Saturday, 31 January 2015

10 Inspiring Quotes January 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Social Psychology of the 'Selfie'

The "selfie." I kind of cringe every time I hear that word, imagining Myspace-style angles, duck faces, peace signs and dirty mirrors. I'm not alone either. Many are hesitant to take and share photos of themselves, for fear of looking vain, vulnerable or being scrutinized.

But still, photo sharing sites like Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are filled with self-portraits. Some upload entire albums to Facebook of their Mac Photo Booth sessions. Others take filtered pictures of what they wore that day, or caption a close up with mild to severe self-deprecation.

Among the many self-portraits are ones of celebrities, like Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian. When I asked comedian Chelsea Peretti why, another frequent self-sharer, she jokingly responded “loneliness and desperation for attention are crucial ingredients.”

Self-image is important, and not always in a narcissistic way. It's how we define ourselves, and present for others to see. We rely on others' perceptions, judgments and appraisals to develop our social self.

How we see ourselves in the mirror versus a regular photo is different. The mirror shows a reverse view, but also shows you alive and with movement — as Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, points out.

"For some, this presents a more attractive (and therefore satisfactory) image as the movement and life tend to overcome flaws that might be more noticeable to an individual were the person to see him or herself in a photo," says Dr. Rutledge.

Technology is adapting, providing us with better tools to present our self-image. How often is the front-facing camera in a phone used as a compact mirror, compared to FaceTime or Skype? How many photos of yourself have you taken with your phone, and how many would you actually share online?

In an age of hyper sharing and high engagement, how has social media affected our self image?

Looking Behind the Selfie
The opinion of others has been a part of identity development for more than a century. The "looking-glass self" is a psychological concept that suggests we develop our sense of self based on the perceptions of those we interact with, said Andrea Letamendi, a doctor of psychology at UCLA.

"Now that we can interact with hundreds — no, thousands — of people simultaneously, we've strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value," says Dr. Letamendi.

The profile picture or avatar is a way for people to present a certain side of themselves. It also puts the person in control of their own image.

"I'd certainly rather post a photo I took as opposed to one someone else took most of the time,"wrote a member of the BodyAcceptance subreddit.

Has that single chosen image become the most important representation of our online identity? It is the first place the eye is drawn to on a Facebook profile. Studies have shown that the comments on your Facebook profile picture strongly affect your level of perceived physical, social and professional attractiveness.

Dr. Rutledge says that many have argued there is no difference to how we adapt to present ourselves in real life.

"Is this different than how we adjust if we are going to a party versus a job interview or a family picnic?" asks Dr. Rutledge.

One of the differences between our self-image in real life and online is more ability to change our look, and also mask our identity. Even when a person posts a photo of you on social media, you can untag, delete or modify the photo to keep social presence more consistent with the self-image you want others to see.

Technology has also allowed us to shape who we are and highlight specific features in ways we couldn't do as easily offline.

"This may mean routine photoshopping to create a more 'likeable' self, or simply choosing photos that seem more like the visual self we want to present," says Dr. Letamendi.

Instagram is another example. Filters make any photo look more appealing than what the image actually looks like, let alone what the naked eye would've seen. There has been limited psychological study on the app, but one in particular showed active users were concerned with both personal production and social reception. A combined search of various hashtags, such as #selfie, #self and #selfportrait, will produce millions of results.

How Online Anonymity Hurts Self-Esteem
Anonymity now has a large influence on the feedback people receive about their image on social media.

We know how people respond to an image influences self perception. Today, the chance of being scrutinized is greater because more people interact through a protected, anonymous filter, potentially making any self-esteem issues more sensitive.

There are forums — like the subreddit amiugly, which has more than 22,000 subscribers — that allow anonymous users to give constructive criticism on self-submitted portraits. Most of which is positive, but this further suggests the desire to maintain an image that's accepted by society before the self.
Social Comparison
A recent study showed more online photo sharing from people whose self-esteem is based on "public contingencies," defined in this instance as others' approval, physical appearance and outdoing competition.

Humans are naturally competitive. Visual social platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr allow quick and frequent access to others' profiles. We can see what old high school friends that you haven't talked to in years have lost weight. We know what coworkers and extended family are doing more-so than we could offline. This encourages social comparison.

Dr. Rutledge says this is a normal feature of human behavior, and that comparison doesn't stop when people shut the laptop or phone and go to school or work.

