In the US, one in six persons currently takes a psychotropic drug. In Switzerland, around one in ten regularly consume prescribed antidepressants. This population is a minority; all the others manage to live without, and so can you.
Modern psychopharmacology began in 1950 with the synthesis of chlorpromazine. Only from then on, the industry started to produce, patent, and market its invented/categorized types of diagnoses and related pills. Remember that before 1950 you most likely would have been considered mentally healthy.
The psyche is more than the bio-mechanical brain, and only you know what’s in your soul (again, which is not to be reduced to the physiology of the brain). Why should mood, way of thinking, and motivation be possible to be “repaired” by a so-called soul plumber (in German: Seelenklemptner) who is even not addressing the soul?! Shouldn’t psychological challenges be resolved psychologically (and psycho-spiritually) instead of chemically?!
You don’t have to compare yourself anymore with your friends who are all so super successful, happy, and beautiful (according to today’s conventional notion). If you don’t aspire for the hedonistic treadmill of advertised consumption-based happiness, you will realize that you might already be happier than you were made to believe.
That you feel down might not be a genetic defect to be corrected with a pill. Prenatal, childhood, and everyday stress (see also point 3) is the main risk for affective disorders, such as depression and even Schizophrenia. Stress also affects the immune system, which is central to the nervous system and the brain’s health. Have you ever thought of reducing stress in the first place?
Antidepressants are prescribed too quickly as remedies for possibly only temporary periods of low moods that are hastily diagnosed as clinical depressions without a holistic (biopsychosocial) understanding of the situation. Antidepressants are often hardly more effective than placebo, according to the latest studies (e.g., the 2019 study of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Kopenhagen). The world is how you see it, and the treatment that works is that which you believe in. Can you think that learnable mental strategies might be healthier and more effective than pills? I know that you get the medication subsidized by the health insurance company, while the learning to control your mind and to understand the soul has to be borne by yourself. Become more independent, invest in yourself instead of in pharmaceutical companies! Such self-efficacy is a huge reward in itself.
Almost more likely than a positive effect is unwanted considerable side effects that can irreversibly persist even after stopping taking the medication: These side effects include sexual dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and sleep disorders.
Being in control is highly satisfying and a key factor for one’s well-being. So, do you want medically enforced distancing from your emotions, and therefore allow the obscurification of your mental faculties that are disabling the possibility for self-reflection with a clear mind? Observing in an accepting and learning attitude how a lousy mood dissolves anyway might provide the lessons to unlearn learned helplessness and enable self-help and personal growth.
Are you against (synthetic) drugs? Then follow through. How about learning to “be high on your own supply?” There are plenty of possibilities like breathing techniques (the most fundamental function of the body that impacts all its workings), exercising, creative expression, nature exposure (e.g., cold water -> no pain, no gain! :-)), and especially thoughts and acts of kindness.
As with maintaining physical hygiene, it can be good in the mental world to dust off old and prevent new pollution from anxious thinking. Desires for security and the associated fear of loss darken the mind, which leads to defense, exclusion, hatred and aggression (incidentally, ignorance and avoidance are also passive forms of hostility). Have you ever tried a media diet and stopped listening to all the bad things that tempt you to take external measures (e.g. pills)? During a news detox, you will soon feel better and begin to take care of yourself instead of acquiring external effects that are supposed to do that for you.
The quest for pleasure and happiness has driven us into a lot of emptiness, addictions, and violence. However, the post-shallow-happiness era is all about meaning. What do we get from it? Joy. The fear of not getting enough leads to unhealthy opulence. The over-desire to be safe and comfortable leads people into risks and symptoms of dissatisfaction like, for example, obesity and depression. It’s worth to examine one’s desires awareness-intelligently. Some people seem to manage their exaggerated desires well. But often they have just replaced one unhealthy obsession with another, stronger one. This might lead to some application of one or two Awareness Intelligence modes, but not of all the three. That’s why often the deepest motivation of athletes can stem from anger, the motivation of politicians from greed for power, and the one of religious teachers from the desire to withdraw from inter-personalities. These awareness-unintelligent motivators often claim a high price; the more dominant their position, the more they block the soul’s longing for expanding into a harmonious application of all three tenets of Awareness Intelligence.
Anger, like many other negative emotions, is a reminder of limitations in a larger perception of life. It can be only replaced and kept away with certainty with a quality of mind that is unconditional love, timeless kindness, and purposeful service at the same time.
Desires don’t have to be something bad. Life itself is the soul’s aspiration to expand and to become aware. The crucial differentiation is between extrinsic and intrinsic desires. Extrinsic desires do seek pleasure from material and outwardly supplied motivators, while intrinsic desire is the realization of the inspiration from within. Intrinsic and extrinsic desires are both legitimate to a certain extent; one puts the priority on the sensing of the culturally understood world of form, while the other focuses the real, conscious universe of socio-temporal awareness.
When getting tired in the hedonic treadmill of life understood as depending on pleasing sensual pleasures and relieving bodily tensions, it is helpful to remember that real joy lies in virtue-seeking and virtue-realization.
Joy feels so superior to pleasure because it comes from meaning. Conscious life itself is the meaning. So, whenever our thinking and activities are congruent with the holy, whole, and wholesome nature of life, a sense of meaning arises. Pain, which is not to confuse with suffering, is often closely implicated with the experience of joy as well. For example, without patient waiting, there is no joyful arriving; without childbirth pain, there can be no joy of birth; without dying during a lifetime, there can be no personal growth.
