Posted by & filed under Child Development, Health Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, mental illness, Psychophysical Disorders Health Psychology, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: I am sure you have heard the phrase “having the rug pulled out from under you,” before. Interpreted literally, it obviously means having the very thing you are standing on violently shifted from under you, typically with catastrophic results. The “magic” act of whipping a table clothe out from under a fully set table and leaving everything on the table standing is amazing because we expect catastrophe. Now let’s step this, apparently pointless, reflection up to the metaphorical level and consider that vast numbers of families and individuals have had “rugs” pulled out from under them in the past month and, while falling, hitting the floor (assuming it is still there!) or wondering why they hurt have at best only managed a “what the ….?” Or a “I did not know we/I had a rug there!?” Our lives, and the ways we live them are based on a complex array of social “rugs,” in the form of the assumptions we make about what we are doing and how and why we are doing them. Consider the “rug” that is the family (here is where I bring this back to Psychology a bit). Sigmund Freud bought wholesale the assumption of his time that the Family, at its most basic, consisted of a Father and Mother and a child and each had powerfully distinct roles to play. The Father to work, provide, and embody authority and discipline; the Mother to care, feed and nurture; and the child to be nurtured AND disciplined so that their animalistic instincts do not make them asocial, uncivilized and, eventually sociopathic. OK that is may seem a bit overly dramatic, but such are the nature of our social rugs (our foundational assumption). So Freud gave us perhaps the starkest, darkest, yet most articulated version of a powerful assumption about the “rug” that is the assumption of the nuclear family (alone in the home surrounded by the world and responsible for raising future citizens who do not turn out to be scary and dangerous. Freud and the tyranny of the nuclear family assumption (in all its hetero-typical phobia) have been deservedly roasted over the past 100 years BUT. When you look at how we have danced with the components of the nuclear family model (masculinity, femininity, connection and autonomy, gender equality, work-life balance, family role sharing and responsibilities) in the years since Freud it is clear how had it is to re-weave the “rugs” we are standing (dancing) on. It seems to me that when we get chance (tough to do given the physical health and restrictions of Covid-19) we need to examine our “rugs” (assumptions) if we are to better understand how we are feeling and how we are, perhaps NOT, doing well. It should be easier in a way because they have been pulled out from under us already and now that we know it, perhaps we can tack them up on the wall as rather stained and trodden medieval tapestries and consider them for a bit (as one should consider their assumption from time to time). Sound too abstract? Well have read through the article linked below whose very title points to a rug that has been recently, dramatically, removed from under us.

Source: The Parents Are Not All Right, Cloe I. Cooney, Gen Medium.

Date: April 5, 2020

Photo Credit:  ambermb from Pixabay

Article Link: https://gen.medium.com/parents-are-not-ok-66ab2a3e42d9

I have seen in the sub-mainstream media lately a lot of examples of parents and families who are overwhelmed by their new current circumstances. Most simply in comes up in the form of concerns about how parents who may well be trying to work from hoe are also having to take on the role of local teacher to their home-bound children. The previous “solutions” to how to manage work-life balance should be considered or maintained have been yanked out from under families and what remains are unreflected issues over who is responsible for what, for whose “work” takes priority and how  families transition from complex urban living to homesteading with no warning and little support. Taking a few deep breathes and reminding ourselves that we do not have to be perfect are not going to come close to cutting it given the thickness of the rugs now on the wall rather than under our feet. The Psychological side of the Covid-19 epidemic is going to take a toll of its own, one we will all need to come to terms with and work on.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What assumptions of the nature and responsibilities of Families (and work) are being challenged or yanked out from under us by Covid-19?
  2. What do our current circumstances seem to be suggesting to us about the roles and responsibilities of parents and the nature of family?
  3. Given the above, what sorts of things should we be trying to do?

