Category Archives: Academic Articles

Encourage good study habits in your child

Having a good study habit is vital for a child to achieve academic success. Parents should therefore encourage their child to develop good study habits from an early age and educate them about the role of good study habits in academic success. Research says that human habits are unlikely to change after age nine. There is no magic wand that will help your child take naturally to studying. Parents should try some of the following things to inculcate good study habits in their children.

1. Encourage your child to study every day. Even if he has no homework or exams the next day, see to it that he spends at least some time reading or learning. It is OK if he doesn’t sit at the table for long, but it should be regular and preferably at the same time. Remain firm regardless of any protests or excuses.

2. A quiet place with good lighting and away from all type of noise and distraction is an ideal place for studying. Designating a specific place as the ‘study area’ gives your child a sense of the importance of studying. Make him practice sitting in the study area for studying.

3. If the child has siblings, get them all to study at the same time so they don’t disturb one other.

4. When your child is becoming overwhelmed, allow the child to take break from study. It will help the child relax and improve its focus and concentration. Breaks prevent brain fatigue as well as physical discomforts like eye strain.

5. Teach your child at a young age the importance of time management and drawback of procrastination. Encourage him to maintain a study calendar. Kids can note in their homework times, assignment submission dates and test dates on it.

6. Parents’ involvement doesn’t end simply with handing over the book to the child and walking away or taking control by giving commands, threats or through surveillance. Take active part in his learning, give him some autonomy, and reward him for his effort. If your child is struggling with a question or subject, encourage him to ask you questions.

 

When kids feel like good study habit has value and they are not coerced into inculcating it, it will definitely lead the kids to greater achievement.

 

Note: The above article posted by me on “mycity4kids” on oct 04-2016

Teach your kids good habits through social learning

Children are great imitators — especially the very young kids love to imitate their parents and caregivers. We often see young children imitating the sounds they hear around them, or trying to carry out activities done by their parents, and hence learn many behaviors by observing others around them.

The great psychologist, Albert Bandura, also emphasized observational learning in his theory which comprises four stages:

  • Attention: It includes paying attention to the behavior of model to learn.
  • Retention: It can be done through many opportunities to remember them.
  • Production: Demonstrating and practicing the behavior by doing repeatedly.
  • Motivational/reinforcement: This stage includes getting motivation to repeat the behavior. Encouragement and rewards are given for continuous practicing of the skill.

Lets understand the whole concept by citing an example:

A child watches his mother saying goodbye to his father everyday when he leaves for office in the morning. The child pays attention and learns this behavior comfortably as his mother does this action every day. He also starts saying goodbye to his father when he leaves for office. Both the parents feel happy and show positive response to his behavior. The child learns this behavior is good and does it every morning.

As said, children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate. Parents and caregivers must understand how to behave in front of children. For a toddler, imitation marks a major milestone and parents are under constant observation. Parents and caregivers can take advantage of social learning theory and help the child to learn social skills, to understand what is morally right, to choose between right and wrong, to adopt positive behavior etc.

Why do we forget?

There are times when we feel irritated and frustrated of not being able to recall the things from memory. Forgetting is a very common problem and we are experiencing it time-to-time. Hermann Ebbinghaus (1885) was the first person to conduct scientific research on forgetting. Let us try to understand the reasons of forgetting. Some of the major reasons are

Retrieval Failure:-

Retrieval failure is inability to retrieve information from long term memory and that is one of the most common causes of forgetting. Here information is stored in long term memory, but cannot be accessed.  It cannot be accessed because the retrieval cues (these are aids which helps in recovering information stored in memory) are not present.

One another reason of retrieval failure is known as decay theory. According to this theory, a memory trace is created every time a new theory is formed. But these memory traces begin to fade and disappear if it is not used or rehearsed for a long time. But this theory did not have adequate evidence hence it leads to some other theory like interference

Interference

There are two basic types of interference:

This theory assumes that storing of information involves associations between items in the memory. People keep acquiring more such associations over time and each of these stored independently without any mutual conflict. But at the time of information retrieval various sets of associations compete with each other for retrieval or we can say information to be retrieved interfere with each other.

