Monday, October 31, 2005

Psychology is fun! how about unnecessarily hurting people?

Now I'm one to be serious all the time. In fact, I tend not to be serious at all the wrong times, which is probably not the best quality for a future psychologist. (Warning, I may go the entire way here without saying some moronic joke. Apologies.). Perhaps it is just because I am not used to seeing certain things inherent to this profession, perhaps I am not desensitized to the mess that the human race creates for its self, but I must say that what I saw during experiments were more than a little disturbing.

Before I get to the nasty stuff I saw during the recent psych experiment, I would just like to add something to my previous bitch-fest. As much as I enjoyed ripping my school and the teachers in it, I have to say that I am impressed at myself as to how much I have actually learned in just four years. Almost every client I we saw during my recent internship had something that I was completely comfortable with: sever depression, OCD, Schizophrenia (catatonic type), schizotypal, etc. Granted, these are not pretty common things, but, as my intern doc said, most undergrad psych students wouldn't have the slightest clue about such things because they don't get to learn about them until their masters. The detailed knowledge of clinical disorders and treatment options that I brought to the table were thanks to, in my opinion, a wonderful psych school. Awwwwwwwww Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

Anyways, the amusing stuff from the experiment is as follows:

This one group of students were measuring some unknown variable showed their sample, as their letter to participant says “visual stimuli with music” and “counting of the red dots that appeared” no sweat.. sounds rather straight forward.

The choice of music was some hardcore rock music type of voice that kept going “bitch bitch…” while the video showed shots of people self mutilating, people drinking snake blood and then puking, and people with medical diseases.

Ok.. excuse me for my complete lack of humor about this experiment, but it is becoming apparent that a majority of the participants felt strongly about the content of the video.

as much as I would like to say that it was entirely careless of the student carrying out the experiment I have come the following conclusions.

1. Is the Ethics Review Committee Asleep?
The ERB, or etchics review board, of the university, the same one that is quick to reject students research proposals that explore depression type studies due to its intrusive nature, had actually reviewed the material and approved the experiment. I would like to know, if the ERB had actually checked the contents of the video before saying ok? further, is ERB aware of the context of the viewing of the video? The ‘violent-like’ song with disgusting visual presentations of other human beings, is unbecoming of a psychologist, even for the best of intentions.

2. Don’t Students Have Brains of Their Own?
What kind of absolute morons, would in the first place act so irresponsibly? Don’t these students have brains of their own? the issue really surrounds the fact that the university does not screen the kind of kids it enrolls. I would imagine that that students who have no respect for experimental ethics should not be learning psychology at all.

3. Advice to See a Counselor Just Does NOT Cut it
What’s the deal with asking participants to see counselors if ‘the experiment traumatized you’. I find this kind of a generic debriefing statement utterly disrespectful and irresponsible. As leaders in psychology, are we teaching the new generation of psychologists, that it is ok to traumatize people, if we provide adequate treatment services afterwards? What happened to INFORMED CONCENT? In my opinion, there was no mention of the type of video, hence NO informed consent.

4. Walk Out:
as students, i doubt that we are aware of the implications of supporting such moronic experiments. It is perfectly within our rights are human participants to walk out. Though this may not be the culture within out system, I strongly urge that it be made one. I apologize to the rest, for failing to walk out that experiment. I should have been me, who started the trend. But, now that I am more sensitive to experiments that violate my rights, those of you who are planning to piss me off, better get ready to account for participant mortality and VIOLENCE.

5.Who’s on ERB?
Why are the meetings of ERB such a closely help secret? Why cant the body be more transparent in process? I suggest that the university take necessary steps to make sure that members of the ERB become truly aware of what’s going on. I would like to the psychology student council be invited to sit in ERB committee discussions. Besides, wouldn’t students know what’s best for them?

So what is the moral of this story? If you happen to be at my university one day and just so happen to see a dashing young psychology student handsomely walking around encouraging you to participate in an experiment that does not give you informed consent, just say NO.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Person in Me

Astrorat would like to dedicate the following poem to ......

