Altruistic Behavior

Dr. Tami L. Petersen, Ph.D.

March 20, 2019

I remember in my baccalaureate program that we all thought we were so smart to figure out that there is no real altrusistic behavior.  At that level we could not grasp the thought of someone truly behaving altruistically for nothing in return.  We stood our ground and declared that even the feeling good about one's self is a gain.  In pop culture I often refer my class to the movie Harvey (1950) starring Jimmy Stewart.  The protagonist (Stewart), had a mental breakdown (Schizophrenia) after feeling so good for his altruistic behavior.  He had never behaved altruisticaly before.

As I have aged and gained more knowledge, I have a different perspective.  I often find that my moral compass demands that I behave altruistically and I do so without regard to any personal gain.  At some point we all have to decide who we want to be.  There are givers and takers in this world. There those who cannot help themselves.  There are those who naturally help others without a second thought.  This would be moral theory closer to Kant than to Kohlberg.  

Kohlberg's theory of morality focusses on tangible rewards that motivate individuals to behave in certain ways.  Kant postulates that a person is born to be one way or the other regardless of environmental influencers.  I think that we all start off on the side of Kolhberg, but somewhere along the way we understand ourselves better and then the innate moral compass within each of us is released.  

I often tell my nieces that we are here to serve others.  That is what we do.  I believe that the spiritual journey that my family is on dictates how we behave.  That is very Kant, by the way.  We are born to help and serve others.  No one is turned away.  We are here to help direct others on their spiritual journey.

I was almost arrested for giving a man water to drink.  My neighbor called the police stating that I was stealing water to give to a homeless man.  Was he homeless?  I did not ask.  She presumed so, because he needed water.  It turns out that he was not homeless, just a new neighbor who bought a forclosure home and the utilities were set to turn on the following Monday.  He was at his new home refurbishing it before the water and electric was even turned on.  A very ambitious man.  

The police officer approached me and pulled her gun on my poor blind, retired service dog.  She turned and wagged her tail.  Common sense cannot be taught, but is an innate skillset.  I was told that I could not just give a homeless man water.  Let alone ten gallon jugs full for his dolly.  First, what homeless man walks around with empty milk jugs and a dolly?  Second, it was none of my business.  Third, it was no one else's business.  A man shows up and needs water, so I give it without a second thought.

A man's mini van breaks down on my street one day.  I thought I recognize him (and I did) as a co-worker from a couple of decades ago.  He said he needed a jump start.  Well that is a simple request.  I go home and get my cables and SUV.  As I am placing the cables on his battery, a police officer pulls up and almost arrests me as an accomplice to the robbery and hit and run committed by the man that I had recognized from a couple of decades ago.  

A starving cat wanders into my yard crying, injured and looking like death is not far away.  Of course I feed him and my family helps him mend.  Seven months later he is still recovering, and has brought back friends.  We now have seven cats that visit daily for love, attention, fresh water, and food.  They need help and we are there.  

I feel that this is what I am supposed to do.  I am supposed to help.  It is my real job.  It is the job of my family.  Helping might bring us trouble at times, but we are well meaning and desire nothing in return.  The absolute last thing we think of is compensation.  My parents are old hippies at heart, and so am I.  

I feel priviliaged to teach at a University where I can touch so many lives and make a difference.  I am teaching my students to be true to their calling.  Follow their hearts, and they can never go wrong.  I teach this to my nieces as well.  A pure heart and pure intent can never get them into too much trouble.  So is there real altrusitic behavior? Yes, of course there is.

When You Are Violated

Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.



When you are violated, or express that you have been violated, most individuals tend to think of a sexual violation.  This need not be the case.  Many individuals suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and that is a violation of an individual's personal safety that is too much for the individual to process.  PTSD is much more than that, but the simple definition for an undergraduate or dual enrolled student needs to be simple enough to understand quickly before I lose their attention.

I just read a book of poems by a scholar that I have never met, but have lived to meet him for 50 years.  This single man has been responsible for who I have become, and I thank him.  He wanted to follow through with one of his projects and visited a war zone.  War zones are not fun and can threaten an individual's personal safety.  I feel bad for him, because I think that he is a kind soul and did not belong there.

But, back to violations.  Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to personal violations, real or imagined.  I know of a child who felt threatened when she saw a family member go outside to speak with a police officer and that family member was standing between her dog and a gun.  That dog is not aggressive, she is a retired service dog.  She is blind, so she needs to sniff all visitors.  But the careless police officer pulled a gun out.  The child cries everytime that she sees a police officer.  She felt like her personal safety had been violated.

Some teens get real fussy about parents entering their room.  It is their sanctuary, or safe place.  If a parent enters without permission that sanctuary is compromised and the trust between parent and child is broken.  Can it be fixed?  Well that depends on the prior relationship that they had.  Things may never be the same.  The teen may grow more distant and when the teen grows up the emotional distance could increase.  Or, the parent and teen could work out those feelings of violation and become closer because of it.  Many factors are at play here including personality and previous life experiences.

