Chapter Outline

  1. The paradox of progress
    1. Examples of paradox
      1. Time-saving technology versus not having enough time
      2. General affluence versus economic decline
      3. Improvement in our ability to communicate information versus our information anxiety
      4. Advancement in medical technology versus concerns about cost and quality of medical care
    2. Explanation of paradox
      1. Technological advances have not led to perceptible improvement in collective health and happiness
      2. Some critics suggest that quality of our lives and sense of personal fulfillment have declined
    3. Causes of paradox
      1. According to Fromm, technological progress has undermined traditional sources of emotional security (e.g., family, community, religion)
      2. According to Toffler, we are overwhelmed by rapidly accelerating cultural change
      3. According to Kegan, we are "in over our heads" when it comes to the mental demands of modern life
      4. Most theorists agree that basic challenge of modern life is search for meaning or sense of direction
  2. The search for direction
    1. Manifestations of search for direction
      1. Self-realization programs (e.g., Scientology)
      2. Cults (e.g., Heaven's Gate)
      3. Popularity of "Dr. Laura" radio show
    2. The codependency movement
      1. Description of codependency
        1. Melody Beattie popularized the term beginning in late 1980s
          1. Described the codependent person as anyone who has let another person's addictive behavior affect him or her and is obsessed with controlling that behavior
          2. Made the codependency notion applicable to a large range of people
        2. Theorists suggest some people seek out relationships with troubled individuals to satisfy a need to be needed
          1. Women may be more likely to be codependent
          2. Codependents consistently subordinate their own needs to those of their partner
      2. Symptoms range from minor (e.g., boredom, indecision) to profound (e.g., anorexia, depression, suicide)
      3. Solution to codependency
        1. Most codependency experts advocate recovery programs similar to Alcoholics Anonymous
        2. According to this model, codependency is considered an addictive disease
      4. Evaluation of codependency movement
        1. Positive contributions
          1. Has increased appreciation for the family systems approach
          2. Popularity of movement suggests that codependency is a genuine problem
        2. Criticisms
          1. Definitions of codependency vary considerably
          2. Little or no scientific evidence to support basic tenets of codependency theory
          3. Classification of numerous behaviors as addictions trivializes the concept of addiction (e.g., "sexaholism", "shopaholism")
          4. Tendency for codependency theorists to explain all psychological problems in terms of addiction and codependency
          5. Codependency is a derogatory label generally applied to women
    3. Self-help books
      1. The value of self-help books
        1. Some excellent books offer authentic insights and sound advice
        2. But many books offer little real value to the reader
      2. Main shortcomings of self-help books
        1. Dominated by "psychobabble"
        2. Advice provided is generally not based on solid, scientific research
        3. Usually don't provide explicit directions about how to change behavior
      3. What to look for in self-help books
        1. Clarity in communication
        2. Don't promise too much in the way of immediate change
        3. Mention the research basis for their program
        4. Candid about limits of what is known
        5. Provide explicit directions about how to change behavior
        6. Tend to focus on a particular topic
    4. The approach of this textbook
      1. Based on premise that accurate knowledge about psychological principles can be of value in everyday life
      2. Attempts to foster a critical attitude about psychological issues and to enhance critical thinking skills
      3. Serves as a resource that can introduce you to other books, techniques, and therapies of value
      4. Assumes that the key to effective adjustment is to take charge of your own life
  3. The psychology of adjustment
    1. Definition of psychology: the science that studies behavior and the physiological and mental processes that underlie it, and the professions that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems
      1. Behavior: any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
      2. Clinical psychology: the branch of psychology concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders
    2. Definition of adjustment: the psychological processes through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life
  4. The scientific approach to behavior
    1. The commitment of empiricism
      1. Definition of Empiricism: the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation
      2. Investigations in scientific psychology are formal, systematic, and objective
    2. Advantages of the scientific approach
      1. Clarity and precision
      2. Relative intolerance of error
    3. Experimental research: looking for causes
      1. Experiment: a research method in which an investigator manipulates one (independent) variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second (dependent) variable as a result
      2. Independent and dependent variables
        1. Independent variable: a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable
        2. Dependent variable: the variable that is thought to be affected by the manipulations of the independent variable
      3. Experimental and control groups
        1. Experimental group: consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable
        2. Control group: consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group
        3. Logic of the experimental method rests on the assumption that the experimental and control groups are alike, except for their different treatment in regard to the independent variable
      4. Advantages and disadvantages
        1. Main advantage is that it allows scientists to draw conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables
