In November one gathering was held over Zoom, the second was face-to-face, and the topic was supposed to be “The Psychology of Christmas”.
Of the many joys of being a U3A convener, one of the most satisfying is the interaction between group members, their shared views, some divergent, some mirror images, and many somewhere in between, and the group’s confidence to share these varied views.
The group was asked to bring along a topic of personal interest that could be related to “Ethics”. The plan was to spend just one hour (scouts honor) discussing these topics, before exploring the “Psychology of Christmas”.
What followed were many hours dissecting, digesting, and deliberating on ethics and theories related to:
November ended without discussion on “The Psychology of Christmas”. Poor Santa!
Demystifying Psychology will take time out for 2022. This decision heightened reflections on group dynamics in the Covid era 2020 and 2021. The 2020 format of the group was quite constructed using the infamous monthly Powerpoint (PP) coupled with guided discussions. This matured into a PP, or content session, plus a discussion session each month, until the current transition into the “performing” phase of our group dynamics. (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm).
So, I hope you can imagine the creative, humorous, and inquiring discussions, plus the potential for respectful controversy, these topics generated. It’s a wonderful stage in group dynamics.
About Santa and Psychology … we WILL consider him (note the political style commitment) at our final gathering over morning tea at:
Phillipa will be our host. Please confirm your attendance by Sunday evening.
Everyone experiences the immense value of being a U3A member and the wonderful work U3A Committees do to make this possible.
Thank you Benalla U3A’s Dorothy, Bev and Heather for guiding me through the role of Convener, for your unending patience (I‘ve earned a PHD in Late Newsletters), and your enthusiasm for the world of psychology. It’s been a ball, I will be back in 2023, and I look forward to participating in groups in 2022.
Psychology can be seen as complicated, not relevant to the real world, mind-reading and to be avoided. The purpose of Demystifying Psychology has been to debunk many of these myths. Here are some musings from current group members that might be handy for your plans in 2023.
Not too high brow, understandable by anyone, totally relevant, and great to understanding how (the) brain works and people interact. (The) program even better than I expected. The pp presentations great.
Psychology as we live it; discussions, explanations and examples of human behaviour, in everyday terms. Fascinating and often fun, and where high-falutin' jargon could not be avoided, (we) translated it.
If you want to know what gets into Santa at Christmas, have a look at this month’s PowerPoint.
Only the best for 2022,
Intelligence and Memory – snippets of a bigger story.
Intelligence and memory rely on each other.
Intelligence - the ability to think, learn from experience, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontopsychology/chapter/9-1-defining-and-measuring-intelligence/
Memory - encoding, storing, keeping, and recalling information and past experiences.
Scientists have not yet defined the boundaries of either intelligence nor memory. Humans are not the only species to show intelligence, and human intelligence is not the only type of intelligence.
Animal problem-solving and decision-making is a function of their nervous systems, including the brain. Intelligence is closely related to the nervous system and staying alive is dependent on intelligence. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/articles/qa--what-is-intelligence
Memory is important in developing intelligence. Without memory we start from the beginning over and over. Curiously, Slime Mold, a brainless, single-celled organism has a type of measurable intelligence and displays memory. Go to: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/the-sublime-slime-mold
Intelligence theorists abound, as do opinions of the types of intelligence. Aristotle is credited with the earliest reference to intelligence which he called “reason”. By the early 1900’s Sternberg developed the Triarchic Theory which describes (1) analytical or “book smart”, (2) creative or “light bulb” thinking, and (3) practical or “street smarts” types.
Then in 1905 Alfred Binet (1857 – 1911) and his student Theodore Simon (1873- 1961) developed a tool to measure intelligence. This tool was based on their theory of types of intelligence:
As always, psychologists have looked closely at some of the problems and ethics associated with IQ testing.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”
“Intelligence is what intelligence tests measure”
E. G. Boring https://everydaypsych.com/the-history-of-intelligence/
Neurologists and researchers into brain plasticity have found strong evidence that brain memory exercises work and can also improve IQ. While not everyone agrees with this, the exercises can still be fun:
See this month’s Powerpoint (below) for:
References for 1905 Alfred Binet (1857 – 1911) and Theodore Simon (1873- 1961) –
10 – 12 noon Tuesday 2nd November – Cup Day
NB - Zoom or face to face to be confirmed.