Pain indeed is unavoidable, but it always comes with joy. Suffering, on the other hand, is the result of awareness-unintelligent conduct, such as attributing one’s destiny to the conditions of the outer, uncontrollable world instead of creating the world one wants to realize from the inside.
Joy ultimately comes from the trialogue of your awareness with your true self, your unconditional relationships, and the selfless contributions that connect you to humanity.
Fearful attachments to fleeting pleasures cause more fear, greed, hoarding, protective, and aggressive reactions. These are the reasons for our suffering. Fear incapacitates love, the love for ourselves, for our relationships, and for any fellow human being. The socio-temporal matrix of the intra-past, inter-present, and extra-future (see earlier chapters) helps you to remember what you really want and what brings you infinite and immeasurable joy in place of mere glimpses of pleasure that will never sustain any real sense of feeling safe, satisfied, and connected.
Problems from unharmonious awareness occur when the universal desire for learning is restrained. Critical thinking diminishes when human’s inherent compassion and desire for truth is constrained. Unsatisfied desires are substituted with harmful pleasures, which can be found all too easily. Not everything that momentarily feels good is good. Be it through sugar-laden food, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or other promises of consumable salvation; resourceful enterprises invest all they can in turning us into dependable customers. The streets are full of advertisements for that purpose. There is little visible promotion for helping people staying independent and self-sufficient human beings though. Nevertheless, more or less consciously, people feel that they are caught in dependability as their control over their behavior is slipping. Losing control then is compensated with aggression and violence against oneself and others. It is only a return to awareness-intelligent thought that allows self-control to be regained. Spirituality is an indispensable factor in most approaches to cure addictions and other out-of-control behavior. Understanding the use of Awareness Intelligence in that vein might help to overcome the stigma that still is attached to spirituality. Spirituality, in that sense, is nothing else than respecting all life’s nature that is in ourselves and anybody else. Life’s true nature that we all are is free of the self-imprisoning stress of lining up urgent desires and exclusive events instead of a timeless and inclusive state of being of importance.
Don’t fight your negative habits. Don’t fight symptoms. Hopelessness raises the value of chemical aids. Therefore, it’s hopelessness itself that needs to be addressed in the first place.
Hope comes from within, from your intra-past. Don’t rely on external approval and support for becoming who you really are and want to be. Use your Awareness Intelligence to freeing yourself from others’ opinions and potentially wrong beliefs about yourself that may hold you down. You are not dependent on single substances, behaviors, or even persons. Doctor’s don’t heal you, healing occurs within yourself. It’s life itself with all its rich variations, diverse types, and different ways that expect you to know and express what you really want. If life can create new bodies and souls, why shouldn’t it be able to heal the same?
You will find everything you need in life if you serve it by helping all humanity that comes and goes. Real healing may require you to quit some situations, be it jobs or relationships, anything that is unsupportive of your journey in line with holy thinking.
The assertive expression of your legitimate desires and quitting temporal states, spaces, and dependencies that are awareness-unintelligent is unavoidable to remove what is inhibiting the wholesome life in humantime that is available to you too.
Awareness Intelligence is a specific constellation of ‘awareness about awareness’ and represents the decoding of the socio-temporal structure of the human psyche. The tripartite lawfulness of the socio-temporal matrix of Awareness Intelligence provides for a mental reference system that empowers for spiritual exploration and practical application of meaning, enthusiasm and well-being, and bigger positive impacts for all.
Although ‘meaning’ isn’t reducible to a state-like single factor , the meaning of a concept (i.e., work) is related to how an individual does experience the significance of a situation that causes related inferential intentions to behave in a certain way . While for many people the primary meaning of work lies in the earning of money for making a living, work provides also for values such as achievement, honor, and social relationships that determine how central the purpose of work is as compared to other life aspects like leisure, family, and community .
Economist and psychologist approach to work
The economist approach to work assumes a transactional exchange of time and effort for money. Non-financial job values have gotten limited attention by economists when examining work motivation and productivity. However, like for example, academics who have highest job security without the need to outperform, and who study beyond working hours without monetary incentives, are motivated by pure contribution to a subject, intellectual stimulation, and the satisfaction from a deliberate exchange of knowledge. Similarly, entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom of autonomous decision-making regardless of ‘pain’ put into it in the form of time and effort. Top talents have been found to prefer to work for social organizations rather than just for the best paying one .
Albeit the financialized political economy  ignores many aspects of work, such as its creative and interpersonal (social) value , the examples show that through psychological satisfaction, work can be a source of meaning beyond merely earning an income .
Cultural features of work meaning
Work creates culture, culture creates work
Culture as a guiding set of material, mental, and spiritual values that are based on a group’s experiences over time, creates meaning on how to behave and work  and, at the same time, its meaning itself is produced by work. Consequently, work should be considered a meaning-making construct of and within culture respectively as the producer and product of people’s mindset simultaneously . A culture, therefore, can be only as rich and meaningful as the work that produces it is itself.
In most Western cultures, there is today a less clear boundary between school and work life. In Japanese society though, there exists still a distinct point in time (usually beginning of April every year) that is marking the end of one’s student identity through entering the working world on full-time basis, which means to becoming a ‘shakaijin,’ i.e., a person of society/workforce . Companies use recruitment practices and regular personal assessment throughout an adult’s work life to socialize . Age-based reward and promotion systems also support this ongoing socialization process . More recently, the traditional path to adulthood and ‘companyism’ has become more diverse, and the increasing number of part-time workers and contractors is shaping a changing understanding of the transition to adulthood and work life, one that takes place rather through action than through the acquisition of the ‘shakaijin’ status .
