By Shepard Handy Shutkin
Though we often associate men with crude acts of violence, we fail to acknowledge the fact that men are not born with the innate ability to throw a left hook to the jaw or a jab to the gut: they are taught. Since the beginning of mankind, men have been associated with violence. It seems to be the perfect time to reflect on the dangers of being a boy as for one of the first times, awareness towards toxic masculinity has become present in our society.
Adoption is the answer for almost every “why?” when discussing natural patterns of violence in young boys. Dr. Reichert, a Psychologist, set out to discover why growing up a boy is is more dangerous than a girl. “One researcher observed a small group of preschool boys and noticed how, over two years, they adapted to cultural cues. The ways they dressed, played and related to one another and to their parents changed significantly. They even formed a “Mean Team” to harass girls in their classroom. Another researcher interviewed elementary-school boys and captured their brutally frank stories of punishing other boys who failed to conform.” Boys often take their upsetting or hurtful experience from the world and internalize them. Failing to get comfort ultimately causes these boys to lash out and express themselves with violence and anger. “In the United States, 75 percent of deaths among 15- to 24-year-olds are of boys and young men. Males are more likely than females to die from injuries sustained in car accidents or falls, and from homicides. Especially when the risks of masculinity are compounded by racism and poverty, too many boys do not survive into manhood.” The problems of violence in boys are rooted from the societal norms of masculinity.
This experiment correlates directly with my life as I am in the midst of becoming the man I will be in the future. Conforming to the societal norms of “being a man” will make me more reserved from talking about my feelings and will eventually cause me to lash out and release pent up anger. For those who are tired of the “dangers” being associated with boys, it is important to reflect on your own life. How may I have an influence on the people around me? Am I conscious of my emotions? The most important thing anyone can do to help young men grow up to be mentally stable is to listen to them. Hear their problems, their accomplishments, and realize that behind every boy is someone who holds him and believes in them.
Reichert, M. C. (2019, March 30). It's Dangerous to Be a Boy. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/30/opinion/sunday/boys-men-violence.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Psychology and Psychologists&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=25&pgtype=collection
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with too many things to do? In a culture that rewards productivity and shames laziness you are probably familiar with a busy schedule that can leave you mentally exhausted. Between classes, homework, sports, socializing, and family I often find myself rushing from one activity to the next with little break in between. And technology doesn’t help. With a phone or laptop always nearby we never have to be bored even for a second. While this exciting entertainment might seem like a positive thing, scrolling through instagram and playing games on our laptop keeps our brain active just when it could have had a second to rest. As many other highschool students know, being busy all the time can lead to stress and anxiety. Being constantly active can cause a lot of mental health consequences. Not to mention when we overwhelm ourselves and our minds like this we tend to burn out which can work against productivity and cause even more stress to build up. So how do we prevent this cycle? The answer is niksen.
Niksen is the concept of doing nothing. Of course you always have to be doing something whether that's something important like doing homework or something simple like laying down. So maybe a better interpretation for niksen is idleness. It is the practice of doing things that might not be seen as productive or something you “should” be doing. For instance gazing out the window requires very little physical activity and can allow the mind to wander however many people might consider this a waste of time.
Changing your thinking about these kinds of activities and practicing them in your everyday life can help foster a healthy, strong mind. Ms. Mann’s research has shown that “Daydreaming makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.” If you allow your mind a break it will be more ready to take on the next activity that you want it to preform, weather that be a conversation with a friend or the history presentation you have due tomorrow. So as lazy as it seems it is important to take time every day to just sit and think. However this is easier said then done.
I often get agitated and find it difficult to do nothing with a long to do list and assignment after assignment of school work piling up. Niksen will be difficult at first and it require practice just like any skill. You will have to get used to doing nothing before you can benefit from it. If you are having trouble relaxing it can be helpful to put yourself in a comfy place away from electronics and other distractions to do nothing. Set some time to consciously try and daydream every day. You can also try activities like playing with play-dough that are simple and don’t take any mental energy to trick your mind into taking a break. Don't get discouraged, after some practice daydreaming will begin to feel less boring and instead more beneficial and reviving.
