Groupthink and Conformity

Groupthink and Conformity

By Crystal Tsui

Have you ever been in a group and did not agree with the group’s decision, but had to agree because they would reject your idea?  Irving Janis, a social psychologist, first coined the term groupthink to describe this situation. His main aim was to understand how a group of individuals collectively come up with excellent decisions one time and fail at other times. Groupthink happens when a group of people with good intentions, but they make irrational decisions that are spurred by the urge to conform. Group members value harmony and coherence above rational thinking and refrain from expressing doubts and judgements or disagreeing with the consensus.

Irving Janis observed the following eight patterns of groupthink:

  1. Illusions of Invulnerability: when the group displays excessive optimism and takes big risks, the members of the group feel that anything they do will turn out to be successful.
  2. Collective Rationalization: when the group rationalizes thoughts or suggestions that challenge what the majority is thinking
  3. Belief in Inherent Morality of the Group: the belief that whatever the group does will be right. This causes the group members to overlook the consequences of what they decide.
  4. Out Group stereotypes: is the belief that those who disagree are opposing just to oppose the group
  5. Direct Pressure on Dissenters: the majority directly threatens the opposing group member by telling them that they can always leave the group if they don’t agree.
  6. Self-Censorship: the opposing individual believes that if they are the only odd one out then they must be the one who is wrong.
  7. Illusions of Unanimity: Silence from some is considered acceptance of the majority’s decision
  8. Self-Appointed Mind Guards: Members of the group who take it upon themselves to discourage alternative ideas from being expressed in the group.

There are numerous studies supporting the fundamentals of groupthink and conformity. One famous study was the Asch Conformity experiment. Solomon Asch gathered his participants to take a vision test where three lines at varied lengths were compared to one other; which was longer. The participants were asked to identify the lines with matching lengths. Ninety-five percent of participants answered every question correctly. Then Asch placed actors in the groups, who confidently volunteered the same incorrect answer. The accuracy dropped to 25 percent, indicating that 75 percent of the participants went along with the group’s incorrect answer for at least one question.

An Emory University neuroscientist, Gregory Berns, found that when we take a stance different from the group, we activate the amygdala, a small region in the brain associated with the fear. We don’t like to be rejected so we refrain from speaking up against the group, which supports Janis’ pattern of groupthink: Direct Pressure on Dissenters. Professor Berns defined this situation as “the pain of independence.” Many government decisions are cited as a result of groupthink, such as the Vietnam War or the invasion of Iraq.

Groupthink also fosters a strong “us vs. them” mentality that prompts members to accept group perspectives in the heat of the moment, where there is also a strong pressure from the outside to make a good decision. An example in literature is George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where the animals make a nonunanimous decision to rid the farm of humans. There were animals there that quite adored being loved and owned by a human, however, those animals had to agree because the leader of the animals would punish them otherwise.

After periodically experiencing groupthink, an individual may become shy and become more introverted. They may be afraid to speak and include their own ideas in fear of the group rejecting their idea.

If you or someone you know have social anxiety and fear of speaking up, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/groupthink

https://www.communicationtheory.org/groupthink/

https://www.capitalideasonline.com/wordpress/the-pain-of-independence/

https://counselingrx.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/f74c8-1d9gxs1dxyteswk7e7zgd2q.jpeg

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Shyness and Introversion

Shyness and Introversion

By Crystal Tsui

We all know someone who prefers to stay in rather than go out and party or someone who barely talk in a group setting. We may call them shy, quiet, or maybe socially awkward. But they may just be an introvert. Introversion and shyness are often times used together. However, shyness revolves around the fear of negative judgment while introversion is the preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. So it is possible for a person to be a shy extrovert, where the individual is afraid to speak up, fearing negative judgment, more so than exhausted in a certain social situation.

Despite the difference, there is also an overlap between shyness and introversion, e.i. many shy people are introverted. Some people are born with “high-reactive” temperaments that predispose them to both shyness and introversion. A shy person may become more introverted over time, motivated to discover the pleasures of solitude, other minimally stimulating social environments, and to move away from judgments. On the other hand, an introvert may become shy after continually receiving the message that there’s something wrong with them.

There’s a shared bias in our society against both shyness and introversion. Neither trait is welcomed in our society because studies have shown that we rank the fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likeable, and even smarter than slow and quiet talkers.

