Planning to study abroad? Feel confused about how to go about it? In this post, we will explain in detail how to get started!
So, you are about to finish your Bachelors and feel like applying abroad for further studies. But you are confused about how to approach this task! As there are so many steps involved when applying abroad for education.
Fear not, as though this post I will help you step by step on how to go about the application process. So, let’s start!
First off, you need to start researching where would you want to go. If you’re in your last year of Bachelors then start searching for prospective universities then only. The best way to find the right university for you is by looking at various courses that you may interest in.
If you are interested in computer science then focus on that and then look for which are the best universities in that department. You should not look for too many universities but the right number is necessary. It is essential for you to at least have 4 options in hand but not more than 6 as each application costs money, that too in dollars!
Start a Year Ahead
After you finalize your prospective universities then that is the moment your overall process starts. It is recommended you start a year ahead. For example, if your planning to start now then your final admission should happen in 2020 Fall/Autumn semester.
The reason being that it takes a lot of time for the various steps involved so it’s better to start a year ahead. The universities themselves encourage this.
Well ideally, you should have a good academic record when it comes to applying abroad. Most universities expect a minimum 7.5-8.0 CGPA overall. While others may even ask for higher. While the requirements vary from university to university, it is better to be on the safe side.
The academic requirements also vary depending on which program you plan to apply for. For instance, if you plan to apply for your Bachelors abroad then you need an impeccable record. Which means over 90% in previous classes.
If your applying for a Masters program then the requirement eases up a bit but you still need at least 7.5-8.0 CGPA. But if you want to apply for a Doctoral program then the requirement varies as the focus is more on research proposal then academic record. But nonetheless, overall good academic record is required.
Also, many universities across the US and Canada use International organizations like WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Education Credential Evaluators) to properly check your academic transcripts. It is a mandatory requirement for you to send your transcripts to such organizations. You will need to check the requirement as per the university
Now, we come to one of the most important requirements. The various aptitude and language-based test that is recognized throughout the world. Let’s have a look at each of them.
SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test – The SAT is a requirement for you to give for seeking admission in a Bachelors or Undergrad program in the US or Canada. An overall score of 2000 is generally accepted across universities.
GRE – Graduate Record Examination – GRE test is for those who want to apply for a Graduate or a Masters program. The scores of GRE are not only accepted in US and Canada but also various other universities across the world. It has two components: English and Math. The requirement of the scores vary from universities and the courses but it is recommended to get around 310 and above.
GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test – GMAT is for those who want to apply for Management based Masters program in the US and Canada. It is somewhat similar to GRE in that respect. The recommended score to get in this test is around 550 and above.
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language – TOEFL is a test designed to test your English language abilities. The scores of TOEFL are widely accepted throughout the world across universities. While the score requirement varies but ideally your score should be at least: 550 (Paper-Based), 213 (Computer Based) and 79 (Internet Based). Again, the score requirements vary from university to university.
IELTS – International English Language Testing System – IELTS, is similar to TOEFL and test your English language abilities. It is also accepted across various universities across the world. Again, the score requirement varies but you should get at least a 7.5 band on the IELTS score.
Now, that we are done with tests and research, we come back the most important – probably the dealmaker in these applications – You. Yes, your life, your hobbies, your passions, your traits and much more are key for a successful admission abroad. During the process of applications you have to write, what is called, a Statement of Purpose (SOP).
An SOP basically covers your reasons to apply for that specific program. It should cover the reasons for the selection of the university, your long and short term goals, your personal background, any research or internship experiences.
It is essential you follow word limit. You should use engaging language and not make it like a boring essay about you. You should enrich it by writing personal stories to make it feel you’re telling a story about you to the other person. A good SOP is a key in successful admissions.
No, it’s not lord of the rings! Rather its ‘Letter of References’. You will have to approach your Professors to vouch for your capabilities and personality by asking them to write Letter of References. It is an essential requirement across the world in almost all of the universities.
The objective of the LOR is that your teachers or your peers can testify about you and your academic and overall abilities. If you have a good relationship with your teachers then this would be easy. But if it is not then you will have to request them as your future depends on these things.
Okay, So Where’s the Cash?
Now, that you have done most of the requirements, the university can ask you to give proof of financial coverage of your educational and living expenses. You could also apply for various scholarships, which we have a made a whole video about, to apply for.
You could also take educational loans to cover your fees and living expenses. The requirements vary from universities so you will need to read carefully.
After all of this is done, your application will get accepted for personal interviews. These days they are mostly done over Skype or other video call technologies available. You should prepare thoroughly for this interview and be very likable!
The Waiting Game
After the interview, you will have to wait for at least 6-8 weeks for the university to get back to you. It takes time as they are going through various applications. After they have made their decision, they will get back to you with a confirmation letter.
Once you receive the letter you will have to confirm your registration and send the mail back. After this, you will have to complete the other requirements.
So, there you have it! The complete guide for you to apply for studies abroad. Now, what are you waiting for? Start researching and start applying! And while you’re at it do check out our video on international scholarships that you can apply for! Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
You ever wanted to study abroad but couldn’t because of financial restraints? Well in this article, we are going to talk about some of the scholarships available for Indian students to study abroad.
So, you are doing your Bachelors and are in the last phases of it. And you want to pursue higher studies from some of the best universities in the world. But always felt the burden of finances or the didn’t want to take an education loan. Do not worry as we have curated some of the International scholarships, especially for you! These scholarships are for different countries in the world, to give you various options. So, let’s begin!
Study Abroad for Free
One of the most prestigious scholarships in the world. And also, one of the oldest as well. It is managed by the Rhodes Trust. It offers around 100 scholarships each year to outstanding young people around the world. And for Indians, 5 seats are there.
The scholarship is for those who want to pursue higher studies, be it in the form of a Masters or a Doctoral degree. It not only covers the entire tuition fees of Oxford University but also provides an annual stipend of around 15000 Pounds!
