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Psychology Education Applied to Real Life: Helping My Brother Through a Panic Attack

Posted By Luzliani N. Martinez Noel, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Being home sounded cozy, comfortable, and happy, but I had never been home for long periods of time. It’s been 6 months now since the government of Puerto Rico established a quarantine due to COVID-19. The first few weeks were so much fun, I did everything I had not done for a long time. I read lots of books, cooked lots of recipes, and spent time with my family. But, it was not that much time later when the significant impact of being social distanced hit us. Especially to my brother, who suffers from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).

The pandemic itself and social distancing became one of the biggest triggers of his life. Being home, with no distractions and every day being exactly as the day before, became a nightmare. Being home became a trigger for his anxiety and compulsions; being home was not fun anymore. One night, he called me into his room and I saw him sweating, nervously walking from one side to another, desperately reaching for air, holding his chest like he was having a heart attack, and I knew what was happening. He was having a panic attack.

My brain immediately searched for the files in my mind that contained the information I learned in my psychology classes. I was looking for something that would help me, help him. My brain played the memories like a movie in my mind, and I remembered my professors explaining what to do in a situation like this. “Remind the person he’s safe.” “Guide him to breathe.” I asked him if I could hold his hands, which were dead-like cold. When I felt his hands, that stone cold feeling ran through me and flooded my chest. I needed to do something.

The phrase “grounding techniques” came to my mind in that precise moment, and I remembered the anxiety management seminar Dr. Cortina gave to my Psi Chi chapter. He explained, “Find at least two things the person can taste, smell, feel, or hear.” I ran to the kitchen and got some chocolate, gave it to him and said, “I know you are scared, but you have to do this with me. Tell me, how does it taste? What is its texture? Smell it, how would you describe its scent?” Slowly but surely, he was breathing again. His eyes looked tired, but calmed. He looked at me in the eyes and told me, “I’m here again.”

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the chocolate was magical and that it solved everything. After that day, he has had several other panic attacks. But on that day I understood how important psychology is. How important this knowledge is and how little we know when the information will be needed. That night, psychology techniques made “being home” a cozy, comfortable, and happy experience again.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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Psi Chi Invites Undergraduate Members to Conduct Social Psychology Field Research—Virtually

Posted By Paige Anctil, Awards & Grants Officer, Tuesday, October 6, 2020

During a time in which in-person interaction is very limited, it has become difficult to conduct some forms of research. Due to COVID-19, many of the more hands-on research methodologies are needing to be significantly delayed or even abandoned all together, despite providing some of the most beneficial skills and valuable professional relationships available to students.

Psi Chi Distinguished Member Dr. Robert Cialdini highly values these types of experiences. A behavioral psychologist known for field research, Dr. Cialdini says, “In class, my students were always most interested in, even thrilled by, accounts of field research.” Dr. Cialdini is known for the field work described in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a New York Times Best Seller.

In line with his dedication to field research, Dr. Cialdini worked with Psi Chi to create a grant that funds field research projects in social psychology. Dr. Cialdini and his wife generously chose to fund the Robert Cialdini/Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant for Field Research in Social Psychology so that students could “have the thrill I’ve experienced of actually doing field research.” This grant, with deadlines of October 15, January 15, and May 1, offers $1,500 in research costs and a stipend of $500 for the recipient’s faculty sponsor.

Although COVID-19 restrictions are interfering with the more practiced methods of field research, this doesn’t mean students need to miss out on such an opportunity. Field research does not have to be confined to in-person interactions; as we all adapt to using more and more virtual communication methods, it presents a unique opportunity to involve virtual platforms, such as social media, to conduct field research.

For the purposes of this grant, field research is defined as social psychological investigations conducted in a naturally occurring setting in which research participants can expect to find themselves under normal life circumstances and in which they are unlikely to suppose that they are research participants.

Social media provides a great platform via which to freely interact with participants in a natural setting without showing that research is being conducted. Some ideas include creating posts as you watch how the public reacts or merely observing the posts and reactions of others, designing two different images and using Google ads across different platforms to see which draws more attention; each provides its own unique opportunity, questions, and the possibility for answers.