  • Proactive interference is when previously learned information makes it more difficult to remember new information.

  • Retroactive interference occurs when new information interferes with remembering previously learned information.

Failure to Store:- One of the main reasons of forgetting is encoding failure. Some of the information fails to enter our long term memory as a result Forgetting due to encoding failure is not a case of “not remembering” or simply “forgetting”; Actual reason is “not storing” information to long-term memory

Motivated Forgetting:- People may forget their traumatic and painful experiences  either consciously or unconsciously The two basic forms of motivated forgetting are: suppression, a conscious form of forgetting, and repression, an unconscious form of forgetting.

Repression is a method where people subconsciously push unpleasant or traumatic thoughts and feelings into their unconscious mind. Thought Suppression is goal-directed and it includes conscious strategies to forget, such as changing the thoughts or context intentionally


 

Trait theories of personality

Trait theories try to describe the personality of an individual in terms of traits. Traits are the building blocks of personality and having continuous dimension. We can say that a trait is a stable quality or enduring attribute on which individual differ from each other. They are source of individuality.

Many psychologists like Gordon Allport, Raymond Catell, Eysenck have used these traits to formulate their theories of personality that we discuss in our next section:-

Allport’s trait theory:-

Golden Allport  is the pioneer of trait approach. As per him, there are approximately 4000 words are present in dictionary which described personal traits. He categorized these traits into three levels:

a)Cardinal Trait: These traits are basically dominate  an individual’s entire life and every behavior seems noticeable to its influence Such traits are often get associated with the name of the person very strongly. Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence and Hitler’s Nazism are examples of cardinal traits.

b)Central Trait:-These traits are less pervasive than cardinal traits but still has good impact on individual’s personality. These traits are often used in writing a testimonial or job recommendation for a individual. e.g warm ,sincere, diligent etc.

c) Secondary Trait:-These traits are less generalized and less consistent of a person.For example food habits hair styles are examples of secondary traits.

Catell trait approach.;-

Raymond Catell is one of the most influential trait theorist .He believed that there were many redundant and irrelevant data traits those summed up to make Alport 4000 words to describe personality traits. He was then applied a statistical technique known as factor analysis to identify traits that are related to one another. By doing this, he was able to reduce his list to 16 key personality factors.Those traits are:-

  1. Warmth (A)
  2. Reasoning (B)
  3. Emotional Stability (C)
  4. Dominance (E)
  5. Liveliness (F)
  6. Rule-consciousness (G)
  7. Social Boldness (H)
  8. Sensitivity (I)
  9. Vigilance (L)
  10. Abstractedness (M)
  11. Privateness (N)
  12. Apprehension/Apprehensiveness (O)
  13. Openness to change (Q1)
  14. Self-reliance (Q2)
  15. Perfectionism (Q3)
  16. Tension (Q4)

These traits are also known as source traits , also called primary traits, that make up the most basic structure of the personality. These traits are stable and smaller in number.Surface traits are those traits which come out due to interaction of the source traits. They are observable qualities of a personality like kindness, honesty, helpfulness etc.

Example. Shyness, quiet, and disliking crowds might all be surface traits but  source trait is introversion, a tendency to withdraw from excessive stimulation.He proposed a test called sixteen personality factor questionnaires for the assessment of personality.

Eysenck’s Theory:-

British psychologist Hans Eysenck developed a model of personality that are biologically and genetically based. He believed that personality is hierarchically organized, consisting of types,  traits and habits.At tle lowest level are the single responses like thoughts and actions. When these responses regularly occur , they form habits.The related habits form traits and several traits clustered together to form a type.Eysenck described 3 major dimensions that include a number of specific traits:-

1. Extraversion/Introversion:-It refers to the degree to which an individual are socially outgoing or socially withdrawn in nature. People who are extraversion in nature highly active, lively, friendly and thrill seeking. On the other hand people those are introversion in nature are passive, reserved, shy and silent.

2. Neuroticism vs Emotional stability:-It refers to the degree to which an individual has control over their emotions. Neurotics are emotionally unstable people having high anxiety levels.they are highly moody,touchy restless and very much impulsive in nature, But, people who are emotionally stable are calm, even-tempered, reliable and easygoing.

