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November 26, 2022

 

“Blink” Review

Podcast-style review of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.

In his book, Gladwell goes into great detail about human psychology, diving into our adaptive unconscious.

He illustrates various scientific studies that help explain how we make certain conclusions in the blink of an eye and how those conclusions affect our judgment.

This book, with Gladwell’s creative and immersive illustration of the power of thinking without thinking, fascinated me.

I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those who are particularly interested in psychology and the innermost workings of how we think.


Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Stigma, What It Actually Is, and How To Be a Better Ally

Not many people know what dissociative identity disorder (DID/OSDD) is, as it is more commonly referred to by its misdemeanor, “multiple personality disorder. (MPD)”

It is an incredibly taboo subject, and very taboo to be an advocate and educated ally on this subject and for those with it. Knowing anything correct or proper about it, your information is ignored. This may be due to how, anything accurate about it, is not what the age-old narrative is, or tells us. In this narrative, we are told that DID is “the most mentally ill someone can be.” We are also told that these people are insane. The moment you learn that these people are simply living with a very complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) hopefully your inner narrative changes.

DID/OSDD forms in children between the ages of 5 and 10, and it forms due to a child repeatedly experiencing a traumatic experience. A child cannot cope, or process the horrors around them, leading them to develop another part, or identity, to deal with the ongoing trauma. (Mayo Clinic Staff) It is a defense mechanism. It is not insanity.

When new parts, (alters) form, the part they split from, or themselves, or neither, or both can carry the traumatic memory. In some systems (a person with DID/OSDD) there are specific types of alters to hold traumatic memories (these are called trauma holders or emotional parts (EP.)) Still, systems (excluding OSDD-1b systems) will experience memory gaps between alters. This is called dissociative amnesia. This is a simple concept to understand: when an alter is front (when an alter is present and interacting with the physical world) how is another alter who is not interacting with the physical world supposed to have the memory of the one who was/is interacting with the physical world? It is like if one friend out of your friend group went to a party and the rest did not go- obviously the person who went will remember the party, but the rest of the friend group would not know because they simply were not present. That is how memory gaps between alters works.

Alters come in many different types, and form to help one another deal with trauma. Types of alters includes, but are not limited to: child alters, adult alters, age sliders, protectors, gatekeepers, non-human alters, trauma holders, fictives, sexual alters, parental figure alters, normal parts, and persecutor alters.

Persecutor alters are where the “evil alter” stereotype comes from. Persecutors, like all other alters, form to protect the system, they just have their own way of doing so, and that is usually by being mean, rude, cold, and distant. It’s the same as individuals who become cold and closed off after trauma. However, persecutors are often “mean” to other alters, and do this as a way to protect the system. They may express distaste about a new friend another alter may have made because they are scared about what could happen with this new friend. They could worry this new friend might demonize them for being a system, or worry this new friend could be abusive. Persecutors can be very difficult to deal with, in some cases they may be more than just cold or rude, sometimes they can be cruel. Still, this is a type of defense mechanism to keep people away from the system. Many persecutor alters are not stuck as persecutor alters, after being around for a while, making friends, and being in a safe and loving environment they may become docile and warm up to people and other alters.

Systems are not dangerous. They are not insane. DID is not related to schizophrenia in any way. That being said, here are some ways you can be a better ally, whether you are a friend of a system, have never knowingly met one, or are a teacher who may eventually have a student with DID:

  • Be understanding of someone’s amnesia and memory gaps. Don’t pry and ask if they are a system just because they have amnesia. If you are a teacher, be understanding of why a student struggles in school as DID could possibly be a factor.
  • If someone around you is acting “younger” than their age, be patient, and kind. You may be working with a child alter or age slider. (Age regression also exists in individuals with other mental illnesses like C-PTSD and BPD.)
  • Do not use the term “multiple personality disorder,” as it is outdated. (The DSM-5 renamed it in 1994.)
  • Do not call Jeckle and Hyed-like characters schizophrenic. One, you’re talking about the wrong mental illness. Two, you’re demonizing systems and individuals on the schizophrenia spectrum.
  • Do not ask people who experience the symptoms of DID if they’re a system.
  • Do not pry for information about a system unless they give the “OK” to ask questions.
  • If someone tells you that they are a system, don’t go about telling others without the system’s permission.

If you are wondering why I give little to no citation for any of this, it is because I know a handful of individuals on the DID/OSDD spectrum. What they say, and what I have seen is much more informational and accurate than articles that may have been written by someone who has never spoken to a system.

For more information please use websites/sources that are either overseen by a health professional or written by a system.