Masculine breadwinner identity
Company respectively work-led socialization reinforces gender roles. The breadwinning role is a priority in masculine identity. After the earthquake in 2011, men’s concern in Fukushima was less related to health than to the loss of their economic situation . As in Japanese patriarchal culture, the father role is still primarily related to company job-related work, childcare duties are culturally assigned to solely to the female role (i.e., mother or grandmother), which provides a widespread potential for work-family conflicts. Shared family and work-related commitments, however, begin to be seen as essential to improve self-worthiness and a sense of meaningfulness in life . Men who don’t exhibit a regular full-time job are more likely to marry late. Also, males with non-standard jobs have the lowest chance of getting children, an effect that is prevalent in Japan, but not in the US, for example .
Given the importance of work as a provider of status, identity, and meaning, it is understandable that Japanese commit with a lot of grit to it . Over time, Japan’s values align more closely with global trends insofar as there is a great emphasis on the economic function of work as well . Will that be enough meaning to engage the next generations of employees as well? Research is showing that lack of meaning at work is reducing work volition and work-related well-being significantly .
Economy of dignity and respect
A further question is how much a collectivist society may be able to reduce the dependency on others and society overall because over-dependency on the meaning of work risks to hamper dignity. The individual capacity to understand and position oneself as a fully recognized societal participant is vital to the notion of dignity as sourced from within. It is to hope that companies and society, not only in Japan, help to create dignity by de-stigmatizing of traditional personhood markers such as employment type and gender roles . It’s maybe such a shift from status-focus to an action-focus orientation that also explains the changing meaning of ‘sonkei’ (Japanese for respect). Formal respect (e.g., towards age-based status) is increasingly recognized as a moral duty rather than an emotion built on genuine love and admiration .
Benefits from meaningful work
The benefit of employees perceiving their work as meaningful come as experiences of greater happiness, job satisfaction, team spirit, and commitment (; ), thus reducing turnover rates and long-term sickness absences. This is because of the positive emotional bondage to the workplace that is an end in itself; a characteristic also called intrinsic motivation . A greater sense of meaning in one’s work can be protective of burnout . Eudaimonia is a term describing the sort of well-being that comes from living an engaging, meaningful, and fulfilling life . Such a spirit at the workplace can be fostered by letting employees feel they contribute to something more significant in connection to a common connection and purpose .
Performance and physical health
Work meaning is also closely linked to better outcomes, such as increased income, quality of work, and job satisfaction . Finally, a sense of purpose and sense of socially embedded growth in and from work (i.e., eudaimonic, meaning-based well-being versus hedonic, pleasure-based job-satisfaction ) was found to be associated with positive health outcomes, for example, by the means of supporting one’s physical resistance against adversities like inflammation or viral infection . The Japanese type of stress-death, the so-called ‘karoushi’ (death from overwork) cannot be seen as a physiological phenomenon only. Rather death is caused by a vicious cycle of depressive feelings, and states of helplessness and unescapable despair combined with overwork .
Fostering meaning at work
A culture of mentorship and nostalgia
For a long time, job satisfaction research has been focused on an organizational perspective without sufficiently considering the role of the job on family, the standard of living, personal development, and on a worker’s larger worldview . It is crucial to understand better situational contexts in which meaning ensues. Researchers found that the highest levels of meaning arise during spiritual practices and work hours, especially when performing social job components such as talking to people. As a general pattern, meaning occurs most during states of increased awareness . An organizational listening climate may facilitate such an awareness , and acting as a self-reflective mentor might be a useful avenue of experiencing meaning at work . Indeed, studies among nursing practices from different countries (e.g., Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, and Korea) confirm that leaders and a culture of mentorship are important for fostering meaning of work for both mentors and the mentees . Also, the induction of nostalgia (i.e., remembering sentimental events from the past) can be used to meet employees longing for wistful affection to the past and may increase an employee’s perception of the meaningfulness of his/her organizational life and therefore the attachment to it .
The need for humanizing the economy
The hope that unfulfilling, unsatisfying, and even health and life-threatening mental stress at work will improve may be overshadowed by the continuing centrality of profit margins and efficiency in corporations. Neo-liberal development in Japan has shaken the traditions of secure long-term employment and a state responsible for citizens welfare. While the need for meaning at the workplace implies rather a humanization of the economy and society, capitalist marketization of everything is continuing. Corporate managers continue to exploit deregulated labor and capital and maintain insecurity and growing competition among workers. . While rhetoric is sometimes trying to convince otherwise, understandably in the light of how grim the reality reveals, capitalism’s ultimate sense is about capital rather than humanity. In case of conflict, business goals come before anything else. Regardless of how meaningful employees perceive their job, no CEO is considered unsuccessful when driving profits within legal constraints and without caring especially about humanistically meaningful jobs. It’s, therefore, as an example, a non-surprising and common observation that such managers only after their retirement turn to a more dedicated anthropological role of contributing to society.
Meaning determines moral and ethical intentions and behavior
It seems that people need to find answers from within because the treadmill of the pursuit of consumption, pleasure, and economic success from work won’t fulfill the potential of greater meaning at work in many cases, regardless of how comfortable or tough the circumstances. It is each and everyone’s responsibility to fill the void of meaning through their sacred awareness, philosophy, and artful approach to put it into practice. And it is critical that we help others to do so too. The meaning of work should be considered simultaneously from an individual, organizational, and societal perspective, considering its psychological function for everyone. Meaning is the basis on which intentions ensue and according actions follow . Consequently, claiming peaceful fulfillment in one’s work is an essential part of and prerequisite for moral and ethical behavior towards oneself and others alike.
