I noticed a headline claiming that scientists have managed to implant false memories into mice.
I, and surely most humans, have false memories all the time. They are called illusions and/or delusions. Shrinks could offer a variety of reasons, all for the price of consultation and none backed up by science. I assume that some people color their past to impress other people; some do it to avoid facing reality; and others still make up stories to feel better about themselves.
My false memories are used to develop stories for potential novels. Just as the creator of L’l Abner (can’t recall the name, but have a memory of his actions) used to make faces in a mirror to help draw his characters, I twist my past, present, and future in my mind to help imagine fictional characters.
Fortunately, I am able to keep valid memories and bogus ones in separate boxes (if such a receptacle exists in the brain). Still...
It seems a pity that psychology has destroyed all our knowledge of human nature.
When I worked for an advertising agency, many years ago, I was required to convince clients that we had unequaled knowledge of consumers, which was proven by a slide presentation (before the days of PowerPoint!) of a proprietary study of habits and practices packaged as psychological wonder. According to the package delivered by New York headquarters (where the great thinkers allegedly resided), every consumer could be classified, thus aiding the targeting of advertising messages. I did not check, but I assumed that other agencies had similar magic.
At some point, after thinking about how I fit into the pattern of characteristics—lo and behold—I discovered that this Emperor would catch a cold on a chilly day. I had grown up middle class, but had reached a rather lofty salary level. On some days and with some spending habits, I tended to be influence by my past; whereas at other occasions, I spent foolishly, as yuppies were wont to do. I could find myself in most of the categories defined by the study. When I became a client and had to hire agencies, I was better prepared to find one that did not spout foolishness.
This thought came to mind, when reading about a recent study and "scientific" conclusions. Someone claimed to have "discovered" that someone's sleeping position (back, side, fetal, front, arms at side, etc.) could predict character. Once again, I found that I fit into most categories, because I change my position frequently. If having a split personality makes someone schizophrenic, does having several personalities mean that I have a splintered personality?…which might explain some things!
I do not want to be a "science" denier, like so many US politicians, but many "psychological" studies leave my wondering if psychology is truly science. Often, I am left with the feeling that much borders of the kind of thing a cult would spout. Common sense is usually much more accurate…
_ I am not a doctor (despite the provocative headline, the style of which I learned from tabloids; but I warned you with quotation marks). I have not studied psychology (people with that major at my college were weird). But, I have learned a thing or two about human behavior.
My topic of the day is children, especially teenagers. Much has been written (little of which I have read) and blabbered (ditto) about how to raise children to be responsible adults and good citizens. Parents believe, foolishly, that they are the primary influencers.
My wife deals with hundreds of students (and, what’s worse, their parents) in her dancing school. She has also studied psychology (which might lead some to wonder why she chose and stays with me) and is a sympathetic, patient listener. I must endure frequent tales of teenager’s problems and parents’ laments about their children.
My conclusion: the greatest influence on the behavior of teenaged children (or any age, for that matter) is choice of friends. Peer pressure is greater than parental or societal demands.
The below link is to a very interesting article in today’s Guardian.
From the headline, it appears to be about Amanda Knox. It is a much deeper look at how we react to and interpret other’s behavior. It is about assumption, misconception, and folly. Each will see themselves and their behavior in this article.
For those without time to read the whole thing, here are a few key quotes:
We all have an inherent bias towards assuming that we can discern a person's inner mental state simply by observing them.
It is astonishing how quick we are to draw conclusions about how a person ought to look or behave in circumstances we haven't ourselves even come close to experiencing.
When you meet someone, there are at least two things more prominent in your mind than in theirs – your thoughts, and their face. As a result we tend to judge others on what we see, and ourselves by what we feel.
Thinking about what others might be thinking and feeling is hard work. It requires intellectual application, empathy, and imagination.
I don't hold much truck with all that psycho-lojee gobbledygook. The weirdest, least-popular kids in my school were children of psychiatrists. In college, the geography department, in which I was a proud and poorly motivated student, shared a building with the psychology department. Those turkeys, besides stinking up the building with their laboratory animals, were the weirdest on campus.
Why should I listen to anyone with psycho in their title or job description? I let my own observations, prejudices, and snap judgements about people inform me about what drives their behavior.
I read somewhere that some psycho-logical (to me, those two words don't fit together) "expert" has suggested (more specifically claimed) that the former head of the IMF must suffer from self-esteem problems. Supposedly, that would explain his widely reported treatment of women--which seems to have a long history, if one can believe what one reads. In cases like this, I do.
I wonder how this formerly esteemed gentleman (and I use the term loosely and ironically) would act if his job were greeter at Walmart: that's an esteemed job! A guy at the top of the financial world and a big number in French politics is constantly having his ego massaged, is wined and dined, and is showered with honors, praise, and gifts. I think the pyscho geniuses got it wrong. My guess is that he does not have a self-esteem problem; he's an arrogant jerk that has been led to believe he can get away with anything.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.