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... CONTINUES.

When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others' expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.

When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to develop all of the talents that many of these children have. Making choices among the possibilities is indeed arbitrary; there is no "ultimately right" choice. Even choosing a vocation can be difficult if one is trying to make a career decision between essentially equal passion, talents and potential in violin, neurology, theoretical mathematics and international relations.

The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at "fate" or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression.

In such depression, gifted children typically try to find some sense of meaning, some anchor point which they can grasp to pull themselves out of the mire of "unfairness." Often, though, the more they try to pull themselves out, the more they become acutely aware that their life is finite and brief, that they are alone and are only one very small organism in a quite large world, and that there is a frightening freedom regarding how one chooses to live one's life. It is at this point that they question life's meaning and ask, "Is this all there is to life? Is there not ultimate meaning? Does life only have meaning if I give it meaning? I am a small, insignificant organism who is alone in an absurd, arbitrary and capricious world where my life can have little impact, and then I die. Is this all there is?"

Such concerns are not too surprising in thoughtful adults who are going through mid-life crises. However, it is a matter of great concern when these existential questions are foremost in the mind of a twelve or fifteen year old. Such existential depressions deserve careful attention, since they can be precursors to suicide.

How can we help our bright youngsters cope with these questions? We cannot do much about the finiteness of our existence. However, we can help youngsters learn to feel that they are understood and not so alone and that there are ways to manage their freedom and their sense of isolation.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

 

... CONTINUES.

The isolation is helped to a degree by simply communicating to the youngster that someone else understands the issues that he/she is grappling with. Even though your experience is not exactly the same as mine, I feel far less alone if I know that you have had experiences that are reasonably similar. This is why relationships are so extremely important in the long-term adjustment of gifted children (Webb, Meckstroth and Tolan, 1982).

A particular way of breaking through the sense of isolation is through touch. In the same way that infants need to be held and touched, so do persons who are experiencing existential aloneness. Touch seems to be a fundamental and instinctual aspect of existence, as evidenced by mother-infant bonding or "failure to thrive" syndrome. Often, I have "prescribed" daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, "I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug." A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a "high five" can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.

The issues and choices involved in managing one's freedom are more intellectual, as opposed to the reassuring aspects of touch as a sensory solution to an emotional crisis. Gifted children who feel overwhelmed by the myriad choices of an unstructured world can find a great deal of comfort in studying and exploring alternate ways in which other people have structured their lives. Through reading about people who have chosen specific paths to greatness and fulfillment, these youngsters can begin to use bibliotherapy as a method of understanding that choices are merely forks in the road of life, each of which can lead them to their own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment (Halsted, 1994). We all need to build our own personal philosophy of beliefs and values which will form meaningful frameworks for our lives.

It is such existential issues that lead many of our gifted individuals to bury themselves so intensively in "causes" (whether these causes are academics, political or social causes, or cults). Unfortunately, these existential issues can also prompt periods of depression, often mixed with desperate, thrashing attempts to "belong." Helping these individuals to recognize the basic existential issues may help, but only if done in a kind and accepting way. In addition, these youngsters will need to understand that existential issues are not ones that can be dealt with only once, but rather ones that will need frequent revisiting and reconsideration.

In essence, then, we can help many persons with existential depressions if we can get them to realize that they are not so alone and if we can encourage them to adopt the message of hope written by the African-American poet, Langston Hughes:

Dreams

Hold fast to dreams, 
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams. 
For if dreams go, 
Life is a barren field 
Covered with snow
.

- Langston Hughes

References

Dabrowski, K. (1966). The Theory of Positive Disintegration. International Journal of Psychiatry, 2(2), 229-244.

Halsted, J. (1994). Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Pre-School through High School. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, Inc. (Formerly Ohio Psychology Press).

Webb, J. T., Meckstroth, E. A. and Tolan, S. S. (1982). Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, Inc. (formerly Ohio Psychology Press).

Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential Psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books. 

Source: giftedbooks.com

 
By Admin (from 11/12/2010 @ 12:00:51, in en - Science and Society, read 2393 times)

 
Light swearing at the start or end of a persuasive speech can help influence an audience.

Lack of passion can be fatal to our attempts to persuade others of our point of view. Even if all the right facts are trotted out in an intelligible order, even if the argument is unassailable, when the speaker doesn't appear to believe it themselves, why should anyone else bother?

Show your passion, however, and people have one more emotional reason to come around to your point of view.

But how can we convince others of our conviction?

Up the intensity

One unconventional way is by using a little light swearing. The problem is that we run the risk of losing credibility and appearing unprofessional.

To see whether swearing can help change attitudes, Scherer and Sagarin (2006) divided 88 participants into three groups to watch one of three slightly different speeches. The only difference between the speeches was that one contained a mild swear word at the start:

"…lowering of tuition is not only a great idea, but damn it, also the most reasonable one for all parties involved."

The second speech contained the 'damn it' at the end and the third had neither.

When participants' attitudes were measured, they were most influenced by the speeches with the mild obscenity included, either at the beginning or the end.

It also emerged that the word 'damn' increased the audience's perception of the speaker's intensity, which was what lead to the increased levels of persuasion. On the other hand, swearing did not affect how the audience perceived the speaker's credibility.

So it seems that light swearing can be useful, even in a relatively formal situation like a lecture. When you show some feeling, the audience notices, credits you with sincerity and takes your message to heart.

How far you can go is difficult to know. Certainly things have changed a lot. In the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, after Rhett Butler's famous line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn", the producer, David Selznick, was fined $5,000 for this 'shocking' outburst.

That was a long time ago but audiences are diverse and will respond in different ways. It's likely that stronger or more persistent swearing would adversely affect credibility. But a little damn and blast is more likely to be seen as a genuine display of emotion, which is refreshing. If nothing else, swearing is persuasive because it's human.

