Posts Tagged ‘principles of psychology’

The Psychology Of Socialism In America: And Elsewhere

November 26, 2019

The Psychology Of Socialism In America: And Elsewhere

From my perspective, as a psychologist, the reasons for the growing  popularity of Socialism in America (and elsewhere) basically have to do with many elementary principles of psychology and the equally basic principles of animal behavior.

These basic scientific principles strongly tend to yield certain behavioral outcomes in animals, the world around.

Though we often do not think about it, humans are animals. After all, we are not vegetables or minerals…so we are animals. Both logic and mature psychological scientific experimental research strongly supports that our emotions and behaviors are influenced in ways similar to the other animals on earth. Yet, few among us understand any of the details of this amazing perspective of modern psychological science.

In his powerful book: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1972), B. F. Skinner explained how this great problem blocks the maximization of our individual and collective human potential. Reading his book will inform you of this relatively new perspective and  dramatically transform your thinking. You will learn a great deal about the determinants of human behavior and also the success and failure of evolving cultures…including our own.

The following are facts about how human nature interacts with some principles of psychology and behavior. I judge that they also help explain why socialism and communism can be so attractive to people everywhere.

  1. Animals prefer to get more rewards, easier, with less work.
  2. Animals prefer to find ways to make #1 happen more often.
  3. Animals prefer to get their rewards sooner than later.
  4. Animals prefer to find ways to make #3 happen more often.
  5. Animals prefer to get bigger rewards than smaller ones.
  6. Animals prefer to find ways to make #5 happen more often.

When animals are used to getting rewards easier, with less work; sooner than later; bigger than smaller; and getting all of this to happen for themselves with less effort, this tends to weaken their their tenacity and perseverance. Therefore animals who experience this learning history are prone to “give-up”, or”quit trying” when rewards, for any reason, suddenly become 1. harder to get, 3. are obtained later than sooner, 5. become smaller than bigger, or 6. happen less often than more often. In fact, this frustrating chain of events all too often tends to produce aggression in individuals and wars among civilizations.

Of course,  if animals have never been trained, or somehow learned to work hard to get their rewards they will be prone to showing a lack of persistence.

When rewards have slowly, over time, become harder to get, animals tend to continue to work harder and not to give-up or quit working quickly. They have learned to “hang in there” because, in the past they have learned to work hard to achieve their rewards. They are more likely to work harder to get rewards, “when the “going gets tough”!

When rewards are in short supply animals are more likely to “forage” (# 1, #3, and #5, in order to secure the highly rewarding consequences of 1, 3, and 5.

The following is an unusual perspective. But, please stay with me for the surprising outcome of chain the events described above.

A. If animals had a bar or button (i.e., #1, #3, and #5) to push that made items 1., 3., and 5. happen more and more often in their lives, they would push this manipulanda more and more frequently because these low-effort responses would be so very powerfully rewarded. 

B. These elementary principles, and others not listed, are subsumed under a Law of Psychology, named the Law of Effect. This is one of psychology’s premier laws, that allows us to predict how the occurrence of rewards will change the behavior patterns of animals.  A simple explanation of the Law Of Effect is: Consequences Control Behavior.

I wonder if you can anticipate what I will say next about why Socialism is growing in popularity in America.

C. Humans are animals. Therefore, they are subject to all of the principles and behavioral outcomes listed above.

D. “Modernity” is a relative term though history (I.e., wheels vs. sleds; wells vs. aqueducts, horses vs. cars, ovens vs. microwaves, trains vs. planes, etc., etc., etc.). Modernity tends to make 1., 3., and 5. more easy to achieve. Successive generations of youth within a modernizing society tend to become more susceptible to giving-up or not trying when faced with the inevitable greater demands for effort that will face them in young adulthood. It tends to be true of modernizing societies that as children develop they encounter greater complexity in their lives and they also encounter greater demands for them to do more work per units of time. As a side-note; this may help to explain why, the world around, withing rapidly modernizing modernizing societies various population behavior problems, as well as anxiety and depression  show increasing rates of occurrence.  

E. Finally, under these conditions, clever and unprincipled power-hungry politicians target their reward-deprived citizens with promises of free money, services, and opportunities in exchange for their votes. If this potentially accelerating self-defeating sick-sociopoliltical mututal reward system continues, the outcome becomes predictable.

As a professor of psychology I was required to give one of four letter grades to my students (A-E). A stood for Excellent, B stood for Very Good, D stood for Poor and E stood for Failure.

When the chain of events identified above ends with E, as they do above, it naturally leads to a growing population preference for promised free and easy rewards (I.e.,1., 3., and 5) for voters and the eventual decline of the society in which it occurs. 

There are other events and cultural evolutions that are stimulating the popularity of socialism in America, so please stay tuned for more on this topic!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 11/26/19

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend

President, Behavioral Psychological Family Services

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.saulsnews.com/index.php/article/23156/

Education In Oakland: @#%@!!

October 26, 2019

Education In Oakland: @#%@!!

Look-Out for radical liberals/leftists/socialists and their public systems of education. 

All citizens need to read this article and take the time to watch Oakland California teachers and parents behaviors at a school board meeting.

Be sure not to miss the large frame video about half way through the article! Just click on “continue reading”.

California is often “credited” for producing cultural trends that spread through the rest of America.

We had better hope that this reputation becomes a thing of the past.

Please note that parents and teachers are protesting schools of choice. They are also protesting about so many students being sent to “reform school” settings.

It is not hard to see and understand why reform school settings are needed for so many of their students.

Just watch the actions of their parents and teachers!

Research Psychologists have documented a very powerful influences on learning (I.e., expectations, beliefs, values, emotions and behaviors). We call this influence Modeling and Imitation.

Perhaps you recall grandma’s old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do”.

Psst…..We are the monkeys!

Now, don’t get your “undies in a bundle” over my use of an old American common saying. Yes, I know we are not monkeys. Nor are we birds (I.e., “Birds of a feather flock together”).

Also, You can be sure that race and ethnicity have nothing to do with the basic mechanisms of learning to which I make partial reference.

America had better face the facts that our citizens learn in ways very similar to the ways other animals do; and sadly, we are not as smart as we think we are when it comes to managing our own behavior.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 10/26/19

VIDEO: Melee at Oakland school board meeting as teachers jump barrier, clash with cops

Our Own High Risk

April 19, 2010

Our Own High Risk

Whenever we overlook the roll of the natural principles of psychology in shaping the behavior of our citizens and our culture, we do so at our own high risk.


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