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Conscientiousness: More Important Than You Think

If you are ambitious in the workplace, new research suggests that you will more likely achieve your goals if you have a spouse who is also conscientious.

Several previous studies have examined how personality predicts workplace success. One such project, by Paul Sackett and Philip Walmsley and published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, used the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality traits— neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness—to examine which of these traits companies value most when hiring. Conscientiousness is at the top of most companies’ lists, but Sackett and Walmsley wanted to see whether this was really the best indicator of employees’ future success.

It turns out that it is. After examining the relationship between personality traits and three work performance criteria— whether an employee is able to complete their work to satisfaction, how often an employee goes above and beyond at work, and how often they engage in negative behaviors—conscientiousness topped the list of traits needed to accomplish these goals, with agreeableness being a close second.

Now a study out of Washington University in St. Louis reveals even more about how important conscientiousness may be to workplace success: you have an increased chance of achieving greater goals in your career if your spouse is also conscientious.

Brittany Solomon and Joshua Jackson examined more than 4,500 heterosexual married participants to measure the effect their spouse’s personality has on their own job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of being promoted. The researchers used the FFM personality traits as their guide.

Their work revealed that job satisfaction, pay increases, and promotions were all more likely for those people who had a spouse (male or female) with high scores on one particular personality trait: conscientiousness.

“Our findings indicate that highly conscientious partners help improve their spouses’ occupational success, as measured by job satisfaction, income, and promotion. This benefit does not arise from partners doing their spouses’ work; rather, it is due to partners creating conditions that allow their spouses to work effectively,” Solomon and Jackson reported.

A short video by TouchVision gives an entertaining explanation of their findings.

What personality traits do you think are most important in an employee?

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eating disorder

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, February 22-28, 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But an image is not always a true representation of reality. From Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr to fashion magazines and reality shows, we are bombarded with images that have been created, filtered, manipulated, and staged. And it’s often very difficult to sift through what’s real and what’s not.

This is precisely why Dove began its Campaign for Real Beauty—to start a global discussion surrounding the definition of real beauty. It first conducted a study titled “The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report,” which revealed that less than 2% of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful. In a Dove Real Sketches video, participants were asked to describe themselves to an artist, who drew them behind a curtain, using only their descriptions of themselves as a guide. Then the same women returned to describe fellow participants. The difference between the two drawings was astonishing, and it revealed how hard we are on ourselves versus how others see us.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 30 million people will be affected by an eating disorder during their lifetime. A full 69% of American school-age girls who read magazines say that the pictures they see influence how their concept of an ideal body shape. Boys are also affected, and largely because of cultural bias and stereotypes, they are much less likely to seek treatment. In addition, teen athletes are more at risk of developing an eating disorder or having a negative body image.

It is daunting to compete with society and media, so the NEDA has developed an Educator’s Toolkit to help those in schools reach out to students suffering from an eating disorder. It covers everything from myths surrounding these disorders (e.g., that eating disorders are a choice; p. 6) to school strategies for assisting these students (p. 11). NEDA also has a Feeding Hope Fund, which grants funding to researchers who are seeking out new ways to combat this illness.

Some of the most groundbreaking work has been done related to connecting genetics to eating disorders, according to Amy Novotny in an article published in the American Psychological Association publication the Monitor. One study by Kelly Klump in Psychological Medicine demonstrates that heritability influences disordered eating most when estrogen levels are highest, and another suggests that in some females, bulimia may be hard-wired.

Organizations like Project Heal are contributing to the healing process in a different way: the organization, started by two women who suffered from eating disorders, provides scholarship funding for those who can’t afford treatment. And still others are trying innovative interventions, including art therapy and yoga, which could encourage participants to view their bodies in a more compassionate way.

The NEDA Web site offers a plethora of resources, including a resource page with contact information and a helpline (1-800-931-2237) for those who may know someone who suffers from an eating disorder. Visit NEDA’s Get Involved page to learn more about how to raise awareness.

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orlando2

Get Ready, Orlando: PAR at NASP 2015!

Are you attending the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) 2015 Annual Convention? Make sure you stop by the PAR booth (#500) to preview some of the products we will be introducing this year, including the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) and the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™). Take advantage of special preorder pricing on these products, plus our special NASP discount of 15% off and free shipping on all orders placed at the convention!