Source: Spring.org.uk

 
By Admin (from 15/12/2010 @ 14:00:07, in en - Science and Society, read 2562 times)

By Julian Assange on Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.
(President Theodore Roosevelt)

While you here do snoring lie, Open-eyed conspiracy His time doth take.
(The Tempest; Ariel at II, i)

Introduction

To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.

Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.

Authoritarian power is maintained by conspiracy

Conspiracy, Conspire: make secret plans jointly to commit a harmful act; working together to bring about a particular result, typically to someone’s detriment. ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French conspirer, from Latin conspirare agree, plot, from con- together with spirare breathe.

The best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the rest of the nation.
(Lord Halifax)

Where details are known as to the inner workings of authoritarian regimes, we see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite not merely for preferment or favor within the regime but as the primary planning methodology behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power.

Authoritarian regimes give rise to forces which oppose them by pushing against the individual and collective will to freedom, truth and self realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance. Hence these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers. This is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial.

Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow until everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found.
(The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli [1469-1527])

Terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs

Pre and post 9/11 the Maryland Procurement Office (National Security Agency light cover for academic funding, google for grant code “MDA904”) and others have funded mathematicians to look at terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs (no mathematical background is needed to follow this article).

We extend this understanding of terrorist organizations and turn it on the likes of its creators where it becomes a knife to dissect the power conspiracies used to maintain authoritarian government.

We will use connected graphs as way to harness the spatial reasoning ability of the brain to think in a new way about political relationships. These graphs are easy to visualize. First take some nails (“conspirators”) and hammer them into a board at random. Then take twine (“communication”) and loop it from nail to nail without breaking. Call the twine connecting two nails a link. Unbroken twine means it is possible to travel from any nail to any other nail via twine and intermediary nails. Mathematicians say the this type of graph is connected.

Information flows from conspirator to conspirator. Not every conspirator trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others are central and communicate with many conspirators and others still may know only two conspirators but be a bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.

Separating a conspiracy

If all links between conspirators are cut then there is no conspiracy. This is usually hard to do, so we ask our first question: What is the minimum number of links that must be cut to separate the conspiracy into two groups of equal number? (divide and conquer). The answer depends on the structure of the conspiracy. Sometimes there are no alternative paths for conspiratorial information to flow between conspirators, othertimes there are many. This is a useful and interesting characteristic of a conspiracy. For instance, by assassinating one “bridge” conspirator, it may be possible to split the conspiracy. But we want to say something about all conspiracies.

Some conspirators dance closer than others

Conspirators are discerning, some trust and depend each other, others say little. Important information flows frequently through some links, trivial information through others. So we expand our simple connected graph model to include not only links, but their “importance”.

Return to our board-and-nails analogy. Imagine a thick heavy cord between some nails and fine light thread between others. Call the importance, thickness or heaviness of a link its weight. Between conspirators that never communicate the weight is zero. The “importance” of communication passing through a link difficult to evaluate apriori, since it its true value depends on the outcome of the conspiracy. We simply say that the “importance” of communication contributes to the weight of a link in the most obvious way; the weight of a link is proportional to the amount of important communication flowing across it. Questions about conspiracies in general won’t require us to know the weight of any link, since that changes from conspiracy to conspiracy.

Conspiracies are cognitive devices. They are able to out think the same group of individuals acting alone

Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the conspiratorial environment), pass it around the conspirators and then act on the result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information about the environment) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain the environment).

What does a conspiracy compute? It computes the next action of the conspiracy

Now I we ask the question: how effective is this device? Can we compare it to itself at different times? Is the conspiracy growing stronger or weakening? This is a question that asks us to compare two values.

Can we find a value that describes the power of a conspiracy?

We could count the number of conspirators, but that would not capture the difference between a conspiracy and the individuals which comprise it. How do they differ? Individuals in a conspiracy conspire. Isolated individuals do not. We can capture that difference by adding up all the important communication (weights) between the conspirators, we will call this the total conspiratorial power.

Total conspiratorial power

This number is an abstraction. The pattern of connections in a conspiracy is unusually unique. But by looking at this value which in indepndent of the arrangement of conspiratorial connections we can make some generalisations.

If total conspiratorial power is zero, there is no conspiracy

If total conspiratorial power is zero, there is no information flow between the conspirators and hence no conspiracy.

A substantial increase or decrease in total conspiratorial power almost always means what we expect it to mean; an increase or decrease in the ability of the conspiracy to think, act and adapt.

Separating weighted conspiracies

I now return to our earlier idea about cleaving a conspiracy into halves. Then we looked at dividing a conspiracy into two groups of equal numbers by cutting the links between conspirators. Now we see that a more interesting idea is to split the total conspiratorial power in half. Since any isolated half can be viewed as a conspiracy in its own right we can continue splitting indefinitely.

How can we reduce the ability of a conspiracy to act?

We can marginalise a conspiracy’s ability to act by decreasing total conspiratorial power until it is no longer able to understand, and hence respond effectively to, its environment.

We can split the conspiracy, reduce or eliminating important communication between a few high weight links or many low weight links.

Traditional attacks on conspiratorial power groupings, such as assassination, have cut high weight links by killing, kidnapping, blackmailing or otherwise marginalizing or isolating some of the conspirators they were connected to.

An authoritarian conspiracy that can not think efficiently, can not act to preserve itself against the opponents it induces

When we look at a conspiracy as an organic whole, we can see a system of interacting organs, a body with arteries and veins whos blood may be thickened and slowed till it falls, unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces in its environment.