References (Read Further):

Bengtson, V. L. (2001). Beyond the nuclear family: the increasing importance of multigenerational bonds: the burgess award lecture. Journal of marriage and family, 63(1), 1-16.  Link

Saggers, S., & Sims, M. (2005). Diversity: Beyond the nuclear family. Family: Changing families, changing times, 66-87. Link

Sear, R. (2016). Beyond the nuclear family: an evolutionary perspective on parenting. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 98-103. Link

Laurie, T., & Stark, H. (2012). Reconsidering kinship: beyond the nuclear family with Deleuze and Guattari. Cultural Studies Review, 18(1), 19. Link

Aeby, G., Gauthier, J. A., & Widmer, E. D. (2019). Beyond the nuclear family: Personal networks in light of work-family trajectories. Advances in Life Course Research, 39, 51-60. Link

 

 

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Health Psychology, Depression, Health Psychology, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: We (well, the media) have largely been discussing the Covid-19 pandemic is terms of physical demands and consequences and while that makes sense given that its origins are viral (literally not virtually). One of the consequences of this focus is that, even in countries with socialized medicine programs (e.g., Canada), when we mobilize the health system to confront a threat like Covid-19 we do NOT mobilize our psychological health systems as automatically or an intensively. Of the three components that make up the BioPsychoSocial model of health and wellness we tend to fire up the Bio part and draw in the Social part as needed to make the Bio (containment) part work while the Psycho part lags behind and is not provided the same cross-system push. When discussing Psychological Disorders in class, I talk from various angles about the relationship between stress and disorders and about the comorbidity of disorders, stress and anxiety. As well, when talking about stress I talk about how the rates of clinical depression invariably jump up in areas hit by natural disasters in the 6 months following the disasters. So, think about how our current Covid-19 BioPsychoSocial experience could be playing out on the Psychological side. What might the issues and impacts of Covid-19 be in relation to disorders in general and to depression in particular? Once you have your thoughts in order have a read through the article linked below by a Clinical Psychologist who has struggled with depression himself in life.

Source: When the Pandemic Leaves Us Alone, Anxious and Depressed, Andrew Solomon, The New York Times.

Date: April 9, 2020

Photo Credit:  Free-Photos from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-depression-anxiety.html

The four responses to the coronavirus crisis and the required social isolation are particularly important. Stride on, seek some Psychological first aide, be catapulted into disorder or, be pushed further into disorder or “double depression.”  We need to include in our consideration of how to respond and how to help others and ourselves cope by recognizing the need to “include depression generated by fear, loneliness, and grief” in our thoughts and action plans.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are stress and anxiety related to disorders such as depression?
  2. How might people be seen to be reacting, Psychologically, to the coronavirus reality?
  3. What are some ways in which we might add more into the Psycho part of a BioPsychoSocial response to Covid-19?

References (Read Further):

Achenbach, Joel (2020, April 2) Coronavirus is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in U.S., new poll finds. The Washington Post Link

Sprang, G., & Silman, M. (2013). Posttraumatic stress disorder in parents and youth after health-related disasters. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness, 7(1), 105-110. Link

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on psychological science, 10(2), 227-237. Link

 

Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Sensation-Perception, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Have you used Zoom or one of the other virtual meeting platforms for the first time recently? How did you find the experience? For many of us such meeting ARE new experiences. We went from meetings happening in-person and face-to-face to playing our part in a CBC or CNN interview/presentation. You know the ones where the host is there and those joining him or her are seen virtually in picture-in-picture rectangles. You may have noticed (if not go look) that the people in the rectangles, while they are waiting for their turn to speak look directly into the camera and only very rarely show any sort of reaction to what other “people in rectangles” are saying. They might nod their heads slightly or maybe even smile or frown but mainly they are very still, as if they are trying hard NOT to draw our visual attention away from whoever “has the virtual floor or the camera focus.” Have you noticed in your own online meetings how that is almost impossible to do? It is hard work to remember to look into the camera rather than at the other faces on your computer screen and it is hard to remember to look I not the camera when you DO speak. The task of deciding how to time an effort to join in is also complicated again because it is hard to know where to look and how to look. If you are doing a lot of your work or studying in such online group spaces it is important to notice, even if it seems to be going well, how hard it can be on us to try to smoothly act like our virtual interactions are natural, normal and “like face-to-face interactions. Have a read through the article linked below for some things to think about that will help you notice and then cope better with the added stresses associated with our living in isolation and connecting virtually.

Source: Zoom Fatigue: Don’t Let Video Meetings Zap Your Energy, Suzanne Degges-White, Lifetime Connections, Psychology Today

Date: April 4, 2020

Photo Credit:  Concord90 from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/202004/zoom-fatigue-dont-let-video-meetings-zap-your-energy

The are a great number of things we are trying to (and not always successfully) adapt to in our new realities. Despite its past negative connotations sometimes “phoning it in” is exactly what we need to do.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are Zoom interactions different from face-to-face interactions?
  2. What are some of the ways that home environments are inhospitable to workplace activities?
  3. What are some of the challenges and trade-offs we should be aware of or prepared to make while isolated and/ or working from home?