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Whether in a few or many single sessions picked according to your interest, or be it by attending the whole certificate courses, you will learn, reflect upon, discuss and start to apply:
How to improve individual well-being, organizational performance, and social contribution for your private life and professional career
How to develop a personal (self-) leadership that combines multi-disciplinary, inter-generational, and cross-cultural knowledge better
The goals of the unique approach fostered in these meetups include lectures and discussions/group works that are intended to spark critical thinking, stimulate new ideas, and motivate for self-improvement. You’ll be inspired, encouraged, and enabled to lead your way for deeper experiences and bigger impacts.
October 10, 2018 – November 14, 2018 ‘The Psychology of Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset’ Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 19:00 – #01 1/6 The History and Philosophy of Learning (for Life) Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 19:00 – #02 2/6 Behaviorism, and Animal and Human Learning Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 19:00 – #03 3/6 Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 19:00 – #04 4/6 Brain and Memory in Learning Wednesday, November 7, 2018, 19:00 – #05 5/6 Learning and Motivation Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 19:00 – #06 6/6 Learner Profiles and Strategies
November 21, 2018 – January 16, 2019 ‘Inspiring Others Across Cultures and (Self-)Leadership Psychology’ Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – #07 1/6 Leadership Philosophy Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – #08 2/6 Leaders and Followers & Leadership Strategies Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – #09 3/6 Personality and Leadership Styles Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – #10 4/6 Inspirational Leaders Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – #11 5/6 Leadership, (Cultural) Threats, and Change Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – #12 6/6 Leadership, Power, and Influence
January 23, 2018 – February 27, 2019 ‘Developing Human Capital, Cultural Agility, and Global Talent Management’ Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – #13 1/6 The Psychology of Talent, Competencies, and Appraisal Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – #14 2/6 Developing Human Capital: Success in Learning Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – #15 3/6 Mobility and Cultural Agility Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – #16 4/6 Global Mindset Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – #17 5/6 Global Talent Management Strategies Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – #18 6/6 Developing Cultural Empathy
Approach All the courses and sessions are presented in easy English and supported by Japanese keyword slides. The international and Japanese participants both are encouraged and helped in interacting in English as a second language. The sessions are interactive, engaging, and provide a safe environment to learn. The goal is to inspire you for increased self-efficacy, wherever the starting point. You will leave the discussion energized by meaningful knowledge and friendly contacts. Welcome and let’s learn for life!
Tickets Tickets are available for the six sessions, each 1.5 hours on Tuesday evening from 19:30 – 21:00 (door opening at 19:00) Prices include drinks and snacks – Single session: YPY 1,800 per ticket (paid at the entrance JPY 2,000) – The whole course of 6 sessions: JPY 9,000 (paid before the first session)
Certification 3 Certificates* in Personal Development for Individual Well-Being, Organizational Performance, and the Common Good across Cultures. – Certificate 1: Learning Master – Certificate 2: Master in Self-Leadership – Certificate 3: Global Mindset Mastery
If you attend each of the three certificate courses, the combined certificate is awarded: – Certificate of “Master in Learning, Self-Leadership, and Global Mindset”
The advantage of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the interpretation of language
Overcoming barriers beyond the language barrier
Language barrier in health care
A lot of literature seems to focus the challenges of language barriers in the health sector, as, for example, studies that identify language barrier as a significant threat to care quality in hospitals . The adverse effects are related to the various health service processes, such as understanding, quality, and patient and provider satisfaction . In multinational corporations (MNC), non-native speakers were found to tend to communicative withdrawal that is negatively influencing content and relationships . Social isolation subsequently can lead to reinforcing the language and culture boundaries .
The advantage of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
The advantages from bilingualism are manifold; being an asset for (academic) career is one of them . Mobility and employability are further evidenced examples that can be achieved, e.g., by content and language integrated learning (CLIL) to foster not only language, but also communication and interaction skills combined with intercultural awareness . Indeed, it seems that hands-on activities and collaborative communication role-playing , or patient-centeredness, to use a health example again , even if supported by the native foreign language, are effective in overcoming language barriers . Allowing silence to support communication processing should not be forgotten too . Importantly, all begins with the proper identification of the existence of a language barrier at all . An innovative medical dictionary and tracking application is facilitating the imperative language-related data collection of foreign clients .
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the interpretation of language
For the future it is predicted that so-called SATS (Synchronous Automated Translation Systems) or even reality augmenting wearables will take out the hassle of today’s still cumbersome translation applications such as Google . Regarding the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate translation, women displayed a lower rate of technology use compared to their male colleagues . For technology to be adopted by foreign-speaking users, aids and guides should be developed  and diverse learning backgrounds supported. Barriers can also arise due to cultural differences in learning and conceptualization styles. Also, especially in rural context, it should be evaluated whether ICT even contributes to increased awareness of separation with the rest of the world . The presence of organizational codes and trade zones are examples of sub-cultures that can additionally make the interpretation of communication difficult .
Overcoming barriers beyond the language barrier
The progress in removing language barriers is for sure a great vision. However, in communication-intensive fields like social sciences (as compared to, e.g., technical engineering) , success will require more innovation. From the money-making industries relying on translation and interpretation services, some hesitance in adopting new business models might be expected. Finally, the maintenance of national borders may also use language to protect delimitations .