TOPIC: Why do we do these things? - Psychology of Christmas
*“NEWSFLASH”: see below reference to Fair Work Commissions comment on mandatory Covid Vaccinations and the workplace.
September closed with a study of the Psychology of Covid. We concentrated on “being told what to do” and ethics in a Covid era.
Being told what to do:
We’re familiar with the speed of change in both our day-to-day activities and the leadership advice that has impacted our lives. In the following TedTalk Alannah Shaikh discusses the 2020 May Economic Forum’s response to Covid 19.
Her key points are:
Alannah Shaikh - the recommendation about mask wearing is one example of the type of change that we have accommodated during Covid-19.
It surprised me to discover that during Covid 19 what we “really want is to be told what to do” and that we enjoy being bossed around. Researchers found:
What surprised me about this research was that, rather than enjoying being told what to do, I thought I had trust in effective leadership at a time of great uncertainty. I found some answers in these articles:
The authors propose that “direction-giving”, “meaning-making” and “empathy” are outstanding characteristics of good crisis leadership. This made more sense than the thought of enjoying being told what to do.
Ethics in a Covid era:
There is nothing straight forward about ethics, so I’ll leave you to explore topics of interest in the session power point below. The session content included:
With such a lot to cover on this topic, I hope you cherry-pick something interesting and enjoy yourself.
Meeting ID: 786 6566 6828
Topic: Part 1 - The elephant in the room …. • Intelligence and • Memory
0437 621 575
In lockdown v.7 for Benalla Demystifying Psychology (aka Psychology Simplified) relied on on-line get-togethers. While this suited many people, it was not the preferred option for just as many others. Sadly, this meant some missed out. From a convener’s position this was unsatisfactory, even if it is the only option in lockdowns.
Like many of you, I became exasperated with the most recent lockdown – surprisingly so! I thought another lockdown would be “Ho, hum ... familiar” and I was confused that I felt otherwise. I felt flat and cranky (like 3-year-old “out of sorts”). The media was reporting on “Covid fatigue”. This seemed a reasonable explanation. So, I had grown-up words for “flat and cranky”, and then the region re-opened. I feel energised again with a more understanding of reactions to this Covid era.
Hope you have increased energy in this most beautiful Northeast spring.
In August and September our group looked at a “Day in the Life of Residential AoD Rehabilitation”. (“AoD” is short for “Alcohol and Other Drugs”, and “Residential Rehabilitation” tends to be shortened to “Resi Rehab”.) Benalla Rural City hosts a Resi Rehab located at Molyullah, so the group had many interesting questions to ask and comments to make. These questions and comments guided our group discussions and, along with the PowerPoint “U3A – A Day in the Life of a Resi Rehab” made up the content of 2 sessions.
Here are some insightful recollections/portrayals of the ordinariness of addiction and a sample of life in Resi Rehab.
See the course content in the Powerpoint “U3A – A Day in the Life of a Resi Rehab”:
With lockdown lifted our next 2 meetings will be:
Meeting ID: 786 6566 6828, Passcode: 43VUdg
REMINDER: Call out if you want to learn how to meet on-line using “Zoom”. We’d love to have you on board. Zoom (or similar) opens many interesting on-line options, such as family gatherings, morning teas, book discussions, and 5pm evening drinks. For many on-line is not the ideal way to stay connected, but a pretty good option when we can’t cuddle friends and family.
Demystifying Psychology class members – keep an eye on your emails for messages and check out the Demystifying Psychology page on the website next week for our August report.
July was a time of endings, new beginnings, changes and … surprise, surprise … working around that attention-seeking bug “Covid”.
On July 6 we celebrated the end of Semester 1 with another great series of discussion topics and shared plates of scrumptious morning tea treats. Discission topics are generated from the group on the day. On this, our last day, the topics were as ever thoughtful, insightful, and provocative resulting in discussion that was a combination of deep thought spiced with possible hypothesis and wrapped in lots of laughter and memories.
So, at the end of Semester 1 we bid farewell to some of our psychology buffs (we will miss your input), looked forward to the return of the “delightful die-hards” (thinkers who love a chuckle), and warmly welcome the new Semester 2 members (fear not, you too shall have fun).