Fonte: thecommentfactory.com

 
By Admin (from 16/12/2010 @ 10:00:37, in en - Science and Society, read 1619 times)
Post image for Why ‘Thank You’ Is More Than Just Good Manners

Image credit: Paul G

Is expressing thanks a powerful motivator or just a social nicety?

According to positive psychologists, saying 'thank you' is no longer just good manners, it is also beneficial to the self.

To take the best known examples, studies have suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives.

But we also say thank you because we want the other person to know we value what they've done for us and, maybe, encourage them to help us again in the future.

It's this aspect of gratitude that Adam M. Grant and Francesca Gino examine in a series of new studies published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Grant & Gino, 2010).

They wanted to see what effect gratitude has on the person who is being thanked. Does it motivate and, if so, is it just by making people feel good, or is it more than that?

Double the help

In the first study 69 participants were asked to provide feedback to a fictitious student called ‘Eric’ on his cover letter for a job application. After sending their feedback through by email, they got a reply from Eric asking for more help with another cover letter.

The twist is that half of them got a thankful reply from Eric and the other half a neutral reply. The experimenters wanted to see what effect this would have on participant’s motivation to give Eric any more help.

As you might expect, those who were thanked by Eric were more willing to provide further assistance. Indeed the effect of ‘thank you’ was quite substantial: while only 32% of participants receiving the neutral email helped with the second letter, when Eric expressed his gratitude, this went up to 66%.

How gratitude works

The idea that saying thank you makes people more likely to help in the future is unsurprising, although the 100% increase is interesting, but what the researchers were interested in was why this happens.

Perhaps Eric’s gratitude made people feel better, or at least less bad? Or perhaps saying thanks boosted the helper’s self-esteem, which in turn motivated them to help again.

In fact the experimenters found that people weren’t providing more help because they felt better or it boosted their self-esteem, but because they appreciated being needed and felt more socially valued when they’d been thanked.

This feeling of social worth helps people get over factors that stop us helping. We are often unsure our help is really wanted and we know that accepting help from others can feel like a failure. The act of saying thank you reassures the helper that their help is valued and motivates them to provide more.

Pass it on

The researchers then wondered whether this effect would extend to other people. Would Eric’s thanks make participants more likely to help a different person?

In a second study Eric’s thanks (or lack of thanks in the control condition) was followed, a day later, by an email from ‘Steven’ asking for similar help. The percentage who offered to help Steven was 25% when they had received no gratitude from Eric, but this shot up to 55% when they had been thanked.

So the boost to participant’s social worth carried over from one day to the next and from one person to the next. Although the overall percentages were slightly lower, Eric’s gratitude still doubled the number of people willing to provide help.

In a third and fourth study the researchers tested their findings face-to-face rather than over email. They reached similar conclusions, with increases in prosocial behavior of 50% in the third study and 15% in the fourth study. These lower percentages show that the effect of gratitude on motivation depends on the situation.

Now, these studies mostly looked at the situation where strangers help each other. It’s likely that the effect of a thank you on prosocial behavior is more powerful on people we don’t know, because strangers are more cautious about helping each other in the first place.

Thank you!

Since, for most of us, expressing our thanks is an everyday occurrence, we tend to think nothing of it. But psychologically it has a very important role to play for both the person giving and the person receiving.

All four studies reveal that gratitude is more than just a social nicety, or a way of making the helper feel good; it reassures others their help was actually appreciated and it encourages further prosocial behavior.

So, a big public thank you to Adam M. Grant and Francesco Gino for this enlightening study, hopefully there's more to follow.

Source: spring.org.uk

 

Simple jealousy starts as a feeling of discomfort at the prospect of losing reward or affection to someone else. In complex jealousy, the prospect of loss feels like unjustifiable self-diminishment; you become smaller and less valuable, because someone is manipulating or betraying you.

Simple jealousy motivates reward/affection-seeking behavior - you try to be more cooperative, helpful, or loving, and that usually gets a positive response sufficient to alleviate the discomfort. Complex jealousy motivates attack, either overtly or in your head. It makes you devalue and try to control others, which invariably makes things worse.

Simple jealousy first emerges in toddlerhood, typically when the child witnesses parents showing affection to each other or to another child. The toddler at first squeezes between the embracing adults and tries to be as cute and lovable as possible. The arrival of a sibling often causes regression to things like bedwetting and less mature speech. Regression is, in part, an attempt to seem more lovable to the distracted parents: "Babies turn you on? I can do that, too."

Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

Steven Stosny, Ph.D., treats people for anger and relationship problems. Recent books: How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It, and Love Without Hurt.

more...

Simple Jealousy Regulates Distance; Complex Jealousy Expands Distance
Simple jealousy functions in many adult relationships as a kind of distance-regulator. When the partners drift apart, the pang of jealousy motivates more attention and connecting behavior. It can occur frequently when the relationship is most insecure, particularly in the early stages of emotional bonding, when the parties feel the most vulnerable to rejection. It goes largely unnoticed at that time, because they follow the naturalmotivation to be more loving. They reconnect, and the jealousy immediately recedes.

When the parties cannot reconnect, simple jealousy fails to function. Once resentment takes over the relationship and systematically blocks connection, simple jealousy fades into more generalized negative feelings for each other. It's not a good sign when resentment replaces jealousy. Contempt will soon follow.

Simple jealousy can turn complex when children are punished for trying to be cute and lovable in response to the pain of exclusion. They may then interpret the discomfort of exclusion not as an internal motivation to connect but as external attack. Perceiving attack, they feel entitled to retaliate.

More commonly, complex jealousy coincides with the emerging sense of self - a loose construct that includes self-concept, identity, self-efficacy, and self-value. It surfaces full-blown in adolescence and by early adulthood becomes a major problem in close relationships for those afflicted with a rigid or poorly-integrated sense of self. It tends to peak in intensity in the mid-twenties, when advanced pre-frontal cortical development gives the person more power to regulate emotions. However, it tends to occur more frequently, though less intensely, over time, as it destabilizes even the best of relationships.