Here are some links to help you get more information if you are interested in being a better ally to systems:

https://dissociation-station.carrd.co/#ii (written by two systems)

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dissociative-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20355215 (written by a medical professional)


Xenogenders (and how they tie into the autistic and trans community)

We’ve all heard the infamous “I identify as an attack helicopter” joke, and usually, in reply, someone says something about how that is either homophobic or transphobic. However, comments like that are more like that of ableism, rather than homophobia or transphobia, considering the high correlation between autistic individuals and queer folk. Many of us, including myself, have a very fluid understanding of sexuality norms, as well as gender norms, many of us identify with things called micro labels or xenogenders. Hence the immature joke of “identifying as an attack helicopter.”

Why is this? Well, autistic individuals comply less with societal norms, like the gender binary, than neurotypicals. (Warrier et al.) That’s a pretty simple explanation, right? But there’s more than that. Think about the common stereotype of autistic children being “hypertensive” and targets for bullying. These two connected things can also be connected to autistic children developing childhood trauma. So, if you classify gender dysphoria as a mental illness then you can most certainly say that it can develop due to childhood trauma. I feel like this is especially prevalent in nonbinary autistic individuals because some of us do not experience binary dysphoria. “…often for gender dysphoria, a condition in which the ‘mismatch’ between gender identity and sex assigned at birth causes significant distress. That cohort doesn’t represent the full scope of gender-diverse people, says Aron Janssen, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois” (Dattaro)

Now of course arrogant people will always make “attack helicopter jokes” whether the trans individual is a nonbinary trans person or a binary trans person. And people will also always make these jokes not fully understanding what it means to identify outside the binary, let alone to identify with xenogenders. So what is a xenogender?

Xenogenders can be many things but are often a gender label that connects to something other than the concept of “male” “female” and even “nonbinary” (although they still fall under the nonbinary umbrella.) Some examples of these can be things like “lumenoir” a gender relating to golden coloured light and positive energy (coined by @sunshinesolaic on Tumblr) or papergender “a gender that feels thin, fragile/rippable, and smooth like a blank piece of paper.” (by @neopronouns on Tumblr.) Both of these, while being very different, have the theme of how something or a feeling ties into one’s experience with gender, whether it be how it directly ties into it (gender) or just a sort of “spiritual energy.” It’s important to recognize these as a very spiritual thing, and again, are not trying to be part of any binary, but rather simply exist on their own.

The autistic understanding of social norms, the autistic understanding of gender- our fluid understanding (or lack thereof) of gender leads to such a broad and spiritual understanding of it all, leading to things like xenogenders and microlables.

Now, why do you think people resort to making jokes about topics they don’t understand?


Utilizing Genetically-Informed Research Designs to Better Understand Family Processes and Child Development: Implications for Adoption and Foster Care Focused Interventions

While pondering the question of Nature or Nurture, I wanted to apply it to a real world situation. The situation that the study of epigenetics and an ever-changing environment applies to is the foster care system. Observing the foster care system we can understand what conditions it is that influences behaviors that are developed over time. Adoption and twin studies have shown genetic influences on multiple outcomes, including cognitive ability, language development, depression, anxiety, ADHD, school achievement and other outcomes. How negative can removing a child from its genetic environment be? To answer this is simple, there is a feeling of being misunderstood from the child’s perspective. By doing studies and understanding the genetics of a person, we can disentangle the relationship between nature and nurture. Through this, there can be effective interventions regarding an adopted child, or a child in foster care, to help mold their character to what best fits.


Ask An Expert

Dr. Brenda Shook is an associate professor of psychology at National University. She explains that the question isn’t “nature or nurture?” but rather “to what extent is a particular behavior genetic or learned?” She dives into epigenetics: the study of how a particular environment can affect the way your genes work. By continuing to study and understand epigenetics, we can better understand the relationship between nature and nurture. Through this, we can understand the optimal conditions for a particular person to be treated, in turn, live life to the fullest. 

Definition for epigenetics: https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm#:~:text=Epigenetics%20is%20the%20study%20of,body%20reads%20a%20DNA%20sequence.


Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman – Book Review

I found the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman at a flea market for $1 and figured that the information it contained was of far more value than a dollar.

Psychology a fascinating subject and for those interested in understanding the brain, this book offers a plethora of information describing behavioral sciences. More often than not formal scientific  jargon makes the thought of reading a psychology book daunting. Goleman effectively writes psychology for dummies in Emotional Intelligence.

The book has a flow ostensibly mimicking the reader’s thought pattern. Goleman preemptively plants questions in the reader’s brain solely by exploring one psychological phenomenon, and like magic, the questions the reader asked in the previous chapter are answered in the next.  Not only is the book easy for the reader to follow but Goleman makes it memorable with plenty of anecdotes and examples to sear the knowledge into the reader’s brain. He mixes complex scientific terminology with layman stories which I think is highly effective writing. I think one of Goleman’s takes on uplifting melancholy is a good example of his rhetoric: “A more constructive approach to mood lifting,… is a small triumph or easy success: tackling some long-delayed chore around the house or getting to some other duty they’ve wanted cleared up.” Daniel Goleman is the man who coined the topical term EQ as a substitute for IQ, believing that a person’s Emotional quotient supersedes their intelligence quotient. 