The changes include:
A thought bubble …. This era is reminiscent of how we embraced voice-only telephones. Ever seen today’s 17-year-olds trying to make a call using a rotary phone? Priceless. ( https://youtu.be/1OADXNGnJok)
Semester 2 started on a lockdown day (16 July) via zoom with a small group of people who are familiar with zoom in this course. Thank you for the apologies from those who could not join. We hope face-to-face is an option for the next session (3rd August at Cooinda 10-12), but if not, and you just need a bit of support to join zoom, then let me know.
Most people in Session #1, being “delightful die-hards”, were familiar with the content. So, we did a quick reminder then settle into rich discussions. Here’s a summary of Session 1 content:
The 2020 version of the content PowerPoint and handouts can be found at https://u3abenalla.weebly.com/demystifying-psychology/february-an-excellent-start. The 2021 version includes this “rollicking, horse race call” crash course in Psychology in 10 minutes. Secure your seatbelts, please .. (https://youtu.be/vo4pMVb0R6M)
Join us for Session #2 on 3rd August at Cooinda 10-12 for “Personalities and Coping styles”. Discover if you are a Dove, Owl, Peacock, Eagle, or a mix of all these depending on the circumstances. Please complete the Des Hunt survey (see attachment to email dated 13 July). If you can’t join, there is plenty of web content and many rabbit holes to explore.
Finally, indulge me while I share something of my gene pool...
Lockdown meant this months’ Discussion Group was cancelled. So, we particularly look forward to the July gathering which will be the last for the Semester 1 program and a chance to share morning tea. (Details below).
But we were luckier with the Content session on 18 June when we looked at child development and addiction.
The concept of “child” is relatively modern dating from the 15th century. Moving forward to the more recent era and the notion of “childhood” increases in acceptance and interest characteristics quite distinct from those of adults. The research bank grew, medical knowledge improved, children lived longer which encouraged parental emotional investment, and the legal world offered increasing protection for a child’ right to have a childhood. Many more factors contributed to the current view of childhood as a discreet phase of life.
Phillipe Aries – author of Centuries of Childhood (1960) – is credited will being the first to record the historical development of the concept of “childhood”.
Many theorists have commented on the development of children. We focused on developmental theorists Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) and Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987). Both hypothesised that children move through discrete stages of development in many areas, and that these stages are consistently observable, including moral development.
Paiget’s theorises can be explored with this experiment. Ask a couple of children of different ages to listen to both the following scenarios, then ask “Who was naughtier?”- Margaret or Marie and why?
A little girl called Margaret went and took her mother’s scissors one day when her mother was out. She played with them for a bit. Then, as she didn’t know how to use them properly, she made a little hole in her dress.
There was once a little girl who was called Marie. She wanted to give her mother a nice surprise and cut out a piece of sewing for her. But she didn’t know how to use the scissors properly and cut a big hole in her dress.
Kohlberg (1963) extended Paiget’s theory to include 6 life-time stages. It is fascinating viewing the video of Kohlberg’s “Theory of Moral Development” and reflect on day-to-day examples of each stage.
After a cuppa break, we looked at the potentially fraught topic of addiction. More often the link between addiction and illicit drugs is the focus of family, community and media concern. In this case we looked at some addictions we tend to make fun of … like chocolate and other carbs. There are cycles for most things and addiction is no different. The cycles of addiction and change are simple and incredibly useful ways to look at often confusing and discouraging behaviours – of our own and of others.
So, I bet you know the most used drugs in Australia? Along with much more information, the answer is in the slide show below. Surprised?
NEXT GATHERING – Discussion Group at Cooinda Hub, 10 – 12 noon on 6 July. Bring a share plate to celebrate the end of 2021 Semester 1.
SEMESTER 2 NEWS - 2021 Semester 2 content is different from Semester 1 and begins on Friday 16 July, 1 to 3pm, at Seniors’ building Fawckner Drive. The timetable and topics are on the U3A Demystifying Psychology website page. Queries and/or enroll by contacting me on 0437 621 575 or email@example.com
Well, no skirting around this (hopefully short) lockdown. Disappointingly, the latest Group Discussion (1 June) was cancelled. If the lockdown is extended (masks on and fingers crossed this will not happen) then Demystifying Psychology will dust off the Zoom link and get on with it! Covid, consider yourself on notice!