"It is only problematic when someone fixates or over-compares to their detriment, but that is not a function of the photos as much as the individual struggling with self-esteem," says Dr. Rutledge.
How to Overcome Your Social Self-Image

If you find yourself obsessing over the image you have or have not presented accurately online, Dr. Letamendi suggests limiting access to sites, especially those that are more likely to present negative feedback.

"People who tend to have low self-esteem and depression are more likely to engage in recurrent distorted cognition about the self (such as negative self-statements). Finding ways to interrupt those thoughts can prevent them from reinforcing a negative focus on the self may be helpful in improving self-esteem and lifting mood," says Dr. Letamendi.

There are also easy ways to improve self-portraits, specifically ones that don't require Photoshop. Photographer Leanne Surfleet says the lighting is always important.

"The main thing with a self-portrait is you are trying to show the viewer something about yourself," says Surfleet. "You, on your own, can be a powerful statement."

Knox Bronson, founder of P1xels, an online iPhone art gallery, suggests looking into the lens and be natural.

"Also, smile," says Bronson. "It's okay to show some teeth. Unless you are going for the moody poet look."

How has social media changed your self-image? Are we utilizing it to present us for the better or worse? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

Friday, 23 January 2015

VIDEO Body Language Shapes Who You Are


Monday, 19 January 2015

Hypnosis, Metaphor and Guided Meditation

Hypnosis is focused attention, metaphor is story-telling, and guided imagery is mind games mainly used for healing. The common denominator is words the therapist uses, words to effect both mental and physical changes.
How is it possible for:
  1. the suggestions given in the suggestible state of trance; 
  2. the telling of interesting stories; 
  3. using internal imagery (all senses possible) to bring about change in a client?
Is the therapist an active/directive/causative agent, or is the therapist a facilitator who helps the client to find unique solutions based on their own life? In the old days therapists took most of the credit for change. Since we can never know a client in the way that they know themselves, then we are effectively limited to being guides.Although there is a place for traditional directive hypnotherapeutic work (as in, 'cigarettes will taste like shit from now on'), I believe that the most effective way to use the concentrated attention of a client is via the subtle and indirect use of language. It was said of Milton H. Erickson, MD, that he was a master of the precise use of vague language. 
Vague means that the words as is usually the case in poetry - provide opportunities for the listener to create/recall her own uniquely individual responses or memories. Rather than say, 'You are now going to figure out how to handle this by confronting your parents' you can say, 'just wonder what interesting, and perhaps surprising, ways have already come to mind to realistically resolve your concerns.' 
The first formulation restricts the client to the therapist-generated solution of confrontation. The indirect method is also more collaborative and respectful. Since everyone is unique, you have to tailor your approach to the client. It was also said of Erickson that he invented a new therapy for each client, and that his clients never knew what he was going to do when they entered his office. How predictable are you?
Everyone loves a good story. All cultures and religions have favourite stories and myths and legends that are told and re-told. Stories are entrapping. Stories are not just for children. Each of us is a unique and unfolding story - even those of us who live dull and routine lives - a dull story is still a story. White and Epston's 'Narrative Therapy' is an approach that makes use of the stories that people believe about themselves. 
When you meet a stranger and each of you responds to the unspoken question of 'Who are you?' you respond with your life story. At any rate, you report the highlights of how you got to be who you are - these are the key events as filtered through your present-day perceptions. Remember, memory is malleable, and what and how we recall past events are controlled by current needs and perceptions. Do you recall only good or only bad things about your growing up years, for example?
The intervention of Guided Metaphor makes use of personal stories to create a metaphor for change. The client is asked to summarize his life in a page, in a sentence, and in a descriptive word. Then, the client is asked to write a new story with the (realistic) ending they desire. This new story is told in a page, a sentence, and a descriptive word. 
The therapist can now construct a metaphor to deliver (in or out of trance) that incorporates the old story and how it has been transformed into a new story - all using the client's images and descriptive language. The client, in effect, tells you how his changes have been brought about. (This approach has parallels with Erickson's "pseudo-orientation in time', but is more structured.)
Of course, the traditional way of utilizing therapist-generated metaphor to suggest a variety of ways that the client can use to resolve her concerns is also useful. (Notice that I am picky about language and prefer 'concerns' to 'problems'.)
Guided imagery is primarily used with people who have life-challenging diseases, although it can also be used for psychotherapy. (The NLP 'swish' technique and the TimeLine Therapy approach can both be considered to be variants of guided imagery.) There is much evidence that body affects mind, and that mind affects body. Some depressions are biochemically related, as is their reversal or control by pharmaceuticals. Psychosomatic ailments are by definition mind-caused. Guided imagery uses the mind for healing, and with a surprising degree of concomitant physical improvement.
The most effective way to do guided imagery work is with client-generated 'images'. What do they feel, or have an inner sense, will work for them? Is it predators or angels? Mechanical devices like ray guns and pulverizers, or gentle persuasion? Biologically accurate things like enhancement of particular immune system components, or a healing presence? The healing metaphor, the healing agency, needs to fit the client's personal belief system and their unique life story. General imagery can be helpful if it is artfully vague. Yet, even with knowledge of the client's specific imagery, it is important to structure your language in as open-ended a way as is possible. The healing image may be an angel, but let the client fill in her own details about the angel- male or female or ... The healing work, after all, is done within the client's mind.
Is it all in the mind? Yes, if you use words. It is not necessary to belabour the point that words like 'red' and 'happy' are individually interpreted. Women, for example, can typically distinguish and name many more shades of red than men can. Yet, each woman experiences a particular red differently.
The placebo effect is always present when you use words since the words evoke individual belief systems. If you congruently believe, and project that belief, that whatever you are doing with a client will be helpful, then your belief tends to become the client's belief. When a treatment is 'new', it is invariably more effective than when it has been around for a while.
In 'talking' therapies words count, so choose them with care.