Here is another example that is relatable and real.  A renter has rights.  One of the many rights is a 24 hour notice before entering the domicile.  A Property Manager cannot just walk up and conduct an impromptu inspection.  There are some things that are a true violation.  A stranger entering a home unannouced does fall under the category of a violation.  There are residents there, children, and pets.  All of whom may be violated by a stranger walking into the house unannounced.  That is a total violation.  And illegal.

I think that we should all be aware of when we are encroaching on another's space.  That person may feel violated and the lasting reprecussions can manifest years later.  As a professor I am especially aware of violating privacy.  We have homework questions assigned that talk about rather sensitive topics.  In psychology class that happens.  I have made it a rule that no names are to be used ever.  No indication of who they are using is to be found in their responses.  They are to refer to Pop Culture as an example or refer to any individual as a participant, client, or subject.  I would be devastated to know that I had caused a violation of someone unknowingly.

Fundamental Attribution Errors

Author: Dr. Tami L. Petersen, Ph.D.

February 27, 2019

I have been thinkning about this topic for many days and there is so much to say.  So much, that I decided to write about it until I think that I have had my fill, but by no means does this mean that I have exhausted the topic, only that I have become satiated for the moment.  This is a topic that might be revisited often.  

The fundamental attributon error is when a mistake is made about a person because assumptions were made.  Yes, it is like stereotyping but different.  Stereotyping would be just as judgmental and hurtful to the victim, so this is a topic that needs to be addressed several times. So a judgement is not made based on group belongingness, which is often the case for stereotyping.  An example, a man is missing his wallet and the single balck man present is the first to be considered the thief when all along it was the quiet and shy little old lady looking so innocent.

Fundamental attribution errors occur when we make a judgement about a person based on perception.  A common example is when someone goes car shopping. As surprising as this sounds most individuals do not get up and intend to go looking at cars for a purchase.  Financing and car sales people are irritating.  But we have all started off to the park or some other destiniation not requiring a pristine wardrobe and somehow found ourselves looking at the new models that have just come out on the lot.  We are just looking without the intent to purchase, we are curious.  And the sales person will come out and try to redirect your atetntion to what they assume you can afford by your appearance.  

Open houses are another common situation where we find ourselves in the fundamental attribution error fog.  Driving by a home that you have been curious about for what ever reason, on your way home from the kids soccer match on a Saturday morning and you stop to have a look.  Right away you pile out of the vehicle with your troup intow and the chaos that follows.  You are not looking your best.  It is Saturday.  The kids had a game.  Enough said, right?  That real estate agent is not likely to take you very serious as a potential client.  How very frustrating it is that the realtor suggests that you contact the office next week to find a home and neighborhood more suitable to your needs.  This is embarrassing.

Families can have huge misunderstandings because of fundamental attribution errors.  Teenagers go off the deep end so easy because they just make assumptions.  Parents also make huge errors in judgement and just assume the worse.  When adult children haev an issue with an elderly parent that elderly parent often keeps that fleeting moment alive, feeding it on insecurities.

If an adult in a household has not finished his or her lifespan developmental stages and even thought hey are in middle age physically their mind can still be a teenager.  This is happening more often, that adult children are just not growing up.  They do not assume responsibilities. They do not undertand that the laundry fairy is their elderly parents.  The house gets cleaned once every few week and the trash is taken out every few weeks, not because of a cleaning fairy but because the elderly parents have intervened again to prevent their adult children from getting into trouble. 

Recently, I was witness to an elderly couple who went to an adult child's house to help out.  It is no secret that Child Protective Services will be out to investigate the irregular attendance that their children are havign at the public school system.  Fearing the worst, the elderly parents went over on a Sunday morning to clean the floors and get food trash picked up.  Get the children's sheets changed.  In the process, the utility room under the carport was not safe to walk in to use the washer and dryer.  And yes, they picked everything up and placed the items on the shelves locating the floor of the utility room so that laundry could be cleaned.

With the male adult child freaking out and storming off in the car at the sight of his arriving parents, his wife was left home.  She retrated to her bedroom and called him to give a play by play of their actions.  She peaked out and saw the tile floor in the living room and thought the worst possible scenario.  That they had thrown away all of the children's toys.  Not the case.  Just loose papers, paper plates, cups, plastic spoons, empty boxes for snack cakes, empty pizza boxes, and even unidentifiable left over food that the children stored in their pillowcases.

Nothing was thrown away, except for real trash.  Five garbage bags later, there was a visible floor in the main rooms of the house and the children's rooms.  That is the tragedy, not that the trash was picked up.  Nothing was discarded in the utility room, only placed neatly on the shelving that had been empty.  

The wife, who is technically still 12 years old emotionally told the husband that everythign that owned was being thrown away.  Whe he arrived and saw such a neat and tidy house (not clean, mind you) he also amde a fundamental attribution error.  Assuming that the only way to have a clean home is to discard the contents.  He actually threatened his elderly parents physically and threw a loud screaming tantrum.

Witnessing and hearing this occur Sunday morning was at first disturbing.  It was a nice day for a front porch swing with my morning coffee and a book.  Plans changed and I became vested in the outcome of this fiasco.  And all the time, all I could think was that this is a fundamental attribution error.  Did I go over and explain?  No, because I am smart enough to mind my own business.  If they were threatening violence to their elderly parents I would not take a chance at what I would be dealt from their tempers.  Interesting......


