Do you think that psychology is influencing the populous, or vice-versa? | INFJ Forum

Do you think that psychology is influencing the populous, or vice-versa?

RedInAK

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In this day and age I find it incredible disturbing that psychology is leaning more and more toward the popular opinion rather than the facts of the matter. It seems that rather than asking the hard questions that people don't want to ask, psychology is bowing to the general flow/opinion of the population. It seems that day by day people are more and more likely to just not voice their opinions/questions due to the fear of being 'canceled' which is basically just bullying someone into shutting up because they don't agree with them. Has anyone else seen this? What happened to 'there are no bad questions' or 'everyone has the right to their own opinion'? I'm very curious to hear about others opinions on this. This may be a centrally American phenomenon, but I wouldn't know given that I live stateside.

- All the best to everyone, Red :)
 
In this day and age I find it incredible disturbing that psychology is leaning more and more toward the popular opinion rather than the facts of the matter.

Well, there’s pop psychology, and that’s a different thing than the domains of clinical research and academia. And regardless of the domain, who can be said to be in possession of the facts? Psychology, after all, is remarkably subjective, and has few certainties.

It seems that rather than asking the hard questions that people don't want to ask, psychology is bowing to the general flow/opinion of the population.

Would you be willing to provide some examples of this? I want to be sure I am understanding you.

It seems that day by day people are more and more likely to just not voice their opinions/questions due to the fear of being 'canceled' which is basically just bullying someone into shutting up because they don't agree with them.

This has gone on for a long, long time throughout history. It’s only in the modern age of social media that it has immediacy, the numbers of an imagined mob, and can be done on a whim with so little effort or investment. Because of the lowered threshold, it happens more easily, and in accordance with the zeitgeist, it follows the “wrong thought, wrong belief, wrong words, wrong action” model.

What happened to 'there are no bad questions' or 'everyone has the right to their own opinion'?

I think that still strongly exists, but there are plenty of people who:
  1. have a persona built on opinion, so contrary expression feels threatening to them
  2. are easily agitated such that they abandon any modicum of reason they may have had, and begin yelling in whatever way (voice, keyboard, physicality, etc.)
  3. would have been otherwise disincentivized in the past from lashing out
edit: regarding the thread title, it works both ways in a reciprocal fashion.

Cheers,
Ian
 
Psychology itself, no.
People using Psychology as a marketing tool, yes.
But this is true of many fields, as @aeon pointed out.
 
Well, there’s pop psychology, and that’s a different thing than the domains of clinical research and academia. And regardless of the domain, who can be said to be in possession of the facts? Psychology, after all, is remarkably subjective, and has few certainties.

This is true, I can understand that. I apologize if the contents of the post aren't fully thought out, I'm attempting to put out my jumbled thoughts (some in which aren't fully coherent or thought through). I'm not as familiar with pop psychology, thanks for bringing it more to my attention, I will have some fun looking into it! It is true that psychology is exceedingly subjective, making it difficult to obtain facts on what one is researching.

Would you be willing to provide some examples of this? I want to be sure I am understanding you.

Things that question ones popular belief. I suppose this bleeds into more than just psychology, but for example more controversial things such as transgender post-operation success/failure regarding mental health/stability. Are there more than two genders? (anyone who says there are only two genders would get shut down) And I'm not saying I agree with the former mentioned example, just that I would like to be able to hear everyone's opinions. And again, like you said this is all very subjective.

This has gone on for a long, long time throughout history. It’s only in the modern age of social media that it has immediacy, the numbers of an imagined mob, and can be done on a whim with so little effort or investment. Because of the lowered threshold, it happens more easily, and in accordance with the zeitgeist, it follows the “wrong thought, wrong belief, wrong words, wrong action” model.

I agree, I believe it has become more immediate/noticeable. I guess I haven't fully thought through my own thoughts/opinions on these topics (Hence the thread) Thank you for taking the time to write this reply and give me something to think on.

I think that still strongly exists, but there are plenty of people who:
  1. have a persona built on opinion, so contrary expression feels threatening to them
  2. are easily agitated such that they abandon any modicum of reason they may have had, and begin yelling in whatever way (voice, keyboard, physicality, etc.)
  3. would have been otherwise disincentivized in the past from lashing out
edit: regarding the thread title, it works both ways in a reciprocal fashion.[/QUOTE]

I agree, I find it sad that these people tend to be the loudest, and if an individual attempts to calm them/stand up for the person being attacked, they too end up getting the brunt of the anger/frustration/fear of the attacker.

