User:Khayne

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Crystal Clear app kfm home.png This user is a participant in the Social psychology unit.
Writer1.gif This page is an e-portfolio. Also see other participants' pages.

Contents

Social Psychology Introduction Chapter 1 and 2[edit]

Week 1 of Social Psychology and I can’t believe how many questions I am asking. Asking myself and asking others. I am already viewing the world in a different way. I am no longer taking everything for granted. I am questioning why, what, when and how.

Sculpture at the University of Stuttgart, Germany

I am not normally a person who questions all the time – I am happy to believe to a certain extent what people in positions of authority tell me. You could call me a conformist, conservative and pretty happy with my surroundings. But it has taken me till I am 36, studying Psychology and particularly Social Psychology to start to question and challenge my surroundings. Or is it just that I am being exposed to information /stimuli and people that encourage and evoke the questions?

I thought Social Psychology was about how groups interact and live together. Having experienced two lectures and a two hour tute I have realised that there is much more to it! It’s all about understanding individual’s thinking, feeling, and behaviours.

According to Psychologist Gordon Allport, Social Psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings“. http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/f/socialpsych.htm

Social Psychology definition


I have never really though about what my or anyone else’s main purpose in life is – but according to a Social Psychologist it is to be a social animal – to build connections, work together, learn from and assist one another.

Conformity and Social Interaction[edit]

I read the autobiography “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs a few weeks ago after reading the autobiography “Look me in the Eye” by John Elder Robison (his brother). Running with Scissors was a perfect example of how groups and situations can change your outwardly observable actions and emotions. The author, during his early teenage years lived for a period of time with a group of quirky, unconventional people who treated their surroundings with a lack of care or respect. They were surrounded by people with mental illness. He found the family and the situations disturbing but after living with them for a while, he conformed to the groups’ norms in order to be accepted and feel part of the family. His need for acceptance was crucial to his day to day existence.

Action Research[edit]

The lecture skimmed over the slides on research methods as 2nd year Psychology units cover this material. However when looking over the notes later I realised I didn’t know much about Action Research, an experimental research method developed in the 1940’s by Kurt Lewin http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/bio_lewin.htm (known as the father of modern social psychology) and used in real situations rather than contrived, scientific situations.

Stephen Kemmis developed a diagram in 1995 that depicts the cyclical nature of the action research process to solve social problems. http://www.web.net/~robrien/papers/arfinal.html

It basically shows the cycle as being: plan - action - observe - reflect - revised plan - action - observe - reflect

In relating this back to how I behave in social situations the most relevant step for me at this time of my life is the “observe” step. Life is so busy that we often forget to sit back and watch. We are tempted to talk, intervene, continue to plan, join in the action and redo all over again without actually observing and taking it all in.

I read a quote once that said “remember it is not the destination it is the journey”. I have this posted on the wall in my study to remind me that as a mother of three children I need to think about the present and stop thinking about the next step – so sit back and observe (and enjoy)!

Positive Psychology[edit]

Page 50 of the text has a piece titled “Is Bad Stronger than Good”. In summary the article talks of the Positive Psychology http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ movement developed by Martin Seligman in the 1990’s. He realised that most psychological research was based on the negative aspects of human life and how the impact of these bad experiences affect humans in a stronger way than positive aspects. He decided to focus his attention on building and cultivating good experiences in order to be in good stead when the negatives hit. Positive Psychology seeks to instil numerous positive feelings and behaviours in a person as research shows that if people have three times as many positive emotions as negative emotions they tend to cope better with life and “flourish” (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).

View this fantastic video of Martin Seligman talking on Positive Psychology http://www.snre.umich.edu/eplab/demos/st0/stroopdesc.html Key themes in the video: Happy people = are extremely social!

Three “Happy” lives:

  1. The Pleasant Life (positive emotion) – having as many pleasures as possible
  2. The Good Life (engagement) – flow
  3. The Meaningful Life – using positive strengths for a greater good

Use savouring and mindfulness to have a beautiful day! Pursuit of meaning is important in life satisfaction

Positive Psychology is an interest of mine and regardless of which direction I take in my career I want to follow this style of psychology and try to live by the core principles.

Purpose of the E-portfolio[edit]

Finally in closing my first entry of my E-portfolio – I thought I would detail what I am trying to achieve by writing.

  • Obviously my instant thought was to achieve a great final mark….but I will come back to that at the end of the term and see if that is still my priority!
  • I want to pick out points of interest from the lectures / tutes and readings that I want to explore and research further. I also want to substantiate what I am learning in the lectures with pieces that I have already come across.
  • I want to continue to evolve as a person – I have a feeling this unit is going to take me to new heights!
  • I want to question and learn new material.
  • And I want to identify ways in which my family through my behaviour and thoughts can continue to make a difference.


Note to Self…… Read “The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin.

--Khayne 08:36, 5 September 2008 (UTC)


Social Self Chapter 3 and 4[edit]

Self[edit]

I have a collection of thoughts that I hold about myself. These thoughts relate to what sort of person I am, how I behave, how I look, where I belong, what I possess, the memories I hold and the thoughts I share. I am a social self. I possess multiple selves, in that I portray different sides of myself in different social situations. My self has evolved throughout my life as I have changed living circumstances, jobs, careers, partnerships, groups and friends. However the more genetically inherent parts of my self have remained stable.

My self...I am


Self Knowledge[edit]

Self knowledge is the set of beliefs about oneself; it includes a person’s introspection about contents of their own mind. Therefore a person should in theory have the most accurate knowledge of their self, as they hold the intimate inner details, of what they are really like.

The text (Page 81) highlights an interesting fact regarding self-knowledge in children. Research shows that children’ up to the age of 11 believe that their parents know them best. This finding does not surprise me (it did however surprise the writers of the text who thought this finding was remarkable!). The primary role of a parent is to parent! This role evolves as the child grows but during toddler and primary school years the parents choose for the child their food, look, clothing, school, social situations, their routine, their treats and privileges. A parent maintains control over the child by telling them how they will behave and what they will think. They teach manners and instil the sense of right and wrong, they teach them how to behave in a variety of settings.

From around the age of 11 children reach a developmental milestone where they feel they are the owners and in control of their self and gain a firm sense of knowledge about their self. This milestone has numerous effects on both the child and the parent. The parent is being challenged and their power over the child decreases (whether or not the power is conscious or unconscious). This could be one of the fundamental reasons that parents fight with children during their teens.

I think as a parent we are all guilty of this. Child: “I’m hungry can I have some afternoon tea?” Parent: “no you’re not hungry you ate lunch not long back.” Parent: “Put your jumper on.” Child: “I’m not cold.” Parent: “yes you are it’s cold outside you’ll freeze.”