It’s for those who specifically want to study at the prestigious Oxford University. The criteria for the scholarship is that you need to be or below 25 when you apply. You also need to: have a very good academic record, be very active in various extra-curricular activities like sports, music, debate team, theatre – wherever teamwork is required.
They also expect exceptional qualities of courage, integrity, unselfishness, and great leadership skills. The application period usually opens around June of every year. So, keep a lookout!
Another scholarship for those who want to study in the UK. It is for those who want to apply in Masters or Doctoral Programmes within the UK. There are around 25-30 seats in this fellowship.
You should be or below the age of 40. The scholarship covers your entire tuition fees and also provides a stipend of around 1200 pound per month to cover your living expenses. They are actually accepting application right now as the deadline is the first week of January. For more information go to http://proposal.sakshat.ac.in/scholarship/
Scholarship program for China
Now, those of you who want to study in China, this scholarship is for you. The good thing about this is that its not only for Masters or Doctoral programs but also for Bachelor programs as well.
The subjects which the scholarship covers are Management, fine arts, Agriculture, Biology, Political Science, Electronics, Economics, Computer science, Physics, Chemistry, and Architecture. The notification usually comes around in Feb/March.
There are around 70-80 seats within this scholarship. The age limits are: 25 for Undergraduate programs, 35 for Masters program, and 40 for Doctoral programs. If selected, you’d get a tuition waiver, and also health insurance.
The value of the fellowship varies as an Undergraduate will get around 2500 Yuan (25000 in Indian Rupees), a Masters student will get 3000 Yuan (30000 Indian Rupees), and a Doctoral Student will get 3500 Yuan (35000 Indian Rupees). But you’d need to learn basic Mandarin (Chinese language) program one year prior.
MEXT Scholarship for Studying in Japan
If you want to study in Japan, then this scholarship program is for you. It is for those who want to do their Masters and their Doctoral studies in Japan. For students from a social science background, there’s a slight catch as you will have to focus your area around Japanese culture or Japanese society.
But for those who are from an engineering background have so much here as one can do their masters and higher studies in the field of robotics, aerospace and much more. One should be or below 35 when applying for this.
The value of the scholarship is around 140,000 Japanese Yen, which is around 87000 Indian Rupees. You’d also need to learn some basic Japanese language, which is a requirement for this scholarship. For more information, keep checking: http://www.in.embjapan.go.jp/Education/Research_Student.html
Scholarship Program for Italy
Now, if you want to pursue your doctoral research or other kinds of research in and around Italy. This scholarship is for you. It covers only Doctoral research or other research projects.
The age requirement for this is 35, that is you need to be or below the age of 35. Its notification comes around in the month of March/April.
The scholarship covers your tuition fees and also provides for health insurance. Prior knowledge of Italian language is also a requirement. For more information, check out this link: https://studyinitaly.esteri.it/en/call-for-procedure
DAAD Scholarship to Study in Germany
For those who want to study in Germany, this is a scholarship for you. DAAD is an institution that funds studies in almost every course in Germany. Its notification usually comes around in late August.
It offers scholarship, as said, in various courses from various fields. The age limit varies from courses to courses. The value of the scholarship is around 800 for Undergraduate courses and around 1000 Euros for Doctoral Students.
If selected, one will have to undergo a mandatory German course. For more information visit: https://www.daad.in/en/
This scholarship is for those who want to study in North America, Europe or Australia. It is provided by the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and for Indian students.
Apart from the subjects of Engineering, Computer Science, Business Studies, Medicine, Public Health, Fashion Design, Music and Film Animation, rest are covered under this scholarship.
The scholarship amount is around USD 100,000 and covers almost all annual expenses. The application date is around 15th January – 15th January 2019. You should be or be below the age of 30. For more information visit: www.inlaksfoundation.org
Fullbright Nehru Fellowship
This is for those students who want to study in the USA for their Masters. It is offered to those who are outstanding students, having an exceptional academic record.
The main areas that are covered under this fellowship are Arts and Culture Management including Heritage Conservation and Museum Studies; Environmental Science/Studies; Higher Education Administration; International Legal Studies; Public Administration; Public Health; Urban and Regional Planning; and Women’s Studies/Gender Studies.
The benefits of the scholarship are that it covers the overall airfare, tuition fees, and living costs and also provides for health insurance. The applications are usually open around the month of Jan-Feb.
This is a very competitive scholarship hence requires at least 3-year work experience in the field that you are applying for and also, you’d need to show leadership qualities. Check out this link for more info: http://www.usief.org.in/Fulbright-Nehru-Fellowships.aspx
Orange Tulip Scholarship to study in the Netherlands
For those who want to study in the Netherlands (also known as Holland), then this scholarship is for you. It covers various programs from Bachelors to Masters.
The value of the scholarship varies as it depends on the participating universities as some may offer 100% tuition waiver, while others may only give 50% off.
The applications are running right now, so check out this link: https://www.nesoindia.org/scholarships/orange-tulip-scholarship-programme/scheme-2019-2020
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programs
Now, this is a very different scholarship program. An Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD), is a prestigious, integrated, international study programme, jointly delivered by an international consortium of higher education institutions.
It offers focused masters programs for you to apply for – which are fully funded. The unique thing about them is that each year is in a different University, in a different country!
If selected, apart from covering tuition fees, a stipend of 800 Euros will also be given. The application deadline usually run between October-December. For more information, check out: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/library/scholarships-catalogue_en
So there you go! A big opportunity for you to study abroad in various countries. Don’t let your financial constraints limit your dreams and potential. Apply for one of the scholarships and realize your potential. Till then, cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
The history of Psychology is filled with strange experiments to order to understand the human brain. This article will talk about the 9 most influential psychological experiments that have defined the field of Psychology.
Influential Psychological Experiments
The field of Psychology is a vast labyrinth of weird but very influential experiments that have shaped the way people understand psychology. In this article, I will talk about the 9 of the most influential experiments that have made a mark on the field of psychology.