Here are 5 ways introverts can spend time that is deeply fulfilling and socially connected:

  1. Reading. Books transcend time and place. Studies have shown that reading fiction increases empathy and social skills.
  2. Enter a state of “flow” by doing work or a hobby that you love. Flow is the transcendent state of being, in which you feel totally engaged in an activity. People in flow don’t tend to wear the broad smiles of enthusiasm. When you watch them in action, the words “joy” and “excitement” don’t come to mind. But the words “engagement,” “absorption,” and “curiosity” do.
  3. Keep an informal quota system of how many times per week/month/year you plan to go out to social events and how often you get to stay home. This way you can plan which parties or get-togethers you can truly enjoy and which you don’t. So you are less likely to drive yourself mad thinking you should’ve stayed home.
  4. Have meaningful conversations.
  5. Spend time and show affection to the ones you love, whose company is so dear and comfortable that you feel neither over-stimulated nor anxious in their presence.

If you or someone you know is dealing with social anxiety or suffering from a disruption of their social life, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.quietrev.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/QR_ebookMay8-2015.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?_r=0

https://live.staticflickr.com/627/21427437162_910d54e08e_b.jpg

Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

By: Julia Keys

It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. We compare ourselves to others so often that they rarely even notice it. A social psychologist named Leon Festinger first proposed the social comparison theory in 1954 stating that humans look to others in order to evaluate their own self-image. Comparison is a necessary part of human cognition. We need to compare things in order to make choices. For example, imagine you are choosing between two different new cars to buy. One must compare the different traits of each car in order to make a well-rounded decision. Unlike cars, humans have unique and complex sets of experiences and genes, so comparing yourself to others isn’t logical. Unfairly comparing yourself to others is an unhealthy habit that can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of anxiety, and feelings of depression. Everyone has compared themselves to someone else at some point, but some people seem unusually preoccupied with it.

Here are some reasons why certain people tend to compare themselves to others frequently:

  • They feel like they have a lack of control over their life
  • Low self-esteem, low self-confidence, or low self-worth
  • History of being compared to a family member
  • Lack of self-knowledge/self-reflective skills

Ways to stop comparing yourself to others:

  • Limit social media use and when using, seek connection, not comparison
  • Take note of how often you compare yourself to others and mentally tell yourself to stop
  • Keep a journal with your own goals, aspirations, and self-reflections. Many times, people become so attached to certain ideals that they adopt from others that they forget to develop their own ideals. For example, if a child was told by his mother all his life that he must pursue a certain profession, they may be ignoring other career paths that they want to pursue. It is important to self-reflect so one can align their goals and behaviors to the wants and needs of their true selves.
  • If you do compare yourself, try to compare yourself to someone/something that is just slightly out of reach and well defined. When comparisons are general, one can get stuck in a rut of constant unfair comparisons instead of taking action and being able to achieve specific goals. Additionally, comparing yourself to something that is so out of reach can be discouraging. For example, if a woman compares body to an Olympic athlete, she is not setting a defined goal in order to be more like the athlete. In this case, it would be more helpful for the woman to aspire to be like her active friend who walks every day and schedule daily walks so she can exercise more.
  • Practice gratitude for your mind, body, spirit, and relationships
  • Only compare yourself to yourself, which is also known as internal validation. Internal validation is beneficial to your well-being and self-esteem.

If you or someone you know is struggling with low self-esteem or confidence issues, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 Sources:

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-neglect/2019/05/5-reasons-you-compare-yourself-to-others-and-how-to-stop-it/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201711/the-comparison-trap

Source for Picture:

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Autism vs. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Autism vs. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

By Crystal Tsui

Autism and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder are often diagnosed together. However, DMDD is a fairly new diagnosis that first appeared in the DSM-V in 2013. As per DSM-V, DMDD is typically diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 18 years old, but symptoms can begin before the age of 10. Before the child is diagnosed, symptoms should last about a year. DMDD goes even further than childhood “moodiness.” It can cause functional and emotional impairment.

Symptoms of DMDD include:

  • Irritability or angry most of the day, almost every day
  • Severe, explosive temper (verbal or behavioral) an average of 3x or more per week, not related to a situation and child’s developmental level
  • Trouble functioning in more than one place (e.g. home, school, and/or with friends)Autism Spectrum is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders. It has been categorized by patterns of repetitive behavior and difficulties with social interactions. Symptoms tend to be present in early childhood and affects daily life and functioning.

Symptoms of autism include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Isolation
  • Obsessive interests
  • Resistance to physical contact
  • Word repetition
  • Little danger awareness

Individuals with these symptoms are not guaranteed to be autistic. Since autism is a spectrum disorder, each individual has their own strengths and challenges. Early intervention has shown to lead to positive outcomes later in life for individuals with autism.