My heart longs for your love and it longs for your touch.
Sometimes I worry that I want you too much.

I can't understand why I feel how I do.
All I can hope is that you like me, too.

I know it won't happen, but hey, I can dream.
You're not just a friend to me, though that's how it seems.

I can't tell you what you mean to me.
You bring out the best in me.

You drive me so crazy when you're around.
Sometimes I wonder if it's love I've found.

The feelings you've blessed me with are truly unique.
Being around you make my knees turn weak.

I can't believe that you've made me like this.
You're who I think of and who I miss.

I can't get you off my mind.
Really, truly, you're one of a kind

Astrorat would like to thank ..... for being an inspiration in writing!

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Person in Me...

On a personal note, I am slogging my way though conflict resolution… the course can only be described as apPAULling! After an extremely horrid mid terms that I nearly bombed, and lazy assignment, I am gearing up to face a final exam that does not hold much promise. I have given up any chance of an A, or a decent B. A friend of mine (lets call her the ‘lady in the gown’) commented that I should not give up hope yet and that something unexpected may happen. I however, hope her theory stands right for the other things in my life.

Working on a project to measure ‘mental health status’ of the refugee population whom I work with. The plans are still in the drawing board, but that’s the hardest part. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the project is funded by someone!

The script that I have prepared for my teams theater presentation is almost ready. For those of you who can make it, it’s a story about a triangle of love between 3 homosexual girls that leads to encounters in the after life! For those young budding fake psychologists (and real ones, if you are reading this), stop imagining why I would want such a play! However, to find out more, be there at the auditorium of the center for psychology in HELP, KL.

Its experimental session again! the young budding psychologists in college are eagerly carrying out their human experiments/trials with much enthusiasm. Thank fully, I am still given the kind privilege to participate (ya right!). the standards of some of them are… ermm lets just say ‘questionable’. I nearly walked out of one that was showing gross video images of human body mutilations with a to a hard core/rock (violent) music background. The result.. = DISGUSTING. Makes me wonder what ERB (ethics review board) doing any way? Shouldn’t it be their responsibility that no ‘ethic’ are violated? - my thoughts on ERB coming up soon ;) .

Personal life! Ahh.. total wreck! I have made some changes to the outlook of this web page and have attempted to bring my knowledge of psych stuff open and into the public. I am hoping to drive the message that psychology so far has been too restrictive and the more needs to be done to allow people access to knowledge.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Free Your Mind: Marijuana for the Psychologist

There’s a lot of polarized stuff flying around about Wikipedia (and other sites like it) and the quality of its entries, or rather, lack thereof. The same polarizing attacks the veneration of the amateur and arguments against collective intelligence, both of which are perceived as uncharacteristic of becoming a psychologist. Right!

Well, tempting as it is to fall into the game of opposites, I’m going to make a guess that the real truth and actual solutions lie somewhere between. A slightly similar question would be, should ‘amateur’ psychologists be encouraged to steer the direction of modern psychology?

The “command/control/hierarchy is the only way to quality” trap (courtesy of people from APA and others like them) from which many have fought so hard to free their minds is only beginning. What are your thoughts on the issue of ‘psychologists-quality-control’? Could it benefit from some measure of control (or absence of it), and what would that control look like? Or are there merely growing pains on the way to an even deeper understanding of and appreciation of collective intelligence about psychological mechanisms?? And, one more - do you feel that you read all sources more critically now in the age of all-around media that allows easy access?

if you are wondering what marijuana has to do with all of this, well, i was refering to the liberating sensations that 'certain' mj users have reported. and NO.. i do not condone the use of MJ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

7 reasons why psychologists are 'BULLSHITTERS'!