Simple Jealousy Expresses Value; Complex Jealousy Drives You Crazy
Simple jealousy raises the value of the loved one - you want more of him or her. Complex jealousy devalues the loved one - you want to control,punish, or avoid.

Simple jealousy is good for a relationship. Most people would not want a lover who could care less if they slept with everyone on the men's and women's hockey teams. But even simple jealousy must be limited to small doses. Think of it as a concentrated acid that needs lots of dilution to be effective without doing harm. Complex jealousy never comes in small doses and eventually eats through the heart of the relationship.

Rising and falling on the ebb and flow of intense feelings-states, complex jealousy has a palpable Jekyll & Hyde quality. When you feel close to your partner, you can't imagine ever feeling jealous - "How could I have thought those ugly things," or, "He is so wonderful, how could I ever imagine he'd betray me!" But once the feelings of closeness ebb, the obsessions return, and you feel and act like a completely different person.

Complex jealousy has an obessional quality to it - you can't stop thinking about incidents - real or imagined - that invoke it. Obsessions impair reality-testing. If they persist, you can become paranoid, delusional, or hallucinatory.

My next post will show how to regulate complex jealousy before it ruins your relationship and drives you crazy.

Author: Steven Stosny - Source: psychologytoday.com

 

The recent post Mad about You distinguished two different kinds of jealousy. The simple variety occurs in all relationships. Absent chronic resentment, this minor form of jealousy motivates the partners to reconnect. The current post describes how to regulate complex jealousy, before it destroys your relationships and drives you crazy.

Simple Jealousy Can Get Complicated
Relationship dynamics can complicate even simple jealousy, especially when the parties are insensitive to each other's different personality traits and temperamental qualities. For instance, an introverted partner is likely to disagree with an extroverted partner's interpretation of "appropriate" interactions with the opposite sex. What is honest "friendliness" for one can seem "flirtatious" to the other. What sincerely feels like "consideration" to one: "You should show me respect," honestly feels like "control" or even "oppression" to the other - "You don't want me to be friendly! You don't want me to be who I am! You're trying to keep me down!"

This is still simple jealousy, without the paranoid or obsessional nuances of its darker cousin. The introverted partner is neither accusing the other of infidelity nor obsessing about the friendliness of the more sociable partner. It is really a classic temperamental error that occurs in most relationships: judging your partner by how you would react, even though your partner has a different temperament, different experiences, and different developmental and emotional history. Though we're all tempted to do this, it's really a form of narcissism - the way I would react is the standard for all decent people; so you have to conform to what I think is appropriate.

Reconciling disputes born of temperamental differences is the subject of another post. In short, it requires binocular vision - the ability to see your partner's perspective alongside your own, indeed, to see the world through his/her eyes at the same time you see it through your own. Binocular vision, perhaps the most important of relationship skills, makes the world seem richer and more dynamic. Failure of binocular vision creates a reactive narcissism (you're incapable of seeing your loved one apart from how you feel about him/her) and, of course, more jealousy.

Disarming Complex Jealousy

1. Don't trust obsessions. They greatly distort reality. If you can't stop thinking about your partner flirting with someone else, you must distrust the thought process. The longer obsessive thinking goes on, the more certain you become and the more likely you are wrong.

2. Regulate core hurts. The primary component of complex jealousy is self-diminishment - you feel unlovable and inadequate as an intimate partner. These "core hurts" give rise to the obsessions. If, in my heart, I don't believe that I am worthy of love, how can I believe someone who says she loves me? I will assume that she doesn't know the real me, or she wants something else (my money, house, car, or socks), or she wants someone else. Because I cannot possibly be enough for her, I will look for "clues" that she is seeking fulfillment somewhere else. Many studies show that whatever the brain looks for, it will find.

When attacked by the painful feeling of unworthiness, before it stimulates a cycle of obsessions and revenge motives, ask yourself out loud:

"What can I do to feel more lovable and adequate?"

Just uttering the words will make it clear that devaluing, belittling, hassling, or punishing your loved one is unlikely to make you feel like a lovable and adequate partner.

To feel worthy of love and adequate as an attachment figure, begin by trying as hard as you can to see the world through your partner's eyes and to feel what it's like in his/her shoes. Appreciate that he/she probably feels unlovable and inadequate as well. Think of what you can do to help the both of you feel more worthy of love.

3. Focus on compassion, not trust. If you have suffered from complex jealousy, you don't have the confidence to trust. Focus instead on compassion for yourself and your loved one. Compassion, an important component of your core values, is sympathy for core hurts, with a motivation to heal, improve, appreciate, connect, or protect. Trust will eventually return, after a long period of self-compassion and compassion for loved ones. But it will fall apart almost immediately if you try to trust without a great deal of sustained compassion.

4. Follow the self-correcting motivation of simple jealousy. Be more compassionate, supportive, cooperative, and loving. Be mindful of the assets your partner brings to the relationship. Think of what you can do at this moment to make your relationship stronger.

Over time, this determined effort to strengthen your relationship will alleviate much of complex jealousy. But if it has become a habit, i.e., a conditioned response to feeling inadequate or unlovable, you may need a course in core value and emotional reconditioning (CompassionPower) or focused psychotherapy to make significant changes.

Author: Steven Stosny - Source: psychologytoday.com

 

- A -

ABASEMENT - the need to comply, surrender, confess, or atone.  A need to accept punishment.

