The definition and study of human intelligence is a subject that has attracted its fair share of controversy over the years. This is largely because there’s no consensus in how intelligence is defined. For example, while some scholars attribute practical problem solving skills, verbal ability and social competence as measures of intelligence, others include adaptability to new problems and situations, capacity for knowledge and creativity as key indicators. Then there are recent sociologists such as Daniel Goleman, who have revolutionized the concept of intelligence by including an ‘emotional’ dimension to the already accepted ‘cognitive’ dimension. Hence, the study of human intelligence is presently a flourishing field of scientific inquiry with a broad range of perspectives and approaches leading to its understanding. It is in this context that the role of working memory in the functioning of intelligence should be investigated.
Working memory (WM), alongside . . . Read More
The article by Colleen Burke titled Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: A Metaphor of Jungian Psychology is well written, insightful and instructive. The author draws on parallels between the works of two great intellectuals in the form of Joseph Conrad and Carl Gustav Jung. Although Conrad and Jung were not contemporaries, one could see striking resemblances between the theories proposed by them. Indeed, Conrad preceded Jung by a generation, yet there are strong analogues to Jungian Psychology to be witnessed in the works of Conrad, most accessible in the novella The Heart of Darkness. The rest of this essay will delve further into this assertion, by way of underscoring the valid rationale presented by Colleen Burke in her article.
Access to Jung’s views on Africa is to be found in his personal memoirs of his travels within the continent. In his classic memoir Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Jung expounds on the mysteries of African wilderness to that of its . . . Read More
Shere Hite is one of the most influential and controversial figures in sociology scholarship of the last half century. It won’t be an exaggeration to suggest that she is one of the most quoted authors in feminist scholarship; and her most famous work The Hite Report is even popular among lay readers. The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality was published in 1976. This was followed by The Hite Report on Male Sexuality in 1981 and The Hite Report on the Family in 1994. She is seen as an inspiration and role model for many feminist activists and writers for offering them radical new insights into female sexuality in western society. It is for the same reason that she is ostracized and attacked by conservative sections of western society, especially within the United States. Yet, there is no doubt that her contribution is quite significant in the context of the growth of sociology as a field.
A prominent feature of the report is its sprawling style of . . . Read More
It was learnt in the lessons that there are three basic frameworks for understanding human behaviour. Under the systems approach to human behaviour, psychologists have so far identified two prominent frameworks. The Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (also referred as bio-ecological model) focuses on systems and human development. The bio-ecological model is derived out of developmental psychology. The bio-ecology model argues that individuals develop within the context of their ecology, which in turn can be broken down into the micro-system, the meso-system, the exo-system and the macro-system. The micro-system includes the family, the local neighbourhood, influential institutions in early life such as the school, church, etc. Similarly, the Exo-system of an individual “consists of linkages involving social settings that individuals do not experience directly, but can still influence their development.” (Lesson1a, p.3) The Macro-system refers to the wider . . . Read More
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