References (Read Further):

Ellison, J. K. (2011, January). Ergonomics for telecommuters and other remote workers. In ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition. American Society of Safety Engineers. Link

Markman, K. M. (2009). “So What Shall We Talk About” Openings and Closings in Chat-Based Virtual Meetings. The Journal of Business Communication (1973), 46(1), 150-170. Link

Mittleman, D. D., Briggs, R. O., & Nunamaker, J. F. (2000). Best practices in facilitating virtual meetings: Some notes from initial experience. Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, 2(2), 5-14. Link

Crosbie, T., & Moore, J. (2004). Work–life balance and working from home. Social Policy and Society, 3(3), 223-233. Link

Chung, H., & Van der Lippe, T. (2018). Flexible working, work–life balance, and gender equality: Introduction. Social Indicators Research, 1-17. Link

 

Posted by & filed under Clinical Health Psychology, Health Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Motivation-Emotion, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: Did you see those news videos of interviews with young adults partying on or near beaches during spring break and expressing disdainful disregard to distancing and other Covid-19 mitigation efforts? If you did, how did the statement made in the interviews make you feel? Anger? Disgust? If so, you were actually experiencing symptoms of a flair-up in your Behavioral Immune System. We have a number of complex systems that are actually the result of evolutionary adaptation over many generations and to understand what they “automatically” do for us and why they do it (even if the resulting anxiety is perhaps seriously out of proportion with what our personal circumstances actually require) we need to think about the physical and social worlds in which those system evolved (what they were adapting to). Our physiological immune system is amazing but its functionality (when it kicks in) comes at serous costs in terms of energy demands and short-term drops in cognitive functionality. As the author of the linked states: Having health insurance is great until you have to use it. Due to the costs associated with the deployment of our physiological immune system we have evolved a behavioral immune system that helps us manage the likelihood that we will need to use our physiological immune system. Think about what our behavioral immune system might include (beyond disgust for pandemic beach partiers) and once you have a bit of a list have a look through the article linked below to see what evolutionary and Psychological science has to say.

Source: The fear of the coronavirus changing our psychology, David Robson, BBC Future

Date: April 1, 2020

Photo Credit:  Elliot Alderson from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200401-covid-19-how-fear-of-coronavirus-is-changing-our-psychology

Any surprises? Our reactions to the violations of social norms surprised me somewhat. I have been thinking and writing about our confusions and uncertainty in the face of shifts in social norms (e.g., the lost of physical social contacts like handshakes and social touches) but I had not focused on reactions that are predicted by our behavioral immune system functioning. Think about general reactions to toilet paper hoarding or to people that bought up sterilizing wipes and Lysol in the hopes of cashing in on the demand for such things by reselling at big markups.  We ARE a social species even if we do not pay nearly as much attention to that fact as we should. Notice the functioning of your social immune system, it is rather important!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does our social immune system consist of?
  2. What are some examples of social comments (memes, etc.) that reflect aspects of our social immune systems in action?
  3. What are some of the ways that our social immune systems are or are not matching well with local, provincial/state, or federal requests and regulations in relation to Covid-19?

References (Read Further):

Murray, D. R., & Schaller, M. (2012). Threat (s) and conformity deconstructed: Perceived threat of infectious disease and its implications for conformist attitudes and behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(2), 180-188. Link

Wu, B. P., & Chang, L. (2012). The social impact of pathogen threat: How disease salience influences conformity. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(1), 50-54. Link

Murray, D. R., Kerry, N., & Gervais, W. M. (2019). On disease and deontology: multiple tests of the influence of disease threat on moral vigilance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(1), 44-52. Link

Park, J. H., van Leeuwen, F., & Stephen, I. D. (2012). Homeliness is in the disgust sensitivity of the beholder: relatively unattractive faces appear especially unattractive to individuals higher in pathogen disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(5), 569-577. Link

Aarøe, L., Petersen, M. B., & Arceneaux, K. (2017). The behavioral immune system shapes political intuitions: Why and how individual differences in disgust sensitivity underlie opposition to immigration. American Political Science Review, 111(2), 277-294. Link

 

Posted by & filed under Child Development, Death and Dying, Families and Peers, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Stress, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: How do you talk to a child about …. (enter name of issue/event here). How would you answer that question if the blank were filled in with Covid-19? If you have taken a course or course section on child psychology (or even if not) think about what should go into an answer to that question. How would the answer vary depending on the age of the child? On the child’s life/family circumstances? How much should children be told about Covid-19 and in how much detail? Once you have your thoughts in order read through the article linked below from the Lancet a top-ranked medical journal.