The calibre of Group Discussions is extraordinary, varied and a delightful surprise. Topics and opinions raised are interesting, queries and comments are fabulously thought-provoking, and the result is proof that footy, religion and politics can be discussed in “polite society”. (More “How to” at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/talking-politics-in-polit_b_11306930)
Our most recent Content Session (21 May) was a dense two hour look at three aspects of Social Psychology - “self and others”, “obedience and power”, and “group dynamics”. Put simply, social psychology is about relationships. But, as we all know, there is nothing simple about relationships.
William W. Wilmot’s (1943 – 2013) three paradigmatic view of self and others in relationships was new to us all. His theory is interesting and plausible and its application to the (apparent) USA “individualism” compared to Japan’s (apparent) “collectivism” is worth a read.
Obedience and power looked at the Milgram experiment (in which research participants were first duped to participate and then led to believe they had administered a lethal electric shock to another participant … true!). This experiment is considered unethical by current research standards.
Starting with the oft quoted “forming, storming, norming and performing” theory of Group Dynamics, the plan was to then expand this theory with a listen to a highly recommendable tedTalk. The speaker describes how teams can emerge out of extreme circumstances, such as emergencies, and how well-functioning teams do get the job done even when members do not even know each other’s names. It was the plan until tech got the better of me. The talk became “homework”. Here’s the link https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_edmondson_how_to_turn_a_group_of_strangers_into_a_team?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tedspread
Finally, I love it when researchers read every available study on a topic and then summarise these findings. In the case of Group Dynamics, I am eternally grateful to Hüseyin Gençer who has collated an extensive commentary on group dynamics in a globalized world. Hüseyin Gençer’s paper 'Group Dynamics and Behaviour' can be downloaded from www.hrpub.org/download/20181230/UJER28-19512242.pdf.
2021 Semester 2 begins on Friday 16 July, 1 to 3pm, at Seniors’ building Fawckner Drive. You will find the timetable and topics on the link below or contact me for a copy. Also, queries and/or enroll by contacting me on 0437 621 575 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The original plan was to repeat Semester 1 content in Semester 2. However, in Semester 1 we covered a little over half the planned content. The left-over content is now in the Semester 2 timetable. Semester 1 people who are joining Semester 2 may wish to skip Session #1 on July 16th … or come along - it would be lovely to see you back.
April - a '...fearless, frequently humorous and often meandering' discussion group & a further consideration of family violence
On 6 April we enjoyed fearless, frequently humorous, and often meandering group discussions at Cooinda.
The previous evening ABC TV had aired “Brazen Hussies” - a 2020 Australian documentary recording the history of the Women's Liberation Movement in Australia from 1965 to 1975. This era, seared in the memories of so many, formed the foundation of the morning’s discussion. We covered the impact of the pill, the role of religion, the role of Women’s Weekly magazine, raising girls as future wives, access to education, gender-based wages, the right to employment when married or pregnant, the definition and aims of feminism, 6 o’clock closing, and so much more.
(View Brazen Hussies at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/brazenhussies)
The impact of Germaine Greer’s 1970 “Female Eunuch” and 2019 Jane Caro’s 2019 reflections and commentary in “Accidental Feminist” as authors who “put words to our experiences” was also included.
In the context of how difficult it was for many women to get an education Andi introduced us to Elizabeth Gaskell’s character “My Lady Ludlow”. The novel was printed in a women’s magazine called Household Words in 1858. Lady Ludlow described education as “a bad thing, if given indiscriminately” (Ref: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lady_Ludlow). The full text is available online at Project Gutenburg - https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2524/2524-h/2524-h.htm
It’s said that discussing either football, religion or politics is a surefire way to destroy barbecue bonhomie. Experience tells me that combining all three of these national “holy grails” into a single barbeque does not compare to the historical and current angst often attached to the social movement called feminism.
On 16 April we concluded the session on Family Violence. I’m disheartened by recent tragedies and with the continual escalation of Family Violence. Never look away. Call 1800respect/1800 737732.
Bringing this month’s report to a gentle close, we thank Andi again for telling us about this, a mother’s sage entry in her child’s autograph book (remember those?).
“If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.”