Goleman does a stand out job at breaking down the complexity of our brains for the reader’s benefit. Emotional Intelligence is not a book whose sole value is relieving ignorance but also its utility. Being able to not only understand but also cope with emotions opens the reader up to a vast array of doors. This book gives tools to deal with depression, deal with relationship issues, anger issues, addiction, etc. The list goes on and on. Every page in the book is lined with new potentially relevant and useful information. 


Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mike Olshaker

My name is Marisa and I chose to read this book because I’m very interested in criminal psychology and John Douglas is considered by some to be the father of criminal psychology. I think this book is really good and really recommend it for people especially if they are interested in any form of criminal psychology, or even if you listen to true crime podcasts while cleaning. At the beginning it starts a bit slow with information about the Behavioral Science Unit as well as John Douglas’s own personal credentials and upbringing and how he has always been profiling people in his life. He then progresses onto talking about infamous names and his involvement in them and his contributions. Some killers talked about are the BTK killer, the green river killer, Charles Manson, and multiple more. In each chapter it is formatted in a way that explains the case (the murders, the environment, ect.) and then with each piece of evidence or behavior the killer presented John comments on it from a profile standpoint, he makes claims and supports it by evidences found through other interviews with killers, he sometimes refers back to interviews he did with other killers. The most recent bit of the story I and reading is about the Atlanta child murders, he presents the evidence given to the police and then continues to follow it up with his profile and why he chose that based on past similarity or referring to his knowledge from his psychology degree (claim, evidence, reasoning).”Because of that and the children’s relative lack of sophistication, I did not think it would take much of a lure.” this quote states the evidence and then elaborates about the entire profile referring to why it wouldn’t take much to lure the children and how the type of person to lure them would have a specific personality. They then continue on to describe the entire profile.


Why am I Always Tired, and What can I do about it?

It’s just after lunch and you’re in your next class. You feel the weight of your eyelids rapidly increase as you try to listen to the teacher. No matter how interesting you find the subject, your body is still working against you. An issue that between 15-30% of teens have described experiencing frequently. If you don’t suffer from disorders such as CFS, DSPS or Narcolepsy then experiencing fatigue or sleepiness can come from a plethora of causes, including disease, poor sleep or poor diet.

One of the most common causes of fatigue is poor sleep. The CDC recommends 9-12 hours of sleep for children in the age range 6-12, individuals 13-18 years old should have at least 8-10  hours of sleep. They also report that on average 72% of high schoolers do not get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights. One way to help combat sleep deprivation related fatigue is sticking to a strict schedule 

Putting your body on a consistent sleep schedule can drastically improve your mood, critical thinking, and energy levels.

Your body has an internal clock which will conform to sleep-wake cycles, this is known as your circadian rhythm. Your body’s factory settings are dependent on this rhythm. If you are going to bed too late or waking up too early you are obstructing the natural circadian rhythm which like many things is fine on occasion but unhealthy in habit. A good tip is to limit screen time and dim the lights an hour before bed. Our body sets its internal clock by the respective lightness or darkness of our environment. Not only does the light from screens delay our body’s proper release of melatonin (the natural hormone our body releases to regulate our sleep cycle), but blue light can even damage your eyes. 

Sleep is just one side of the coin. The other is found in diet. 

Not unlike a car, if your body is fed improper sustenance then it will perform poorly. While carbohydrates are a good source of quick energy, refined carbohydrates will cause tiredness throughout the day. This is the food that is stripped of its vital nutrients that make it healthy. An example of cutting these refined carbs for their more natural substitutes includes whole grain rather than white bread. Proteins too are another important food that are integral in maintaining energy levels. It may be worth incorporating more bananas, fish, and rice into your diet for this reason.

 It’s just as much about the how much as it is the what. It is also largely important to remain hydrated throughout the day to maintain energy. Your body needs an adequate supply of energy which is dependent on your caloric intake. You can calculate your recommended caloric intake here. This varies if you’re trying to gain or lose weight.

In short, fixing one’s sleeping schedule, limiting screen before bed, decreasing the amount of refined carbs in your diet, increasing the amount of proteins and staying hydrated are a few of many ways to retroactively combat the effects of fatigue or sleep deprivation.


What methods of flattery do politicians use to gain a following?

Throughout political campaigns, it is clear that politicians used many different methods of flattery in order to gain their followings. This can be shown through personality cults used to self-promote through the political order, but also as manipulative and antidemocratic exploitation of epideictic rhetoric. A personality cult is defined as “a political legitimation strategy that functions to secure a leader’s position in the absence of democratic methods of legitimation, most strikingly by using ‘excessive flattery and adulation [. . .] of the leader’(Cassiday and Johnson, 2010Sperling, 2016)” Flattery is most commonly called manipulative which can lead to negative consequences.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/09579265211023224


You, Yourself, and Your Being

In life, artwork, and especially literature, the narrative is often formed to the understanding of good vs. evil. There stands a protagonist and an antagonist—hero vs. villain, one vs. all, or, perhaps, man vs. himself. Personality, too, develops through and can be defined by a battle of internal parties; what we create demonstrates conflict and a weighing of scales out of no coincidence.