Psi Chi would like to encourage our undergraduate members who are interested in conducting research this year to try something maybe a little new. With so many students and faculty learning and teaching virtually, social psychology research—even if virtual—provides a unique opportunity to gain both skills and research funding.

Tags:  Conducting Research  Psi Chi Related 

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Measuring Progress Without Numbers: A Journey Toward Intuitive Weight Loss

Posted By Melanie Vaverchak, Psi Chi University of Hartford Chapter, Monday, October 5, 2020

A little under two years ago, I weighed over 220 pounds, and I desperately wanted to be smaller. At that time, progress was a number. When my weight loss journey began, weighing myself was something I looked forward to. Those days I would weigh 4 or 5 pounds less felt exhilarating. And the days I weighed 4 or 5 pounds more, having done absolutely nothing differently, I felt defeated. But what constitutes a “good” scale reading anyway? Is it the number closest to what we decided was ideal when we started? Is it based on statistics? Why do we choose the goals we choose? And do we necessarily have our best interest in mind?

Often, we measure progress with numbers because numbers are tangible validation that we can compare, and contrast mathematically to determine our precise location on a timeline. And numbers can be super helpful too! Keeping calories within a healthy range, increasing activity by taking more steps every day, and tracking gradual weight loss on a scale are all proven ways to ensure we are making necessary advancements toward better health. But when we begin to attribute our satisfaction to those numbers, even our healthiest intentions can turn dangerous. When the reward becomes the number and ceases to be the process, it can be tempting to look for ways to manipulate the number to feel better. Some people do this by cutting calories or by exercising more, and while these things can be done in a healthy way, for some this control-seeking behavior can lead to disordered eating.

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I have been smaller at the expense of feeling happy, and more active at the expense of feeling free. But I had never experienced the true benefit of weight loss as a side-effect of a healthy lifestyle, and the subsequent, inevitable ripple effect of mental and emotional well-being until I learned to challenge my definition of progress.

Progress is defined as a “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” It is NOT “forward or onward movement toward 110 lbs” or “forward or onward movement toward fitting into a size 6.” Don’t get me wrong, having specific goals can be really motivating, but they shift the focus away from the goal that matters most, the payoff. Quite simply, if the finish line is changeable, it’s not the real goal.

Melanie, before and after her weightloss journey. For more of her writing, visit her website at http://www.mindreno.me/

Confidence was a huge motivator for me to get healthy. I never felt confident in my body. I was always tugging or adjusting or squeezing into a pair of pants. I was in a constant state of comparing my body to the bodies around me, and always felt like everyone could sense the discomfort I felt in my own skin. Because I lacked self-confidence, I looked for ways to appear more outwardly confident. This oftentimes involved alcohol or celebrating with snack food, anything that made me appear more carefree and drew attention away from my double chin really. I was also exhausted. I was tired of lugging my body around. I was tired of feeling like I needed a nap immediately upon waking up in the morning. I wanted to feel awake and powerful, and like I was harnessing the kind of energy that motivated people to make smoothies and go for walks on purpose. But in order to acquire energy, confidence and power, I needed to reframe my goal and find new non-numerical ways to cultivate those feelings.

Reframing my goal started with exercise. The good news was that I didn’t have to flip giant tractor tires with a bunch of strangers in an abandoned warehouse to begin experiencing the benefits. I started with 20 minutes a day of moderate low-impact cardiovascular exercise like riding a stationary bike, walking around my neighborhood, or simply forgetting my reusable shopping bags in the car on the other side of the supermarket parking lot. Instead of jumping on the scale, I looked to my body. I decided that if I was moving and sweating and time was passing, I was nailing it. Admittedly, it wasn’t easy for me in the beginning to embrace any movement beyond getting a sandwich into to my mouth. It felt completely foreign. But gradually, I felt a twinge of something, a strange, subtle sensation bubbling up inside of myself. That sensation was energy.

