Dec 15

Opposites Attract or Birds of a feather stick together

I am sure we have all hear the old saying the “opposites attract”, and “birds of a feather flock together.” Go with the birds, usually the only opposites that attract each other are magnets. The majority of the time we are like the birds, we are attracted to those who are similar to us. Those who tend to think like we do and act as we do. This is known as the “similar-to-me effect” (Nelson, 2015). You see this in the partners we pick, the friends we hang out with, and the co-workers we associate with.

There are problems that arise with the similar-to-me effect biases may cloud a person’s judgment at times. “Research has shown that when a supervisor rates the job performance of his subordinates those who receive the higher ratings to those who are more similar to themselves (Greenberg, 2010). There could be several different dimensions of similarity playing a part here. There could be a strong sense of values, beliefs as to how things should be done at work, and the shared similarities of values such as age, race, gender, and work experience)” (Greenberg, 2010). The similar-to-me effect also seems to account partially for the outcome of the tendency for “people to be able to emphasize and relate better to similar others and to be more lenient toward them” (Greenberg, 2010). From the subordinates perspective they tend to be more trusting of and have more confidence in the supervisor (Greenberg, 2010). When this occurs it becomes a similar- to – me bias.

The similar-to-me bias can also be seen in those who interview job applicants. People have a tendency when they meet somebody for the first time it is natural to look for similarities we share. A huge problem interviewers make is the inability to separate employee from friend. When this happens the employer ends up with an organization made up of similar employees. This is not good, any organization or work place need diversity. I all employees or members process the same strengths and weaknesses, that organization or company will be out of balance. If all employees or members are great problem solvers where will the creative artistic talent be found (Interviewing Tip: Stop the “Similar to Me” Bias, 2015)?

We know we are not magnets so an easy going laid back individual would not do well in a romantic relationship with another individual who is wired tighter than a banjo string. We usually do better with those we are similar to. On the other hand employers and organization do not do well when all employees or members are similar. They do much better with a variety of different members they are in balance.



Greenberg, J. (2010). Perception and Learning: Understanding and Adapting to the Work Environment. Behavior in organizations: Student value edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Interviewing Tip: Stop the “Similar to Me” Bias. (2015). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from SELECT PERSPECTIVES BLOG: http://www.selectinternational.com/blog/interviewing-tip-stop-the-similar-to-me-bias

Nelson, A. (2015). Social Change/Participatory Research. Retrieved December 13, 2015, from PSYCH 424: Applied Social Psychology, Lesson 2: https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/fa15/psych424/001/content/14_lesson/01_page.html



Dec 15

Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Self-Handicapping and College Students

Perfectionism the tendency to demand of others or of one’s self an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, particularly when this is not required by the situation. (APA, 2009)

Procrastination – people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions—which, unfortunately, are increasingly available. Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. (Procrastination, 2015)

Self-Handicapping – a strategy of creating obstacles to one’s performance, so that future anticipated failure can be blamed on the obstacle rather than on one’s own lack of ability. If one succeeds despite the handicap, it brings extra credit or glory to the self. The theory was originally proposed to explain alcohol and drug abuse among seemingly successful individuals (APA, 2009).

 College for students is a very stressful time and also very competitive. Students are competing for those top grades and doing everything they can to achieve them. Those high grades attack the top jobs, the higher money, and more prestige. When students strive for perfection they set unrealistically high goals to meet. Often times the student does not view themselves as reaching those same goals they set ( Karner-Huţuleac, 2014). Setting the goals at such high levels the student is setting themselves up for failure. To protect themselves student will engage in self-handicapping to protect them from the negative effect of failure. Self-handicapping is a way of protecting our self-esteem from the negative effects of our own perfectionism. People create excuses to explain why they did not reach those goals, or why they did poorly on a test. The self-handicapping is usually already established and put in place before an event takes place. In the long run using self-handicapping to retain self-esteem represents a self-destructive mechanism because it encourages the lack of responsibility and effort, but also self-awareness. A consequence, of using a self-handicapping strategy is the person facilitates desirable attributions for success as well as for failure.