3. Psychotism vs Sociability:-Those who are psychotics are tend to be hostile,egocentric and antisocial. These traits are very much opposite to those who are sociable.

Five factor model of personality:-

This theory is also known as Big five factor theory and suggested by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae.

1. Extraversion(E):This factor assess the individual ‘s interpersonal interaction with others. Those are high scorer in this factor are socially active, outgoing ,talkative and fun loving whereas opposite to this traits are individuals who are reserved, sober, quiet, shy.

2. Neuroticism(N):- Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness whereas low scorers on this dimension are calm,relaxed and well-adjusted.

3.Conscientiousness:- Individuals high in this trait tend to be organized,systematic,punctual, dependable reliable and responsible.Those who are low scorers on this dimensions are lazy, unreliable,irresponsible and negligent.

4. Agreeableness(A):-Those who are high scorer on this dimension having helpful, co-operative, friendly and caring in nature. On the opposite are people who are uncooperative,I rritable, manipulative and suspicious.

5. Openness(O):Those who having high score on this dimension are curious, imaginative, love to explore new and unfamiliar thing. On the opposite are people who are unfriendly, rigid, arguementive and even hostile.

Personality

Personality is one of the psychological attributes which make an individual’s characteristics and behavior distinct and unique. Although there is no single definition of personality, but In general we can say that personalities are those relatively permanent traits, dispositions or characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.”

There are mainly 3 factors that influenced an individual’s personality:-

  •  Biological factors:-It relates with body builds, physical defects ,Health issues etc.
  •  Psychological factors:-It relates with intellectual thinking, emotional factors, achievement, aspiration etc.
  •  Environmental factors:-Education, social acceptance, social deprivation, family etc.

As all these above factors determine individual’s personality so these factors are known as determinants of personality.

Many approaches and theories have been developed by psychologists to understand the behavioral differences among individual. They are described below.

a)Type approach:-This approach suggests that there are separate and discontinuous categories into which  a person fits. MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) typology is modern one and based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. Types are not descriptive of the individual and place the individual into a preconceived category.

b)Trait approach:- This approach tries to describe the personality of an individual in terms of traits. Traits are the building blocks of personality and having continuous dimension. They are source of individuality. Under this approach, the proposals of Allport, Catell, Eysenck Guilford and the five factor model are taken into consideration.

c) Psychodynamic approach:-This approach proposed that individual’s unconscious motives, desires , unsolved conflicts that has been repressed or childhood experiences play a very important role in shaping one’s personality. Sigmund Freud, a noted psychologist, provided the core concepts for this perspective.

d) Behavioral approach:-According to this, behaviorists like Skinner and Pavlov believe that personality can be best understood as the response of an individual to the environment. They proposed that learning experiences are the main reason behind our individual differences in our behavior.

e) Cultural approach:- Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs and norms of a specific group of people. This approach tells that culture plays a vital role in behavioral variations among individuals.

f) Humanistic approach:-This emphasize on individual’s tendency to express his potential, talents and capabilities that basically directs him to actualize his inherited nature. The humanist approach to personality has been developed by famous theorists like Rogers, Kelly and Maslow.

Personality assessment:-

A formal test that is done to analyze the personality of an individual is known as assessment of personality. The goal of the test is to predict an individual’s behavior with a high degree of accuracy. Personality assessment measures are classified into three categories.

  1. Self report measures of personality.
  2. Projective or Indirect measures of personality.
  3. Situational measures of personality.

Three Levels of Consciousness by Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist and physician. His contribution to determine personality of an individual by psychodynamic approach is remarkable. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed that sources and consequences of emotional conflicts operate on three levels of awareness: the preconscious, the conscious, and the unconscious. This is famously known as Freud’s theory of personality.

The conscious mind: It includes everything like thoughts, feelings and actions of which people are currently aware of. For example: while having your breakfast, your mind might be thinking about the recipe or taste of the dish. These thoughts occur in the conscious mind.

The Preconscious mind:-Preconscious mind includes all mental activities which are not presently active but stored somewhere in our memory. It can be easily accessed when required. For example: if you are asked about some interesting childhood incidents, you would pull it from your memory and can share it.