Thanks so much for the thoughts, I really appreciate the thought-food
- Thanks, Red​
 
I'm not a fan of how clinical psychology either normalises or pathologises psychological traits/conditions. The notion of mental or psychological health is analogical to physical or biological health/illness/disability, but often times is employed univocally.

For the most part, I don't think normative prescriptions are applicable outside the areas of morals and physical functions. It seems like overreach to prescribe that people ought to think, feel, or socialise a certain way, even if it impacts their life negatively. That said, I am not opposed to people wanting to change their thought processes or feelings utilising professional services or medications, so long as it is entirely optional, in the way that cosmetic surgery is optional.

In practice, I don't think mental traits like ADHD, depression, etc should be pathologised, but should instead be regarded as traits that people can either try to opt out of, or try to utilise and adapt to, with the support of the community.
 
I'm not a fan of how clinical psychology either normalises or pathologises psychological traits/conditions. The notion of mental or psychological health is analogical to physical or biological health/illness/disability, but often times is employed univocally.

For the most part, I don't think normative prescriptions are applicable outside the areas of morals and physical functions. It seems like overreach to prescribe that people ought to think, feel, or socialise a certain way, even if it impacts their life negatively. That said, I am not opposed to people wanting to change their thought processes or feelings utilising professional services or medications, so long as it is entirely optional, in the way that cosmetic surgery is optional.

In practice, I don't think mental traits like ADHD, depression, etc should be pathologised, but should instead be regarded as traits that people can either try to opt out of, or try to utilise and adapt to, with the support of the community.

I totally get what you're saying. I do think that people should be forced into boxes and told the only way to be 'normal' is to take medication, or that the way they are is wrong. I think that if someone is struggling with something they should be able to explore various ways in which they can try to better themselves. Whether that be professional help, or just healthier habits to get out of a funk. Some people have it more difficult than others, e.g. ADHD, depression, etc. as you formerly mentioned, or simply a different way of processing that isn't the 'usual' but I definitely think they shouldn't let a label dictate how happy or successful they are in life.
 
I totally get what you're saying. I do think that people should be forced into boxes and told the only way to be 'normal' is to take medication, or that the way they are is wrong. I think that if someone is struggling with something they should be able to explore various ways in which they can try to better themselves. Whether that be professional help, or just healthier habits to get out of a funk. Some people have it more difficult than others, e.g. ADHD, depression, etc. as you formerly mentioned, or simply a different way of processing that isn't the 'usual' but I definitely think they shouldn't let a label dictate how happy or successful they are in life.
Hehe, there is a typo. Do I know how to edit it? Nope. I meant to say; "I DO NOT THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BE FORCED" heh... My bad.
 
In this day and age I find it incredible disturbing that psychology is leaning more and more toward the popular opinion rather than the facts of the matter. It seems that rather than asking the hard questions that people don't want to ask, psychology is bowing to the general flow/opinion of the population. It seems that day by day people are more and more likely to just not voice their opinions/questions due to the fear of being 'canceled' which is basically just bullying someone into shutting up because they don't agree with them. Has anyone else seen this? What happened to 'there are no bad questions' or 'everyone has the right to their own opinion'? I'm very curious to hear about others opinions on this. This may be a centrally American phenomenon, but I wouldn't know given that I live stateside.

- All the best to everyone, Red :)
Hi Red,

I think that psychology both influences and is influenced by the population, but in many different ways. As others have said though, this isn't limited to psychology, but is true of other fields too. Perhaps climatology is an example that's very much in our faces at the moment - it's one of those specialities where everyone who has an opinion is an expert :tearsofjoy:.