Which is the hero and which is the villain is not so easily determined, however, as in your favorite fairytale. Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud explores the mystifying dynamic of influences, composed of the id, ego, and superego, that creates a conceptual structure of personality and behavior and answers the investigation of humans and their capacity for a controlled balance. 

Freud identifies personality as a complex construct made up of the id, which is ruled by raw, primal instinct and desire, as well as the ego and the superego, the latter acting in reflection of our morals as gathered from parents and society, the former acting out of logic and direction—a tie to reality. The id forms first, allowing us to fulfill the necessary instincts to survive and activating the pleasure principle, which demands immediate gratification of personal desires.

Freud describes this instinct-honed influence as “dark, inaccessible…[a] cauldron of seething excitations,” establishing it as an unpredictable and overbearing drive, “only able to be observed by studying content of dreams and neurotic behavioral clues” (“How Studying…”). We experience fantasies, daydreams, and even hallucinations in the id’s primary process response to being denied immediate gratification. Immersing ourselves in the unexplainable reactions of our deep subconscious is the only way to consciously fulfill their purpose. Then, during sleep, the mind processes memory and emotion, following the internal rules of its person, for while “some people dream in color, others only recall dreams in black and white,” revealing the subjectivity of mental interpretation according to the id’s impulses (“Brain Basics…”).

The ego is what develops to seek a real-world answer to these mental pictures in a secondary process, check the id’s impulses—giving guidance to the drive, and act in accordance with social acceptability, the root of the superego. The superego then embodies conscious values of right vs. wrong and emotional response, working to “suppress all unacceptable urges of the id and…make the ego act upon idealistic standards rather than upon realistic principles” (“Id, Ego, and Superego…”). Just as the id must have limiting factors, and the ego grants them in reflection of what develops the superego, the superego offers its own limitations to each of the others in order to establish personal guidance for judgment. The three components of personality and behavior according to Freud overlap and balance one another, and this internal balance is key to a healthy psyche. 

Through a study of the human personality in terms of its primal and long-lasting instincts, exposure to reality, and moral foundation, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud uses the id, ego, and superego to illustrate the conflicting influences that battle for control of our actions, which dictate the perception of our being.

If one has an overpowering id, they may, on theme, act impulsively and without control, separating them from the whole with a lack of outward consideration. Evenly, if the superego is overly dominant, extreme morals may cultivate distorted judgment and make an individual closed to acceptance.

When the ego can sufficiently moderate between the two in communication with reality, however, there is adaptability, and a personality is—in theory—stable, proportionate. None of the three components is a separate entity determining behavior, but while they attune to one another’s desires, each does stand for a distinct pull that reasons for why humans act when, where, and how they do.

When one holds too much power, all work against us in their lack of proportion until the imbalance is acknowledged, allowing for in our narrative the identification of a protagonist, an antagonist, an equalizer. Equilibrium and well adjustment are the goal, which can be accomplished through a measured Freudian sense of self-analysis and frequented dealing with counterbalances. 

Image Credit: Snappy GoatFree Images – SnappyGoat.com- bestof:Sigmund Freud


The Psychology Behind Being Materialistic

Americans are becoming more and more materialistic as the years go on. The United States is becoming “a nation obsessed with shopping and buying unnecessary products” (Khurram). Before we developed the need to buy the latest trends to fit in with everyone else, it used to be all about who had the nicest house and cars. Now, there are endless amounts of products that we feel the need to buy to keep up with the times. For example, the latest iPhone, clothing items designer bags, to name a few.  This obsession is becoming problematic because the “obsessive accumulation of unnecessary products, along with the hope that buying a Chanel bag will somehow make you happier” (Khurram). We are becoming more materialistic because of the comparison of social status – the idea of whoever has the most nicest products, must be really successful is the problem. Another part of the problem is ad manipulation: “we’re bombarded with ads telling us how a certain car/shoe/phone/soft drink will make us happier, cooler and more fulfilled” (Khurram). With ad manipulation, social status comparison, and filling the need to fit in to be happy, is causing Americans to be more materialistic.

There are many other factors that can possibly be tied to why Americans are becoming more materialistic. One of the noticeable factors is the psychology being “relative deprivation,” the feeling that people get when they compare themselves to others and start to feel that they are worse off. These feelings can often lead to frustration, which can be a reason that people feel the need to impulsively buy certain items. It is also possible that people are “likely to feel a need to spend money they may not have to project an image of wealth they don’t actually possess” (Howell). This can be closely related to the feeling of relative deprivation in the sense that in order to feel better and seem more successful, people buy more items than they really need. And finally, the amount of different economic indicators of wealth, for example, more financial development, can also affect an individual’s materialistic values, impulsive buying tendencies, and behavior involving savings.

