Social Psychology Eye
- Issue Information April 17, 2013
- Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder as the Medicalization of Childhood: Challenges from and for Sociology April 17, 2013
- It Is Not Old-Fashioned, It Is Vintage, Vintage Fashion and The Complexities of 21st Century Consumption Practices April 17, 2013
- Leadership Trends in Advanced Democracies April 17, 2013
- Graffiti as a Form of Contentious Political Participation April 17, 2013
- Why do we join groups?
- The Pursuit of Happiness
- Hug me, Mom: Stroller or baby carrier?
- Gender Stereotypes and Success in the Military
- Ideological dilemmas and depression
- The Restraint Bias: Another reason why a diet won’t work
- Cyberbullying-- Is the Internet to blame?
- Individual's influence on culture: What does Michael Jackson's story tell us
- Confirmation Bias, Satire, and Stephen Colbert
- Strategic advantages to helping international out-groups
May 2013 M T W T F S S « Oct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
- Stress and Disease: A Structural and Functional Analysis: Chronic stress, a validated health risk factor, rema... bit.ly/Z0KUJi 2 months ago
- Dyadic Models for the Study of Health: Dyadic designs have been used in health research to investigate intra- ... bit.ly/Z0KUsY 2 months ago
- Ignoring Versus Exploring Differences Between Groups: Effects of Salient Color-Blindness and Multiculturalism ... bit.ly/W9xQmg 2 months ago
- A New Perspective on Temperamental Shyness: Differential Susceptibility to Endoenvironmental Influences: In th... bit.ly/14rf88V 2 months ago
- Motivation and Personality: A Neuropsychological Perspective: Personality is strongly influenced by motivation... bit.ly/14rf7BV 2 months ago
Category Archives: Personality
A recent study by Soraya Mehdizadeh has made the news because it made an interesting connection between Facebook profiles and personality traits like narcissism. The study found that the more times a person checked Facebook, the higher they scored on narcissism. Also, there was a significant relationship between self-promotional content and narcissism scales. According to the study, for women self promotional content tended to include images of “revealing, flashy and adorned photos of their physical appearance” while for men, their “about me” descriptions highlighted their intelligence and wit. However, the study also finds that people with low self-esteem also check their Facebook pages more often.
The link between self-esteem and narcissism has been hard to understand for years despite ample research on both topics. According to a review done by Bossom and colleagues the problem in understanding the connections between narcissism and self-esteem is that some research has shown that narcissism is actually a mask to hide low self-esteem, but other research has failed to show this pattern. According to the review there are several subtypes of narcissism that have different relationships with self-esteem. Furthermore, the research on self-esteem shows that different aspects of the self may be being measured depending on the type of self-esteem measure being used.
The research on Facebook adds an interesting piece to the puzzle as it reveals the way in which both low self-esteem and narcissism are manifesting as the same behaviour on social networking site. The mask theory of narcissism (that it is used to mask low self-esteem) might make sense here as people’s grandiose view of themself is being broadcasted through constant use and updating of their Facebook profiles; while a need for validation that goes along with deeper low self-esteem is driving them to seek instant feedback (something Facebook can uniquely provide) from their friends.
Am I the only one that loves to hear a story when a supposed “holy man” has allegedly been caught with his hands in the sacramental cookie jar? When I hear these types of stories, stories like that of Ted Haggard’s methamphetamines driven gay sexcapades or the standard pedophiliac priests and the Popes that cover for them, I always assume that they are guilty. Is that wrong, I wonder? Is it wrong that I enjoy seeing people who make a living telling other people how to run their lives gets caught in blatant hypocrisy? I think not.
The latest scandal comes from the Peach State (Georgia) where Eddie Long, the “Bishop”—I appreciate the irony of a protestant preachers adopting a Catholic title in this case—of a mega church has been accused of coercing four young men with cars, jewelry and vacations for sexual favors. The Catholic Priesthood must love this. I bet they are saying to their selves “Damn. Thank Christ it wasn’t one of ours this time.”
After watching a video of Eddie addressing the accusations in front of his flock of sheep and a short interview of Jamal Parris, one of Eddie’s accusers, I couldn’t help but ask myself who I thought was really telling the truth. The gods know, Parris and the other accusers could potentially have a lot to gain monetarily from a civil lawsuit from a preacher worth millions. On the other hand, Eddie, “The Bishop” looked guilty. So I looked to the literature to see if my gut was on to something.