PTSD.... it is real

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.

Date 2/13/2019


PTSD is real.  I have heard the argument that it is not in the psychological community.  Part of the reasoning is that the antecedent is unique to each individual.  We cannot lump this inot a category.  PTSD is a critter all of its own.  


So, how do individuals develop PTSD?  Well, a very well know therapist (Dr. Kahn) explained it like no other.  He said to think of our memory processing system as a desk inside our brain with a little man processing things in the little boxes.  The first box is labled Sensory Memory.  We only place things there if we think that the information is worthy of considering.  We code it and leave it there for later.  Eventually, that Sensory Memory will be worked into Short Term Memory.  We recode things to fit into schemas (psychoanalytic I know).  


In Short Term Memory, we recode the information again.  This basket is very light and can only hold a limited amount of information unless the individual uses another method of coding like batching or chunking.  It involves creating groups of "like" items.  Short Term Memory is then processed into Long Term Memory during sleep by recoding and connecting with other communication nuerons (10,000 to approximate) for better retrieval.  Some items do not fit into a schema, and therefore cannot be connected to other exeperiences and memories recorded.  Those memories go into a "holding basket" for later.


During sleep all memories except for the "holding basket" are processed.  These are memories that have often broken a schema of the individual.  It is as if each of us has a safety bubble.  It is different for each of us.  We all have our boundaries of what we can handle.  And when that bubble is broken, the resulting memory cannot be coded to fit into any of our schemas.  


We have a sense of threat to our safety.  This is all very psychoanalytic, I know.  But even if we do not know that our safety has been threatened, our little man at the desk does.  He places that event into the Holding Basket.  These event never get filed and recoded for later retrieval.  They sit there on the desk in that basket looking unkept.  They are messy.  They are dsturbing.


As a defense mechanism we refuse to embrace the event.  We put it in the disorganized basket for later.  There is never a good time to look in the Holding Basket.  So, the little man from time to time will try to find something that relates to the threat.  It can be a word, noise, smell.....  anything that can be attached to the threatening event. 


At that time the indiviudal will relive the event, because it is right there in the open.  That dirty, messy, and unkept memory is there to disturb the individual.  That is all it can do, cause havoc.  There are not enough fragments to properly code this memory.  It does not fit into any schema.  The threat was real to the individual experiencing it.  Everyone experiences each event differently.  


When these memories resurface the individual might have a flash back, and relive the event.  The individual might have a Panic Attack.  The individual might have anxiety, sleep loss, emotional outbursts.....  All beacuse the little man at the desk cannot process the information.  The information is threatening to that individual for certain.  


That threat is the deal breaker.  Our safety bubble is broken and cannot be reasembled.  Just like Humpty Dumpty.  We might learn to cope with it, recognize it when it happens, and even live with it.  But it will always be there.  That dirty, messy, and unkept fragment of a threatening event that cannot be assimilated into our personal schema.  In this case, resist because assimilation is futile.

Too Big For Your Britches......

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.


February 11, 2019


Now that is an old adage isn't it?  I can remember that I was often too big for my britches.  Maybe I was.  Watching Young Sheldon on TV feels like home.  I relate to Sheldon the character as an adult and as a child.  Yes, there are kids and adults out there like this.  Like me.  It is comforting to understand that I am not alone. 


Old movies are flashing in my mind faster than I can type.  I remember in Mr. Mom, the Micheal Keaton character was too big for his britches.  He felt threatened by his wife's coworker and acted like a maniac with a chainsaw talking electrical babble to the newest addition of testosterone in his wife's life.


I hear this kind of babble all the time with blue-collar workers.  In my last residency, my mentor would tell me to stop using psychobabble.  The purpose was to change my mindset to an eighth grade level for purposes of writing dissertation and subsequent articles.  We need to be approachable.


But blue-collar workers do not necessarily want to be approachable.  It gives them an edge.  They need the ego boost, as we say.  I hear them in every venue with the conversation starting with, "I tell you what...."  And they have an audience.  They thrive on the attention.


When attention is directed to an individual, his or her self-esteem is often lifted.  This is really good.  We want to live in a world with good vibes.  Happiness is catchy.  Some individuals need to have an audience and at least think that they are charge or control of something in their life.  Control is key to autonomy.


Control can go to an individual's head though can it not?  And this is when they become too big for their britches.  The control is mismanaged.  We often find ourselves surrounded by too many chiefs and not enough indians.  That reminds me of the Civil War, when we definitely had too many chiefs on the southern side.  They literally sat on ridges arguing who was in charge and lost so many battles before they began.  Not that I am a supporter of the cause for the south.  I am a supporter of efficiency, and from what I have learned by visiting the National Parks the south was not efficient.


Working with blue-collar workers has been an eye opener.  This is a very distinct socioeconomic class, whose members are often boisterous.  One thing is for certain, if you are interacting with the blue-collar crowd, then you will know where you stand.  You will know what the group is thinking.  You will have to make a choice to either roll with it or not.  This is very true, the blue-collar dynamic does not allow for fence riders.  You are either all in or all out.  


