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.
Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most popular of them all, the Myers-Briggs Indicator or MBTI
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Are you an ENTP or INTJ or ESFJ? Now, before you think we at Brainpundits have lost our, well, brains, these are some of personality type tests that MBTI has to offer. MBTI or Myers-Briggs Indicator is one of the most popular personality type tests out there. Around 2 million people around the world take it annually. It is estimated that around 89 of the Fortune 100 uses this test to hire and manage employees.
It has also inspired various quizzes online based on characters from popular culture like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter etc. But despite its massive popularity and usage among the various organization around the world, the overall psychology community do no deem it to be scientific at all.
This article will trace the origins of the test, explain what is it about and also show the controversy behind it.
In order to tell the story of this test, we will need to go back to one of the major figures in the field of psychology, Carl G. Jung. In 1921, Jung published one of his famous books Psychological Types. In this book, Jung tried to give a formulation of personality types based on his observations. He argued there may exist two personality attitudes: Extroversion and Introversion, and four functions or orientation: Thinking, Sensation, Intuition, and Feeling.
In 1923, one of the contributors to test, Katharine Briggs found this book and made it her gospel. Katharine Briggs was a stay at home mom who had studied horticulture. Jung’s book made a remarkable impact on her and she thought of using the ideas from the book and implementing them in day to day life. A couple of decades later, her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, an aspiring fictional writer, with help from a management consultant Edward N. Hay and her mother debuted the test in 1943.
What is the Test about?
Katharine and Isabel expanded Jung’s original conception into 16 personality types with four binary categories.
Extroversion – Introversion; Intuition – Sensing; Thinking – Feeling; Judging – Perception
The original test had 93 questions, which haven’t changed much in today’s times, and based on the questionnaire, the test groups people into 16 discrete personality types. The details of these types can be seen in the image below.
While it sounds all hunky and dory but when you start scratching the surface cracks start to appear. The problem arises with the test that is there is no scientific validity for the test. A study showed that around 50 percent of the people end up having different results on the test, the second time they take it, that too after just a few weeks later. Other studies have also argued that the test is indeed ineffective in predicting how certain types maybe successful at different jobs.
Interestingly, all the major scientific journals of psychology have no research published based on this test. Whatever few articles that are available on this test are there to point out to the flaws that it has. While on the issue of the Rorschach test, as discussed in a previous article, the scientific community was divided. But on Myers-Briggs Test Indicator, they seem to be united in agreement that this test does not have any scientific validity.
Why is it Popular then?
Then you may wonder if this test is not scientifically valid and the majority of psychologists do not use this, then why is it so popular? The answer lies in a phenomenon called the Forer effect and effective product management by then Edward Hay. After its debut, the test was effectively marketed by Edward Hay, who had connections with General Electric, Bell Telephone and most importantly National Bureau of Statistics. Through his connections, the test got employed in early major corporations. Now, as mentioned earlier, the test is not only employed by various private companies in the world but also various government organizations.
The Forer effect, or the Barnum effect, refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals are prone to believe that personality depictions apply specifically to them, but in reality, the descriptions are for everyone. A perfect example of this is your daily horoscopes. That is why most descriptions of the personality in Myers-Briggs Test Indicator are positive in their nature. So, one can even say this test – and different inspirations from it – is for entertainment, which is absolutely fine.
The dilemma comes, as Merve Emre argues in her new book argues, that in theory there are clear ethical violations how CAPT and CPP peddle this test without having any scientific basis as reliable; but in practice, many of the companies and organizations that use this test clearly have different definitions of ethics.
So, even though the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator has had a controversial stint with the scientific community. It still enjoys the support of the people at large. And it cannot be denied that this test still remains one of the most popular ones out there.
Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most culturally famous of them all, the Inkblot test or the Rorschach Test
The Rorschach test is one of the most famous and also one of the controversial tests that the field of psychology has produced. Once touted as the X-Ray of the soul, the test is now a part of cultural history as it has become a reference point in various shows and movies. There’s even a comic book character based named Rorschach with an inkblot as a mask. If you haven’t heard of it or know little of, not to worry as through this post I will enlighten you about it.
Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922) was the mind behind the origin of the test. He was a young psychiatrist from Switzerland and was hailed a prodigy. He had worked along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung during his early years.
The idea of the test came to him from a children’s board game called Klecksography, a collection of inkblot cards. He published the test in 1921, sadly though Hermann Rorschach died less than a year before he could witness the popularity of his test.
What is the test about?
