Currently viewing the tag: "psychology"

“As an emotion, disgust is designed as a protection,” said Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “When people feel disgusted, they tend to remove themselves from a situation. The instinct is to protect oneself. People become focused on ‘self’ and they’re less likely to think about other people. Small cheating starts to occur: If I’m disgusted and more focused on myself and I need to lie a little bit to gain a small advantage, I’ll do that. That’s the underlying mechanism.”

In turn, the researchers found that cleansing behaviors actually mitigate the self-serving effects of disgust. “If you can create conditions where people’s disgust is mitigated, you should not see this (unethical) effect,” Mittal said. “One way to mitigate disgust is to make people think about something clean. If you can make people think of cleaning products — for example, Kleenex or Windex — the emotion of disgust is mitigated, so the likelihood of cheating also goes away. People don’t know it, but these small emotions are constantly affecting them.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where your protagonist is so disgusted that he or she feels entitled to cheat.

Journaling Prompt: Does the way you feel affect  your integrity? Write about several examples.

Art Prompt: Disgust

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the phenomenon of cheating and what allows people to feel entitled to do it.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Meyer-van Voorthuijsen on Flickr

I don’t care that the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. My heartbeat and sweaty palms say otherwise. I don’t care if something has never happened to anyone anywhere in the span of Earth’s existence; I can still worry it will happen to me. Uncomfortable feelings take hold of me, get my brain’s undivided attention and tells it point blank: “Something has to be wrong or we wouldn’t feel this way.” –Panic and the Media: Unraveling the Worry By Sarah Newman, MA

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, poem, or haiku about being paralyzed by worry.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the biggest worry you have right now.

Art Prompt: Worry

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the devastation of worry and how they can stop worrying and enjoy life.

Photo Credit: Waithamai on Flickr

…research shows many people have homicidal thoughts or fantasies (as many as 79 percent of men and 66 percent of women in a 1993 survey of university students), DeLisi said. It becomes a problem when those thoughts progress to contemplating situations in which homicide is appropriate, forecasting consequences of murder or simulating the act of killing.

“For most people, the thoughts are short-lived and related to a dispute. They may think about killing someone instantaneously, but once they cool down they’re OK,” DeLisi said. “For correctional clients, it’s part of their emotional life. They have a lot of anger, hostility and psychopathology. They think people are out to get them and they’re very aggressive, so some of these severe offenders contemplate homicide.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who escalates from contemplation to execution of a homicide and the aftermath.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever fantasied about hurting someone? Write about that experience, however brief it may have been. What did you learn about yourself?

Art Prompt: Fantasies

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how dangerous fantasies can be and how to deal with them when they happen.

Photo Credit: Andy on Flickr

The captain remembered that even when he was a small boy — before he went to sea at age thirteen — he had carried his deep mood of melancholy within him like a cold secret. This melancholic nature had manifested itself in his pleasure at standing outside the village on a winter night watching the lamp lights fade, by finding small places in which to hide — claustrophobia had never been a problem for Francis Crozier — and by being so afraid of the dark, seeing it as the avatar of the death that had claimed his mother and grandmother in such a stealthy way, that he had perversely sought it out, hiding in the root cellar while other boys played in the sunlight. Crozier remembered that cellar — the grave chill of it, the smell of cold and mold, the darkness and inward-pressing which left one alone with dark thoughts. –The Terror by Dan Simmons

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story from the point of view of someone with melancholy.

Journaling Prompt: What is your general mood? Do you ever hide your true mood from people?

Art Prompt: Melancholy

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about mood disorders.

Photo Credit: Neil Moralee on Flickr
I glance around, staring at the framed pictures that fill this temporary home. Every place I have been, memorialized forever on glossy paper. Through the prism of a camera lens, I have seen the beauty of the world. Monuments created by humans stand in competition with art sculpted by nature. Each image serves as a reminder that a light shines through so many people, and yet, no matter how far I run, I cannot seem to escape my shadow. –Sejal Badani, Trail of Broken Wings

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the backstory of your protagonist, paying particular attention to his or her shadow self.