I first looked to work profiling sexual preditors and how they coerce their victims. It seems that “The Bishops” position of authority provides the idea opportunity for sexual predation and coercion. Furthermore, the interactions between the victims and “the Bishop (e.g., the vacations, gifts, etc) could be construed as his “grooming” his victims. Moreover, the difficult family backgrounds of the accusers seem to make them ideal targets. In sum, the few details of this biblical mess, so far, jives with what one would expect from a classic case of sexual coercion (see Olson, Daggs, Ellevold & Rogers, 2007, for complete details).
Finally, my bullshit detector also jives with what seems to be suggestive and convicting—I mean convincing—correlations between the findings in the literature and the details of this story. Why does this matter? Well, considering that even normal adults have a 60% accuracy rate in detecting bullshit (see Vrij, Akehurst, Brown & Mann, 2006, for details about human lie detecting), a keen professional of human observation, such as myself, should be quite confident in his/her gut reactions. So by judging from the brief video of Parris and Long, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this guy is guilty. What do you think? Am I jumping the gun, or is this guy a fruity preditor is an expensive suit? The world wants to know….
By, Adam K. Fetterman
Christopher Hitchens, author of numerous books regarding the topic of atheism and religion and one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism”, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer just before starting his latest book tour. There are some noticeable consequences of his diagnosis. One particular consequence of his illness is a national “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day”. According to Jay Reeves and Hitchens, the origins of this prayer day are not exactly known. However, some may consider it spit in the face. Hitchens does not seem to see it this way, and thanks those who are praying for his good health, but also asserts it will do nothing more than make those praying feel better and if so, that is fine with him. However, according to Hitchens and Reeves, there are three types of prayers going on in his name. First, there are those praying for his health. Second are those praying for him to find god. Which god? It appears mostly the Christian one. Finally, there are the prayers for Hitchens to suffer a painful death, and that the torture continues in hell.
This third type, not only lends credence to ideas put forth about religion by Hitchens and other atheists, but it may also reflect a belief in a just world. Most people believe that things happen for a reason. That is, good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people (Pepitone & L’Armand, 1998). According to Pepitone and L’Armand, the strongest belief comes with the former, but there is still evidence that people believe in that latter. These beliefs are particularly strong amongst the religious (Pepitone & L’Armand, 1998). Perhaps because they believe that a god has a plan or has control the world. Therefore, it is not entirely surprising that web commentors and letter-writers are sending Hitchens messages that he is getting his “just desserts” and other horrendous diatribes. As a side note, a lot of these comments appear to be coming from those with a Christian background, of which many Christians would prefer to disassociate with. With that in mind, one may notice that this is not the way Christians ought to act. One possible explanation is that, when compared to Jewish individuals, Protestants view belief as more important than practice (Cohen, Siegel, & Rozin, 2002), though this explanation is merely speculation.
At any rate, Christopher Hitchens, as always, may the science of medicine keep you comfortable and with us for a long time to come.
-In two weeks: Part 2. Symbolic immortality.
Atheist Hitchens skipping prayer day in his honor. By Jay Reeves, Associated Press.
Just after the Rwanda genocide broke out in 1994, white expatriates were speedily evacuated from the place. Adam Jones (2006) wrote of a video record at the Caraes psychiatric Hospital in Ndera Kigali showing white individuals being evacuated while Hutus were almost outside the gates, and the Tutsis begged the military men for protection. One soldier yelled, “Solve your problems yourselves!”
The UN Genocide Convention has defined genocide as “acts committed with the intent to destroy in part or whole a national, ethnic racial or religious group as such.” Staub (2000) provides the social context which makes genocide of one group by another likely—difficult life conditions and group conflict. Cultural differences also come to play such as blind respect for authority, inflexible stratification within classes, and a history of devaluation in a group.