Source: Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about COVID-19, Louise Dalton, Elizabeth Rapa, and Alan Stein, Child and Adolescent Health, The Lancet

Date: March 31, 2020

Photo Credit:  StockSnap from Pixabay 

Article Link: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30097-3/fulltext

So, where there any unexpected things in the article? A standard piece of advice in response to such questions is to only answer the (actual/specific) questions children ask and to make sure you DO answer them. Their questions will be tied to their developmental level and by focusing on what they are specifically asking you will be tailoring your answer in developmentally appropriate ways. Another basic is to talk about your own feeling a bit. If we withhold all emotion from our answers children may become MORE concerned as they can tell that we are anxious and if we do not acknowledge this they may worry about what they are not being told. Lastly, make note of what children are missing as a result of isolation (e.g., contact with friends and loved ones) and find ways to facilitate alternative contacts. It may be a whole new world for now, but our human concerns are just that – human and pretty basic.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might your discussion of Covid-19 with a child vary by the child’s age?
  2. What sorts of things are children of different ages likely to be concerned about?
  3. What are some things that children might be afraid to ask about or to talk about and what should we do about those things?

References (Read Further):

Dalton, L., Rapa, E., & Stein, A. (2020). Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about COVID-19. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. Link

Schonfeld, D. J. (1993). Talking with children about death. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 7(6), 269-274. Link

Sori, C. F., & Biank, N. M. (2006). Counseling children and families experiencing serious illness. Engaging children in family therapy: Creative approaches for integrating theory and research in clinical practice, 223-244. Link

Check out the references and links at the bottom of the page of the article linked earlier in this posting.

 

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Consciousness, Depression, Emerging Adulthood, Health and Prevention In Aging, Human Development, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: There has been much media discussion and a lot of individual reflection on how to endure the restrictions and losses of access, social contact, and even employment associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, we need to process our new current reality. On the other hand, many people are saying they are trying to limit their exposure to or are outright ignoring the mainstream media as part of their efforts to reduce stress and lower their anxiety levels. As I have written about in recent posts to this site (search Covid-19) Psychology has a lot to offer in the way of understanding, perspectives, and coping strategies as we adapt to and endure current realties. Though much less is said of this, our current circumstances can also provide us with opportunities for personal reflections, for focusing on wellbeing, and even for considering and starting to work towards new personal futures. What can you work on right now? You could spend some time thinking about and exploring your personal curiosities and interests, much of which can be done online. One of the most significant challenges to the development and implementation of a positive sense of personal identity, particularly for emerging adults today, are the levels of uncertainly and precarity in the world’s immediate and longer-term futures. Solutions to these challenges – positive pathways into the future — are not going to emerge out in the world and especially not in the world around us today. Where they ARE going to emerge is within individuals who are contemplating their futures. Seeking, nurturing, and building on your curiosities and interests will feed development of the sorts of inner purpose or compass necessary to help you find ways forward. Our current social circumstances can be seen to be making this longer term personal developmental reality clearer at the same time that it has provided us with an opportunity to start to work on it. How to do that? Well search Identity on this site for some suggestions. As well, if you are having difficulty thinking clearly due to anxiety then Psychology can help with that too. The link below will take you to the Coursera website and show you a course being offered for free by Steve Joordens a University of Toronto professor that, in just 10 hours, will provide you with some perspective on what drives our (VERY) basic and sometimes adaptive anxiety response. He then talks about how you can manage stressors and develop positive coping strategies for dealing with anxiety and avoiding depression. And, once you have all that mastered you can start working on the development of your identity and on building the sense of inner purpose that can serve as a life compass for before and after we get to go back out into the world.

Source: Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During Covid-19, Steve Joordens, Coursera, and the University of Toronto.

