Psychology (Part II)

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“It’s often said that humans have five sense modalities ― vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. In truth, though, we have several more than this. To begin with, there’s the information that comes from receptors in the muscles, tendons, and joints and that informs us about the orientation of our body in space (proprioception) and our movements (kinesthesia). Related to these is the vestibular sense, which has receptors within a cavity in the inner ear and which plays a key role in our sense of balance. Yet another group consists of the skin senses. Aristotle believed that all of the senses from the skin could be subsumed under the broad category of touch, but we now know that there are at least four different skin receptors that give rise to the sensations of pressure, pain, warmth, and cold.” [Gleitman, Reisberg, & Gross]

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Synesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in another ― a ‘crossing of the senses’. Examples include associating numbers/letters with colors, associating sounds with colors, and associating sounds with tactile sensations.” [1]

My friend Nikolai once said, “Everyone experiences smell-taste synesthesia.”

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[2]

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“Blind people don’t see black ― they see the same as what you see out of your elbow.”i[2]

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A few titles I’ve come across in psychology literature have always stuck with me. There was one study about anxiety and excitement called, “Turning the Knots in Your Stomach into Bows.” [3] My “Research Methods in Social Psychology” textbook was subtitled, “Measuring the Weight of Smoke.” [4] And one section of my Psych 101 textbook was titled, “The Twin Masters: Pleasure & Pain.” [5]

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“The simplest theory of emotions, and perhaps the theory most representative of common sense, is that emotions are simply a class of feelings, differentiated from other classes such as sensations (and ambiances) by their experienced quality.” [6]

“The major categories of emotion are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust ― the last two of which, however, some psychologists consider too simple to be called emotions.” [7]

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Below to the left is James Russell’s circumplex model of emotion, and to the right is Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotion.

I’m not convinced that these models of emotion are ultimately especially accurate, but they’re somewhat insightful.

[Pannenkoek] “Regarding the circumplex model, while I don’t agree that it’s perfect, I admire that he took on the daunting task of trying to organize every emotion and made it work somehow. I was going to look for the emotion that’s both maximally pleasant and maximally deactivated, as if it were like a political compass, but it doesn’t work that way.”

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Dunning-Kruger Effect:  When we’re incompetent at something, we don’t realize that we’re incompetent, because we lack the skill to distinguish between competence and incompetence. In other words, the unskilled suffer from illusory superiority.” [8]

“Novices will often overestimate their knowledge and abilities, because they don’t even know how little they know, how much more there is to learn. The more you learn about something, the more you realize just how rich and complex and overwhelming and full of (as of yet) unanswered questions it really is.” [9]

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“A fixed-mindset is the belief that one’s attributes and abilities are inherently fixed and unchanging. A growth-mindset is the belief that one’s attributes and abilities can be developed and improved. A person can vary between these two mindsets across different areas.” [10] It’s always better to have a growth-mindset. In reality, though, most of us exhibit a fixed-mindset in many areas, even if we don’t like to admit it.

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The Four Stages of Competence

[11]

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

[12]

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Self-Actualization:. achieving one’s full potential” [13]

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Ikigai

[14]

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“The secret of happiness is to find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” [15]

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Citations

  1. Wikipedia’s Synesthesia article
  2. (source lost)
  3. J. P. Jamieson, W. B. Mendes, E. Blackstock, & T. Schmader
  4. Brett W. Pelham
  5. Gleitman, Reisberg, & Gross
  6. S.E.P.’s Emotion article
  7. Kevin E. Wilk & Todd R. Hooks
  8. David Dunning, Justin Kruger, & Wikipedia’s Dunning-Kruger Effect article
  9. Michael Stevens
  10. (source lost / various sources)
  11. tsbates.com/blog/four-stages-competence
  12. Abraham Maslow & Wikipedia’s Self-Actualization article
  13. (original source unknown)
  14. (original source unknown)
  15. Daniel Dennett
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