Psychology 2035A/B Chapter Notes -Sweat Lodge, Kaleidoscope, Narcissism

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Chapter 1- Adjusting to Modern Life
The Paradox of Progress
Despite our technological progress, social problems and personal difficulties seem more
prevalent and more prominent than ever before.
Point: Modern technology has provided us with countless time-saving devices.
Counterpoint: Nonetheless, most of us complain about not having enough time.
o 51% of the adults respondents would rather have more time than money
o Cell phones, pagers, and e-mail tether people to their jobs
Point: The range of life choices available to people in modern societies has increased
exponentially in recent decades.
Counterpoint: Although increased choice sounds attractive, Schwarts (2204) argues that
the overabundance of choices in modern life has unexpected costs
o Decisions about education, work, and relationships
o Errors become much more likely when decisions are more complex
o Having more alternatives increases the potential for rumination, postdecision
regret, and anticipated regret; contributes to depression & anxiety
Point: Modern technology has gradually provided us with unprecedented control over
the world around us.
Counterpoint: Unfortunately, modern technology has also had a devastating negative
impact on our environment.
o Problem is both technical and behavioural
o The technological advances of the past century, impressive though they may be,
have not led to perceptible improvement in our collective health and happiness.
The progress we value so much has scrambled our value systems and undermined our
traditional sources of emotional security.
People are overwhelmed by rapidly acceleration cultural change
Mental demands of modern life have been so complex, confusing, and contradictory
that most of us are “in over our heads”
Excessive materialism weakens the social ties that binds us, stokes the fires of
insecurity, and undermines our collective sense of well-being
Modern changes in gender roles, diminished job stability and other social trends have
fostered and obsession with self-improvement that ultimately undermines individuals’
sense of security and their satisfaction with their identity
“Makeover Culture”- that we can reinvent ourselves as needed
The basic challenge of modern life has become the search for meaning, a sense of
direction, and a personal philosophy
Hard Times: Adjustment in an Era of Economic Distress
Research has shown that prolonged economic setbacks typically send families into a
downward emotional spiral marked by anxiety, depression, anger, alienation, and
marital conflict
We live in a world that nurtures a sense of entitlement to material goods, emphasizes
immediate gratification, and fails to instill self-discipline
People who are especially concerned with money and possessions tend to report lower
levels of happiness than others
The Search for Direction
The kaleidoscope of change that we see around us creates feelings of anxiety and
uncertainty, which we try to alleviate by searching for a sense of direction
Large sums of money to enroll in “self-realization programs”, eg. Scientology and Life
Mastery seminars, Dr. Phil
In some cases they probably lead people down ill-advised pathways that prove harmful
(sweat lodge)
In the wake of the Sedona Fiasco, this unwavering faith in Ray’s teachings is a
remarkable testimonial to the enormous persuasive power of the charismatic leaders
who promote self-realization programs
Cults- have attracted countless converts who voluntarily embrace a life of
regimentation, obedience, and zealous (fanatical) ideology.
People join cults because these groups appear to provide simple solutions to complex
problems, a sense of purpose, and a structured lifestyle that reduces feelings of
uncertainty
Psychobabble- seems appropriate to describe the “hip” but hopelessly vague language
used in self-help books
Clarity is sacrificed in favor of a hip jargon that prevents, rather than enhances, effective
communication
Self-help books tend to place more emphasis on sales than on scientific soundness
Self-help books don’t usually provide explicit directions about how to change your
behaviour
Narcissism is a personality trait marked by an inflated sense of importance, a need for
attention and admiration, a sense of entitlement, and a tendency to exploit others
Greek myth of Narcissus, an attractive young man in search of love who sees himself
reflected in water and falls in love with his own image
What to look for in self-help books:
1. Clarity in communication
2. Look for books that do not promise too much in the way of immediate change
3. Check the credentials of the author/ authors
4. Find the theoretical or research basis for the program they advocate
5. Look for books that provide detailed, explicit directions about how to alter your
behaviour
6. That focus on a particular kind of problem
The approach of this textbook:
1. It is based on the premise that accurate knowledge about the principles of
psychology can be of value to you in everyday life
2. It attempts to foster a critical attitude about psychological issues and to enhance
your critical thinking skills
3. It should open doors
4. It assumes that the key to effective adjustment is to take charge of your own life
Guidelines for Thinking Critically
1. Ask questions; be willing to wonder
2. Define the problem
3. Examine the evidence
4. Analyze biases and assumptions- your own and those f others
5. Avoid emotional reasoning
6. Don’t oversimplify
7. Consider other interpretations
8. Tolerate uncertainty
The Psychology of Adjustment
Psychology- is the science that studies behaviour and the physiological and mental
processes that underlie it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated
knowledge of this science to practical problems
Psychology focuses on behaviour and related mental and physiological processes
Behaviour is any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
Psychology does NOT confine itself to the study of human behaviour
The demands of World War II in the 1940s stimulated rapid growth in psychology’s first
professional specialty- clinical psychology
Clinical Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the diagnosis and
treatment of psychological problems and disorders
Adjustment refers to the psychological processes through which people manage or
cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life

Document Summary

Despite our technological progress, social problems and personal difficulties seem more prevalent and more prominent than ever before. Point: modern technology has provided us with countless time-saving devices. Counterpoint: nonetheless, most of us complain about not having enough time: 51% of the adults respondents would rather have more time than money, cell phones, pagers, and e-mail tether people to their jobs. Point: the range of life choices available to people in modern societies has increased exponentially in recent decades. Point: modern technology has gradually provided us with unprecedented control over the world around us. The progress we value so much has scrambled our value systems and undermined our traditional sources of emotional security. People are overwhelmed by rapidly acceleration cultural change. Mental demands of modern life have been so complex, confusing, and contradictory that most of us are in over our heads .