As I became more familiar with the sensation of feeling energized, I began to notice something else as well, pride. It started when I found myself letting people know I’d “worked out.” Even sharing that I was heading out for a quick walk with the dog made me feel a new sense of control over my priorities. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could trust myself to make ME a priority, and that combination of control and trust was confidence. The ripple effect was undeniable. As other people noticed the shift in my energy level and attitude, they responded differently to me too. My relationships improved and I began attracting more opportunities too. I did eventually reach my goal weight, but by the time I’d realized it on the scale at my doctor’s office, I was too excited about everything else I had going on to pay the number any mind.

As a student of psychology, I have always been fascinated by the concept of neuroplasticity; the brain’s innate ability to adapt and change in response to stimuli. My weight loss journey gave me the unique opportunity to experience some of these changes first-hand. I had anticipated that healthier habits would lower my risk of chronic disease, but I was pleasantly surprised by the extent to which (and how quickly!) regular exercise and plant-based nutrition would alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety to which I’d grown so accustomed. It was thrilling to know that, as I modified my behavior, my brain was simultaneously re-wiring itself to accommodate those adjustments. While my desire for physical change may have inspired my transformation, the mental health benefits have been my biggest motivation to make this a permanent lifestyle change. In taking an intuitive approach to weight loss, I was able to experience health-psychology in action, and finally claim empowerment over my long-term well-being.

Becoming the most functional and powerful version of myself meant learning to feel progress and not simply see it. Nowadays, when I feel the need for progress I can see, some tangible evidence of my compliance to this newer, healthier way of living, I pick up a pen and paper and write a single word, “repeat.” Measuring progress with numbers is a dead-end street. There is no numerical equivalent to the feelings you want to feel, and the life you want to live. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself what the real payoff is and take the alternate route. I’ll probably see you there! I forgot my reusable shopping bags in the car again.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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The Psychology of Problem-Solving Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted By Rita Michelle Rivera, MS Affiliation, Albizu University, Monday, October 5, 2020

Around the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has required people to adapt to different circumstances and events. Whether it is adjusting to online learning or working from home, most individuals have been and continue to face challenges with such transitions. Furthermore, the process of acclimating to new experiences can cause stress, specifically when people are unaware of how to solve issues that may arise. Fortunately, the psychology of problem-solving can help individuals throughout the world resolve different types of conflicts. Problem-solving is a process where one finds a solution for an issue by recognizing both its cause and possible solutions.

The first step of problem-solving is identifying the issue because it is important to understand the problem to solve it. Once the problem has been identified, people can get better insight at the cause and nature of the issue. This knowledge can help to generate possible solutions. After brainstorming the possible solutions, one must reflect on the pros and cons of each alternative. Labeling the benefits and/or consequences of each option helps people evaluate the possible solutions. Once all alternatives have been identified and scrutinized, a decision can be made, and one can choose the best possible solution. Lastly, this alternative is implemented and, if needed, people can establish ongoing monitoring to follow up and decide whether a new alternative is needed or not. If the option selected did not indeed work, one can go back, reflect on the other possibilities, and select a new one.

Problem-solving is helpful during these unprecedented times because this process allows individuals to become conflict-competent rather than conflict-averse. Usually, when facing a new challenge, most people choose to ignore the issue out of fear of failure or feelings of incompetency. This tendency is why many adopt a conflict-averse attitude and later struggle with the distress that can come from an unresolved issue. Nonetheless, the process of problem-solving guides individuals by giving them the necessary steps to effectively resolve the issue at hand. Moreover, problem-solving is a process that can be repeated as many times as necessary and can be applied to most conflicts. The more this process is practiced, the easier it gets and the more competent one becomes at problem-solving.

Consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on increased stress levels. People are left in the dark not knowing what to do or how to react. In this scenario, the problem consists of not knowing how to cope with the stress brought by this pandemic. After identifying where specifically the disruption has affected one’s life, one can brainstorm possible strategies to re-engage those disrupted activities in novel ways. In addition, relaxation techniques or self-care activities can be practiced and incorporated into a daily routine as the world continues to transition into this new normal. Next, one can examine the alternatives by considering the benefits and disadvantages of each option. Perhaps, reading a book would be more relaxing than watching a horror movie. Afterward, one can select the best option and apply it. One can decide to dedicate 20 minutes a day to reading a book or 10 minutes every night to meditating. If the solution did not work, meaning if the activity did not help reduce stress, one can always go back and review the alternatives.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, most people will keep facing new challenges and transitions. Therefore, problem-solving is a skill that is particularly useful for these troubling times. Problem-solving can also help decrease stress levels by allowing individuals to exert control over their environment and solve issues across different settings, such as the workplace, at home, and in personal situations. Moreover, the process of problem-solving is a critical part of people’s daily lives and, when implemented effectively, it allows individuals to change their circumstances to be more desirable.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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Clinical Psychology: The Impact of a Single Session

Posted By Marinés Mejía Alvarez, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Monday, October 5, 2020

Have you ever thought about the impact our profession has? How, sometimes, one single contact can be enough?

To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it when I first started studying psychology. I only wanted to have my own clinic, to help people’s lives, and earn money (we all want to have a dignified salary through helping others). This was my way of thinking before I started my clinical internship program.

At the university where I graduated, I had to earn 1,200 hours of supervised internships in three areas: clinical, educational, and organizational psychology. As you may imagine, the clinical ones are the most intense, emotionally speaking.

So, going back to my way of thinking, you can imagine how excited I was to begin my clinical internship, especially because the hospital I had been assigned to was a place I had always wished to work in, especially since my first year in college.

Marinés Mejía Alvarez


The place I was assigned was the National Oncology Pediatric Unit, basically for children who have a cancer diagnosis. I remember that, when I first got the news, my heart almost beat out of my chest. Beginning to work there was a dream come true (even though it was a limited-time internship). During the first weeks I was so excited to learn. I already wanted to be like the psychologists who worked there (I wanted to stand out), and I think that subconsciously I wanted to have something that marked me so that I wouldn’t forget what it felt like to be there.

As time passed, they asked me if I wanted to accompany them to the place where the kids who had been on remission were diagnosed again and had no chances of the treatment working. This was where the more serious cases (who didn’t have much chance to live) were also sent. I didn’t have to think twice before accepting, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Remember how I said I wanted something to mark my journey in this internship? Well, I definitely got it. The first times I went to this place, I thought it was beautiful. But, then it dawned upon me that the kids who came here and the ones the experienced psychologists treated and I just observed, would probably be gone the next time I arrived.

So, it got harder and harder to go. Then, one day, there was this teenager who had been on remission for like a year, and suddenly his cancer had returned. That day, the psychologist asked me if I wanted to be the one to talk to him while she talked to his aunt. I agreed. I got to know this young boy, who was utterly mad, furious at the disease. He wanted to just die, and I remember we talked about our emotions and how sometimes things that seem bad can give us something positive. I gave him some examples and then he said something I’ll never forget: “If it hadn’t been for this cancer, I wouldn’t have met you.” And I swear my eyes swelled up with tears and I had to swallow them (it still happens when I think back). We then hugged and I told him I would see him next week. Then I talked to his aunt and she thanked me. Me, an inexperienced and still undergraduate student.

I then left this place and the weeks and months passed, but I always wanted to see how he was doing. In my last week of the internship, I was at the clinic with the rest of the psychologists and we were talking about different patients, when suddenly I asked about him.

One of them said, “No one told you? He died like two weeks after we went to see him.”

My entire heart broke in that moment. I was so angry because they just said it like it was one more patient. But then, she said, “His aunt called to thank you for the work you did. It meant a lot for him, and he remembered you and what you told him.”