Journaling Prompt: What do you know about your shadow self? Write about it.

Art Prompt: My Shadow

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about their shadow and how they can accept the disowned parts of their personality.

Photo Credit: Travis Isaacs on Flickr

…researchers assessed each individual’s homelessness, inpatient mental-health treatment, psychological symptoms of mental illness, substance use and as victims or perpetrators of violence. The researchers evaluated all of these items as both indicators and outcomes — i.e., as both causes and effects.

“We found that all of these indicators mattered, but often in different ways,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper. “For example, drug use was a leading indicator of committing violence, while alcohol use was a leading indicator of being a victim of violence.”

However, the researchers also found that one particular category of psychological symptoms was also closely associated with violence: affective symptoms.

“By affect, we mean symptoms including anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor impulse control,” Desmarais says. “The more pronounced affective symptoms were, the more likely someone was to both commit violence and be a victim of violence…

…on average, the researchers found that one event in which a person was a victim of violence triggered seven other effects, such as psychological symptoms, homelessness and becoming perpetrators of violence. Those seven effects, on average, triggered an additional 39 additional effects.

“It’s a complex series of interactions that spirals over time, exacerbating substance use, mental-health problems and violent behavior,” Van Dorn says. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a protagonist with poor impulse control and high anxiety.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the state of your mental health and how it affects your behavior.

Art Prompt: Mental Illness and Violence

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell  your audience about the complicated relationship between mental illness and violence.

Photo Credit: Alvaro Tapia on Flickr

Chance is a funny thing and it is easily mistaken for portent. –Faitheist by Chris Stedman

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which the conflict arises from a character misreading a chance occurrence.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever made the mistake of taking a random event as a sign?

Art Prompt: Chance

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a random occurrence you thought was a sign.

Photo Credit: Mark Strozier on Flickr

She was beautiful when she was angry, and she was more than beautiful today. –Celtic Skies by Delaney Rhodes

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who is in love with an angry woman.

Journaling Prompt: How do you act when you get angry.

Art Prompt: My anger

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story about a time when you got angry and what you learned from that experience.

Photo Credit: Matthew Kenwrick on Flickr

Sexual harassment is a prevalent form of victimization that most antibullying programs ignore and teachers and school officials often fail to recognize, said bullying and youth violence expert Dorothy L. Espelage.

Espelage recently led a five-year study that examined links between bullying and sexual harassment among schoolchildren in Illinois. Nearly half — 43 percent — of middle school students surveyed for the study reported they had been the victims of verbal sexual harassment such as sexual comments, jokes or gestures during the prior year…

…While verbal harassment was more common than physical sexual harassment or sexual assault, 21 percent of students reported having been touched, grabbed or pinched in a sexual way, and 18 percent said peers had brushed up against them in a suggestive manner.


Students also reported being forced to kiss the perpetrators, having their private areas touched without consent and being “pantsed” — having their pants or shorts jerked down by someone else in public.

About 14 percent of the students in the study reported having been the target of sexual rumors, and 9 percent had been victimized with sexually explicit graffiti in school locker rooms or bathrooms.
Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a middle school child who is being sexually harassed.

Journaling Prompt: Journal about an embarrassing incident that happened when you were in middle school.

Art Prompt: Sexual harassment

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the problem with sexual harassment among teens.

Photo Credit: Judite B on Flickr

An old therapeutic axiom in Gestalt psychology, which also lies at the very heart of shamanism and contemplative mysticism worldwide, suggests that the healing of a wound must come from the blood of the wound itself. In other words, the healing of an emotional or psychospiritual wound is brought about precisely by entering into its terrain, not by avoiding it. –The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers by Frank MacEowen

Fiction Writing Prompt: What is your protagonist’s wound, and what will he or she have to do to enter it and heal it?

Journaling Prompt: Write about an emotional wound that you need to heal. What will you have to do to get the courage to enter into that healing?

Art Prompt: Entering the wound

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about shamanism or comtemplative mysticism and give them one thing that they can learn from those traditions.

Photo Credit: Janice L. on Flickr