Social Comparison[edit]

I wonder whether social comparison is on of the fundamental constructs that leads to envy. Social Psychologists believe that through social comparison a person evaluates their own self. They use a similar person to evaluate how well they are doing in comparison to that person. This could be good in regards to finding out that you are actually above this person on certain dimensions – leading to an inflated self esteem, but what if you feel you have not achieved as much.

One of four books that I am currently ploughing through on my bedside table - is titled Making Happy People The Nature of Happiness and its Origins in Childhood - by Paul Martin (2005). He writes about how the media "massively amplifies the social comparison effect". In the pre media days people compared themselves to friends and neighbours, however the media now exposes us to higher standards of living, wealth, fame and beauty. We now find we try and measure up to the world of the rich and famous. Does this lead to envy? Do you stop at just thinking “I don’t have the same, I have less, I am below”. Or do you go further and also become envious?

Envy – “a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another” http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=envy

Gothic fresco from 1511 of a man with a dogs head, which symbolizes envy, Dalbyneder Church, Denmark

Self-Esteem[edit]

Having a high self-esteem is something worth having. According to Shelley Taylor http://shelley.taylor.socialpsychology.org/ it is actually good to have an inflated self-esteem, be well connected and have social support networks. If we are competent and successful in these areas we are less likely to develop a mental illness.

Quote from Taylor: "Rather than perceiving themselves, the world, and the future accurately, most people regard themselves, their circumstances, and the future as considerably more positive than is objectively likely.... These illusions are not merely characteristic of human thought; they appear actually to be adaptive, promoting rather than undermining good mental health." (PSYCHOLOGY: Themes and Variations, 2004, Sixth Edition by Wayne Weiten. page 533)

Bit of fun…… Take this self-esteem test (10 questions / 5 mins) – designed to evaluate your general level of self-esteem http://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/self_esteem_abridged_access.html According to the test there is nothing wrong with my self-esteem and I exude confidence!!!!!

--Khayne 10:43, 10 September 2008 (UTC)





Social Thinking Chapter 5, 7 and 13[edit]

Social Thinking[edit]

how we think about ourselves and others

Duplex Mind[edit]

automatic and conscious The duplex mind = some thinking is automatic whereas other thinking relies on conscious control.

On page 150 of the text there is an interesting test called the Stroop test http://www.snre.umich.edu/eplab/demos/st0/stroopdesc.html that illustrates the concept of the duplex mind.

example of a Stroop Test

The test requires you to say the ink colour that the word is coloured in rather than the actual word. Most people will take longer if the word and ink colour do not match (incongruent).

I performed this test on my four year old son who can’t read, my nearly six year old daughter who is starting to read and my husband – who can read well.

As predicted in the text, the four-year old was much quicker than the others to say the colours as he couldn’t read the words therefore he had not developed an automatic response that was trying to override. The six-year old struggled – which made me happy as I realised she can read colour words, and the husband – as expected struggled as he wanted to use his automatic response, requiring him to use a much higher level of conscious effort than the six-year old. A great family experience was had by all and my daughter wants to be involved in more “experiments!”

Heuristics[edit]

Mental shortcuts that quickly lead to a solution that is close to the best answer. Commonly used heuristics Fundamental heuristic = trial and error Look to the unknown

  • If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, draw a picture
  • If you can't find a solution, assume that you have a solution and see what you can derive from working backward
  • If the problem is abstract, examine a concrete example
  • Try solving a more general problem first

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristic

Cognitive Miser[edit]

What an interesting topic! We use mental shortcuts to get through our day-to-day life, however are capable of taking even more shortcuts in order to reduce further thought if we are already preoccupied.

a shortcut

Ever driven home from the shops and pulled up in your front drive and wondered how you got there? – Through the use of knowledge structures!

Fundamental Attribution Error[edit]

The text, page 159, defines it as the tendency for observers to attribute other people’s behaviour to internal causes and downplay situational causes. The four explanations for the fundamental attribution error:

  1. behaviour is more noticeable that situational factors
  2. people assign insufficient to situational causes
  3. people are cognitive misers
  4. language is rich in trait like terms to explain behaviour

Cognitive Dissonance Theory[edit]

I had to have a chuckle when I saw this topic in the notes. I studied 6 units of psychology in college and my final yr 12 exam for the topic Attitudes and Prejudice required us to write an essay based on a given fictional situation about attitudes and the theories of attitude change. I credit my Yr 11 and 12 Psych teachers with giving me the interest to aspire to be a Psychologist and I believe the essay mark and comment (19/20 BRILLIANT) was the lift I needed.

An exert from the essay….(remember this was written 19 years ago so forgive the lack of finesse!) “The Grandfather is in a state of Cognitive Dissonance (Leon Festinger). He has two cognitions (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes) that contradict each other. Therefore he is in a state of psychological tension. To alleviate this tension he could:

  1. reduce the number or importance of dissonant cognitions
  2. increase the number or importance of consonant cognitions or
  3. change / eliminate the dissonant cognitions so they no longer contradict with other cognitions.

The Grandfather could also use Sherif’s theory (Social Judgement Learning Theory) to reduce psychological tension. Sherif proposes that there are three variables involved in learning new attitudes

  1. latitude of acceptance – consistent with beliefs
  2. latitude of rejection – unacceptable
  3. latitude of non commitment – deciding whether to accept of reject.”

and so on it goes…….

Attitudes and Beliefs[edit]

Attitudes = necessary global evaluations towards an object or issue. Beliefs = pieces of information about something

Why is it that some people stand by and act on their attitudes to the point of suffering? Are some of us more passionate than others, do some of us feel injustice more than others, or do some of us hesitate to rock the boat therefore stand back and keep our attitudes to ourselves?

I was having a think about attitudes and how they make a person. The following is a brief list of people / groups with very strong attitudes that drove their behaviour…..some for the good of others, some to the detriment of others. They all believed in something and were passionate about following it through.

  • Joan of Arc – received a mandate from God to drive the English out of France – executed for her attitudes
  • Martin Luther King – Civil rights activist - assassinated for his outspoken attitudes
  • Ku Klux Klan – advocating white supremacy
  • Suicide Bomers – strong religions attitudes
  • Adolf Hitler – attitudes towards Jews

Interesting Read……

Israeli Insider article on what makes suicide bombers tick. http://www.israelinsider.com/channels/security/articles/sec_0049.htm

Persuasion and the Source[edit]

The source – the individual delivering the message has more chance of persuading if they are an attractive, trustworthy and credible person (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).

The American Presidential Elections are in full swing and Australian media are full of stories. Although the personal relevance for me is quite low – as I don’t feel as though I am going to be intimately affected by the outcome, I have been interested in Barack Obama and his wife’s influence over the American people. They are highly educated, passionate, compassionate, attractive, family first people.

