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Archive for the 'Asia' Category

April 26, 2006

Death Pumps Up Aggressive Thoughts

Filed under: Asia,Psychology of Terrorism and Disaster — Admin @ 10:48 am

A study was conducted by Tom Pyszczynski, professor, Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Abdolhossein Abdollahi, professor, Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Zarand, Iran, Sheldon Solomon, professor, Psychology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Jeff Greenberg, professor, Psychology, University of Arizona, Tuscon.

In this study both Iranian students and American students were questioned and were found that thoughts of death increase support for extreme actions. The researchers also analyzed the attitudes of young Americans regarding extreme military interventions in the Middle East. Under neutral conditions the researchers found that both groups showed little support for such extreme, but when reminded them of the inevitability of death they supported extreme measures.

About 40 students from two universities and 127 students at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., were asked to think about death and then were asked to respond to questions gauging their support for extreme military actions ranging from the use of nuclear and chemical weapons to pre-emptive strikes against countries that may pose a threat to the United States.

Support for extreme measures increased when thoughts of either death or 9/11 in case of Americans were introduced prior to the survey. The scientific findings demonstrate that thoughts of death increase people’s readiness to support extreme violent solutions to global conflicts. In conclusion it was said that the same factors that increased Iranians’ support for martyrdom attacks against Americans increased Americans’ support for extreme military interventions in the Middle East, both of which could cause the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Similarly people in the terrorist groups incite others by talking about previous incidents which has resulted in loss of life. This further helps them to instill hatred for each other.

Source: medindia

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

October 18, 2005

One day in a Central Asian school for children with special needs

Filed under: Asia,Children Psychology,Developmental Psychology — Admin @ 11:37 pm

While working on a student practical task in one of the Universities of Asia, in Department of Psychology, I had an opportunity to visit a boarding school for children with chronic psychic illnesses or underdevelopment. That was an unforgettable experience. The boarding school was an old ugly building on outskirts of a big city, behind a ravine, and very difficult to find without a guide. Our group of students, walked there for about 40 minutes, and eventually we found the high fence and gray building behind it.

We were asked to put on white doctor smocks, and after that we entered the building. First thing that shocked us, was very unpleasant smell inside the school, we met the director and she told us that unfortunately the amount of ill children had increased and it had been very difficult to find any donations or financial support for school. She asked us to bring old clothes if we could, because school could not support everybody and most parents just do not want to know and take care about their children. Some parents visit children ones or twice a year, and these children are considered lucky.

Then we were led to the girls’ part of the boarding school. There were girls of different ages, and as young specialists in the field of psychology we were surprised that there were children with different levels of underdevelopment in one single group. Some of them had only some chronic illnesses without mental disorders, but they were treated like mentally ill patients! The day schedule was the same for them everyday – they were sitting all in one room, all together about 35-40 children, or they had small walks around the building. I must admit that we had tears in our eyes, because it resembled a prison for little criminals.

These girls tried to hug us and we understood that they are in great need of love and attention. They were telling us that their parents would take them home soon. Some of older girls already had menstrual periods and they didn’t know what to do. Workers’ salary in this school is very low and there is no enough personal and nurses to help every child.

In the boys’ section of the school we saw very similar sad picture. About 35-40 children were sitting in one room with walls and chairs only. Some of the children had become degraded in those conditions.
Having had finished our practice most of us confessed, that during several days after the boarding school visit, they were seeing those children in their dreams at night while sleeping. That was a real shock for us. Most of us could not eat and sleep. Some of the students brought clothes and toys to that school.

This boarding school and other similar places are a very sad unknown side of the otherwise beautiful country and friendly people. Here in the United States, I have a huge wish and hope to find donations and support for the boarding school I visited 2 years ago.

About the author:

Madina Bakhitova-Niazoff, MS Psychology,
is the chief editor for – an online psychology portal providing news and information on various psychology subjects, discussion forum, psychology RSS feeds and web links. Madina volunteers at Wilmington Hospital’s First State School in Delaware – a very special program for children with chronic illnesses.

August 22, 2005

Preparing Japan’s First Psychologists: Alliant Masters Program Holds First Commencement

Filed under: Asia,Clinical Psychology — Admin @ 4:36 pm

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 22, 2005–As US students head back to school, 30 in Japan are donning caps and gowns for graduation. The first commencement from Alliant International University’s Clinical Psychology Masters Program will turn out a pioneering band of Japanese-trained psychologists on Saturday, September 10 at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo.

“Japan, like other countries, feels stress related to an aging population and adults trying to care for both children and elderly parents. The Japanese also feel extraordinary pressure to achieve in school and business,” explained Program Director Nancy Piotrowski, Ph.D. “Traditionally, they have struggled alone; the idea of seeking professional help with these pressures and normal transitions associated with birth, families and death is a new one. But that is changing. The services of modern-day clinical psychologists — specially trained to function in Japan — can lessen suffering for families and communities.”

Headquartered in San Francisco with campuses throughout California and in Mexico City, Alliant prepares students for professions in the applied social sciences of psychology, education, business and related fields. The unique, three-year Clinical Psychology Masters Program in Japan is run by Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) and geared toward adults who take courses part-time while also attending to career and family.

“Our dedicated students and faculty have worked tirelessly to make this day a reality, and we are proud of them,” said Dr. Geoffrey Cox, newly appointed Alliant President. “The objective of the pioneering Japan program is to develop culturally competent practitioners to serve people in the community.”

