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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Adjusting to Modern Life

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Adjusting to Modern Life The Paradox of Progress • The technological advances of the past century have not led to perceptible improvements in our collective health and happiness; many argue the quality of our lives and our sense of personal fulfillment have declined Causes • Eric Fromm ◦ scrambled value system from progress • Alvin Toffler ◦ overwhelmed by rapidly accelerating cultural change • Robert Kegan ◦ modern mental demands are complex and confusing and contradictory; “in over our heads” • Tim Kasser ◦ excessive materialism weakens social ties, causes insecurity, undermines collective well- being • Micki McGee ◦ changes in gender roles, diminished job stability and etc. foster obsessions with self- improvement; “makeover culture” The Search for Direction • Changes around us cause feelings of anxiety and uncertainty which many try to relieve by searching for a sense of direction through self-realization programs ◦ Dr. James Ray, Oct 2009 in Sedona,Arizona ◦ Created a “spiritual warrior” retreat where 3 people died and 18 were hospitalized ◦ Forced people to fast in the desert than sweat in a poorly ventilated sweat lodge • Many “self-help” gurus have no relevant or respectable credentials • Unorthodox religious groups – cults – flourish in obscurity and attract a diverse array of normal people Self-Help Books • Many are completely valueless - only a select few are actually helpful – because ◦ Dominance of “Psycho-babble” • hip but vague language that is ill-defined or meaningless • clarity is sacrificed for hip jargon that prevents effective communication • “You've got to get in touch with yourself” ◦ Emphasis on sales rather than scientific soundness • ideas are authors' intuitive analysis, not scientific research • publishers promote outrageous promises (sometimes to the author's dismay) • some interventions are only effective in clinical settings ◦ No explicit directions about how to change behaviour • provides vague distillation of simple common sense • falls back on human tones rather than explicit advice ◦ Encouragement of narcissistic approach to life • “me first” philosophy emphasizes self-admiration and entitlement • “Do what you want to and don't think of the repercussions for anyone else” • Good self-help books have ◦ Clarity in communication ◦ Little promises of immediate change ◦ Mentions of theoretical or research basis for programs they advocate ◦ Provide detailed and explicit directions on altering your behaviour ◦ Acentral focus problem; not a cure-all for life's problems ◦ Author with legitimate credentials The Psychology ofAdjustment • Clinical psychology ◦ 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 The Scientific Method • Experimental Research ◦ An experiment allows the investigator to manipulate the independent variable (1) under controlled conditions and observe any changes that occur in the dependent variable (1) ▪ experimental group and control group are needed ▪ allows conclusions of cause and effect relationships • Correlational Research ◦ Acorrelation exists when two variables are related to each other ▪ correlation coefficient is a numerical index of the strength of the relationship and the direction • range of -1.0 to +1.0 ◦ correlation research broadens the scope of phenomena that psychologists can study ▪ in cases when experimental can't be used because not all aspects of the experiment can be controlled ◦ cannot demonstrate cau
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