The test is a strange and a very open-ended test, in which there are 10 cards with strange markings in them. They don’t have any specific pattern to them and there is no expected answer to these inkblot cards. It’s a visual task which aims at self-projection.
Which basically means when you respond to one of these cards you are projecting your unconscious thoughts. It is a form of, what psychologists call, a projective test. By telling what they see in the inkblot, people actually telling about their views, their personality and how they project meaning and perceive reality.
Image Source – Wikipedia
Example of an Inkblot
In the image, you see an example of an inkblot card from the test. Predicted answers to this inkblot range from animal skin or skin rugs. The card signifies, according to psychologists, a threatening figure in order to elicit a sentiment of authority.
There are nine other inkblot cards like these and each is shown in a particular order according to the requirement of the test.
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Supporters of the Test
The test, however, is not without controversy as it has divided the whole community of psychologists. Some support the test as an important asset for a psychiatrist while the critics question its very validity.
The supporters argue that the test gives you a remarkable insight into an individual’s personality and may uncover hidden malice.
For example, on IQ tests or other standardized tests most troubled people can keep it together but studies have shown that the inkblot test reveals a different side to them.
Some psychiatrists have argued that while other tests may fail to reveal much but the Rorschach may be able to raise some red flags. For them, the 10 inkblots are sensitive and accurate tools to map how the mind works. Various researchers have used the Rorschach test to see early onsets of Alzheimer’s, which is a remarkable study.
Critics of the Test
The critics, however, question the very validity of the test. The question of validity rests with the idea what answers are reasonable, and more importantly, who decides what is reasonable. This is at the heart of the arguments against the usage of this test. The critics consider the test pseudoscience which should not be used in any kind of examination.
Other points of criticism are the implicit bias of the testing psychologist who may, unconsciously, project his/her beliefs in the responses. Some have questioned the very nature of the methodology involved measuring the personality. Finally, some have argued that the test not reliable for example, two different testers might end up getting two different personality profiles for the same individual.
Despite various controversies and critics of the test, the Rorschach test is still one of the most popular tests. It is still considered valid in the court of law, various medical insurance companies in the West considers its results valid. The test is also a cultural reference point. For example, Andy Warhol, on the creative geniuses of the 20th century, created a painting based on the test. Other examples include the comic book character from Watchmen, mentioned earlier.
So, suffice it to say the Rorschach test has made a cultural mark on the society and even though it still polarises the psychiatrist community, it is still one of the most influential personality tests out there.
In the next series on Personality tests, I will trace the origins and the story of another popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Indicator. Till then be cheers and keep exploring yourself at Brainpundits!
In the previous article, I had outlined the rising anxieties with regard to the rise of A.I. and automation in various sectors of employment. As discussed earlier, there are various jobs that may get redefined in the wake of the automation revolution. But what are the jobs that will remain safe? Also, what are the new skills you may need to acquire to get you ready for an uncertain future? In this article, I will try to answer your questions.
So What Jobs are Safe?
The types of jobs that are most secure are the ones that require the creative side of the human mind. Genuine creativity is one of the key things that will take A.I. or robots a long time to catch up to, so for now, humans are still the best at that. So, jobs like designing – graphic, interior, fashion – developing a new software or an app, or creating a new business strategy, are a safe bet, as they require unique human ingenuity.
The second area of occupations that will remain safe is those that involve building complex interpersonal relationships with people. For instance, jobs like building relationships in business with a client or another prime example are of nursing, as nurses have to build and maintain close relationships with the patients.
In fact, the Future of Employment report identifies certain jobs that are safe from automation. They are recreational therapists (be it in rehabs or other care centers), or mechanics and plumbers, as these jobs are based on contingencies that a machine may not be able to handle. Other jobs include social workers and occupational therapists.
Then there are jobs in the hospitality industry like waiters/waitresses, chefs/cooks etc. For a better mapping, look at the below figure based on the U.S. Department of Labour which predicted the jobs of which the demand would grow.
Source: Screenshot from a video by Vox on automation. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOT0GOyw2pY&t=11s
A recent report by E&Y suggests something similar is happening in the case of India, as it suggests that around 35% in the I.T. industry will face an existential threat in the next five years and various job profiles will be redefined to keep up with the changes that are happening. Not only the I.T. industry but various other industries, in the report, are identified that are in the process of redefining current job profiles, signaling a redefinition of the very skill sets that you may require.