The terminology gets mixed up - psychology is not in itself focused on pathological states, but on mind and behaviour. It's primary focus is on healthy people, in the same way that physiology is the study of healthy people and is all about how we are made up and how we work. For physiology, at least these days we have many centuries of hard knowledge based on observation and research, trial and error, to rely on, so there is little controversy about the basics of the way we work in this regard. There is still a lot of controversy about some of the details of course - it's very revealing to see the debate about COVID vaccines for example. Our populations in general are really very naive about medical interventions and many of us judge them in black and white, bur rarely are there clean solutions to complex problems of our physical bodies - every medical intervention carries risk and so do all vaccines. That makes for major ethical problems because the people who are harmed by a vaccine might well have survived the illness, whilst many who are unharmed by the vaccine might have died or been disabled by the disease without it. It's not as simple as judging purely on a person by person basis either, because pandemic vaccines are only really effective when a large percentage of a population receives them. That moves the issue away from the mechanics of the actual medicine into the issue of whether it is morally right to harm some people who would otherwise have been OK in order to protect a much larger number who wouldn't - all without knowing in advance who would lose the lottery of chance. It then becomes a political issue, because there is no consensus on what is the right answer to this - people become hyped up emotionally about it and then become hyper-(ir)rational about how they champion their political views, and how they challenge the opposing views.

So with psychology, except that this is still a very young science so even the basics are not really well understood. The way the brain is structured and works in a chemical and electrical sense, does seem seem to be progressing well, but the understanding of how the mind works, as opposed to the brain, is still not really well understood and so it's open too competing ideas and theories. This is so fundamental that it spills over into raw philosophy on the one hand and science on the other, because the phenomenon of human consciousness doesn't fit well into either of their conceptual frameworks - in other words, it isn't understood in any kind of objective way. This is where we are with healthy minds, so when it comes to disorders of the mind, of consciousness, we have a very unstable theoretical basis for understanding and treating them. Most treatment is based on what seems to work, rather than what fits with fundamental theory - for example my wife's psychiatrist has no idea why the cocktail of drugs she's taking is effective enough to give her an almost normal life, while other related drugs are completely ineffective. Her treatment evolved through trial and error.

Things are even more open ended when it comes to talking therapies, and the search is more like for the right guru than it is for a medical practitioner. Very rarely can someone suffering from a psychological problem get a complete cure, like you can with a broken arm for example, so we go on the hunt for a solution like some people try different religious denominations, looking for one that fits them. Is it any wonder that we get fashions in psychological therapy, and that the internet then runs out of control with these fashions which take on a life of their own regardless of rationale? This is more tragic than the words can express - there is deep suffering behind that search for a cure. What adds fuel to the fire of controversy is that many people with such problems do get better spontaneously, or have ups and downs, and of course the placebo effect is very powerful with some of these complaints - this can convince them that the most recent treatment has worked, when it might only be a coincidence. Don't get me wrong, because many treatments do help some people a lot, or at least a little, but none of them work for everyone, and some are probably little better than snake oil. But of course if you got better, that must mean the treatment was valid, mustn't it? Sadly, it means that many psychology ideas gain committed disciples even when they really are snake oil, or are being applied to the wrong problem.

I think that naming psychological states is another and very powerful way in which people influence and are influenced by psychology. If we are ill, it's part of the human condition that we want to know what is wrong. We want a qualified person to examine us, come up with a diagnosis and offer a treatment. The diagnosis as expressed professionally will be the name of a condition, and with that name will come a body of knowledge about the characteristics and progression of the illness, the possible outcomes, the range of treatments available, etc. The professional will understand that with psychological disorders, there isn't a stable underlying theory and that the name of the condition is there only to act as shorthand for this bundle of information. There isn't a tight boundary between these names given to the disorders, and in fact as the years go by, the professionals discard some of them and replace them with other names that bundle up the symptoms and treatments in a different way.

The trouble is that these names of disorders attract lay people like a magnet and they stick to them like glue. We identify ourselves with our illnesses, real or otherwise, and research them diligently / obsessively. Really good professionals will watch out carefully for this, because when it happens we start to explore all the symptoms of our assumed disorder and before we know what's happened we've got them all even if we didn't beforehand. You can see how this works outside the field of psychological disorders with models such as MBTI - some people spend a lot of time seeking their type and when they settle on one, some of them latch onto it and identify with it very strongly. If we have to let go of it, it can feel like we've lost a bit of our soul if we have clung too tightly. People do this too with named psychological disorders, and then face the serious problem that being cured can lead to an apparent loss of their identity - they have defined who they are by the content of the disorder. I fear that you are right, and that when people group together and associate the contents of their psychological states with a variety of political force fields, then this will have an impact on the content of psychology as a profession. That isn't anything new though - until fairly recently homosexuality was considered a psychological disorder and still is in some countries. Political pressure changed all this, and that will have had a symbiotic effect of how it is understood in psychological terms. In some countries, at least until fairly recently, you were mentally ill if you support any opposition to the prevailing government and will be 'treated' for it. I guess that's the inevitable challenge for an 'ology that deals with human states of mind and behaviour.