I just watched this speech delivered on Aug 25 2008 by Michelle, the wife of the Presidential Candidate and saw influence and persuasion in full swing. She speaks about and appeals to different groups; women, the poor, those against war, families, different backgrounds and races, students and more. Maybe my personal relevance just rose! What an amazing inspirational family. http://roadkillrefugee.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/michelle-obamas-speech-at-the-dnc/

Michelle Obama

I often say to my daughter who complains when her 4 year old brother won’t do what she wants him to do….”be clever, think of different ways to persuade him – don’t just whack him!” – which leads on to the next topic……Aggression! --Khayne 05:24, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Aggression Chapter 9[edit]

Street fight


I always had the wrong definition of aggression in my head. I thought aggression was about being angry, feisty, quick to defend – however the text defines it as a behaviour intended to harm another person! I have been told in the past that I can be aggressive – but I now know I was wrongly labelled – as I have never had the intention to harm others. Maybe assertive, enthusiastic and confident are more apt!

Freud believed aggression to be an innate drive toward disintegration directed toward the self – Thanatos - instinctual; Albert Bandura stood by the theory that aggression is a behaviour learned through witnessing others act in an aggressive manner – Social Learning Theory; http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/aggression/

Interesting Read

I read a very disturbing book recently called “We need to talk about Kevin” – 2003, by Lionel Shriver. Its underlying focus is on the nature / nurture debate and has you questioning whether a person is born with an innate aggression or if it’s a learned behaviour through environmental influence. The story is about a boy who displays both hostile and instrumental aggression towards his family and ends up undertaking a high school massacre. Not a pleasant book – but incredibly thought provoking and topical.

Influence[edit]

NAPCAN – Run a yearly event called National Child Protection Week – this year’s theme is – “Children See Children Do - Make your influence positive”. This is a great video advert showing the influence a Parent has on a child. http://www.napcan.org.au/ The messages they convey this year is the fact that Australia’s Children see:

  • 25% of drivers being reckless and aggressive at the wheel
  • 2.86 million people smoking each day
  • 2 million adults drinking at levels of high risk
  • Over 450,000 women being abused by their partner

Another interesting read...

I previously mentioned (in the topic Social Comparison) the book Making Happy People The Nature of Happiness and its Origins in Childhood - by Paul Martin (2005). He outlines how children are vulnerable to the influence of television and advertising and how concerning this is if you are trying to raise a happy child. An example he gives is "a major American study conducted over a 17-year period, found that individuals who had watched a lot of TV during their adolescence were significantly more likely to behave aggressively years later. Those who had watched three or more hours of TV a day in their mid-teens were five times more likely to commit aggressive acts than those who had watched TV for less than one hour a day." After reading this I have reduced the amount of TV viewing my children do!

When is Aggression Good?[edit]

It seems that evolutionary aggression is good for the animal kingdom. But has no benefits in the human race other than to assist people in getting what they want.

example of evolutionary aggression... elephant seals fighting

Back to the definition of aggression – if this means that they are intending to harm another person in order to get what they want then this cannot be seen as good. Thank goodness culture is overriding the need for aggression and encourages people to use restraint and self-control.

Insight – Australia’s leading forum for ideas broadcasts on SBS on Tuesdays featured Rage as their topic a couple of weeks ago – “Are we living in the age of rage”. They debated why it is that some people are celebrated for their public aggressive outbursts – TV Chef Gordon Ramsay whereas, others are criticised - Federal Labour MP Belinda Neal. They questioned sports stars and Sports Psychologists as to whether aggression and anger are good and most believed that if managed appropriately it can be a good behaviour that “helps us affect change, reach our goals, or stand up for ourselves”. http://news.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/index/id/40

Relative Deprivation Theory - (egoistic relative deprivation)[edit]

The sense of having less than one thinks they are entitled to, can lead to frustration and aggression. As discussed above in Social Comparison, Social Psychologists believe that through social comparison a person evaluates their own self…..does this lead to aggression if one feels that they don’t compare favourably to other people? Are envy and aggression linked?

Food and Aggression[edit]

In “food for thought” on page 311 of the text, it describes how a criminologist in the 1980’s removed unhealthy foods from the diet of juvenile correctional institutions which resulted in a 47% reduction in antisocial behaviour.

Australia is starting to publicise more research in this area with the news in September alerting their audience to the fact that there are 6 artificial colours in particular that could increase aggression in children. http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/article/4999464/health/food-additive-fight

A South Hampton Study by Professor Jim Stevenson shows additives increase a child’s level of hyperactivity and aggression. http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/sunrise/7080/food-additives-as-bad-as-they-look. Foods have changed so much over the last few years with an increase in additional flavours and preservatives it is worth looking at what your children are eating and doing a home experiment to see if behaviours change when certain additives and colourings are eliminated.

Here is a great website for alerting you to what food additives and colours may be harmful to children. http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/

Genocide[edit]

Genocide – an attempt to kill everyone in a particular racial or ethnic category (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).

I am certainly evolving as a person throughout this unit. I am stepping outside my wonderful, happy, opulent bubble and experiencing things that I would normally shield myself from, due to fear of exposure to the atrocities of life. Not sure why I have looked the other way for so long maybe a few reasons – 1) what can I really do to improve the situation 2) does awareness make me feel guilty for having all I have 3) graphic exposure deeply saddens me and as a naturally happy person I don’t like to feel overwhelmed with grief.

About 11 years ago I went on a trip overseas and during the tour we visited the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I remember being overwhelmed at the visual media, the pictures of those that were murdered and the Hall of Names. Tears flowed as I walked the corridors wondering what it would be like to live in a life not so fortunate as mine. Here is the link to a virtual tour of the museum. http://www1.yadvashem.org/new_museum/virtual.html

Watching the Ghosts of Rwanda brought back those same emotions. I was stunned mostly by the lack of involvement from the United Nations. Throughout the documentary I was thinking how quick the US are to become involved if Americans are harmed, but how easy it is to sit back when it doesn’t affect your own. The text, on page 295, talks about the rules for conduct in war “The principle seems to be that countries may intervene when one nation attacks another, but intervening in the internal affairs of a single country is less justifiable.” (Hence America’s involvement in Afghanistan post September 11).

mumified victims of the Rwanda Genocide

The following comments in the documentary really hit home…………….

  • It wasn’t in my instruction to be empathetic – (do most people do what they are told)
  • It’s a definitional question as to whether it is genocide – (nobody wanted to take the blame)
  • Clinton: I will always feel terrible about it – (interesting word terrible, an emotion that I would have thought passes quickly!)
  • World leaders did little as genocide happened on their watch
  • Allbright: I wished that I had pushed for a large humanitarian intervention – (why didn’t she? – did she not want to step outside the square)
  • Clinton: The depth and speed of which you were engulfed – (do individuals need longer to process and get involved – momentum?)

After watching the Ghosts of Rwanda documentary I looked at a few more sites of interest around the same topic on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxZNwPrenQE. I came across a clip called Breath – an Italian song with incredibly graphic footage. I have copied the words from the song – translated into English as they affected me so badly. It was enough just listening to and watching the horrendous images – but once you read the words - as a mother, the tears just did not stop.



