Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Theory of Personality Types A, B, C, and D

Both researchers Friedman and Rosenman drew the conclusion that people who exhibited characteristics of type A personalities were more likely to suffer from heart disease. They based their theory on the characteristics that seem to be universal for people who exhibit traits of a type A personality. Traits including but not limited to unnecessary stress, obsession with time management, aggression and hostility.

While this theory has since been disproven it seems to hold some of its accuracy. Researchers now know that stress is a major risk factor for developing heart disease which is typical of the type A personality. However it is also possible for the more laid back personality sub type B to suffer from heart disease. Hence the theory being disproven, but still holding slight merit.

People with type B personalities tend to be less stressed and slower paced than the stressed out type A personality. They tend to be flexible and tolerant individuals and are not overcome with feelings of guilt should they decide to take time to enjoy life.

Over the years the theory of personality has become widely accepted and used as a tool for understanding one's self opposed to a diagnostic tool. In today's day and age personality testing is often used in schools for career testing, by psychologists, in psychology classes, pre employment screenings and self-awareness assessments.

Modern day psychologists have added a personality type C as well as a personality type D into the mix. As researchers begin to find more characteristics that society shares they are now able to add these two new(er) sub types in an attempt to more accurately asses one's personality.

Type C and type D personalities share a lot of the same traits as their 'sister sub types but they seem to take into account more of an emotional aspect than their counterparts.

For instance type C personalities often show similar characteristics to type A people however they are not as obsessed with time management. Type C personalities also have a hard time sharing their emotions are often categorized as emotionally repressed people.

Type D people like routine, they search for security and routine in their daily lives and once they find what their looking for a change in pace or pattern is not likely for these people.

While the theory of personality is no longer used as a diagnostic tool it is still very handy for self assessment. There are many places online you can take personality quizzes to see what personality sub type you fall into. After reading your sub type you can also find careers, relationship and life advice based solely on your personality subtype.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Subliminal Messaging In a Modern World

Subliminal messages have long been discussed, criticised, debated, dismissed.. yet in our modern society there are so many different applications, and despite conflicting evidence for their ability to influence the human mind, still they are used - especially within the media around us.

Before we get into the main areas of subliminal use, it is important to understand what a subliminal message actually is.

Generally by using the term subliminal message we mean a means of transmitting a message beyond the means of conscious human perception, yet still reaching the mind to influence behavior. For example we receive a message without our awareness yet it still has an impact upon the brain.

In truth the definitions are flexible, so lets define them in terms of "soft" and "hard" messages:

    Soft Subliminal - This is where the suggestion is very passive.. where it is just a subtle suggestion such as a provocative or sexual pose, maybe even a play on words, but nothing too technical - a mere hint.
    Hard Subliminal - This is what we really usually mean by the term, where an obvious subliminal technique is used, such as flashing images, hidden text, software, or audio moved to a different sound frequency so it is just out of hearing range.

We will discuss these "hard subliminal" messages in further detail next and show how they are used within our modern media centric world.

Flashing images

This is probably the most common form of subliminal message use. There has been a lot of instances of flashing images within advertisements - trying to prompt the user to buy, or relate favourably to a brand.

This all started with the now infamous research study where text was flashed saying "eat popcorn" or "drink cola"and sales of such items rose. This seemed to capture the imagination of every marketing manager in the country, yet still to this day brands are trying it.

Just recently a major fast food brand, I don't want to mention the name of (ahem, golden arches) was accused of flashing their company logo in the adverts on the food channel in the USA.

Hidden text

This is another common type of subliminal message. The idea is to hide a word in an advertising poster, perhaps make letters out of stems of grass, flowers, or other patterns within the poster.

The idea is to spell a word out - commonly it is "sex", which appeals to the mind, and makes a connection within the brain of the consumer, and hopefully helps the consumer to associate positive feelings towards the brand.