Now, let's talk about them being too big for their britches.  Well, give them the rope and they will hang themselves.  As a professor I said this and got an unexpected response from the class.  Before 8am I am thankful that they are awake.  I told my students last week that when I open all assignments up at the beginning of a semester so that they can work at their own pace, it was a gift or enough rope to hang themselves.  They went nuts.  I think that old addage is now considered offensive.  I don't know why?  It is just a saying that we have been saying for centuries.  It literally means that if you are determined to succeed you will, and if you lack motivation success will not be the outcome.


I often wonder if those individuals who become so very boisterous are seeking attention or confirmation that they are behaving within the boundaries of the said group with which they belong.  Are they behaving like loud bull dog bullies because they think that they have to?  Maybe.  When you get the individual away from tthe group you will be able to tell if the behavior is group motivated or originating intrinsically.  


Some individuals become more relaxed and want to just get by without a problem.  Others are looking for a fight and if they don't find one they will create one.  One common denominator for group dominate behavior is that need to be in charge.  The need to call the shots.  The need to be noticed.  It is actually exhausting to watch what an individual will do to get the attention desired.


So I believe that individuals that identify strongly with their group will engage in certain characteristic behaviors.  Even if the individual knows that the behavior is not needed or wanted by others.  To save face with their group with which they belong, blue-collar workers often make behavioral choices that are not too savory.


Author: Dr. Tami Petersen, PhD

February, 4, 2019


Wow, is all I can say.  I teach at a small univeristy.  We call it a university because we currently offer a couple of different BS degrees in healthcare.  For the most part, this is still a community college.  This a community college that is stuck in a time warp.  The pay has not increased in 35 years, the faculty rarely changes and remains the same for decades.  This is where all the professors go to teach until they die off.  Seriously.  In my department we have only two full time professors of Psychology.  But we have many other disciplines represented.  We even have a professor that is full time at another campus for this university (who has an office there)  using an office here.  Well using is a strong word.  He comes by once or twice a month and makes a big announcement that he might as well open his office door and see if it looks as unused as the last time he looked. Ha ha ha ha.


Did I mention that this is community/techinical college?  We are here for the students, and only because there are students.  And yet, I hear all the time how pompous and arrogant the other professors are.  I get it, they are full of something.  They think that they are way more important than they are.  Afterall, they have a PhD.  Well, I do too.  It is the older professors that have a PhD that bully othere professors around.  They bully the students with expectations that are ludicrous.  I have a student (disabled) that must leave every class early so that she is not late to her next class.  The professor will lock her out of the class room.  There are professors who confiscate all electronic devices at the start of every class.  In spite of recent research indicating that instant feedback gained (from allowing electronic devices) increases the student's learning by 95%.  Yes, it is true on both counts.  


The students are adults, not nursury school children.  The students have lives, and we should make things easier not harder for them.  These students are here to make something out of their life.  This makes me happy, not threatened.  My reaction to students is more relaxed than most.  I encourage interaction, enthusiasm, and creating dialogs in class about our topic.  We can get loud, but we are learning.  I have to admit that nothing feels better to me than knowing that my students are fully engaged in the lesson and are contributing life experiences to help others understand the concepts.  It is beautiful.  


And then the Grumpy man next door comes over.  He scolds me as if I am a child because we are watching a video, a three and a half minute video.  The class was very engaged.  They were alive!  They were learning and I could see it.  Oh, and then Grumpy man next door barges in.  He says, "Girly, I am teaching next door."  I reply,  "I know, I can hear you everyday very clearly."  My class laughs.  Yes, we do have to compete for sound in our room because he lectures loudly and plays his videos even louder.  He shook his finger at me (yes, I laughed), and told me to turn down the volume (which was at half volume as it was).  I complied, laughed and saluted.  My class roars again and he stomps out.  


What kind of message did he give everyone?  Well, first he lacks respect.  My name isn't Girly, it's Dr. Petersen.  He disrespected my class by interrrupting their video activity.  He disrespected his own clas by stomping out his class to interrupt mine.  And further disrespected both myself and my class by continuing to speak so loud that we have to find breaks in his lecture to be heard ourselves.  Yeah, we can only talk when he is breaathing.


This professor also lost control of his class.  By losing his temper in front of his students, he lost something that can never be regained.  He lost any respect that I had for him.  Now I will forever think of him as Grumpy man next door.  My class has seen his weak side, and I doubt that they will sign up for his courses.  Word gets around fast on campus, so professors need to be diligent and consistant with students.  We must be fair and courteous.  If not, then we don't have a class to teach.


He irritated me.  He irritated my students.  I would be willing to bet that as many times that he has irritated and disrupted my class through the wall, that his students are even more so irritated.  He is the Grumpy man next door.  I might look fine, but I have pnemonia.  I haven't gotten any rest in over a week.  It hurts to breathe, let alone lecture.  My students know how sick I am.  They know that I come in anyway, because I do not want them to get behind.  I have a strict schedule, clearly outlined on the syllabus, and we will stick to it.  Yes, I have every unit's lecture pre-recorded to accompany the PowerPoint presentation.  Yes, they have notes from two other note takers, and my notes from every unit.  All supplied in advance.  But I signed a contract stating that I will teach these kids.  And I do.  I can rest at home.  But, I can get cranky easier.  Especially with a Grumpy man next door.