 Van Rosse, F., de Bruijne, M., Suurmond, J., Essink-Bot, M., & Wagner, C. (2016). Language barriers and patient safety risks in hospital care. A mixed methods study. International Journal Of Nursing Studies, 5445-53. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2015.03.012
 Schwei, R. J., Del Pozo, S., Agger-Gupta, N., Alvarado-Little, W., Bagchi, A., Chen, A. H., & … Jacobs, E. A. (2016). Changes in research on language barriers in health care since 2003: A cross-sectional review study. International Journal Of Nursing Studies, 5436-44. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2015.03.001
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Psychologists in the past have conceptualized talent as an IQ-like cognitive ability , and practice focused on the view of human achievements to be limited by innate characteristics . Human cognitive processing is indeed universally depending on sensory abilities, often biased and unaware of its own mechanisms, and limited to a relatively bounded range of working memory capacity . However, these innate factors are not directly encoding skills, but the development of human expertise rather relies on whether or not and how experience and training are happening .
Ericsson, Prietula, and Cokely (2007)  describe “deliberate practice” , which is the direction of efforts towards learning something that can’t be done well yet as compared to an already familiar task. Deliberate thinking develops the concentration and accepting consideration of even painful feedback (people tend to over-estimate their skills and performance) to practice new things that are, therefore, more challenging to approach . Learning outside of one’s comfort zone has been found favorable for reaping the benefits from brain plasticity allowing for ongoing cognitive health even in older age .
The development of cognitive abilities needs practice because it is, for example, relying on stored contextual information for improved anticipation and decision-making . The so-called psychological support skills are more domain-general, can respectively have to be learned too though, improve motivation, attention, and anxiety, and comprise of mental abilities such as imagery, self-talk, relaxation skills, goals setting, and organizing . Also, spatial abilities have been found supportive of developing expertise in science, technology, and engineering education .
Self-efficacy and motivation
Performance achievement requires self-confidence in one’s ability to learn. For any learning, it is vital to develop this life-skill of self-efficacy . Self-efficacy helps develop a stronger sense of hope and purpose of life . The attribution of failure to controllable factors (such as one’s development of abilities) causes individuals to think more positively, being more motivated and perseverant, and perform more successfully . While available to all, proactive personalities might access self-efficacy more easily though . The so-called Deep Layer Learning Motivation (i.e., the interest in internal motivation, as opposed to external motivators) is positively related to learning performance and self-efficacy . All this taken together, the possibility of creating an upward spiral for developing human capital exists through the mutually reinforcing effects of positive self-belief, intrinsic motivation, and successful learning achievement.
Creating a supportive environment
How a student, including the gifted , perceives the supportiveness of his/her learning environment, e.g., colleagues, family, and teachers, influences the motivation for self-directed engagement . This demonstrates the importance of a practice-friendly design of learning environments . The Triarchic Model of Grit has been evaluated a valid and reliable tool for measuring talent development self-efﬁcacy and has recently added the dimension of ‘adaptability to situations’ to the already established dimensions of ‘perseverance of effort’ and ‘consistency of interests’ . This could be especially useful to assess a conception of talent (respectively ability) that is seen as a more multi-dimensional function of person-environment interactions ensuring that educational policies and programs are consequently designed and promoted as opportunities for all .
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 Barab, S. A., & Plucker, J. A. (2002). Smart people or smart contexts? Cognition, ability, and talent development in an age of situated approaches to knowing and learning. Educational Psychologist, 37(3), 165-182. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3703_3
Summary. This article describes some metacognitive strategies to learner profiles and then evaluates those strategies for individuals of different ages with intellectual and learning disabilities. In order to do so, different variables that effect those with intellectual and learning disabilities are identified. Social and cultural implications, as well as life span stages and interpersonal communication are discussed.
Learned helplessness and some psychological disorders
Dogs who experienced repeatedly unavoidable electro shocks learned that they have no control over escaping from such painful events , and henceforth developed a cognitive deficit in the form of generalizing the helplessness expectation to other situations . This phenomenon is also considered reduced incentive motivation . Mental patterns of learned helplessness (LH) resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which associate with depression . LH is mentioned as the animal correspondent of depression . Indeed, LH was found to be a primary cause of both PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) . Depression includes the symptoms of feeling helplessness, but it is not its (sole) source. Non-depressed people can learn helplessness as well. Interestingly, ‘normal’ people may over-optimistically assess their level of control and therefore less likely notice uncontrollability as more realistically reasoning individuals with depressive tendencies do .
For what could appear as inappropriate passivity in refugees who are not seeking help and not filing timely registration from the new government, for example, can be explained by LH theory. Survivors of traumatic persecution have learned that they cannot expect help from their violent or passive government, an uncontrollable fact that caused the learning of helplessness that now is applied to the new country’s government as well . LH is characterized by attributions that are more personalized, constant, and of global nature and is directly associated with more severe PTSD and MDD symptoms. The relative importance of a situation to a person’s identity is further mediating this relationship . This way, LH explains why a persecuted refugee may not display the knowledge of pro-actively managing the required legal administration even in a new context that would, in contrast to the former learned one, offering help to do so .
Related theories and hope
Towards the end of the last century, the finding that hopelessness can lead to depression caused researchers like Seligman to re-focus from helplessness to hopelessness and finally to a hope-promoting view that was intended to prevent helplessness and related pathologies of hopelessness depression . For individuals who assume a performance-oriented motivation, prompts of hope and self-esteem are important to let them believe in their ability and become actively engaged, e.g., in learning and other challenging tasks. In contrast, according to goal achievement theory, subjects with a mastery-(learning-)orientation behave actively regardless of their degree of self-confidence. . Models of regulation posit that learners self-regulate (i.e., manage, monitor, and motivate) their resources either towards process or achievement goals . However pronounced and efficient these strategies may be though; the effects of hope finally beat any deficits in self-regulation .