Not all members of the dominant group become perpetrators. There were the ‘ordinary Germans’ who did nothing while the Holocaust happened, while there were also countless Germans who defied authority and managed to rescue Jewish families in peril. In a genocide setting, there are the perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers. These categories can also be fluid, as noted by Monroe, when constant bystanders turn into rescuers, or when perpetrators who have engaged in massacres, rescue an individual from the other group. Monroe defines six critical aspects gathered from summaries of reports of these three groups which play a part in the role a group or individual makes: self image, personal suffering, identity, relational identity, integration of values with the individual’s sense of self, and a cognitive classification of the other. Perpetrators may perceive of themselves as victims and justify causing harm to the other group. Bystanders and perpetrators may hold greater value for community, and authority, rather than self-assertion. Personal suffering may also cause a group or an individual to empathize with the aggrieved group, but it may also heighten fear and defensiveness. While cultural and social aspects are important in determining attitudes and behavior, self images can also determine if people will act or remain passive in the face of genocide. Individuals who feel they have control over the situation may be forced to do something about it, as opposed to bystanders who, even if they also empathize with the aggrieved group, may feel helpless over the situation.
Jones A. (2006). Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction
Monroe K. R. (2008). Cracking the Code of Genocide: The Moral Psychology of Rescuers, Bystanders, and Nazis during the Holocaust
Staub, E. (2000). Genocide and Mass Killing: Origins, Prevention, Healing and Reconciliation
Last night, Discovery Channel aired its tribute to Phil Harris, captain of the crabbing vessel Cornelia Marie. Cpt. Phil died of a massive stroke at the untimely age of 53 on February 9th, 2010, while tapping the latest season of the hit series Deadliest Catch. While I enjoyed the series, I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard fan; I just learned of Cpt. Phil’s death earlier this week. However, I am an admirer of the man. When I did watch the show, I noticed something familiar about the grizzly captain. There was something about his spirit, his attitude, that seemed to shout “I’m going to do whatever the hell I want.” I liked that. But during last night’s show, learning about the man through the stories told by his closest friends, it was like reliving my own father’s death and listening to his friends tell similar stories.
Both men—my father, Joe, and Phil—where thickheaded men who lived the way they wanted. They both had two sons, but saw them far less than they would have wanted to. They both worked their ass off all of their lives. They lived hard and they played hard. They smoked, drank, and ate some of the best tasting, cholesterol-filled, artery-clogging foods that a person could consume. While their personal habits may be seen to some as crude or even selfish—in the sense that their habits lead to their untimely deaths—those who were closest to them seemed to admire their rebel spirits. That spirit that lead my Dad and Phil to continue working like dogs, drinking like fish and smoking like chimneys until their early 50s, when it finally caught up to them.
While I admire these men, I also remember that they were fathers who left their loved ones behind far to early. So I must ask myself, should we (me, my brother, Joe Jr., and Phil’s sons, josh and Jake) live like our fathers who we loved and admire dearly, or change? Should we realize the unbalanced natures of the rebel lifestyle, filled with packs of smokes, gallons of coffee and cases of beer every day, or embrace the rebel and say ”to hell with the consequences, I’ll live my life the way I God-damn please!” The same way I have for the past fifteen years? Can we? Though I can’t speak for the other sons in this story, I can speak for myself. I am changing.
I have recently learned of my own paternity. In the next six months my first son or daughter will be born. And for him/her I have quit smoking, cut-down on the coffee and alcohol, but my diet still needs some work; I love butter…. Every day I must ask myself if I want to be like my Dad and leave this earth never seeing my child venture off to college or pursue their talents, whatever they may be. I don’t. I don’t want them ask themselves the same questions about their father that I have. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes and to endure the pains of changing their entire lifestyle. It is very difficult, but I must. I want to see them grow up. I want to be a different type of role model.
Usually, I would include some applicable research to this story. Some article addressing how a son’s understanding of his father relates to his own identity and behavior would do well. Frankly, I couldn’t find any. It seems that fatherhood has been neglected in the literature (Samuels, 2007). I did find that even at an early age, our Father’s seem to be a source of a good time and congruent positive arousal (Feldman, 2003). And perhaps that is the difficulty in separating ourselves from our fathers: they know how to have fun. We must remember them for who they were, the great times they brought us, but try desperately not to make the same mistakes. I think they would want that. Perhaps there is a way to embrace the rebel while not ingesting the copious amounts of poison that seems to come with it. In the words of another fallen rebel father, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, I will ponder this rotten assignment and learn how to cope with it. Until then, I will close with an appeal to The Great Magnet: May these men rest and be remembered fondly. They’ve earned it.