Why can't everyone just roll with it?  Why must we all walk around afraid to disturb someone else?  Why can't we focus on our business?  What type of person needs that much attention? (yes, I know what type) Most importantly, why try to intimidate me?  Yes I know I look younger that I am.  I discovered the most amazing product. It's called lotion.  And I use it.  Well, I was not intimidated.  I was irritated.  Which made me think of that movie Anger Management with Sandler and Nickleson.  Which made me say as he shut the door to stomp away in arogant fashion, "goosefraba."  How can I stay mad after saying that word? It's impossible. Inconceivable.


I repeat again, goosefraba.  I feel better, don't you?



What IS Your Truth?

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.

January 28, 2019


Body image is a huge factor in most peoples lives.  Do we like how we look?  Most of us will confess that there is something that they do not like about their appearance.  Self-esteem is usually a part of our feelings about our appearance.  Did you know that others see you differently than you do?  Did you know that your self-esteem has a direct link to your personality? Fascinating is it not?


Do we like how we look?  Well, most of us do not.  We see every flaw (usually).  An individual can have scars that they feel are horribly noticeable, but really are not.  I know someone who always dressed in long sleeves to hide scars on her arm from a broken window.  The scars ran deep.  Her arm was shredded at the time of the injury.  He hospital staff did the best that they could, but all glass and debris were not removed for medical reasons.  She had over two hundred stitches.  Yes they healed.  And she went to a plastic surgeon who told her that she would be better off living with those scars. 


Well, physically he was probably correct.  Emotionally though, she is a mess about the disfigurement.  After several decades the scars have smoothed over, so that they are not as dimensional as they once were.  The discoloration in the skin is still there.  Glass and debris are still rising to the surface of the skin and expelling. Yes, your body will push out foreign objects, given enough time.  Most people do not notice the now older woman's arm.  Or they just accept the discoloration as a birth mark.  Nothing is ever said.  Really, nothing is ever considered by others.  This poor woman has avoided many social events and worn many outfits to hide what she considers a monterous disfigurement.  If she could only see what others see, right?  A beautiful, bright, engaging person.  People envy her not turn in disgust.  But all she sees are the scars from long ago.


As we saw from the above example, people see you differently than you do yourself.  Some individuals are rather large in size.  While the large person might recognize the hefty size, an understanding of that size might elude the individual.  Every once in a while that individual will be photographed and there is a huge possibility that the individual will not recognize the person in the photo.  Seriously. 


Every once in a while that individual gets a shock in the mirror.  Then back to fantasy land.  It is like a scene out Shallow Hal the movie.  That individual can fold laundry and wonder at the size of the clothing, but still not see it as large when that same item of clothing is worn.  In a mirror we all see what we want to see.  It is our truth.  I like to think of it as we see who we really are, not the package everyone else sees.  For the most part that is the way it is.


There are some individuals who see large grotesque figures in the mirror when looking at their image.  Of course there is nothing large about that person.  For instance, I have befriended an individual who is in her 70's and still has a rock solid body.  She was an athlete and continues to exercise and train her body.  This is terrific to see someone in the late adulthood developmental stage so agile.  She is beautiful and so very delicate and petite. 


As an older individual, she still thinks of herself as young.  She is baffled at her advanced age at times.  She sees herself as very large and fat.  This is not the case.  anyone who at 70 years or older that can shop in the juniors section of the department store (not wearing the largest size, mind you) is not fat.  This poor woman is so certain that she is fat, because of her weight.  Well, she has muscle.  She wears a size 8, and rocks a short skirt and sleeveless top.  No flab on her.  How can she see herself as fat?  She has limited her diet to the point that she is in starvation mode according to her bloodwork.  She maintains the same weight within five pounds whether she diets or not and is very frustrated because she sees herself as very fat and over weight.  That is her truth.


Self-esteem and personality are closely related.  They would have to be.  Those individuals who feel that they are fat will often seek fewer opportunities to engage socially (they are less open).  Who wants to go out and be the crowd controller by distraction?  Who wants to go out to eat when they think that they are fat?  Fat people do not like to go out to eat.  They think people are staring at them and judging their food selections.  I have heard this from many individuals.  Go to a weight loss group and you will hear some stories.


We each know our truth.  Unfortunately, our truth may not be the truth of reality.  We might see ourselves as we were when we were 19, and at 50+ we are not the same.  We have earned every gray hair and skin crease.  I have heard people say, "When did I get old?"  Well, it happened one little step at a time.  Embrace yourself for who you are.  We are not all going to be thin.  We are not all going to have smooth skin.  We will at times have scars both visible and invisible.  But we are all unique and should be grateful for that.

Dreams Are Only Healing If We Understand Their Meaning

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen



According to many theories we dream for many reasons , but one reason is to heal emotionally. We have dreams all the time, and many are just flashes of a scene.  The dream might and usually does reflect what we were just doing before bed or part of our day will play a central role in the dream.


We rarely remember a dream from beginning to end.  Like a complete movie or story.  I always thought we just had little flashes of things.  One summer at a typical teenage sleep over, we all piled on a huge palet of blankets and pillows and watched The Incredible Mr. Limpet.  A very entertaining movie for young teenage girls.  We all went to sleep afterward, tired and giggly.  But the next morning one of the girls told us of this fantastic dream that she had.  