So, what I wanted to express through this story is not only the importance of our profession to better the quality of life in every person we encounter or every person who comes into our clinic, but the impact we can have in only one session, one crisis intervention. We might see it as something small, something that happens once in a lifetime, but that’s the beauty of it. Knowing that whatever we do, in the present moment of the session or intervention, we can and we will have an impact, big or small. I realized that it doesn’t matter if we use hundreds of tools or strategies, I realized that the simple act of being there for someone who needs us, the simple act of showing empathy, can make someone say, “if it wasn’t for this problem, I wouldn’t have met you,” and isn’t that what we, as psychologists want?

So yes, I had something that marked me, something that still marks me. I never got to say goodbye, and now, more than ever, I realize how every time I am with a patient, the impact one talk, one word, or one session can have.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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Maslow Helped Me Survive the Quarantine (A Humorous Take on Meeting Our Needs During the Pandemic)

Posted By Daniel Fieldstone, Arizona State University, Friday, October 2, 2020

It can be difficult to get anything done when everything is closed, people are not assembling, and if you are a germaphobe, or in this case a virusaphobe, you check your temperature every five minutes. But good thing we have our psychology training and what we learned about Maslow. Shall we break down how our needs are being met during this pandemic?

Physiological Needs

We have Door Dash to bring us food and enough bottled water for the rest of the year. When this thing blows over, we may just want to see what it feels like to bathe in Fiji water.

Safety Needs

We have gallons of hand sanitizer, but is it flammable? This is a catch 22! On one hand, we feel like we can kill the virus, but on the other hand, we fear that our home may be a bit of a hazmat zone.

Need for Belongingness and Love

We feel like we belong, and are loved, one Zoom meeting at a time. But if we need physical touch, the dog or cat just may have to do for now.

Esteem Needs

We feel very well-accomplished. We know all about the dangers of running a zoo filled with exotic animals. Maybe we will get a pet tiger one day.

Self-Actualisation

With all of this time to look at our four walls and think, we have reached a state of great enlightenment. We have introspectively mulled over all of the thoughts in our heads. We have faced all of our fears and discovered our true purpose in life. We must accumulate as much toilet paper as possible.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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How Psychology Saved My Life

Posted By Taylor Zanon, Capella University, Friday, October 2, 2020

Visit Taylor Zanon's LinkedIn Page


Everyone goes through a rough patch in life. It's human nature. In my personal experience, my rough patch has been the devil on my shoulder since I hit puberty. Along with this, my self- image was always an issue. I developed an eating disorder at around the age of 16, causing me to lose over 40 pounds in a short amount of time. I also chose horrible relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships, which caused me to look down on myself even more.

Plagued with low self-confidence, low self-image, but a high ability to learn and succeed in academics, I graduated high school. I decided to venture in the field of dental hygiene. Being a student who always had honors and A's in school, there was no other option but success. With that being said, came the stress. Overworking myself with an excessive workload that included anatomy, microbiology, and many other higher level courses, my stress levels were high. With pre-existing depression, my symptoms shifted to that of generalized anxiety.

After not being accepted into the dental hygiene program, I had a mental breakdown. The stress and anxiety caused many sleepless nights, gastrointestinal infections, and body dysmorphia. Eventually, I began jumping back and forth between various majors, not satisfied with any that I started studying. I was at my final straw.

Through much research and hopelessness, I realized I needed serious help. That's when I decided I needed to go to therapy. I met an excellent psychiatrist who helped me get through my issues and select a career that I wanted to pursue. I always knew I wanted to help others and work in the medical field. After going through my experience, I decided I wanted to work in the psychology field. To put me in someone else's shoes to understand what they are going through was one of the things that made me want to become a mental health clinician.

I began my journey at Capella University. This started in 2019. During this year, I reconnected with an old classmate from high school and ended up realizing he was the love of my life. With his support and my family's help, I managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA at Capella University to this day, and I am on the brink of graduating with my bachelor's in general psychology. Within a few quarters, I received an invitation to join the Psi Chi Honor Society, and from that moment on, I knew this was the path that I was supposed to pursue.

Today, I am planning on continuing my education with Capella University with my master's in clinical mental health counseling, and I am about to start a family. I have never been so thankful for anything in my life. I am very excited to pursue my career and be an integrative member of Psi Chi. Thank you for reading my story.


Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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The Case for Consistent and Inclusive Vocabulary Within Emerging Adult Psychological Research

Posted By Kristina Betz, Seattle University, Friday, October 2, 2020

Research on emerging adult relationships often utilize vocabulary that promotes LGBTQIA+ relationship erasure. For example, James-Kangal et al. (2019) studied conflict management within a group of 45 emerging adults, of which all identified as heterosexual. Similarly, James-Kangal et al. (2018) examined sex culture in emerging adults using a group that consisted of 248 individuals in which 94.8% identified as heterosexual, however, the other 5.2% did not specify sexual orientation leaving the reader to guess. The utilization of cishet norms within sample groups can also be seen in Paat et al. (2019) who studied the relationship between early socialization, family structure, and relationship dynamics to physical aggression in dating among emerging adults. That particular study utilized a sample group of more than 14,000 undergraduate emerging adult students who were required to have been in a heterosexual relationship. Similarly, Brassard et al. (2018) investigated romantic attachment and intimacy using a participant group where 95.7% of “participants described their relationship as heterosexual” and required all participants to have taken part in a romantic relationship for a minimum of six months (p. 238).

Requiring all participants to have taken part in a heterosexual relationship presents a binary view that is rooted in cishet values. Cishet values are the dominate epistemic system and is represented within sample groups (Brassard et al., 2018; James-Kangal et al., 2018; James-Kangal et al., 2019; Paat et al., 2019). Although participants may describe their relationship as heterosexual, the individuals involved may not be (e.g., an individual identifies as bisexual but is in a romantic relationship with an individual of the opposite sex). Furthermore, vocabulary like that in Brassard et al. (2018) is erasing LGBQTIA+ relationships by generally stating the relationships are heterosexual.

Using generalized vocabulary to describe potential LGBTQIA+ individuals reduces queer representation and applicable data for this community. Inadequate vocabulary also reduces the respectful and professional terminology associated with the community, which as a result lowers the general understanding and wealth of knowledge available. By not providing appropriate terminology regarding LGBQTIA+ relationships within academic sources, individuals utilizing the sources will not be able to successfully understand the multidimensionality of their peer’s relationships.

Using appropriate vocabulary also allows individuals to locate research appropriate to themselves because they are locating familiar terms; without appropriate vocabulary usage, many individuals will not have access to the academic sources they are attempting to locate. Therefore, it is a necessity for all research on emerging adult relationships to use appropriate vocabulary to properly present the research. Additionally, it is academia’s duty to present consistent, applicable, and inclusive information, however utilizing convoluted vocabulary and overrepresenting heterosexual couples does not accomplish this. By utilizing inadequate vocabulary, relational research is assisting in the normalization of LGBQTIA+ relationship erasure, which in turn teaches the emerging adult population that queer voices do not exist or are abnormal. LGBTQIA+ individuals are not automatically granted the same peer experience and societal guidance that heterosexual individuals are, therefore, queer representation in academia is the only guidance some emerging adults get. It is important that future researchers begin using language and sample group designs that do not promote the erasure of LGBQTIA+ relationships.

References

Brassard, A., Perron-Laplante, J., Lachapelle., De Pierrepont, C., & Péloquin, K. (2018). Oversexualization among emerging adults: Preliminary associations with romantic attachment and intimacy. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27(3), 235–247. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2017-0031

James-Kangal, N., Weitbrecht, M., Francis, E., & Whitton, W. (2018). Hooking up and emerging adults’ relationship attitudes and expectations. Sexuality & Culture: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 22(3), 706–723. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-018-9495-5

James-Kangal, N., & Whitton, W. (2019). Conflict management in emerging adults’ ‘nonrelationships.’ Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 8(2), 63–76. https://doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000118

Paat, Y., & Markham, C. (2019). The roles of family factors and relationship dynamics on dating violence victimization and perpetration among college men and women in emerging adulthood. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(1), 81–114. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516640544

Tags:  All Things Psych 

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How to Promote Your Published Journal Article

Posted By Bradley Cannon, Psi Chi Central Office, Monday, September 28, 2020

Congratulations! If you are reading this blog post, then it probably means you are now the author of a newly published academic journal article.