ACTUS REUS - the actual criminal act.  A legal term referring to the actions behind the offense that must successfully be proven by the prosecution so that the defendant may be found guilty.  SEE "mens reus"

AGGRESSION - the goal directed behaviour of harming another living being.  The behaviour may be indirect (upset person may break a window rather then hit some one) or displaced to someone else (road rage). SEE "hostile aggression"

AGGRESSION MACHINE - the apparatus used to measure physical aggression in a laboratory

ANAL EROTICISM - erotic/sexual pleasure  from activities associated with stimulation of the anal region.  Studies have linked such eroticism to aggression towards the individual being penetrated.

ANGER - an emotional reaction elicited by a number of unique stimulus, including restraint, aggression, threat, attack, and frustration.  Anger is characterized by a strong autonomic nervous system response, particularly the sympathetic component.

ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY - a behavioral disorder characterized by a number of deviant acts, including delinquency, truancy, theft, promiscuity, vandalism, fighting, poor work record, impulsiveness, irrationality, reckless behavior, and aggressiveness.

ATAVISM (THEORY OF) - a classic theory of criminal behavior that has long been refuted.   The theory of atavism suggests that criminals are genetic throwbacks that react deviantly simply because their behavior matches those of our ancient ancestors.

AUTOEROTICISM - Sexual gratification or arousal in the absence of a partner.

AUTOMATISM - an act performed unconsciously.  Defendants have been found innocent due to an automatism defense (i.e., homicide while sleepwalking). 
 

- B -

BALLISTICS - ballistic experts focus on the functioning of firearms.  Via microscopic analysis they can match up bullets with a particular weapon.  They also provide key information about the projectiles path.

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION - a common psychological treatment used in both clinical and forensic environments.  The changing of human behavior by the application of conditioning and/or other learning techniques.

BLANK LINEUP - in order to assess the accuracy of a witness police officers may present a police lineup that does not contain the suspect. 
  
BYSTANDER EFFECT - a scientifically proven finding that as the number of bystanders increases, the likelihood of a bystander helping someone in distress decreases.

- C -

CATHARSIS HYPOTHESIS - The theory that states that if angry persons can express aggression in a safe manner, they will be less likely to engage in harmful behaviour.  Has possible implications with offender treatment.

CASTRATION - the surgical removal of the testes or ovaries.  In the past was used as a treatment for male sex offenders.  The ethicity and validity of this approach has come into question.

CHILD MALTREATMENT/ABUSE - actions either physical or psychological that harm children.  Can be either a voluntary or involuntary action.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE - the unpleasant state that may occur when an individual has inconsistencies between their attitudes or attitudes and behaviour.  May occur in offenders concerning their morality and behaviour.

COGNITIVE THEORY OF AGGRESSION - a fairly modern theory that suggests that aggression stems from complex interactions between cognition, affective states (emotion), and other additional components.

COMBAT FATIGUE - a traumatic neurosis characterized by the presence of somatic disturbances and anxiety reactions that have been brought on by extended exposure to combat.  To layman's it has been called 'shell shock'.

CONFLICT - an action taken to block or interfere with others' interests, because of the perception that ones opponent is doing the same, or that each others actions are incompatible.

CONFORMITY - social influence that causes and individual to change his/her attitudes/behaviour in order to conform to social norms.  A strong example of this is the soldiers actions in NAZI germany.

COMPOS MENTIS - to be competent, or not to be legally insane or mentally deficient.  In contrast to non compos mentis.

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR PROFILING -  a criminal investigation technique in which crime scenes and additional evidence are analyzed in order to discern patterns in the offenders behaviour, with which a behavioural and physical description of the offender can be created.  Has also been called: "profiling", "offender profiling", "investigative profiling".

CRIMINAL TYPE - a category of individuals whom repeatedly engage in criminal and/or antisocial behavior.  They apparently have a constitutional tendency towards behaving in that direction.

CRIMINOLOGY - the scientific study of crime, criminals, and penology.  This science often considers both social and psychological aspects of criminality. 
 

- D -

DACTYLOSCOPY - this is the scientific analysis of fingerprints.  Fingerprint experts have been involved with law enforcement for almost a hundred years.  Recent advances in dactyloscopy have continued to make fingerprint analysis of key importance (i.e., new methods pull fingerprints off underwater surfaces, skin, etc.). 
  
DEADLINE TECHNIQUE - a technique used in many areas, in which the target is told that they have only a limited time to accept an offer.  Often used in criminal interrogations (i.e. "if you confess now the crown attorney will go easy on you").

DEFENSIVE WOUNDS - wounds commonly found on a victims arms, hands, or fingers sustained when the victim was trying to defend self from an assault.

DELINQUENT - a juvenile offender under the age of 18, or one who commits an offense that is not considered a serious crime.

DELINQUENCY - a minor offense against the criminal code, or the characteristic of being a habitual offender.

DEPERSONALIZATION - an offenders attempt to eliminate the identity of the victim so that they do not represent or resemble the person whom has caused their psychological distress.  Actions can range from covering the victims face with a towel or blanket up towards extreme battery.

DEVIANCE - behaviour, ideas, and attributes that are responded to negatively by others.  Going against the social norm, whether it is criminal (murder/rape), social (wearing red to a funeral), or physical (facial tattoo's, physical abnormality).  Deviance can change depending on the setting of the act/attribute (cursing with friends vs. in church), the age of the actor (baby soiling cloths vs. teenager), etc.

DEVIANT - one who acts defiantly, have socially deviant thoughts, or has socially abnormal attributes.  Even though a "hunchbacked person" is not necessarily bad, society tends to look at them negatively as "deviant" from the norm.