I stumbled across the poem ‘I am a Manly Man!’ written by Bradley Hathaway (see link below) on Facebook recently. Although laced with humour and irony, it does provide an interesting personal account of how men are active in the construction of their masculine identities, and that their behavior is influenced by their understanding of how their own behavior relates to hegemonic masculinity.
There are clear links between hegemonic masculinity and subordinated, marginalized, or resistant forms of masculinity (Connell 1995; Hall; 2009; Hall & Gough, submitted; Kimmel & Messner 1995) and these are evident within the text. Bradley acknowledges the existence of more than one discourse of masculinity: hegemonic masculinity (‘manly man’) and alternative masculinities. He described some of his own hegemonic masculine attributes as ‘Because I don’t flush and I leave the lid up’, ‘I drive a nineteen eighty-eight Ford Pick-up truck’ and ‘I fart, burp, spit when I want. Not caring who is nearby’. These can be contrasted to other alternative masculine attributes of Bradley’s which he describes as including a ‘sissy frame…rib laden chest’ ‘I tell my guy friends that I love them. And sometimes, I even hug them’ and ‘I watched Bambi. I cried’.
The decision to endorse and embody a particular form of alternative masculinity is not a simple choice because of the strong fundamental links to identity – behavior that is not hegemonically masculine is immediately judged to be non-masculine or feminine (e.g. ‘sissy’ ‘gay’) (McQueen and Henwood 2002). Bradley describes a manly man as embodying a masculinity characterized by being physically strong, heroic, tough, and brave. He made a clear contrast between this ideology and other aspects of his own masculinity, which he characterized by characteristics such as being loving, compassionate and caring rather than stoic and emotionally reserved. Given that the tone of the poem is about trying to justify alternative masculine characteristics as still hegemonic masculinity, suggests that although masculinity and femininity are not bipolar opposites, neither are masculinity and femininity truly orthogonal (see de Visser, 2009). This poem may therefore, give hope to young men who reject hegemonic masculinity but still desire a clear sense of being a man.
I am a Manly Man!
By Kevin R. Betts
Sitting next to my grandpa in the back seat of my mom’s car last week, I listened to him critique his daughter’s driving: “I could have made it through that gap three times by now.” “How do you get anywhere?” “How come Kevin isn’t driving?” Seemingly unaffected by my grandpa’s comments, my mom and grandma discussed the things they wanted to do before our family vacation in Traverse City, Michigan was over. Reminiscent for me of the humorous website http://shitmydadsays.com/, I just laughed.
Although my grandpa’s comments are humorous, the aggressive driving habits he hopes my mom will adopt are not. Just a month earlier than our vacation, a man in the same city sped down a local road and rolled his vehicle, killing one passenger and seriously injuring another. Around the world, similar stories are heard. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 37,261 people died on U.S. roads in 2008 alone.
Hoping to shed light on factors that influence aggressive driving like that resulting in the abovementioned accident, Michele Lustman and colleagues (2010) surveyed a sample of motorists, collecting information about their driving habits and personality characteristics. Results revealed a link between trait narcissism and both perception of intentionality following road incidents and aggressive driving behaviors. Specifically, motorists with high self-esteem were more likely than those with low self-esteem to perceive ambiguous road incidents as intentional, and to react to those incidents aggressively. The researchers suggest that the aggressive reactions of these drivers may be in response to threatened high self-esteem that results from perceived offenses by other drivers.
You might have the similar experience. One of your friends Ann comes to you and starts talking about her new boyfriend Mark. He is not only charming, but also extremely smart, humorous, thoughtful. You think Ann is the luckiest girl in the world and cannot wait to see this amazing guy. Finally, when you meet this him, this perfect guy seems to have been turned into a bald, short and boring man. You run away from him and doubt that there is something wrong with Ann’s eyes. However, the same story happens to Mary, Ken, Chris, and Benny. Eventually, one day your friends ask you, what the hell do you see in that guy!? You wonder, is love really blind?
