What happens if you ask a child to delay gratification? Take a look at this video…

 

 

 Joachim De Posada gives a very interesting interpretation of the marshmallow experiment. Could this be the exlpanation of success?

 

 

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 Research, no matter from which discipline, provides us with rich data to help us develop our understandings about the world we live in, the way we live, our own selves and so on. Humans are often described as natural scientists, that is, from the moment we are born we are curious and we yearn for knowledge and understanding.

 There are many theories about knowledge, as the philosophy of epistemology explores. Epistemology wonders: ‘how do we know what we know’ or perhaps even: ‘how do we know what we think we know?’ Some theories of knowledge, such as those from the natural sciences, assume that there is always a truth ‘out there’ to be discovered and as long as we have access to the appropriate tools we can discover it. Other theories, such as the theory of social constructionism, view the world as a collection of negotiated understandings created via culture and language; that there is no one real truth to be discoverd; we simply reach agreements about things we decide to name truths.

 In western society we are educated to particularly value scientific knowledge and to pursue objective facts through quantitative research. We are most often convinced by statistics and scientific fact. However, whilst enjoying the fruits of research and valuing academic endeavour, it is vital that, in the spirit of academic rigour, we always retain a critical stance towards our pursuit for knowledge.

 For example, in an analysis of American Psychological Association (APA) research journals between 2003 and 2007, it was found that 68% of psychological research participants were from the US and 96% were from Western industrialised countries, mainly North America, Europe, Australia, and Israel (Arnett, 2008). This means that 96% of psychological samples came from countries with only 12% of the world’s population. Arnett raises concern that “the result is an understanding of psychology that is incomplete and does not adequately represent humanity… the majority of the world’s population lives in conditions vastly different from the conditions of Americans [who are the vast majority of psychological research participants].”

 A philosophy of science that emphasises fundamental processes and does not give significant weight to cultural context would not find this state of affairs troublesome. However, I believe it does raise the question: how culturally valid is our research in Psychology? That is, are we taking enough care to ensure that we are realistic about the generalisability and validity of our research findings?

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 One of the most frequently asked questions about therapy is whether it is worth the expense?  Certainly beginning a course of therapy is a financial commitment and of course we want to know if it is likely to ‘pay off’.

 A study by Chris Boyce at the University of Warwick, England reported by the Bet Israel Deconess Medical Center, has found some interesting results. By examining data from thousands of people who had provided information about their mental well-being, it was found that the increase in happiness from a $1,329 course of therapy was so significant that it would take a pay raise of more than $41,542 to achieve an equal boost in well-being. This means that therapy could be perhaps as much as 32 times more cost-effective at improving well-being than receiving money. 

 Boyce explains that “often the importance of money for improving our well-being and bringing greater happiness is vastly over-valued in our societies. The benefits of having good mental health, on the other hand, are often not fully appreciated and people do not realize the powerful effect that psychological therapy, such as non-directive counseling, can have on improving our well-being.”

 

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 Welcome to my blog.

 There are few reasons I wanted to create this blog…

  1. To bring theory and research in psychology and the related fields into a more reader-friendly and lay-accessible format.
  2. To take non-psychological material from the media and give it a psychological perspective.
  3. To help the English-speaking community in Israel gain access to psychological resources.

 I will post a mix of articles, short comments and links to sites of interest and I welcome your comments and questions in return. Please note that comments can be made anonymously or under a pseudonym and email addresses are not shown on the site.

 If you would like to contact me directly click here. If you would like to be updated by e-mail when I post a new blog click here. For sharing options you can click on one of the icons below in each post.

 

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