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Archive for November, 2005

November 27, 2005

Marxist guilt

Filed under: Terminology — Admin @ 11:08 am

Marxist guilt is the feeling of remorse, sin, or wrongdoing that relates to one’s acquisition or management of wealth; particularly when this capital-formation has occurred at the expense of others. It typically refers to the feeling of “sin” that some “haves” may feel when they compare themselves to the “have-nots”.

The “haves” atone for this Marxist guilt by contributing towards the welfare of the “have-nots”, adopting the role of “benevolent givers”. The benevolence of Alfred Nobel, Henry Ford, Bill Gates and many others, can be viewed from this angle. However, such benevolence may also have another motive, such as the desire to be perceived as “benevolent givers”. It may be an attempt to manipulate public opinion in their favour. Tax-saving can be another purpose behind some philanthropic ventures. However, the possibility of impression management and other motives does not entirely rule out the element of Marxist guilt as a variable.

Marxist guilt may be considered to operate in at least a part of our national psyche particularly in the psyche of the “haves”. One does not wish to trivialise in any manner whatsoever, the noble gestures of individuals and organisations in this context, nor to belittle the sacrifices involved. The “haves” are under no obligation to contribute towards the welfare of the victims of earthquake and their doing so reflects the nobility of the intention. These gestures need to be lauded and emulated.

The Marxist guilt model is invoked as a possible explanation of some financial contributions. It does not belittle or trivialise these contributions in any way whatsoever.

Related article to Marxist Guilt

The Psychology Behind Giving Thanks

Filed under: North America,Psychology of Religion — Admin @ 10:58 am

Interview With Dr. Paul Vitz

ARLINGTON, Virginia, NOV. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The spirit of thanksgiving contributes to mental health and ultimately leads to God, says a Catholic psychologist.

Dr. Paul Vitz is a professor of psychology at the Arlington-based Institute for the Psychological Sciences and a professor emeritus of New York University. He has authored many books, and is co-editor of a new book called “The Self: Beyond the Post-modern Crisis” (ISI, 2006).

Q: As strands of modern psychology are rediscovering the effectiveness of the virtues in the well-being of the person, what interest has there been in the virtue of gratitude?

Vitz: Psychology has discovered gratitude as something to investigate probably only in the last five or 10 years. The best summary of what has been found is in the book that just came out this year and is called “The Handbook of Positive Psychology.” In this book, Chapter 33 is a summary of what is known about gratitude.

The authors, R. Emmons and C. Shelton, point out that there has been some popular interest in gratitude in the last five or 10 years, but relatively little serious research in psychology.

So if some psychologist wants to become Mr. Gratitude or Ms. Gratitude, it is one of those fields that are sitting there, ready to be looked at seriously.

Q: What is it about gratitude that makes it such a useful virtue?

Vitz: Gratitude is a very positive virtue. It has positive thoughts associated with it, and above all, positive emotions.

It’s the emotion of thankfulness for what other people, or God, have given to you. It brings peace, and it brings a kind of quiet joy. I think it’s very clear that those are good emotions, good things to have.

We now know that our emotions can also cause bodily changes in us, so I’m convinced that gratitude is not only a positive thought and mentality, but also something good for your body.

Q: In your experience as a psychologist, have you seen any instances where developing gratitude helped a person to overcome a difficulty or illness?

Vitz: I think I have, but you know that you would have to run a controlled experiment to show it, and I haven’t done that.

But let’s look at the meaning of gratitude in light of the Faith. The very word for the Eucharist, the translation of its meaning is “thanksgiving.” And thanksgiving is a way of expressing gratitude to God.

So it’s at the center of the faith. The Eucharist is about Thanksgiving. It makes sense that Our Lord would have asked us to do something that was not only wise and spiritually sound, but psychologically good for us too.

Q: In other interviews we have spoken about the virtue of forgiveness and its relation to mental health. How can gratitude also play a role in the healing process?

Vitz: Let me propose this: One of the major barriers to forgiveness is anger, and resentment toward somebody. As long as that emotion is front-and-center in your mental life, it’s very hard to forgive.

But if you can begin to be thankful for things that are present in your life, once you realize that you’ve been given things, and given them gratis, things change.

I mean, you did not pay God to give you life, and no human being paid God to send Our Lord among us. So when you realize the things that you have, that you’ve been given, and you are filled with gratitude, it puts anger, bitterness and resentment aside.

When you realize what’s been given to you, just out of generosity then I believe it is easier to forgive. Because to forgive someone is to give them something. It is to give up your debt to them. It is as if they owe you a hundred dollars, they owe you this or they owe you that, an apology or whatever, and you give up the claim to it.

So you are giving something to them in the way that God, life and others have given to you, that you yourself have shown gratitude for.