In her dream, she had the talking fish (Mr. Limpet) present with the entire group of our friends including boys.  The dream was totally different than the movie, it's just that the fish helped us engage in more adult conversations with the boys of our group.  She told a tale of how we all went to the dock and got on the boat and traveled to an island not far away from the house for a lunch picnic and beach fun.  Growing up in South Florida, this was something that we did often.  


She talked about how the fish helped her talk to a certain boy and he asked her to the school dance that was coming up.  Well, we all knew she liked him.  And she did ask him for a dance while we were all there that night.  As a matter of fact she dated him three years later in high school.  So was this when she realized that she liked him?  It took her a little while but she did finally understand the meaning of her vivid dream.  He became her boyfriend and shortly after they went their own amicable ways.  But it is interesting to see.


I have been told that some individuals who suffer from sexual abuse as a child will have scary dreams that involve water in some fashion.  And, that water is the cause of great distress.  Several stories come to mind.  Like the girl who always dreams of having to find a restroom, which is very difficult and when she does....the bathroom is too dirty to use or is broken or missing the plumbing.  She is very disturbed by this.  Another disturbing recurring theme that I have heard of involves a young man who dreams of driving out to the beach, he hates the beach.  But in his dream he is going and the bridge is always under construction.  Not just construction, but out.  There are thin 4 inch wide boards that he has to balance his car on to get there and to return causing much distress and anxiety.  He also has dreams about Tsunami's hitting him on the coastal islands.  Yes, he does have problems with anxiety and was abused as a child. 


The bathroom girl is disturbed and cannot get things in order and does not like messy things; and yes, she suffers from OCD and anxiety based on her loss of control as a child.  If she understood the meaning of her dreams and were able to fins a clean bathroom, clean it herself, or fix the plumbing she might overcome her anxiety or at least find ways to mitigate her anxiety by accepting that she can now control her environment to a point.


The man is also afraid of losing control, and avoids any situation in life that he cannot.  This makes it impossible for him to work and earn a living.  He is suffering.  If he only understood that his dreams are manifesting his anxiety over his lack of control as a child.  He could literally Lucid Dream a new dream where he actually builds a bridge to get over or mitigate his persoanl angst.


I know an individual who was chased by alligators as a toddler.  She is terrified of them to this day.  For 45 years she has been afraid or at least well aware of the danger of alligators, but she also has dreamed about the alligator for 45 years.  As a child she would dream that her bed was floating in water surrounded by very large and hungry alligators.  She then started to manipulate her dreams as a child.  She was Lucid Dreaming.  She would change the dream everytime.  So, sometimes her mattress would fly like Alladin's flying carpet driven by the Alligator.  She would drean that the alligators would play ball and jacks with her.  She dreamed of them reading books to her.  In some innate way she understood that her dreams could change and she could control them.  She might still have a healthy fear of alligators, but has done her homework.  She knows how to kill one if threatened.  She understands that she is not in control in their environment, so she avoids those situations.  She is no longer terrified.  She is in control and is angry.  She allowed the dreams to heal her fears by understanding that by changing her outcomes in the dream world she could take control of her present life.  Again just thoughts.

She's Not A Mother, She Is A Gerbil

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen

January 16,2019


She's Not a Mother, She is a Gerbil Author: Dr. Tami Petersen January 15, 2019 Wow, harsh words. She is not a mother, she is a Gerbil. What is a Gerbil? A Gerbil is a rodent, much like a hampster but with a longer life expectancy and originating from the deserts of Mongolia. A Gerbil is a pet. It eats and sleeps. I defacates and makes a mess.


When ii has babies, it just lets nature take its course. A Gerbil is more likely to not care if their babies are taken care or not. People often watch Gerbils in cages. Gerbils are entertaining. They are fun to watch. They have a limited cognitive capacity, but that does not slow them down. They can chew on things, run in a wheel, and even roll around in a clear plastic ball. That sounds like fun.


Children often get Gerbils and are very entertained by them. Children can love their Gerbil pets but the love will not and cannot be returned. This is something that we know beforehand. Sometimes realtionships are much like a Gerbil/Child relationship. One person can and does love unconditionally. But is that love returned? What if the other member of the relationship is unable to love or even understand what love is?


Aside from that fact that the relationship cannot evolve into anything truly meaningful, the satisfaction level will not be very consistant or high. There will be moments of course, but they are going to be far and few between. Can you imagine loving someone even if you know that the other person will be unable to love you back? What motivates a person to accept these terms? Previous life experiences for the individual who chooses this type of relationship must have been devastating. Is this devastated and broken person looking for an easy, low maintenance relationship?


A healthy relationship would help that person heal over time, but the price for taking a chance might be too high for some. So if that is the case, that a healthy relationship is just too much to handle or try again, then a one-sided relationship might be the answer. The benefits to a relationship like this are simple enough. The "Gerbil" partner will be available for sex, and ready for feeding. Cleaning is not an option; neither the self or environment.


