There is tremendous scope within the field of applied psychology in making societies more peaceful. As Ian Harris’ insightful article titled Peace Education in a Violent Culture clearly illustrates, increasing rates of crime and violence in urban societies can be moderated through the dispensation of Peace Education in schools. As the recent campus shootout in Virginia Tech shows, American youth exhibit violence due to the value and legitimacy assigned to it by media and entertainment industries. It is in response to this that many campuses are including ‘peace studies’ as an integral part of curricula.
According to Peace Theory, there are three approaches to peace – peace through strength, peacemaking, and peace-building. “Peace through strength relies on force and threats of force to deter violence or punish aggressors. Peacemaking uses communication skills to resolve conflicts, while peace-building promotes a nonviolent approach to the problem of violence.” . . . Read More
Cognitive psychology is one of the disciplines in psychology that focuses on studying internal mental processes. How individuals perceive, conceive, recall from memory, articulate their views and arrive at conclusions, etc, are all studied. As opposed to Freudian psychology, Cognitive psychology adopts a scientific analytic method rather than introspective or speculative theorizing. At the outset, it acknowledges the presence of such internal mental states as knowledge, belief, motivation, desire, etc.
Before Cognitive Psychology attained recognition Behaviorism was the dominant school of thought. Intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Alfred Adler have contributed enormously to the establishment of this school of thought, by way of critical review of behaviorism. Under Behaviorism, much of human agency is the product of conditioned responses, rewards being used to reinforce desirable behavior and punishments being used to deter unwanted behavior. Chomsky, in . . . Read More
Tai Chi Chuan (usually shortened to Tai Chi) is a traditional Chinese practice, that involves both physical and mental exercise. Compared to popular martial arts such as Karate and Kung-Fu, Tai Chi is a slow motion stretching and boxing routine. “Instead of focusing on quick, powerful, and vigorous movements for self-defense or attacking actions like those in other martial arts, tai chi emphasizes on graceful skills and movement patterns.” (Wozny, 2007, p.34) Originally developed and practiced in China, Tai Chi has now travelled to distant shores and is embraced by all age-groups. Here in the United States too, Tai Chi is gradually gaining in popularity as a refreshing and rejuvenating activity that does not require strenuous physical exertion. Renowned for its health and spiritual benefits, Tai Chi is particularly suitable for the Baby Boomers generation. There are several mechanisms through which Tai Chi provides health benefits to . . . Read More
Parenting styles have always varied from one culture to another. And despite a degree of homogenization due to large-scale migrations in the 20th century, cultural roots of families continue to bear upon how children are raised. In the United States, for example, parents from minority ethnicities tend to hold their children to a different standard of discipline than their Caucasian counterparts. As researcher Lisa Fontes notes in her article that just as areas of emphasis vary between cultures so do modes and methods of punishment. There are differences in the way children are punished by African American/Southern parents compared to their Caucasian/New England counterparts. Such variations are seen in other minority groups like Hispanic Americans, Korean Americans, etc.
Chinese and Indian American parents’ methods and attitudes toward child discipline have particularly attracted comment and criticism. For example, in these communities, emphasis on . . . Read More
Cider House Rules is a 1999 film produced by Richard Gladstein & co. Adapted from a novel of the same name by John Irving, the film garnered both commercial as well as critical success. The movie is of special relevance to American audiences, for it deals with the subject of abortion which has been a politically and culturally contentious issue for a long time. The plot is centered on the life of Homer Wells, an orphan, who grows up in an orphanage after being returned twice by his foster parents. The movie contains many poignant and touching moments in it that lend itself for psychological analysis. For example, from a developmental psychology viewpoint, the fact that Homer is returned twice to the orphanage was bound to leave deep scars on the formative psyche of the young boy, who would struggle to form lasting attachments to other humans as a consequence. Also, the manner in which he was treated by these couples was also abusive to a degree. These abusive relationships . . . Read More
Both Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg have made vital contributions to the study of human psychology, especially pertaining to the development of children. One aspect of the child psychology elaborated by both theorists is their moral development. While Piaget is the modern pioneer in the subject, his predecessor Kohlberg extended and modified the former’s theories to accommodate new evidences.
Piaget’s views on moral development of children are not given under a tightly-knit theory, but are put together in his seminal work The Moral Judgment of the Child, published in 1932. According to Piaget, the moral makeup of a child is a product of his/her own conception and understanding of the world. This view is contrary to the conventional view that children are taught what is right and wrong by parents and teachers. While moral preaching inevitably goes on, children made moral judgments based on their own observations of their environment. Further, morality is a . . . Read More
Violence in society is not just a law and order problem, for it is a persistent area of concern for mental health professionals as well. Mental healthcare facilities in public sector thus serve a dual role – 1.Helping create a harmonious society and 2. Helping ailing individuals recover from their violent tendencies. Before, mental healthcare professionals can draw up prognostic plans for patients, they first have to assess risk of violence for a particular case. One way of achieving this is by seeking to develop “actuarial risk assessment tools to help improve clinicians’ ability to evaluate patients’ risk of violent behavior in practice by statistically optimizing predictions of violence”. (Elbogen, et.al, 2005, p.133-141)
As research team of Eric Elbogen, Matthew Huss, Alan Tomkins and Mario Scalora suitably illustrate in the article, several such tools are currently being employed by psychiatric practitioners in clinical settings. And a consensus seemed . . . Read More
In the article titled Compliance, Conversion, and Category Induction authored by Vikram K. Jaswal, Olivia K. Lima, and Jenna E. Small, key insights into child psychology are attained. The research focuses on how children recognize and categorize external objects based on a pre-existing set of labels that they have learnt. For instance, when “children hear an object referred to with a label that is moderately discrepant from its appearance, they frequently make inferences about that object consistent with the label rather than its appearance”. (Jaswal et.al, 2009) The implications of this finding are quite profound, for it alters the way developmental cognitive science is understood. Neuro-linguists have believed that the first five to seven years of a child’s life are vital to a proper development of the language faculty. And this study by Jaswal, et.al, only goes on to confirm and add new dimension to this thesis.
In the experiments conducted by the research team, . . . Read More
The study of human psychology is a fascinating subject because it deals with universal human concerns and issues. Human behaviour and performance is one focus area within broader psychology. The book titled Discovering Psychology co-edited by Nicola Brace and Jovan Byford deals with this area at length. By perusing the contents of the book and by assimilating and synthesizing salient points within, the rest of this essay will attempt to answer the topic question.
One of the accepted theories in child psychology is the ‘social learning’ theory. It states that children can grasp, assimilate and imitate the behaviour of those around them. This is very helpful when parents and teachers want to teach children good manners and decorum by way of setting an example. But in the modern household environment in which a child grows up, television sets and computers attract their attention easily. This is not a bad environment to grow up in entirely, for “The advent of digital media . . . Read More
Despite gaining no legal or religious sanction, the adult movie industry is one of the biggest and thriving contributors to culture and economy. Here, adult movie is defined as that whose content is majorly comprised of implicit or explicit sexual acts (of various orientations) and action movies that are adult certified due to excessive violence or profanity. In other words, the term ‘adult movie’ is interpreted in this essay to include hardcore and soft-core pornography, as well as those that are legally permitted but contain sexual content, violence or profanity. In polite societies and in family environments mere mention of pornography can elicit embarrassment, shock or disgust from people. But interestingly, such reactions are not pronounced in response to violence and profanity, although these are equally harmful influences. Nevertheless, while people hesitate to talk about indulgence in pornography in the public space, it continues to be a part of their . . . Read More