Mecking, O. (2019, April 30). The Case for Doing Nothing. Retrieved May 28, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/smarter-living/the-case-for-doing-nothing.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Psychology and Psychologists&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection
New York Times Article
"To Do: Nothing" sticky note
By Kira Ruffner
Have you ever noticed that your memory seems to deteriorate after a week full of multitasking? Have you ever wondered if multitasking is harming your work or your concentration? These questions are all addressed by Stanford professor Anthony Wagner in a study he did with his colleague Clifford Nass, on the effects of media multitasking and attention. He was not convinced by early data, and he told Nass said to do more tests. Eleven years later he co-authored the paper with neuroscientist Melina Uncapher of the University of California, San Francisco, in which he noticed a trend: People who frequently use many types of media at once aka “heavy media multitaskers” performed significantly worse on simple memory tasks. He addressed the contents of his study in a Q&A style format with Stanford News.
Wagner answered a question asking him about how he got interested in this topic. He said that his colleagues Cliff Nass and Eyal Ophir had the question: “With the explosion of media technologies that has resulted in there being multiple simultaneous channels available that we can switch between, how might this relate to human cognition?” They came to him with their early findings, and he thought they were crazy, but a few years later he realized there was a connection to media and memory.
When asked to define heavy multitaskers vs light multitaskers, Wagner has said that people don’t multitask, we task switch because the word “multitasking” implies that people can do two or more things at once. This is not true, and in reality brains only allow people to do one thing at a time and they have to switch back and forth. Wagner gave an example of what a heavy media multitaskers may look like: he said they may have many media channels open at once and they switch between them. They might be writing an essay, then check a football game, then respond to texts and messages, and then try to get back to work, but they get an email and have to answer it. In comparison, he said that a light media multitasker would only be writing the academic paper or may only switch between a couple of media, and they might turn on Do Not Disturb so they only get really urgent messages, and might put away their phone.
Wagner and Ness assessed the different forms of memory in different ways. To assess the working memory they used simple short-delay memory tasks. For example, in one test they showed a set of oriented blue rectangles, then took them from the screen and asked the subject to remember it. Then they showed them another set of rectangles and asked if any had changed orientation. To measure memory capacity they did the same test with different numbers of rectangles and determined how performance changed with increasing memory loads. Finally, to measure the ability to filter out distraction sometimes they added distractors like red rectangles that the subjects were told to ignore.
Wagner and Ness noticed a few trends in their data. In about 50% of the studys they saw the heavy media multitaskers were significantly underperforming on tasks with working memory and sustained attention, while the other half have no significant difference. Wagner has stated that it is clear there is a negative relationship between media multitasking and memory performance and that high media multitasking is associated with poor performance on memory tests and tasks.
While testing subjects, Wagner and Ness noticed something: they hypothesised that potentially reduced working memory occurs in heavy media multitaskers because they have a higher probability of experiencing lapses of attention, and that maybe when demands are low, they underperform but when the demands are high, like when the working memory tasks are harder, there’s no difference between the heavy and light media multitaskers
This prompted Wagner and Ness to look at variation between subjects and moment-to-moment changes in a person’s ability to use goals to sustain their memory.
Wagner has said that he can't say for sure that multitasking changes memory or attention, as it’s too early to definitively determine cause and effect, but that multitasking isn’t efficient, and people know there are costs of task switching. He also had a piece of advice: “If you’re multitasking while doing something significant, like an academic paper or work project, you’ll be slower to complete it and you might be less successful.”
Link to article:: https://news.stanford.edu/2018/10/25/decade-data-reveals-heavy-multitaskers-reduced-memory-psychologist-says/
APA citation: Bates, S. (2018, October 25). Heavy multitaskers have reduced memory. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://news.stanford.edu/2018/10/25/decade-data-reveals-heavy-multitaskers-reduced-memory-psychologist-says/
Link to photo: https://businessesgrow.com/2014/07/30/buzzfeed-quizzes-marketing-research/
Post By Caroline TenHoor
Self-love is a much sought after concept. Many insecure people see it as a goal for themselves, others need therapy to achieve loving themselves. Others feel it necessary to change aspects of themselves to enjoy who they are. However, there is a far opposite end of the spectrum of insecurity- a rarely talked about issue, but a crucial one nonetheless. Is too much self love an issue in today's world?