A more positive outlook on relationships reduced the detrimental correlation between PTSD and dysfunctional goal orientation such as performance-avoidance. While mastery development is achieved through social comparison, performance-avoiding students see peer comparison as a threat. Therefore, motivation to get help and to learn can be increased by the adoption of a social-cognitive framework that is supportive of a positive relational outlook fostering help-seeking experiences .
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The traditional self-esteem paradigm does not take into account sufficiently the idea of bottom-up causality from state self-esteem (e.g., contextual academic achievement, social status, and appearance) to trait self-esteem (i.e., global self-esteem; e.g., a relatively stable personality characteristic, such as narcissism). This is problematic as it cannot explain, and is contradicted by, many studies showing that development throughout the lifespan is influenced by state self-esteem and self-experiences.
Summary. The Inuit communities in the Alaskan regions of Northern Canada suffer from colonialization issues, such as corrosion of collectivistic values of family relations. Inuit youth’s well-being is depending on their cultural environment. Mental health problems, substance misuse, and high suicide rates are significant concerns. Resilience as a strength based approach to adapt to adversity is sought to be better understood to design culturally sensitive and therefore effective interventions. A newly developed psychometric instrument, based on the Big Five, could help to further optimize the targeting of Inuit youth according to their differences in related individual traits tendencies.
Inuit Cultural Context and Adverse Situations
If it were known what individual differences in personality influence personal coping behavior, interventions could be directed towards those likely to be unable to handle stressful situations effectively (Waaktaar & Torgersen, 2010). Confronted with detrimental effects from colonialization and the western-style culturally insensitive approaches to deal with (Morris & Crooks, 2015), Canada’s Aboriginal Inuit population is suffering from adverse social, cultural, and economic developments (Ferrazzi & Krupa, 2016). Most harm is caused by the corrosion of collectivistic values of family relationships as they continue to define the cultural environment necessary for Inuit’s well-being (Kral, Salusky, Inuksuk, Angutimarik, & Tulugardjuk, 2014). The Inuit youth suicide rate is up to ten times higher than that of Canada overall, what the Inuit ascribe to the destruction of their native culture (Kral et al., 2014). Whereas the direct link between colonialization and suicide rates is disputed, mood disorders and substance misuse (e.g., because of family disruption [Dell et al., 2011]) was more clearly identified as one of the multiple causes for suicide (Chachamovich et al., 2013).
Enculturation is the way a person feels in accord with the spirit and culture of its community (Winterowd, Montgomery, Stumblingbear, Harless, & Hicks, 2008). It provides for the indigenous resiliency factors of spirituality and kinship (Montgomery-Andersen, & Borup, 2012) that are found to be preventive of the increased mental health issues such as low self-esteem and depression in Inuit youth (Snowshoe, Crooks, Tremblay, Craig, & Hinson, 2015). According to Kelly, Fitzgerald, and Dooley (2017), “resilience is a process reﬂecting positive adaptation in the face of adversity” (p. 1). The Inuit notion of resilience grounds on a wealth of cultural traditions, language, and engagement that have resisted all difficulties (Kirmayer, Dandeneau, Marshall, Phillips, & Williamson, 2011).
Big Five / Five-Factor Model (FFM) of Personality Traits
While family and environment contribute to resiliency too (Kelly et al., 2017), individual differences as predictors of future outcomes are sought to be assessed. A suitably precise psychometric instrument should, at the same time, allow the integration of a broad range of criteria that are potentially important for the use in long-term community development (Morizot, 2014). Supportive research evidence concentrates on a five-factor model (FFM) (Howell, & Zelenski, 2017) consisting of five mostly independent personality trait dimensions, i.e., extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness to experience (McCrea & Costa, 1987). Importantly, both individualist (such as the non-Aboriginal Canadian population) and collectivist (i.e., the Inuit) cultures reveal, albeit with different scores, the Big Five traits (Reese et al., 2014). The Big Five construct could even be linked to neurobiological explanations (Rojas & Widiger, 2014). The psycholexical grouping rationale of the FFM has been confirmed by theories of personality psychology (Strus, Cieciuch, & Rowinski, 2014), e.g., by demonstrating the validity of personality trait scores on isolated real-life outcomes (Woods & Hampson, 2005). The Big Five was found to be able to depict the concept of resiliency as a personality aspect as accurately as specific resiliency measurement tools (Waaktaar & Torgersen, 2010). Lazaridou and Beka (2015) report that a resilient personality is characterized by high scores on all Big Five dimensions, given neuroticism is reverse-coded.
Development of an Enhanced Individual Differences Measure
Short Big Five measures do somewhat redundantly focus imagination and abstract thinking and are not probing for other types of openness-facets such as ‘openness to cultural diversity’ (Morizot, 2014) as it is expected to be especially important also for the Inuit changing cultural and social context. Similarly, the five personality trait dimensions should be added further items that are expected to contribute to increased conceptual breadth (generally a weakness of short-form measures [Morizot, 2014]). For example, resilience is expected to include abilities to respond to (adverse) environment factors (Waaktaar & Torgersen, 2010). Emotion regulation is an expected aspect of Inuit youth resilience too (Shaw, 2016) and can be included in the ‘extraversion’ dimension, together with sensation seeking that is a possible facet indicative of substance abuse risk (Morizot, 2014).
