Psychology is a popular topic for students in high school and college. The idea of studying how the brain works, as well as human interaction, is incredibly enticing. Current events in psychology point to a lot of interesting trends, and here are 5 you need to know. Keeping up with these recent findings might help explain some things happening in academia and around the world!
The Psychology of a School Hallway
A lot of psychology focuses on children. As we all know, children are very impressionable. Experiences in childhood and teen years make a lasting difference in people throughout adulthood. There are a lot of things to consider when studying child psychology. A big influence on a child’s mind is school. School can be a great, formative place for a young mind. Unfortunately, it can also be a place of stress and anxiety. A few things go into the stress of school. For starters, the pressure to perform well in classes is quite high. Depending on school norms, things like honors and AP classes can really push students to a mental breakdown.
Children also stress at school about one another. Bullies are one thing, which can really make a young victim feel horrible. Another thing, however, that is growing in research are school altercations. The idea that others may fight or bully one another can also effect students. If fights break out regularly, other students can feel on edge. The possibility of problems at school can lead to lower test scores, and even a failure to show up at all. The stress is too much for some, and there are a ton of negative aspects that follow this stress.
The Psyche of a School
Because the safety of students is in teacher’s hands, current events in psychology point to a few important trends. One being the emphasis on school management, especially in the hallways, by teachers. In a lot of ways, teachers are the first line of defense against altercations in the hallway. Many schools feature security guards and other personnel of the sort. These hired employees, however, are usually wherever they are needed, and cannot be at every location. For that reason, knowing the way to manage a busy hallway is important. The goal is to move students as quickly as possible from one class to the next.
In order to do this effectively, teachers are trying an incentive program. If students get to their next class quickly, classes awarded students a 20 minute party in class. By offering an incentive, students and teachers experienced better passing periods. It’s a huge weight of the backs of teachers. Likewise, students experience less stress and anxiety when arriving to their classes quickly. Rewards go a long way, and current events in psychology always point to reward systems being effective. If that’s what it takes, then it’s worth the benefits!
Complications in Mindfulness Meditation
A big trend in popular culture, especially in the last 10 years, has been meditation. Meditation is a popular practice deriving from centuries of religious practice. The form of meditation most common to those not formally trained in the process is mindfulness meditation. The process, in a few words, is a time to turn off the brain and allow the mind to wander. This is usually done in a quiet place, without distractions, and with no time limits. A timer might be set to keep the user on schedule, but more often than not, time should not be a concern.
Many use mindfulness meditation to handle anxiety and stress. The trick, however, is doing it correctly. A lot of people claim to be avid meditators. In fact, a lot of people who may not have known about the practice a few years before are now very much advocates of the experience. Current events in psychology are grabbing onto recent news, however, that the psychology of meditation is being misused. How does this happen? Well, for starters, the roots of meditation are one of a religious nature. For a long time, meditation has been associated with Buddhism, the religion in which it is a tenant to practice this form of mindfulness. Mindfulness in general is a popular theme of Buddhism. For that reason, the psychology of mindfulness is now becoming a contentious topic as more and more people misuse it as a form of anxiety relief rather than its original use.
Misappropriating a Psychological Experience
The reason Buddhists meditate is not to unwind, but rather to reconnect. While many today use meditation to turn their minds off, through mindfulness ironically enough, Buddhists use meditation to open their minds to the truth around them. As noted recently, this discrepancy has some weary of mindfulness meditation as a regular, casual practice. A psychological review of the debate would likely land on the fact of the matter being Buddhism is the source of the practice. It’s not unlikely that some don’t know the roots of the practice, but as many use psychological practices to deal with everyday life, it starts to repurpose a time honored tradition away from its roots.
Meditation, just like scripture reading or fasting, is a very spiritual process. Removing the spiritual aspect of the act removes the act’s soul purpose. Psychologically, that’s upsetting to many who train for years to master the practice. It’s a great intersection to follow in current events in psychology as more and more people learn of practices associated with different cultures.
Toxic Masculinity Reaching Psychological Crisis
Another big debate in mainstream culture today is gender roles. For years, people have challenged the idea that men are one thing and women are another. The roles in which people place men and women based on their gender often limits their individual expression. It also inherently backs up decades old forms of oppression. In many ways, simply labeling something as masculine or feminine is a form of oppression. Some would go so far to say labeling anything is oppressive, but that’s a bit of a stretch. For lack of a better word, many are looking a masculinity with a stronger criticism than ever before.
There are a lot of reasons to be critical of masculinity. The idea of masculinity as a form of power is dangerous, and puts a lot of people in bad places. Likewise, toxic masculinity uses privilege to exert power over others, including women and minority groups. It’s not anyone’s fault that it exists, but it is something that needs not to be perpetuated in our current time and day. For that reason, the idea of psychological precursors to toxic masculinity are under the microscope. The tricky thing, as always, is the way in which to combat this psychological process. Men are just as plagued by toxic masculinity as women. The negative impact of masculine compounds is felt by all.
