Mass suggestion: A way to save the world? 

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Psychological research has had a tendency to study negative effects of behavior both on the individual and cultural level. But new research has started to focus more on the positive aspects of behavior. I like this shift, as I think it will change how we interact with the world. In one TED talk I watched, scientists were studying genetic superhumans. That is, people with genetic ‘flaws’ that has proven to give these people abilities normal people don’t have. By getting more knowledge about these ‘superhumans’ we are also a step closer to knowing which environmental, psychological and biological factors contribute to their genetic make-up.

Mass suggestion 

Humans in a big crowd have an inclination to behave the same way. It is difficult to resist the force of it. This is why people, who ordinarily are sensible, can do things that they regret afterwards . It is also the reason people who normally are harmless can become violent.  

There are thousand different ways we can be affected by mass suggestion, both in a negative and positive sense.

A mass-suggestion experiment

If I could do a study as a researcher, I would want to look at how positive mass-suggestion could affect us . Let’s for fun’s sake call it a social media experiment. If every person shared the research hypothesis I’m about to present with one person, it would be interesting to see what would happen next.

My hypothesis would be something like: Can we by mass-suggestion, make people around the world do the same thing on the same day?

For example I could propose that the 30th of september, every one of us tried to do one random act of kindness. What do you think would happen? Could it affect us all in a positive way?

The date could be set one year in advance to make sure that many get the message, but as information can spread like fire in the right circumstances maybe it would not be necessary to wait that long.

So, would somebody be interested in an experiment like that? What can each and all of us do by simply being kind towards others?

Why not try? We got nothing to lose.


More:

Mass suggestion ideas

Mass suggestion in society

Introduction

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I am a 29-year-old girl from Norway where I work as a psychologist. On my free time I love to read, travel and experience new things. I also like taking photos and creative activities like scrapbooking and decoupage. My personality? For those of you who know the BIG 5 personality test, I am high on 20130623-181833.jpgOpenness, Conscientiousness, middle on agreeable and on extroversion/introversion. It basically means that I`m a flexible person, work hard, usually don`t make a fuss and love to be with others, while also needing to be alone to think and calm down. I also want to add that I love the Italian language, my family, Haruki Murakami, good music and my friends. I am VERY emotional, but calm when I have to be. Earlier I had a tendency to put other`s needs first, believing that I wasn`t worthy of any attention myself. Luckily I have grown in heart and mind since then, and learnt that being there for others mean taking care of your own needs first.

This blog is a blend of my personal story (called narrative or the sound of..) topics related to psychology and just random things I find interesting. I work daily as a clinical psychologist, and most of my clients have been abused and neglected in heartbreaking ways. Many of my posts will cover subjects related to trauma and dissociation. I am quite open and honest in my posts, because I believe it might make us psychologist less mysterious.

Most of the psychologist I know are kind, intelligent people. Some with their own stories, but all with a genuine wish to help. In this blog I want to share what I know about overcoming challenges and following your dreams.

IMG_0377Since more and more people have started to read this blog, I unfortunately found it necessary to password protect some of my more personal posts. If you want to read them, feel free to contact me at forfreepsychology@gmail.com. I am also on twitter (@ninjafighter), instagram and Facebook. I also have two other blogs that are dedicated to psychology and the “Kindness project” that I started one year ago, You find them here: Free psychology and The kindness project.

In the last blog I post interviews with different people. I ask them questions about good things they do, and my hope is that their answers will inspire others to do be kind towards others. I have also invited guest bloggers to share their stories on “Free psychology”. They are brilliant writers, so feel to explore their story on this blog. I am always open to invite more bloggers who want to write, so feel free to contact me at any time if you`d like to write about topics relevant for the blog. 

I started my blog three years ago, and it has grown so fast I almost can`t believe it. I am really proud of it, and grateful because I have made new friends and found other blogs that I like.

I want to thank all my readers and offer some encouragement to everyone who suffers or have done so in the past. I have been in the deepest valleys myself, and felt emotional pain so intense that I was afraid of it.

I hope this blog might prove that the fight for a better life is worth it.

Thank you.

