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Lecture 20

PSYC 471 Lecture 20: 20 PSYC 471 March 28th 2017

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PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

20 PSYC 471 March 28 2017h The Dark Side of the American Dream: Aspirations, Values, and Well Being  The American dream  Original idea: anyone can work hard to achieve success  But darker side: maybe more about getting material wealth  Questions of the day:  Why do the Amish have such low rates of depression?  Why are rates of depression in the US increasing?  What role do intrinsic versus extrinsic aspirations play in personal well being? The Amish are not depressed  Epidemic of depression in Western world  Rates of depression since 1955 have quadrupled  Occurring at younger and younger ages  But not he Amish  Three core values: community and family, humility, the religious life  Simple old fashioned life  Children do not go to public school, just Amish school up until grade 8  Cultural Anthropologist who’s looked at Amish and depression  Argued whether you’re happy or sad we can’t avoid that but thinks that depression is something unique  Argues depression’s origins are linked to the quality of your social roles  Some cultures don’t provide valuable social roles Kasser’s exploration of the values underlying the American dream  Thinks there are three things emphasized by media etc. in America  Wealth, beauty, popularity  All associated with lower well being, extrinsic motivation focused on rewards, praise, and competition Contrast to Amish: “The Starlet”  12 girls competing for American dream (contract with a network etc.)  Subliminal message about the fleeting nature of beauty and stardom  The girl who wins is the “I had no money I love my Mom” type story  Subliminal message: these girls are crazy, stardom is not what they think it is  Kasser and Ryan: if we by into a focus on wealth, appearance and popularity it’s going to cost us, our lives won’t satisfy our basic needs  Kasser’s framework:  Two broad classes of aspirations distinguished on basis of content  Extrinsic aspirations—depend on contingent reaction of others and are typically engaged in as a means to an end (e.g. be wealthy b/c you’ll be popular)  Intrinsic aspirations—more likely to satisfy basic psychological needs (relationships, community, growing as a person, autonomy)  Extrinsic aspirations can often be linked to common motivators e.g. money (external rewards), fame (competition), and appealing image (praise)  Made a scale to measure general aspirations  Kasser found if you factor analyze items associated with 6 types of aspirations relationships, community, growth, money, fame, beauty) they load onto E or I and there’s a normal curve  Early studies rated how likely you are to attain these things… likelihood of attainment does not account for anything, it’s just having these aspirations that seems to be problematic Study:  Outcome variables: depression, physical symptoms, vitality, self-actualization  Consistent relationships so that the more you value I aspirations the better you are (in terms of well being)  People who cared about relationships and community were more likely to be self actualized and vital and less l
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