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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Adjusting to Modern Life.docx

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Chapter 1 – Adjusting to Modern Life The Paradox of Progress Point: Modern technology has provided us with countless time-saving devices Counterpoint: Most of us complain about not having enough time Point: Range of life choices available has increases. Counterpoint: Overabundance of choices in modern life has unexpected costs. Point: Modern technology has provided us with unprecedented control over world around us. Counterpoint: Modern technology has negative impact on environment - Quality of life and sense of personal fulfillment has declined - Basic challenge of modern life has become search for meaning, sense of direction and personal philosophy The Search for Direction - Self realization programs: o Harmless scans o Give illusory sense of purpose o Give temporary boost in self confidence o Lead people down harmful pathways - James Ray retreat o Sedona, Arizona o Self-help guru o Led people on vision quest o Many ended up ill; one died - Cults o Converts are a diverse array of normal people who are sway by social influence strategies o Join because appear to provide simple solutions to complex problems, sense of purpose, structured lifestyle to reduce uncertainty - Dr. Laura o Insults callers, models intolerance, provides questionable advice Self-Help Books - Americans’ average anxiety level has moved upward and prevalence of depression has increased as well - Suffer from 4 fundamental shortcoming: 1. Dominated by psychobabble; vague language 2. Place more emphasis on sales than scientific soundness 3. Don’t provide explicit directions about how to change behaviour 4. Encourage a self-centered, narcissistic approach to life (inflated sense of importance, need for attention/admiration, entitlement) - Basic message of self-help books: Do whatever you feel like doing and don’t worry about consequences for other people - What to look for in self-help books: 1. Clarity in communication 2. Look for books that don’t promise much in immediate change 3. Try to check out credentials 4. Select books that mention research basis 5. Provide detailed explicit directions how to alter behaviour 6. Books that focus on specific kind of problem Guidelines for Thinking Critically 1. Ask questions; 2. Define problem 3. Examine evidence 4. Analyze biases and assumptions 5. Avoid emotional reasoning 6. Don’t oversimplify 7. Consider other interpretations 8. Tolerate uncertainty The Psychology of Adjustment - Psychology is a science and profession - Clinical psychology: concerned with diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders - Adjustment: (Adaptation) psychological processes through which people manage/cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life The Scientific Approach to Behaviour - Psychology is a science, committed to empiricism - Empiricism: premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation - Everyday speculations are informal, unsystematic and highly subjective - Investigations are formal, systematic and objective - Advantages of scientific approach: o Clarity and precision o Relative intolerance of error - 2 main types of research methods in psychology: o Experimental o Correlational Experimental Research - Schachter’s hypothesis: increases in anxiety would cause increases in desire to be with others (need for affiliation) - Advantages: o Allows scientists to draw conclusions about cause and effect relationships - Disadvantages: o Researchers interested in effects of variables that cannot be manipulated Correlational Research - Correlation Coefficient: numerical index of the degree of relationship that ex
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