There has been a substantial amount research devoted to investigating this interesting question. Research showed that during their romantic relationship, partners frequently attempt to sustain a sense of felt security by weaving an elaborate story (or fiction) that both embellishes a partner’s virtues and minimizes his or her faults. For instance, several research found that individuals often rate their partner overly positive on characteristics such as “kind” and “intelligent,” a phenomenon that has been called positive illusions. Barelds and Dijkstra (2009) examined the existence of positive illusions about a partner’s physical attractiveness and its relations to relationship quality. They found that individuals rated their partner as more attractive than their partner rated him or herself, and such positive illusion about partner’s physical attractiveness was associated with high relationship quality. Researchers interpreted that feeling that one partner is very attractive will therefore enhance one’s satisfaction with one’s relationship. Partners may feel they are lucky to have such an attractive partner. So is love blind? Perhaps not blind, but certainly magic.
As David Cameron, Gordon Brown, and other candidates prepare for the UK general elections, voters must decide whom to support. Although political ideology is (hopefully) a major influence on voting habits, a number of other factors about the candidates may sway voters as well. For example, many election observers have noted the seeming link between candidate height and election outcome– with taller candidates winning more. The BBC recently reported on how lately UK candidates have been emphasizing their exercise routine and physical fitness to the public; perhaps hoping that physical fitness translates into a perception of leadership fitness for voters. Or, candidates may be hoping to boost their perceived attractiveness (since perceived attractiveness has been linked the perception of other positive trait attributes) by spending a few extra hours in the gym.
Much research on first impressions has reiterated the importance of physical features in influencing judgments about a number of traits, including competence– which is strongly linked to voter support. Research altering the images of famous US presidents showed that subtle changes to their faces could greatly change perceptions of them. Recent research in Political Psychology tried to examine more specifically the ways that first impressions (non-verbal at least) might influence social judgments other than competence and how those judgments may influence actual election outcomes. Just as previous research has suggested, judgments of competence were highly positively correlated with winning in a real election. However, somewhat surprisingly, when paired with judgments of incompetence, judgments of physical attraction were actually correlated with a lesser chance of winning an election than judgement of incompetence alone. In other words, if a first impression of incompetence is made, being seen as physically attractive actually makes your chance of winning even worse. So, according to this research if candidates are hoping to boost their physical appeal in order to sway voters, maybe they ought to make sure they are being seen as relatively competent first.
Can science really predict divorce? Can science really tell you how to select the “right” partner? A recent post by Chris Matyszczyk brought a sarcastic and ironic view about the finding of a marriage study. Chris claimed, according to this study, the perfect wife is five years younger than her husband, is from the same cultural background, and is at least 27 percent smarter than her husband.
Sounds ridiculous? Yes. If people try to over-generalize certain research findings to general population in any situation by ignoring its specific subjects and applicable context, or make prediction based on correlational studies, it’s possible that they will always obtain disappointing or ridiculous results. Then, how should we think about the scientific findings on complicated human phenomena, such as marriage? What does science tell us about marriage?
Gottman & Notarius (2002) reviewed the advances made in the 20th century in studying marriages. The first published research study on marriage dealt with one major research question, “What is fundamentally different about happily and unhappily married couples?” Following that, with the development of more sophisticated measures and methods, some grim and interesting findings began emerging from research on marriage. For example, in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, Burgess’ longitudinal study (Burgess & Wallin, 1953) found that, for most couples, marital satisfaction was high right after the wedding and then began a slow, steady, and nontrivial decline thereafter. Another example is Hicks and Platt’s (1970) decade-review article on marital happiness and stability which concluded that “perhaps the single most surprising finding to emerge from research is that children tend to detract from, rather than contribute to marital happiness”. Then, research in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s witnessed the realization of many secular changes in the American family, including the changing role of women, social science’s discovery of violence and incest in the family, and the beginning of the study of cultural variation in marriages et al.
In sum, marriage as an ultimate human condition has been intriguing to both scientists and common people for a long time. However, when we try to understand and interpret research findings on marriage, we need to be very careful about their applicable conditions and limitations. For example, as we know, psychological studies have relied on samples of convenience that have limited generalizability. Although based on the evidence we have so far, marital relations haven’t yet succumbed to delightfully efficient approaches, scientific findings keep shedding light on the mystery of human marriage.