Borderline Personality: What is it? Could Your Cell Phone Help Deal With It?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a difficult disorder to understand and treat. Briefly, people who suffer from BPD tend to have a heightened sensitivity to rejection. When they feel that they are being rejected they can react with strong feelings of anger. Their emotions can be very intense and vary widely during the day. This can also make their relationships very unstable. They can also be very impulsive. However, a recent fascinating piece of research used a mobile device and what’s called an “experience sampling” technique to gain further insight into what it is like to have BPD. In this episode I discuss that research and then wonder what else we might be able to learn as our mobile devices become even more powerful.

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Episode 140: Psychoanalyzing Jack Lalanne

In this episode I put Jack Lalanne "on the couch". I take selections from several of his videos and see what they reveal about his personality. He was clearly passionate about exercise, but what drove this passion? What was his underlying motivation? I suggest that his relationship with his father was crucial to his passion for exercise and fitness. Join me as I do a little armchair psychoanalysis of Jack Lalanne.


Episode 129 (video): Science Shows Superstitions Actually Work! Sort of…


Okay, admit it – you have some kind of lucky charm on you, in your car or in your house. And if you participate in any sport or performance activity you have some sort of ritual that you believe will help make you more successful. Well guess what – there is research to show that such charms and rituals really do help you perform better. Find out how in this episode of The Psych Files.

Resources on Superstitions

  • Damisch, L., Stoberock, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). Keep your fingers crossed! How superstition improves performance. Psychological Science, 21, 7, 1014-1020.
  • "Fingers Crossed" summarized on Science Daily
  • "Fingers Crossed" summarized by U.S. News
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  • Buhrmann, H.G., & Zaugg, M.K. (1981). Superstitions among basketball players: An investigation of various forms of superstitious beliefs and behavior among competitive basketballers at the junior high school to university level. Journal of Sport Behavior, 4, 163–174.
  • Darke, P.R., & Freedman, J.L. (1997). Lucky events and beliefs in
    luck: Paradoxical effects on confidence and risk-taking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 378–388.
  • Day, L., & Maltby, J. (2003). Belief in good luck and psychological well-being: The mediating role of optimism and irrational beliefs. The Journal of Psychology, 137, 99–110.
  • Day, L., & Maltby, J. (2005). “With good luck”: Belief in good luck and cognitive planning. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1217–1226.
  • Gilovich, T. (1991). How we know what isn’t so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. New York: Free Press.
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  • Keinan, G. (1994). Effects of stress and tolerance of ambiguity on magical thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 48–55.
  • Lobmeyer, D., & Wasserman, E.A. (1986). Preliminaries to free throw shooting: Superstitious behavior? Journal of Sport Behavior, 9, 70–78.
  • Shah, J. (2003). Automatic for the people: How representations of significant others implicitly affect goal pursuit. Journal of Per- sonality and Social Psychology, 84, 661–681.
  • Whitson, J.A., & Galinsky, A.D. (2008). Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science, 322, 115–117.

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Episode 127 (video): Phrenology: Maybe They Were On To Something


Everyone can picture one of those phrenology heads with personality traits drawn into different sections of the cranium (you’ll find a bunch of them on this phrenology site). Was there anything to that? Well, not exactly. However, with the use of MRI scans researchers today may have located about where certain personality traits lie in your brain. Travel with me into a 3D brain and let’s find out where your personality may lie.

The Big Five Personality Traits

One of the most popular theories of personality is the so-called Big Five personality traits. Here is a list of those traits along with what we know as to where they may reside in your brain.

  • Openness – dorsolateral PFC, anterior PFC, anterior parietal cortex (research was inconclusive on this personality factor)
  • Conscientiousness – Lateral Profrontal Cortex
  • Extraversion – Orbitofrontal Cortex, Nucleus Accumbens, Amygdala
  • Agreeableness – superior temporal sulcus, posterior cingulate cortex
  • Neuroticism – Medial prefrontal cortex, Amygdala, Hippocampus