BREATH (Respiro) of elpidiomansueto English: "My baby, oh my baby, my baby / My own baby / His fleshy ruby lips /in the honey sun / Sweet benign tumour / of your mom / Squeezed in this wet / sultry, sultry summer / And now, a clot of blood, ears / and milk teeth / And the eyes of soldiers, like mad dogs / who hunted the lambs / with foam at the mouth / and chased people like game / until they quenched / their wild bloodthirst / And after the bars into the throat, the bars of jail /And in the wounds, the poisonous seed of deportation /So that nothing of us, trees, spikes or children / May grow any more from the plain to the seashore/ Goodbye, my baby, our heritage / is hidden / in this city that / is burning, is burning / in the evening drawing near / and in this great fire light / for your little death".

When I think about aggression I see it occurring at different levels. It starts at a basic level within a person and then builds momentum as the person is joined by others or joins others. Personal aggression, family/ friends or group aggression, work aggression then it moves up a notch to community / race / sex / national aggression.

I was just reflecting on my point above, about culture giving us mechanisms to avoid using aggression – but are we actually using these mechanisms. On a world level, there are aggression fuelled wars for differing reasons: race, land, religion and gender. On an individual level we have the ability nowadays to pack more into our daily lives. We have the ability to achieve more with access to the internet, mobile communications and 24 x 7 contacts. But still we still have the same amount of hours in a day – we still have the same amount of washing, ironing, cleaning, kids demands, sporting commitments, commuting time etc. We are under pressure to fit more into our day and therefore is this causing us to become aggressive – Are we living in the age of rage?

--Khayne 00:30, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Prejudice Chapter 12[edit]

Definitions[edit]

Prejudice – a negative feeling toward an individual based solely on his or her membership in a particular group.

Discrimination – unequal treatment of different people based on the groups or categories to which they belong.

stop racism

Examples of Extreme Prejudice[edit]

In researching prejudice – I found that it is quite a controversial and thought provoking topic. What some groups may view as prejudice others may not. I thought a lot about this when looking at the website “Understanding Prejudice” http://www.understandingprejudice.org/. It is a website dealing with the causes and consequences of prejudice with more than 2000 links to prejudice-related resources. Whilst having a look I came across the Slide tour of prejudice – through the world of advertisements. The survey asks you to judge a series of 15 adverts to see which ones if any involve discrimination or prejudice! My duplex mind was in overdrive. A few slides were obviously showing prejudice. Others I thought were ok – but then maybe they were ok because they didn’t offend me! What happens when the subject matter offends the groups portrayed within the advert? Is this prejudice? Where do we draw the line between prejudice and sensitivity?



My husband and I were discussing prejudice through the years the other night and came up some interesting examples:

  • Columbine High-school Massacre - 1999 Littleton Colorado, 15 dead. Was this driven by predjudice? Perpetrator Eric Harris wrote in his journal:

"You know what I hate? Star Wars fans: get a friggin life, you boring geeks. You know what I hate? People who mispronounce words, like 'acrost,' and 'pacific' for 'specific,' and 'expresso' instead of 'espresso.' You know what I hate? People who drive slow in the fast lane, God these people do not know how to drive. You know what I hate? The WB network!!!! Oh Jesus, Mary Mother of God Almighty, I hate that channel with all my heart and soul."http://history1900s.about.com/od/famouscrimesscandals/a/columbine.htm

  • September 11 2001 – Al-Queida’s hate of America and the western way of life. Over 2900 people were killed by 19 terrorists who overtook 4 commercial airliners and crashed them into prominent landmarks.
  • Adolf Hitler - Holocaust and the attempted extinction of the Jews, Poles, homosexuals, Gypsies, Russians by the Nazi’s during WWII.
  • African-American Civil Rights Movement 1955 -1968 – aimed at abolishing public and private acts of racial discrimination and racism against African American’s.
  • Catholics versus Protestants – animosity between two religious groups.
  • Stolen Generation 1910-1970 – Aboriginal children removed forcibly from their families by the Australian and State Government agencies in order to assimilate them into white Australia – possibly to achieve white racial purity!
  • Cronulla Riots 2005 – a series of Australian versus Middle Eastern riots erupted in response to three off duty lifesavers being attacked by Middle Eastern youths. “A small number of demonstrators wore clothing bearing racist slogans such as "We Grew Here, You Flew Here", "Wog Free Zone" and "Ethnic Cleansing Unit" and some slogans such as "Aussie Pride" and "Save 'Nulla". Chants of "Lebs out", "Fuck off Lebs", "Lebs go home", "No Lebs", and other discriminatory expressions were continuously shouted out by the mob.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Cronulla_race_riots
Cronulla Riots 2005
  • Mugabe – 2002 – removal of white farmers from Zimbabwean land.
  • Native American Indians and reservations - Settlers invaded Native American land and relations grew hostile. A Peace Policy was developed which aimed at “relocating various tribes from their ancestral homes to parcels of lands established specifically for their inhabitation……..In many cases the lands granted to tribes were hostile to agricultural cultivation, leaving many tribes who accepted the policy in a state bordering on starvation.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_reservations
  • Ku Klux Klan – “The first KKK arose in the turmoil after the Civil War. It utilized terrorism, violence, and lynching to intimidate and oppress African Americans, Jews, Roman Catholics, and other racial and religious minorities.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

The Australian Eye – Blue Eyes/ Brown Eyes[edit]

Now this is a woman who knows how to present prejudice and aggression as a united force. I have been thinking throughout this topic how deeply prejudice and aggression are linked and Jane Elliot herself truelly personifies the link. To say that I didn’t like her methods of exposing people to the prejudices faced as part of a minority group is mild.

She reminded me of one of those rude, outspoken, ill-mannered representatives of our country we call politicians…..A politician during question time in Parliament…..yes that was her! She fuelled aggression and encouraged her “in-group” to tag along with her for the ride.

I walked out of the tutorial feeling wound up, aggressive and agitated. I wonder if she had the same effect on others. I disliked her and her “in-group” by the end of the documentary. Is this prejudice? If so it certainly didn’t help me to overcome it by exposing me to it in such a raw way.

I thought in today’s politically correct society it’s all about treating people as you would like to be treated through modelling and social learning. I found it interesting that at the beginning of the documentary an Aboriginal woman who educates people on Aboriginal integration also felt uncomfortable with the way the training would be conducted. She felt that it wasn’t appropriate to encourage segregation in order to promote understanding – but preferred the collaborative approach. Her comments were along the lines of I don’t want to be a perpetrator of the things I have been working against. It was interesting that she was supporting Jane Elliot’s slash and burn methodology by the end of the documentary – the power of an “in-group hey!!!

How nasty the founder of this training methodology is!