Behind all this is the ages old problem of very real, deep human suffering and the hope of a release from it. It's no wonder with such powerful drives, and with the lack of a solid theoretical foundation in the current remedies, that society creates all kinds of shibboleths and politically energised fashions around them. Personally, I'm hopeful - we are still in the childhood of psychology, but things are better than they were 100 years or 50 years ago. We will all muddle through I guess, but unless there is some sort of unexpected breakthrough, I guess improvements will come in 50 year timespans.

Sorry this is so long, but I got interested :sweatsmile:
 
In practice, I don't think mental traits like ADHD, depression, etc should be pathologised, but should instead be regarded as traits that people can either try to opt out of, or try to utilise and adapt to, with the support of the community.

By definition, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is not a trait, and there is no willful opt-out. If someone can utilize and successfully adapt, regardless of community support, they likely don’t have ADHD, again, by definition.

A full differential diagnosis is merited in each and every case in any event.

Psychostimulant medication is the first-line treatment regimen for ADHD because decades of clinical research has demonstrated their efficacy. People take other approaches in treatment, but they all have one thing in common—none of them have any clinically-demonstrable efficacy.

Cheers,
Ian
 
Sorry this is so long, but I got interested :sweatsmile:
This was a fantastic read, thank you! I’m really glad you took the time to write this. When I had made this thread I was trying to tumble out my thought before I lost it, so I wasn’t able to fully think about it like I usually would due to my current business. I think a lot of what you said expressed my thoughts behind it, you also made some points I hadn’t thought on quite as much, thanks for that!
 
This was a fantastic read, thank you! I’m really glad you took the time to write this. When I had made this thread I was trying to tumble out my thought before I lost it, so I wasn’t able to fully think about it like I usually would due to my current business. I think a lot of what you said expressed my thoughts behind it, you also made some points I hadn’t thought on quite as much, thanks for that!
I'm glad I hit the right sort of note :). I could feel what you were struggling towards, so I thought I'd try and explore where it led.

The worry that popular opinion could sway and damage the rational foundations of science and medicine is a very real one. There has always been an element of it, but the Internet makes it a far more efficient process these days. There seems to be a growing mass view that truth is decided by a sort of democracy, but just because a large number of people hold an opinion that doesn't make it true. Our future well-being may depend on whether common sense can prevail over such illusions when common sense seen through the lens of those illusions seems to be in error, often in terms of both validity and in terms of ethics.
 

As if I’m going to think his bloviating has any substance after he calls Ritalin an amphetamine, and then makes no mention of perfectly-behaved boys like my much younger self who have the inattentive presentation. My hyperactivity is only that of cognition and state of mind. No matter, I wasn’t diagnosed as a child anyway.

Suffice to say the decades of clinical research and evidence don’t support JP’s opinion.

Does he have a valid point? I think he does, but because he presents it without a more encompassing context, he comes across as a crank, on a rant, talking smack, and that’s too bad.

Cheers,
Ian
 
As if I’m going to think his bloviating has any substance after he calls Ritalin an amphetamine, and then makes no mention of perfectly-behaved boys like my much younger self who have the inattentive presentation. My hyperactivity is only that of cognition and state of mind. No matter, I wasn’t diagnosed as a child anyway.

Suffice to say the decades of clinical research and evidence don’t support JP’s opinion.

Does he have a valid point? I think he does, but because he presents it without a more encompassing context, he comes across as a crank, on a rant, talking smack, and that’s too bad.

Cheers,
Ian
Inattention shouldn't be qualitatively separated from physical hyperactivity in this context because attenuation of focus, not sedation, is the main aim of ADHD medication. Was there any evidence of neurological damage in your case? Because if ADHD is a natural deviation of cognition then there should be no reason to pathologize it—unless, like he says, it's convenient to uphold a second-rate educational system that perpetuates a single approach to learning.

It's not really his opinion when he's citing other research. But they should have added references to the description.