Also, we will be demonstrating some of our newest tools to help school psychologists, like our interactive Training Portal, our newly updated PAR Toolkit app, and PARiConnect.

Three PAR authors will be presenting at NASP 2015, as well. Check your program to verify times and confirm locations:

  • On Wednesday, February 18, from 3:00 to 4:50 p.m. ET, Cecil Reynolds, PhD, will present, “The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales-2 (RIAS-2): Development, Psychometrics, Applications, and Interpretation.”
  • On Thursday, February 19, from 10:00 to 11:20 a.m. ET, Steven Feifer, DEd, will present, “Integrating RTI with Cognitive Neuropsychology: A Scientific Approach to Reading.”
  • On Thursday, February 19, from 12:00 to 1:50 p.m. ET, Peter K. Isquith, PhD, will present, “Identifying Executive Function Intervention Targets and Measuring Outcomes.”

Hope to see you in Orlando!

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463181773

Feed your head: Reading a good book improves brain function

Most of us can remember reading a book that changed our lives. Whether it was a comforting childhood favorite, a college assignment that surprised or shocked us, or a novel that resonated at a particular stage in our adult lives, books clearly have the power to change our thinking and expand our points of view.

Taking it a step further, recent research from Emory University suggests that the act of reading a novel produces measurable changes in the brain itself, specifically, improvements in resting-state connectivity that can persist for days after reading.

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically,” said neuroscientist and lead author Gregory Berns in a recent interview with Emory University’s eScience Commons online newsletter.

The study was published last month in the journal Brain Connectivity. Emory students—twelve women and nine men—participated in the experiment, which was conducted over a 19-day period. The students read Pompeii, a novel by Robert Harris based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy. For the first five days, participants came in each morning for a baseline scan of their brains using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) device. Starting on the sixth day, they were asked to read a section of the novel each evening and come in the following morning for another fMRI scan. After completing all nine sections of the novel, the participants returned for five more mornings to undergo additional scans in a resting state. On the mornings following the reading assignments, the participants showed heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area associated with receptivity for language, and in the central sulcus, the primary sensory motor region of the brain. “Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity,” Berns says. “We call that a ‘shadow activity,’ almost like a muscle memory.” The neural changes persisted not only in the morning after the reading but also for five days after participants completed the novel. “It remains an open question how long these neural changes might last,” Berns says. “But the fact that we’re detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain.”

This study may have implications for counselors and educators who work with developing readers; the benefits of focused reading time may extend to the brain itself, helping to improve a student’s “wiring” and therefore his or her receptivity to other learning.

What do you think? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

 

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denver

PAR Is Headed to Denver!

The International Neuropsychological Society (INS) annual conference is taking place in Denver, Colorado, February 4-7 this week. Founded in 1967, the organization now has more than 4,700 members, whose mission is to study the relationship between the brain and behavior throughout the life span.

PAR has a booth at the conference, and we would love to see you! Stop by to check out some of our top neuropsychological assessments like the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function® (BRIEF®), which assesses executive function in children and adolescents and provides multiple perspectives by getting feedback from both parents and teachers.

In addition, get a first peek at our newest memory assessment, the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™), specifically designed for children, adolescents, and young adults. It uses common, real-life scenarios and colorful, developmentally appropriate stimuli that are engaging and relevant to young examinees.

If you place an order at the conference, we’ll give you 15% off plus free shipping and handling.

We can’t wait to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones, so please stop by and say hello!

 

 

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laptop hands2

Simplify Your Assessment Process With PARiConnect

Make 2015 the year you try PARiConnect.

PARiConnect is an online tool that allows you to easily administer, score, and obtain interpretations for more than 50 of your favorite PAR instruments.

PARiConnect broadens your administration and reporting options by allowing you to choose when, where, and how to get the results you need—with no new hardware or additional equipment required. Easy to use, flexible, and secure, PARiConnect will change the way you practice.

Plus, PARiConnect has new features to make online assessment even easier. Manage large numbers of accounts, clinicians, and clients; import and export data in large batches; and capture the current status of inventory and reallocate uses.

We will even teach you how to use it!

Register now for a free, live Webinar that will help you become better acquainted with this dynamic assessment platform.

Join our Webinar on Thursday, January 29 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET or 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET. Space is limited. Register today!