DIRECT AGGRESSION - an attack placed upon what the individual believes is the source of their frustration.  As opposed to Displaced Aggression

DISORGANIZED - An offender classification used in many criminal profiling systems.  Such an offender tends to carry out spontaneous and impulsive acts in a manner that is sloppy  and at high risk of leaving evidence.  Such offenders tend to know the victims (at least by sight), stick to their own geographical locations, and use a blitz like assault with a weapon of convenience.  Sexual acts often occur postmortem.  SEE 'organized'

DISPLACED AGGRESSION - an attack against a person/object that is not the original source of frustration.  This act will occur when the source of the frustration is either unavailable or is likely to retaliate.

DISTRAUGHT WITNESS - The distraught witness bears a great deal of emotional distress.  This distress is the direct result of either witnessing the crime or indirectly  from their relationship with the victim.

DRIVE THEORIES OF AGGRESSION - the theory suggesting that aggression is created by external conditions that arouse the motive to harm others.  See "frustration aggression hypothesis".


- E-
 

ECOMANIA - a pathological attitude direct towards one's family.  It is characterized by domineering behavior.  This attitude has implications in familial abuse.

EROTOMANIA (1)- a pathological exaggerated sexual interest.  In males this condition is satyriasis; in females, nymphomania.

EROTOMANIA (2)- an obsessive love by  an individual towards one of particularly high status (i.e. celebrities).  Subject often believes that the other person shares mutual feelings of love.  Efforts to contact the object of their obsession, along with stalking and surveillance, is common.

EUNUCH - a castrated male.

EXHIBITIONISM - a compulsion to expose parts of the body, most often the sex organs, for the purpose of sexual excitement. 
 

- F - 

FAMILICIDE - when an individual kills his/her spouse and one or more of his/her children

FEAR-INDUCED AGGRESSION - responses believed to be biologically programmed into us so that we act in an aggressive manner towards any form of forced confinement.

FETISHISM - a pathological condition in which sexual arousal and gratification is induced by the handling of objects or nonsexual parts of the body.

FLAGELLATION - the practice of submitting to whipping for sexual or penitential purposes.

FLAGELLOMANIA - sexual excitement aroused by whipping.

FOLIE A DEUX - the occurrence of psychosis in two persons who are closely associated to each other (i.e., husband and wife).

FORCED FANTASY - an emotional fantasy that is deliberately promoted by the therapist (analyst).  This procedure has been criticized for its ability to create false memories.

FORENSIC - "pertaining to the courts".

FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY - The forensic anthropologist examines the victims bones to determine a number of key facts.  Information such as gender, age, looks, previous trauma, and disease can all be found.  The forensic anthropologist is often of key relevance to the identification of remains.  They use a number of means, including molecular DNA analysis.

FORENSIC ARTIST - the forensic artist provides an elaborate sketch of the offender.  This process is undertaken via the information from an eyewitness.  Many investigators now use computer programs to develop offender renditions.

FORENSIC CHEMISTRY - the forensic chemist studies the molecular aspects of the crime scene.  They can match fibers, paint, and dyes to particular objects.  They will identify relevant chemicals and particles.

FORENSIC DENTISTRY - these experts serve a identification function.  Via the analysis of a corpses teeth and previous dental records they can make a positive identification.  They also will analyze bite patterns so that they can identify who was eating a particular meal or even who bit somebody.

FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY - the entomologist studies insects.  A number of pieces of key information can be discovered from this analysis.  The rate of body decay via insects can directly correlate to time of death.  The presence of certain insects can identify previous dump sites, etc.

FORENSIC GEOLOGY - the forensic geologist can determine where a person or object has been by analyzing soil samples.  Soil can be found on a pair of shoes, tire treads, or a body.  They can be matched up with common soil types to predict quite specifically where the object/person has been. 
  
FORENSIC LINGUISTICS - the forensic linguist analyses either the spoken or written word.  They can identify whether a message was presented by the same individual, what the individuals underlying intent is, the individuals educational and cultural background, as well as the presence of pathology.

FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY - see 'forensic dentistry'

FORENSIC PATHOLOGY - the forensic pathologist analyzes the remains of a body.  They attempt to determine the cause and time of death via autopsy. 
  
FORENSIC PHOTOGRAPHY - the crime scene photographer attempts to record every component of the crime scene via photograph.  They depict the scene from multiple angles, using multi-functional cameras, and through the consistent evaluation of size and distance.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST - a Ph.D. psychologist whom specializes in the realm of forensics.  The forensic psychologist may have either a Ph.D. in forensic psychology, clinical psychology with a forensic focus, or experimental psychology with a forensic focus.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY - the discipline of psychology that deals with the legal system, including the front end operations (police work, investigation), legal proceedings (expert witness, competency & psychological assessment, jury selection), and institutionalization (confinement, treatment, parole hearings).  Forensic psychologists may also be called on to: evaluate new laws and programs, assist in the assessment and hiring of new police officers, etc.

FORENSIC SCULPTORS - like the forensic artist, the sculptor attempts to create an image of either an offender or a victim.  The sculptor's goal is to create a three dimensional version of the image.

FORENSIC SEROLOGY - the serologist studies blood and other bodily fluids for identification purposes.  The serologist is often involved in DNA fingerprinting (the identification of an individual based on body cells).

FRAUDULENT WITNESS - While not having any first hand knowledge of the crime, the fraudulent witness is an active attention seeker whom comes forward to offer fraudulent evidence.

FROTTAGE - sexual gratification achieved by rubbing against the clothing of a member of the opposite sex in a crowd.

FRUSTRATION-AGRESSION HYPOTHESIS - the drive theory of aggression that suggests frustration builds and creates aggression (ex. road rage, person losing job & family becoming homicidal).


- G -

GROUP POLARIZATION - the tendency for a group to shift toward more extreme position then those that they initially held as a result of group discussion.  This has been seen in jury deliberations.

