Based on this entire course learning experience – In your opinion, what is the most important concept you learned about psychology and what would you most like to learn more about?
It is quite difficult to say which concept is the most important one I learned. The different conceptual psychological perspectives provided me with much new information. I had always thought that psychology was a science of a single holistic concept. I thought that it had always been obvious that behavior is the result of many of the things that the different perspectives claim are solely responsible. Learning that different (and dogmatically exclusive) perspectives exist was an eye-opener to me. It allowed me to see how irrational we, as humans, can be even when we think we are being completely rational. I was relieved to learn that the psychological community, as a whole, is gradually moving toward a holistic approach. In a way, they’re almost tipping their hats to the realization that they all have limited perspectives and must rely on each other to provide the rest of the picture. The entire concept of the psychology of the psychologists (though not explicitly discussed) was quite fun.
What I would like to learn more about what goes on in the brain, not the physical neurology, per se, although that does have an effect on the mental capabilities. I would like to learn more about how the emotional center of the brain interacts with the logical center, the pleasure center, and the pain center. I would also like to learn more about how stimulation of the pleasure and pain centers interacts with our emotional center to further affect our behavior. To take it even further, we have to take into account what stimulated which first…be it the environment, or another thought, or stimulation of the other centers. The interactions among these centers seem quite pivotal to our behavior.
Here’s a thought that I think jarred me the most: When you stated that the emotional center of the brain was required to make even the most simplistic of decisions, it made me realize that no one makes decisions solely upon logic and reason. Logic and reason will not steer us wrong; however, our emotions can. By simply not “liking” a conclusion, we can disregard it without a “second thought”, regardless of how true to reality the conclusion is. The further realization that we could be masking this with a Defense Mechanism takes the “jarring” to the next level. Frankly, this should scare the crap out of everyone, especially empiricists. If we deny the reality of a conclusion because “we don’t like it”, we are in danger of creating a fantasy world in our mind that does not really exist- we try to make others believe that it exists because we either want it to be true, or actually believe that it is true. I believe that this is one of the symptoms of (though, not exclusive to) narcissism, when the false conclusion being held or true conclusion being rejected is about us. Of course, conclusions about ourselves will affect our perspectives of the world (environment) around us (it can also go the other way). Either way, an incorrect conclusion of one will lead to an incorrect conclusion about the other, and as they always say, “Crap flows downhill.”
This whole idea should trigger the realization that we have to be very careful in our observations and our thinking. We have to be able to recognize when our thoughts and emotions might be leading us down the wrong path (psychodynamic perspective). We need to recognize that our observations are not complete in themselves (cognitive perspective). We need to recognize that people and the rest of the world can and do affect us (behavioral perspective). We need to recognize that nature even predisposes us to certain deleterious behaviors (evolutionary perspective). We need to ultimately accept, as true, the fact that our psychology practically dooms us to not recognize truth without working hard to weed out the crap (the cognitive-like "meta perspective"). The study of psychology, by its own findings, must be approached with humility, yet approached fervently to help guide others to truth.
Next week will be the concluding post in this series. I will analyze my own behavior with regards to how I reacted to the idea that I would have to take unexpected, extra classes.
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