Rubin Battino
MS, Mental Health Counselling

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Video How a great book can benefit your brain


Saturday, 10 January 2015

30 Most Influential Psychologists Working Today

The quest to understand the workings of human thought and behavior can be traced back to ancient peoples. Before it was established as a scientific discipline, the study of psychology was of interest to many great thinkers and philosophers.

These days, it has become a popular field, even outside the realm of science. After all, psychology influences so many different spheres of life, from marketing, education and entertainment to economics and even law enforcement. Here is a list of 30 of the most influential psychologists who continue to do groundbreaking and far-reaching work today.


30. Martin Seligman

Martin E. P. Seligman is perhaps best known for his theory of “learned helplessness.” He is currently the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the university’s Positive Psychology Center. Apart from being a psychologist and educator, Seligman is also the author of several bestselling books.

Seligman is listed as the 13th most quoted 20th-century psychologist in preparatory psychology textbooks, based on a study by Haggbloom et al. In the same study, Seligman also appeared as the 31st most eminent psychologist overall. Several institutions have backed his research, including The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation. Seligman has also been granted honors such as two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards, presented by the American Psychological Association.
29. Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is currently the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. A developmental psychologist, Gardner is known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which has presented a fresh take on education. In it, he looks at eight distinct forms of intelligence: naturalistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logic-mathematical, bodily/kinesthetic, musical and spatial. Since the 1980s, Gardner has been actively devoted to United States school reforms that seek to go beyond traditional standardized testing.

In 2005 and 2008, both Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines named Gardner among the world’s 100 most influential public intellectuals. He has accepted many honors, including the MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981 and, more lately, the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.
28. Steven Pinker

Named by Time magazine as one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2004, Steven Pinker is among the foremost authorities on language and the mind – particularly in the areas of visual cognition and the psychology of language. Three of his mainstream, non-academic books –The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate – have been honored with prizes. Pinker has also twice been nominated for a Pulitzer.

A Harvard College scholar, Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in Harvard University’s psychology department. His research has garnered him several awards, including the George Miller Prize from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the 1993 Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. Pinker also graced Foreign Policy magazine’s list of top global thinkers in 2010 and 2011.
27. Kelly D. Brownell

Kelly D. Brownell is an internationally recognized expert on one of today’s most vexing health issues: obesity. In this capacity, he has been consulted by world health organizations, members of government and celebrities. At Yale, Brownell acts as Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity as well as Professor of Psychology and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health. He was also recently appointed Dean of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Brownell – who was cited on the “Time100” in 2006 – has been the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology, among other honors that have come his way. He is a staunch lobbyist for taxes on both food and soda as a means of encouraging healthier eating in the U.S.
26. Paul Ekman

Psychologist Paul Ekman is popularly known as “the human lie-detector.” His decades-long research into human emotions relative to facial expressions has resulted in the formation of his “atlas of emotions” – essentially a catalogue of thousands of expressions. Meanwhile, in the pop culture sphere, Ekman’s work prompted the creation of the TV series Lie to Me. Until 2004 his role was that of psychology professor in the psychiatry department at the University of California, San Francisco.