Research also supports the theory that perfectionism is negatively related to academic performance. Evidence has shown there are links between perfectionism and writer’s block. Perfectionists are also more likely to experience a phobia towards essay writing, and male perfectionist tend to self-handicap more when they fear they will not do well on a measured academic event ( Karner-Huţuleac, 2014)

Many people procrastinate, they put task off until the next day or some later date. Procrastinators inhibit judgements of performance; hence, judgements of true ability. Their perceived (or actual) ability at the task is never known, so the procrastinator continues to protect a “vulnerable self-esteem.” For this individual it is sometimes better to do nothing than risk failure and look foolish (Ferrari, 1991). Often those who procrastinate view their self-worth solely on task and this ability is determined how well they perform on completed task. When people procrastinators view their self-worth solely on task ability, and their ability is determined only by how well they perform on completed tasks. By delaying task completion, procrastinators inhibit judgements of performance (Ferrari, 1991)

Perfectionism, procrastination, and self-handicapping each by itself leads to negative academic scores. Also any combination of these three will lead to a greater negative influence on academic scores and lower self-esteem.



Karner-Huţuleac, A. (2014). Perfectionism and self-handicapping in adult education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 434 – 438, 434 – 438.

APA. (2009). APA Concise Dictionary of Psychology. Washington D. C.: American Psychcological Association.

Ferrari, J. R. (1991). Self-Handicapping by Procrastinators: Protecting Self-Esteem,. Journal of Research In {erspma;otu, 245-261.

Procrastination. (2015). Retrieved December 6, 2015, from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/procrastination






Dec 15

Optimism, Procrastination, and Being Late

According to Schneider, Gruman, and Cotts, an optimist is defined as someone who believes that good things are very likely to happen or that they have positive outcome expediencies which significantly influence both their thinking and their approach to the world. By this definition and many others, I would be considered an optimist.  It was hard being an optimist raised in a house of pessimists, but it got better when I moved in with my mom after high school; she is also an optimist.  According to a few recent articles, those of us that are optimists are prone to being late…for any and every function imaginable.  Most of the articles I’ve read quote management consultant Diana DeLonzor and she states, “a prevailing theory is that people who are always late are hard wired to be late. It doesn’t have to do with their ability to care about punctuality, it’s just that they always remain optimistic that they’ll have enough time to make it, no matter how much time is left.” This article from the Science World also states, “there are added benefits to being wired to be late such as being inherently hopeful about things. Even though people who are always late don’t meet deadlines as effectively, they always remain hopeful that they will and that gives them a boost to do so. This hope reduces stress, strengthens your immune system and lessens the risk of cardiovascular disease. This leads to an over all longer lifespan as well.”  After reading this article and others like it, I have a clearer understanding of why I always tend to run 15 mins behind, why my mother does as well (but not my father or sisters), and why I can’t seem to meet some of my deadlines; I just feel that I have time to accomplish it ALL, in a timely manner, when in fact I’m not actually superwoman. Not only does it explain why I’m late, but it explains my attitude towards being late; some people complain to me about my punctuality, but I just shrug it off, smile, and keep going about my “I can do it all” attitude.