There is also a lot of instances of cartoons, and children's programs including such messages, but this is rumored to often be the work of the designer as a joke rather than directly the intention of the movie house.

Audio messages

Typically when audio is referred to as a subliminal message, it is meant that the voice is either hidden behind the backing music, or that it is moved to a higher sound frequency, often just on the edge of human hearing.

The idea here is that the transmission is still intercepted by the subconscious mind and impacts upon the brain without the conscious mind hearing.

The implications and uses for this type of subliminal embedding are not so much for advertising, but there are reports of musicians implanting suggestions.. sometimes less than savory, in their music. Although this is heavily debated and more often just coincidence of the song sounding similar when played backwards but usually not containing a deliberate hidden message.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Can We Change Human Nature?

What best describes 'human nature'?

In order to describe human nature, it is necessary to first be able to define it.

Definition 1: General conversation
The first definition is the general conversation definition. When someone refers to 'human nature' in a conversation it is usually to describe some form of behaviour that is seen to be common to all humans. In The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris divides his chapters into the headings of sex, rearing, exploration, fighting, feeding and comfort. In a later book, The Human Zoo, Morris adds the chapters of tribes, status, in-groups/out-groups, imprinting and stimulus. Perhaps this is a good place to start - with a list of human behaviours that are common to us all. (Another worthy reference is Human Universals by Donald E. Brown. )

Interestingly, the term 'human nature' would not be used in general conversation to describe uncommon behaviour, for example torture, pillage or rape, or, at the other end of the scale, breaking sporting records, composing as many melodies as Mozart or creating the kind of the work Leonardo da Vinci was responsible for. This would be considered uncommon human behaviour and therefore outside the general conversation definition of 'human nature'.

So it could be concluded that the conversational definition of 'human nature' is one that is around the behaviours that are shared among all humans across culture, and yet are restricted to a sort of normal or average behaviour.

Definition 2: It's academic
The term 'human nature' can also be defined as the full range of needs, values and beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are exhibited by the human species. As we work our way through this list, from needs to behaviours, we pass through different degrees of variant behaviours.

Needs: While it is easy to say that it is human nature to satisfy physiological needs, it is also human nature to satisfy needs that are driven unconsciously by evolution. These could include the need:

• to pass on our genes
• to increase our status
• for shelter
• for social contact
• to create/leave a legacy.

These needs are well described in a number of books on evolutionary psychology, such as The Moral Animal by Robert Wright, Hardwired Humans by Andrew O'Keeffe, and Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Dr Daniel Dennett.

The Epicurean school of Greek philosophy argued well that much of human nature was driven by our need to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. So our human nature is, in part, driven by needs placed upon us by evolution.

The behaviours that result from needs are, by and large, less malleable than others. It is hard to imagine a time when we will not need to eat, reproduce or care for our young. While it is possible to overcome even the need for survival, it would be generally agreed that it is more difficult than overcoming the need for a chocolate biscuit.

Values and beliefs: Values and beliefs are often the product of unconscious messages from the environment. For example, in his book The Geography of Time, Robert Levine shares his experiments and research that suggest a pattern of behaviour based on location. The closer to the equator you live, the slower you will walk and the less likely you are to be aware of the passing of time, while people in temperate zones are more likely to be aware of the passing of time and they are generally more productive. This is a view echoed in Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. So perhaps the protestant work ethic could not have come from a religion based in the Bahamas.

In his book Free Will, Sam Harris takes this idea - that the context in which we find ourselves has a massive effect on our decisions - even further. He asks: In a cause and effect universe, where is our free will in doing what we want, when what we want is the product of countless prior causes that one cannot inspect and therefore cannot select when making a decision? (I find this both compelling and frightening.)

Harris is quick to add that this is not to be confused with the idea that our choice doesn't matter... it is just that we cannot consciously decide. (This is doing my head in.)

I'm still digesting Sam Harris' argument and how he can say that we do not have free will and yet we can change... and so I will have to get back to you on this one.