Date: April 4, 2020

Photo Credit:  Pintera Studio from Pixabay 

Article Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/manage-health-covid-19

I am going to leave the afterword on this post up to you. Psychology has a lot to offer you in the way of understanding and insights into your current reality but, taking advantage of these things is up to you. Stepping back from you understandably activated vigilance and anxiety can be difficult but doing so can put you into a place with a new perspective on the current world and on your future with it. Take a few purposeful steps towards planning and living your future with purpose.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the things you notice about your current thoughts and feelings that may be linked to your general levels of stress and anxiety?
  2. Much of anxiety involves rumination or thinking in circles about unknowns, uncertainties, and possible noxious futures. Are you doing any of that and if you are what can you do about it (rather than worry)?
  3. What sorts of things are you curious about or interested in (and DO NOT say Corvid-19)? What could you do to explore those curiosities and interests right now and over the coming weeks?

References (Read Further):

Canadian Psychological Association Covid-19 resource site:

https://cpa.ca/corona-virus/

American Psychological Association Covid-19 resource site: https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/pandemics

Life Design Suggestions (Mike Boyes – this

http://wileypsychologyupdates.ca/?s=Life+Design

Posted by & filed under Cultural Variation, Group Processes, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Language-Thought, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success.

Description: Almost everyone is doing much more online in recent weeks as a result of social distancing requests and requirements related to the Copvid-19 pandemic. If you are working from home or completing the current school. College or university term online it can be helpful to know a bit about what Psychological research can tell us about how workplace meeting go and about how parameters shift or can be optimized when meetings shift from face-to-face to online. Think about what sorts of variables you think might be important or operate differently in online as opposed to face-to-face meetings and once you have your hypotheses in order have a read through the article linked below, and perhaps pursue one or two of its embedded research links and see how your hypotheses, and your recent experiences, map onto the Psychological research discussed.

Source: 4 Psychological Findings to Know Before Your Next Online Meeting, Kelly Strain, Helping People Connect, About the Collaborative Exchange, PGi.com

Date: February 26, 2020

Photo Credit:  Tumisu from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/02/4-psychological-findings-to-know-before-your-next-online-meeting/ the entire blog site is relevant as well https://www.pgi.com/blog/

If you think about it, you will likely see that our adaptive standard for social interaction is face-to-face. This allows us to make use of many channels of information beyond just seeing the words other are producing. We can hear tone of voice and we can see facial expressions of emotion. We can see body language and we can track eye contact. We take all that information in often quite automatically and the result is that when we start to meeting others online for the first time the experience can be quite frustrating and disorienting. High quality communication in online settings requires planning and awareness of what is missing or harder to track. Connection quality is important, good audio, good real-time video and planning mechanisms to support turn taking and encourage general participation (it is NOT supposed to be like watching television). Managing local distractors like siblings, pets, children or distracting background noise is also important and something for which each participant must take responsibility. I suspect we will be seeing a huge spike in research and interest in online social interaction as a result of current circumstances with very useful results.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might an online conversation or meeting and an old-style face-to-face conversation or meeting differ?
  2. How might those differences impact the quality of online conversations or meetings?
  3. What tips or guidelines would you suggest groups consider before diving into their future meetings online in real-time?

References (Read Further):

Scott, P., Tomadaki, E., & Quick, K. (2007). The shape of online meetings. The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge, and Society, 3(4), 1-16. Link

Pongolini, M., Lundin, J., & Svensson, L. (2011, June). Global online meetings in virtual teams: from media choice to interaction negotiation. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (pp. 108-117). Link

Kropf, R. (2002). How shall we meet online? Choosing between videoconferencing and online meetings. Journal of Healthcare Information Management—Vol, 16(4), 69. Link

Brooks, C. F. (2010). Toward ‘hybridised’faculty development for the twenty‐first century: blending online communities of practice and face‐to‐face meetings in instructional and professional support programmes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 261-270. Link

Davis, K. (2012). Friendship 2.0: Adolescents’ experiences of belonging and self-disclosure online. Journal of adolescence, 35(6), 1527-1536. Link

Chen, J., Nairn, R., & Chi, E. (2011, May). Speak little and well: recommending conversations in online social streams. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 217-226). Link

 

Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, Health Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Physiology, Psychological Health, Sensation-Perception, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: OK, what is the point of staying two arms lengths (one bicycle length) away from each other in these days of Coivd-19? Well, so we do not pass the virus but in effect, so we do not touch, even via a few drops at a short distance. While we are self-isolating, we can stay connected via phone, virtual meeting systems or social media so all is well right? Well, sort of, but look at this a bit more closely. We distance so we do not touch. By not touching (aside from not passing coronavirus or other viruses) what else are we missing? In other words, how important is touch to human well-being? Very early research by Harry Harlow that involved separating feeding part of parenting in Macaque monkeys from the haptic (touch) parts showed that while feeding is important it was the contact, the touch, that most strongly drove early attachment security in infant Macaques. Videos of Harlow’s work are hard to watch because of how much is missing from the lives of his tiny barely mothered infant Macaques but what does Psychological research since Harlow have to tells us about the value and role of touch in human mental health and well-being, especially now that we are potentially getting a lot less of it than usual? Have a look through the linked article and, while doing so, think about your current touch quotient as compared to a couple of months ago. The differences might be important.

Source: The Psychology of Human Touch: Why Physically Connecting With Others Improves Well-Being, Steven Handel, The Emotion Machine.

Date: March 29, 2020

Photo Credit:  Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.theemotionmachine.com/the-psychology-of-human-touch-why-physically-connecting-with-others-improves-well-being/

So, are you now worried about your current touch quotient? The phrase, “look but don’t touch” is typically used when we want people to be careful when they are within touching distance of something fragile or precious. We have all, essentially, been told to do this a LOT more than we perhaps did even a few weeks ago in relation to other people and it is worth reflecting upon the consequences this may be having for us. It is not clear what the “work around” for this current enforced haptic shortfall might look like (search haptic gloves online for an odd possible future) but it helps to notice that we might need to figure one out if we are to stay healthy mentally and physically.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the many (non-offensive) ways that touch is used in our regular social interactions?
  2. What sorts of things, psychologically speaking, does touch signify for humans?
  3. What sorts of things might we safely do to address our current touch quotient shortfalls?

References (Read Further):

Hutmacher, F., & Kuhbandner, C. (2018). Long-term memory for haptically explored objects: fidelity, durability, incidental encoding, and cross-modal transfer. Psychological science, 29(12), 2031-2038. Link

Fairhurst, M. T., Travers, E., Hayward, V., & Deroy, O. (2018). Confidence is higher in touch than in vision in cases of perceptual ambiguity. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1-9. Link

Crucianelli, L., Metcalf, N. K., Fotopoulou, A. K., & Jenkinson, P. M. (2013). Bodily pleasure matters: velocity of touch modulates body ownership during the rubber hand illusion. Frontiers in psychology, 4, 703. Link

Goldstein, P., Weissman-Fogel, I., & Shamay-Tsoory, S. G. (2017). The role of touch in regulating inter-partner physiological coupling during empathy for pain. Scientific reports, 7(1), 3252. Link

Suomi, S. J., Van der Horst, F. C., & Van der Veer, R. (2008). Rigorous experiments on monkey love: An account of Harry F. Harlow’s role in the history of attachment theory. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 42(4), 354-369. Link

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Clinical Neuropsychology, Consciousness, General Psychology, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, The Self.

Description: The requests and demands for social distancing in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic are new and novel for almost everyone. In addition, the novelty of this experience and the serious uncertainty about how long it will last and what it will involve is adding to our anxiety and potentially eroding our wellbeing. While we wait for our immediate futures to come into better focus, it may be useful to see what Psychological research can tell us about the nature and extent of the impact of isolation and about things we might do to lessen the impact of our isolation on our mental and physical health and wellbeing. No need to try to form your own hypotheses before proceeding, simply read the article linked below and as you do so think about what the research it describes might suggest that could be of assistance to you and to other you care about. Consider this a Psychological prescription for positive reflection and action.

Source: What Coronavirus Isolation Could Do to Your Mind (and Body), Emma Grey Ellis, Science, Wired

Date: March 25, 2020

Photo Credit:  Alf-Marty from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-psychology/

A lot to think about, at a time when we may already feel a bit overwhelmed with all that is spinning around in our minds. The article linked above is one example of the sort of opportunities for focused thinking that could be of great assistance to us at times like this.  A large portion of problematic anxiety often involves tendencies to ruminate or to go around and around with possible futures, possible threats and possible negative outcomes. This tendency, unfortunately, increases when the possible paths forward into the future are unclear and changing. Focusing on our local realities and by thinking about ways in which we can connect socially with friends and loved ones using the wide array of online resources available to many of us serves the dual purpose of recharging our social contact needs and giving us something to do that is not ruminative – a research-supported double win. Psychological research will continue to provide insights into our shifted realties as well as providing us with ways of thinking about and problem solving in our current novel social realities. You need to do more research and the effort in and of itself will potentially be Psychologically beneficial.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is social isolation such a clearly negative things for humans?
  2. What does the author of the linked article mean by the line “Be kind to your local extrovert. They’re having a hard time.”?
  3. What sorts of things are you thinking you might try and work on in your own situation that could help address the potential impacts of isolation for you?