Obesity[edit]

Text: Prejudice comes in many varieties. Most arise from external characteristics that are readily visible.

There are much prejudicial attitudes around obesity. Most people tend to automatically link external causes to a person’s obesity. They attribute the person’s appearance to the quantity of food intake or the lack of exercise. It’s easier for them to do this as cognitive misers. However if you have the time and use your conscious mind you may look further and attribute obesity to internal causes such as metabolism, obesity, chemical imbalance etc.

example of obesity

I took my daughter and her friend (both 6) to a dance performance recently. Jesse (my daughter) was trying to point out a friend of hers who was dancing on stage. Because they were dancing and moving about so quickly she had trouble describing the friend. I went to step in and say the “big” girl…..as she was the largest girl in the group but I stopped myself just in time. It would have been so much quicker to describe her as the “big” girl – but I then thought well….. if she wasn’t big – how would we describe her? You couldn’t see her eye or hair colour from the distance we were sitting. I was so proud when my daughter finally managed to point her out to her friend without once using the word, fat, big, overweight or chubby. Not once did the word enter her head.





Interesting Read[edit]

Another book on my bedside table that I have just started reading is “Social Intelligence - The New Science of Human Relationships” by Daniel Goleman (2006). The books chapter “From Them to Us“ talks about the essential requirement for overcoming prejudice as being a strong emotional connection.

Thomas Pettigrew a social psychologist and a student of Gordon Allport (“argued that friendly and sustained contacts erode Prejudice”) lead the largest analysis of studies on “what kinds of contact change hostile groups’ views about each other.” Material for his study included looking at 515 studies from 1940 to 2000 and analysing responses from over 250,000 respondents from 38 countries. The Us-Them divides ranged from black-white, ethnic, racial, religion, elderly, disabled and mentally ill.

“The strong conculsion: emotional involvements, like friendships and romances between individuals from either side of a hostile divide, make people far more accepting of each other’s groups.”

Ways To Move From Them To Us[edit]

The Social Intelligence book describes work that Social Psychologist Elliot Aranson undertook in the 1970’s to assist school children in moving from Them to Us. His main philosophy is what he calls a “jigsaw classroom” http://www.jigsaw.org/ where students work in teams to undertake a piece of work in which they will be tested. The exercise is like a jigsaw puzzle in that “each student in the group holds one piece essential for full understanding…..the whole group must listen intently to what each has to say……Learning itself becomes a lab that encourages listening, respect and cooperation.”

pieces of a jigsaw

The text describes the same philosophy in the form of a study done by Sherif in the 1950’s – he labelled this "induced cooperation" to achieve shared goals as superordinate goals. At the end of this activity, negative stereotypes of out-group members decreased dramatically.

One of the biggest rewards for me as a parent at the moment is to be able to integrate my children into a Multicultural Canberra and for them not to even blink an eye at the diversity of people who surround us in our daily life. I hope this continues throughout their lives! Examples that come to mind

  • We attended the Thai Festival on the weekend at the Thai Embassy.
  • Asian, Pilipino and Fijian-Indian day-care workers
  • A friends Grandfather who has had both legs removed
  • Our Asian doctor
  • Many friends with food intolerances and allergies
  • A family visit to Sorry Day on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra
  • A mum who works, studies and loves to mow the lawn!
  • A dad who irons and vacuums!
  • Australian Citizenship Day - on Wednesday 17 September we celebrated with our close friends and their two daughters’ who received their Australian Citizenship at a ceremony that was held in the foyer of Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s National Office in Canberra. It was a fantastic ceremony witnessed by a very multicultural group of people – for a moment in time there was no racism! As Australians we were invited to make our Australian Citizenship Affirmation- which allows you to express your support for the values and principles that underpin Australian citizenship.

The Pledge

As an Australian citizen, I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I uphold and obey.

cute kids enjoying Australian Citizenship Day Sept 08


Note to Self…....Watch Rabbit Proof Fence

--Khayne 05:56, 22 September 2008 (UTC)


Intermission[edit]

Time to take stock on what stands behind me and what stands before me!

I recall thinking at the first tutorial “an eportfolio hey........James just loves interaction via these things called wiki’s and uspaces etc”. I also recall thinking – how hard will it be to just summarise the text!!!

In just a short 9 weeks I have changed my ABC’s:

Affect[edit]

No longer am I fighting the information age – I am an avid user of it. I have decided to stop fighting James on his use of information sharing and actually join him in the ride. My feelings have changed - I am preaching to my friends about the fact that we need to embrace it because it is not going away – and we have children who are going to be entering in it. I still however am a great believer in sending Birthday and Christmas cards through the post!

Behaviour[edit]

I watch ABC and SBS (once reserved for my snobby husband whilst I ran to the other room to watch “trash TV”). I joined Facebook and actually logged into Youtube – and I use it!

Cognition[edit]

I am constantly thinking about how things in my day to day life can be written into my eportfolio. I am watching, interpreting and trying to understand groups.

--Khayne 10:45, 26 September 2008 (UTC)


Relationships Chapter 10 and 11[edit]

Types of Relationships[edit]

There are so many types of relationships that function across many different levels, which led me to think about the different relationships I have in my life:

Communal relationships – based on love and concern without expectation of repayment:

  • As daughter to my mother, father, step-mother, step-father, mother-in-law, father-in-law
  • As mother to my daughters and son
  • As wife to my husband
  • As friend to my special girlfriends
  • As sister to my brother
  • As sister in-law to my in-laws


Exchange relationships – based on reciprocity and fairness:

  • As neighbour to my neighbours
  • As client to my dentist, doctor, accountant, financial adviser, hairdresser
  • As employee to my employer
  • As student to my educators

I think it would wiser to describe these two types of relationships on a continuum rather than split them into two categories. There are many relationships that I share with people where I don’t expect repayment; however I wouldn’t describe a “love” element to the relationship.

The Need to Belong[edit]

Chapter 10 of the text talks about the need to belong. “In order to survive, it is vital to form and maintain some relationships.”

Social relationship

It is more important for some people to maintain many relationships “quantity” rather than sustainable close relationships ”quality”. A good example of this is through the use of Facebook. An amazing interactive web based application that allows you to “connect” with your “friends”! It should be acquaintances! The text on page 331 tells us that people believe that about 4-6 close relationships is sufficient. For some people on Facebook to have 300-500 friends is unbelievable and unrealistic. Facebook has allowed us a way to track down old and new acquaintances and past and present work mates. Does it make people feel as though they belong and are valued to have an unusual amount of friends? Or as the text states are they forming ”social connections without much risk or anxiety”. I am yet to understand the pull towards it. I must admit I am a “curious” user of it. I don’t contribute a lot but am interested to see what others are doing…….a socially inquisitive person!