Chachamovich, E., Haggarty, J., Cargo, M., Hicks, J., Kirmayer, L., & Turecki, G. (2013). A psychological autopsy study of suicide among Inuit in Nunavut: methodological and ethical considerations, feasibility and acceptability. International Journal Of Circumpolar Health, 72
Dell, C. A., Seguin, M., Hopkins, C., Tempier, R., Mehl-Madrona, L., Dell, D., & … Mosier, K. (2011). From Benzos to Berries: Treatment Offered at an Aboriginal Youth Solvent Abuse Treatment Centre Relays the Importance of Culture. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, 56(2), 75-83.
Ferrazzi, P., & Krupa, T. (2016). ‘Symptoms of something all around us’: Mental health, Inuit culture, and criminal justice in Arctic communities in Nunavut, Canada. Social Science & Medicine, 165159-167. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.07.033
Howell, G. T., & Zelenski, J. M. (2017). Personality self-concept affects processing of trait adjectives in the self-reference memory paradigm. Journal of Research in Personality, 66, 1-13.
Kelly, Y., Fitzgerald, A., & Dooley, B. (2017). Validation of the Resilience Scale for Adolescents (READ) in Ireland: a multi-group analysis. International Journal Of Methods In Psychiatric Research, 26(2), n/a. doi:10.1002/mpr.1506
Kirmayer, L. J., Dandeneau, S., Marshall, E., Phillips, M. K., & Williamson, K. J. (2011). Rethinking Resilience From Indigenous Perspectives. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, 56(2), 84-91.
Kral, M. J., Salusky, I., Inuksuk, P., Angutimarik, L., & Tulugardjuk, N. (2014). Tunngajuq: Stress and resilience among Inuit youth in Nunavut, Canada. Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(5), 673. doi:10.1177/1363461514533001
Lazaridou, A., & Beka, A. (2015). Personality and resilience characteristics of Greek primary school principals. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 43(5), 772-791. doi:10.1177/1741143214535746
McCrea, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81–90.
Montgomery-Andersen, R., & Borup, I. (2012). Family support and the child as health promoting agent in the Arctic – “the Inuit way”. Rural And Remote Health, 12(2),
Morizot, J. (2014). Construct Validity of Adolescents’ Self-Reported Big Five Personality Traits: Importance of Conceptual Breadth and Initial Validation of a Short Measure. Assessment, 21(5), 580-606. doi:10.1177/1073191114524015
Morris, M., & Crooks, C. (2015). Structural and Cultural Factors in Suicide Prevention: The Contrast between Mainstream and Inuit Approaches to Understanding and Preventing Suicide. Journal Of Social Work Practice, 29(3), 321. doi:10.1080/02650533.2015.1050655
Reese, E., Chen, Y., McAnally, H. M., Myftari, E., Neha, T., Wang, Q., & Jack, F. (2014). Narratives and traits in personality development among New Zealand Māori, Chinese, and European adolescents. Journal Of Adolescence, 37(5), 727-737. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.02.005
Rojas, S. L., & Widiger, T. A. (2014). Convergent and discriminant validity of the Five Factor Form. Assessment, 21, 143-157.
Shaw, P. s. (2016). Commentary: Mapping the young, resilient brain -reflections on Burt et al. (2016). Journal Of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 57(12), 1465-1466.
Snowshoe, A., Crooks, C. V., Tremblay, P. F., Craig, W. M., & Hinson, R. E. (2015). Development of a Cultural Connectedness Scale for First Nations youth. Psychological Assessment, 27(1), 249-259. doi:10.1037/a0037867
Strus, W., Cieciuch, J., & Rowinski, T. (2014). The Circumplex of Personality Metatraits: A Synthesizing Model of Personality Based on the Big Five. Review Of General Psychology, 18(4), 273-286.
Waaktaar, T., & Torgersen, S. (2010). How resilient are resilience scales? The Big Five scales outperform resilience scales in predicting adjustment in adolescents. Scandinavian Journal Of Psychology, 51(2), 157-163. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2009.00757.x
Winterowd, C., Montgomery, D., Stumblingbear, G., Harless, D., & Hicks, K. (2008). Development of the American Indian Enculturation Scale to assist counseling practice. American Indian And Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 15(2), 1-14. doi:10.5820/aian.1502.2008.1
Woods, S. A. & Hampson, S. E. (2005). Measuring the Big Five with single items using a bipolar response scale. European Journal of Personality, 19, 373–390.
Abstract. Do you know “blindsight,” when we recognize something without conscious effort? “Psychic blindness” is the opposite. Besides perfect eyesight, a person suffering from visual ‘object agnosia,’ cannot recognize an object due to the inability to associate the optical signals with the memorized concept of the object in sight. The same object could, however, be identified by the means of other senses such as hearing or touch. The article discusses some causes, examples, and even implications on self-perception of this relatively rare but interesting syndrome from a scientific point of view.
Álvarez and Masjuan (2016) state that vision is the most advanced and most important human sense. In contrast to the phenomenon of “blindsight”, i.e., when processing an object automatically without conscious effort (Rossetti, Pisella, and McIntosh, 2017), the processing of visual information can also be impaired. The impairment can be so severe that visual objects like faces and letters don’t get produced in the mind, despite perfectly working eyesight (Serino et al., 2014). Historically and by scientists from different disciplines this so called ‘visual agnosia’ was also coined as the expression of “blind in mind,” or “psychic blindness” (p. 61). Reasons for visual object agnosia can be neurodegenerative diseases as evidenced by an older patient (Bergmans, Deryck, & Bruffaerts, 2016). Damage through intoxication as reported by Bridge et al. (2013) can be a cause too, as well as a lesion through an accident as in an example from Yasuno, Hashikawa, Kabeshita, Kudo, and Kishimoto (2016).