Consider that the format of the event didn't allow to go deeper into any given topic. Regardless, when the occurrence of mental disorders rises along with increasing industrialization and changes in social dynamics, that's immediately a red flag. The whole psychiatric endeavor is an extremely ham-fisted triage without holistic solutions, and I don't trust it.
 
Inattention shouldn't be qualitatively separated from physical hyperactivity in this context because attenuation of focus, not sedation, is the main aim of ADHD medication.

The function of psychostimulant medication is to potentiate the modulation capacity of inhibitory systems in the brain, thereby increasing the ability to selectively focus and maintain that focus. What is attenuated is noise, not signal.

And though not a goal, nor an expected outcome, dextroamphetamine sulfate lowers my pulse and blood pressure. Which is not to say it is sedating, but my experience of it is that it is remarkably calming. I am relieved of the stress resulting from my brain running wild.

Was there any evidence of neurological damage in your case?

At the time of my earliest presentation for which evaluation was sought? No, not at that time. Also, the combination of my being a people-pleaser and my cognitive gifts meant I could charm clinicians, who would then dismiss my mother’s concern that something was wrong. What would a non-degreed woman know anyway? (early ‘70s)

Because if ADHD is a natural deviation of cognition then there should be no reason to pathologize it—unless, like he says, it's convenient to uphold a second-rate educational system that perpetuates a single approach to learning.

ADHD is a natural deviation from normative consciousness and cognition, no doubt. The reason it is given status as a disorder is because of the degree of disability presenting across various life domains, and the prevalence of untoward consequences in the untreated cohort.

Regardless, when the occurrence of mental disorders rises along with increasing industrialization and changes in social dynamics, that's immediately a red flag.

That’s one way to look at it. Consider though that what may have changed is our ability to discern. Alexander Crichton was the first to write about disorders of attention, and his work first appeared in medical journals in 1798.

That said, it’s no surprise to me that the presentation of both depression and anxiety are increasing, given the rubbish culture we choose to live in.

The whole psychiatric endeavor is an extremely ham-fisted triage without holistic solutions, and I don't trust it.

Fair enough. Thankfully, in being treated, I’ve never had to engage with a psychiatrist. In this way, I am fortunate. Many with ADHD are not so fortunate in this regard.

That said, I don’t have any comorbidities, so my situation is rather simple by relative comparison.

Cheers,
Ian
 
By definition, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is not a trait, and there is no willful opt-out. If someone can utilize and successfully adapt, regardless of community support, they likely don’t have ADHD, again, by definition.

A full differential diagnosis is merited in each and every case in any event.

Psychostimulant medication is the first-line treatment regimen for ADHD because decades of clinical research has demonstrated their efficacy. People take other approaches in treatment, but they all have one thing in common—none of them have any clinically-demonstrable efficacy.

Cheers,
Ian
My point above, which I'll repeat, was precisely a rejection of the pathologisation of diverse mental functioning. So I'll stick with calling ADHD, autism, depression, etc, traits instead of disorders. I'll also reiterate, that the decision to "opt out" by attempting to use medications or professional services, should indeed be entirely optional, with no normative prescriptions.

I replied, not to repeat, but to underline that you have not made any case for applying terms like "disorder" to traits which are neither moral, nor physically functional. You have merely insisted on defining some mental traits as disorders and presumably others as normal/normative.

Neither have you made a case for treatments being anything other than extensions of lifestyle preferences, and have merely asserted normative (first line) regimens.

Part of my reason for rejecting normative assumptions about mental traits, besides the fundamental lack of justification for them, is for the same reason I reject eugenics. Eugenics assumes that some human traits are better than others, and makes unjustifiable prescriptions about the desirable frequency of traits (or genes) in a population. Nevertheless, people can optionally choose to pass on their traits or not, but prescribing which traits ought or ought not be passed on is gross overreach. Ultimately, broad society isn't simply a selective aggregate of only some people with only some traits, but rather a beneficial cooperation between all people with their innate variety of traits.
 
It's a good question. I've often doubted the possibility for psychology, or any subject for that matter, to be completely objective and impartial in its perspective. Any person who evaluates another through the lens of psychology is themselves biased by their own psychology. In which case a lot of the professional conclusions and diagnostic criterias are simply constructs formed from the loudest or most prevalent voices, that change according to the dictates of the current culture.