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  • Writer's pictureYena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Ah, siblings.

They are often strange creatures that we have grown to love and cherish. Some of us may have them in our homes, but others may not see them at all. Some of us may have gotten into brutal fights with them, but others may only remember being spoiled by them. Whatever the case may be, they sure do a good job at making our lives a lot more interesting.

Now, consider the birth order of you and your siblings. Who was born first? Is there a middle child? What about the youngest? Have you ever felt like the order in which you were born in strongly influenced your personality?

If you nodded your head to the previous statement, then you are definitely not alone. In the 1920s, a famous psychologist named Alfred Adler was one the first people to theorize that birth order impacts one’s personality. He believed this to be true because parents usually treat their kids differently based on birth order. Adler’s theory focused on four basic positions: oldest, middle, youngest, and only.

The oldest child is believed to be...

  • Serious

  • Aggressive

  • Goal-oriented

  • Organized

  • Strict

The middle child is believed to be...

  • Natural mediators

  • Conflict avoiders

  • Highly loyal to the peer group

  • Even-tempered

  • Insecure

The youngest child is believed to be...

  • The entertainer of the family

  • A charming friend

  • Pampered the most

  • Manipulative

  • Control-seeking

The only child is believed to be...

  • Spoiled by parents

  • Highly independent

  • Similar to the oldest or the youngest child

Well, this is all great, but I know that some of you are already thinking that this theory slightly smells suspicious. Perhaps you are thinking that these birth order stereotypes hold little truth, and you may not be entirely wrong!

In a recent study, a couple of German researchers looked at over 20,000 adults from the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom in order to compare siblings both within the same family and people with the same birth order across families. The researchers tried to find a close connection between birth order and personality, but they could not discover anything noteworthy.

Of course, with that study alone, it is impossible to completely throw out Adler's theory. Having these conflicting ideas clearly calls for more research to be done on birth order. However, in the meantime, it probably wouldn't hurt to tell your siblings about Adler's theory and perhaps learning more about yourselves.

#yenakim #personality #birthorder #alfredadler #research

  • Abby Flyer

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

When I study psychology, I like to act as if each psychologist that I study is a close friend of mine. I’ve found that doing so makes it easier for me to navigate the often complicated “who’s who” of the psych world and remember the distinctions between similar-sounding concepts, such as classical and operant conditioning. For instance, let me show you how I like to look at structuralism, an early psychological concept studied by Edward Bradford Titchener— or, as I affectionately call him, “my main man EBT.”

EBT was a Cornell University professor in the 1890s who wanted to look into the structure of the mind. (If it helps you picture him, our main man had a big beard and was born in England, so he probably had a pretty cool accent.) While other psychologists wanted to study consciousness or speculate about the reason that we act the way we do, EBT was more interested in immediate mental experience, or the “here and now” of our thoughts. EBT believed that our thoughts could be broken down into a collection of sensations, or signals picked up using our five basic senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste).

Picture this: you’re spending an afternoon at the movies with EBT, and he hands you a tray of nachos. Of course, before feeling grateful to have such a great friend or excited to eat those cheese-laden chips, you would immediately identify that what he has handed you are nachos. Our main man would tell you that your thought is a deduction based off of the sensations that your brain is receiving. The immediate mental experience of “nachos” is made up of the sight of the velvety orange cheese dribbling down the lightly browned chips, the sound of cracking tortilla as the chips rustle and break against the plastic tray, and the smell of cheddar. All of these sensations come together at once in your brain and spark that single, glorious thought: these are nachos.

Over the course of his career, Edward Bradford Titchener identified that thoughts are comprised of over 40,000 sensations, the majority of which are sounds and sights. He believed that studying psychology relied on introspection, the process of looking inward and reporting the part of one’s sensory experience. However, EBT’s work has been largely criticised because of introspection’s lack of reliability. Any data gathered from introspection is highly subjective, and often times our brains are deceived by information we receive or memories we recall. As the study of psychology advanced, scientists called for more objective ways to measure our thinking.

Cheer up, EBT! You're still our main man!

Thinking about nachos and seeing a movie with EBT are much more memorable and relatable than trying to remember “Titchner/structuralism/introspection” from an AP Psychology outline. Try it next time when you study! Don't just memorize Freud and his psychoanalytic perspective or Pavlov and his classical conditioning; instead, ask your friend Siggie to help figure out the meaning behind that crazy dream last night and ask your buddy Ivan why your dog always drools on the kitchen floor when you walk by his food bowl.

Psychology is the study of us— be a part of the story!

#structuralism #abbyflyer #ebt #mymainman

  • Writer's pictureYena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Like most people, I am uneasy about speaking in public.

I am better now, but I still remember how badly my teeth used to chatter no matter how many times I told my brain to stop. I hated feeling so embarrassed, and I wanted to change so badly. Luckily for me, things started to turn around when I got to high school because that was when I began to force myself to be in vulnerable situations in various speaking clubs.

However, others are not so lucky, and change isn’t as easy for them.

The line between what is normal and what is abnormal can be hard to detect because everyone feels a bit anxious from time to time. But people who experience constant feelings of fear and worry may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. If feelings of anxiety start to interfere with the individual’s ability to live comfortably, treatment may be necessary.

Anxiety disorders can come in many forms. One example is a phobia, which is an intense and irrational fear of a situation or object that poses little to no real danger. There are many types of phobias in the world. Aviophobia is a fear of flying, and alliumphobia is a fear of garlic. Agoraphobia is another common type of phobia, and it refers to the fear of open, public spaces. People may feel a great deal of anxiety if they get in contact with a particular situation or object.

Some may suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD for short. These individuals experience constant worries, and they frequently feel like a bad event is just waiting around the corner for them. Unfortunately, people with generalized anxiety disorder often have trouble identifying the reason for the anxiety.

While GAD involves constant, low-level anxiety, panic disorder is the complete opposite. Without any preparation, people with panic disorder can experience panic attacks that are sudden, short, and highly intense. Individuals often feel scared about when their next panic attack will return, so they tend to look for safe spaces and restrict their daily activities as a result.

Despite these terrible symptoms, anxiety disorders are quite treatable. Health care professionals typically treat their patients with the use of drugs. These drugs correct the chemical imbalances in the brain and overall body, making people feel more relaxed and relieved. Some of these antianxiety drugs include Miltown, Xanax (which resembles the word "anxiety" because of the letter "x"), and Valium.

People with anxiety disorders should not be afraid to seek treatment, and there shouldn't be a stigma. Mental illnesses should never go unchecked, and it is important to understand what they are because anybody can have them.

Note: According to the DSM-5, OCD is no longer classified as an anxiety disorder.

#yenakim #anxietydisorders #abnormalpsychology #mentalillness #phobias #generalizedanxietydisorder #panicdisorder #OCD

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