― Caroline Lake Ingalls (mother of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and recorded in "Little House on the Prairie")
Rich and varied discussions continue. We have discovered the group has a handy cross section of preferred coping styles. Each of the “types” - eagle, owl, dove, and peacock – are evenly spread amongst us. We discussed how to make the most of these preferred coping styles in various settings such as work, home, and committees. You might hear family or friends comment about an “owl moment” or the need for a “peacock” for a particular task.
Ever the thinker, Mary Bridgland pondered on “coping styles”, especially the “How” of the development of our preferred coping styles, resulting in a wonderful presentation by Mary and discussions on the “Influences on Coping Style”. Mary began with this curiously ambiguous picture. What do you see? https://www.illusionsindex.org/i/young-woman-or-old-woman
Mary continued to describe the dual impacts of our sense of self and well-being and external influences on our preferred coping styles. Go to Mary’s Powerpoint below for more “How”.
The content focus into April is a gentle consideration of the disturbing facts of family violence (FV). The aim of Demystifying Psychology (a lighthearted look at psychology) has been temporarily abandoned in favor of increasing our understanding of the characteristics of FV and how we might help someone we suspect is experiencing FV. In Australia 1:4 women and 1:13 men reported experiencing intimate partner violence. So, the chances are high that you know someone who has experienced/is experiencing family violence.
Topics covered in March and April will include:
To begin, we did an activity I hope you will also do. On your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop -
Thank you for participating and for “not looking away”.
COMING in Demystifying Psychology meetings:
National sexual assault, domestic family violence COUNSELLING service.
Like 2020 … 2021 has been a great start to the semester program. We were lucky enough to skirt around the short lockdown and so managed to meet twice in February. A 100% improvement compared to 2020!
This year semester 1 Demystifying Psychology content will be repeated in semester 2. We meet twice a month.
After our first month at the Hub, we recently redesigned Demystifying Psychology to allow all sessions to be 'face to face' and improve visibility of powerpoint and video content during Course Sessions.
Course Sessions have been rescheduled to the third Friday afternoon of the month from 1 - 3 pm in the U3A Meeting Room (our pre-covid timeslot). These sessions are designed around planned topics and the content is displayed using PowerPoint and a large TV screen. There is a lot of opportunity for discussion in a relatively structured environment. Our next session will be a Course Session in the U3A Meeting Room on Friday March 19th at 1pm.
Demystifying Psychology Discussion Group Sessions (held previously on Zoom), will now be held 'face to face' at the Cooinda Hub on the 1st Tuesday of the month from 10 to 12 midday, commencing in April. Our discussion group sessions are a free-for-all and a lovely surprise. No planning goes into the session and topics are generated by participants on the day.
Depending on the busyness of “Covid Normal” calendars, participants join both or either of the Demystifying sessions.
The aim of Demystifying Psychology is to have a lighthearted look at psychology. To do this it is necessary to be familiar with some of the frequently used concepts and words. So, that is where we have started (again) in 2021.
In February we looked at:
.. and then we ran out of time!
In March we will complete the DSM discussion, look at preferred coping styles (and play some games around this), consider ethics in psychology (and listen to some decidedly dastardly examples of historical ethical issues), and finally the history of psychology including the influence of women in psychology.
The Powerpoint session content is now available in the post below this report..
Here’s to a great 2021 and ..
The course has two components - Face to Face DP and Zoom DP. You're welcome to attend both or either component. With the exception of week #1, content is flexible depending on your group interests. Zoom DP is also open to guests - please ask guests to contact me prior to attending.
Face to Face DP - held on the first Tuesday of the month 10am to 12 noon @ Cooinda Hub. Begins next Tuesday 2 Feb 2021.
Sessions will be held at the lovely Cooinda Hub. The Hub is on the corner of Central Ave and Jean Lee Drive. Enter Central Ave from Samaria Road. Parking is available on site.
Face to Face DP sessions use an educative format complemented with group discussions woven into the content.
What to bring - notebook, pen, morning tea (due to Covid, morning tea will be BYO and we will not use the Hub Kitchen. This may change, in the meantime .. ).
Zoom DP - held at your place on the third Friday of the month 1pm to 2:30pm. Begins 19 Feb 2021.
You may have seen another time slot mentioned ... apologies for the confusion ... but the above time slot enables some people to get to their next session. Please let me know if this impacts your plans.