Because both of these disorders are usually diagnosed together, there are no set ways to treat either disorder. If a parent or guardian is concerned about diagnosis or treatment plans, always feel free to get a second opinion.

If you or someone you know who may have Autism and/or DMDD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Disruptive-Mood-Dysregulation-Disorder-_DMDD_-110.aspx

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/disruptive-mood-dysregulation-disorder-dmdd/disruptive-mood-dysregulation-disorder.shtml

https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/dmdd/dmdd-and-autism-how-are-the-two-related

Image:

https://www.healthyplace.com/sites/default/files/styles/related_articles_tile/public/2018-07/Challenges_of_Parenting_a_Child_with_DMDD.jpg?itok=sueCdX4V

Memory in Children: Do Games Help Improve Memory in Children

Memory in Children: Games Help Improve Memory in Children

By Crystal Tsui

There are many types of memory; episodic, working, procedural, sensory, and so on. But for children, the most important type of memory that they should be exercising is working memory. This is because working memory, a form of short term memory, is where information is consciously stored in the mind at any given moment. We use working memory to be able to remember something long enough to do something with the information.

How does this apply to children? Well, children with better working memory can:

  • Apply previously learned information to new situations
  • Stay focused and on-task
  • Follow complex and multi-step directions

Their attitudes change and they are better-behaved and less likely to daydream and act out during class.

A study in Japan studied eight year old students completing a 10 minute task every day for two months. The students had to recall the second number in a four number sequence and the results showed that there was a 12% increase on their IQ scores than the control group. The study also reports the results on adults had the same effect, although not as dramatic. In conclusion, yes, memory games do improve working memory in children.

Here is a link to an article that lists a bunch of games you can play with children and it includes directions for each game. https://childhood101.com/short-term-memory-games/

If you or someone you know has trouble with attention, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://childhood101.com/short-term-memory-games/

https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/working-memory-games/

https://www.health.com/syndication/healthy-woman-collapses-rare-brain-condition-icu

http://www.sweetadditions.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Memory-Games.jpg

 

Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

By Lauren Hernandez

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder characterized by a pattern of disruptive, argumentative, and hostile behaviors towards authority figures. The condition is present within children and teenagers and is oftentimes difficult to diagnose primarily by a parent may believe their child is simply stubborn or overly emotional. However, if the child’s behavior is intentionally persistent with extremely negative, angry, or uncooperative attitudes, treatment options should be considered.

Oftentimes children with ODD are exposed to several risk factors such as poverty, family instability, trauma, a significant transition, a parent with a behavioral or mood disorder, and neglectful parents or parents who are punitive or overly strict. Additionally, if a child struggles to fit in at school with their peers, they may be at more risk towards engaging in ODD like behaviors because they feel as though nobody can relate to them. Children with ODD are likely to have coexisting disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, or learning disorders.

Symptoms of ODD according to PsychologyToday:

  • Angry Irritable mood
    • Losing temper
    • Touchy or easily annoyed by others
    • Angry and resentful
  • Argumentative/ Defiant Behavior
    • Argues with authority figures or adults
    • Defies or refuses to comply with authority figures or rules
    • Deliberately annoys others
    • Blames others for their mistakes or unruly behavior
  • Vindictiveness
    • Spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past six months

If your child or a child you know is engaging in these types of behaviors, it is important to seek treatment from a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. The typical method of treatment includes behavioral and family therapy, parental training, and medication. Treating ODD early helps to prevent the development of a more serious and urgent mental health disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ODD like behavior, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201603/how-tell-if-your-child-has-oppositional-defiant-disorder

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder

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Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

By: Julia Keys

The child brain grows and makes connections at a rapid rate and is extremely emotionally sensitive. Unfortunately, children that experience some sort of major trauma such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, war, poverty, or unsafe living conditions can be greatly negatively impacted later on in life.

Children who have parents that are for some reason unwilling or unable to provide the love and care they need oftentimes blame themselves for the lack of parental attention. In response to this lack of care, children may start to act in ways in which they feel would help the parents love them more. As the child grows up, they can become detached from their own needs because they are so focused on the love they receive from others.

Another effect of childhood trauma is victimhood thinking. Although a child may have been helpless when they were raised, self-victimization does not help an adult in the long run because it robs them of the self-empowerment they need to change their lives in the ways they desire.

Children growing up in environments where anger is expressed violently may begin to learn that anger is dangerous and therefore should be avoided. However, suppressing emotional expression is unhealthy and can cause individuals to be passive aggressive, which is an ineffective way to communicate. The most damaging effect of childhood trauma can have on an adult is the development of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/. 

Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

By Crystal Tsui

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that affects daytime activities. It is characterized by overwhelming drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Narcolepsy affects both men and women equally in roughly 1 in 2,000 people and can be passed down genetically, but the risk of a parent passing this disorder to a child is very low. Symptoms usually start to develop between the ages of 10- 30 years old and worsen for the first few years. The symptoms of narcolepsy will remain constant throughout life.

Some symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Episodes of cataplexy (partial or total loss of muscle control that is often triggered by strong emotions such as laughter and joy)

Other symptoms include:

  • Transition to REM sleep is quick, usually 15 minutes
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Automatic behavior (falling asleep while doing an automatic task, like driving, and continue performing task after falling asleep. When waking up and not remembering what they did)

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that seriously disrupts everyday life. Most common being:

  • Stigma of the condition- others might view individuals with this disorder as lazy or lethargic
  • Physical harm- increased risk of being in a car accident if a sleep attack occurs when driving
  • Low metabolism- individuals may be more likely to be overweight

Unfortunately, the exact cause is still unknown and there is no cure for narcolepsy. However, medications (stimulants), lifestyle changes, and support from others can help manage symptoms. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from narcolepsy and need help adjusting, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/narcolepsy

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375497

https://www.o2pulmonary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/narcolepsy-300×194.jpg

 

Burnout

Burnout

By Lauren Hernandez

                Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified “burnout” as a syndrome and has added it to the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases. This legitimization of burnout as a syndrome provides credibility to a person who is over working themselves emotionally, physically, and intellectually.

According to Dr. Suzanne Degges-White’s article on Psychology Today, the symptoms of burnout include:

“1.Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

2.Increased mental distance from your job or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to your job

3.Reduced professional efficacy—or, in laymen’s terms, doing a poor job on-the-job”

Dr. Degges-White explains that although most symptoms of burnout may resemble other disorders associated with depression and anxiety, burnout is focused on direct feelings towards your job.

Mindfulness practices may decrease feelings of burnout. Activities such as regular exercise, yoga, and mindfulness meditation may help to stabilize and encourage balance in your life. It is also important to try to sleep and rest as much as you can. Sleeping is a restorative process and helps to promote a healthy mind and body. Because burnout is due to chronic workplace stress, it will not go away by taking a vacation or escaping the workplace for a few days. Burnout is something to be taken seriously and if it is impairing your lifestyle, seek treatment from a psychiatric professional.

If you or someone you know is struggling with burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

 

Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201905/burnout-is-officially-classifiedicd-11-syndrome

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2019/06/02/the-burnout-club-now-considered-a-disease-with-a-membership-price-you-dont-want-to-pay-for-success/#aa218ac37ab0

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Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

By Crystal Tsui

We are privileged to live in the digital world. We can go on-line and check on with friends who are thousands of miles away or go shopping on our device during our lunch break. Everything is just a touch away and has become so accessible, but all of this comes with a price. We are exposing our children to electronic screens at such a young age, even as early as two months. Although it may be easy for busy parents to calm their child with an iPad, the harm may be greater than the immediate good. During the time we are exposing our young children to screens, their brains are still developing.

There is a period, which psychologists call the Critical Period, when children need exposure to outside stimuli from the environment around them. This is when they learn to distinguish facial expressions, social cues, and even tone of voice. If they are not exposed to the environment around them, their development could be stunted.

Prolonged screen time can affect their neurodevelopment, learning, and can result in behavioral disorders. Parents try to utilize digital screens for the purpose of education in most cases. Since digital is instant, the technology is thinking for the children. Not only that, but screens shift the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode which can cause self-regulation and stress management to be less efficient. If stress management is less efficient, children might not be able to handle daily stressors when they grow up.

Apart from mental health deficits, early screen time can cause visual deficits in children. Dr. Rahul Bhola, pediatric ophthalmologist, states that in the past few decades there has been an increase in myopia or near-sightedness. Not only has myopia been increasing, but a study found that children who were exposed to digital screens at a very young age, developed acute onset esotropia or crossing of the eyes. Many children had to have surgery to correct their eyes. However, if children must use screens (school related or not) try to limit their time and encourage outdoor activities as well as breaks from the digital world.

If you or someone you know has behavioral or attention disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://blog.chocchildrens.org/effects-of-screen-time-on-childrens-vision/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behind-online-behavior/201604/what-screen-time-can-really-do-kids-brains

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201207/electronic-screen-syndrome-unrecognized-disorder

https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/article-inline-half/public/field_blog_entry_images/shutterstock_232911301.jpg?itok=d2s4ve_t