In the society of this day and age, there has been a much-needed increase in acceptance. No matter who you choose to be or what you want to look like, there is a community of people who will respect that, for good or bad. Most would see this as a good thing: repressed communities having a voice, equality being strived for, and people being accepted regardless of identity or appearance.
According to Dr. Jean Twenge and critic Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, however, this is a bad thing for today’s young people. There is a growing population of people becoming helplessly self- absorbed to a point of having no compassion for others. Like Narcissus himself, falling helplessly in love with his own reflection, with the platform of social media to further breed self-entitlement, many teens and young adults are developing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
This is a disorder which is found most commonly in men, and characterized by extremely exaggerated feelings of self importance, the craving for others’ admiration, and an obvious lack of empathy.
As Dr. Twenge says, “In a nationally representative sample of 35,000 people, three times as many Americans in their 20s (compared to those in their 60s) experiences narcissistic personality disorder”.
This disorder is still rather uncommon- however, the personality trait of narcissism is massively popular, and makes a more strong appearance in cultures that value individualism and self-love. Sound familiar? While the US’ emphasis on being yourself seems wonderful on the outside, it has become a breeding ground for people to develop narcissistic traits. Dr. Twenge and Dr. Arnett have been working with data from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a short test that measures narcissism, to prove links between extreme narcissism and social media and the influencers that populate it, as well as using generational differences to determine root causes to increasing self- centrism in today's youth.
As a high school student with a presence on social media, it is easy to see and identify people who think themselves above everyone else. I see less of an issue in this school, due likely to small town attitudes and an overall indifference to being popular, but before I moved to Yarmouth, things were different. Even in middle school, life was a popularity contest. If you didn't have at least 25 people at your birthday party, you were not cool. If you didn't "date" someone before the fifth grade, you were lame. If you didn't post snapchat selfies in middle school, and especially if they didn't get many likes, you were shunned. In areas like that, where being cookie cutter popular clones of one another was the expectation, narcissism grows.
I'm sure you, reader, can identify one person (if not dozens more) you've known that thinks they're above everyone else. Social media influencers known to edit their photos so they get more likes? A person too cool to hang out with some of your friends? Someone you see constantly taking photos of themselves and making themselves into the center of attention?
As narcissism is slowly becoming the norm, and the sides of the self love/ self hatred spectrum are growing ever distant from each other, it may be time for America to discover a lesson in humility.
References (in APA)
A Back and Forth About Narcissism. (2013, August 05). Retrieved May 24, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/science/a-back-and-forth-about-narcissism
Quenqua, D. (2013, August 05). Seeing Narcissists Everywhere. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/science/seeing-narcissists-everywhere.html action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer
(2016, February 23). Retrieved May 30, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arJLy3hX1E8
Link to the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/science/a-back-and-forth-about-narcissism
By Caeden Rogers
Have you ever felt stressed out of your mind? Too busy to handle the world? Maybe you should just do nothing. Psychologist have found that occasionally doing nothing can help you in the long run. Wondering why? Just keep reading!
Now, many may think that by saying you are busy, you are saying that you are more important. When in reality, being busy isn't a status indicator. You could be just as busy as Tom Cruise but be a high school student. In order to feel less stressed or busy, all you need to do is practice what the dutch call, niksen, otherwise known as nothing. Psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee studies boredom. She compares a human to a car saying that to practice nothing is like having the car's engine running but not going anywhere. Sandi Mann is a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire in Britain. She believes that gazing out a window or sitting still is considered niksen. Anything that takes up some time and energy in beneficial whether it be niksen or not. Some may call this being lazy but they are just uninformed. Those uninformed probably participate in niksen throughout their day. Just going on a walk or daydreaming can help with your creativity and problem solving. Psychologist say that when practicing niksen, it may be awkward and uncomfortable the first couple of times you try it. Take into account where you are, what your surroundings might be. Is it quiet? Is it busy? Try to limit the outside factors impeding on your nothingness and just be.