Some of you have asked in emails: why, are psychologists, the ‘biggest bullshitters’ in the world. Well.. lets look at all the great marvels that psychology and ONLY psychology has offered the human race. Written here are highlights about those in pop-psychology

1) Psychologists continually rename the wheel.
One thing we can always count on is the continually renewing creativity of psychologists in reinventing, or should I say renaming the wheel. We repackage common sense and publish books, and encourage the worship the 10 habits, 7 steps, and 9 maxims that summarize the rules that presume to allow you to manipulate, (like a little handy man), the human psyche. The wheel however, comes off after a couple of days, leaving you back in the rut that inspired you to buy into that nonsense to begin with.

But there are many other exciting changes afoot which will serve the human race well in its intellectual age. Read on, I know you want to…

2) Evolutionary Psychology will explain why the average human likes Pamela Anderson.
If you understand the logic in saying that ‘cars work because you have to get to work on time’ then evolutionary psychology (lets just say EP) is the science for you! EP doesn't just hold that we do a lot of things because of the influence of instinctive mechanisms of brain and body, but that an inference as to why our ancestors needed to behave tells us how we now behave.
The half-naked cave babes were important for brutish ancestral cave guys to grab, thus improving 'reproductive fitness' (although feminists would have another take on the matter), and if those cave babes looked like and were selected because they looked (and acted) like Pam, you got the fixins' for an EP theory!

EP explains just about everything about human behavior. The EP account of Pam (which obviously cannot be traced to learning or intelligence) will make psychological science complete.

3) Behaviorism gets a kick up the A$$... again.
As a major school of psychology, behaviorism has been challenged more often than evolution. So far by humanistic psychologists, cognitive scientists, and the famous evolutionary psychologists themselves!!! LOL. Other folks have refuted behaviorism too, but this time it’s the Rotarians, Lions, Boy Scouts, and the Girl Guides. Of course no one will actually understand what behaviorism is, but that's a minor point.

4) Hidden research thats available to none.
Academic psychology journals (yess, the ones you get thanks to APA, BPA, etc) will continue to be written in incomprehensible language on trivial topics. Further, it will remain available in the attic of the local state university library, located half way across the world from you OR sold under subscription for a generous amount of money.

Want to find out why Aunt Lina is acting like a nutcase? Unfortunately there's no WebMD for psychology (sorry?). We do of course we have lots of learned academic journals on psychology, and for a little amount of money (a little more than the life savings of an average college kid) they even have a presence on the web. But that presence is more like an upcoming movie teaser page of movies that are not showing yet. Problem is, these are movies you don't understand, don't want to see or pay for, and are playing only at a theater not near you.

So where do we get our wisdom? Where else but pathetic sources like Dr. Phil, who will continue to perversely influence the field until they dominate psychology as we know it.

5) Language
Consider if the following really means anything.
‘Syllogistic Ecphory’
‘Cognitive System’
‘Dimensional Personality Factors’
‘Spacio Temporal Patterns’
‘Emergist Interactionism’
‘Ontological Identity’
Who are these terms made for?

6) 'Half-ass' breakthrough concepts in psychology will continue to be developed, moving the field… nowhere.
Science is ultimately a pragmatic discipline, and if the equations you use to design rockets or electric sockets are too complicated to use or don't work well, you end up with a blown space mission or a blown fuse. Thus, without knowledge of an accurate and working theory of mechanics or electricity, your future as an aeronautical or electrical engineer is to say the least limited.

However, unlike their contraptions that have to work precisely right the first time, humans are far more accepting of imprecision in their lives, when just muddling through is enough (just like how I get though psych school). So we put up systems that are a notch above in sophistication. Where else but in psychology can you find such high falutin' and half digested concepts like flow, intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, co-dependency, etc. that have no more practical or explanatory power than the common sense your grand-mother handed out? Still, it does sell books which gullible people will continue to buy in this century and beyond. To prove that, ask your self when was the last time you got your self a ‘do it your self rocket’ ?

7) Psychology embrace silly syllables!
A whole sets of syllables that bestows the comfortable illusion, that our understanding of the human condition, is actually getting somewhere, when we're actually only renaming things. In the last century we've seen nativism morph into sociobiology and then into evolutionary psychology. Similarly, peak experience became flow, humanistic psychology became 'self-determination theory', and a candid advice from your best buddy became psychotherapy.