Ekman has used his studies to establish workshops and training tools as well as to assist law enforcement groups. He has also published mainstream books. In 2001 the American Psychological Association proclaimed him to be one of the 20th century’s most influential psychologists, and in 2009 Time placed him on its “100 Most Influential People” list.
25. Susan Blackmore

Susan Blackmore started out as a parapsychologist and believer in the paranormal. This initial pursuit stemmed largely from an out-of-body experience that she had while studying at Oxford University in the early ‘70s. However, approximately 30 years later, Blackmore would become an outspoken skeptic and contributor to memetics – the science that studies how memes (ideas as units of cultural meaning) are spread much like viruses.

In 1999 Blackmore published a popular book, The Meme Machine, with a foreword by Richard Dawkins. She is a consulting editor for the Skeptical Inquirer and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. Blackmore has also appeared as a TED conference presenter, and on the UK version of Big Brother as a consulting psychologist. In 1991 she received the CSICOP Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Distinguished Skeptic Award.
24. Philip Zimbardo

In 1971 Philip Zimbardo became a professor of psychology at Stanford University. There, he conducted a controversial study: 24 ordinary male college students were arbitrarily selected to be either “guards” or “prisoners” in a fake jail. The resulting “Stanford Prison Experiment” has since become notorious thanks to the cruel and often-inhumane behaviors exhibited by its participants – as well as for ethical questions surrounding the research.

Notwithstanding such controversy, Zimbardo is now a professor emeritus at Stanford and has been elected president of the American Psychological Association. He has authored textbooks on psychology, as well as other books, such as The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, based on the prison study findings. In 2004 Zimbardo was a defense witness concerned with the court martial of an Abu Ghraib prison guard, and he has appeared on various TV shows.
23. Robert Trivers

Robert Trivers has been called “one of the most influential evolutionary biologists since Charles Darwin.” Currently Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, he has also been touted by Steven Pinker for inspiring “an astonishing amount of research and commentary in psychology and biology.”

To merit this praise, Trivers has contributed four important theories to his field: reciprocal altruism, sex ratio determination, parent-offspring conflict, and parental investment. In fact, he is credited with having laid down the very groundwork for sociobiology. In 2007 Trivers received the Crafoord Prize in biosciences for his study of conflict, social evolution and cooperation.
22. Robert Sternberg

Psychologist and psychometrician Robert Sternberg is the president of the University of Wyoming. One of Sternberg’s greatest endowments to the world of psychology is the “Triarchic theory of intelligence,” which states that intelligence can be divided into creative, analytical and practical components. He has been President of the American Psychological Association and has held positions at Yale, Oklahoma State and Tufts universities.

Sternberg’s honors include the Francis Galton Award from the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. In addition, the Institute for Scientific Information has ranked him as among the most highly cited authors in psychology and psychiatry, and he has been called one of the 20th century’s top 100 psychologists.
21. Richard Wiseman

Richard Wiseman has the distinction of holding Britain’s only Chair in the Public Understanding of Psychology, at the University of Hertfordshire. A former magician with a PhD in psychology, he is known worldwide for his studies and for discrediting paranormal phenomena. He has also written three bestsellers, The Luck Factor, Quirkology and 59 Seconds, and has delivered keynote addresses to corporations such as Google and Microsoft.

In 2000 Wiseman received the CSICOP Public Education in Science Award. His work has been featured on more than 150 television shows and in many publications. He appeared in The Girl with X-Ray Eyes, a Discovery Channel documentary. And as an indicator of Wiseman’s widespread popularity, it is said that no other psychologist currently has more followers on Twitter.
20. Robert A. Rescorla

Robert A. Rescorla, along with Allan R. Wagner, is the creator of the Rescorla-Wagner model of conditioning, which relates to learning processes. This has become one of the most persuasive systems of learning, and in 1986 it won Rescorla the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He was also elected to the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 1975, and in 1985 to the United States National Academy of Sciences. Rescorla is now an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he continues his research into associative learning processes.
19. Stephen D. Reicher

The research of Stephen D. Reicher – current Professor of Social Psychology at the University of St. Andrews, where he was previously Head of the School of Psychology – focuses on group behavior. In fact, his studies in the area of crowd psychology have been described as “path-breaking.” In 2002 Reicher and fellow psychology professor Alex Haslam produced a BBC documentary titled The Experiment, which was a re-examination of concerns raised in Zimbardo’s famous “Stanford Prison Experiment.”

