I am not a fan. At all. Coffee intoxication was in the previous version of the DSM; but that was also a mistake.
Without getting too much into it, the amount of “significant impairment” that would be required for a diagnosis and treatment would be ridiculous. It would be better to study these in different terms; the etiology of coffee withdrawal (or intoxication) can be found in underlying disorders. Why are we creating diagnoses for symptoms? Let’s not medicalize every aspect of our lives, please.
The DSM is not doing so hot, just ask the NIMH.
What are your thoughts?
Advice for aspiring psych majors, hmmm. I’ll take a page out of my old advisor’s playbook with a simple piece of advice: find out where you want to be and find the shortest route to that destination. Finding out where you want to be is not the easiest task, but it is doable. Early in your psychology and criminology studies, expose yourself to as much material as possible. Read all those books about careers in specific fields and what to do with your degree. If you are thinking research, definitely jump into a lab in something similar to what you would like to study.
Grad school is the name of the game for most of the professions in these fields. Try to make yourself look like a viable candidate for a spot. Study your ass off for the GREs (now, not later), get your grades strong, research schools that you could see yourself attending. Talk to professors in different fields, talk to graduate students in different fields, get as much exposure to the different programs and professions that students enter from those programs. It is more about matching yourself with research or practice interests and less about prestige.
All of that you’ll find in a Getting Into Graduate School book. What you should be focusing on is where you see yourself. Is it teaching and conducting research? Is it practicing therapy with clients or working in a forensic setting? Each choice you make about where you see yourself will take you to a different graduate degree. Some are 4 years, some are 7-8, so save yourself a few years and find the shortest route possible. Don’t get blinded by a single field, look into social work, sociology, psychology, criminology, and counseling.
Again, I think your main driving point should be finding a few things you can see yourself doing long term, and finding the shortest route to your goal. Follow your passions and interests, there are positions available, somewhere.
And breath. Relax, it is only the rest of your life. No really, relax, there are a lot of graduate students and professionals that are more than happy to talk about these sorts of things. Good luck!
Personally, I saw a bigger jump from my former masters program to the PhD program. Although my case is a little different from others.
I earned my BA in psychology and then started a MA in psychological research. I decided to switch subject areas and went into a criminology PhD program that is housed in a sociology program. I had a lot of catching up to do in terms of a sociological background. The jump from BA to MA was merely a workload effect. The switch to the PhD program was learning a new social science paradigm. There was also a drastic increase in university and program prestige, so naturally there was a drastic increase in workload and expectations as well.
Things are going great, thanks for asking! First year almost done! How is everything on your end?
It is extremely difficult to name just a few favorite books (am I right?). However, a few of my favorite authors are Vladimir Nabokov, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson, and Jack Kerouac. Also check out Haruki Murakami Susan Sontag.
There are definitely other authors that I like to read, but these are the ones that I adore and are close to my heart. They also usually have more that a single piece of work that speaks to me.
Non-psychology related? Psychology can’t be excluded from any piece of writing. There are always psychological concepts in every piece of literature that has ever been written by a person, including scientific works in the “hard” sciences.
What about you?
I think the part that irritated me was “almost all academic research believed to be universally applicable to all human beings uses college students…” This isn’t even remotely true. If we are discussing undergraduate and some graduate student projects, then the statement looks a little more valid, but still falls flat. This is probably a bigger issue in my former field of psychology, especially cognitive psychology, and sociology than other academic fields. There, student use is heavy, but many fields just do not use student populations for the obvious reasons. Additionally, using those students just does not answer the questions most fields are created to answer. From a criminology point of view, it would only be helpful if looking specifically at students involvement in criminal or behaviors. Personally, I am using offender data.
I guess I just don’t like research myths that can help to increase the doubt in academic research that a large portion of the population believes. If we are talking about real research from top-tier research journals, the crème de la crème of their respective fields, then this just isn’t true.
But I was probably just being an ass, too.
There is a ton of research in childbirth. Unfortunately, I am not the person to ask as I have little to no interest in the matter. Just guessing, but you’ll probably find more about why individuals choose not to have children, mental health issues and child rearing, and cultural aspects of childbirth.
I haven’t had much exposure to memetics, just cursory readings of the major concepts. I have my issues with evolutionary psychology, but not all of it is horse shit. I am not completely sold on a unit of culture, hosted in our minds, that is passed person to person the same way genes are passed. I’m actually not quite sure how this differs from socialization processes that we have studied and refined for years.
Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll have to look into it a little more!
P.S. many, many brownie points for using approaching significance in the ask. Top notch.
I sat on this for a while in an attempt to put some of the processes into words.
Overall, I think studying psychology has increased, or at least brought out empathy within me. It may just be a selection issue (psychology students may just be more empathetic), but I have met many psychology students that lack empathy. Very generally, psychology has helped me understand that everyone deals with differing levels of issues everyday of their life. Most people are just trying to get by the best they can. The social sciences have also further developed the concept of socialization; everyone is raised to see the world differently. But more importantly, we have all been raised in a system and each person reacts to and within that system in pretty predictable manners. People will hold beliefs and act in a manner that reinforces and conforms to the system they belong. Hell, even those that rebel against the system are just products of the same system and serve similarly important functions. Which is just fascinating. Situational factors of behavior have been the most recent inspiration in my research. Individuals act differently in varying situations, and it is pretty difficult to understand some of their responses because we are not in their situation.
