This post will be dealing with a more science oriented approach to psychology known as cognitive neuroscience, which is a branch of psychology that involves intensive study of the brain as well as behaviour. The human brain is a lot more than a mass of grey goop; it is an extremely complicated organ consisting of a team of 50 billion neurons (each of which link up to 10,000 more neurons!) that work around the clock to control every thought, action, and perception we have. Your brain is responsible for literally everything you think and know about yourself and the world you live in, and is therefore the holy grail of psychology, as everything that is knowable has it’s roots in the brain. Even though we all have a brain, we are not born with an instruction manual on how to use it, or how it works. So we spend the rest of our lives letting it work on autopilot, outside our conscious control – do we control the brain, or does the brain control us?
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a famous Swiss psychiatrist who began his exploration of the unconscious while he was a pupil of Sigmund Freud in his early psychiatric years; he credited for being the father of analytic psychology, which was an evolution of Freud’s school of psychoanalytic thought. Jung developed many psychological theories which are still widely studied and researched to this very day, and was responsible, along with Freud, for making the concept of the unconscious known to the world through extensive analysis of his patient’s dreams.
Among Jung’s many theories are the concepts of the collective unconscious, archetypes, the anima/animus, synchronicity (meaningful coincidences), psychic phenomenon and introverted and extraverted personality types. Jung also developed the use of word association tests as a means of investigating the link between a patients conscious thoughts and their unconscious fears and desires. Jung believed that the process of individuation – the integration of the conscious and unconscious mind – was the only way for a ‘splintered’ man to become whole, and was therefore the ultimate goal of psychotherapy. He developed a method for achieving individuation which he termed Active Imagination – the confronting of unconscious archetypes by method of dream analysis and drawing of mandalas.
Carl Jung was a remarkable individual who blazed a fiery trail in the field of psychology that none have matched since. He is most well known for his extensive studies on Eastern philosophy, the occult, and psychic phenomena; his Collected Works comprises of nearly 20 volumes. American mythologist Joseph Campbell picked up the pieces that Jung left behind him, and formed his theory of the monomyth – the single myth that all myths draw from – which was inspired by Jung’s concept of archetypes who he had developed from his examining of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. My thought is also hugely influenced by Jung, and so I thought a glossary of his most used terms and concepts would be useful for readers of this blog who are unaware of his work; hopefully this post sparks a flame of interest in you, and results in you choosing to seek out the wisdom of Carl Jung for yourself.
Submitted as Assignment 1 HAY101 – Psychology 101
Word Count: 838
Author: Michael Cunningham
Perceptual Learning can be defined as a long lasting improvement in one’s sensory abilities after training; it enhances an individual’s perceptual system and helps one to adapt to the sensory environment (Seitz et al 2005). Studies on perceptual learning have found that it can have a relatively long lasting effect on an individual’s ability to better perform at certain perceptual tasks. A study conducted by Fahle & Daum (2002) amongst six patients with amnesia and six patients with healthy memory, showed that amnesic patients are able to significantly improve their performance in a visual hyperacuity task as a result of training. Both groups of subjects completed two learning sessions separated by a one-week interval, at the commencement of the second learning session, the amnesic subjects had no recollection of the previous training, the stimuli, or even the investigators. Despite this they performed significantly better at the second task than the first, which indicates that the amnesic subjects had retained information from the first learning session, even though they had no recollection of the training. The results of the study lend support to the theory of perceptual learning and it’s effectiveness at improving performance. Another study, conducted by Seitz et al (2005), demonstrated that perceptual learning could lead to subjects perceiving stimuli when none are physically presented. In this study, sixteen 18-35 year old subjects with normal vision were presented with motion stimuli and were required to report the direction of each stimulus; a subliminal motion stimulus was presented during the training period, which was too dim to be detected by students. In the post-test it was found that subjects reported seeing motion in the same direction as the subliminal stimulus when presented with blank slides. These results show that there are costs as well as benefits to perceptual learning, as performance enhancements can be accompanied by misperceptions of the visual environment.
Author: Michael Cunningham
An online survey containing The Satisfaction With Life Scale and The Social Activity Measure was carried out among 291 university students to determine if there was a correlation between social activity and subjective well-being. The findings indicated that there was a weak positive correlation between social activity and subjective well-being. The second hypothesis that satisfaction with social activity would be more strongly correlated with well-being compared to frequency of social activity, was supported by the results. The evidence also suggested that satisfaction and frequency of social activity with groups was more strongly correlated with well-being than satisfaction and frequency of social activity with friends, parents or relatives, supporting the final hypothesis.
Submitted as a Psychology HAY100 Practical Report
Word Count: 1638
Author: Michael Cunningham
The aim of this study was to examine how the personality traits extraversion and neuroticism influenced Facebook usage of a student population. Three hundred and ninety six first year Psychology students from Swinburne University completed the Facebook Questionnaire and the Australian Personality Inventory. The hypothesis that individuals who scored high in neuroticism would spend more time on Facebook than those who scored low in neuroticism was partially supported. The second hypothesis that individuals who scored high in extraversion would have more Facebook friends and belong to more groups than those who scored low in extraversion was also supported with a strong correlation. The current study affirmed the results of previous research which suggests that the personality traits narcissism and extraversion do have a significant influence on students’ Facebook usage. Future research should expand on the topic and examine more closely how personality influences the way students use Facebook.
Osho – who was a widely followed Indian guru from the 60s-80s – brings up some very interesting and insightful points about the differences between Western psychology and Eastern spirituality’s approach to changing man. Osho correctly states that Western psychology’s aim is to fortify the individual’s ego so that he may become less neurotic, slightly happier and ultimately function ‘better’ in society. He says that in the East, the goal is instead to dissolve the ego rather than strengthen it.