Asch Conformity Study
This study was conducted by Dr. Solomon Asch at Swarthmore College. The study was conducted to see whether a person would conform to a standard when he/she is pressured to do so. In the study, a group of participants was shown photos with lines of various lengths. After that, they were asked which line is the longest?
The tricky part of the study was that there was only one actual participant and the rest were actors. The actors were given instructions to give the wrong answer. Surprisingly, in most cases, the true participant agreed with the rest of the group when they gave the wrong answer.
The results of the study show the importance of our social interactions that we have in society. It also tells us the way an individual can conform to the standards set by a certain group. It also showed people often cared about being the same as others rather than being right.
The Hawthorne Effect
Source – Cordell Hensley
This study was conducted by Henry A. Landsberger in 1955 at Hawthorne Works in Chicago. The effect’s premise is that people in an experiment change the way they behave and react. The study was conducted between 1924 and 1932 at a factory.
The factory had commissioned the study to see if different levels of lighting affected the efficiency of the production of work. Researchers found no link with the levels of lighting and an increase in workload. But what they did find was that the worker’s level of efficiency increased whenever a new variable was manipulated
This meant that the workers were aware they were under observation and their behavior changed because of that awareness. It was concluded the workers felt important when being observed. The Hawthorne effect has become one of the toughest inbuilt biases to get rid of in the design of any kind of experiment in any kind of research.
Magical Number Seven
This study was conducted by George A. Miller at Princeton University in 1956. It also is known as the ‘Miller’s law’. The argument was that an average human being can hold in his/her working memory around 7 ± 2 objects at a time. This means that the capacity of the human to hold concepts or words falls within the range of 5-9.
The experiment was published in 1956, which detailed the limits of a one-dimensional judgment of our short-term memory.
Pavlov’s Dog Experiment
Source – Age of the Sage
One of the oldest studies, done around the 1890s by Ivan Pavlov. The experiment began with Pavlov and his idea that a dog does not have to learn certain things. In his study, he observed that dogs do not learn to salivate whenever they see food.
He argued rather they are conditioned to do that. He conducted an experiment by using a bell (as a substitute) whenever he gave food to the dogs. After certain repetitions, he just rang the bell. And he found that the dog started to salivate, without the presence of food there.
Pavlov’s experiment with his dogs turned out to be one of the most important experiments in all of the psychology as it paved the way for the behaviorist school within psychology.
False Consensus Effect
Source – Econowmics
This study was conducted by Lee Ross at Stanford University in 1977. The intention of the experiment was to focus on how people can form a ‘false consensus’ or believe that others think the way they do.
In the study, participants were asked to read about certain situations in which a conflict occurred and was given two alternative ways to respond to that situation. The study showed that most of the subjects believed that other would do the same.
This phenomenon is known as the false consensus effect when an individual thins that other people think the same when they may not.
Selective Attention – Invisible Gorilla Experiment
This study was conducted by Daniel Simmons and Christopher Chabris at Harvard University in 1999. The participants in the study were asked to watch a video of a group of students passing the basketball. They were asked how many passes were made.
While keeping track of the passes was easy but the students missed was a man dressed in a gorilla walking off the screen. The study found that humans at times overestimate their ability to multi-task. It also calls attention to how we pay attention to certain things and misses other things.
Stanford Prison Study
Source – Simply Psychology
One of the most controversial and most cited experiments of all time. It was conducted by Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University in 1971. The Professor wanted to study the role of a position of authority in a prison system.
In the study, college students were recruited to play guards and inmates in a made-up prison. The guards were told to run the prison for 2 weeks. They were told not to harm the prisoners. But however, the guards ended up treating the prisoners badly and started beating them.
The experiment had to be canceled because it went too far. The study showed that human behavior is situational and a person in a position of power is more likely to abuse that position. Lately, it was exposed that the study was rigged and the findings have come in to be questioned but that doesn’t make the study insignificant as it still made an important contribution to human understanding.
The Milgram Experiment
Source – Johann Savalle
One of the most important experiments in the history of psychology. It was conducted by Stanley Milgram at Yale University in 1961. The study was designed to measure the people’s willingness to obey authority when told to do any kind of work.
Participants were told they were participating in a test about memory. They were asked to the observer and ask questions to other participants and if they got an answer wrong, they’d have to give an electric shock.
The catch was there was no electric shock as the other participant was part of the team. The experimenters kept increasing the levels of shocks despite protests by the person being questioned.
Majority of the participants kept giving the shocks when told to do so. The experiment showed that humans are conditioned to obey authority and most likely do what they are told to do so, even if it is against common sense or their moral nature.
Here you go, 9 of the most influential psychological experiments of all time. Now, some landed in hot waters like for instance the Stanford Prison experiment, being called a fraud. But nevertheless, these experiments made different contours in the overall journey of Psychology as a field of study. For now, cheer and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits.
While most people are told that being alone and aloof is not healthy for your mind, but new research suggests certain perks of solitude. Read on to know more.
The Perks of Solitude
Conventional wisdom has told throughout our lives to go out, meet new people and be gregarious. The dictum, ‘Man is a social animal’, gives out an essence of the above statement. This has made the idea of introverts and people who don’t socialize, relatively a negative one.
But recent research has given a new meaning to solitude and people who enjoy it. There are various benefits of it, which is good news for all the reluctant socializer out there. If you are the type of a person who gets restless when hanging out or feels pleased then this article will further help you feel better at being alone.
Solitude Inspires Creativity
First of all, the key benefit from solitude is Creativity. Creativity is defined as something which has originality and usefulness. The personality traits associated with it are being open-minded, that is receptive to new ideas and experiences, self-efficacy, meaning having confidence in yourself, and autonomy, signifying independence from others.