The unconscious mind :-It includes mental activity that people are unaware of. According to him, some of the feelings , thoughts, urges and emotions that our conscious mind wants to hide, buried into unconscious mind ,influence some of our unexplained behavior. For example; Ravi ‘s family has recently shifted to new place .There he makes some new friends in his neighborhood. While playing, he calls one of his playmate with his old friend’s name. This is due  to the thoughts or feelings of old days which still plays in his unconscious  mind.

These three levels of mind often represented as an iceberg. Everything above the water represents conscious awareness, while everything below the water represents the preconscious and unconsciousness. Only 10% of an iceberg is visible (conscious) whereas the other 90% is under the water (preconscious and unconscious).The Preconscious mind covers 10% -15% whereas the Unconscious is allotted to 75%-80%.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the popular topics among psychologist. Some experts believe that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ. Emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to identify, control and manage your own emotions as well as emotions of others. A highly intelligent person with god academic record does not necessary to be successful in life. They may have experience problems and difficulties in their personal life and workplace. Some psychologist believes that the reason behind their problems may be due to lack of emotional intelligence. This concept was first introduced by Salovey and Mayer in 1990. They defined emotional intelligence as, “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”. Emotional quotient is used to measure the emotional intelligence .

Emotional intelligence is receiving increasing attention in schools and also in workplace. Programs done in schools to increase emotional intelligence of students that helps them to deal with stress, anxiety and other challenges. This training encourages students to adopt cooperative behavior and reduce antisocial activities. Similarly people who have high EQ seem to be more successful in workplace. An article published in Psychology Today suggests that novels are best ways to enhance our emotional intelligence skills.

There is also Dark side of emotional intelligence. Evidences show that when people having high emotional intelligence, they start using this characteristics to manipulate others, disguising their own true feelings and mainly concerns about their self-serving motives.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/01/27/13-habits-of-exceptionally-likeable-people/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/who-am-i/201501/want-be-nicer-person-read-novel

PASS Theory of Intelligence

The PASS (Planning, Attention-arousal, and Simultaneous-successive )THEORY of intelligence has been developed by J.P Das, Jack Naglieri, and Kirby (1994).They proposed that three functional units of brain determine the intellectual activity of an individual. These three units are responsible for planning, arousal/attention and simultaneous/Successive processing These PASS processes are interactive in nature yet each has its own distinctive functions.

Attention-Arousal:  This process is basic to any behavior and it is processed by 1st functional unit of brain that involves the ability to selectively attend to stimuli while ignoring other distractions. Arousal keeps people awake ana alert .The arousal functions are generally associated with the brain stem and thalamus. Individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) have impairments in this area. An optimal level of arousal focuses our attention to the relevant portion of a problem.

Simultaneous Processing: This involves the ability to integrate separate stimuli/information to our knowledge system as a interrelated whole. The occipital and parietal lobes are thought to be important for these functions. For example, in Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM) Test, a design is given and one of its part has been removed. We are required to choose one of the six options which completes the design. Simultaneous processing helps us in finding relationship between the given abstract figures. Simultaneous processing is broadly with occipital and parietal lobes.

Successive Processing:  This involves the ability to integrate stimuli/information into a sequential order. Learning of digits, alphabets, multiplication tables, etc. are examples of successive processing. This type of processing is related to temporal lobe.

Planning:  This is the ability of an individual to make decisions about how to solve problems and how to carry out the task. It involves setting goals, courses of action to  reach the goal and anticipating their consequences. Planning is associated with the frontal lobes of the brain.

Theories of intelligence

Some of the major theories of intelligence that have emerged during the last 100 years are given below:

Charles Spearman: Charles Spearman in 1927 proposed two factor theory of intelligence.According to him , intelligence consisted of a general factor and some specific factor. Genearal factor is g factor which is a single factor and correlated with specific abilities. G factor is responsible for overall performance of an individual. It includes all mental operation which is very common to all people. S factor is the specific abilities present in every individual which allow a person to excel in his/her own respective domains.