Classes are taught in Japanese and are held both online and face-to-face, including intensive week-long training experiences once each year. Currently, more than 100 students are enrolled; 25 will graduate and 24 will join the program this fall.

“Masters-level psychology training that is clinical in nature is relatively new in Japan,” said Piotrowski. “Our curriculum is unique in several ways. In addition to our part-time executive training format, we offer a supervised clinical training experience, called a practicum, so students get practice in providing clinical services to clients.”

The program responds to the growing need for well-educated and culturally-aware clinical psychologists who understand the complex issues of ethnicity, community, sexuality, age, gender, religion and social class.

Families of graduates and journalists are encouraged to attend the graduation. Advance R.S.V.P. required; call Alliant in the US toll-free at 866-825-5426. Commencement begins promptly at 4 and runs until 5:30 pm at the Keio Plaza Hotel, 2-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8330, Japan.

Alliant International University

Alliant International University has prepared students for professional careers in the applied social sciences of psychology, education and business since 2001. CSPP, now a school within Alliant, has been training professional psychologists for more than 30 years. Alliant offers a unique curriculum that combines academic learning and apprenticeship in all courses of study. With accredited programs at San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego locations, Alliant also hosts accredited programs in Mexico City, Mexico and Tokyo, Japan. For information call 415-955-2037 or visit the new website at

Alternative psychology for healing

Filed under: Asia,Energy Psychology — Admin @ 4:32 pm

Pune, August 22: THE tsunami which left scars on the psyche of survivors has one lesser known succour — the healing touch of energy psychology and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), types of alternative psychology.

‘‘Some of those who suffered the after-effects of the tsunami were able to come to terms with it, but for others it has become a source of recurring nightmares. They needed a healing touch,’’ says John Hartung, currently on a visit to the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s Centre for Biofield Sciences where he gave a lecture on energy psychology and EMDR on Monday.

Hartung was in Banda Aceh conducting a workshop for trainers, who would in turn, deal with tsunami victims and will next go on to Sri Lanka to do the same. Hartung works as a clinical psychologist and executive coach in the USA.

‘‘Energy psychology is a treatment which is based on the points and meridians on our body, a system of healing, much like the chakras in ancient Indian medicine. EMDR, on the other hand, is a complex method, one part of which involves the easing out of traumatic memories and using positive memories and messages,’’ says Hartung. In India, the Humanitarian Assistance Programme, with Indian psychologists, conducted EMDR sessions in Chennai, Hartung says.

Hartung will conduct a one-day introductory training course on Tuesday. He will be part of a clinical research trial to publish biofield assessment data calibrated with clinical controls at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Lokmanya Hospital Chinchwad.

Source: Express India

August 8, 2005

Hotline of hope for pregnant girls

Filed under: Asia,Clinical Psychology — Admin @ 1:25 pm

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)

HARBIN: With teenage pregnancy on the rise, one organization is trying to make a difference, as the city’s “teenage pregnancy hotline” faces its busiest time of the year.

“We receive about 20 calls a day for consultation,” Zhang Dasheng, director of the Harbin Hope Psychology Consulting Centre, said on Friday.

Four years ago, Zhang, a Peking University graduate, set up the country’s first hotline providing free consultations for young girls who accidentally get pregnant.


The current rise in the number of calls for help was expected as it is now the schools summer vacation period and most of the callers, according to Zhang, are senior-high schoolgirls, aged between 17-18 years old.

“I think I’m pregnant, but I don’t dare to tell my mum,” is the dilemma faced by many callers.

“What shall I do? What if I really am pregnant? How can I cope with it? Where is the safest place to do the abortion? Will there be any aftermath?” are just some of the questions tackled on a daily basis by the centre.

Everyday, Zhang and his colleagues listen to these voices anxious for help, answer their questions and comfort them with care and patience.


“The summer or winter vacation tends to be the peak time for the girls to have an abortion as they want to avoid being found out by their teachers and parents,” Zhang said.

“We comfort them, ask them some questions to see whether they are really pregnant, offer our suggestions, and most importantly, try to support them emotionally,” he said.

“They are so scared with the idea of pregnancy and are even more afraid to tell their parents,” he said.

As the topic of sex is still taboo for many Chinese, sex education lags far behind that of other countries.

Getting pregnant before marriage is definitely considered as something extremely “immoral” and “indecent.”

“Girls of this age are often curious about the changes occurring in their bodies and are eager to know more about sex.

“However, they have no place to access such information,” he said.

“We sometimes receive some calls asking nervously whether kisses can lead to pregnancy,” he said.

“So to some extent, we are also doing a kind of job to popularize sex education,” he added.

Zhang’s centre signed an agreement with the 211 Hospital of People’s Liberation Army in Harbin to receive these girls.

“These girls can go to the hospital for the abortion without registration as long as they have our referral letter. They get the green light all the way.”

“We consider their privacy to be the most important thing. The doctors in the hospital, therefore, are told not to ask any questions, so the whole process can take place in complete anonymity.”

As the problem of teenage pregnancy is on the increase, a trend witnessed nationwide, many cities, such as Chongqing, Hangzhou, Jinan and Chengdu, have set up similar organizations.

They all offer consultations, contraception and safe abortions.

Zhang said that the hotline has received more than 3,000 consulting calls since it was founded.

Source: China Daily

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