Zoom sessions are casual. Each session begins with a focus on the previous face-to-face session .. then wanders in any direction depending on group interests on the day. NOTE: It is not a requirement to have attended the previous Face to Face DP.
How to join a zoom meeting – Contact me (0437 621 55) if you need help and/or want to have a practice.
Jane Rushworth 0437 621 55
On Wednesday December 2nd, Jane presented and drew upon a powerpoint presentation she had developed following an idea discussed by the group some months ago . Titled 'The Psychological Dirt on Gardening', Jane reflected upon her experiences of gardening during the Covid-19 periods of social isolation in terms of psychological principles and practice..
Jane drew upon and recommended a source, '10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening' developed by Seth Gillihan, a licensed psychologist specializing in mindfulness centred Cognitive Behavioual Therapy.
If you like podcasts, there's an interesting podcast in which Seth interviews Joe Lamp'l, who is mentioned in the article. Here's the link Ep. 46: Joe Lamp’l — How to Renew Your Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Garden | Seth Gillihan, PhD clinical psychologist cognitive behavioral therapy CBT
Is time flying by oddly quickly during Covid for you? Or does time seem slower than a wet week in winter?
I am sure Xmas was only 4 months ago. Yet here we go again. My mind is struggling to make sense of the pace of time this Covid year. I am certain the Xmas decorations on display are leftovers from Xmas 2019. Familiar?
On the other hand, you may have experienced 2020 time as “slower than a wet winter”.
Either way, the following article might interest you. The author confirms what many are reporting – time warping.
Is time flying by oddly quickly during Covid 19? Here’s why you may feel that way. (Rachel Schnalzer, Audience Engagement Editor. Los Angeles Times. May 1, 2020).
A few weeks ago (it seems) in April, the Demystifying Psychology group ran an experiment to find out how zoom could work for us as a “meeting” tool. In May about 12 U3A members and guests began fortnightly “meetings”. Mastering Zoom was fun – “Unmute … can’t hear you.” “Move the screen. Love your fridge, but we want to see you”. We picked up most of our skills from experience held within the group, pulled up our sleeves and started exploring, discussing, and having fun.
I am indebted to participants for generating an enticing menu of discussion topics. This year we have researched and discussed:
Forensic Psychology including stalking, psychopathy, sociopathy, forensic interviewing, eyewitness reports, how to spot a liar, and theories of crime.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his family of origin, his psychological profile, Trump supporters and why they support him.
Fake news including the main types of fake news, its role in U.S. elections and on-line dating, and how todays parents and teachers support children to evaluate real vs fake news.
Psychology of religion, theoretical perspectives, spiritualism, and religion as “social control”, “ritual”, “virus” and “mother”.
Bev Lee has been a wonderful support by loading the discussion group content on to the U3A website. (Thank you Bev). So, it is there if a topic piques your interest.
Back to “Covid Time” – given the range of topics covered it seems logical that Xmas 2019 was not 4 months ago! Still, emotionally time still seems to have warped. How have you experienced time in 2020?
I hope this has been a valuable year for you. Perhaps we will “meet” in 2121 to discuss many more interesting topics in Demystifying Psychology?
Thanks everyone for your contributions to discussions. Stay safe, enjoy catching up with friends and family, and Merry Xmas!
Thanks for your patience and contributions today. We seem to cover a lot of ground, particularly unplanned topics. Great fun!
Here's Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs' pyramid ...
Maslow's humanistic theory is applicable in many areas.
If you're interested in applying Maslow's humanistic theories to Covid 19 ...
See you on Wednesday 2 December at 10am.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 721 5943 0694
This first part of the message is for those who joined in the last discussion group about the Psychology of Religion.
I said I'd send you "homework tasks" - the links to a couple of Youtube videos with the invitation to look at these before next Friday's "meeting".
(Pretend you're 13yo as you read this next bit ... ) There's no homework .. :):). The videos were not as good as I'd first thought.
You can, however, draw upon the slide show above to review what we covered and also to preview some of what we will be covering next session.
For Everyone .... Hope to see you next Friday 1:00pm -2:45 pm.
Use this link to join the discussion:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 770 1131 3324
Hope you've all been able to stretch your wings this past couple of weeks. I'm finding I don't get as excited about "going out for lunch" as much as I used to. Maybe painting the inside of my house has grabbed my attention. Time will tell.