The increase in Americans becoming materialistic can be tied to insecurity, more than anything else. A study showed that people who are more materialistic can tend to be the ones who own more unnecessary products. Likewise, people who are ambitious and competitive are also the ones who seem to be more materialistic as well. So, in conclusion, the main reason that Americans are becoming more and more materialistic is because of our need to feel happy and fortunate and our tendency to compare ourselves to other people’s successes.


A poem based on the Jungian concept of the persona and the shadow. The first four lines are the persona speaking to the shadow, then the shadow to the persona, and so on.

 

O’, repression, thou I do see

Hidden in his heart art thou

With hurt and haught, he thee endows

In such corruption, thou brancheth as a tree

 

Beloved persona, thou know me not

Contempt for thee is what I bleed

Such pestilence of mind, him thou feed

When sleepeth he on the nighttime cot

 

Foolish shadow, thou I hear

Lies, all that thou produce

Thy deception makes his thinking loose

It makes his temperance turn to fear

 

Thou archetype, thou hero past

In truth, a trickster to his heart

Deceiving him to play the part

Thou take his first and make it last

 

Bitter evil, repression of soul

Thou knoweth not the fruitless stake

Valueless man, our master would make

Should thou choose to make him whole

 

Regretful, though my life may be

A wholesome man, him would I form

Step aside, thou trickster; I take my dorm

For wholeness is the master’s plea

 

Woe to me, I am beaten!

Thou wise old shadow; thou mundane truth

Though through thee, our master finds his youth

His eucharist requires me eaten

 

Thou knoweth not truly my master

A part of him, thou never were

Free of thee, parasite, no longer a cur

No longer trapped, he doth grow faster


Can Writing Help with Pain.

There are many types of therapy in the world that can help with an individuals emotions such as anxiety, depression, or even erratic thoughts that need a place to subside. One form of therapy that can be done alone to reduce stress levels and other forms of anxiety is through expressive writing or journaling. The cool aspect of writing is that the process can be done basically anywhere. Writing does not just have to be focused on the area of trying to heal oneself but in the way the process could bring someone closer to themselves mentally, spiritually, and holistically with regards to the whole body.

In addition to the healing aspects of expressive writing or journaling, the act of writing in a consistent way opens up the human mind in ways that could never have been opened before. Becoming aware of your surroundings brings with these observations, an increased meaning of truth within you. “Writing practice brings you below the surface to really meet what you see, think, and feel” -Mark Matousek. Writing about our thoughts and feelings can also strengthen and solidify our immune system against illnesses. Surprisingly, expressive writing also has the ability to help physical wounds heal faster.

Writing about the things we fear or have a hard time understanding can bring meaning to other events goin on in our lives. When writing becomes more accessible or when we make more time to write, we can probe our thoughts and feelings deeper from the thoughts experienced throughout the day, week, month, or even year. Writing about unsayable things is what frees us from suffering in silence -Mark Matousek. The impact of the writing process and the way that writing can be used to be productive and positive means of therapy, is a true guide in helping people get relief from suffering emotional or physical pain.


Can the Way You Were Raised Make You a Criminal?

Two of the largest factors of the human personality are nature and nurture. Some argue that the two are separate, but others argue that they are interrelated. As science has delved deeper into the human person, nature and nurture have shown equal importance to the qualities of the human being. However, Psychology is often not as exact of a science compared to Physics or Biology. With that, there is nothing necessarily proving that either of these factors are truly that important, rather, time and time again there have been patterns showing the effects of both environment and genetics.

For example, a mother could raise her child to have good manners which is an example of environment, but the child may respond better to her whims based on genetics. Furthermore, a child could be born blond, but could grow up to the expectations that society has for blonds. In this sense, we cannot be outside either our environment or our genetics, but then how can people not conform to society?

There are occasions where a person does not fit to society’s standards. This can be due to a lack of relationship with a caregiver or abuse or it can be rooted in psychological problems. These developments are just as much a part of the reality as a functioning society. So getting a person to behave and contribute positively to greater good should be easy so long as they are raised right and standards are set for them.

However, according to this article by The Economist, the actions of criminals is not so much dependent on just how someone lives. Even if society were to be truly equal to all and every person were raised well, we cannot avoid the genetics of it. The human person is prone to some amount of trouble, and some more than others. The truth is that personality may not be something predictable or easy for science in this moment and interference with personality holds its own moral implications.


Reflection Essay: Extrovert Ideal

I am focusing on writing a research paper surrounding the topic of the extroverts ideal.  In today’s society emphasis is placed towards extroverts. Extroverts are seen as outgoing people that thrive on the spotlight. The opposite, introverts, are seen as shy and tend to keep thoughts to themselves. The extroverts ideal poses the idea that the ideal person is outgoing and attention seeking. I want to make the point that both personality types are equally important and should be valued the same.