Thoughts, feelings and behaviours: These are, perhaps, more malleable to the environment and are often referred to as 'personality'. While it is easy to identify specific human needs, human personality is a little more tricky as the variety of thoughts, feelings and behaviours and their interactions are seemingly countless. Wyatt Woodsmall, in his books Strategies and Metaprograms, lists hundreds of filters that we use when thinking, feeling and behaving. Dr Robert Winston, in a TV series called The Human Mind, casually suggests that there are over 2000 filters to human behaviours. It is no doubt that with this number we can achieve great complexity.

Like the software in a computer, if you combine enough 0s and 1s, you end up with software complex enough to store and retrieve all of human knowledge. Maybe life is binary!

And so to summarise, perhaps human nature could be crudely but neatly represented as a gradual gradient of shifting colours, as the following diagram illustrates:

Behaviours -----------Thoughts/feelings ------------Values/beliefs ------------Needs

To what degree can human nature be changed by the environment?

Can we change?
The question 'Is human nature capable of change?' is one of those 'guilty until proven innocent' arguments. We only need to see evidence of change to know that it is possible.

There are many examples of human nature that we could identify as not having changed, and the listings provided by Desmond Morris and Donald E. Brown would be good places to start. But the fact that these have not changed over millennia could be evidence that they serve us well and not that they cannot be changed. Fortunately, evidence that we are capable of change is quite easy to find.

At the biological level, Dr Norman Doidge (in his book The Brain that Changes Itself ) examines many cases of people being able to overcome severe disabilities through practise, persistence and the reprogramming of their neural circuitry.

At the chemical level, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle explains the role of myelin in creating new habits. This is the chemical that the brain uses to 'insulate' a neural pathway as we practise a new skill. If we overlay this with the work of Dr Daniel Siegel, who discusses the studies that have shown that aerobic activity combined with meditation leads to the development of new neurons, we can see that change is possible at the chemical/biological level.

In his book Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, Timothy D. Wilson lists many examples of recidivism being dramatically reduced by the introduction of some well-targeted and often counter-intuitive strategies. He offers sufficient evidence that behavioural and cognitive change are possible.

Changing groups
Evidence that we are able to change the behaviour of groups exists in the areas of sociology, economics and history.

To see how values and beliefs can be (and have been) shifted over time, consider the following. If we travelled back to ancient Greece, we would see that the most honoured members of society were its fighting men; it was considered a disgrace for a fighting man to be seen in the market or even to know how to count. But travel forward to modern day United States and the most honoured males are its entrepreneurs. It would be considered a disgrace for these men to not know how to count or how the market works. Fortunately, top white collar criminals like Jeffrey Skilling, Bernard Ebbers and Bernie Madoff didn't try the 'Yeah but if we were in Greece... ' defence.

As well as this, there are a plethora of books that document how people's behaviours in groups have changed. These include:

In sociology:
• Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
• Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
• The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
• Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
• Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change by Don Edward Beck and Christopher Cowan

In economics:
• The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
• The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
• Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

In history:
• The Upside of Down - Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilisation by Thomas Homer Dixon
• A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
• The Rational Optimist - How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

The complex thing is that many of these books would point to different levers to use when changing human nature. Perhaps there is a project in building a list of 'The Tools of Change'. Actually, that's not bad...

The speed of change
In order to measure change you need either a constant (such as centimetres, grams, litres, days or weeks) or a contrast (before and after). Sometimes change is difficult to observe because:
• it can be glacially slow and the changes take generations to become evident
• it is almost instantaneous and so takes us by surprise
• we have difficulty finding an appropriate measure.

Glacial change: Darwin suggests that no animal's nature is fixed because nature is a process. So if we applied enough evolutionary pressure for a long enough time, we could make a leopard change its spots!