So, this person understands that if meals are to be prepared and the domicile is to be cleaned it will not happen by the hands of the "Gerbil." So the relationship is all just fun and games. As long as the relationship does not need any other elements added, then harmony shuld be found in their domicile. What if you add a pet? Well, Gerbils do not like to share their space with others. Agression can and will happen.


So that poor devastated and broke person should not get any REAL pets. A cat, dog, ferret, or reptile will be abused when the Gerbil is not supervised. The environment will not be suitable for any other occupants when the Gerbil is dissatisfied. Did I mention cats? Well, if the Gerbil is human, then a cat might be a good pet to have. Cats can live in solitude very easily. Food can be placed out with water daily and the Gerbil and cat can choose to occupy the same space without too much discomfort. Agression might still be an option for the Gerbil, but less frequently. The trick is to make sure that the Gerbil is not inconvenienced.


So to have a relationship with a Gerbil and know that no task will be completed, up to and including meals, cleaning, laundry, or reciprocated companionship can work under these conditions. The relationship can work until sex happens too often and then there are more people in the domicile. Children are a game changer. To have children with a Gerbil is a recipe for disaster. Neglect is certain to happen. The children will suffer. They will not recieve the stimulation they need for proper lifespan development.


They children will learn to forage for food unless it is left out for them. They are likely to be sequestered into a single room by a baby gate to keep the Gerbil happy. They will potty train themselves. They will learn to feed themselves. They will learn to hoard food for later. They will learn to depend on only each other and develop attachments only with each other.


The children will not have a proper education, prior to public schooling. The children will not be socailized. They will most likely speak their own language. They will not understand social boundaries. They will be feral. They will have to learn to speak the same language that eveyone else does. They will have to learn to use restrooms. They will have to learn hygiene, such as brushing teeth and hair. They will learn that running outside in the rain once a month is not a daily bath. They will have deficits for certain, but will learn. The Gerbil cannot stop them from becoming the incredible humans that they are destined to be. Just thoughts......... 

The Gold Rush of the 21st Century

Millenials.  Generation X.  A lot of people complain about them.  Complaints are usually about entitlement or lack of interest for success.  I hear a lot of baby boomers complain that they have it easy and that this is the disposable generations.  Disposable because we have fast food, paper plates, plastic untensils, and so on.  Even our dusting cloths are disposable and toilet brushes.


I get the concern.  Things appear to lose value.  When a group starts to not care for their things because they can just go and get another one, well then why should they take care of their things.  I cannot imagine not having certain things that bring back special memories.  I still have my first car tag, my flute from middle school, a lock of horse hair from an old boyfriend (that one is weird); but you get the idea.  A special doll given by a grandparent means nothing to kids who can just go down to the dollar store for another.


At the same time, these same people who are teaching their kids that the world is disposable and that things come easy understand that things do not come easy.  i say this beacuse every time there is a natural disaster there are people out there trying to get the advantage.  They are trying to get rich quick.  


As we waited a year ago for hurricane Irma to directly hit us (cat 4 hurricane), I stated to notice the excitement among blue-collar workers.  Yes, life as we know it is aboput to change.  We will soon be living in what looks like the apopcalypse, and they are excited. This last storm, Micheal, hit the panhandle of Florida hard.  A swath of debris 120 miles wide and stretching into states that are not bordered by the ocean.  It was devastating.  Death was everywhere, and that is horrible.  But, in the blue-collar sector I saw excitement.  Excitement because they are planning to benefit from the devastation.  The clean up.  First responders.  Even before first responders can go in, the blue-collar workers clear a path.  


The blue-collar workers arrive in a frenzy, often riding these storms and disasters out in heavy equipment.  To be honest, a storm that can pick up a Walmart Supercenter off of its foundation and move it five miles away is not something I want to ride out and I am a native to this area.  These blue-collar workers just know that they are going to strike it rich.  Well, some do.


They get contracts from the government and FEMA and clear the way to find survivors.  Yes, there were survivors.  Those who have been exposed to Baby Boomer morality do have an internal battle.  The money is so good!!  It is easy money, and dangerous.  But, the money is good!!  They flock in caravans to get to their destination.  


It reminded me of the stories we read about in history class about the Gold Rush.  They just grabbed a 'Go Bag' and left.  Headed for fortunes not yet discovered.  They are excited, edgy, fiesty, and ready to work hard for more money than they can imagine.  But sadly, it turns out the same as the gold rush.


Very few find profit.  Some will lose their lives.  Some will lose what little money that they had.  Some will be traumatized by the exposure and experience.  Some will make plans for the next time.  Some will go back home and stay.  The excitement still remains, but the reality of what it costs to go there is real.

It Makes Me Feel Good to Hate

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.



Seriously?  Yes, there are people who feel good when they hate.  I amsure we have all encountered a situation where we noticed that someone is happy to hate and make their feelings known.  Where would we encounter such behavior?  Who does that?  Why would someone want to hate for good feelings?


I recently heard a news cast where the individual being interviewed clearly stated that she felt good to hate.  This person was in a rally.  Protest rallies are not new to the American culture.  Protest rallies have in the past created bonds between individuals, groups, and organizations.  But it was a different time.  The protests were not usually violent. They presently leave a feeling of violation to those who reside near the protest and a huge mess to be cleaned up at the goverment's espense.