This is a wonderful accomplishment, one well-worth celebrating! And yet, this milestone does not mean that your journey with your latest research has come to an end. Not by a long shot!

In the same year that your article was published, so were approximately two million other journal articles. And guess what: The authors of every single one of these publications hopes for their specific findings to rise to the top in terms of both impact and popularity—yes, even over all other published articles, including your own.

Common Pitfalls

As you can imagine, such an enormous number of annual publications naturally results in a lot of competition for attention across the academic world and in the media.

However, there is some good news. (Sort of.)

Not all authors actively promote their research, and there are several reasons for this.

  • Many authors may believe that their articles will automatically rise in citations and impact as a mere result of being published.
    (Although this is possible, it is unlikely.)
  • Others may believe that their publisher will take care of all promotions on their behalf.
    (Indeed, prestigious journals like Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research promote new articles on social media, index articles in major databases, and so forth. And yet counting on others alone to boost your findings can only get you so far; no one knows your research findings better than you do!)
  • Many authors may also fail to prioritize promotions of their articles simply because they are frequently distracted, if not overwhelmed, by a continuous stream of new projects and assignments.
    (But consider this: If the results of your published projects aren’t achieving their full potential, then why not develop good promotional habits now so that your current and all future projects will benefit?)

Although the three items above are common, this does create an opportunity for you to accelerate others’ awareness of your hard work.

What You Can Do

Marketing your article doesn’t have to be complicated or take up too much time. In fact, you will likely find that most of your efforts promoting your article will actually involve simplifying your work to its basic purpose, findings, and applications—tasks which will probably come easily to you and that you will find to be a refreshing change of pace compared to other challenging and highly detailed academic responsibilities.

To get you started, consider creating a basic checklist of tasks to accomplish after each of your articles is published online. Here are 12 basic tasks you can do to help your research to be seen by wider audiences:

  1. Share your article on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.) with a link to your new article in each post. Here are some ideas for wording:
    • Post a photo of you and/or your coauthors preparing to recruit participants or “burning the midnight oil” as your finished your final draft.
    • Take a screenshot from your official Acceptance letter.
    • Summarize the key findings from your research.
    • Tag relevant scientific organizations (including the publisher of your article such as @PsiChiHonor or #PsiChi) and key researchers in your posts in order to gain others’ attention and support.

  2. Write a brief blog post about your article. Relevant organizations may be eager to publish these articles! For example, if your article was published in Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, consider submitting a short 400- to 1,000-word article to Psi Chi’s blog, Psi-Chi-ology Lab. You may wish to post on any personal, departmental, or school-wide blogs as well. Here are some ideas for the content of your blog post:
    • Describe a behind-the-scenes experience (e.g., what it was like conducting your first research experience, what it was like working with participants, or how you became interested in your particular research project).
    • Write about all the ways that a mentor or colleague supported you while you conducted the project.
    • Think about additional applications of your findings outside of what you included in your article, and then target those audiences with specific blog posts.
    • Connect your research findings with a recent major news story (Pro Tip: You can search for your research area via Google News in order to find recent relevant news stories that are trending)
    • Or, simply summarize the purpose and findings of your research in a more personal, jargon-free language so that the general public can better understand and apply its findings to their daily lives.

  3. Contact and personally thank anyone who helped you to conceive, conduct, write, or publish your article. And of course, share a link to the final article with these special individuals.

  4. Select articles listed in your article’s References section that you appreciated and found personally useful. Then, contact the lead authors of those projects to let them know how their research has inspired you and that you cited their work in your new article (And again, share a link to your new article!)

  5. Add a reference and link to your new article on your CV. You may also wish to publically post your CV on a personal website so that others can easily find and access it. If you have a professional LinkedIn profile, you can cite your publications there too.