Reicher received the British Psychological Society’s Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology for his work on the TV documentary, which is said to have “changed [the] basic understanding of how groups and power work.” The results have been published in textbooks as well as scientific journals. Reicher is at present a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
18. Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran

Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran has been described by Richard Dawkins as “The Marco Polo of neuroscience.” His studies of phantom limbs, synesthesia and body integrity identity disorder have garnered international attention. Furthermore, Ramachandran invented the “mirror box,” which is used to assuage phantom limb pain. And his research has also branched out into the study of autism and the evolution of language.

Working at the University of California, San Diego, Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition as well as Distinguished Professor with the school’s psychology department and neurosciences program. Additionally, he is Adjunct Professor of Biology at La Jolla, California’s Salk Institute. Ramachandran has received multiple awards and has penned a New York Timesbestseller, The Tell Tale Brain. In 2011 Ramachandran made it onto the “Time100” list of influential people.
17. Michael Posner

Michael Posner is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Oregon as well as an adjunct professor at New York’s Weill Medical College (Sackler Institute). Posner’s research involves studying the part attention plays in tasks like number processing, reading and visual search. Today, he is particularly interested in the brain development that underlies selective attention.

Many institutions have recognized the importance of Posner’s work, and he has been awarded fellowships by the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Association for Psychological Science, among others. He was also honored with the National Medal of Science in 2009.
16. Robert J. Plomin

For years, Robert J. Plomin has been at the forefront of research into the human development roles played by nature and nurture. His studies of twins and behavior genetics have been influential in ushering genetics into the field of psychology.

Currently, Plomin is working on a project known as the Twins Early Development Study (TEDs) at the Institute of Psychiatry (King’s College London), a study involving more than 13,000 pairs of twins born in England and Wales from 1994 to 1996.

In 2002 the Behavior Genetics Association honored Plomin with the Dobzhansky Memorial Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Scholarship in Behavior Genetics. Plomin, who was the youngest serving president of the Behavior Genetics Association, has also been ranked amongst the 20th century’s 100 most eminent psychologists by the Review of General Psychology.
15. Walter Mischel

Psychologist Walter Mischel is the Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters at Columbia University’s Department of Psychology. Mischel’s areas of expertise are social psychology and personality theory – specifically the process, development and structure of personality and will power. Before his appointment at Columbia, he taught at both Harvard and Stanford.

Mischel’s groundbreaking book Personality and Assessment was published in 1968 but was reissued in 1996 owing to an increasing demand for copies.

Mischel is an ex-president of the American Psychological Association Division of Social and Personality Psychology, and he is also the former editor of Psychological Review. During his career, he has been voted into both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Grawemeyer Award for psychology in 2011.
14. Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeth Loftus is most widely recognized for her research on the pliability of human recollection, which includes pioneering studies of eyewitness memory, the creation of false memories and recovered memories. Yet Loftus’ work has not only had an impact on psychology; it has also influenced other fields, such as law. From 1984 to 2002, she served as an adjunct professor of law for the University of Washington.

Loftus is the highest-placed female psychologist on the Review of General Psychology’s list of the 100 most influential psychological researchers of the 20th century. She is presently an affiliate professor of psychology and law at the University of Washington as well as a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine. In 2004 Loftus was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She won the Grawemeyer Award in psychology in 2005 and was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh that year as well.
13. Stephen Kosslyn

Stephen Kosslyn’s work is strongly associated with mental imagery, and his research also covers how people process information and visual display design. As well as being a trained psychologist and neuroscientist, Kosslyn teaches and publishes books on cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

After many years at Harvard University, Kosslyn moved to Stanford in 2011 and became Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He remained in that position until 2013.

For his contributions to research, Kosslyn has been awarded a National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award as well as a Guggenheim fellowship, to name just two honors. He is currently the founding Dean of soon-to-be-opened Minerva University, and there, he plans to turn his research findings into effective teaching and learning strategies.
12. Irving Gottesman

Behavioral and psychiatric geneticist Irving Gottesman has spent most of his career studying the genetics of schizophrenia. Gottesman also founded the earliest U.S. academic program on behavioral genetics, and his research confirmed the undeniable role genetics plays in schizophrenia. He is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychology.

