Browsing Category Psychology

To conform or not to conform, that is the question

I have always listened to all genres of music: Rock, rap, show tunes, country—you name it. I never thought anything of it until one day in high school, when I was listening to some top 40 songs and a classmate of mine told me it was weird that I still listened to popular commercial music. I asked what she meant, and she said that she hadn’t listened to pop music in years because it was “too mainstream,” and that she was “really only into alternative music right now.” Don’t get me wrong; I love alternative music, too.

I just found it bizarre that she made a comment criticizing the fact that I was listening to a certain kind of music because it was too popular.

This was my first experience with the sort of fad that nonconformity had become. Since then, the concept of conforming versus not conforming has become a topic of discussion in the social sciences as well as in my everyday life.

Conformity is behavior in compliance with a set of socially accepted norms, or “rules.” In the realm of the social sciences, there are two types of conformity: normative conformity, in which the goal is to fit in with a group even though we might privately disagree with the views of the group, and informational conformity, in which we look to a group for guidance in times of uncertainty and accept the views of the group as our own.

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What if memories could be erased, while others created?

What if I told you the way you perceive memories was about to change drastically? The ability to remember varies for everyone. Some people’s memories may be fragmented, while others’ are quite vivid and rich with detail. How exactly could we change what our brains have already stored? And are memories not just the psychological residue of what once was? Isn’t what we remember something that is merely out of our control?

Where science is currently taking us in its research pertaining to memory and just how flexible our brains can be, will disturb some and fascinate others. How would you perceive a world in which it is possible to create memories without you even being a part of them?

Memory creation by cortical stimulation is real, tested, and possible.

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How microaggresions single people out

We all have uncomfortable moments in life.

It may involve realizing we had a stain on our shirt all day, or accidentally pushing on a ‘pull’ door but those moments hardly ever cross the line from embarrassing to painful. However, when those cases are pointedly aimed at a particular group, because of color or identity, the line is crossed regularly. A comment made ‘in good fun’ could in fact be disturbing to the one addressed. Such actions are called ‘microaggressions.’

Dr. Derald Sue, a professor of psychology and education, classifies microaggressions  as “the everyday slights, indignities, put-downs, and insults that people of color, women, LGBT populations, or those who are marginalized experience in their day-to-day interactions with people.”

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How sensory deprivation tanks can make you zen

Music blaring, phones buzzing, cars honking, computer screens shining, people talking, and talking..

Our daily lives are typically consumed with distracting sensory stimuli such as these.

Our brain is a powerfully complex organ that will absorb the surrounding sensory input and process it in an orderly fashion, but what if our brains were given a little break from all the sensory stress? What if we were given the opportunity to float in space like an astronaut and ponder the mysteries of the universe? How would depriving the brain of all senses affect physical and psychological functioning? Maybe the thought of this intrigues you, maybe it causes anxiety, but neurophysiologist, John Lily, found a way to remove all sensory input and create an illusion of floating in space.

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Setting the bar high involves more than we think

“You can do it.” Such a simple yet positive affirmation of one’s capability can often lead to great and unexpected accomplishments. Sometimes, expectations that are set on us can directly affect our own behaviors and actions, for better or worse. Just as well, you may not even be aware of it. In the field of Social Psychology, a popular phenomenon known as the Pygmalion Effect shows that greater expectations often lead to greater efforts. Borrowing from famed psychological studies, integrating this knowledge into your daily life could create new habits that reinforce a better lifestyle.

Derived from poetic Roman origins, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue of his own creation.

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Here’s something you didn’t know you could inherit

It’s one thing to for a person to endure a brutal disaster and try to deal with the pain afterwards for the rest of their life, but what about the possibility of that pain being transferred to their offspring?

It seems odd. But it turns out that genetics not only pass physical and personality traits, but trauma as well. This phenomenon, referred to as inherited trauma, first came to light with the descendants of Holocaust survivors being checked into clinics showing signs of PTSD, despite not having experienced the events that their parents did. Further studies about inherited trauma have managed to show that the possibility of biologically inheriting problems such as PTSD is not impossible, at least.

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Are mental health apps the future or far from it?

The invention of the smartphone has caused a drastic change in society and now smartphone apps have even moved on to mental health field as a viable market.

It seems too good to be true. People who struggle with mental disorders of varying degrees can find help in the comfort of their own home, with only their phones.

Medical professionals have been known to make use of smartphones since their rise, finding them to be a helpful way to stay on top of tasks, appointments and even keep track of client information. Now there are numerous mental health apps that promise some kind of comfort or assistance, but are they appropriate for use without the medical degree?

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Study finds that ADHD is correlated with specific personality traits

Everyone knows something about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

We know that ADHD affects a sizeable portion of the global population (the ADHD Institute estimates 5.3-7.1% of children and adolescents and 3.4% of adults), and that the disorder is more prevalent in males. Symptoms include difficulty paying attention, disorganization, jumping from one activity to the next, impatience, and impulsivity. We know that the inattentive form of ADHD, as opposed to the hyperactive-impulsive form, was formerly known as ADD but it was recently lumped into the broader category of ADHD, more or less hanging the term “ADD” out to dry.

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How stress eats you in more ways than one

We all know the sinking feeling of dread when we realize we might have put everything off to the last minute and are now left feeling bombarded by all the tasks left to be completed.

We might be running around frantically doing a little bit of everything or we might be micromanaging each thing accordingly until everything is done. Everyone reacts differently to stress.  You may be better at dealing with stress in the workplace but much worse at handling stress at home, or perhaps it’s the other way around.  Perhaps, you rarely get stressed or maybe you feel like you’re constantly overwhelmed. Because stress is so universal and felt by everyone, an important question to ask is just how does stress affect our mental and physical health?

Stress is an evolutionary trait.

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What if procrastination had an upside?

“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

We’ve all said this at one point or another, whether referencing laundry, cleaning, studying or paying mind to an important work project. Procrastination is a difficult habit to break, and a tricky urge to fight. And a lot of us battle it often—Twenty percent of people describe themselves as chronic procrastinators, meaning procrastination, for them, is a lifestyle.

Whether we procrastinate all the time, or every once in awhile, we know it can have negative effects on our productivity, and hold us back from getting many things done. So, when all’s said and done, we tend to berate ourselves for engaging in this behavior. Procrastination is seen as a dominantly negative behavior, so it appears to deserve punishment. But, wait, are we sure that there aren’t any benefits to procrastination? Is it actually a completely negative tendency?

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