Q: We have already spoken a little about the meaning of the Eucharist and how it is “thanksgiving.” But how else does our faith teaches us gratitude in a deeper way, a way that goes beyond positive psychology’s definition of gratitude?

Vitz: It certainly goes beyond positive psychology. It’s really gratitude to God.

It is gratitude for sending Jesus so that our sins are atoned for. It is the gratitude for all the gifts that God has given us, the people we know, the beauty of the world around us.

Gratitude and love are very closely related. Thus, since we are at the deepest level called to love God and love others, gratitude facilitates that. Gratitude moves you toward love, and since God is love, gratitude at the very deepest level moves us toward God.

Source: zenit.org

Evolutionary Psychology is Here to Stay

Filed under: Evolutionary Psychology,North America — Admin @ 10:50 am

A Response to Buller

by Frank Miele from Skeptic magazine Vol. 12, No 1

“Adaptationism pervades every level of biological inquiry, and always has, because at every level descriptions of relevant phenomena are almost invariably functional descriptions. The only scientifically coherent account of the origin of adaptations, and hence the only scientifically coherent account of ‘function’, is evolution by selection.”
— Donald Symons

The opening motions in philosopher David J. Buller’s case against Evolutionary Psychology (EP) appeared on his web site,1 followed by the major argument in his book, Adapting Minds.2 More recently, Buller argued against leading evolutionary psychologists John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, Martin Daly and Margot Wilson, and David Buss in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science (TCS), which allowed them to respond to Buller’s critique.3 In his Skeptic article in this issue, Buller takes his case to a more popular jurisdiction. His brief against EP has two parts:

1. A general critique of the concept of the modular (“Swiss Army Knife”) model of the mind, which he describes as a core dogma of EP. If this foundation crumbles, the entire edifice of Evolutionary Psychology will fall.
2. A specific critique of the data used to support two “signature achievements” of EP: Martin Daly and Margot Wilson’s Cinderella Effect; and David Buss’s studies of male-female differences in jealousy.

This article reviews the arguments and data for and against Evolutionary Psychology, Buller’s criticisms, and the responses to them.

more…

November 24, 2005

PSYCHOLOGY: Guilt and the earthquake —Humair Hashmi

Filed under: Asia,Social Psychology — Admin @ 10:58 am

The “haves” atone for this guilt by contributing towards the welfare of the “have-nots”, adopting the role of “benevolent givers”. The benevolence of Alfred Nobel, Henry Ford, Bill Gates and many others, can be viewed from this angle

The way people have offered help and assistance to those hit by the October 8 earthquake has been widely appreciated. However, it might appear to be a wee bit exaggerated in some cases and the sympathy exhibited can be interpreted as the survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s guilt is a universal phenomenon, experienced by survivors of shipwrecks, plane crashes or natural calamities, who suffer the loss of their near and dear ones.

It was described in the previous article as remorse or self blame for having survived when others, particularly loved ones, may have perished. Survivor’s guilt is a typical psychological reaction in the face of disasters like the one we experienced recently. There is however another dimension to this phenomenon of guilt that is also relevant.

In some recent psychological literature it is referred to as “Marxist guilt”. Marxist guilt is the feeling of remorse, sin, or wrongdoing that relates to one’s acquisition or management of wealth; particularly when this capital-formation has occurred at the expense of others. It typically refers to the feeling of “sin” that some “haves” may feel when they compare themselves to the “have-nots”.

The “haves” atone for this Marxist guilt by contributing towards the welfare of the “have-nots”, adopting the role of “benevolent givers”. The benevolence of Alfred Nobel, Henry Ford, Bill Gates and many others, can be viewed from this angle. However, such benevolence may also have another motive, such as the desire to be perceived as “benevolent givers”. It may be an attempt to manipulate public opinion in their favour. Tax-saving can be another purpose behind some philanthropic ventures. However, the possibility of impression management and other motives does not entirely rule out the element of Marxist guilt as a variable.

Marxist guilt may be considered to operate in at least a part of our national psyche particularly in the psyche of the “haves”. One does not wish to trivialise in any manner whatsoever, the noble gestures of individuals and organisations in this context, nor to belittle the sacrifices involved. The “haves” are under no obligation to contribute towards the welfare of the victims of earthquake and their doing so reflects the nobility of the intention. These gestures need to be lauded and emulated.

The Marxist guilt model is invoked as a possible explanation of some financial contributions. It does not belittle or trivialise these contributions in any way whatsoever.

Putting down the widespread response of the donors to guilt is perhaps heuristic. There are at least two other implicit variables operative in this collective response. The first of these is termed “altruistic behaviour”, in psychological literature that we as individuals, as groups and indeed as a nation have shown in response to the recent calamity.