Just a few of the things that psychology, sociology, and criminology have taught me about myself and my interactions with others. Not to mention the fundamental attribution error, cognitive dissonance, and subconscious cognitive processes.
I sat on this question for a while. I’ve been asked this before, but I wanted to come up with something that sounded a little more fatalistic. In all honesty, I’m not really sure how I ended up studying psychology and criminology. I have always felt more like an observer, and less of a participant. People’s behavior has always fascinated me, and I always wondered why people act they way they act.
After high school, I went the long and winding road that is community college. One of my first classes was Introduction to Psychology, and had an enthusiastic professor. I was hooked. I started to apply some of the principles that I learned to family issues and personal relationships, and life started to make more sense. Reading about psychology gave my life more substantive meaning, and helped to put other people into a new perspective. I was initially drawn to psychopathology.
After fooling around with the notion of practicing, I dove into research focussing on cognition, metacognition and learning. Ran some experiments, presented, published, and got bored of it. I ended up switching advisors and getting into more qualitative research with sexual assault survivors. When I was applying to PhD programs, I decided to focus on forensic psychology and criminology, as I wanted to get into research that had some real world applicability. And here I am at a top criminology program.
I have always found the darker side of people more interesting. All the deviant things that initially get us into psychology, but then we are told that there isn’t much work in those fields. Serial killers, gambling, odd sexual behaviors, murder, violence, drugs, you know, sex, drugs and rock & roll. Find something you enjoy and study it, right? They always say “research is me-search,” but what does that really say about me?
What about you? What do you study and what initially sparked your interest in it?
Hello! Without getting too deep into the discussion (there are entire books devoted to the subject), I’ll do my best. Happiness is really just an internal mental state defined differently by each person. Seen this way, the individual doesn’t become happy in the same way that the individual becomes an adult. It might just be semantics, but the point to take away is that happiness is not a destination. The individual doesn’t become happy and remains in that state for the rest of their life. Happiness needs to actively pursued, given effort, and maintained while continually being tested. I can’t begin to understand where you are coming from, but here are some things to consider:
I don’t know if that helps at all. Maybe you were looking for something more research oriented (although most of those are probably empirically supported) or analytical in content (what is happiness? sort of deal). I sort of just ran through a few things that popped up in my mind. Now that I look back, it kind of looks like a self-help 10 step program for happiness. Can I make some money off of this?
Oh, and Travel! and Read! and try Meditation!
No problem, that isn’t rude at all. That you for the compliment on my writing.
I get more interested by an offender’s methods rather than the individual person. There is a lot of glamorization of serial killers and spree killers that I just do not agree with. With that being said, individual offenders’ modi operandi are rich in data. I’m most interested in the more intelligent offenders. Anytime offenders interact with the police, leave notes or manifestos, or create detailed plans I am usually more likely to be interested. If you really forced me to list a few names, I’d say look at Richard Trenton Chase, Ted Bundy, the Green River Killer, Anders Breivik, and Josef Frtizl. Additionally, anything that resembles a scene from Silence of the Lambs or Dexter I am instantly drawn too. But again, I am merely interested in behaviors; let’s not glamorize these people.
I used to really be interested in investigative psychology and profiling, but profiling these offenders leads to more problems when we are trying to study these offenders, so I stuck to the research side of things. WIth the recent increase in spree shootings, I have started researching school shootings and from an organizational and criminal commitment framework.
Thank you again for the compliments! Drop me a line once in a while and let’s talk shop.
1) Never fully discredit human agency. You’d be hard pressed to find respected academics that adhere to fully deterministic models of behavior.
2) Why does that make you cynical? Understanding the individual’s limits, the role of environment and situations, and their interaction is at the heart of modern social sciences. I think it just makes you less naive.
There is almost never a definite conclusion.
Human behavior is extremely complex and even deterministic views of social science have to someway account for human agency.
Methodologically, it really depends on the subject matter. Experiments use randomization techniques that assume all the personal characteristics of the samples that are compared are equally, then any difference is attributed to the manipulation. There is also a large field of qualitative research that denies this is ever possible so it focuses on small populations and absolutely refuses to generalize any results to anyone outside of the sample they studied (this is currently what I am practicing). A lot of social science fields are not able to run a lot of experiments (like my current Criminology field), so we rely on more advanced statistical techniques to account for this variation. Audit studies are kind of neat, as they match of a lot of characteristics to compensate for a lack of randomization.
Statistically, we rely on predictive models that reduce the amount of variation of every individual in order to best predict behavior. Of course, this contains a whole series of problems. Comparison groups are often created, which is similar to randomization techniques mentioned above. But in the end, we just end up accounting for variance and estimating our best predictions.
All fields are currently incorporating some method to account for human agency. Soft determinists (yo!) believe that most of human behavior is determined, but are currently finding the circumstances in which human agency is most likely by examining situations that evaluate the freedom of action and freedom of choice.
Anyone interested in human agency and crime should read:
Agnew, Robert. 1995. Determinism, Indertiminism, and Crime.” Criminology 33.
p.s. Even categorizing and labeling human behavior is complicated and subjective. phew.
Read more. Wait… drink more. It’s a tough balance to find.