Louis Thurstone: Louis Leon Thurstone (born May 29, 1887, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.—died September 29, 1955) was an  American psychologist who was especially concerned with the measurement of people’s intelligence.He proposed theory of primary mental abilities that states intelligence consists of 7 primary mental abilities each of which is relatively independent of the others. They are:

  • Word fluency,
  • Verbal comprehension,
  • Spatial visualization,
  • Number facility,
  • Associative memory,
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Perceptual speed.

J.P. Guilford: J.P. Guilford proposed the structure of-intellect model which classifies intellectual traits among three dimensions: operations, contents and products.

  • Operations are what respondent does. There are 6 kinds of operations — cognition, memory recording, memory retention, divergent production, convergent production, evaluation.
  • Contents refer to the nature of materials or information on which intellectual operations are performed. There are 5 kinds of contents — visual, auditory, symbolic (eg. letters and numbers), semantic(eg. words), and behavioral (e.g. information about people’s behavior, attitudes, needs).
  •  Products refer to the form in which information is processed by the respondent. There are 6 kinds of products (units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, and implications).

Since each of these dimensions is independent, there are theoretically 180 (6*5*6) different components of intelligence.

Howard Gardner: Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligence. According to him, intelligence is not a single entity but consisted of distinct type of intelligence. Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences and put forth the concept that each of these intelligences are independent of each other. He proposed that out of these the 8 primary intelligence, an individual may excel in one, two or even three of these, but nobody’s good at them all.

  1. Linguistic – It is the capacity to use language fluently and flexibly to express one’s thinking and understand others.
  2. Musical – It is the capacity to play musical instrument, create music and manipulate rhythm .Also have sensitivity to speech and tone.
  3.  Logical-Mathematical – This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking.
  4. Spatial – It is the ability to form mental image and to visualize with the mind’s eye
  5. Bodily-kinesthetic – It uses whole or portion of the body flexibility and creativity to solve problems.
  6. Interpersonal – This includes sensitivity to others behaviors and understanding of  others feelings, moods, temperaments and motivations.
  7. Intrapersonal – Awareness of one’s own feelings, motives, and desires.
  8. Social – Sensitivity to motives, feelings, and behaviors of others.

Robert Sternberg: Robert Sternberg (1985) proposed the triarchic theory of intelligence. Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence represents the information-processing approach to understand intelligence.According to this theory, there are three basic types of intelligence.

  1.  Componential or Analytical intelligence – This component refers to problem-solving abilities which including knowledge acquisition and learning the ways of doing things, planning concerning what to do and how to do and performance involves actually doing things.
  2. Experiential or Creative intelligence – It has the ability to make new inventions and discoveries. This intelligence involved in using past experiences creatively to solve new problem.
  3. Contextual or Practical intelligence– This component has the ability to apply knowledge to practice and involves the ability to deal with the situation encountered in daily basis.

Intelligence

Intelligence is one of the main topics in psychology. In our surrounding we can notice each and every individual behave differently and distinctively. Psychologists say these variations among individual’s characteristics and behaviors are due to individual difference. These behaviors according to them are influenced by either personal traits or situational factors. Psychological attributes like intelligence, personality, Values, Aptitude etc are set of characteristics determined by personal traits are used for psychological assessment to predict future behavior.

According to oxford dictionary, Intelligence is the power of perceiving, learning, understanding and knowing. Apart from this, psychologists also have suggested definitions of intelligence like Alfred Binet , who defined intelligence is the ability to judge well, understand well and reason well. Gardner and Sternberg have suggested that an intelligent individual not only adapts to the environment, but also actively modifies or shapes it. As per David Wechsler, intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment.

There are two kind of intelligence

Crystallized Intelligence: Crystallized intelligence is defined as the acquiring knowledge and skills that comes from prior learning and past experiences. This type of intelligence is based upon facts .Many psychologist believe that Crystallized Intelligence increases with our age as we acquire new knowledge and skills with each passing day. Example of this intelligence includes reading comprehension and vocabulary exams.

Fluid Intelligence: Fluid intelligence is the ability of an individual to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. Example of a fluid intelligence is solving puzzles and coming up with problem solving strategies.

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