Skills and Tips
So, how to counter these rapid changes and equip yourself to face these shifts? Well, the most important advice is to diversify your portfolio. In order to assure not only your survival but also growth in any job industry, you will need to diversify your skill set. For example, if you are a software developer in a company and know only one particular computer language, it would be better for you to learn different languages in order to maximize your contribution to your company.
Diversification can also come in the form of acquiring skills like writing, learning a foreign language, or getting tech savvy (for those who are technologically challenged), as all of these things ensure that you’re not a one trick pony and are also comfortable doing other things too.
Another important skill that you can work on is your emotional and social intelligence, as it can be discerned from most of the studies that jobs in the future rely most on interpersonal relationships. So, if you feel that you’re not comfortable around people or that you get nervous around social situations, then I think its time you hone your social skills in order to prepare yourself for the future ahead.
As even though the anxieties about future are fixated over automation and rise of the A.I., what is getting sidelined is the by-product of these changes, the increase of interpersonal relationships as an industry. Improving such skills will not only improve your chances at work but will also increase your social network.
Now, I can sense you wondering: What if I don’t know what type of person I am? How do I know if I am ready for this uncertain future? Well, don’t worry as I have a solution for all your confusion as we at Brainpundits are here to help you in every step of the way.
There are various psychometric tests that Brainpundits offer in order to help you know yourself better. All these tests will not only help you realize your true potential but also enable you to prepare for the future. So, what are you waiting for? Go to Brainpundits and start exploring yourself!
Till then cheers and be awesome!
Well, for now, robots aren’t taking over our jobs. Check how employable are you with the help of our free test series.
A spectre is looming over the future of employment in the world – the spectre of automation. In a much-cited study by the scholars at Oxford University, aptly titled The Future of Employment, predicted that in the next 20 years around 47% of jobs could be automated, i.e. smart machines would replace humans (2013). Another recent study by McKinsey and Company found that about 30% of tasks in nearly one-third of occupations could get computerised. In fact, famous entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, while worrying about the future, talked about how it could lead to mass unemployment. Bill Gates went as far as to suggest that a time may come when we’ll have to tax the robots!
Is the Hype Real?
So, is the anxiety real? Or is it just yet another exaggerated prediction about the future of jobs? In the past 60 years, according to one study, only one of the 270 jobs got eliminated due to automation: of the elevator operator. This overreaction towards the advent of new technology is called the ‘Luddite Fallacy’ where actually technology ends up creating new types of jobs.
Some of the major economists have argued that this sort of anxiety has always cropped up whenever there’s been any technological advancement but they all amounted to nothing. Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, while talking on the issue in a video, argues that automation does indeed displace workers but it doesn’t affect the total number of jobs in the economy because of the new opportunities that arise because of changes in technology.
But some argue that with the rise of intricate A.I. and leaps in machine learning, we may be witnessing a different beast altogether. Let me give you an example of Watson, which is a highly sophisticated computer system that is capable of answering questions in natural human language.
If you are thinking what’s that got to do with the future of employment, then think again as IBM’s machine is already creating a revolution in the field of HR as various employers have started using the power of Watson in future recruitments. In fact, in 2011, Watson managed to defeat two humans in the highly famous quiz game Jeopardy which announced to the world the future of machines is already here.
What is also different this time around is the rate of change in technological advancements which is staggering. Just to give a picture of what I am talking about, in 2004 two different studies assessed on the level of computing power, and the first one assessed the teaching computer to drive on the road is something that is unforeseeable (The Divison of Labour, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, 2004), while the other study argued that human level speech recognition for computers will remain an elusive goal for the next few decades (Reddy, 2004). And then you think of Siri (introduced in 2011) or Google Assistant (2016) or Cortana (2016) or the self-driving cars we have been hearing about for some years now, which makes you realise how we may be just underestimating the speed of these changes. What may seem unimaginable today may be a reality in 5 or even 10 years.
So What Types of Jobs are at Risk?
According to Martin Ford, a futurist argues that due to further advancement in automation, certain types of jobs are at a higher risk, especially jobs which are repetitive and predictable in nature (2015). So, job profiles which follow a set pattern are most likely to be replaced by the machines in the coming decades. Going back to the Oxford study, for example, it found that jobs like telemarketing have a 99% chance of being automated. In the west, the trend has already stared where people are receiving calls from robots! Other jobs that the study predicts that are likely to get automated are the job of a loan officer (98%), a machine going through numbers and data to finalise if a person eligible or not for a loan, or a bank cashier (97%).
