Tag Archives: Psychologist

Rose-Colored Contacts

I’m more the type to yell at someone to get me another glass of water.

You do know the question to that answer, yeah, dudes. For those of you a bit slow on the uptake (no, not you. The other dude. Yeah, him. Right.) is “Are you a glass-half-full dude or a glass-half-empty dude?”

It’s a question that gets to the bottom of the nature of perception, how we see the world. Are we inherently optimistic, in seeing the glass as half full, or are we inherently pessimistic, in that we see the glass as half empty?

It’s the same glass, with the same amount of water. The way we perceive it, however, tells us a lot about ourselves. I made a little joke up there in the lead, but that’s not really the type of dude I am.

When I see a glass that’s not full, I see a half-empty glass and begin wondering who drank the other half and if the half that remains is poisoned. More pessimistic than I wish that I was.

Events bring out the pessimist in me. However, that’s not all I am.

When I face a question about a person, it’s a completely different person. It seems like I’m always thinking the best about people. If someone’s never done something before, I still believe they can do it. I’m an optimist about a person, a pessimist about people as a group. I feel like I sort of fall into the camp as outlined by the great sage and philosopher Agent K.

Had he ever existed, which he most assuredly did not, Agent K might have said, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

So I’m not alone in this.

But, and here’s the big point here, I didn’t like being that way. I didn’t like always assuming the worst was about to happen.

So I decided to change. I decided that, instead of always looking for the hammer to drop, I’m going to compliment the person holding the hammer on her lovely nail polish. Instead of ranting about the litter on the side of the road, I’m going to think about how it’s less than it’s been in years past, then I’m going to pick up all I can carry and feel better about having made the world a (slightly) better place.

My mom had a number of favorite sayings she would repeat as often as possible. One of those was something she cribbed from a radio psychologist, Dr. Joy Brown: “You can’t change other people. The only person you can change is yourself.”

And, you know, they were right. I know that there are people who bug me just by breathing. I feel my blood pounding in my ears, my fists clenching all that. But that person’s not going to change. It’s who they are.

I have to decide that it won’t bother me. And it’s more than possible. It’s actually easy. It really is, dudes.

You can decide to be more positive and you’ll be more positive. You can decide to let the little things just slide off your back and they will.

Since I’ve decided to be more positive, to see a glass someone filled up halfway just for me, I find that I’m seeing more positive things happen. Not only that, but I’m feeling like I should be doing more little things to make the world a (slightly) better place.

Instead of getting irritated that someone left their grocery cart in the middle of a space instead of putting it away just two spaces over, I’m glad I came along so I can move that one and another that’s nearby because it will make some anonymous Harris Teeter worker’s day a little easier.

It’s all in how we choose to perceive the world and the people around us.

So what’s it going to be, dudes? Are you going to be positive or negative? It’s up to you.

I know you’re going to make the right decision.

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State Of Emotion

Surveys are weird.

No, really. I mean, there’s stuff out there on the interweebs, some pushed by relatively sedate and well-respected organizations, that just make no sense.

Take, for instance, this interest survey that is designed to tell us what state of the United States you most resemble.

Yes. You read that right.

From the science portion of Time Magazine, the survey is designed to tell those taking it where they might best fit in amongst the 50 not-as-united-as-you-might-think states.State of emotion

It’s no secret that a lot of (our famously different personalities and cultures) seems to be determined by — or at least associated with — where we live.

Now a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

After having taken the test, I’ve found something interesting about myself. Apparently, I’d fit in best in the state of Oregon. I rank in the top 10 of openness and agreeableness, but low in every other measure. Which I did not expect. At all.

Of course, I hadn’t given it much thought. Certainly not as much thought as I’ve given to, for example, if I were a tree, what kind of tree I would be. That consumes a lot of brain power, let me tell you.

What? Why are you looking at me like that? It’s an important question*.

Moving on.

The survey results were based on data taken from more than 1 million people interviewed across the United States. It found some other interesting data that, again, I did not expect.

According to the study, the winners (or losers, depending on how you view these things) were in some cases surprising and in some not at all. The top scorers on extroversion were the ebullient folks of Wisconsin(picture the fans at a Packers game — even a losing Packers game). The lowest score went to the temperamentally snowbound folks of VermontUtah is the most agreeable place in the country and Washington, D.C., is the least (gridlock, anyone?).

For conscientiousness, South Carolina takes the finishing-their-homework-on-time prize, while the independent-minded Yanks of Maine — who prefer to do things their own way and in their own time, thank you very much — come in last. West Virginia is the dark-horse winner as the country’s most neurotic state (maybe it was the divorce from Virginia in 1863). The least neurotic? Utah wins again. Washington, D.C., takes the prize for the most open place — even if their low agreeableness score means they have no idea what to do with all of the ideas they tolerate. North Dakotans, meantime, prefer things predictable and familiar, finishing last on openness.

Why not go over to the site and take a gander at the test. I’d love to hear where you dudes and dudettes sorted out.

*If you must know, it’s an weeping atlas cyprus. For all the obvious reasons.


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Maybe If You Hum A Few Bars? Now Hum Lower. . . Lower. . .

by Richard

It turns out that music in the bedroom can actually lead some to feel more amorous, more inclined to actually get a little dirty, dancing there in the sheets.

You see what I did there? That was a little neurolinguistic programming there, getting you dudes set up for the bad news.

Brace yourselves. Ready? You’re sure? Okay, here it is.

According to a survey commissioned by the online music service Spotify, the most arousing music to play in the bedroom is the soundtrack to the 80’s movie Dirty Dancing.

Yeah. I know. I’m having a real hard time getting over that knowledge myself.

 

“Dirty Dancing” was the top pick for both men and women, although the study’s author, music psychologist Daniel Mullensiefen, also pointed out that men are more willing to adjust their tastes in music in order to ensure “greater success in the bedroom.”

Good on you, dudes. Rather than show a little spine, you’ll wimp out and let the lady play the music she wants to hear all so you can do a little sheet romp. Okay, yeah. I understand that’s important, but the question I’ve got is. . . What are you doing with anyone who thinks Dirty Dancing is a good movie?

Another surprise finding? Respondents said music playing in the background is 40% more likely to turn them on than the touch or feel of their partner.

Rather not listen to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” during sex? Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” placed second on the list, with Ravel’s “Bolero” finishing third.

So, yes, we like music. Some of us like it a lot. But this? Music that’s better than sex? No. Sorry. Maybe an entire concert with your best friends, with your favorite band playing the best songs ever, might, maybe, possibly approach within shouting distance. But better? No. Especially not these songs.

One in three participants identified Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a song that is “better than sex.” Next on the list was “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon and “Angels” by Robbie Williams. Mullensiefen describes these as songs that take unexpected turns that we respond to in highly emotional, but positive, ways.

The study interviewed 2,000 people in the United Kingdom between the ages of 18 and 91, with an almost equal gender split.

Those folks need to really rethink their priorities.

Meanwhile, I’m going to do a little changing around on my “special” playlist, you know, the one I play when I’m with She Who Must Be Seeing Dirty Dancing At Least Once A Year.

Not my fault. I didn’t find out about this horrible thing until much later into the marriage. By then it was too late.

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