Sarb Johal

Sarb Johal is a clinical and health psychologist with too many interests for the time he has available. He has looked at cloning as a solution but is yet to find a worthy collaborator. One of his roles is as Associate Professor in Disaster Mental Health in the School of Psychology, Massey University. Other hats include; host and producer of the Who cares? What’s the point? podcast, and regular contributor as a parenting commentator on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon.

How ‘capitalism with a human face’ can influence mental health reform - The Psychology Report

Oct 24, 2017

This is an exciting time: a new Labour – NZ First Government, with support from the Green Party, with new leadership focused on how “capitalism must regain its human face”. This people and environment-centred Government will also rightly be focused on addressing the mental health problems and misery experienced by many in New Zealand, and setting policy to address this. We know that the underfunded health system has not been coping with increased demand for mental health services for far too long. Since 2007/08, there’s been a 60 per cent increase in people accessing mental health services, but funding increases have been less than half of that over the same period. The rate of youth suicide in New Zealand is the highest in the developed world, as reported by the OECD. A recent report looks at how well countries perform … Read More

How to talk about Manchester (and other terror attacks) - The Psychology Report

May 24, 2017

I’ve been asked by a few people about how to talk about the terrible bombing attack in Manchester yesterday, especially with children and young people. Or even whether to talk about it at all. People are also wondering how they themselves should talk or act about this, as parents, grandparents teachers etc. So I thought I’d put this quick blog post together.  We are connected to media 24/7 and often have the belief more information will help us piece together a situation. However, the news agenda can be very negative, especially after an event like this. It’s important to remember we have a choice in how much it’s helpful to expose ourselves – and our children – to bad news. There’s only so much information that’s going to make it any more understandable. Children take their cue from … Read More

How to tell the difference between fact and fiction on a ‘post-truth’ internet - The Psychology Report

May 16, 2017

“Right now we have a health hazard to democratic functioning.” Those are the words of Professor Sam Wineberg of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University in the United States, my guest on this edition of The Psychology Report.  You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Professor Weinberg and his colleagues have been looking at the sorts of errors that we can make when looking at information sources and how we establish whether they are true or not. His findings are worrying – and surprising – and raise big questions about how we use the internet and the devices we use to access it, or indeed how we may be being used by others through these devices and interfaces we access to use the internet and the … Read More

Mapping the link between biodiversity and wellbeing – NatureBuzz - The Psychology Report

Apr 24, 2017

In this week’s Psychology Report I talked with Laurie Parma from the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge in England, about Nature Buzz (iTunes / Android)- the new research application they have developed to explore the links between nature and well-being.     Have a read of this conversation to understand more about who should care and what the point of this research is. I started by asking Laurie why she got interested in this link between human behaviour and the environments in which we live. Laurie Parma:   So, basically our project of building this app that connects human well-being and and biodiversity is based on two facts in nature. The first one is that green spaces foster greater human well-being and this is a fact that has been quite well … Read More

Sleep paralysis – more common than you might think - The Psychology Report

Apr 07, 2017

In this week’s Psychology Report, I talked with Associate Professor Dr Brian Sharpless of the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Northern Virginia, USA. Brian is interested in unusual disorders, and for this show, we are talking about sleep paralysis. You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Brian has been interested in the phenomenon of sleep paralysis for some time and we talked about the history and explanations of sleep paralysis, how common it is, and what can be done about it. I started with asking Brian how he became interested in this in the first place. BS: Yeah, it kind of happened by chance. I mean, being a skeptic, if you look at the history of skeptics we often times look at a lot of … Read More

How do emojis change our communication? - The Psychology Report

Apr 03, 2017

In this Psychology Report, I talked with Dr Michael Philipp of Massey University School of Psychology here in New Zealand. Michael and his students are interested in how emoji and emoticons are used in computer based communication – so, those emails tweets and Facebook posts – that kind of thing. You can listen to the podcast as well as reading our conversation below.     I start by asking Michael how we became interested in this in the first place. MP: My background is out of communication studies, and in communication one of the things I became really interested in was the extent to which a lot of the cues we use to behave and interact with other people are non-verbal cues. A lot of our emotional intentions but also our social intentions are communicating non-verbally and … Read More

What creeps us out? - The Psychology Report

Mar 27, 2017

Now, creepy is a phrase you may have been hearing a lot more over the last two or three years, and often it’s used in the context of unwanted advances – usually by a male after a female. But, creepy can also be used to describe things or places, such as a house, or an area that people are not really so keen to explore – but we don’t really understand the concept of creepy all that well because there’s actually been surprisingly little research done on this concept. In this Psychology Report, I talk with Professor Frank McAndrew at Knox College in Illinois, USA, and we get into the concept of creepy and how he studied it in this paper.  You can listen to the podcast as well as reading our conversation below. SJ: I started off by … Read More

Quality of relationships matter for fathers and their children’s development - The Psychology Report

Mar 20, 2017

In this Psychology Report, I talk with Associate Professor Claire Vallotton from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Michigan State University in the USA, about father’s parenting stress and its relationship to cognitive and language development in toddlers. This interview is based on the findings of this paper, and you can listen to the podcast as well as reading our conversation below.     SJ:      In this transcript of the second show of Season 1 of “Who cares? What’s the point?” , I talked with Associate Professor Claire Vallotton at Michigan State University. In this conversation we talk about the effects of fathers’ parenting stress on children’s language and cognitive development – which is unusual in a few ways. Firstly, because we know quite a bit about mothers’ parenting stress but less so about fathers … Read More

What effect could climate change have on human aggression? - The Psychology Report

Mar 13, 2017

In this Psychology Report, I talk with Dr Matt Williams from the School of Psychology at Massey University in New Zealand about the possible link between climate change and violence levels, based on this paper. You can listen to the original podcast here, as well as reading our conversation below.   Sarb Johal:   In this first show of the Season 1, I have a conversation with Matt Williams of the School of Psychology at Massey University here in New Zealand. Now Matt and his colleagues are interested in the idea that anthropogenic climate change might lead to more aggressive behaviour becoming more common. We know that there seems to be a link between behaviour and short-term variations in temperature particularly aggressive behaviour, but what happens if this temperature change is sustained over a period of time … Read More