Reviewed Books & Films

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November 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Does Money Buy Happiness? Do Psychologists Have Anything to Say About the Question?

APA In his critique of Bruno Frey's book Happiness: A Revolution in Economics, psychologist Robert Biswas-Diener notes that "Perhaps the most frequently asked question related to happiness is 'Does money buy happiness?'" He then notes that "By and large, the simple answer to the question of money and happiness is that, yes, income does seem associated in a relatively small but significant way with happiness."

He goes on to note that "Frey's discussion will be welcome to those who have long believed in the legitimacy of happiness research and will foment debate among those who don't. In either case, Frey is correct: Happiness is a topic that will bring together psychologists, sociologists, and economists."

Is the relationship between money and happiness always (modestly) positive? Is this a legitimate area for psychological research? What studies in this emerging research area are the most convincing?

Read the Review
ReviewThe New (Smiley) Face of Economics
By Robert Biswas-Diener
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(47)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are Teachers Reading PsycCRITIQUES?

APA I [James H. Korn] recently reviewed Ludy Benjamin's collection of Favorite Activities for the Teaching of Psychology. I am wondering how many teachers are reading PsycCRITIQUES, not just for books about teaching, but, more importantly to broaden their knowledge base.

Can you provide examples of reviews that were useful in preparing lectures or learning activities?

Read the Review
ReviewGood Ideas for Active Learning
By James H. Korn
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(43)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Humor: Can It Be at Home at Work?

APA Richard Harvey opens his book review: "At first thought, it seems hard to take a book about having fun seriously. However, the authors of The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up make a compelling case for the necessity of levity (i.e., "lightening up") in the workplace." This book is among recent literature in I/O psychology that explores the connection between corporate affect and individual affect. The potential outcomes of successfully adding levity to the workplace that the book authors Adrian Gostick and Scott Christoper discuss include increased respect and trust for leadership, better physical and mental health for employees, more innovation, and increased organizational and individual profitability. Harvey mentions,

Several organizations with household names like Nike, Boeing, Nextel, Qwest, Yamaha, U.S. Bank, and Dairy Queen use humor strategies that include having employees participate in game shows, carnivals, and movie outings. Furthermore, many of these organizations are beginning to institutionalize having fun into their core operations and human resource processes. For example, some of them are beginning to make "having a sense of humor" a competency to hire and train their executives around.
Are there any of these elements of levity where you work? This book is written more for the organizational practitioner, and Harvey says, "academicians and other cerebral types are likely to find themselves befuddled with the 'yes, buts' as they attempt to sniff out the moderators and mediators between levity and its attributed outcomes," but what might those moderators and mediators be?

Read the Review
ReviewHaving Fun at Work Is Serious Business
By Richard D. Harvey
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(41)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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