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Psychology Research...Unraveled


P.I.E. Blog


The Best Football Move Made Off the Field

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM Comments comments (17)
Would you give up a pro football career to go back to school after you already obtained a bachelors degree? I don't know many people who would--until now.

Mryon Rolle, former Florida State University safety, has made the decision to leave the National Football League to go back to school and pursue a medical degree. Rolle, who is retiring from the league--yes, retiring from the league--at the age of 26, has expressed an interest in becoming a neurosurgeon.

This doesn't come as too much of a surprise, though. After receiving the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship during his senior year in college, Rolle took a year off of football to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. This move was an indication that he was more interested in what his mind could do than what his body could.

He might not have been an uber-star on the football field during his time with the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers, but he gets mega psychological kudos for making this move. Very few people know how difficult it is to drop what you know and do something totally new because they don't do it. As people, we tend to stick to what we know, even if it isn't working for us or even if we aren't happy, to avoid failure, rejection and negative feelings like fear and anxiety. Remember that this man has a paycheck rolling in every two weeks, and he has decided that getting paid isn't as important as fulfilling his calling.

It's clear that Rolle probably won't be the typical broke student. Hopefully, he has saved a considerable amount of his football income, and he will probably receive a full scholarship to hmmm any medical school in America (my vote is for Temple University Medical School). However, this is still a risky, ballsy move.

It's a breath of fresh air to see someone who recognizes his own potential and refuses to sell himself short. Most people wouldn't consider playing in the NFL "selling oneself short." However, if you have the intelligence of a neurosurgeon and the skills to match, you should be a neurosurgeon, not a safety in the NFL.

Wonder how fulfilled we would all be if, like Rolle, we gave up the safety position and started tackling our true calling?

Psychology IEverywhere!

Does Kobe Bryant Have a Personality Disorder?

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM Comments comments (86)
If you are a pro basketball fan, then you know that the NBA Playoffs started on Saturday, April 20th. If you followed the Los Angeles Lakers this season, then you know that Kobe Bryant is out with a tear of his Achilles tendon.

In an effort to continue to support or harass (depending on how you look at it) his teammates, Bryant took to Twitter yesterday during Game 1 of the Lakers series with the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant's tweets included the following pieces of "insight:"

It looks like his coach, Mike D'Antoni, wasn't impressed with Bryant's newly developed electronic coaching system. During the after game press conference, D'Antoni attempted to explain the Lakers 91-79 loss only to be met with questions about Bryant's tweets. His response (with eyes a'rollin):  "It's great to have that commentary. He's a fan right now. You guys put a little bit more importance on that kind of fan. But he's a fan. He wants to be part of it, so that's good."

Even though D'Antoni said, "it's great," it's clearly not. From the sarcastic tone and body language to his facial expression and eye roll, everything about the situation indicated that this was just another instance of Bryant's inability to stay in his lane.

When a psychologist looks at Bryant's pattern of behavior and considers what other coaches and teammates have said about working with him, it is hard not to label him as a Type A personality.

Type A personality is not considered a personality disorder or any other mental disorder. Rather, it is a unique set of personality characteristics that has been found in a lot of people, particularly very successful people. 

Type A personalities have three over-arching characteristics. They are highly competitive, impatient and hostile.


Highly Competitive
Like other basketball greats, Bryant wants to be the best and strives to live up to that expectation. Clearly he enjoys the challenge of competition, even when he is competing against himself. His perfectionistic tendencies drive him to "do it until it's right." From the standpoint of work ethic, he's any coach's dream.

Unfortunately, not everybody is driven the same way. Type A personalities tend to think that the only way that you can be successful is to have a perfectionistic attitude and get quite annoyed with others who don't respond to challenges in similar ways as they. This was evident in his relationship with Dwight Howard for the majority of the 2012-2013 basketball season. 

When you are a leader, you are expected to meet your followers where they are and help them get to higher plains. Some people respond well to being pushed to frustration. Others don't. A team leader should have enough interpersonal intelligence to know what techniques work with whom and use the appropriate techniques to bring out the best in others. Bryant only knows one way to be successful. 

Type A personalities want what they want and now. They tend to get snappy with others when things are too long, even when those things are out of anyone's control. This may not always been helpful when leading a team.

Sure, you want your team to get it and get it now; after all, you have a goal in mind. However, being impatient doesn't move things long any faster. In fact, sometimes a Type A personality's  impatience facilitates an unconscious rebellion in others that makes them move slower.

You don't often see Type A personalities lose control like you would if you were watching Latrell Sprewell or Rasheed Wallace; they have too much self control for that. However, they are just as hostile. They are typically passive aggressive. In other words, they make aggressive remarks and engage in aggressive behaviors in very passive ways.

If you want to see a Type A personality get passive aggressive, just make them fail at something. Anything. It doesn't take long for them to get irritated and anger follows very shortly after irritation. Psychologists would call this low frustration tolerance. Some people can actually tolerate ambiguity and frustration without getting irritated for extended periods of time, but not Type A personalities.


If you want a winning team, whether it's planning a fashion show or winning a basketball tournament, you want to Type A personality on your team because they will give 100% and won't stop until the job is done. However, if you are interested in team cohesion and a sense of oneness on your team, won't be able to achieve that with a Type A personality on the team. They typically don't play well in the sandbox with others and don't have many friends.

You have to admire Bryant's passion. But it's clear that Bryant, like other Type A personalities, can't sit back and let someone else do his job (like the coach) because they tend to think that they could do it better. It's obvious that D'Antoni was annoyed with the question and the behavior that precipitated the question. If this wasn't evident in his body language, it was certainly evident in his reference to Kobe Bryant, a paid employee of the Lakers since 1996, as "a fan." 

And, it true songbird fashion, Bryant responded, 

Despite his hard coaching work yesterday, Bryant seemed to get the hint that he may have distracted his team, not supported them and tweeted,

Psychology IEverywhere!

Look! This Man Just Won Two Women!

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM Comments comments (19)
A cyclist from Belgium got some heat for his tasteless and crude gesture over the weekend at the Tour of Flanders in Belgium. By the look of things, Peter Sagan is a loser in more ways than one. 

As Fabian Cancellara stands on the winners podium in first place with women on each side of him, Sagan is caught squeezing the derrière of the woman to his left. Evidently, he isn't the best cyclist or the best at understanding that you can't touch other people's bodies without permission. 

Aside from this display of immaturity at its best, a deeper concern is why these women put themselves in the position to be seen as prizes to be won. Come on, if the two men in the picture weren't in typical cycling attire, you would think that the winner won the two women, not a sporting event.

So, the question is 'why do women allow themselves to be used in this way?' It's one thing to have a job where your body is an expression of your art. For example, fashion models use their bodies to display designer's clothes. Singers use their bodies to physically express their song lyrics and actresses use their bodies to convey emotion without words. That's all par for the course. But what are the women in the picture using their bodies for? 

It's quite possible that these women are educated, smart, sophisticated, innovative women who run multi-million dollar companies, so why do they send the message that their greatest talent is their curves (or lack thereof depending on your culture)? Psychologically speaking, where do the self esteem levels lie of the nameless women who sign up for this?

The psychology of women is a huge aspect of psychology that bears its own website; however, one argument is that these women buy into the notion that their greatest asset is their perfectly-shaped bottom (the play on words here is way too obvious). 

Women should definitely buy into the idea that "if you have it, flaunt it." The question is, "What is it?" 

Psychology IEverywhere!