All these things suggest that a person with these characteristics may have a lack for social norms, and would prefer being alone. In fact, studies have shown, while focusing on various artists and scientists, that the distinguishable feature of such creative people is their lack of interest in socializing.
Such people love working alone as solitude further fuel their creativity and inspire them to create new things. Another reason is that a person needs a sustained amount of time on a project, which may require working on for hours without human contact.
Researchers argue that scientists or artists are actually trying to make sense of their internal self. And a lot of these internal personal explorations are in turn reflected in their work. Solitude allows for one to reflect back and make a necessary observation, which is necessary for the overall creative process.
Good for Leadership
Another benefit, studies argue, of solitude is that it is good for leadership, which is surprising to note. As conventional wisdom has always suggested that a good leader needs to be gregarious and extrovert. But studies show that even introverts inspire good leadership, how so?
The reason for this is that introverted people are less likely to feel threatened with other’s and their opinions. In fact, they are very open to new ideas and suggestions and inculcate an overall healthy work environment.
Studies have also linked isolation and mental focus, and argue that isolation leads to greater mental focus. Good mental focus is extremely important for good leadership.
Good for the Brain
Studies also show that solitude is also good for the brain. The reason being when are alone, we are away from distractions. And the absence of distractions leads the brain to be more efficient. It also helps in consolidating our memory and understand other people’s emotions.
However, there is a fine line between useful solitude and dangerous isolation. We need to be aware of when being in solitude helps us and when it can lead to issues of loneliness and depression. It’s one thing to be a reluctant socializer but another thing is too indifferent to other people’s needs.
Overall, it depends on your personality. If you like going out and socializing with people then you do you! But if you feel the need to take a break and require some solitude, then feel free to clear your social calendar…science recommends it! So, cheers and be awesome and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind but what about those afternoon naps? This article will talk about the benefits of afternoon siestas!
We all love to sleep. Its one of the most peaceful moments of the day. But most of us don’t know the important benefits related to sleep. Apart from rebooting our system, in a way, it also helps in memory formation. In this article, we are going to talk about the overall benefits of sleep but also the power of taking naps in between.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep plays a very important role as it helps crystalize emotional information, that we gather throughout the day. It also helps us control how we feel. When we are asleep, our brain is encoding information based on the experiences from the day. Which makes the act of sleeping extremely essential for preserving memories.
Emotional memories, researchers argue, are unique because of the way the influence our amygdala, our brain’s emotional core. This core is what makes our memories of wedding days or funerals or anything emotional, remembered carefully. Such emotional days are better remembered than other days.
A good night’s sleep is extremely good at transforming these experiences into emotional memories. That is why it is recommended that we get at least six-eight hours of sleep every day.
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Not All Sleep Are Equal
However, not all periods of sleep are equal. The sleep we get a night, the long 6-8-hour ones, are the ones in which we go through several phases of sleep. This is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is closely associated with our emotional memories. Researchers argue that more REM sleep makes people better at assessing other people’s emotional intentions and also in recalling emotional stories.
Another thing that happens when are in the REM phase is related to our Prefrontal Cortex. Prefrontal Cortex is the most developed part of our brain. Researchers also call this location of our brain where we have the impulse to keep calm and not react to things immediately.
When we are awake, this part of the brain keeps our emotions in check. But this connection is reduced when are in REM sleep. Our brain also paralyzes our body during REM phase, otherwise, we would be constantly moving, which could hurt us.
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Naps or Slow-Wave Sleep
But there are also other kinds of sleep which do not feature the REM phase. These are naps. Naps are also known as ‘Slow-Wave’ sleep and it’s usually the phase of sleep. It also helps consolidates memories. But are they effective in keeping our emotions in check as the REM sleep does?
Researchers in order to answer this did a study with children to see the effects of naps. The study found that the children who didn’t take naps were grumpier and mentally exhausted. And the children who took naps were, as the researcher called ‘cool as a cucumber’.
In adults as well, research has shown that afternoon naps help one destress and feel better during the day. Any stress or headaches or just normal issues of the day make the brain stressed, so afternoon naps help one feel better.
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The overall science of sleep is still complicated as research is still discovering new things. For example, a recent paper has argued that a longer duration of REM sleep leads to people getting depressed. The reason is not yet known but there are strong linkages.
This sort of findings just makes the overall phenomenon of sleep more complicated. But for now, what you should take away from this article is that sleep is essential for us. In the end, the best prescription for a heartache or a confused mind or a headache is to get a good sleep!
So, the next time your feeling low or feel stressed, try to take a nap. As science says it will help. Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits.
We have found more Psychomyths to expose in the second part to our previous post.
In a previous post, I wrote about various myths related to psychology that reseachers have busted. In this post, we have found more myths to debunk! Here they are.
Myth 1: Some People are Left Brained and Some are Right Brained
Are some people left-brained and others right-brained? This is another popular belief that has a certain grain of truth to it. It all began with the Roger Sperry, who shared the Nobel Prize in 1981, for landmark research on Split-Brain patients. These patients after surgery appeared deceptively normal but after Sperry tested them in the laboratory, it was found that that the two halves of their brains were working independently!
It was a remarkable finding but this led to a speculation whether this was true for even normal people. But that’s not the case as in the normal brain, as research has shown, the right and left hemispheres are constantly in communication with each other for even normal tasks. Overall, the two hemispheres are much more similar than different, research has argued.
Myth 2: Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP) is a Well-Established Scientific Phenomenon
Extra-sensory perception (ESP) is a phenomenon that was coined by Sir Richard Burton in 1870. It is known as knowledge or perception without the use of any of the five senses. It includes three capacities of (1) precognition (predicting the future), (2) telepathy (being able to read the mind), and (3) clairvoyance (able to know the existence of hidden or far away objects).
Interestingly, during the 1970s the U.S. Govt. actually spent around 20 million dollars on the program called “Stargate”, to hire such people in order to find useful military information about enemies. Goes without saying, the project did not yield any results and was stopped in 1995. This just shows the popularity of ESP.