I have researched through different types of media. For example, I have read books, articles, and viewed Ted Talks. These different types of sources have helped me find intriguing information pertaining my topic. I thought that my first step towards this paper was to simply type “extroverts ideal” on google. I soon learned that this was not enough to get reliable information. I redeveloped my strategy and worked on gathering information through databases and sources that had credible authors in the field that I am researching. Once I made sure that the sources I was using were credible I began to discover new facts about the two different personality traits.

An article that I found titled “Introverts are not weaklings,” by Isaiah Herard, taught me how people perceive introverts. Before my prior research, I saw introverts as people that were shyer than others and did not like to speak in front of crowds. When reading this article I was able to see that introversion is seen as a weakness rather than a strength. Introverts genuinely like to spend time alone to recharge, but can be mistaken for wanting to be antisocial or reclusive.  While reading this text I was unconsciously assessing myself whether if I was an introvert or extrovert. I was surprised by the research that I was seemed to be an introvert. Through my reading, I found it intriguing that I was able to find something out about myself.

The articles that I read continued to stun me with the information I was finding. The book “Quiet” by Susan Cain was a huge part of getting me interested to find out more about the extroverts ideal. I have found that we naturally place ourselves as introverts or extrovert and many people who are introverts tend to “fake” being an extrovert to be seen as a person with more voice

This week I feel like I have grown as a better investigator. My research skills were not up to par before this paper came into my life. I think that because I have this assignment it has given me the opportunity to find information that is not only intriguing but credible.

 


Why Do People Make Bad Decisions?

I have always wondered why we, humans, continually make bad decisions. That question has always run through my head when I see something in the news or read a paper about someone screwing up badly. It intrigues me even further when I am the one at fault. Often times I feel stupid and question my own reasons for why I did something stupid. For me, it usually comes down to not thinking things all the way through.

What really intrigues me is the question of whether or not some people are hardwired to make bad decisions. Is it in some people’s brain chemistry to make poor decisions, or is based more on the circumstances of the individual (nature vs. nurture)? Furthermore, how does one stop making poorly thought out decisions?

After further research, I found that stress is the biggest factor in poor decisions. It is easy for our brains remember times where we heavily regret a decision, so we are highly motivated to not make a regrettable decision. This causes a lot of stress, which impairs our decision making ability. Also, most people seek an immediate gratification for actions. It is much easier to do something that instantaneously produces a result rather than waiting for one to happen. A prime example of this noticing why it is so hard to lose weight. The instant gratification of eating a lot is easier to obtain than slimming down and seeing results in months. That research further stated that having a lack of information will inevitably cause a poor decision. This was further backed up by an article in Forbes, which said especially in a situation where you are with a team, good communication is necessary. When not everyone is fully informed, bad decisions are made.


“Kill Yourself”

On average in the U.S. 121 people die by suicide every single day making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. NFSP reports a steady incline in the suicide rate and mental illness is at an all time high – whether that be because professionals diagnose better, people are getting more ill, or people feel more comfortable discussing issues. Suicide and its various causes are all on the forefront of society and are an issue in dire need of attention. Yet, there has been no significant change. In fact, the statistics show that the problem is worsening. So what is the problem?
Walking down the halls at school, scrolling through social media, even hanging out with friends, we are bombarded with a culture desensitized to mental illness. Kill yourself jokes run rampant through just about any video’s comment section online. Cruel personal jokes flood school hallways.  Yet those participating are also the ones most affected by the problem. The majority of people using the internet are millennials and plurals which have the highest suicide rates compared to any other generation.  While no society is condoning the nature of the jokes, there isn’t much to stop the jokes either. People argue that taking a “kill yourself” joke – or something of the like – serious is a waste of time. It essentially doesn’t matter anymore.

So why has such a serious problem become fodder for humor on the internet by those who are most affected? I would dare say it is the culture these people experience. Our culture only recently has brought discussions about mental health to the attention of larger society, but in the past mental institutions were essentially places to separate the mentally able from the others. Mental institutions in the U.S. in the 1950s were infamous for institutionalizing and holding people after they were healthy as well as grouping crime, mental illness, and taboo into one category. The mentally ill were those who were less than the average citizen. Fast forward to today, a complaint of many on the internet is that they have been told their problems aren’t valid and that happiness is a choice. It comes down to the fact that society still doesn’t see mentally ill as people who need help. They have taken the small step up from being subhuman to being over dramatic.

On top of these societal stigmas, the funding for research on mental health severely lacks the backing that more concrete illnesses such as cancer have procured. Mental illness spending has even seen budget cuts on multiple occasions such as the 2008 recession.  So as confirmation to stigma, mental illness is not a major priority of society. Instead, society more looks to have the problem fixed just whenever. For a generation of insecure and mentally ill, the combination of low levels of action and stigma create an even more negative vision of themselves and the prospects of getting respect for their problems.