Even the legal industry is not immune to automation as the study predicts that the routine tasks of assistants to lawyers have a 94% chance of getting automated. According to a recent report by Deloitte around 100, 000 jobs in the legal sector have a high possibility of being automated in the next two decades. The Oxford study even puts the likelihood that the job of a taxi driver being replaced by a robot at a staggering 89%! And with the industry pushing towards advancements in machine learning and a smarter A.I., the feasibility of technological singularity doesn’t seem to be fiction anymore.
Okay, I know you must be thinking of numerous things like it’s not happening now and you should not be worrying about the robots taking your jobs. But it is happening and automation will change the way a workplace looks like. This also means the nature of employment will change, requiring new and different skills for a new work environment. But what sort of skills? What type of jobs of the future are safe from automation? And more importantly what are tips that you can know about thinking about your future. All of your questions will be answered in the next part of the article, till then cheers and be awesome!
When one thinks about personality tests these days, the most talked about is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is almost a benchmark that most of the corporate world uses to assess future employees. There are also various pop-quizzes available online or on Facebook that seem to tell what colour are you or what celebrity you are. The essence of all these quizzes and tests are something that is innate in humans, which is the curiosity to know about oneself. And this is not a recent phenomenon as in this post I will talk about one of the oldest personality tests that we came up with. It’s called the Temperament test.
What is Temperament?
Before I trace the origins of this test, you must have heard the word Temperament and may even have some vague understanding of it. The loosest meaning one associates it with is with one’s mood. But there’s more to it that meets the eye. Temperament, apart from being our attitude towards life, is an essential part of the overall personality that describes the initial state from which personality develops and links individual differences in overall behaviour. The study of temperament, Rothbart has argued, is old as Hindu Upanishads and as recent as studies on molecular genetics (Rothbart, 2006).
Greek Origins – Temperament Test
The origins of this test lie way back in the Graeco-Roman era. The Greek physician Hippocrates came up with the concept of four temperaments – Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic (which I will discuss in detail in a bit), which was a part of his overall work on humorism. The theory relies on the balance of our bodily fluids and any dominance of one resulting in the overall health of the person. The four bodily fluids that Hippocrates talked about are – Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile, and Black Bile.
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Galen, a physician, further using these bodily humors and named the personality types according to their respective dominance.
- Sanguine – Blood
- Phlegmatic – Phlegm
- Choleric – Yellow Bile
- Melancholic – Black Bile
From this conceptualisation came the oldest personality test, the Four temperaments test. It has had an influence on later formulations of tests like Carl Jung’s inspired MBT. Now, let’s discuss each personality type in detail.
Sanguine – The Adventurer
As the bodily fluid dominant in this type is blood, signifying a desire for adventure, the people belonging to this type are usually adventurous, fun loving and always craving for people’s attention. Sanguine personalities are optimists, buoyant, carefree, and cannot tolerate getting bored. They constantly crave things to do and cannot sit idle.
This attribute means that a person with a sanguine personality can be a great artist. They are also great entertainers as they are the life of a conversation and of the party. The ideal activities for this type of person are travelling, going to social events, and also unplanned plans. They also love working with others so best career for them would be which where close connectivity with people is the norm. More concrete examples of jobs would be marketing, fashion and interior designing, and even sports
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Phlegmatic – The Social Butterfly
People with this temperament type are very social. They are a people person and love maintaining interpersonal harmony with them. They are also loyal and tend to maintain relationships – be it friends or family – for most of their lives.
Phlegmatic people would go to great lengths to avoid getting involved in a conflict. They also like to help other and indulge in charity work. They may usually like doing volunteer work during their free time. Examples of jobs for phlegmatic personalities include nursing, counselling, social work, and teaching.
Choleric – The Aspirant
Choleric people are goal oriented and love being organised. They are extremely pragmatic and straightforward when it comes to real life situations. Due to their high levels of pragmatism, they sometimes are not the best companions.
They love a challenge and are highly disciplined. They are able to think logically and do not let emotions influence their decisions. They love having meaningful conversations with like-minded people. Ideal work environments for them would be engineering, data analyst, programming, and also entrepreneurship.
Melancholic – The Thinker
Lastly, people belonging to the Melancholic personality type are reserved but very knowledgeable. They love working alone as they perform the best when they are by themselves. They are, as the name suggests, very thoughtful and considerate when it comes to problems of the people.
They are also very creative and self-reliant, as they hardly require anybody’s help in their work. The downside that may happen to these attributes is that one can get obsessive over little things which may have a negative influence on others. Ideal jobs for people like these are accounting, research analyst, writer, artist etc.