        2. One disadvantage is that some variables cannot be manipulated because of ethical concerns or practical realities
    4. Correlational research: looking for relationships between variables
      1. Correlation: When two variables are related to each other, a correlation exists. Correlation refers to the degree and direction of relationship between two variables
      2. Measuring correlation
        1. Correlation coefficient: a numerical index of the degree of relationship that exists between two variables
        2. Kinds of relationships
          1. Positive relationship means that high scores on one variable are associated with high scores on the other and that low scores on one variable are associated with low scores on the other
          2. Negative relationship means that high scores on one variable are associated with low scores on the other
        3. Strength of the relationship
          1. The absolute value of the correlation coefficient indicates the strength of the relationship
          2. Thus, the closer the correlation coefficient is to either -1.00 or +1.00, the stronger the relationship is
          3. And correlation coefficients near zero indicate little or no relationship between the variables
      3. Naturalistic observation
        1. In naturalistic observation, a researcher engages in careful observation of behavior without intervening directly with the subjects
        2. Method is naturalistic because behavior is allowed to occur naturally
      4. Case studies
        1. A case study is an in-depth investigation of an individual subject
        2. Generally used in clinical settings to diagnose and treat a psychological problem
      5. Surveys
        1. Surveys: structured questionnaires designed to solicit information about specific aspects of subjects' behavior
        2. Frequently used to study attitudes and other aspects of behavior that are difficult to observe directly
      6. Advantages and disadvantages of correlational research methods
        1. Main advantage is that they can be used to explore questions that cannot be examined with experimental procedures
        2. Main disadvantage is that correlational research cannot be used to demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships between variables
  5. The roots of happiness: an empirical analysis
    1. What isn't very important?
      1. Money
        1. Correlation between income and subjective feeling of happiness is positive, but surprisingly weak
        2. On average, wealthy people are only marginally happier than middle classes
      2. Age
      3. Gender
      4. Parenthood
      5. Intelligence
      6. Physical attractiveness
      7. Community
    2. What is somewhat important?
      1. Health
      2. Social activity
      3. Religion
      4. Culture
        1. Modest variations mostly related to cultural differences in individualism versus collectivism
        2. Individualism involves putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group memberships
        3. Collectivism involves putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining one's identity in terms of the groups to which one belongs
        4. Relationship harmony appears to be a more important determinant of happiness in collectivist cultures than in individualistic cultures
    3. What is very important?
      1. Love and marriage
        1. Being in love seems to be a critical ingredient of happiness
        2. Married people are happier than people who are single or divorced
      2. Work
      3. Personality
        1. Best predictor of future happiness is past happiness
        2. Personality correlates of happiness include self-esteem, extraversion, optimism, and sense of control over one's life
    4. Conclusions
      1. Because most of the data are correlational, we must be cautious in drawing inferences about the causes of happiness
      2. Evidence indicates that many popular beliefs about the sources of happiness are unfounded
      3. But some general conclusions can be drawn
        1. Determinants of well-being are subjective
        2. In making subjective assessments of our happiness, we generally compare ourselves with others who are similar to us
        3. Research suggests that people tend to adapt to their circumstances. Hedonic adaptation occurs when the mental scale that people use to judge the pleasantness-unpleasantness of their experience shifts so that their neutral point, or baseline for comparison, is changed.
        4. It is possible to find happiness in spite of seemingly insurmountable problems. The quest for happiness is never hopeless
  6. Application: Improving academic performance
    1. Developing sound study habits
      1. Set up a schedule for studying
      2. Find a place to study where you can concentrate
      3. Reward your studying
    2. Improving your reading
      1. Reading time should be active
      2. The SQ3R method: a study system designed to promote effective reading that includes five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review
    3. Getting more out of lectures
      1. Class attendance is important, even when instructor is hard to follow
      2. Take accurate lecture notes
        1. Use active listening procedures
        2. Read ahead in textbook
        3. Write down lecturer's thoughts in own words
        4. Ask questions during lectures
    4. Applying memory principles
      1. Engage in adequate practice
        1. Continued rehearsal may improve your understanding of material
        2. Overlearning refers to continued rehearsal of material after you first appear to master it
      2. Use distributed practice rather than "cram" for exams
      3. Minimize interference from competing information
        1. Interference occurs when people forget information because of competition from other learned material
        2. Research suggests that interference is a major cause of forgetting
      4. Organize information into outlines
      5. Use mnemonic devices, which are strategies for enhancing memory
        1. Acrostics and acronyms
        2. Narrative methods
        3. Rhymes
      6. Use visual imagery
        1. Link method
        2. Method of loci