GROUPTHINK - tendency for highly cohesive groups to assume their decisions can't be wrong, that all members support their decision, and that information to the contrary shall be ignored.  (i.e. cult behaviour)


- H -

HOSTILE AGGRESSION - aggression with the prime objective to inflict harm onto a victim.

HOSTILE ATTRIBUTIONAL BIAS - a tendency for some people to perceive others' actions as the result of a hostile intent, when this is clearly not the case.  Occurs in a number of criminal personality types.

HOSTILE WITNESS - This witness is deliberately antagonistic and/or noncompliant.  Such an individual may invent facts in order to purposefully mislead the law.  The hostile witness may react this way for two reasons: (1) their relationship to the offender, or (2) a underlying animosity towards the law.

- I -

INGRATIATION - a technique used to obtain compliance by inducing someone to like you, then attempt to change their behaviours (i.e. cult behaviour, could be used with 'good cop' interrogations).

INTERMALE AGGRESSION - physical violence or submissive behavior displayed by males towards each other.

INSERTIONAL NECROPHILIA - as a substitute of sexual intercourse the offender inserts foreign objects into the victims orifice.  Common with disorganized offenders.  This should not be mistaken as a form of mutilation.

INSTINCT THEORY - aggression theory that suggests aggression stems from universal innate tendencies.  In other words aggression is born into all of us.

INSTRUMENTAL AGGRESSION - aggression with the goal not to harm but rather to attain some other goal (i.e. sport aggression).

INTIMIDATED WITNESS - This witness fears retaliation from the offender(s) involved or from the criminal element in general.  As a result, the intimidated witness is quite apprehensive.

INVENTIVE WITNESS - These witnesses typically embellish and create details when being interviewed.  This is likely due to an inability to differentiate between fantasy and reality.  They may also have esteem motives, in that they wish to appear important.

IRRITABLE AGGRESSION - aggression and rage directed towards an object when the aggressor is frustrated, hurt, deprived, or stressed.  As a result one may aggress towards objects as an acceptable outlet of the aggression.

 
- L -

LEADING QUESTIONS - questions asked during an investigation that are worded in such a manner that will suggest specific answers.  This sort of questioning should be avoided and may become inadmissible in a court case.

LEGAL AUTHORITARIANISM - a juror whom tends to assume the worst about an accused defendant, and is found more likely to convict.  See "leniency bias".

LENIENCY BIAS - a juror whom tends to make favorable assumptions regarding the accused.  See "legal authoritarianism". 
  
LONELINESS - an emotional state resulting from the desire for close relationships but being unable to attain them.  This is a common attribute of sex offenders.

- M -

MATERNAL AGGRESSION - aggressive behavior put forward by females (and most likely males as well) when an intruder is in the presence of ones children.

MAXIMIZATION - a questioning technique in which the interrogator exaggerates the strength of evidence gathered in order to elicit a confession.  See 'minimization'.

MENS REA - the legal terminology referring to a perpetrators criminal mind.  In order to be found guilty of a crime an individual must be proven to have acted within a criminal mind.

MICROEXPRESSIONS - a brief, incomplete, facial expression that occur on our faces very quickly after exposure to a stimulus.  It occurs before we can actively conceal them.  A trained observer may look for these to see what questions elicit certain responses during an interrogation or criminal trial.

MINIMIZATION - a questioning technique in which the interrogator plays down the evidence and the seriousness of the act, by providing an excuse for the act or shifting blame onto someone else (i.e. the victim).  See 'maximization'

MISSION ORIENTED - an offender typology.  The offender is directed by a self-imposed task without regard for the consequences of ones actions.  The offender is often unconcerned about escape or even survival once the offense has taken place.

MIXED CRIME SCENE - description for a crime scene the demonstrates the presence of both an organized and disorganized offender.  Can be caused by: multiple offenders, unanticipated events, youthfulness, substance abuse, and unexpected victim actions.

MODUS OPERANDI (MO) - The offenders actions during an offense.  This is variable behaviour that evolves over multiple acts due to offender sophistication and confident.

- N - 

NECROPHILIA - sexual gratification from intercourse with a deceased individual.  SEE 'insertional necrophelia'

NORMS - rules within a group (or society) that describe how its members should or should not behave.


- O -

OBEDIENCE - social influence in which one person obeys direct orders from another to perform some action.  High obedience levels were seen in nazi germany, in cults, and often in the childhood of psychopathic offenders.

ORGANIZED - offender typology characterized by a mobile (own transportation) offender who cons his victim into capture rather then using force.  Offender is often a stranger selected on the basis of specific criteria.  Use of restraints and weapons are preplanned, and rarely left behind.  The body is often transported to a novel dump site and concealed.  SEE 'disorganized'.

OVERKILL - injury and trauma that is excessive beyond that required to cause the death of the victim.


- P -

PERSONATION - An offenders ritualistic actions.  Seen with body positioning, mutilation, and other symbolic gestures.  This behaviour is only of significance to the offender.

PERSUASION - the effort to change someone's attitudes.

PREJUDICE - negative attitudes towards others of specific social groups.

PREDATORY AGGRESSION - our motivated attack behaviors.  This aggression is directed to natural prey and is deeply routed in our ancestors hunting behavior.  Today it can be seen in the behavior of normal individuals as hunting.

PROVOCATION - others actions that trigger aggression in the recipient because they are seen as stemming from malicious intent.

PSYCHOLOGICAL AUTOPSY - an investigative review and victimology interview procedure used to determine the victims psychological makeup.

PUNISHMENT - the use of an aversive consequence in order to decrease or eliminate certain behaviours.


- R -

REACTANCE - the negative reaction towards threats of personal freedom.

REALISTIC CONFLICT THEORY - the theory that prejudice stems from competition between groups over certain resources.