Gendered Power Structures in Psychology
A big feature of the pushback against toxic masculinity is finding ways to offer treatments or solutions for the issue. It’s not enough to point to sexism or aggression and call it toxic masculinity. Psychologically, it’s important to identify where these things come from. Like many social issues, it’s a matter of trying to reverse and reject things that many did not address for years before today. Toxic masculinity is the culmination of men not allowing others to challenge their social, economic, and political power. It means rejecting the voices of others, and even worse, actively finding ways to keep their voices silenced.
In short, the process of rejecting toxic masculinity is a new phenomenon in psychology. Studies point to new trends aiming to teach less and less gendered norms to children, in hopes that the change will come generationally. What about those suffering from the issues as adults today? Like any social issue, current events in psychology point to education as the best way to combat these problems.
The Psychology of Misinformation
On the topic of current social issues, the topic of fake news is as popular as any. For starters, the idea of fake news is at its peak. Over the past 20 years, information has moved away from fact and into opinions and posturing. The issue at the heart of fake news is the media. Anyone can watch the news and see general postures being taken, whether it be against Republican ideology or Democratic policy making. The issue at the heart of the matter is the psychology of fact or fiction. Many argue that facts cannot be argued against, but we see time and time again this notion get rejected by both political parties in the United States. For that reason, it’s crucial to find a way to maneuver the current discourse without the plague of rejecting fact in favor of political opinion.
Psychologically speaking, the term fake news is biased in and of itself. The term is associated closely with President Donald Trump, who he himself is a polarizing figure in politics. Current events in psychology even point to the mention of the President as being a way to segment conversations. The goal in the end of all of this discussion is to find a way to return discourse to truth and fact. That doesn’t seem possible, but overall, there are a lot of ways to combat the psychology of misinformation.
Making the Most of a Post-Truth World
There is a lot of talk about a post-truth world. There are too many who fail to realize that certain sources of information are more credible than others. In a lot of ways, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone with a website can write something and call it truth. The over-saturation is plaguing minds all over the country, and psychologically confusing a lot of voters young and old.
The goal according to recent piece by an academic expert is to avoid being unwitting agents of misinformation. The concept of news literacy is crucial, and means the effort to only find and share information from logical, factual outlets. This means nothing leaning to opinion over fact, and especially avoiding outright tools of political and ideological posturing. The goal should always be to consume real information, and not fake news. That’s hard to do, but by learning what constitutes the best information, sharing misinformation can slow and hopefully end one day.
Political Discrimination in Psychology
Something that often gets brought up by conservative journalists and pundits is the liberal bias of higher education. The truth behind this accusation is at least, in part, based in fact. The tricky part of this debate is constituting what makes something biased towards one ideology or another. The fact of the matter is twofold; for starters, ideologies fall on certain socioeconomic paradigms. Traditionally, conservative voters tend to be older, less educated, and more often than not, male dominated. On the other hand, liberal ideologies tend to lean women dominated, as well as higher levels of education and income brackets. The differences can be telling. This can mean a few things in terms of current events in psychology. More than anything, the cause for ideology playing a role in academics is not necessarily a bias so much as a leaning towards who obtains and pursues higher education.
That’s not to say the discrepancy doesn’t play a role in the output of certain fields. For example, a recent survey found that most in the higher education industry were left leaning. Moderates were also present, with somewhere around 15% of academic professionals self-reporting as right leaning. In terms of psychology, the leanings were similar, with most reporting to be left leaning. The challenge becomes whether or not these things enter the classroom, and how they effect research.
The Output of Academic Political Biases
In research, someone’s political affiliations might be clear when dealing with critical topics. Current events in psychology have taken a strong trend towards critical studies, such as race relations, gender studies, and civil rights. The goal is to remove political biases, but psychologically, that can be quite tough given the subject or topic central to research or investigation. The goal is to ensure that leanings do not dictate work being done. Psychologists, seeing as they lean left, should avoid trying to posture their research too much on the political spectrum, and stick to more theory based topics and results.
Of course, professors also teach, and can influence students in good and bad ways. Teachers who get into the classroom and share their personal ideologies can really damage the influence of a college course. It can also deter students with their own beliefs from viewing the professor as a true resource of unfiltered, unbiased information. Ideally, it’d be out of the classroom altogether. That’s impossible given some topics, like abortion and gun control. In the end, it’s important to keep in mind given anything happening in higher education.
Current events in psychology are always changing, which makes it important to the field of study. By keeping up with the latest trends and what’s happening in academia, it’s easy to know how the world might be adapting to the latest research and findings coming from the field’s brightest minds.