Friday, July 18, 2014

The Porcelaine Throne

I don't know why either?

But if you think that's bad it could be worse. In 1976, Middlemist and colleagues carried out an experiment in which they measured the time to onset and the duration of urination of men in toilets at a college. The ''purpose'' of the research was to study the effect of personal space on a measure of physiological arousal (urination times).
The students were observed while alone or with a confederate of the experimenter, who stood at the next stall or at a more distant stall in the restroom. The presence and closeness of the confederate did have the effect of delaying urination and shortening the duration of urination. The situation is one that men experience on a regular basis, however one can question whether the invasion of privacy was justified.
Whether you squat in an alley or sittin' on a porcelain throne, don't really change the moment, now do it?
                                                                                                                                                       ~ Omar, The Wire

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Depressive Disorders

The causes of depression are mixed. There is no one cause for depression - even for a single person. And so we think of it as a risk factor model: where depression develops in the context of risks, and when those risks get high enough, the person goes over some threshold to develop this self-sustaining depression. Those risks might be divided into three categories; psychological, environmental and biological.

On the biological side we have genetics and other physiological factors which can give the person a predisposition towards being depressed. The psychological aspect can include thinking patterns or cognitive style personalities that may leave a person at a greater risk for depression. While environmental factors can include the stressors the person faces and a lack of social support. When the sum total of all these risk factors get high enough, then that can push us over some threshold and we go into a period of clinical depression. For some people, one of those three factors may be stronger than the other but it's unlikely that there is one cause - there's usually some balance of all of the factors. Nevertheless, all of the risk factors should be attended to.

As depression begins to take hold, people stop performing behaviours that previously provided reinforcement, such as hobbies and socialising. Moreover, depressed people tend to make others feel anxious, depressed and hostile (Joiner and Coyne, 1999). Eventually, these other people begin to lose patience, failing to understand why the person just can't snap out of it. This diminishes social support even further and may eventually cause depressed people to be abandoned by those who are most important to them (Nezlek et al., 2000). Additionally, longitudinal studies show that reductions in social support are a good predictor of subsequent depression (Burton, 2004).
In short, behavioural theorists believe that to begin feeling better, depressed people must break this vicious cycle by initially forcing themselves to engage in behaviours that are likely to produce some degree of pleasure. Eventually, positive reinforcement produced by this process of behavioural activation will begin to counteract the depressive affect, undermine the sense of hopelessness that characterizes depression, and increase feelings of personal control over the environment.
''If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.''
              ~ Stephen Fry

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Chameleon Effect

According to authors Chartrand and Bargh ,"The chameleon effect refers to nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one's interaction partners, such that one's behavior passively and unintentionally changes to match that of others in one's current social environment." (Journal Of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999).

How many times have you yawned after viewing another person do it? Or noticed your tone of voice depended on the company you were in. What about meeting up with people from where you used to grow up and now realising that your homeland accent has suddenly started coming out of your mouth...
The chameleon effect can happen naturally and frequently because we feel a rapport with people who mimic our moves. Most of us do it automatically to varying degrees, we mimic the people around us all the time without even realizing it.
In one study of the chameleon effect, Chartrand and Bargh found that students who rated high on empathy were more likely to imitate others. "Those who pay more attention mimic more," says Chartrand.
We also mimic the facial expressions of other people. This is so hardwired that one-month old infants have been shown to smile, stick out their tongues, and open their mouths when they see someone else doing the same (Meltzoff & Moore, 1977).

Unintentional mimicry and imitation functions as a social cohesive. The chameleon effect actually becomes a warm response that facilitates social interactions. Mirroring a persons language shows that you understand your conversation partner, and that you are an empathetic listener.
''When you are in the company of lunatics, behave like a lunatic. When you are in the company of intelligentsias, speak with brilliance...that is how a chameleon behaves, the territory changes it, and it adapts to the changes.''
                                                                                                                    ~ Michael Bassey Johnson