Thanks again to Deb and Bev for guiding us through impromptu and interesting discussions last month about the topics of the Trump brand, and similarities between Trump and cults. (See Cult criteria at http://cultresearch.org/help/characteristics-associated-with-cults/).
In February 2020 BC (Before Corona), we looked at links between Psychology and many other fields, for example, politics, law, and education. The link with politics has been very evident as we investigated the psychology of the President and voter behaviour.
So, it almost seemed the natural order of things to look at one of the most frequently cited presidential “facts” (after “great again”) - Fake News.
Here is what we chatted about.
President Donald Trump regularly warns against Fake News and will not cooperate with journalists he believes are peddlers of such news. At the same time, he uses social media to promote his views (facts) in a way that no previous President ever has. He likely would not see himself as a peddler of fake news.
“Fake News” is not new. In the era when newspapers and radio were primary sources of information it was generally understood that the views of the owners of these enterprises influenced the angle of the “facts”. Fast forward to 2020 and internet’s almost instant access to a myriad of information and sources (most purporting to be reliable, scouts honor), then add Trumps focus on social media, and voila “Fake News”.
Fake News is untrue information presented as news. The aim of fake news is to damage the reputation of a person or entity or make money through advertising revenue.
Fake News is not viewed as good news. “Fake news poisons the atmosphere that we all operate in. Because fake news exists, audiences are now doubtful about all news. It has really damaged the relationship between audience members and the media.” (Verashni Pillay, Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post, South Africa. The UNESCO Courier, 2017)
To tease out the notion of Fake News we looked at:
Checking the veracity of news is complex. Parents, teachers, and the wider community have a daunting task ahead as children/grandchildren learn to filter fake from reliable amongst a huge swathe of information - which is available at the touch of a button at any hour of the day.
As always, if your interest has been piqued, there are references on the website and in the PowerPoints.
Nearing the end of the year has stirred my reflection on the phenomenon called “2020” and the zillion unexpected opportunities that have arisen. I’d like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has ever joined in this experimental class format, suggested discussion topics in the absence of a content plan, and who have helped us iron out crinkles as we mastered Zoom (relative to previous experience). Who would have thought?
Thanks again to Bev and Deb for guiding fabulous and interesting discussions ... with no notice. The notion of branding and cults in relation to Trump just keeps adding to the many Trump layers.
The Crikey article referred to in class is by Mike Davis (2020) Emperor Trump: deciphering the mind of an American nightmare Crikey.com, September 25, 2020,
The book Bev spoke about is by Steven Hassan (2019) 'The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert explains how the President uses mind control', Free Press.
Here's the link for Deb's Naomi Klein youtube.
"The Psychological Dirt on Gardening" will be on the web soon.
I'll have fun researching these topics:
As expected, September has been curious. We discussed theories and analyses of the psychological profile of President Donald Trump, his brand of leadership, family background, who voted for him and why, and his economic report card. The aim was a balanced investigation.
Here is what we discussed. The numbers in brackets are references. Email me for the list which is too long for here.
1. And in the beginning …... the President was aptly named. “Donald” comes from the Proto-Celtic Dumno-ualos ("world-ruler" or "world-wielder"). Who knew what at his birth?
Psychological profile and leadership:
2. In part, Trump marketed himself as a “Republican …. that is not simply a vehicle for the already extraordinarily rich to increase their wealth and power”. This destabilized the Republican Party and endeared poorer Americans to Donald. (1)
3. “The US has spun from facing a fake migrant invasion, to a blue-wave election, to an attack on that election by the president.” “All of America is paddling.” (2)
4. “Critics tend to fall along a spectrum … an absurd figure …” or a talented bully. (3) Both equally absurd.
5. Psychological descriptors include narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity, gaslighting, authoritarianism and fascism, lack of concern for other’s wishes and/or opinions, and misogyny. (4)
6. Trumps uses “Shock Politics” to distract. There are ways to resist this. (5) \
The Family Trump:
7. The President’s father Fred was a first generation American. His mother Mary migrated from Scotland. His father has been variously described as a “high functioning sociopath”, a fiercely bold man, encouraging his son to emerge as a “killer” or “king” in negotiations, and suffocating and destructive. Trumps frequently unwell mother was physically and/or emotionally absent, neglected her children and is said to have influenced his hairdo (true!). (6). The irony of this heritage in the context of the Mexican Wall diatribe cannot be ignored.