In response, young generations turn to the internet where they indulge in humor and leisure. As time passes, people begin to realize how everyone has had similar experiences surrounding mental health and connect over it. Yet, as the generation is acutely aware of how public the internet is, and how openness is looked down upon, the way of joking about their problems became more common. Thus, relatable became funny and with it mental health was the butt of the joke. However, not all is bad in this situation. While the young generations may feel overly comfortable in joking about such grave matters, they also engage in more conversations about the problem than ever before and the controversial nature of the jokes open the opportunity for debate and discussion of morals and standards relating to the subject matter. However, either good or bad, an awareness of how words define our beliefs or how words are interpreted play an important role in society’s issues.


How the Brain Craves Sadness

Emotions are very weird and to be quite frank, terrifying.  Emotions for another human being cause so many issues associated with pain, distrust, and anger.  So why do we as humans even bother caring for one another if it means that we might become susceptible to these unpleasant feelings that arise from human interaction?  Well, the answer might seem obvious in which most people would respond: because not all of the feelings are negative.  That is true, we as humans love to feel positive feelings such as joy, love, and happiness that is sparked by the actions or words of another.  However, there is a lesser known, most likely subconscious draw that humans have towards the negative feelings that they may experience.  This is not true for everyone, but I beg to say that this is true for the majority of individuals.  I have done some research that shows some psychological evidence for this.  Unknowingly, people generally experience a fair amount of happiness in their daily lives.  When nothing big has recently happened to upset someone in their daily life for a long while, this happiness that they are consistently experiencing can smolder and fade into monotony.  This causes humans to unknowingly crave distress.  This is shown in why people feel the need to watch media that induces artificial sadness, because they need to experience that feeling in order to accurately judge the happiness they experience.  This brings us back to the initial question, why do people become attached to others when there is an immanent risk for pain and sadness to ensue?  It seems strange and contradictory to say that people secretly enjoy crying at a friend’s funeral, or grieving over a serious break up.  The evidence I have found has shown that in many people, this type of sadness also releases considerable amounts of Dopamine and Serotonin in the brain, which creates a neural pathway that creates a pre-disposition to experiencing sadness in the future.  People subconsciously will go into relationships that they know will hurt them eventually, because the brain is subject to this want.  It may be a short circuit or flaw in the brain, but it is no question that it craves sadness and other negative emotions.  I want to know what other people think about this discussion and if you agree with my stance, please let me know and feel free to provide any research you find compelling.


Where does the influence of my parents show in my life?

Based on my knowledge from what my parents have shown me, my mindset and the ways I think will be branched off from what they have shown me from a young age. We often hear this phrasing of, “You sound or act just like your mother!” which in some instances can be very uncanny. My thought of this is that your whole life, day in and day out, you are with two people who have been with you your entire life. Our brains are like sponges, what we hear around us and see within our lives will soak into our brains and form the way we see things or act in a certain way.

Biologically there has to be a reason for this mindset formation. What is it that is continually molding our actions based on the lessons we learn through our parents? From an outsider’s interpretation of my acts, what is implicitly derived from my parents that I am now sharing with the rest of the world? Why is it that I may not even realize I am acting in a manner like my parents? Why is it that sometimes I do realize my behaviors resemble theirs?

Child Development found that the type of emotional support that a child receives during the first three and a half years has an effect on education, social life and romantic relationships even 20 or 30 years later.”

“While tallying up the results, the researchers accounted for the participants’ socioeconomic status and the environment in which they grew up” –Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk

“Ultimately, they found that about 10 percent of someone’s academic achievement was correlated with the quality of their home life at age three. Later experiences, genetic factors, and even chance explain the other 90 percent”, Raby says.

“Central to a concept of culture, therefore, is the expectation that different cultural groups possess distinct beliefs and behave in unique ways with respect to their parenting.” –Cultural Approaches to Parenting

“Children’s experiences with their parents within a cultural context consequently scaffold them to become culturally competent members of their society.” –Cultural Approaches to Parenting

My basis of saying our brains are like sponges was completely accurate. The thing I now know and did not before is that before we even have a recollection or memory or really even before we know what is truly going on, the way our parents talk to us and show us the world was being engraved into our mind as the way things are meant to be executed. So the culture you grow up in and the nature versus nurture aspects encompassed in our life are what truly mold us. Your parents’ role with the first three years after your birth is so extremely crucial that psychologists are still doing research to the day to figure out why this all happens and how we can manipulate it.

Photo by gagilas


How do dogs perceive us? (Initial Research)

I found lots of different articles on how dogs perceive humans. Some of which support my thesis and some which contradict my thesis. However, they are mostly in favor of my thesis.  