In Conclusion – Harry Potter and the Four Temperaments
Before I finish off, a quick example from the world of popular culture and how the four temperaments can still be considered relevant when it comes to personality types. In the book, and later in the films, students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during initial orientation, as it were, are sorted via a magical hat. The magical hat divides the students into four houses. Each house can be considered the four temperaments here.
The Gryffindor house represents the people who are courageous and ambitious, signifying the Sanguine type. Students who are studious and love details represent the Ravenclaw house. Whereas house Slytherin represents students who are cunning and shrewd can be considered to represent the Choleric personality. And Hufflepuff house represents students who are loyal and trustworthy, which are similar characteristics of the Phlegmatic personality. So, think about it, which wizard house you belong to? The answer may surprise you!
Till then cheers and be awesome!
Rothbart, Mary K., ” Temperament, Development, and Personality“. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2007: Vol. 16, pg. 207
Have you ever asked yourself, what is an education? Many people will answer that education is a. going to school; b. getting good marks, and c. eventually getting a degree that would end up getting you a job.
That is usually the understanding one has of it, no matter where you live in the world. Parents and peers alike tell you, and at times coerce you, to follow this educational setup in the society. But what if I tell you that this understanding of education is a narrow one, confined to the walls of a classroom.
I will tell you the story of education that is beyond and outside these walls. An education where marks are not the only markers of progress but overall personality development is.
An education where degrees are not important but experiencing the varying dynamics of life is. An education where there is no notion of failing as each moment is a learning experience which helps you be a better person.
Failing Behind Closed Doors
I remember during my years throughout school, I used to dread the idea of failing an exam. It’s a dread that we all have, even though we don’t know why failing is seen as such a huge deal. And then I ended up failing my 12th exam.
Little did I know that failing that exam would change the way I look at life and how I came to know about an alternative understanding of education. I stopped going to school after that as I took a break from walled education. I started to explore myself and also started to explore life in the outside world.
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Education 2.0 – Beyond the Classroom
The years I spent outside the classroom, are the actual years that I really learned about myself, about people and about life. I traveled, read books, and also started expressing myself, be it through articles or conversations.
I met and talked to different people in my journey and saw myself getting transformed from a shy-boy, who used to get tongue-tied when talking to people, to a confident man who loves initiating conversations. My curiosity to constantly explore the world led me to new paths.
All these experiences made me more emotionally stable and also open-minded to different ideas and perspectives. These experiences also made me more confident about handling problems that life could throw at me.
A Symbiotic Relationship
I became more assertive about my ideas and my curiosity grew and it eventually led me back to the classroom. But this time not only I was prepared for it, but I also knew what I wanted to study about in life. I did not let other people dictate my choices anymore.
I started reading History in detail to learn about India and how it has reached so far. I also read English literature to know about the subjective experiences of people and their lives. And I also started studying Political Science, a subject I would do my higher studies in, which made me realize about the rules of the society and how they govern the overall functioning of the society.
My experiences outside the classroom actually enabled me to do well inside the classroom. I began linking my experiences, from outside the classroom, with concepts and facts that I started to learn inside it. This made me realize the sheer importance of synergy between the two modes of learning. This symbiotic relationship between the two, I feel, is very important for the overall development of an individual and his/her personality.
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The problem I feel with the mainstream definition of education lies with importance to marks, and they were the markers of someone’s intelligence. But these marks do not define or even help a person’s personality development or even intelligence.
In fact, many have started questioning the very famous IQ test as a reliable marker of a person’s intelligence. Many have now started advocating for overall personality tests that would help people understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can have a better understanding about themselves, which will enable them to walk a more suitable path in life.
And in order to develop an overall personality, one has to first understand that there exists a realm of education outside the walls of a classroom, which is as equal as the one inside the classroom. They not only complement each other but excelling in both would lead to a more complete, well You! So, what are you waiting for?
Start educating yourself by going outside, meeting new people, traveling, and exploring in order to realize the full extent of your potential. And remember, there is no such thing as the failure but rather everything is an experience you learn from.
Now, I have talked a lot about personal development and some of the dimensions of it in this article but I can hear your asking, how do I know what traits I have? Am I an assertive person? Am I an open-minded person? Or Am I pragmatic or a romantic? Well not to worry, as Brainpundits has all the answers to your curiosity about yourself as it offers you various personality tests that you can take to fully explore yourself.
So Happy exploring yourself and be awesome!