Ostracism and Social Rejection[edit]

Ostracism - to exclude or banish a person from a particular group or from society. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Ostracized

Page 342 of the text describes a story of Kip Williams walking through a park and being engaged by a group to play Frisbee. They played for a while and then the instigators of the game ignored him. This sudden withdrawal after being engaged fascinated Williams who went on to become a Social Psychologist. Here is a link to a fantastic interview Kip Williams (Macquarie University) gave on Radio National in 2001 about a woman who was ostracised by her spouse for 40 years. The husband didn’t look at her, talk to her or eat at the same table as his wife for the entire period! http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s241161.htm

Social Rejection - the text describes three types of children who are often rejected by their peers:

  1. Aggressive children
  2. Children who are withdrawn
  3. Deviant children

If these are the three main reasons as to why children are rejected socially then you can see why children with Asbergers and Autism http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/autism/ and ADHD http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/managing_adhd/#s3 have difficulty with social integration and suffer so much with relationships.

I mentioned above in the section Social Psychology Introduction – having read the book “Look me in the Eye” by John Elder Robison - a great book written by a man who has Asbergers. He talks of his troubles integrating with society throughout life and his ability to train himself to respond with the appropriate response when engaged in social interaction, which allowed him to function in social settings.


Love and Attraction[edit]

Passionate love / romantic love – strong feelings of longing, desire, and excitement towards a special person

Compassionate / affectionate love – mutual understanding and caring to make the relationship succeed

An Eye for Beauty[edit]

Alan Slater, a developmental psychologist at the University of Exeter, believes babies are born with an eye for beauty and will stare at an attractive face over an unattractive one. He found that 2½ day old infants have a biologically ingrained eye for beauty……attraction may not simply be in the eye of the beholder after all! http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002338.html


We all want the quick answers to our love life issues…..I have been researching for my essay topic – “The key to a successful long-term intimate relationship” and have read some really interesting articles…... There are a lot of parts to what makes a love partnership successful…therefore it makes me laugh when I see the numerous articles and quizzes on line and in magazines promising to expose the truth, unleash the beast, make him love you etc…. Some amusing titles…….

  • 10 signs that he’s into you
  • Summer fling or real thing
  • Is the past affecting your love life?
  • Are you faithful?
  • Do you fall in love too fast?

Surrendered Wives[edit]

Just over a year ago I watched a program on 60 mins about surrendered wives called “Under the Thumb” and laughed at how ridiculous it was. Here is the link to the video and well worth the 13 minutes of laughter! http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=270407

My husband thought it was a wonderful concept (he WAS joking). The principle behind the American craze is that a woman gives up control and responsibility of all aspects of the home (except child raising and cleaning - how convenient!!!!) when her husband is around, they do not criticise, belittle or dismiss their husbands and trust their husbands in every aspect of marriage! I wonder how many books there are about surrendered husbands! It’s all about surrendering control! – Shouldn’t it be about an equal partnership? Is the idea of the surrendered wife an act of love, a need to belong and be accepted or a bunch of crazy women stepping back into the dark ages in order to keep their husbands happy! A great example of how a “happy marriage” can be interpreted so differently.

Laura Doyle wrote the step-by-step book “surrendered wife” dedicated to the topic – if you are interested!!!!! I wasn’t! http://www.surrenderedwife.com/ Closer to home – a Woman’s Day True Confessions article– I’m a subservient wife. http://womansday.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=272011

Cross Cultural Training[edit]

View of backyards Solihull England

What an interesting tute! It got us thinking about the times we’ve gone through a cultural adaptation….. entering into the honeymoon tourist phase…moving through the culture shock stage ….then learning to adjust and adapt as a bi-cultural person or breakdown and leave the newly entered culture.

My own experience of this came about when I uplifted my family to move to a town just south of Birmingham, England 3 ½ years ago. I accepted a promotion with my current work, and we thought it would be a great experience as the work was similar, a known company, and English speaking country. The only problem would be the homesickness and lack of family support with two young children. How wrong I was!!!! Our intended move was for 2 years and I lasted 4 months. The work culture was incredibly different. I had entered into a place where touchdown workstations were used as people drove into work for the week and then drove back out as far as 4 hours drive to their homes on the weekend. There was no sense of team commitment. There was however a huge drinking and “playing” culture. I worked with a bunch of middle-aged, overweight, drinking to excess every night, “misbehaving” men (stereotypical assessment – I know!!!). I was told I was conservative!!!! This then set me into a downward spiral and the homesickness really kicked in, the weather then got to me, the skies were grey which only increased my depression.…I didn’t even give myself time to adjust….I was in a culture shock and I came home….hubby and kids running behind me. I look back now and see that my husband had no problems at all with the new environment – he had problems with my reaction to it. I think he is still wondering what happened in that 4 months of chaos….I think he went through a “Kate shock” rather than a culture shock!.

--Khayne 03:29, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Groups Chapter 14[edit]

Definition of Groups[edit]

A collection of at least two people who are doing or being something together (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).

It’s interesting that there is no set definition of a group and in fact the definition is quite loose. The minimal criteria seem to be two or more people, however two people are referred to as a dyad, and therefore most references regard three or more as a group. A group must have some of the following attributes:

  • Feel similar
  • Share a common identity
  • Work towards a common goal
  • Form social structures
  • Be distinguishable from the out-group
  • Depend on each other

(James Neill lecture notes)

“Interesting” Groups[edit]

When I think of a group – I tend think of two very broad sets of groups. Those that come together to fulfil a purpose and undertake a task (doing something together) and those that come together in order to look and act like each other (being something together).

The doing something together groups – I am always impressed by committee’s and the people that dedicate their time to them. I have been a secretary and then chair of the childcare committee and am now getting involved in the P&F at the School. I believe that people take a more genuine interest and care in your children if you are an active part of the community in some way. I find it easy to get “sucked” into a group. I feel guilty if I don’t offer time….I also am a very social being and like to be a part of things – I’ve never liked missing out on anything! I’ve been watching the officials at Little Athletics and they give up ½ a Saturday and then some for the good of the community. No pay and lots of responsibility in running events for hundreds of children! These are good people and people who enjoy and gain satisfaction out of being members of a group – how do we encourage more of this?!

The being something together groups – Goths – associated tastes in music, aesthetics and fashion - black attire makeup and hair! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goth_subculture Emos – short for Emotional - regard themselves as a cool, young subset of the Goths. They wear black layers, portray an inner despair, listen to a particular style of music, and read morbid, romantic, poetry, unlike Goths they celebrate self-harm http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-400953/EMO-cult-warning-parents.html. There are even websites telling you “how to be an Emo” http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Emo.


Groups Essential to Culture[edit]

In the lecture James spoke about groups being favoured by evolution and how groups are essential to culture, which leads me into an overview of the television series currently on SBS called First Australians screening on Sunday and Tuesday nights. Here is a link to the episodes on line. http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/

The series is a comprehensive overview of the treatment of Aborigines by the white settlers in Australia since the British came face to face with Aborigines in Sydney on January 26, 1788. It would have to be THE most insightful series I have ever watched. Most episodes have left me in tears and bestowed upon me a complete understanding of the settlement of Australia.