It is hypothesized that there are two visual processes involving two different neural routes, the ventral one responsible for visual recognition and the dorsal one for the interpretation of a visual object (Álvarez & Masjuan, 2016). Visual agnosia results from an impaired ventral stream (Huberle, Rupek, Lappe, & Karnath, 2012). De-Wit, Kubilius, Op de Beeck, and Wagemans (2013) provided evidence for an automatically working visual mechanism that is responsible for interpreting parts of an object into a whole. Furthermore, a visual agnosia patient is not able to associate the visual input with an according memorized conceptualized image (Serino et al., 2014). In that case, any therapeutic association technique to bring the subconscious to awareness risks to fail. From the study of a patient who, after an infarction, could not name presented fruits and vegetables anymore, Yasuno et al. (2016) have drawn an interesting conclusion. They took the specific disablement of the ‘fruit and vegetable’ category as evidence for the existence of according categorical human neural networks that are explainable through the evolutionary importance of the recognition of fruits and vegetables for survival.
Potential impact on the self
If it can be argued that a personality is influenced by more or less unconscious drives and motivations that are shaped also based on past experiences of our social and physical (!) environment, then it may be also decisive for individual differences how one is visually processing objects. Without finally concluding, the following may provide an example for that thought experiment. For example, people suffering from body image concern (BIC) are overestimating physical flaws due to an over-emphasis on specific local visual processing, e.g., isolating a nose or a belly (Beilharz, Atkins, Duncum, & Mundy, 2016). If the local processing system worked less biased respectively in harmony with the automatic global visual processing of the whole body, a more proportionate picture of the entire physical self would be perceived (Beilharz et al., 2016). That way, a distorted visual perception (an impaired psychic sight) of one self may adversely influence one’s self-concept overall.
Photo credit: DasWortgewand (pixabay.com)
Álvarez, R., & Masjuan, J. (2016). Review: Visual agnosia. Revista Clínica Española (English Edition), 21685-91. doi:10.1016/j.rceng.2015.10.002
Beilharz, F. L., Atkins, K. J., Duncum, A. F., & Mundy, M. E. (2016). Altering Visual Perception Abnormalities: A Marker for Body Image Concern. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151933
de-Wit, L. H., Kubilius, J., Op de Beeck, H. P., & Wagemans, J. (2013). Configural Gestalts remain nothing more than the sum of their parts in visual agnosia. I-Perception, 4(8), doi:10.1068/i0613rep
Huberle, E., Rupek, P., Lappe, M., & Karnath, H. (2012). Perception of biological motion in visual agnosia. Frontiers In Behavioral Neuroscience, 6doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2012.00056
Rossetti, Y., Pisella, L., & McIntosh, R. D. (2017). Update article: Rise and fall of the two visual systems theory. Annals Of Physical And Rehabilitation Medicine, 60(Spatial Cognition), 130-140. doi:10.1016/j.rehab.2017.02.002
Serino, A., Cecere, R., Dundon, N., Bertini, C., Sanchez-Castaneda, C., & Làdavas, E. (2014). When apperceptive agnosia is explained by a deficit of primary visual processing. Cortex: A Journal Devoted To The Study Of The Nervous System & Behavior, 5212-27. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.12.011
Yasuno, F., Hashikawa, K., Kabeshita, Y., Kudo, T., & Kishimoto, T. (2016). Highly selective category‐specific deficits of visual processing at a stage of access to the semantic representation. Psychogeriatrics, 16(5), 331-333. doi:10.1111/psyg.12167
Understandably, natural herbs can be an attractive home remedy alternative to physician prescribed psychopharmacology (Szafrański, 2014). Many people suffering from depression or anxiety could be helped if less expensive therapies were available (Amsterdam et al., 2012).
It is part of natural aging that our cognitive capabilities may diminish. Cognitive functioning is essential for quality of life, why preserving our mental abilities is in the interest of our well-being (Edwards & Loprinzi, 2017). Physical activity (PA) plays a crucial role in developing and protecting mental abilities.
Unhealthy diet due to excessive consumption of fat and sugar can lead to increased risks such as obesity (Kakoschke, Kemps, & Tiggemann, 2014). According to Pettigrew (2015), food marketers contribute significantly to pushing unhealthy products that meets the consumers’ desire for flavorful, easily available, and cheap food.
Eating behavior can be a response to thin- (or muscular-) idealization that may be the result of the aspiration to achieve the ideal, or that is a coping effect for negative body feelings from the comparison with others. Critical thinking and realism skepticism are factors protecting from lower body satisfaction resulting from thin-ideal media exposure. Eating disorder prevention and intervention should consider those factors that are influencing self-imposed overly restricting and unhealthy eating behaviors.
Mental disorders do potentially influence sexual risk taking, although one can find a somewhat equivocal picture that seems to evolve over time as research progresses. There are also explanations for how mental conditions influence the control of sexual practices. And, what does it take for successful interventions to reduce sexual health risk such as from unprotected sex?
The composition of treatment should base on the detailed understanding of the patient’s situation including the diagnosis of the type of obesity, its metabolic consequences, any co-morbidities, as well as the medical history and personality of the patient.