My last day at work

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Today is my last day at work. I can’t believe that it’s already been a year. In ten days I’m starting working with adults like I did before and I really look forward to it. All though I never found my calling working in the school system, I have still learnt a lot. And I have also been very happy with the people I’ve met here. They have always been nice and comfortable to be around. 

We had lunch together for the last time today. I brought two cakes I struggled with yesterday. To my surprise, my leader had made a cake also, and I almost started to cry. She held a speech where she said so many nice things about me, so I really feel like they are satisfied with the work I’ve done here. The rest of the day has been full of hugs and nice conversions, and this evening some of us will go out and have a drink to say properly goodbye. 

The richest and most beautiful county in the world 

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I promised one of my readers that I would include pictures from my country. I will  publish a post later with pictures of Bergen where I live now, but I want to give a taste of my wonderful county now with this tasty appetizer. Are you wondering where you should travel next? Well, maybe you will consider Norway. And if you need a guide, I would be happy to show you the best places to go. 

If you are interested you can also visit my Pinterest site for more inspiration 

Where I grew up (Jølster)

The sound of being colorblind 

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I have been listening to colorblind from glee cast a lot lately. Simply a beautiful song with lyrics that speaks to me. I am adding the video here and hope you like as much as me.

Being thankful 

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One way to feel better, is to practice thankfulness. I’ve either hear or read about collecting memories of what you are thankful for, and looking back at them at the end of the year. I don’t just want to practice what I preach when I tell clients what might be useful, so I have started my own thankful collection in January. Instead of using a jar or a box, I am working on a decoupaged book where is will put scraps of paper with that days events written on them. 


I can already feel how meaningful this is. By using just one minute every day to reflect on what’s good in my life, I feel grateful. It also boosts my mood, and I like to believe it also inspires me to do even more of what I love. I’ve also discovered a trend: What I write down and remember is when I’m with other people. I’ve written down things they have said and what we have done together. So for me, that’s what I’m most thankful for. 

There are myriads of ways to do this little excersise. Use your imagination and keep trying to record what is good in your life. There will always be something: For someone with depression it might be that they managed to take a walk. For traumatized individuals it might be a kind word, or the absence of flashbacks. For the anxious, it can be going into a supermarket with a thumping heart.

Real-life psychopaths actually have below-average intelligence

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Manipulative, dishonest and lacking in empathy – the traits that describe a psychopath aren’t particularly pleasant. But the idea that they are also fiendishly clever – as often portrayed in films and TV – isn’t quite true. In fact, in general, psychopaths seem to have below-average intelligence.

You have probably met a psychopath at some point in your life. They make up around 1 per cent of the population, says Brian Boutwell at St Louis University in Missouri. A person is classified as a psychopath if they achieve a certain score on a test of psychopathic traits, which include callousness, impulsiveness, aggression and a sense of grandiosity. “Not all psychopaths will break the law or hurt someone, but the odds of them doing so are higher,” says Boutwell.

Because many psychopaths are charming and manipulative, people have assumed they also have above-average intelligence, says Boutwell. Psychologists term this the “Hannibal Lecter myth”, referring to the fictional serial killer, cannibal and psychiatrist from the book and film The Silence of the Lambs.

But Boutwell wasn’t convinced. “Psychopaths are impulsive, have run-ins with the law and often get themselves hurt,” he says. “That led me to think they’re not overly intelligent.”

Not so smart

To investigate, Boutwell and his colleagues analysed the results of 187 published studies on intelligence and psychopathy. These papers included research on psychopaths in prison as well as those enjoying high-flying careers. They also included a range of measures of intelligence.

Overall, the team found no evidence that psychopaths were more intelligent than people who don’t have psychopathic traits. In fact, the relationship went the other way. The psychopaths, on average, scored significantly lower on intelligence tests. “I think the results will surprise a lot of people,” says Boutwell.

Matt DeLisi at Iowa State University hopes that the findings will help put the Hannibal Lecter myth to rest. “The character promulgated the notion that psychopaths were highly intelligent, and there were real offenders that embodied this, like Ted Bundy,” says DeLisi. “But I have interviewed thousands of offenders, some of which are very psychopathic, and I have found that the opposite is true.”