In the 1990s, U.S national research council did an authoritative study and concluded that a case of psychic powers was extremely feeble. Many scientists have argued that for ESP to exist it would need to run counter to various established laws of physics related to the matter, time, and space.
Myth 3: Most People Experience a Midlife Crisis in their 40s
This is another myth taken from popular culture, especially films. A ‘midlife’ crisis is portrayed as a dramatic period of self-introspection and upheaval in a person’s life. The period is portrayed to be between the age of 40 and 60.
The term was coined in 1965 by Elliot Jacques. He described it as a compulsive desire to stay young. But studies across various culture have shown that people in the age bracket of 40-60 have actually felt more in control of their lives and expressed feelings of well-being when compared with other age brackets.
The reason could be because earlier decades of lives are usually one of struggle and people mostly set up their lives and their careers. Its after 40s one can enjoy a largely comfortable life.
Myth 4: Hypnosis is Useful for Retrieving Memories of Forgotten Events
Various surveys have shown that academicians and health professionals endorse and believe the authenticity of Hypnoanalysis. Hypnosis is a method that was promoted by early pioneers of psychology and psychiatry like Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet. Later various researchers believed that hypnosis can lead to unearthing some precious memories of forgotten past.
But modern-day researchers have argued that hypnosis either has no effect on memory but in fact it can produce errors while recalling or even false memories. Most studies have found that hypnosis leads exaggerated and unwarranted confidence in memories.
Controlled research studies have shown that hypnosis may be helpful when it comes to treating someone in pain or medical conditions, and as a therapy for anxiety etc. But largely it usually fosters false memories and studies have corroborated this.
Myth 5: Individuals Can Learn New Information While Asleep
Have you ever tried listening to an audio-book of a new language while you are asleep? In the hope that you can learn it while your sleeping? This is what is known as sleep-assisted-learning, that is learning while being asleep.
A study was conducted to test this and early results showed favorable signs. In the study, a group of sailors was exposed to Morse Code while they were asleep. The results showed that the sailors were able to master the Morse code faster than other sailors.
However, a problem arose later when it was found that the sailors under the study were never really asleep. In fact, in almost all the studies that showed positive effects of sleep-assisted-learning didn’t monitor if the subjects were actually asleep.
Recent studies in a more controlled environment have given almost no evidence to suggest that it works.
Myth 6: Subliminal Messages can Persuade People to Purchase Products
Does an advertisement with hidden messages influence your opinion about things? These hidden messages are known as subliminal messages. People widely in the advertising industry and psychology community believe that these messages have an influence on our behavior. But is that true?
As it is with various myths, this one also got debunked by researchers by undertaking various controlled studies to test the ability of these messages. So far, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that subliminal messages affect a purchaser’s decision or a voter’s choice. But this still quite popular among the advertising industry, especially among political campaigners.
Myth 7: When Dying, People Pass-Through Various Stages
You might have heard of the famous Kubler-Ross’s five stages of death – DABDA – Death, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Some people have also called it five stages of grief.
This is widely accepted in the medical and psychological community without question. It’s widely popular as it has been the subject of various films in Hollywood. The reason why this stage theory if popular because of its predictability over the unpredictable idea of death. The idea of neat five stages also gives a certain sense of peace for the griever.
However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that people go through these stages. Studies have shown that most people either jump through these stages. In some, the order is all mixed and acceptance comes first and then depression. In a study involving 200 people, who recently lost someone, acceptance was the predominant reaction rather than depression.
Dying or losing someone is not uniform and cannot follow a neat path. Everyone experiences death in their own unique way. Even Kubler-Ross said that our grief is as individual as our lives.
Myth 8: When in Doubt, Go with the Initial Hunch
There are various tests these days that we have to take, especially MCQs based tests. And one of the most accepted lore of test-taking practice is that if you’re not sure of an answer, then go with the original answer.
Across a large survey of college students, around 70% of students believe that changing their answers from initial answers won’t’ improve their score. So, tend to pick the initial answer. Around three-fourth believe changing the answer might end up lowering their score.
Its called the First Instinct Fallacy myth. The belief is quite widespread as various teachers and coaching institutes give this advice. But what does research say?
A large corpus of studies has shown that when students change their answers (after elimination method and erasure) they are more likely to improve their score and get a right answer. Other studies have shown that students who ignore instincts and hunches and change their answers, after calculations, tend to get a higher score than other students.
So, when in doubt, it’s best to not to trust our hunches. As they are just hunching and not reasoned or calculated decisions.
Myth 9: Teenage is a Time of Psychological Turmoil
Teenage, we all go through it or are going through it right now. The wonderful phase of self-discovery, be it of body or mind, is widely believed to one of great psychological turmoil. The belief is also popularised by various films which have stereotyped this age as the ‘terrible teen’ years.
Researchers, in order to investigate these claims, lay out three domains of teenage behavior: a. instability in mood, b. risky behavior, and c. conflicts with parents. A cross-cultural study has shown that the number of adolescents that go through such turmoil is very low.
Teenagers across South Asia, South East Asia, America and much of the Arab world largely go through the teenage normally and the above-mentioned behaviors are largely absent. So, no the teenager is not a phase of turmoil or angst but rather of self-discovery and new ideas that we all go through.
There you have it! Another round of psychopaths busted for your pleasure! What do you think about them? Did you also believe in any of these? And more importantly, have those beliefs shifted? Comment and let us know. Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
Ever went into a room and forgot why you came in the first place? Or opened the fridge door and then suddenly forgot what exactly are you looking for? This is called The Doorway Effect.
Now, this must have happened to you a lot of times. You go upstairs to your bedroom and suddenly forget what you came for. Or you open the refrigerator and suddenly forget why did you open it in the first place. You’re not alone in this as this happens to almost all of us.