In school I was given the glorified version of the settlement of Australia. The Constitution says that Australia was settled peacefully; therefore we were led to believe that a beautiful landscape was settled by a progressive group of people who sailed in on tall impressive ships. They set up farming and agriculture, laws, regulations, brought with them a beautiful culture, a social network and our ancestors gave us this wide brown land we call Australia. There were black savages we were taught, who were wild and could not integrate. They didn’t need to integrate! They had already “settled” Australia. Cultures, social networks and laws were already in place, firmly!

This series has redefined the settlement of Australia in my eyes. I have a sense of sorrow, embarrassment and feel shame towards our ancestors. I think the saddest part is that there are a lot of years between 1788 and 1950 when Aborigines were still being treated inhumanely. How long does it take to treat a group of people fairly? Does it in fact ever happen in some cases?

Illustration from Australia: the first hundred years by Andrew Garran 1886


The comments in the series that have really made me think about the culture and traditions that existed in Australia prior to 1788 are:

  • We had our own beliefs, cultures and heritage – they tried to change this
  • Christianity was imposed
  • The English cut down trees that were part of our sacred objects and our belief system
  • They lost their liberty
  • Bennelong’s position in his own society vanished, he was drained of prestige
  • They were no longer allowed traditional ceremonies

Thank goodness for Kevin Rudd’s declaration of “sorry” in 2007. This series has made me realise why it was so important for the First Australians to receive this apology and recognition of the appalling treatment of their people over way too many years.

A group of people who were stripped of their land, heritage, families, tradition, culture, pride and spirit.


Specialised Roles Within Groups[edit]

The text states that “Identifying individual people with their unique roles within the group is an important key to the success of human groups…….groups do better when people are individually identified and perform their unique roles.” Roles can be predefined or in some circumstances a person’s informal role falls out of the situations people find themselves in. Take for instance the America television series LOST involving a group of survivors from a plane crash. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOST There are 71 survivors and within the first few episodes it is evident who the leaders and followers are. When individuals started challenging leadership that was in place – the group becomes dysfunctional and in-groups and out-groups start forming. People look for leaders and direction in most group situations. “Leaders emerge from within the structure of the informal organization. Their personal qualities, the demands of the situation, or a combination of these and other factors attract followers who accept their leadership within one or several overlay structures. Instead of the authority of position held by an appointed head or chief, the emergent leader wields influence or power. Influence is the ability of a person to gain co-operation from others by means of persuasion or control over rewards. Power is a stronger form of influence because it reflects a person's ability to enforce action through the control of a means of punishment.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership

Some Theories[edit]

  • Social facilitation theory – tendency to perform when others are present
  • Optimal distinctiveness theory – tension between need to be similar to and distinctive from other group members – individual!
  • Social comparison / value theory – Competition between group members to represent some underlying valued position

Leadership[edit]

There are many different styles of leadership. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership

  • Bureaucratic – structured and follows procedures
  • Charismatic – leads by infusing energy and eagerness into their team
  • Autocratic – is given power to make decisions alone
  • Democratic – listens to the teams ideas but will make the final decision
  • Laissez-faire – gives no continuous feedback or supervision
  • People-oriented – supports, trains and develops personnel
  • Task-oriented – focuses on the job
  • Servant – the leader is an instrument the employees use to achieve their goal
  • Transaction – is given power to perform rewards and punishments
  • Transformation – motivates the team to be effective
  • Environment – uses organisational culture to inspire leaders
APEC Leaders Retreat 2007

--Khayne 09:22, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


Prosocial Chapter 8[edit]

Definition[edit]

Prosocial behaviour is defined as doing something that is good for other people or for society as a whole. Prosocial behaviour builds relationships whereas antisocial behaviour destroys relationships. (Text)

People respond to the presence or absence of others and strive to get themselves accepted into a group (text).

Volunteering[edit]

If you want to be happy – Volunteer! The ABC TV series on 2/10/08 ran a story on The Science of Happiness. Research has been undertaken that shows volunteers in Australia who help out a few hours a week have a high well being and buoyancy. Volunteering connects people with others and as social animals this makes us happy.

The Red Cross Flag

What makes some people assist, help, forgive easily, more empathetic, volunteer or offer time? For me – I need to find the right thing to put myself into – the right interest, something I am passionate about – and once I’m there – there’s no stopping me. Having been Chair of the board at daycare for 4 years and now a member of the P& F at school and on the fete committee, I realise that people are more interested in you and your family and offer more care and protection if you are an active member of the community. What a sense of achievement can be found by being a part of a prosocial community. Find your niche and volunteer some time!

This type of active involvement is more prosocial involvement rather than altruistic involvement as it is public involvement – there are self- interest benefits to my input….a social network, a better school and community, possibly social status, and wanting to conform when help is asked for. Does this matter though? Is it important to be altruistic or just to be involved and assist? Small steps at a time will achieve great things!!!

Social Disengagement: A Breeding Ground for Fundamentalism[edit]

Hugh Mackay delivered the 6th Annual Manning Clark Lecture on 3/3/05 and what an engaging speech it was! He is considered to be Australia’s most famous Social Psychologist specialising in studying the attitudes and behaviour of Australian’s. http://www.hughmackay.com.au/

Hugh Mackay spoke of the rollercoaster ride Australians have been on for the last thirty years in terms of changes in gender, economy, technology and identity. I will just note a couple of his points that were of particular interest to me. He stated that as a direct result of the Gender revolution, 45% of marriages will end in divorce which will impact 1,000,000 children born out of those unions. In addition half of those children will live between the separated parents’ houses. We are yet to see the consequences of this change in social structure on the children.

I read an article about a year ago that pointed out the impacts of divorce on children – those that you hear about all the time. But it also pointed out that parents want to spend quality time with their children when they have custody of them therefore they don’t undertake all the boring, mundane tasks until the children have gone. Therefore today’s kids from broken marriages have the possibility of not being exposed to long queues in banks, post offices, grocery shopping, gardening, home maintenance, house cleaning…….Instead they are given special outings, computer games etc…..What a change in child raising this could be!

Another of his interesting points is that believes we are in a phase of introspection, a “Me” and “Materialism” society! These individualistic cultures breed individual wealth and prosperity and don’t tend to foster the community spirit seen in collectivist cultures. There have been so many changes that he feels that Australian’s are in shut down mode. The changes in life are out of control and therefore we are socially disengaging and retreating into our own bubble.