Instant change: One of the myths of change is that it takes time, but this is not always the case. Some change is instantaneous. For example the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, made two decisions to change his country, and both changes happened in an instant.

• At 5.59am on 8 September 2009, people in Samoa drove on the right-hand side of the road. At 6am they drove on the left.

• On 29 December 2011, citizens of Samoa went to bed; the following morning when they woke up it was 31 December, as the international dateline had been moved.

So perhaps the saying 'Give me a lever long enough... ' can be seen in action here.

Other examples of instant change are very well illustrated in the book Flipnosis - The Art of Split-Second Persuasion by Kevin Dutton. Dutton examines situations where change has occurred within one sentence or one encounter. He analyses both the ethical and the dodgy, and in the process identifies some clear principles that seem to operate around instant change.

Examples of change in popular culture
The Biggest Loser: We all know the format - take people who have a compelling direction (I don't live like this); change their context (take them away from home, family and friends for months); and install new behaviours (diet and exercise).

Cults: These have a compelling message (the world is doomed but if you come with us you will be safe); they appeal to people who have an increased dependency on others (they've just had a downgrade in status, a loss of friends or romance, ideals or dreams); and they change their context (no contact with family or past friends - instead, live on our property, miles from anywhere).

If we accept the definition of human nature to include the needs, values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours of humans, then we can see evidence of change in all of these things by looking into anthropology, evolution, history, economics, psychology, biology and chemistry.

Leading thinking suggests that our genes predispose but do not guarantee us a path in life. Our genes respond and react to input from our environment, and over a period of time this loop between genes and environment evolve the species.

We can change but, as is the case with many things, guiding or controlling this change is a little more complex than we might think.

In Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, Timothy D. Wilson shows how the intuitive approach to dealing with post-traumatic stress is to have sufferers talk through their experiences. However, evidence suggests that this does not reduce the stress - in fact, the opposite happens. By constantly reliving the stressful event, patients strengthen the neural pathways that are used to recall the incident, making it easier to recall and often leading to embellished memories of events.

In Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, we learn how the apparent life-changing event of winning a large sum of money, or becoming a quadriplegic, does not change the majority of people's subjective happiness levels.

As well as these, there are a growing number of books that present a similar argument to Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The suggestion here is that we are oversold the 'genetic talent' story and undersold the stories of persistence, practice and opportunity.

So while it is still difficult with our level of expertise to manage change in a highly predictable way, we do know that the change recipe includes a healthy dose of shaping the environment in which the protagonist needs to exhibit the new values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and/or behaviours. The levers we need to pull to shape the environment include:

• opportunity
• reward and punishment
• practice
• support for assistance
• suggestion from other environmental factors (including written messages)
• surrounding people
• architecture and space.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to Cultivate a Discipline From Childhood?

Self-discipline is a vital quality to have if you want to be successful in the things you attempt during life. What we often don't realize, however, is that we learn the skills for self-discipline during childhood. Here are some ways that you can cultivate personal discipline from your childhood experiences.

Take the carrot and stick approach

As a child, you were no doubt rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad behavior. That's not to say you should try to ground yourself - but do mentally set yourself some consequences for certain actions. It seems like a strange suggestion, but many of us have used a swear jar at some point, so it's not at all as strange as it seems.

This is a great tool to use if you're looking for some motivation to complete a certain task - just tell yourself that if you get something done by a certain time, then you can have a treat. Your treat can be just a break, a bar of chocolate, or a night out. It's all about whatever will work to motivate you.

If you have a large project or task that needs completing, you may have something that you plan to buy yourself if you get it done. Or, if you have a weight loss goal, then maybe there's a dress you want to fit into (whether you plan to buy it, or already own it). It could really help you to stick pictures of this object you want around your house. Seeing this motivates you - this is why teachers and parents use reward charts and stickers with young children.

Try and keep unhealthy behaviors and bad habits to a minimum

Just how as a child you were probably only allowed candy as a treat, and under parental supervision, you should limit your caffeine, alcohol and food intake to a sensible and healthy level.