Due to recent innovations in brain imaging, scientists are starting to get a better picture of what is happening inside a dog’s brain. Researchers concluded that dogs see their owners like family. Dogs rely on humans for affection, protection, and food. Scientist concluded this from a recent study about “odor processing in a  dog’ sprain. Dogs were told to lie on a MRI and scientists measured their response to the smell of people and dogs. Because smell is such an integral part of a dog’s life, the way dogs respond to smell shows a lot about how  they feel about humans. Scientists found the dog’s owner’s smell activated the caudate nucleus, which is the reward center of a dog’s brain. Dog’s Smelling and Human Relationship

A new study shows that dog’s brains respond to actual words, not just tone. DOos can’t produce words, but through this research, they were found to know more than 1000 human words.  Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest experimented on dogs in a FMRI. They said meaningful words like good boy! and meaningless words like “as if” to the dogs in a praising tone and a monotone.  The dogs processed the meaningful words on the left side of the brain, while they processed the meaningless words and tones on the right side of the brain. (Humans also process tones on the right side of their brain.) When meaningful words were said in a praising tone, the reward center lit up.  This demonstrates how dogs process human speech. 

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/video-your-dog-understands-more-you-think

A type of connection between child and parent connection is called the “secure base effect”. The Secure Base Effect states that children need their parents to confidently perform. According to a new study by the University of Veterinary MEdicine in Vienna, dogs have a childlike connection with their owners, proven by an existence of the Secure Base Effect. The study by University of Veterinary medicine examined the dogs when presented with treats with three variables: absent owner, silent owner, and encouraging owner. The dogs were less excited to earn food when their owner was not encouraging. They also did the same experiment, except this time they had a stranger presenting treats in a encouraging, absent, and silent way.  This time, there was virtually no reaction by the dog to the owner. They concluded that the dog needed its owner to confidently perform, which is part of the Secure Base effect. This shows that dogs have some sort of emotional connection to their humans.  

 

http://thescienceexplorer.com/nature/do-dogs-see-us-masters-or-parents

 

 

Gregory Berns, the author of “How Dogs Love Us” used brain imaging to study if dogs are conscious of the fact that they are different than humans. According to the research, dogs that are presented with different odors can discern between dogs and humans. Interesting, the smell of humans causes the activation of the reward center in a dog’s brain. They know we are different, because we evoke a different place in our brains compared to dogs. However, Berns also claims that dogs associate for us for more than our tendency to drop food to them under the table. They simply love the company of their humans. However, dogs understand that humans have resources while other dogs do not. This is why the reward center activates when compared to other dogs. However, Berns says he think dogs know they are part of our family.

http://www.wildlifeplanet.net/do-they-see-us-as-part-of-their-pack-or-as-some-kind-of-weird-looking-dog.html

 


Child Labor

Child labor in our world today incorporates 250 million children worldwide. Child labor occurs when “people under fifteen years of age are forced to be employed because their parents either cannot work or do not make enough money to support their families on their own” (as cited from a California State essay, http://www.csun.edu/~ss63082/child.html ). Around 120 million of these children are working full time, a majority of 61% in Asia, 32% in Africa, and 7% in Latin America.

  • Child labor has a number of detrimental effects on children, it impairs the child both physically and mentally and inhibits the development of the child. Children are unable to go to school and are forced to work in terrible conditions ridden by disease and forces that can cause eye damage, lung disease, susceptible to arthritis as they grow older, and stunted growth. As consumers, we need to work to abolish labor and let children be children.

Psychology of Christmas Gift Giving

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. Many people find both activities difficult, not least because presents are imbued with meaning. It is not only a problem of to whom one gives presents or not, and/or how much/little to spend, but more importantly what sort of item to purchase. You also don’t want to offend who you are giving the gift to, whether it’s symbolic or a joke. The basic trouble is that gift-giving is “showing” rather than “telling” what you think about others. Gifts are one of the ways in which the pictures that other have of us, in their minds, are transmitted materialistically. As a gift-giver, one needs to be sufficiently socially aware to know what to give to whom and when, to have confidence in one’s tastes. Overall, the recipient’s gift is going to reflect how the gift giver sees them.


Unknown Silence

Throughout my life I have had a fear of sitting in silence, forcing me to need noise in order to be productive. Whenever I find myself in silence I begin to conjure up moments in my life that caused a lot of frustration, fear, and  anxiety, making me question why this is so? Why is it that I would I rather hear the static of a radio than nothing other than my own thoughts?

In reading “Our Fear of Silence” an article that was written by a meditation instructor I found that my fear may be attributed to the fact that in modern time we have the option to have intentional noise, which are things we turn on to produce noise, such as iPods, TVs, etc. 

In a study done by the University of New England, it was found that the lack of noise or the need for background noise is a “learned behavior.” The students in the study were all found to have grown up with background noise from T.V. and other electronics. Therefore causing them to associate background noise with the comfort of home when their parents would leave the T.V. on when they were kids. 

Along with those students, I myself grew up with background noise and now choose to have intentional noise as comfort, instead of the unknown of silence.

 

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/psychology/