park0978: May 2012 Archives

Lucy wakes up in the middle of night by a weird thing pressing her body. She tries to open her eyes but she can't. After several attempts, she finally sees what was on her; it is an old witch with wrinkled face and sharp nose. She tries to scream but she can't. On the other side of the world, Takayoshi experiences the same thing. When he opens his eyes because of a horrifying feeling, he sees a pale-faced ghost with long black hair staring at him. It's a ghost he often sees in Japanese horror movies.

What these two people are experiencing is called sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is caused by a disruption in the sleep cycle and is often associated with anxiety or even terror, feelings of vibrations, humming noises, and the eerie sense of menacing figures lose to or on top of the immobile person. This is a universal phenomenon, but why do people see different things during this experience?

I think the culture affects people even in unconscious state of mind, because people experience or dream different things during sleeping. For example, Lucy dreamed about a witch because she has never seen Japanese horror movies, and has heard of scary witch stories ever since she was little. On the other hand, Takayoshi is more familiar with Japanese ghosts than witches in western folk tales, which resulted in seeing a girl with long dark hair. As this simple example tells us, we know that we can't categorize people into groups psychologically. When one thing applies to one group, it may not apply to the other group because of cultural and environmental differences. That's why we need to focus on individual differences in studying psychology.


As people start to recognize the importance of psychology, new psychological theories and hypotheses have been published rapidly. Perhaps they are trustworthy, and perhaps they aren't. As a "naïve" receiver in the sea of information, critical acceptance is required in order to avoid falling into false information: pseudoscience. Pseudoscience, sets of claims that seem scientific but aren't, may sound tempting because we tend to believe what we want to believe. For example, some people think our characteristics can be defined by blood type. According to what they described, people with blood type A are usually shy and neat while the ones with the type B are straightforward and egocentric.


I've seen a lot of books and comics with a list of different personalities of these four blood types. It makes perfect sense because they are all generalized. People with blood type O, however, can be timid when they are around strangers and outgoing when they are with friends. It doesn't mean my blood type is O if I didn't talk to a stranger I met in library today. Or maybe I was having a bad day so I didn't wanted to talk to someone I've never met. It doesn't make sense to categorize six billions of people into four characteristics, because we all have different genes and are living in different environments. Despite the fact that it isn't true, I think the reason people keep reading about blood types is because they want to fit in somewhere, and want to define themselves who they are and what their personality is in simple words. Or perhaps, people stick to these kinds of pseudoscience because of belief perseverance, which causes us to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence contradicts them.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by park0978 in May 2012.

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