From a neurophysiological standpoint, the more that is discovered about mirror neurons, the more we must realise that we are not independent, free-acting agents as we want to be- but we rather imitate others without consciously being aware of it.
Diederik Stapel, an infamous villain that tried to destroy that which we see as social psychology. Although this is a bold statement, Diederik Stapel, to many scientists, is the personification of the flaws in science. Especially social sciences are sometimes criticized for relying too much on theory and too little on data. Although psychology has been at the forefront of empirical science reliance among social sciences, incidents such as Diederik Stapel still mark these scientific concerns. I fundamentally agree with a statement made by the neuropsychologist Dr. H.S. Scholte, 'geen woorden, maar data', or 'no words, but data' (AUC lecture, Feb 12).
Psychology is, by definition, the study of the mind. Traditionally, the human mind was mostly studied through behavior - looking at the brain itself was a rather bloody business. However, with the rise of machines and technology it is now possible to look at the human brain while it is still functioning. fMRI and related techniques seem to be the future of understanding the human mind, perhaps capable of reducing us to rational beings (yes, even your girlfriend). But how far are machines in this process? Is human observation still superior? After all, we're all mind readers…
With spring and summer holidays around the corner, I know several of you will be planning trips to exciting destinations. Perhaps you are considering a getaway to Paris; or looking for a contemplative vacation in the ancient Jerusalem. But travelers beware! Surely as an ICC student you are aware that our environment heavily influences the way we think and express ourselves.
Psychologists have been researching the idea of memory errors since Frederic Bartlett's 1932 study. Memory illusions are an unfortunate byproduct of our Brain's need to make sense of the world. This results from the brain's adaptive tendency to fill in the gaps when reconstructing, rather then replicating or reproducing, memories (Lynn, 1997). Memories are actively reconstructed based on event-specific information, cues, and possibly even cultural background (Cohen & Gunz, 2002). Our minds rely on the representativeness heuristic (“like goes with like”) to simplify this process of remembering. Memory illusions, although false, can often be quite subjectively compelling to the individual.
The truth is, I’m a sucker for psych-thrillers, and I’ve been dying to see Tilda Swinton’s newest film, We Need to Talk About Kevin, a film about a teenager with alarming signs of psychopathy that go ignored until one day he does the unthinkable (Baron-Cohen, 2011).
In my previous blogs I have written about important human needs, in specific love, and how to attract and satisfy these needs. Elaborating even further on this topic, the question soon came to me: “what would happen if someone is withdrawn from love and attention?”
As I’m writing this, Champions League is on TV (you thought I meant American football? Well, I meant soccer. Nobody even knows why American football is called football anyway. It just doesn’t make sense). In any case, with a total of 109 viewers (indeed, surpassing the Super Bowl’s 106 million), it turns out to be the most watched annual single-sport event in the world. The total amount of prize money and TV pools awarded to the clubs amounted to €746.400.000.