Have a set routine

Children have bed-times for a reason - to get the best out of yourself you need plenty of sleep, and to avoid the stress of rushing around in the morning. You also need to have time to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast. Try and stick to set bed-times and mealtimes and you will be functioning at your very best in no time at all.

Pause, breathe, and let go of your anger

Remember when you fell out with another child at school, and you were forced to shake hands and make friends with them again, even though you didn't want to? Although it may have felt pointless at the time because you may have felt that you were simply putting on an act to get a teacher off your case, going through this process probably allowed your anger to dissipate.

There's no need to go and bear hug someone you're angry with, but it may be better just to decide to let it go, or if there's an issue that needs addressing then give yourself some time to calm down before you try to talk to them. Otherwise, you may just end up shouting, and that's no good for anyone. Once the issue has been dealt with, it's time to forgive and forget.

Try, try, and try again

When you're growing up, there are plenty of things that you can't do first time. Think about a toddler first learning to walk, and then a child learning to read, and ride a bike. These things take time, practice and perseverance. If you give up as soon as you can't do something or find it too difficult, then you won't get very far.

Read and learn

Think of a child's natural inquisitive nature, and how much they learn from their own curiosity. Recreate this in adulthood - soak up as much knowledge as you can. Not only will it make you feel good about yourself and therefore help you perform better in your daily life, it will help you to reach the top of your game.

If you need to study something but it seems rather boring, then just try to see it as the opportunity of learning something new, that could prove to be useful at some point in the future.

Be punctual and conscientious

These are skills that you will learn during your school years, and hopefully had perfected by your mid-teens. Think about having to turn up to classes on time, meet deadlines and get every assignment up to the best standard that you can make it - then apply these principles to every aspect of your adult life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Definitively Solve Your Psychological Problems

You want to be happy and achieve all your goals. However, nothing is simple. You don't learn how to live well at school. Your parents don't give you the right directions. You live in a crazy world.

Your options in life are limited by numerous factors. Thus, you are blocked. There are many discouraging points in your life, and nothing is helping you find peace, sound mental health, and self-confidence.

I will show you exactly what to do in order to find free psychotherapy in your own dreams, without going anywhere or paying anything to your doctor. You only have to learn the meaning of the dream language based on Carl Jung's discoveries and on my discoveries after continuing his research.

I give you clear guidance in simple terms. Learning the dream language is not a problem.

Carl Jung discovered that our dreams are produced by the unconscious mind. He learned how to cure invincible mental illnesses thanks to the unconscious guidance in dreams. I completed his research, discovering the unconscious sanctity. I teach you how to easily solve your psychological problems by trusting the divine wisdom.

Jung did the most complicated part of the research. I simply completed the missing end.

Today you can learn how to completely and definitively eliminate your psychological problems through dream therapy in a very short period of time. If you'll be a good student and an obedient patient, the divine unconscious mind will help you overcome all your psychological problems forever in a period of time that depends on various details and varies from case to case, but usually takes from six months to one year.

You can transform your personality and stop having fears, negative feelings, absurd thoughts, and many other unpleasant or unbearable sensations only by following the guidance of the unconscious mind in your own dreams. This is true; it was already successfully tested during two generations.

One year is a short period of time, and you will definitively get rid of all problems forever; not only for a while. You can be transformed even earlier if you'll be serious. Depression and neurosis are cured in around 8 months of psychotherapy.

You can overcome all your psychological problems and become a self-confident person in a very short period of time if you'll compare the unconscious treatment to the long treatments (that in fact never end) of most psychotherapists.

These treatments never eliminate the roots of absurdity from your brain and psyche. Only the unconscious treatment is perfect.

Carl Jung was a genius. He was my doctor when I was young. When I looked for psychotherapy through dream interpretation I suffered from a severe neurosis, which already had characteristics of schizophrenia.