REPRESSION - the freudian defense mechanism by which the person attempts to lower anxiety by denial and forgetting.  The idea of this actually occurring in 'real life' has come under scientific scrutiny.

RELUCTANT WITNESS - Witness responds with reluctance due to a natural restraint that is a reflection of their personality.  This particular witness will be hesitant and reserved.  They will not find it easy to talk freely.  Others may feel that the act they have witnessed is "none of their business".

- S -

SELECTIVE RECALL - a phenomenon of extremely detailed memory recall when a suspect is asked to relate his whereabouts/actions during the offense.  This airtight and precise recall will not reflect similar recall of other time periods preceding or following the offense.

SEX RELATED AGGRESSION - aggressive behavior that is elicited by the same stimuli that elicits sexual behavior.  Any person who can evoke sexual desire can equally evoke aggression via jealousy, etc.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT - unwelcome sexual advances, requests, and conduct.

SEXUAL SADISM - an offender who obtains sexual gratification from the victims response to physical/psychological torture.

SIGNATURE - the repetitive ritualistic behaviour of a serial offender.  This is typically apparent at every crime scene and has little-to-nothing to do with the perpetration of the crime.

SOCIAL INFLUENCE - efforts by others to change ones attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours.

SOCIAL LEARNING VIEW OF AGGRESSION - view that aggression is learned through direct experiences and observations of others behaviours.

SOCIAL LEARNING VIEW OF PREJUDICE - view that prejudice is learned through direct experience, consistent with the manner other attitudes are learned.

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - the psychological discipline that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behaviour and thought within social situations.

STAGING - the alteration of a crime scene in order to redirect the investigation in a way away from offender (or at least what the offender thinks logically will do this).

STRESS - a response to physical or psychological events that are at the leased perceived by a person to cause harm either emotional or physically.

- T - 

TERRITORIAL AGGRESSION - threat or attack behavior displayed towards an invasion of ones territory or the submissive-retreat behavior displayed when confronted while intruding.

TYPE A BEHAVIOUR PATTERN - a pattern of behaviour consisting primarily of high levels of hostility and competitiveness.  This behaviour pattern is highly correlated to aggression.

- U - 

UNDOING - offender whom has a close association with their victim with symbolically try to undo the crime (i.e. wash the victim, place a pillow under their head).

- V -

VICTIMOLOGY - the complete history of the victim (i.e. personality, lifestyle, traits etc.)

VOIR DIRE - the legal term used to refer to jury selection.  During this process the judge and the attorneys can dismiss prospective jurors for both specific and unstated reasons.  Attorneys often examine the prospective jurors age, intelligence, gender, attentiveness, occupation, and open-mindedness. 

Written By Michael W. Decaire - Source: uplink.com.au

 
By Admin (from 23/12/2010 @ 08:00:16, in en - Science and Society, read 1294 times)

Post image for Caffeine Makes Us Easier to Persuade

 

Image credit: illuminaut

 

Experiment finds caffeine drinkers more influenced by a persuasive message than a placebo group.

Eighty per cent of adults in the US and the UK are moderate users of the psychoactive drug, caffeine.

Of all the effects it has on our minds—enhanced attention, vigilance and cognition—perhaps least known is its tendency to make us more susceptible to persuasion.

This was demonstrated in a study by Pearl Martin and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia (Martin et al., 2005). In their experiment they tried to convince participants to change their minds about the controversial issue of voluntary euthanasia.

Participants were told that some in the university agreed that people should be allowed to end their own lives under certain circumstances, while others did not. In fact participants were chosen because they agreed that voluntary euthanasia should be legal and the experimenters wanted to see if they could be persuaded otherwise.

Attitude adjuster

Before the attempt to change their minds, half the participants were given moderate doses of caffeine, while the other half took a placebo. Both groups were double-blinded so that neither the researchers nor the participants knew who had taken what. Then they were given six stories to read which argued against euthanasia.

When asked afterwards for their attitude to voluntary euthanasia, those who had drunk caffeine were more influenced by the persuasive message than those who'd had the placebo.

On top of this, participants were asked about their attitude towards abortion which, the experimenters guessed, would be indirectly influenced, since someone who disapproves of euthanasia is also likely to disapprove of abortion. And this is exactly what they found. The persuasive message had spread to a related idea and the effect was strongest amongst those who had consumed caffeine.

Pay attention!

But why? What is it about caffeine that opens us up to persuasion?

The reason that a lot of persuasive messages pass us by is simply that we're often not paying much attention to them; our minds easily wander and we prefer not to think too hard unless it's unavoidable. By increasing our arousal, though, caffeine makes us process incoming messages more thoroughly, potentially leading to increased persuasion.

So watch out, all that coffee isn't just making you twitchy, it's also making you more susceptible to influence, even if only by enhancing your attention.

Source: spring.org.uk

 
By Admin (from 25/12/2010 @ 14:00:44, in en - Science and Society, read 1377 times)

So why was Jesus given gold when he was born? Wouldn't diapers or clothing make more sense?
Not really, as they kingly gifts.
Kingly gifts? For Jesus?
He is King.
Oh, King, eh. Very nice. And how d'he get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society! If there's ever going to be any progress...
What?
Anyway...who exactly is he King of?
...the jews.
Who are the jews?
Are you joking? The jewish people, you're name states you're jewish.
Well, I didn't vote for him.
You don't vote for Kings.
How did he become King then?
It was foretold that the messiah (king) would come, and he was the son of God.
Listen, being the son of a deity is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not having a god as a father. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because daddy is a divine being. I mean if I went around saying I was emperor because my papa is Thor, they'd lock me away.
Are you f***ing serious???
I'm just trying to clarify...

Source: xkcdb.com via reddit.com/r/atheism

 
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