And no, it doesn’t mean that we are losing our minds. This phenomenon is called as, in the psychology community, The Doorway Effect.
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How Our Brain Works
In order to understand why such things happen, we need to first understand how our brain works on a day to ta day basis. As we go about our routine our attention shifts between various levels – from plans to ambitions to strategies and how to actually go about doing them.
Now, when things are going well, usually in familiar situations, we tend to keep our attention on what we want and how we do these things fail to get our attention. For example, when your driving you don’t pay attention to how you are driving but rather your attention must be on navigating the traffic.
But when things are less routine, we have to constantly shift our attention to details of the new thing that we are doing. Our mind then has to shift attention on a different scale. The way how we move our attention in a hierarchy of action is what makes possible for us to carry out complex behaviors. These actions lead up to the formation of coherent plans over multiple moments, over multiple places and requiring multiple actions.
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The Doorway Effect
This is where the Doorway Effect comes in when our attention moves between these levels. It shows how we rely on our memories of the particular environment we are in. Imagine going upstairs to get keys and you forget what you came for. Psychologists argue that what happens is that the “plan” (here keys) has been forgotten in the middle of implementation of a bigger plan. For example, going to the bedroom. Or it could be part of a bigger plan like going outside for a party.
The argument here is that as there are different scales and each requires attention at the certain point of the day. It is a complicated hierarchy of sifting through these scales. The keys are forgotten as we sift through these scales. This shows how shifting from one to another scale shifts our focus to another level.
Our memories are always embedded in a complex web of associations. Which is why whenever we revisit our childhood it brings back a lot of memories. The Doorway effect occurs whenever we change our mental and physical environments, moving to a different room and we end up thinking about different things.
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The Complex Human Mind
Psychologists believe that the doorway effect is just another fascinating facet of the human mind. It tells us about how our brain works and what are the flaws in it. But even in studying such flaws one gets to understand the implicit complexity that is our human brain.
So, the next time you forget your keys. Just think about the bigger picture at hand and give your brain a break! Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
Do Opposites really attract? Or Do we use 10% of our brains? These are some of the popular myths in psychology. In this article, we are going to debunk them and discuss what does science say about them.
The popular psychology industry has churned out various psychological myths about our personality, our minds, and our daily behavior. But they really are just myths and not backed by science. These myths get circulation by either movie, shows, radio program, and even self-help books.
Researchers call these myths psychomythology as it consists of urban legends and myths regarding psychology. The reason why should we know about these things is that separate fact from fiction. Acceptance of such myths can have harmful effects like stating and spreading false information. Blindly accepting things without fact-checking can also lead to a decline in critical thinking.
So, here are 10 of the most popular myths about psychology.
Myth 1: Most People Use Only 10% of Their Brain Power.
Now, this myth is probably one of the famous ones out there. It was particularly made famous by films like Limitless (2011) and Lucy (2014) in which it is shown that most of the people used 10% of the brain and with dramatic increase in usage you could either become the smartest person in the world or a god, which was the case in the latter. Spoiler alert, this is not the case.
This myth is not only popular among the people but also among college students studying psychology as around 59% of a sample from a college believed it to be true (Houzel, 2002). Researchers have argued that the myth originated from a self-help book, which talked about how you can improve your brain usage.
Studies have shown, with the help of advancement in technology, that is not the case as even simple tasks witness activity which is spread across the brain. With the help of brain-mapping technology, studies have shown that if we only used 10% of our brains then it would have been fatally catastrophic.
Myth 2: The Mozart Effect or How Listening to Mozart Makes Babies Intelligent
The Mozart effect is a term that was coined by Alfred Tomatis in 1991. It originated from a highly speculative research project which tried to link listening to compositions by Mozart and rise in IQ points. The original findings, which later were not replicated, showed signs of a slight increase of 2-3 points. But they got exaggerated by the media as companies started to cash in on this by selling Mozart Effect CDs for infants. Even though the research was done on adults!
The findings themselves were subject to scrutiny as many researchers tried to replicate it but came up with mixed results, Moreover, the research never revolved around infants. It was a myth created by the companies.
Myth 3: Human Memory is Like a Tape Recorder
Most of us believe that our memory records things incomplete details, like a camera or a tape recorder. But this is another commonly believed myth.
Studies have shown that our memories are not exact replicas of our past experiences. A consensus among psychologists is that human memory is not reproductive – it doesn’t replicate events precisely – but rather it is reconstructive. We recall what has happened and it’s usually a blurry mixture of our beliefs, biases, emotions, and hunches.
Myth no. 4: Intelligence Tests (IQ) are Biased against Certain Groups of People
IQ tests, the psychology community agrees, are not perfect and have certain flaws. But a certain myth originated around that if two groups score differently on the test, then it is biased. It is found in popular writings and is the most common critical take against IQ tests.
However, many researchers have studied IQ tests and they were biased towards minorities or against women. In 1996, two task force was assembled to test these claims. These studies found that there is no merit to the argument that tests like SATs, and other IQ tests are biased. But it is important to understand the different scores, especially of minority groups and women, and caused behind them, which is separate from the IQ tests. These differences could be because of various factors but by calling IQ tests biased is neglecting those differences and working on them.
Myth no. 5: Our Dreams have Symbolic Meaning
One of the most popular myths associated with Psychology, especially with Freud, is that our dreams have symbolic meaning and one can interpret them. In fact, throughout the world people, across different cultures, believe that our dreams have hidden truths in them.
However, the contemporary scientific community rejects this idea and argue that dreams are anything but symbolic. Researchers have argued that before entering REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of our sleep, dreams just mirror our everyday activities and concerns that occupy our minds like studying for exams or paying our taxes.
During the REM phase, our brains produce, what Hobson calls, a “dramatic symphony” which is often illogical. Hobson’s theory called activation-synthesis theory has garnered enough scientific support and is also called Anti-Freud theory.
