down to about 35, 40 – less, hopefully, with your help!).  as i’m doing this i’m interested in all the different angles change can be looked at, and am also thinking of maybe turning this into a little research project.  after all, this blog is called change therapy!

i would love to have your thoughts.  are these useful questions?  what do they make you think of?  how might they help YOU make changes?

ok, here starts the adaptation  (in capital letters, of all things!  jan, are you reading this?)

The questionnaire is comprehensive and is intended to provide a way for people

desiring change to scan and evaluate the many factors that may influence

change readiness. It can be used to identify the factors that will support

and facilitate a given change, as well as to flag possible pitfalls and difficulties.

Some of the questions may not apply to you: leave them blank.  Some may seem to apply, but they seem “off” in some way, not phrased just right for your situation. Please answer these questions, but make a note as to how the question should be rephrased to apply to your situation.

A. This questionnaire assumes that you either see a need for change, or that someone else has proposed a change. Whichever is the case, take a moment to define for yourself what change you have in mind as you go through this questionnaire, and describe it very briefly below.

___________________________

___________________________

1. What is your likely relationship to the change? Check as many items as apply to you.

a. I want to change.

b. I think I should change but I am not 100% enthusiastic about it.

c. I have been told it would be good to change, or that I should change.

d. I have been forced to change.

e. I think there is some change happening in the future, and I think I should/want to prepare for it.

2. How much information do you have about the proposed change?

a) I am fully informed.

b) I have some information.

c) I have little information.

d) I have no information.

0) No change has yet been proposed.

B. The need for change.

3. Is there a need for change?

a) Yes, definitely.

b) Probably; I think so.

c) I’m not sure; I don’t know.

d) No, not at this time.

4. What circumstances tell you that there is or might be a need to change?

________________________________

________________________________

5. What are your personal experiences, thoughts or feelings that tell you there is or might be a need to change?

________________________________

________________________________

6. In relationship to the needed or proposed changes, which statement best reflects the current situation?

a) I know exactly what to do, have a plan for doing it, and am currently

implementing the plan.

b) I know exactly what to do, have a plan for doing it and haven’t begun to

implement the plan.

c) I know exactly what to do and have no plan for doing it yet.

d) I have a general idea of what to do, have a plan for doing it, and am currently

implementing the plan.

e) I have a general idea of what to do, have a plan for doing it and haven’t begun to implement the plan.

f) I have a general idea of what to do and have no plan for doing it yet.

g) I don’t know what to do but am experimenting with some things anyway, such as ___________________

h) I don’t know what to do.

i) Even if I knew what to do, I wouldn’t know how to plan or implement it.

C. The Approach to Change

7. How do you think you might go about making the needed changes?

________________________________

________________________________

D. The Urgency of Change

8. How urgent is the need for change?

a) It is imperative that I change now.

b) I need to change soon.

c) I will need to change in the foreseeable future.

d) The need is not urgent.

9. How long can the change be put off before it gets intolerable for me?

a) The current situation already has seriously impacted me

b) ___ Weeks.

c)____  Months.

d) A year or more.

10. How long can the change be put off before it gets intolerable for my family?

a) The current situation already has seriously impacted my family

b) ___ Weeks.

c)____  Months.

d) A year or more

e) It doesn’t matter because ______________________________________

E. Magnitude of Change Required:

11. What is the magnitude of change needed to make a substantial improvement in the current situation? (Check as many as apply.)

a. A small/medium/large amount of change in finances, most importantly from __________ to ____________

b. A small/medium/large amount of change in some/many/all of my relationships, most importantly from _________________ to ______________________

c. A small/medium/large amount of change at work, from __________ to ____________

d. A small/medium/large amount of change in my behaviour, most importantly from __________ to ____________

e.  A small/medium/large amount of change in my thoughts, most importantly from __________ to ____________

f.  A small/medium/large amount of change in my feelings, most importantly from __________ to ____________

g.  A small/medium/large amount of change in my motivation, most importantly from __________ to ____________

h.  A small/medium/large amount of change in my spiritual life, most importantly from __________ to ____________

i.  A small/medium/large amount of change in my physical health, most importantly from __________ to ____________

j.  A small/medium/large amount of change in  ___________________________, most importantly from __________ to ____________

F. Criteria of Successful Change

12. How will you know that the needed change has occurred? (Please give as concrete examples and indicators as you can.)

a. I will know ___________________________________________ has changed when ___________________________, _____________________________, and _______________________

G. Resources

Change sometimes requires extra resources. How available are the following resources for carrying out the change?