In the future, new terms like gamer's block, internet addiction, repititive sex disorder, and surrender to the matrix (requires blue pill, of course) will enter the psychological lexicon. But by that time I would have changed into stone.

Its great to be amoug the elite in the world ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Orientation Day

Observed another tour of prospective psych students in college this week. I have never done anything like this before (just sitting there and observing), but it was pretty interesting to see what things are like from the other side of the...umm...ok there's no table or anything but you know what I mean. From this one simple inspection I already picked up on a few things that I would like to pass along to future ‘orientees’. I think this information would be most valid to know, if this is how you act around me, the lowly senior, then you may or may not want to be doing this in front of people who really matter.

Rule #1)
Don't wear some moronic pin that you received for being a Leo, School prefect, national flag, toastmaster or whatever. This one guy today was wearing a shiny silver pin on his black shirt that had a gun on it. He probably thought it screams, "ask me about this cool stunt thing I did!" However, it really just wimpers, "I'm a total douche who needs props to commence a conversation with the other students, who's ass I am going to make out with for about two hours in the hopes of winning his/her approval and gaining recognition in psych school". I mean honestly, who fu** ing does that?

Rule #2)
Do ask something that we do NOT like about the school - I really think that is the best way to gauge what is really going on with the school, and is something you can only really ask people who are in and know that the admissions office, or the marketing guys or the brochures don't tell. if you really want to know what's hot, pick up a leaflet dude.

Rule #3)
Don't try to impress tour guides, mentors, or any other student (or anyone else, for that matter) with big words. As other students were talking about the curriculum or add/drop or other thoughts that might actually have a bearing on their future, this one guy (actually the same ass who violated rule #1) just pops out with a question that went something like this: "When do study mental illnesses”, "do you also learn about DID or ADHD or [insert big technical psych word here]?". Luckily for me, we had just learned this stuff last semester so I could say "Yes" and not have to lie to cover up my own inadequacies. But more importantly, I was wondering: What kind of shit asks a question like this on the first day? Was he trying to impress the ONLY people who have no bearing on his future? Was he trying to intimidate the other orientees by talking above them and making THEM feel inadequate? Was he simply covering up his own inadequacies (small penis?) and show off the one bit of information he knows? The answer to all these questions is most likely yes. A$$hole.

Rule #4)
Do ask us about other schools we were considering and why we chose this one. You may likely be in a similar situation and might find it useful to know what factors lead other people considered this school. And of course it lets me show off all the other bigshot places that I wished I goten into (hmm what was that about me and feeling inadequate?).

Rule #5)
Don't, under any circumstances, say something like what was said to me today: "Wow you guys are already old psychology students” when I haven't even graduated from college yet. It's so wierd for me to even imagine doing this old people stuff and even though i will be a grad student soon.

If its the case that you want admire the senior, what the f**k are you doing here in the first place? Fool. Guess what's coming to you in about nine months! Second, You might as well say "Man you guys are f**king old and lame. I would hate to be you." OK maybe not that bad, but you get the idea.

for Astrorat's legal disclaimer,
read this

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Okie.. now i need to figure out how i am going to plan the bunch of endings that seem so hard to spit out. Very soon, no more college... No more tutoring... No more crazy projects... No more camps... and this makes me feel real sad. I need to prepare…

I would have to start saying the incredibly sad goodbyes to the people I have known for four years, and as well as the people I recently got to know, and will miss tremendously.

I am learning that it will be incredibly hard to leave behind the best memories of life. Se la vi, i guess. I don’t know where I am off to.. but hopefully, the journey will move me to get prepared to moving on into clinical school... yikes!...

Once clinical school starts, I hope to string together a series of essays about my life in school and how great and/or miserable it is.

i hope you enjoy...

Monday, October 10, 2005


I'm going to stop procrastinating ... ... ... ... once I get around to it.

the tulip....

Tulips have thought me that, if you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place. And as Elliot says, "only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go"..