For his work, Gottesman has been awarded the Hofheimer Prize for Research, the highest psychiatric research award offered by the American Psychiatric Association. In addition to his own contributions to the field, Gottesman has also mentored and collaborated with other distinguished researchers and written 17 books plus more than 290 other publications.
11. Alison Gopnik

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and an affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in the study of how language affects thought and is an authority on developmental psychology and the philosophy of mind. Gopnik’s 2009 bookThe Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Lifeis a critically acclaimed bestseller. And she has been a regular guest on TV shows such as The Charlie Rose Show and The Colbert Report.

Slate calls Gopnik, “One of the most prominent researchers in the field,” adding that she “is also one of the finest writers, with a special gift for relating scientific research to the questions that parents and others most want answered.” Gopnik is also a Wall Street Journal columnist, and her research into mathematical models for child learning is considered potentially useful for the future development of artificial intelligence.
10. Barbara L. Fredrickson

Barbara L. Fredrickson is based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab, where she is a distinguished professor of psychology as well as the lab’s principal investigator. Fredrickson’s field is social psychology, and she is at the forefront of research into positive psychology and how positive emotions affect behavior.

In 2013 Fredrickson received the first ever Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, the International Positive Psychology Association’s highest accolade. The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health considers her research so vital that it has continued to fund her work for the last 16 years. Fredrickson is also an internationally sought-after keynote speaker.
9. Daniel Kahneman

In 2002 Israeli-American psychologist and bestselling author Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Kahneman specializes in the fields of behavioral economics, psychology of judgment and decision-making, and the economics of happiness. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He is also a fellow of the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Kahneman has been awarded various honors for his work, including the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Psychological Society’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. Foreign Policy magazine included Kahneman in its 2011 list of leading global thinkers.
8. Robert Cialdini

Professor Robert B. Cialdini’s 1984 book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has sold more than two million copies and is on Fortune magazine’s list of the 75 Smartest Business Books. Cialdini is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. And global recognition of his cutting-edge research has led to him being dubbed the “Godfather of Influence.”

Cialdini is recognized worldwide as an expert in the areas of compliance, persuasion and negotiation. Various large companies – including Google, Coca-Cola and IBM – have worked with him, as has the U.S. Department of Justice, NATO and Harvard University.
7. David M. Buss

American psychologist David M. Buss is a leading researcher and author in the field of evolutionary psychology and human sex differences in partner selection. The 2005 book The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, edited by Buss, is considered the definitive text on the subject.

Buss currently works as a professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a director of the International Consortium of Social and Personality Psychologists. Buss has garnered many honors throughout his prestigious career, including the G. Stanley Hall Award, which was bestowed on him by the American Psychological Association in 1990.
6. Jerome Bruner
Jerome Bruner is a senior research fellow at the New York University School of Law. Bruner’s 1956 book A Study of Thinking paved the way for the country’s cognitive psychology movement. Moreover, he has made important contributions to the fields of American education and was on the educational panel of the President’s Science Advisory Committee during the tenures of both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Bruner has published many books and received honorary doctorates from institutions around the world, including Yale, the Sorbonne and Berlin. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. These days, Bruner is involved in researching how law is practiced and how it interacts with culture.
5. Brenda Milner

British neuropsychologist Brenda Milner is regarded as the “founder of neuropsychology.” Milner has contributed a vast amount of research to the field and continues to work at the age of 95. She is currently a professor at McGill University’s Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as a professor of psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

At present, Milner’s work is partly focused on how the left and right hemispheres of the brain interact as well as the study of neural pathways involved in the learning of language. The many honors she has received for her work include the prestigious Gairdner Award and the Order of Canada.
4. Gordon H. Bower
Cognitive psychologist Gordon H. Bower is the Albert Ray Lang Professor (Emeritus) at Stanford University’s psychology department. Bower is noted for his research into memory and concept learning. He introduced the memory tool known as “chunking,” whereby objects are grouped together in an individual’s mind to improve recall.

In 1979, for his research Bower won the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution from the American Psychological Association. He also won the 2005 National Medal for Science, and from 2002 he was ranked 42nd on Haggbloom’s list of the most notable scientists of the 20th century.
3. Geoffrey Beattie
Geoffrey Beattie is a psychologist as well as a minor celebrity, known for his many appearances on British television. His field of interest is nonverbal communication, and he has authored many books and articles on the subject. However, Beattie’s other interests include the psychology of sustainability, and unconscious racial prejudice. He has also been involved in the making of television documentaries – two about his native Northern Ireland.