I live in Greece, even though I'm Brazilian. I read Carl Jung's books (written in the Greek language) many times until I could completely understand his method of dream interpretation. I also had to study many other scientific subjects because I needed many answers. This means that I had to get used to the scientific terms I found in these books, looking for their meaning in the dictionary, besides having to learn the meaning of many complicated Greek words.

At that time (1984) the internet didn't exist yet and all dictionaries existed only in books. Using the dictionary just to find the meaning of a single word was not a simple matter. I had to open the dictionary, and search for the right page. I also had to go to libraries in order to look for information that I couldn't find in book stores. At that time everything was complicated.

This was the beginning of my long journey. I couldn't imagine where I would arrive in the end.

I was only 23-years-old at that time. The end of this long journey happened only in 2007, when I could finally publish my conclusions after continuing Carl Jung's research into the unknown region of the human psyche and curing many people through dream translation.

The internet was created for me. I couldn't believe it was real. This was the best way to show to the entire world everything I could discover by obeying the divine guidance in dreams.

Carl Jung was a scientist, and he didn't have a religious attitude. However, the continuation of his research explains the meaning of all religious mysteries. I had to follow a path of spiritual purification and attain sanctity by obeying the divine guidance in dreams.

It is true that there is hell, because we are terrible sinners. We must obey God's guidance if we don't want to end up in craziness and despair.

Our goodness is false. We are hypocritical, selfish, and lazy. We must indispensably transform our personality while we are alive.

There is a hell waiting for all sinners, but there is also a paradise for those who obey God's guidance and learn how to attain sanctity. If you'll respect the divine wisdom, you can escape the tragic destiny of those who never learn how to solve their problems.

We have many psychological problems because our wild nature controls our behavior. We don't want to try to be perfect, even though we want to be admired. We care only about having pleasures in life.

This attitude cannot help anyone achieve any goal.

If you want to find peace and happiness in life, you have to learn how to be balanced. This is something that cannot happen by chance.

The unconscious mind shows you exactly what you have to do. You'll have many warnings when you'll make mistakes, until you'll have the right attitude.

If you keep having dream warnings, this means that you are disobedient, and you cannot go ahead. The divine unconscious mind doesn't accept rush, lack of attention, or indifference to the messages it sends to protect your mental health. You'll have warnings until you'll change your attitude and pay attention to the unconscious guidance.

Dreams about difficult challenges, enemies, spiders, and snakes indicate danger. There are many other variations. Whenever you have bad dreams, you must worry about your attitude. Bad dreams are alarms. You are making mistakes and your anti-conscience is taking advantage of your indifference.

You will understand that you are making mistakes because you trust people you shouldn't trust, you have an immature behavior in many occasions, you are limited by your one-sided psychological type, and many other factors in your life are contributing for the formation of unbearable situations.

You have to get rid of what is negative and generates mental illnesses, and learn how to be wise. Through dream therapy you will learn how to be perfect and cultivate real goodness in your heart.

Goodness is medicine. It cures all mental illnesses. It puts an end to violence. It transforms you into a strong and self-confident person.

You should not desire to be evil or believe that there is anything positive on selfishness, violence, hypocrisy, and greed.

Through dream therapy you'll eliminate what is negative from your brain and psyche, and from your life. You'll understand that your life is very important.

You'll discover what exists behind the apparent reality. You'll learn how to control your behavior. You'll learn how to automatically forgive your enemies. You'll learn how to always respect your moral principals and always defend justice.

You'll become a sensitive, warm, and humble person who is always friendly, and always shows understanding. You'll stop having psychological problems because you'll stop making mistakes.

Christina Sponias continued Carl Jung's research into the human psyche, discovering the cure for all mental illnesses, and simplifying the scientific method of dream interpretation that teaches you how to exactly translate the meaning of your dreams, so that you can find health, wisdom and happiness.