weinm027: November 2011 Archives

In everyday life, people often make snap judgments about others. They say, "That girl is so dumb because she failed a test" or "that boy is so mean all of the time" without ever getting to know the true facts. Regardless of whether it is true, people automatically assume dispositional influences on others' behaviors: that their behavior is due to who they are as a person (their personality traits, their intelligence, etc.). This idea of the fundamental attribution error, overestimating the role of dispositional influences on others' behavior, will be a psychological concept that I will remember for years to come.

These judgments about dispositional influences are harmful as they cause us to think poorly of a person's character based solely on one instance in which external influences aren't taken into account. Situational influences also need to be considered before making an assumption about the person's traits. Perhaps the girl failed her test because she was awake all night working on her homework. Maybe the boy seems mean because he just went through a break-up and is having a hard time dealing with it emotionally. Sometimes, situations make people act in ways contrary to their character, making others assume negative characteristics about them that simply aren't true.

Consequently, this concept of the fundamental attribution error will stick with me for years due to its important yet practical applications to everyday life. Although it may be argued that dispositional influences aren't always bad, they can still lead to faulty conclusions. As the age old proverb goes, "don't judge a book by its cover." There may be more to a person than meets the eye, and there may be more influences behind a person's behavior that can't be understood by general assumptions.

Freudian Slip

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The idea of a "Freudian slip" has become a punch line for many jokes with people accidentally saying something they think without meaning to say it. However, it is also a psychological term created by Sigmund Freud to support his model of psychoanalytic theory of personality.

In Freud's theory, he emphasizes the point of psychic determinism (meaning that all psychological events have some sort of cause). This includes even "slip of the tongue" experiences. Freud claims that all people have both unconscious and conscious minds: unconscious being the part of personality in which we're unaware, conscious being what we are aware of. So, a Freudian slip occurs when a person makes an unintentional error when speaking which ends up revealing their unconscious thoughts or feelings. This slip occurs due to particular circumstances that allow someone to reveal their true beliefs while they are having their own internal struggle between some unconscious wish along with a desire they have to keep it hidden.

However, the Freudian slip is also given much criticism for being inaccurate. There are instances in which speech is merely a mistake/accidental rather than having some underlying meaning. This is likely to happen in cases in which someone is merely inattentive, has insufficient knowledge, or they have a routine response pattern due to emotions or situations. Clearly, these cases have nothing to do with unconscious desires, rather they are simply mistakes. Yet, this doesn't mean that all wording accidents are a result of these causes. Psychologists agree that some of our slips are due to unconscious desires that are brought to the surface.

Thus, whether a verbal mix-up is a Freudian slip may depend upon the situation. Further questions to pursue include: is there any meaning behind our slips? And, if so, when are these slips a revelation of our unconscious and when are they simple cases of misspeaking? Regardless of the validity of the Freudian slip, Sigmund Freud's ideas were revolutionary, influencing others and generating novel discoveries in the field of psychology.

For years, the idea has persisted that divorce has a negative impact on children due to conflict between parents and unhealthy situations. However, divorce may not be that cut-and-dry as previously considered to be. The impacts of divorce stretch beyond the realm of fighting to the decrease in contact between parents and their children as well as deterioration in financial situations.

First off, the conflict that is associated with divorce has commonly been known to cause problems with children. The arguments create an uncomfortable environment that feels insecure to children, causing them stress. Likewise, it can hinder the psychological development of children. The sons/daughters of divorcees are known to respond differently to these conditions based on their age and even their gender. Kids as young as 3 years old have come to think that the divorce was their fault while both children and teenagers are found to experience anger, loneliness, fear, depression, guilt, and resentment. These findings are associated with the conditions of children who have parents that are still married but continue to fight regularly.

At the same time, divorce (when one parent gets custody) can create impacts similar to those of a one-parent family. The contact between the noncustodial parent and their child is known to decrease in quantity/quality. Meanwhile, the custodial parent is most likely required to work more due to the changes with the divorce, taking away time/energy that could be spent with their child. The children who experience this absence of attention often turn toward misbehavior and have low self-esteem. Likewise, the divorce may lead to economic hardships for that family. The income of the custodial parent (especially if it is the mother) is likely to be low, generally being at about poverty level. These adverse effects are seen in children as well due to their lack of nutrition and inability to possess many instruments that would be helpful in their future growth.

Consequently, divorce can lead to consequences beyond the realm of conflict to the lack of attention and nutrition in children, hindering their development. However, there are other things still to be considered: How many children of divorce are actually left in these conditions? Are these conditions as harmful as they are presented? Although the severity alters, it is clear that divorce does have effects on children due to the major change in lifestyle ahead of them.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by weinm027 in November 2011.

weinm027: October 2011 is the previous archive.

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