References (Read Further):

Singer, C. (2018). Health effects of social isolation and loneliness. Journal of Aging Life Care, 28(1), 4-8. Link

Rohde, N., D’Ambrosio, C., Tang, K. K., & Rao, P. (2016). Estimating the mental health effects of social isolation. Applied research in quality of life, 11(3), 853-869. Link

Shankar, A., McMunn, A., Demakakos, P., Hamer, M., & Steptoe, A. (2017). Social isolation and loneliness: Prospective associations with functional status in older adults. Health psychology, 36(2), 179. Link

Holt-Lunstad, J. (2017). The potential public health relevance of social isolation and loneliness: Prevalence, epidemiology, and risk factors. Public Policy & Aging Report, 27(4), 127-130. Link

Vega, G., & Brennan, L. (2000). Isolation and technology: The human disconnect. Journal of Organizational Change Management. Link

Baecker, R., Sellen, K., Crosskey, S., Boscart, V., & Barbosa Neves, B. (2014, October). Technology to reduce social isolation and loneliness. In Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility (pp. 27-34). Link

Posted by & filed under Cultural Variation, Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Motivation-Emotion, Persuasion, Research Methods, Social Influence, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: If you are enrolled at a college, university, school at almost any level or work somewhere you have probably not only heard of but are now regularly using Zoom. What is Zoom? Well it is a platform that makes it possible to set up online meetings for everything from a friend’s chat, to a business meeting, to Virtual Office Hours, to a class presentation to 3 or 400 students in an introductory psychology class. From a Psychological perspective why do you think it is that the downloading and use of Zoom and other online meeting apps have skyrocketed in recent days? Also, whether or not you are now taking classes that suddenly became Zoom classes last week what do you see as some the potential Psychological benefits and hazards or drawback associated with using such platforms as replacements for what we did before? What sorts of research should we consider doing and how might we design that research given that essentially everyone is being asked to social distance? Finally, how might we explore important questions like will distant socialization (like Zooming) be an appropriate replacement for now old school “real” social connections?

Source: We Live in Zoom Now, Taylor Lorenz, Erin Griffith and Mike Isaac, The New York Times.

Date: March 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  Matthew Henry

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/style/zoom-parties-coronavirus-memes.html

I honestly do not have any answers to the above questions and, given how quickly the social distancing measures hit I have not seen anything but the rawest speculation out there and no research to speak of on the topic. Worth some thought and definitely worth some research. I can think of a few universities and a few tech companies who might be interested in such research (and maybe in finding such research). Interesting times!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might an online class and an old style “in a room” class differ?
  2. How much will those differences mater and to whom?
  3. What sorts of topic or content areas might a Psychology Online Social Interaction include?

References (Read Further):

Ally, M. (2004). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. Theory and practice of online learning, 2, 15-44. http://stoa.usp.br/ewout/files/1073/6047/TerryAndersonEntireBook.pdf#page=27

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. https://repository.alt.ac.uk/629/1/US_DepEdu_Final_report_2009.pdf

Kropf, R. (2002). How shall we meet online? Choosing between videoconferencing and online meetings. Journal of Healthcare Information Management—Vol, 16(4), 69. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/32df/5d37bfe8ecd742c9539dc123816c313a2659.pdf

El Mansour, B., & Mupinga, D. M. (2007). Students’ positive and negative experiences in hybrid and online classes. College student journal, 41(1), 242. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0c44/b83c8ca86b055aa2bfa29c8d7e255ac6806a.pdf

Lashgari, K., Talkhabi, A., & Nazarpour, M. (2011). Comparison between online classes and traditional classes. Nature & Science, 9(6), 18-23. http://free-journal.umm.ac.id/files/file/04_5224ns0906_18_23.pdf

Wojciechowski, A., & Palmer, L. B. (2005). Individual student characteristics: Can any be predictors of success in online classes. Online journal of distance learning administration, 8(2), 13. Link