Myth no. 6: Opposites Attract
One of the most popular understandings people have is that we are attracted to people who have opposite personalities, beliefs, and understandings. This notion has been propagated via movies, shows, and novels. The technical term which is used for this is ‘complementarity’.
However, research has shown, that when it comes to interpersonal relationships, opposites do not attract. Rather, homophily, (a fancy term that researchers use) similar people attract each other, is the norm rather than the exception. Studies have shown that people are more likely to be attracted to people who have similar views and opinions. People in relationships having similar views and opinions signify signs of compatibility and stability.
Myth no. 7: There’s Safety in Numbers
Imagine two scenarios. In scenario 1, you are walking along the street and are about to be robbed and only see one bystander there. In scenario 2, there are people all around and the same event is happening. Who would you feel safer in? If your answer is scenario 2, then you may be the exception. As most of the research suggests that you’d probably be safer in scenario 1 and there’s danger rather than safety in numbers. But how?
Researchers give two reasons for this. First, is the pluralistic ignorance which basically means a bystander has to recognize that an emergency is actually an emergency. If you see other people not feeling concerned over an issue then you would probably feel that it’s not a serious issue. The second reason is what they call the diffusion of responsibility. It means when there are more people present, the fewer people would feel individually responsible in that situation.
Myth no. 8: Our Handwriting Tells Us About Our Personality
Another myth prevalent is that our handwriting tells us about our personality. There is actually a field devoted to this called Graphology. Researchers, however, have argued that its mere pseudoscience and does not hold any ground. The scientific tests have revealed that graphologists fall under the trap of the P.T. Barnum effect, as mentioned earlier in another article.
Myth no. 9: Psychiatric and Criminal Activities Increase During Full Moons
The fixation with full moons has been a thing with various authors of literature. The various supernatural phenomenon in fiction is linked with full moons like from the werewolf lore. But the obsession with full moons is not restricted to fantasy as various authors have linked with real-life events. Some have linked the full moon with rising in criminal activities, drinking, and lewd behavior, even increase in dog bites!
These authors call it the Lunar Effect or the ‘Transylvania Effect’, and it is deeply embedded in popular culture. Proponents of the Lunar effect argue since full moon leads to rise in tides. And since humans are made up of four-fifths of water, then it is plausible that it has an effect on us too.
But researchers argue that this does not hold any water (pun very much intended!). Researchers did a thorough meta-analytic study to see if there’s a link and found no evidence of the lunar effect being a reality. They call this association illusory correlation, which is the false perception of an association between events where no such association exists. Its what they call a statistical mirage.
Myth no. 10: Most Mentally Ill People Are Violent
This myth’s origin lies in popular culture as various films portray people with mental illness being violent. Movies and shows portray them as ‘psychopathic killers’ having ‘homicidal tendencies.
But actual research suggests that around 90% of people with serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, don’t commit violent acts. Moreover, severe mental illness accounts for around 3-5% of all violent crimes.
So, there you have it. Ten psychomyths busted for you. So the next time someone says that the opposites attract or there’s safety in numbers, you tell them actually it does not! We’ll find more psychomyths to bust in another article. Till then, cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits.
We all love to watch movies in our leisure time. In this article, we are giving you 10 films to make your curious about the psychological state of the human mind. These are handpicked for your viewing pleasure.
Top 10 Movies Related to Psychology
Sybil (1976) is one of the finest films when it comes to portraying multiple-personality disorder in the real world. In this movie, the protagonist suffered from a multi-personality disorder and developed 16 kinds of different personalities in herself. Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, and Brad Davis movie perfectly castes the scenarios, situations and how to behave with the person suffering from the multi-personality disorder. To see this purely psychological driven move you have to glue yourself with a chair to 3 hours and 18 minutes as its very long.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
Released in 1997, Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck starrer film directed by Gus Van Sant is an epic masterpiece that shows how psychology can manifest and help you. In this move Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, a janitor at M.I.T has a great gift of mathematics. The films tell the story of an MIT mathematical prodigy who is able to solve any problem but is struggling to find his own identity. But one day he meets a girl who opens both his mind and heart. When he faces an emotional crisis, he takes help from psychiatrist Dr. Sean Maguireto, played by Robin Williams, who helps him recover. This film is a must watch for its heart moving moments.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
If you want to dive deep into the mind of a psychopath then you cannot Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins. The silence of the Lambs (1991) is one of the famous films revolving around the psychology of the serial killer. It also stars Jodie Foster in a role the defined her career. The film is one of the benchmarks for a psycho-thriller. The film has other parts like Red Dragon (2002) but it’s the original that is the one that all recommend.
Rain main is a fascinating film about two brothers. The film stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as two brothers. The movie blows everyone’s mind by showing extreme memory capabilities of Raymond. He is an astonishing character who is kidnapped by his own brother for ransom. The psychological aspect lies here is in the character of Raymond an Autistic and is a Savant, for his ability to memorize and recall all info he has read or heard before and he can count and do math at astonishing rates.
Matchstick Men (2003), directed by Ridley Scott, is a film about confidence tricksters. It is based on the book by Eric Garcia called Matchstick Men: A novel about Grifters with Issues. The main protagonist, a con artist called Roy, is flawlessly played by Nicolas Cage. In the film, he’s suffering from Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It consists of two themes that are running parallel to each other. One one hand we see a clever story of conmen, filled with the expected twists and an impressive final ‘sting’. On the other hand, we see a deeply personal story of a man struggling to cope with serious mental illness. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in working in Adult Mental Health, whether in psychiatry, psychiatric nursing, psychology or in any of the branches of psychotherapy.
It’s another masterpiece from the Director M. Night Shyamalan and flawlessly played by James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson. Released in 2016, this movie will not let you up from the cushioned sofas and glue you to the screens. Another multi-personality disorder movie will stun you from its suspense and thrills.