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PAR Pays It Forward

Each year, we send a note or a small gift to our Customers at Thanksgiving to thank them for their business during the year. This year, when reflecting on how fortunate we have been as a company, we decided we wanted to pay that good fortune forward.  In lieu of sending gifts, we decided to use those funds to support a worthy cause. This past November, we sent a postcard to select Customers and asked them to choose their favorite charitable organization from a list as a way to acknowledge them and their work.

Now that results have been tallied, PAR is proud to announce that on behalf of its Customers, a $5,000 donation will be made to both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Wounded Warrior Project.

“We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and these organizations inspire them,” stated R. Bob Smith III, PhD, Chairman and CEO. “It is an honor to be able to pay it forward to the ASPCA and the Wounded Warrior Project on behalf of our Customers.”

The Pay it Forward campaign will be an annual program to benefit worthy charities and to thank you, our Customers, for your business.

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New year? New catalog!

coverThe PAR January catalog is on its way to your mailbox. No need to wait for the mail truck to make its daily delivery—sneak a peek at the e-catalog to preview what’s in store for 2015!

Enjoy perusing your online or paper catalog—and thank you for being a PAR Customer!

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178497284

A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: The Final Installment

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, today is her last day before retirement. Throughout the week, we have shared stories, memories, and well wishes. Today, we share two final well wishes here.

Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year's United Way kickoff event.

Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year’s United Way kickoff event.

What an honor it is to propose a toast to Cynthia!

I’m sure you have all heard many stories about her along the way. And it’s stories like these and countless others that epitomize the wonderful nature and contribution that Cynthia has made to PAR.

We are indeed fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Cynthia’s expertise, work ethic, and commitment.  She has achieved countless goals and accolades — too many to mention now.

Cynthia has left a remarkable legacy behind and one which will remain with us for years to come. She is leaving PAR a better place than when she found it, and that, in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to her professionalism.

We will miss our colleague, a consummate professional, a confidant, a friend, a wise counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a leader, and indeed a lady of note.

Remember us fondly and may the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness and even more dreams achieved. This is our wish for you as we say “so long,” but not farewell.

-Vicki King, Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO

 

In addition to leading the best Customer Support Department in the test publishing industry,  Cynthia has been such an important part of  PAR’s annual United Way Campaign.  Not only has she been a faithful donor at the Leadership level, but she has also been a creative influence in the planning of fun-filled activities and unique decorations for PAR’s United Way week each September. We will miss her positive spirit, suggestions, and involvement as we plan future United Way activities. 

Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year's United Way campaign.

Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year’s United Way campaign.

“The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.” 

-Pablos Casals

Thanks to Cynthia for caring about her Customers, her fellow staff members, and her community!

-Cathy Smith, Vice President Community Relations

Cynthia, we wish you the best in retirement!

 

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178497284

A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: Part 3

After 32 years, tomorrow is Cynthia's last day at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia!

Bob and Cathy Smith with Cynthia during the early days at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia!

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

Cynthia taught me the “PAR way,” which is about doing things the right way—being friendly, reliable, and thorough.  She made sure that we always remember that Customer Service is our most important product. Keeping that goal in focus is vital to PAR’s success, and it’s what separates us from our competitors. Most importantly, she taught me that little details matter and the only perception that matters is the Customer’s perception.  Thanks for everything!

-Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support

 

I knew from my first contact with Cynthia that I had encountered both an exceptional person and company. Although I have worked for less than a year in Cynthia’s department, I have enjoyed every moment together and am consistently astounded at how wonderful a team she has put together at PAR. I am confident her influence will continue to radiate through our team and the rest of the company. She will be missed dearly!

-Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist

 

Cynthia has shown me the true meaning of Customer Service. If our Customers are not happy, then we need to work on ways to fix it. I admire her dedication to our Customers and their satisfaction.

-Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist

 

In just a few days, I will be celebrating my 21st work anniversary at PAR. Without Cynthia, it won’t be the same. Cynthia has not only been my supervisor all this time, but she has been a source of encouragement, a shining example of professionalism, and a friend. In all this time, I have had the privilege of working for her, learning from her, and sharing with her in an effort to build and train a team that provides the best Customer Service in the test publishing industry. We will miss her so much, but will never forget what she has taught us. We remain committed to carrying on her legacy through our never-ending commitment to Customer Service.

-Tamara Dwoskin, Customer Service Quality Assurance Manager

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