  6. Add a link to your latest publication in your email signature. Easy enough, right?

  7. Make a YouTube video or some other interactive summary of your article that will help to engage people, especially nonresearchers who may be intimidated by lengthy journal articles that contain complex statistics, lengthy references, etc. Consider hosting these videos on YouTube, Facebook, or other popular platforms. Here are some ideas for your video:
    • Have a peer ask you a few basic questions in order to create an interview-type video.
    • Or, create a brief PowerPoint slideshow, and then add audio to it using a free program such as Audacity.

  8. Share a link to your articles in databases such as ResearchGate.net or Academic.edu. Just keep in mind that most publishers (including Psi Chi) will not allow you to publically post the full article on these external websites because it decreases website traffic to the original publisher’s website, thus reducing a potential revenue stream. Fortunately, there is an easy workaround: Instead of uploading the full article to these websites, simply upload a basic reference with a hyperlink leading to the article’s official location on the publisher’s website. Here is an example of an article posted on ResearchGate; if you select “Read full-text” on this webpage, you will notice that the authors uploaded a basic reference linking back to the appropriate location for the article.

  9. Create a Google Scholar Account. This program allows you to organize all of your works into one public place and ensures that individuals searching for your articles will be able to easily locate a complete list. When you are getting started, Google Scholar will automatically suggest articles for your profile that it believes you might have authored in the past. You can also add articles manually. And a “Follow” features allows others to receive notifications about your future publications.

  10. Set up an ORCID account (or review and update your existing account). For those unaware, all personal ORCID accounts are linked to a persistent hyperlink that can be included in your published works. Think of it like this: Just as permanent DOI hyperlink makes it easier to locate an article, and ORCID ID makes it easier to locate a particular author’s profile. Many journals (including Psi Chi Journal) will include your ORCID ID in your published article so that readers can easily select that permanent link and see a full list of all your published articles.

  11. Send a brief announcement (i.e., press release) to local campus and community journalists to see whether they would be interested in featuring your new findings.

  12. Encourage your coauthors to promote your new article as well! Each of you has a unique network of peers, so take full advantage of each other’s communities. You can also share or retweet each other’s promotions in order to further build up hype about your newly published research!

Tags:  Conducting Research 

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For the Love of Me: How Psychology Helped Me Improve Myself

Posted By Adrienne Bilello, Iona College, Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Being a psychology student has in more ways than one affected my relationships with friends, family, and even romantic partners. We are always learning how to notice when someone is hurting, when they are repressing something, or when they are just off. I am an empathetic person already, so mixed with my intense knowledge of how to pry people open, let's just say I leave little time for my own problems. Most of my friends refer to me as their “pocket therapist,” coming to me with things that range from little inconveniences to things they probably should see a real therapist about.

Most recently I discovered an issue of my own, my boyfriend. We dated for over two years, and for the most part we were a great couple. We were both athletes, he made me laugh, we had fun together, and he was my biggest fan. Aside from those things, that was it. We had way more differences than similarities. He hated the beach and the city, but those were the only places I wanted to live. He loved country music, I couldn’t stand the sound, he liked to bottle up his emotions, and I just wanted him to open up.

This is when I had a shocking realization. I was a serial monogamist. My whole life I had jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend. It was always “Adrienne and her boyfriend” and never just, “Adrienne.” I had to come to terms with my fear of being alone, and the need for someone else to validate my worth. I was staying with someone who was clearly not right for me because I was too afraid of being alone, and I was too afraid to hurt his feelings, so I sacrificed my own.

I would easily be able to point out these characteristics in a friend, but when you are so busy worrying about how everyone else’s mind is, you seem to forget about your own. That's when I decided I was going to face my phobia of being alone by the ultimate immersion therapy, break up with my boyfriend of two years, and start living my own dreams. There was an empty place in my heart, which I tried to fill with pieces of boys that would call me pretty or smart, but as I enter the new phase of my life, I need to fill up that hole with validation from the only person who matters, me.

Note. This article was published in support of the 2020–21 Presidential Theme, Psychological Science: We Have Answers! Follow hashtag #PsychHasAnswers on Twitter.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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