Beattie’s books We Are The People and The Corner Boys were shortlisted for the Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize. He is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and he was also the president of the psychology wing of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Beattie has received the Spearman Medal from the British Psychological Society for “published psychological work of outstanding merit.”
2. Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura has been an influential psychologist for nearly 60 years. As the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University, Bandura has worked in many fields, including personality psychology and social cognitive psychology. He pioneered the theories of self-efficacy and social learning. And Bandura’s book Social Learning Theory is said to have set a new course for psychology.

According to a 2002 survey by the Review of General Psychology, Bandura is the fourth most-cited psychologist in history and the most referenced living psychologist. He is regarded as one of the most influential psychologists of all time.

In 1974, Bandura became one of the youngest ever presidents of the American Psychological Association. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won numerous awards for his work, including the Grawemeyer Award, and the American Psychological Foundation’s Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Psychological Science.
1. Hans-Werner Gessmann

Hans-Werner Gessmann is a German psychologist and psychodramatherapist currently based in Russia. He is the founder of humanistic psychodrama, a form of therapy that involves role reversal. He is also ranked as one of the world’s most preeminent psychotherapists. Gessmann teaches clinical psychology at the government-owned Nekrassow University Kostroma, where he is also the director of the International Centre for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.

In 1973 Gessmann established the Psychotherapeutic Institute Bergerhausen in his hometown of Duisburg, which currently trains over 1,500 psychotherapists. He is a professor of general and developmental psychology at the governmental Academy of Social Administration Moscow and has served as a professor of systemic family therapy at the Municipal Pedagogical Psychological University Moscow since February 2012.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

10 alternative new years resolutions to revitalise your life

If your New Year always starts with you reeling off the same old dutiful commitments to join a gym, start a diet and give up all those bad habits, why not try something different next year to boost your happiness and revitalise your life? Here are our top 10 suggestions for alternative resolutions.

Get your photo taken in five interesting places
If you’ve got the travel bug and want to see a bit more of the world, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to visit five interesting places you’ve always wanted to see? Even better, make a visual record of the year by making sure you get a photo of yourself taken in each place. Good photo opportunities include inside an igloo in Lapland, on the Great Wall of China, inside a volcanic crater or floating in the Dead Sea, but use your imagination to think of your own – the world’s your oyster after all.

Learn a decent party trick
You know that party trick you’ve got, the one that always comes out after a couple of drinks? Think about it; is it really so impressive in the cold light of day? If the answer is no, it’s about time you learned a new trick; one that will really impress. Mastering a new skill – no matter how pointless – can increase your self-esteem, as well as earning you some serious social kudos next time you reveal it in public. For a physical challenge, why not work on your flexibility for a spot of contortion, or give yourself a mental challenge and learn how to recite the alphabet backwards in less than 10 seconds.