Another article by Elite Daily adds to what info these other articles offer by stating, “They believe they can fit more tasks into a limited amount of time more than other people and thrive when they’re multitasking. Simply put, they’re fundamentally hopeful. While this makes them unrealistic and bad at estimating time, it also pays off in the long-run in other ways.”  I believe this trait of bad time management generally leads to procrastination and even self-serving strategies.  In a study titled “The Relationship of Procrastination and Optimism to Judgments of Time to Complete an Essay and Anticipation of Setbacks” by C.H. Lay it reveals, “that the normal response to a perceived discrepancy between current behavior and goals is to reduce the discrepancy by changing one’s behavior.  This would be less so for the procrastinator.  Further, Carver and Scheier have indicated that optimists, faced with difficulties in reducing the discrepancy, would be more likely to renew their efforts at discrepancy reduction than would pessimists.  Where these difficulties deal with time constraints, however, this may not be the case with the optimistic procrastinator.  As we have seen, under typical conditions, such a student tends to underestimate the time needed to complete an essay.  By underestimating the time needed, the optimistic procrastinator may re-define the problem and remove the discrepancy without the need for renewed effort, at least in the short term.  Although optimism may be beneficial, in combination with procrastinatory predispositions it may have negative consequences.  Such a combination can lead to further procrastination.”  For the most part I agree with what the results of this research reveal, that optimistic views and procrastination don’t bode well for one’s academic career, but I don’t think that people are optimistic or pessimistic and a procrastinator or not a procrastinator.  I think that people who are optimistic tend to have procrastination tendencies and if they don’t, they have fought very hard to not be.  We usually tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete a task, feel that we can complete more tasks in a set amount of time then time will actually allow, as well as tend to say yes to most opportunities that present themselves to us, even if we’re already in a time crunch.  And we’ll do this because in addition to the fact that we like to experience as many things as possible, we still believe we can get everything done by their respective deadlines.  So this means that we’ll say yes to helping a friend in a time of need, even if that means having three less hours to complete an assignment, because we just figure we can still get the assignment done, it’ll just take us less time.  Fortunately and unfortunately, this leads us to using self-serving strategies.  If that assignment we had three less hours to complete comes back with a less than stellar grade (or what we believe we should have received), we can now say that it was because we didn’t have enough time due to helping our friend.  So we can blame it on our friend or the fact that if we had been able to put more effort or time into it, we could’ve gotten a better grade.  However, we never blame ourselves for saying no or our lack of poor time management. We, “don’t sweat over the small stuff,” and, “concentrate on the big picture and see the future as full of infinite possibilities,” according to the Elite Daily article.

How I see it though is, it is what it is. As long as my not so awesome time management skills and “can’t say no” attitude doesn’t make me fail or affect my health, then it’s okay. What’s so wrong with being a little late but remaining a good student, good friend, good family member, and good person?  If I can do all these things, just a little slow, then it’s all good to me; all part of the positiveness I guess.


Haltiwanger, J. (2015, June 30). Optimistic People All Have One Thing In Common: They’re Always Late. Retrieved from Elite Daily: http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/optimistic-people-have-one-thing-common-always-late/1097735/

Lay, C. H. (1988). The relationship of procrastination and optimism to judgments of time to complete an essay and anticipation of setbacks. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 3(3), 201-214.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Yousuf. (2015, July 7). Science Says If You Are An Optimist, You’ll Be Late For Everything. Retrieved from Science World: http://www.thescienceworld.com/science-says-if-you-are-an-optimist-youll-be-late-for-everything/

Dec 15

Bullying in the Education System

Bullying has always been an issue facing kids in school but it seems that nowadays it is becoming more prevalent and violent than ever. The skinny awkward boy who gets his books knocked over walking from the bus, or his lunch money stolen, and everyone thinks it’s a big joke. This torture continues for this child day in and day out with increasing cruelty and the child says nothing to anyone for fear of ever increasing retaliation. He becomes sullen and withdrawn. He doesn’t have friends. He stays indoors doing homework. Sometimes he can hide his outward bruises from his Mom. But his bruises inside never heal. She asks him if everything is ok and he says, ” yeah.” Next year he has braces and pimples and the torture gets even worse. The bullying is unbearable.  He has to find different ways of getting to school. He stays later in the afternoon to avoid the bad kids. They find him in the lunchroom and take his lunch. They drag him to the boys room and flush his head in the toilet. He does nothing. He goes to his next class.

When this boy turns 16 his mom finds him hanging in his closet. Why did this happen? How could this happen? Did no one see? Could no one stop this? He leaves a note saying he couldn’t take the bullying anymore. He had no friends. He felt worthless. What types of children are these that could be so cruel and ruthless as to kill the spirit of another human being so deeply that it would move him to commit suicide or to gun down others as in the case of Columbine? But this is realty.  These things happen. And something needs to be done. The target of these attacks are usually boys.  Girls are usually lees aggressive in their bullying.  They usually are more verbally vindictive and spread lies and rumors, posting nasty things on the internet via Facebook or other social media. There needs to be a strong social psychology intervention program developed and implemented nationwide throughout the education system to eliminate this horrific bullying. There must be zero tolerance. The kids who are bullies need to be held accountable for their actions in some way so they can understand the brevity of what they are doing.

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