8. Trump was attuned to pleasing his father. His fathers’ photo was displayed in the Oval Office many months before his mothers’ photo emerged.
9. His relationship with his mother is said to be the genesis of Trump’s contempt for women. But I suspect Fred made a rather good contribution as well. Sigmund Freud’s theories are handy here.
So … who voted for Trump and why:
10. Many voters were very unhappy with progressives/liberals/Clinton and did not expect Trump to get in. Voting for Trump was a protest vote and with wide-ranging rationales. Many voters came from the professions, from the military or from government service and are described as well-informed and patriotic Americans who were desperate for change. (7)
How does the report card look?
11. Trump’s pre-covid economic achievements were not as singularly and historically phenomenal as he insisted. However, one analysis of economic growth, the stock market, and jobs and wages concluded “it's true the economy has been doing well - but there have been periods when it was even stronger.” (8) An “average” for Donald. Fred would NOT be pleased.
It’s a strange, strange world we live in Master Jack.
0437 621 575
Here is the video referred to in the slide show:
Recommended Reading - "These websites have proved invaluable"
From Andi Stevenson
Topic/Issue: 'The US Electoral College'
Resource: Planet America, Sept 2 2020 You Tube clip
"During Demystifying Psychology, as we psychoanalysed Donald Trump, the issue of the US Electoral Collage came up. For those like me who haven't got their heads around this concept, the episode of Planet America that aired Sept 2nd has John Barron giving a succinct explanation of how it came to be, what it is and what it does. This episode will be available on iView, or via the internet. https://iview.abc.net.au/show/planet-america"
If you are short of time, the segment on the Electoral College begins in about 16mins15secs...
Heather Wallace commented on Andi's Facebook post..."Yes, it was a very good, concise explanation of how the Electoral college operates and how an American candidate can win the higher number of elector votes yet because of a negative result in the Electoral College still not be President of USA"
From 'Rambling around forensic psychology'...to ... 'the psychological makeup of the President of the United States'
Farewell August and “hello” Covid 2.0. This is proving to be a more subdued lockdown and a long haul for many. Thankfully, we are not as limited as our Melbourne families and friends.
INKCINCT Cartoons by Ditchy. inkcinct.com.au 25082020
Since May we have rambled around Forensic Psychology and sauntered down paths depending on our interests. Recently we looked at eye-witness testimony and theories of crime.
The “Monkey Thief” video and questionnaire proved enlightening. We decided that few of us would make reliable eyewitnesses.
Theories of crime were familiar to us. Theorists variously attribute crime to genes, social difficulties, who you hang out with, and plain old free will. Laws, the design of jails, and personal attitudes (amongst other considerations) reflect one or more of these theoretical explanations. We wrapped up this topic by sharing ideas based on:
These were “idea joggers” for the discussion:
Description of 4 Theories of Crime https://schoolworkhelper.net/theories-of-crime-classical-biological-sociological-interactionist/
Explore your preferred Political Party websites - law and order policies.
Page 10 of Victorian Government (Labor) Community Safety Statement 2017 https://communitysafety.vic.gov.au/media/1072/djr001_g_css01_lr.pdf
In September we will start on a topic of curious interest – the psychological profile of the current President of America. Many have struggled to make sense of his current brand of leadership. We will explore some theories/explanations and, you never know, Benalla U3A just might come up with the answer.
Join us next on Wednesday 2 September 10:00 to 11:45am. Use this link
Meeting ID: 721 5943 0694
A ten-session light-hearted course introducing psychology in everyday life and some of the theories that attempt to explain how and why we do things. The course will include personality types and preferred coping styles; theories and practices applied to drug treatment, raising children, family violence, and other topics as suggested by participants. The course will also include social psychology, the concepts of obedience, power, group dynamics and states of mind. We'll then discuss how we experience the various theories as they play out in daily life.
Convenor and Contact Details
0437 621 575
First Tuesday - 10 to 12 (Cooinda Hub) and
Third Friday - 1 to 3 pm (U3A Meeting Room)