Break a record
Want to give your confidence a boost and work towards a new challenge? Then make this the year that you break a record! You could aim at breaking a personal fitness record or, if you want to aim a little higher, set your sights on a world one. With lots of diverse (and bizarre) records there for the taking, this may not be as difficult as you think. Perhaps you could burn off some calories with the world’s longest kiss, the longest time spent bouncing on a bouncy castle or the fastest one mile run completed wearing swim fins... Yes, these are all real world record titles if you fancy your chances!
Make a new friend a month
Fact: friends are great for your health, and the more you have of them the better. So, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to start collecting them? To expand your social circle, try to make one new friend a month by making a conscious effort to attend more social events, chat to strangers and get introductions to friends of friends. Making friends with people with different personalities and interests from you can be particularly beneficial in helping you to broaden your horizons, explore different sides of your personality and find new ways to get the most out of life.
Develop a good relationship with your body
Many traditional New Year’s resolutions centre around improving our bodies in some way, whether by taking up a diet or joining a gym. Next year, make it your resolution to start to love the body you’ve got instead. While this doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your diet and fitness regime if your health requires it, it does mean starting to love who you are in the process. Work on improving your body confidence by focusing on the things you do like rather than those you don’t, and learn to dress according to your body shape, showing off your favourite features.
Learn something you never learned as a child
You may run your own company, pay your own bills and parallel-park like a pro, but do you know how to do a handstand or ride a bike? For this New Year’s resolution it’s time to nurture your inner child and learn that thing that you never learned to do. Whether it’s the number of days in each month, how to spell ‘necessary’ correctly, how to ride a bike or swim, we all have something we never learned as a child that everyone else seems to know. Set this to rights and have some fun at the same time by redressing this gap in your knowledge. Your younger self would be proud!
Try a new food each week
Rather than cutting out foods from your diet as with so many New Year’s resolutions, opt to add more foods in to your diet next year instead (bonus points if they’re green!). Many of us don’t eat a varied enough diet, so ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs – as well as enhancing your enjoyment of food – by making a resolution to try a new food each week. Try hitting the fruit and veg aisle first to sample some exotic fruit and vegetables you may have yet to try, such as dragon fruit, lychees, romanescu and plantain.
Make the usual unusual
It’s easy to get into a rut where we do the same things day in, day out, with our days passing us by as a routine-filled blur. Next year, spice up your routine by vowing to do one small thing differently each day or week. Wear something you wouldn’t normally wear, run a different route, or order a different coffee perhaps. Also, don’t fall into the trap of postponing your happiness by saving everything special “for best”. Instead, brighten up a routine day every so often by donning your diamond earrings, swapping faded comfy knickers for your favourite silk underwear, or eating those fancy chocolates washed down with a glass of champagne!
Sort out a financial worry
To help get your year off to a good start, try getting your finances in order by making a resolution to sort out one area of financial worry. Perhaps you spend a fortune on petrol or maybe it is your food bills that are blowing your budget? Try to think of some alternatives to the main causes of financial stress, such as cycling to work instead of driving, growing your own vegetables or making your own beauty products. Not only will coming up with alternative solutions help you save some money, you may find that you enjoy them and that they boost your health too.
Do something nice for others every day
Many of our resolutions (these included) are inwardly focused, concentrating on ways to become thinner, healthier, wealthier people. However, while there is nothing wrong with improving yourself, it’s worth remembering there’s a whole world out there too. Next year, why not make a resolution to focus outwards instead and help make the world a better place. Plan to do one nice thing a day for someone else; whether it’s something small like giving a compliment, or something potentially life-saving like donating blood or sponsoring a child in need. By knowing you are making a difference, you will also indirectly boost your own happiness and sense of achievement.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Weird New Years Eve Celebration Traditions!

1—Gathering in the cemetery (Chile)
This might sound spooky to many but this is the way Chileans mark the celebrations of New Year. They gather around in the graveyard and lighten it up along with family members. The reason behind this practice is because they believe in celebrating with their ancestors and remembering them. 
2—Flashing your undies (Argentina)
This definitely sounds kinky! It might seem an inappropriate thing in many parts of the living planet, but this exciting tradition is actually practised in the South American land, Argentina. On the New Year, individuals choose their preferred colour of undergarment and flash it. These colours stand for several things like red is for love, gold for prosperity and so on. Interesting! 
3—Throwing bread loaves on the wall (Ireland)
This funnily weird tradition is an old practice by the Irish to ward off bad spirits from their lives. They collect bread loaves and bang it on the walls to keep negativity out on New Year’s Eve. 
4—Starting afresh (Peru)
Now this is some way to take out all your frustrations and start life fresh! In Peru, there is an annual Takanakuy Festival where people who have differences participate in a fist fight in order to resolve their issues. They believe in moving forward with a clean slate and carrying no grudge to the next year.
5—Throw your furniture out (South Africa)
We understand that your old sofas are pretty comfy but in South Africa it is considered a good way to ward off negativities by throwing out old furniture. The Proteas throw the furniture out of the window to start the New Year on a fresh note. So, time to get rid of the cozy sofa!
6—Animal whisperer (Romania)
Talking to pets is a great stress buster, but in Romania the level of talking to cattle has reached new heights. According to their belief, animals gain power of speech during the midnight and if they reply to you, consider that bad luck has fallen on you for the coming year. So, pray that your cow continues mooing and speaks no other word!
 7—Diving in a frozen lake carrying a tree (Siberia)
Considering the amount of vodka in a Siberian’s body, this looks quite possible! For why on hell would somebody dive in a frozen lake carrying a tree? In Siberia, a hole is cut in the frozen Lake Baikal where enthusiasts jump in to bring in good luck for the coming year.