As a high school student, I am put under a lot of stress everyday when given assignments and difficult tasks to complete. There is no time in my day to simply do nothing. After reading this article, I realize how important it is for my mental, physical, and emotional health to do nothing, even if it is just five minutes out of my day. I already take walks during classes when I can not focus or am bored. Sometimes just a short walk can boost my mood and help my concentration. If taking a walk could help me get better grades then I will gladly go on a walk. Not only do I go on walks sometimes, I think that daydreaming has also been beneficial to my learning and concentration.
There are only a few studies surrounding niksen or doing nothing. From the ones there are, you can take away that niksen is a healthy practice. It is beneficial in all aspects of your day to day life. In short, take a five or ten minute break out of your day to go on a walk or day dream or just do nothing. You will thank yourself for it later. I am not saying skip class to go be mindful; maybe spend your lunch break daydreaming, walking in the halls or in the courtyard. Spend some time to care for yourself by practicing niksen this year. Maybe even host a boredom party!
Links and Citations:
Mecking, O. (2019, April 30). The Case for Doing Nothing. Retrieved May 22, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/smarter-living/the-case-for-doing-nothing.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Psychology and Psychologists&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection
I am very familiar to procrastinating. In fact, this assignment is being completed at 11:00 PM the night before it is due. The article “When Bonuses Backfire: An Inaction Inertia Analysis of Procrastination Induced by a Missed Opportunity” about how incentives to complete a task early can actually impede efficiency of completion or cause incompletion of the task. The central idea surrounding these studies is inaction inertia. Inaction inertia is the tendency for a person to be less likely to complete a task at the second completion opportunity once the first opportunity is missed. In other words, when a person doesn’t do their work when the first opportunity arises, they’ll probably push it off the next time too.
Five groups were set up to complete a task: read a two page article and complete the comprehension quiz. There were two control groups with a flat completion reward of 1 credit. The first group had to complete the task in 2 weeks to earn the reward, the other had 3 weeks to complete the task. The three other groups would receive the 1 credit reward for completing the task in 3 weeks but would also receive a bonus (small: ¼ credits, medium: ½ credits, or large: 1 credit) for completing the task within the first two weeks.
It was found that there were two completion clusters. The small and medium bonuses’ completion rates did not vary significantly from each other but were significantly lower (about 30%) than the control groups and the large bonus groups whose completion rates did not vary significantly. However, as the bonus grew, the completion in the third week decreased. In the small bonus group, about half of those who completed the task submitted it after the bonus deadline, while in the medium group it was about 1/13 of completers submitted theirs in the final week. In the large bonus group, no one submitted the assignment after the 2 week bonus period. This result shows that the incentive increases the likelihood that inaction inertia will take hold. As the bonus increased, less participants took the second opportunity to complete the task.
Three groups were set to complete the task in 1 week and were monitored for time of completion. Each subject was promised a reward of 1 credit and $3 for task completion and a 1 credit deduction for failure to complete the task. Each needed to respond to an email stating that they would participate in the study. Two groups were informed that the first five people to respond to the email would receive a bonus (either large: $15, or small $2). These groups were later informed that they were not of the first five to respond. The final control group was not informed of a bonus.
In this study, the small bonus group and the control group did not vary significantly in the time it took them to complete the task. However, the large bonus group took about three times as long to complete the task. These findings demonstrate that a perceived lost opportunity contributes to lack of motivation to work on a task.
When it comes to my life, I should really get things done the first chance I get. Otherwise, inaction inertia could take ahold of me, and I’ll be less likely to do my work. Also this study plays into school. In the past teachers have tried to give my classes extra credit for turning in assignments early, but as this article shows, there is little benefit from these incentives. They can even be harmful. I need to learn to get things done right away so I’m not finishing my psychology assignment at 12:00 AM. Inaction inertia be darned.
Pittman, T. S., Tykocinski, O. E., Sandman-Keinan, R., & Matthews, P. A. (2008). When bonuses backfire: An inaction inertia analysis of procrastination induced by a missed opportunity. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 21(2), 139-150. doi:10.1002/bdm.576
by Ashley Allen
Netflix or Finals Review? The answer is usually the former, but why? Why does our mind subject itself to the vicious cycle of procrastination?