Inspiration[edit]

Mackay's final statement is inspiring in itself……“Rather than waiting for someone to inspire us, perhaps it is time to begin inspiring those around us.” How do we instil this mentality into people? We start with our children by raising them to be resilient and take control of their own actions! I was looking for a photo to go in here of an inspirational person - As I went through all those that inspire me - I thought it is such a personal thing. Who I think is inspiring other people will possibly laugh at! So I thought about it a little closer to home and realised that my Children inspore me to be the best person I can be and in-turn hope that I will inspire them as they grow older!

Donating and a Little Bit of Effort[edit]

I got outside that little bubble of mine a while back and decided to start collecting second hand clothes from friends. My motivation was due to witnessing loads of clothes overflowing from charity clothing bins at Christmas time. I realised that all the clothes wet from the rain would be turned into landfill and that made me wonder about how much we consume that gets sent to landfill due to slight damage. Over the last year I have managed to get 4 suitcase loads of clothing to Asian refugee camps and orphanages. The photo is of the little girl in a Thailand Orphanage who ended up with one of our teddy bears. The sense of achievement this stirred in me was wonderful. I was also saddened by the event – as I said to my husband – “she doesn’t need a Teddy she needs a Mum and Dad”… So I asked if he would let me bring her home!

Thai Orphan with her new Bear

Note to Self.... Read some of Hugh Mackay’s work.

Prosocial People in the Media[edit]

Look to the Stars – the world of celebrity giving http://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/ is a great website that lists over 1530 celebrities and the charities they support. A very small selection of charitable celeb’s and a snippet of information in regards to their giving:

Angelina Jolie – is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. She allowed People magazine to print the first pregnant photo of her for in exchange of a $500k donation to charity.

Brad Pitt – Newsweek magazine named him as one of “15 people who make America great” for bringing attention to causes in Africa.

Oprah – partakes in such things as giving 300 members of her audience $1000 each to donate to a charity of their choice.

Bill and Melinda Gates – Winding down their involvement in Microsoft in order to spend more time on their charity foundation. At a bridal lunch the day before his wedding to Melinda, Gates’ mother Mary read a letter to the couple saying, in effect, “From those who are given great resources, great things are expected.”

Elton John – Established the Elton John Aids Foundation in 1992. Also gives away large amounts of his personal wealth.

Bono – has a quest to make the world a better place by fighting hunger and poverty. Started charity work in 1986.


--Khayne 09:49, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Social Capital[edit]

I just went to a school P&F meeting where we started with a story that made me think about social capital. Social capital in the sense of goodwil, karma, positive interactions and social cohesion.

The story is called Two Frogs - author unknown

A group of frogs were travelling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Moral of the story:

There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. So be careful of what yo say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words…..it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way.

--Khayne 10:24, 29 October 2008 (UTC)


Environmental Selected readings[edit]

Sunset, from Zebulun beach in Herzliya, Israel


Definition and History[edit]

"Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment very broadly including all that is natural on the planet as well as social settings, built environments, learning environments and informational environments." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_psychology

Research in Environmental Psychology started in the 1950’s within the health care arena. A campaign was established to improve the architectural design of mental hospitals from a cognitive and social and human behavioural perspective – looking at chair arrangements and colour. This became known as a field called Architectural Psychology which expanded to involve parks and landscapes, where stress and urban commuting was studied. The name therefore changed to Environmental Psychology which covers the mismatches between people and their environment. http://www.wcupa.edu/_Academics/sch_cas.psy/Career_Paths/Environmental/Career09.htm


The Town with No Direct Sunlight[edit]

In the lecture James mentioned a town in a valley situated between two mountains that receives no direct sunlight. That town is Rattenberg an Austrian town founded 700 years ago situated between the Inn River and the Rat Mountains for protection from bandits. Rattenberg’s population is declining due to the lack of direct sunlight which is blocked by the mountains from November to mid February.

A light laboratory is helping the town to install 15 giant mirrors that track the movement of the sun and reflect the sunlight to a giant mirror covered tower in the town which will then reflect to smaller mirrors on buildings throughout the town. I would assume the incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) would be quite high for this town! http://www.smm.org/buzz/blog/reflected_sunlight_for_rattenberg

Seasonal Affective Disorder[edit]

SAD is a type of depression that can severely affect people’s lives. Some people experience fatigue, depression and lethargy due to the change in season resulting in winter. Beyond Blue highlights this type of depression…. http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?link_id=59.854

Natural Sources of Sensory Pleasure[edit]

In the lecture James also spoke about sources of sensory pleasure and exercises that are done to get people to write down what sources of pleasure are gained through the 5 senses and then looking at these to see what sources were from the environment. I thought about this and came up with a quick list for me!

Taste Chocolate – not really natural!, Salt, Tomatoes

Touch My children’s faces, Flannel flowers, lambs tongue leaves, My baby’s hair

Sight My garden, Sunsets, Colour

Smell Freshly mown grass, Ocean, Lemon grass

Hear Laughter, My baby’s new words, Waves crashing on a beach


Commuting Stress[edit]

The readings for this topic included the article by Environmental Psychology 1989-1994. This article highlights “both subjective and objective impedance to be significant predictors of commuter stress which manifested in both physical and psychological health outcomes.”

60 Minutes ran a story entitled Gridlock on 3/8/08 http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=606757 showing us how we waste out lives commuting from A to B in order to get to work every day. Jessica Brown, who was interviewed in the story, said “I plan my day around the traffic. It makes you reassess every area of your life. It makes you reassess your relationship with your husband with your child, in exchange for you battling with the traffic, day in, day out.” She spends 3.5 hours in traffic each work day making the simple exercise of eating her breakfast with her daughter impossible. This type of stress in our daily lives must be taking it’s toll, not only on our health, but on our social relationships and our psychological wellbeing! Please don’t all come and live in Canberra where out traffic gridlock runs for 15 minutes per day!!

Teaching Psychology for Sustainability[edit]

This Website is called Teaching Psychology for Sustainability: A manual of Resources – The website provides resources to assist instructors to integrate psychology with environmental issues. It states “As experts on human behavior, psychologists have the potential to serve a crucial role in halting our ecologically-destructive trajectory and promoting a sustainable future.” http://www.teachgreenpsych.com/tg_overview.html

--Khayne 09:54, 30 October 2008 (UTC)


Curtain Call[edit]

What Were the Greatest Impacts on Me - throughout the eportfolio process?[edit]

  • Ghosts of Rawanda documentary and the song I found on you tube
  • The discussion in the tute on the heritage of our names
  • Learning how to navigate Wikiversity and Wikicommons
  • Hugh Mackay’s speech
  • The unit in itself provoked thought and stirred compassion

My Closing Thoughts[edit]

Education is the key to understanding………….Education promotes awareness……………..Awareness encourages conversation and debate…………….Conversation and debate encourage passion and commitment…………If I can just change a minor part of one persons ABC’s each week – I have contributed.

And in Closing[edit]

Then said a teacher, Speak to us of Teaching. And he said: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of this wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm, nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

Thanks James! --Khayne 10:34, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Socrates teaching