Altruistic behaviour is the reverse of selfish behaviour; an altruistic person, group or an organisation is concerned with helping others, even when such helpfulness does not warrant any benefits or rewards. The altruistic first notice that help is required, then interpret the information and assume the responsibility for helping those in need. The selfish do neither of these. They do not notice the signs, do not interpret the signals that help is required and do not assume responsibility to help others in need. The overwhelming helping response of Pakistanis shows that we as individuals, as groups, and as a nation, possess a prominent altruistic characteristic. At the personal level, this response is a most heart-warming reaction to behold. I am proud to be a Pakistani.

The other psychological characteristic that perhaps this trauma has made manifest is the collective response of self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice is the tendency to deny or postpone the satisfaction of one’s own needs for satisfying the needs of others. Consider the way help has been offered not only in the form of financial donations and other materials, but also in the way volunteer services have been offered spontaneously from all over the country. Is it not a measure of an overwhelming expression of self-sacrifice?

After all, the time spent in voluntary work could have been spent pursuing selfish, narrow, personal goals. The fact that the volunteers decided to forego satisfying their personal needs, putting the needs of the victims first speaks a great deal about us as self-sacrificing individuals, groups, and nation. There is also a loud and clear message in this for the doubters and the cynics. We are not all bad, after all; we only need a “just” cause to stir and propel us, and the goodness lying dormant in our collective psyche becomes overt and expresses itself in myriad ways as it has, in response to the recent calamity.

Humair Hashmi is a consulting psychologist who teaches at Imperial College. This is part of a series of articles on the psychological reactions to the earthquake

Source: Daily Times

Stress raises lipid level

Filed under: Asia,Psychology of Health — Admin @ 10:50 am

BEIJING, Nov. 24 — A new study by the American Psychological Association has found that mental stress over a period of time can raise a person’s lipid levels, or in other words, it can increase cholesterol levels in healthy adults.

According to the study, published in the recent issue of Health Psychology, in a sample of 199 healthy middle-aged men and women, researchers Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., and Lena Brydon of University College London examined how individuals react to stress and whether this reaction can increase cholesterol and heighten cardiovascular risk in the future.

“Our study found that individuals vary in their cholesterol responses to stress,” says Dr. Steptoe. “Some of the participants show large increases even in the short term, while others show very little response. The cholesterol responses that we measured in the lab probably reflect the way people react to challenges in everyday life, as well. So the larger cholesterol responders to stress tasks will be large responders to emotional situations in their lives.

The researchers speculate on the reasons why acute stress responses may raise fasting serum lipids. One possibility may be that stress encourages the body to produce more energy in the form of metabolic fuels – fatty acids and glucose.

These substances require the liver to produce and secrete more LDL, which is the principal carrier of cholesterol in the blood. nother reason may be that stress interferes with lipid clearance and a third possibility could be that stress increases production of a number of inflammatory processes like, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor and C-Reactive protein that also increase lipid production.

Although no one understands the cause of the reaction, the researchers said the study could help pinpoint people who are at a greater risk for heart disease. Enditem

www.chinaview.cn

November 10, 2005

Graduate Programs within Psychology

Filed under: Education,North America — Admin @ 1:49 am

Despite the four-year commitment to a graduate program, the doctoral degree in psychology opens up many career opportunities within the profession. Positions within psychology are typically readily available and provide the person abundant independence, advancement, gratification, and a modest income level. The major fields at the doctorate level include: more…

Securing a Job after Graduation

Filed under: Career and Employment,North America — Admin @ 1:45 am

Exactly what are employers looking for in prospective employees?

Which specific factors do employers believe important when reviewing a candidate’s credentials? Although it may vary for different employers and in different workplaces, a survey by Eison (1988) indicated the following ranking for 15 factors:

1. personality of student
2. grades in major courses
3. nature of previous jobs
4. overall GPA
5. breadth of courses taken
6. reputation of school
7. breadth of life experiences more…

Job Search Resources: Health & Medical Employment

Filed under: Jobs Posting,North America — Admin @ 1:40 am

This is a simple, straightforward Guide designed to point healthcare professionals in the right directions as they embark on their job searches. This Guide provides a wealth of tools, resources and articles for all those looking for jobs in the health care industry (managed care, hospitals, healthcare systems, health care companies, physician groups, etc.).

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FREE ADHD TEST

Filed under: North America,Psychological Tests — Admin @ 1:38 am

Download two free test administrations of IVA+Plus, the Integrated Visual and Auditory CPT (IVA) from our website.
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THE FOUNDATION FOR LEARNING!

Filed under: Conferences and Workshops,North America — Admin @ 1:34 am

Biofeedback Workshops and Online Education. The Biofeedback Foundation of Europe is a non-profit foundation located in the Netherlands. The BFE supports workshops and continuing education including BCIA*, courses in North America through all of the co-sponsors listed. To get the latest listing of all workshop locations and dates or a schedule for online courses, contact the BFE

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