You come home after school exhausted and are expected to do homework or chores but all you really want to do is sit and relax, you make the soon to be a regrettable mistake and skip the work. We know that we will eventually have to do these tasks but still procrastinate. We know procrastination will only cause a negative outcome and an inevitable one as well and yet the cycle continues. Essentially procrastination is a mixture of anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt, or boredom associated with a task that causes us to delay it as much as possible. “People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task,” said Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield. When presented with a task so complicated or draining we come to the belief that we aren't smart enough or capable to complete it. To fix this mindset the only way we know how, we push it away for as long as possible. It's not about poor time management or laziness, its an emotional complex we’ve created to shield ourselves from negative feelings we have associated with a task. Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University states it as “The primacy of short-term mood repair … over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions. [Procrastination is] The immediate urgency of managing negative moods” I interpret this as meaning we “just can’t” do it and even the thought of the dreadful task creates anxiety and you place a mental wall between yourself and the task. “Procrastination is a perfect example of present bias, our hard-wired tendency to prioritize short-term needs ahead of long-term ones.” Meaning our brain is subconsciously is defending itself to actions it knows will cause you distress. Embedded into our DNA we are conditioned to put our short term need first, you aren't focused on the future because you’re focused on helping yourself in the here and now. “Dr. Hershfield’s research has shown that, on a neurological level, we perceive our “future selves” more like strangers than as parts of ourselves. When we procrastinate, parts of our brains actually think that the tasks we’re putting off and the accompanying negative feelings that await us on the other side are somebody else’s problem.” Essentially we dissociate with the truth of that future and when it comes time to face that truth we blame ourselves for the situation we’ve put ourselves through. I find myself doing this constantly with homework, and eventually, when it comes time to complete it, I’m surprised to find a huge pile of work. I push it off just for a while to escape the feelings, and frustration that comes along with it. I know it's not healthy and I know it’s not an effective way to balance school work but I still do it every day. And even for people like me who are master procrastinators, that can convince themselves to skip the work every time, there are ways to make procrastination harder for yourself. Dr. Pychyl provides the “Next Action” method, to separate your task into chunks of work so even if your only doing one whole task it could feel like five. When you feel more productive, you are. Another tactic is placing obstacles like making your temptations harder to get to induce a degree of frustration or anxiety. If social media is a common distraction try deleting your apps or placing your phone in another room. To attack procrastination at another angle Dr. Sirois found that “procrastinators tend to have high stress and low self-compassion”. When you look back on all your incomplete tasks you put yourself down and beat yourself up about the situation, but this doesn’t stop you from repeating your mistakes. Dr. Sirois suggests to practice self-compassion, because it increases motivation and decreases the psychological stress of self-blame due to procrastination. So next time you skip your homework for an easier, less challenging task remember it’s truly a vicious cycle that only hurts yourself.
Lieberman, C. (2019, March 25). Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/smarter-living/why-you-procrastinate-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-self-control.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Psychology and
by: Cassie Young
Those diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased three times the amount it used to be, and makes up one fifth of all claim benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, his disorder has not been easy to diagnose with only the judgement of a clinician. The fact that some people either conceal or exaggerate their symptoms, in aims to get more money or fear of being discharged, does not make it any easier to find out who really suffers from this distressing disorder. The Department of Defense has funded several projects to identify a “biomarker” such as brain scans or blood tests that would be more accurate in a diagnosis of PTSD. Through the study of voice characteristics, an algorithm has been created that has the potential to correctly identify 89 percent of PTSD patients. In a recent study at the New York University School of Medicine, researchers created an algorithm that has been fairly efficient with PTSD diagnosis. Out of 129 male military veterans that had significant combat in the field and were around the age of 32, 52 were diagnosed with PTSD while the other 77 came out clean. While in this experiment they took out all applicants who had other disorders and addictions, the problem has been raised as to how this will fit into the picture.
Ms. Carrigan's Psych Class
We have been reading articles about psychological studies to inform the way we live our lives. Please explore, and we hope you learn a bit about the psychology in your life!