13. Support from people:

a) People who and are already supporting me or have indicated they are eager to support me, e.g. ____________________________________________  ________________________________________(list as many as you can think of)

b) People who I think are willing to support me, e.g.  ______________________  ________________________________________(list as many as you can think of)

c) People who could possibly support me, e.g.  ______________________  ________________________________________(list as many as you can think of)

d) No-one

14. Information

a) I have all the information I need.

b) I still need to find out more about ___________________ and I can get it from  ___________________________

b) I still need to find out more about ___________________ and don’t know where I can get it

c) I’m not sure whether I have all the information.  However, I do know ______________________________________________________________

d) There’s lots I don’t know and I have no idea where to start.

15. Skills

a) I have all the skills I need.

b) I need to beef up on  ___________________ and am already committed to doing  ___________________________________________________ about it

c) I need to beef up on  ___________________ and could do  _________________________________________________________ about it

d) I need to beef up on   ___________________and don’t know how to go about it

e) I need to learn how to   ___________________ and am already committed to doing  ___________________________________________________ about it

f) I need to learn how to   ___________________ and could do  _________________________________________________________ about it

g) I need to learn how to  ___________________and don’t know how to go about it

h) I don’t have a lot of skills to deal with the change.  One skill I DO have is ________________________________________________________________

i) I have no skills whatsoever to deal with the change.

j) I have a feeling there is/are skills that I need to deal with the change but I have no idea what it is/they are.

16. Money

a) Readily available.

b) Available if I work on it a bit

c) Pretty tight.

d) None whatsoever.

***

I will post part 2 very soon.

peace, conflict and chaos

here is the link to my final post on brainblogger on using chaos theory to understand conflict and, hopefully, see which way peace lies.  following the lead of a team of multidiscplinary researchers (psychologists, sociologists, etc.), we look at three solutions:

interrupting the feedback loop of conflict

finding commonalities

the butterfly effect – doing small things

organizational leadership, empowerment and sustainable peace

i am still intrigued by the question of the relationship between work, mental health and peace. it is interesting that this relationship is hardly ever explored, not even the relationship between the workplace and peace. however, here and there i find a little nugget. one of them is giving peace a chance: organizational leadership, empowerment, and sustainable peace by gretchen spreitzer at the university of michigan at ann arbour. here is her finding:

we started the paper with the question – can business organizations contribute to sustainable peace? our initial explorations provide some fledging support for our hypotheses that participative leadership practices and employee empowerment can foster more peaceable conditions. how? in simple terms, we suggest that business organizational leaders can give employees opportunities for voice and empower employees to have more control over their work. from these more participatory work practices, employees will be exposed to some of the key characteristics of peaceful societies. when people get a taste of empowerment at work, they may then seek opportunities for empowerment in civic and political domains. in short, business organizations can develop collective agency so people believe they can intervene in civic and political life as well, leading to more sustainable peace.

the idea that business organizations can be a sort of olive branch for peace rather than just a harbinger of excess and exploitation is attractive. too often, it seems that companies seek to have a positive impact on communities through corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility. while these initiatives can be impactful, they are often expensive and can been outside the mission of the firm. this research suggests that business organizations can have a positive influence on peace through their everyday practices around participative leadership and empowerment. while not meant to substitute for more formal philanthropic efforts, this research indicates that business practices affect more than employees and the firms they work for. they can also impact the communities of which they are a part. business organizations can create models of peaceful societies which can ultimately move societies toward more peaceful outcomes. even when financial resources are scarce and impede corporate philanthropy, business organizations can still make a positive impact through participative leadership and empowerment practices. business organizations can do good for peace by creating good business practices. ultimately, it’s a win-win outcome because the business organizations benefit from these progressive management practices while societies benefit from having models for peace.

do you know an organization that embodies these values? have you ever worked in one?