Kevin, having multiple-personality disorder carjacks and kidnaps three girls from a supermarket parking lot. He locks up the girls in a room and chillingly reveals at different times, a few of his 23 distinct personalities. It’s a thrill ride that you can’t afford to miss.
Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, is based on a short story by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, called “Memento Mori”. The movie stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano. The film, released in 2000, is described by Nolan as “a psychological thriller about a guy who can’t make new memories and who is looking for revenge”. Memento specifically explores the condition of anterograde amnesia and reflects the difficulty that sufferers have in appreciating the passage of time as they struggle to exist with very limited recent memory. This movie inspired the film Ghajini by A.R. Murugadoss, who made this film both in Hindi and Tamil.
A BEAUTIFUL MIND
A Beautiful Mind is a wonderful psychological drama in which Dr. John Nash who is a mathematical genius and a natural code breaker, at least in his own mind. He suffers from clinical schizophrenia and depression. Russel Crowe plays John Nash in this film to absolute perfection. The portrayal of a person suffering from Schizophrenia is one of the most accurate depictions. According to the DMV-IV (a criterion scale assessing psychological disorders), John Nash was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia because of certain criteria he showed, hallucinations and delusions which lies under this disorder. This film is highly recommended.
THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
In 1971, researchers at Stanford University wanted to study prisons and prisoner behavior. So they undertook an experiment. But it went unexpectedly wrong. The program also managed to bring infamy and change the lives of those who participated forever. Experimenting with a prison first requires a prison. The researchers were able to turn the basement of Stanford’s psychology building into a functional prison. Classrooms and offices became prison cells with hard beds. Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez based on the book The Lucifer effect this movie was an epitome of experimental psychology.
This psychological thriller is one of the most thrilling movies of all time, Trevor Reznik, the protagonist played spectacularly and flawlessly by Christian Bale, is an industrial worker. He’s also on the edge of a breakdown. Trevor Reznik the protagonist who have not slept in a year and his weight plummeting as fast as his paranoia skyrockets, the film documents his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality. The movie also gives an insight to the extent an actor can go while being in character. Christian Bale is famous for this role for risking his life as he lost a lot of weight for this film.
So, here you go 10 handpicked films for you to enjoy. If you have suggestions of your own then let us know in the comment. Till then cheers and be awesome!
With our eyes being constantly bombarded with images and information, how can one build and retain concentration in such a distracted age? This article shares some tips just to do that.
Our life in today’s world seems to be always switched on. We seem to always have our smartphones in our hands, laptop screen in front of our eyes. In the west, an average person spends around 10 hours a day in front of a screen (mobile and computer). In the context of India, a poll found that the connected youth of India spend around nine hours a day on the phone or a computer screen.
These have become, without us knowing, an integral part of your lifestyle. But what these devices have done is hampered our concentration and retention spans. A study found that distraction by emails and phones have led to drop of 10 points in a person’s IQ. Another recent report estimated that we get interrupted every eight minutes, that is around 60 interruptions in our waking day! And all these interruptions contain a lot of information of some kind. A recent survey by the University of California estimated that we are bombarded by at least 30gb worth of information a day!
The overall impact of all this is on our concentration levels. We may be living in a constant state of alertness but never really giving full attention to one thing. This means the development of short attention spans, never able to retain information for a longer duration, and forgetting things very easily. In this article, we will tell you tips in regaining your concentration levels and adapting yourself in the age of constant distraction.
How to Improve Concentration
The Five More Rule
One of the simplest ways to boost your concentration levels in the five more rule. It’s simple, whenever you feel like quitting or giving up, just say to yourself five more – be it minutes, be it pages – as it will enhance your focus. The idea is to go beyond the point of restlessness or frustration which helps build mental strength. It is training your brain to endure and help develop concentration levels.
One Thing at a Time
These days people argue that we have reached new levels of multitasking. But in reality, we are not multitasking but rather switching between activities and not doing each one of them properly. Multitasking leads to a continuous partial attention, which lowers your overall concentration levels. So, the best way is to do one thing, properly, at a time. Before moving on to a different task take a 5-10 minutes break to organize your mind.
Trying to fend off external and internal distractions is not an easy task. One of the best ways is to meditate and becoming more mindful. Meditation leads to mindfulness which helps develop overall concentration levels.
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Another unique way, which you can do in your free time, is to start counting backward from a thousand, sounds simple enough. Well, the catch is to count backward in sevens. It may sound annoying but it is actually a very effective way to develop your concentration levels.
Similarly, spelling words backward is also a good exercise to do. Start with simple words like pen, tip, etc and then move on to bigger words.
Doing regular exercises also help the brain and the body to be in sync. During exercises, the brain is engaged with the body as it works out, which itself requires concentration.
Lack of sleep also affects your concentration levels. One needs to have at an average eight hours sleep daily. But being surrounded by phones and laptops screens we almost go to sleep while using them, which is harmful to the eyes and the brain. It is recommended to have good sleep to keep away from phones or any form of screens at least an hour before sleeping.
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Read a Book!
I know you must be saying, then what will we do if we are not on our phones or on our laptops before we sleep? Then the answer might shock you – Read an actual book! We have gotten so used to skimming information from a screen that most of us have forgotten what reading an actual book feels like. Reading a book not only is good before going to sleep but it also helps you develop your concentration levels as it requires careful reading of the intricate plot structure, complicated characters and the flow of the narrative.
While you cannot do away with a phone in today’s world but you can make it less distracting. For one, turn off all non-human notifications from apps. It means turning off notifications that are sent by non-humans. Another tip is grayscaling your screen. These days hidden in settings is the option to turn your screen into full black and white. The advantage of this that most apps are designed in a way to distract you from your work by using ‘eye-catching’ colors. So, by grayscaling you avoid this trap and you can choose what to use and what not to use.
To sum up, these are eight ways to help you develop concentration levels and help you be more productive in any work that you do. While you are at it don’t forget to explore yourself at Brainpundits, till then cheers and be awesome.