Towards a treatment

In his experience, DeLisi says psychopaths tend to do poorly at school. “They are very sensation-seeking,” he says. “They don’t like to sit and read books – they end up engaging in substance abuse.” In his own interviews, he has found psychopaths to be rather inarticulate, and to swear a lot. “They talk over you in a brusque, aggressive style,” he says.

Boutwell hopes that his research will add to a growing understanding of how psychopathy works, and whether we might be able to treat it. As things stand, psychopaths tend to be considered “untreatable”, and many of those who have been incarcerated end up reoffending. “Psychopathy isn’t amenable to psychotherapies,” says Boutwell. “As we better understand psychopathy, we should be better able to develop treatment and rehabilitation for psychopaths.”

Changing the way people perceive psychopaths might also affect the way they are treated by the criminal justice system. “If they have low intelligence, you could say that they are likely to offend again, or you could say that if they have cognitive difficulties, a lengthier prison sentence is not going to help them,” says Boutwell. “You could make the argument in either direction.”

Manchester by the sea

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I have just watched “Manchester by the sea”. Instead of writing what it`s about, I have included the trailer so you can see for yourself.

http://www.imdb.com/videoembed/vi967947801
The movie was good. It almost made me cry several time, and even the old man sitting next to me seemed like he was moved by the story. How can you not be? The main theme as I see it, is living with guilt. We all know how terrible guilt is. It can lead to havoc in our lives, because unprocessed, you can`t focus on what you have and give it your all. I will not spoil the movie by writing about the end, but I found the ending led to more questions than answers. When I think back that is one of the things that made the movie watchable: The characters were believable and complex. There was no good or bad, just a mix of different emotions in one messed-up man.

We all make mistakes. And in this movie, the small ones have huge consequences. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. There is such a thin line between happiness and devastation. The worst thing is that you never see it coming. And if you had a chance to do things differently, you might do something else that turns your life around. Being reminded of how fragile life is, luckily makes us think about what we do with our lives and appreciate what we have more. For some, movies like these might be a reminder of what was lost and never can come back. I must admit that I started to think about people I have lost, but that is a part of the process. You can not ignore reality. You can not ignore the fact that life can be horrible. But you can decide how you spend your next day. What you say to people. If you smile to a stranger. If you tell your brother that you are sorry for something you have done.

In Manchester by the sea, some things could not be undone. But he could move on. And he tried it as best as he could.

Protected: Traveling to McDonalds

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Mental wellness challenge

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Time for inspiration! I found this picture on  a site that you can find by clicking this link.
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Protected: The sound of clocks ticking

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Mindful walking

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Yesterday I had time between meetings, and chose to talk a walk. Norway has a plethora of places to escape to if you need some peace and quiet, so I went into the woods. A lot of people were out, since the sun was shining and that does not happen to often in Bergen.

I had no rush, an hour was at my disposal, so I could choose the pace I wanted. That suited me perfectly, because taking your time means being in the here and now. I saw the trees more clearly, and smell how they were preparing for spring. The road in front of me went in all directions, and it felt like a privilege that I could go wherever I wanted.

After a while I came to a small lake. It had a little sand beach, that was shining in the sun. Clear water licked the sand away, and the soothing movements brought my mind to rest. I also saw a lot of dogs, eager to smell and explore their surroundings. How free they were, how simple their lives seemed. I realized that sometimes it is that simple. You only need to look around you, take the world in. Even if my head sometimes tried to lure me into planning or worries, I would not let it. Instead I continued walking, one foot in front of the other. Feeling my feet touching the earth underneath.

Usually I am not very good at being in the present. I have thought that mindfulness is not for me. I am too busy and can`t be bothered to just sit and stare into the air. Even if I have discovered time and time again that doing just one thing at the time gives me pleasure and enjoyment, I so easily forget it. Because there is another email I must answer, another task I have to do before my next appointment.

When you think about it, there really is no rush. My roommate tells me that what you don`t manage to do, should not be a concern of mine. They are just small annoyances, and the world will not fall apart.

While I walked, letting the sun touch my face, I realized that he was right. The world is very much where it should be. And nothing that I have done or will do can change that. The world is always close to us, ready for us to explore it and enjoy.

 

Sotra-Øygarden