Yes, we had the Kent State riots and the Watts riots int he past that were fueled by hate and had poor outcomes.  But when the protest was handled peacefully, things happened and people listened.  Resisting with non-violence.  The message at that time was all about love not hate.  The participants gennuinely wanted everyone to feel the love and to do what is morally correct.  As a result, we cleaned up rivers, established laws to protect  the environment, we stopped segregation and we grew as a culture and nation.


Fast forward 50 years and we are still having these riots and protests.  They are filled with negativity and hate.  They have no tolerance of those who are different.  There is no love to give, only hate.  So we encounter this behavior in protests and rallies.  We also encounter this hate in politics and it gets in the way for proper moral judgements and choices to be made.  There is so much hate and outrage that there is no way possible for the good to pop up.  


Look at the way police officers, first responders, and soldiers have been treated in the past and present.  Police officers today are often scared when approached.  As a child I remember being told to always go to an officer for help if needed.  As an adult, I approach an officer to ask for directions and he pulls his gun out.  Why? Well, because there are so many officers being murdered by criminals during simple traffic stops or in a convenience store during break.  


At the southern border we are presently being invaded by non-citizens, many who are felons.  Illegal immigration can and does harm innocent individuals.  There is a huge battle of hate between those who support and do not support the opinion that they should be allowed to enter this country illegally.  Really? Yes, I said we are debating if legal or illegal entry is better for our country.  Aside from how rediculous this sounds, the two sides have generated much hate.  Members who want the criminals to enter illegally vehemently hate those who want to follow proceure and established laws.  So that is where we find those who feel good to hate.  The same kind of people who hate our elected leadership, especially when taxes are lowered and jobs are created.  It boggles the mind.


I would say that this is also who would feel good to hate.  Those who have a mindset that it is "my way or the highway." Again, no tolerance for alternate solutions.  But why would someone hate to feel good?  Most likely it is becasue we are biologically and evolutionarily designed to find group membership.  We have mirror neurons that motivate us to seek like minds and achieve group membership.  Even if an individual does not want to follow the group on every topic, they must.  It is very important to stand strong as a group.  A group is only as strong as its weakest link.  So all who want membership in a group will present the behaviors, including hate, to fit in.  By fitting in we feel good.  We feel good becasue when we fit in our bodies produce neurotransmitters to amke us feel good.  So that is why it makes some individuals feel goood to hate.


Words Can Hurt Worse Than Sticks and Stones

Author: Dr. Tami Petersen



Growing up we used to constantly say these little rhymes thinking we were so clever.  They did teach us concepts to use as we grew up.  Just like nursury rhymes, these little poems had a lesson or moral at the end. So, "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yes, you have heard this too on the playground growing up.  What happens to those fragile souls who never grow a thick skin?  Are they in constant misery?  What about their self-esteem?  We have cyber bullies now that are not only hurting children and teens, but adults of all ages.


Some individuals never learn that valuable lesson that for the most part, people are just passing through.  Unless it is family or a friendship with a special bond, we eventually move on.  That is how life works and is supposed to work.  We have people is our life to teach us lessons or give us experience.  When they no longer serve a need for us we amicably part ways most of the time.  In five years time we will all have different needs and experiences to interpret our environment.


Those individuals who are not able to "Let it go," so to speak have missed a vital developmental lesson.  They did not learn the value of a good shrug, or the fact that what is for dinner tonight will not be affected by interpersonal interactions during the day.  Someone cut me off in traffic this morning.  Was I angry?  No.  And I am having pork loin chops, salad, and sweet peas for dinner.  Same dinner even if an individual tries to bully me, intimidate me, or is just mean to me.  It will be ok and I will really enjoy those sweet peas.


For some it is not that easy to shrug it off and walk away.  They are devastated by the interaction and because our bodies are do efficient, they will  continue to produce nuerotransmitters to make that initial encounter's outcome continue for twelve hours.  So if you make another person angry, they will have a bad day and feel angry for twelve hours.  Nifty, unless you are the recipient of those little hormones.


It is not a good example to show our children our poor social skills.  They pick up on those insecurities.  Most likely, the caregiver is not aware that they are teaching these bad behaviors by example.  If a child acts out, there is a reason.  A child who acts out with no consequences, as we all know, will become comfortable with egocentric behaviors.  Those behaviors would include bullying.  I am reminded of Veruca in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  Well all of the kids in that movie.


Adults who cannot handle daily stressors such as harsh words or criticism often show signs of poor self-esteem.  They lose interest in hygeine and even the pleasure of life.  Depression? Maybe, but we are not their doctor and we are not here to judge.  Those who cannot handle these harsh words often drift with weak attachments to others, and we all see this.


I know a man who was injured at work, through no fault of his own.  He was attacked by Africanized bees.  Stung over two hundred times, possibly more.  They covered his entire body inside and out.  He almost died, but miraculously was transported by a coworker to the hospital in time.  He did slip into a coma, but emerged from the hospital several days later worse for the wear.


He was subcontracted by another company and had worked all week.  The man who owns the other company told his family that because he left the job site prior to finishing the job that he would not get paid for the other full days of work.  The man told his wife that he did not care about the hospitalization and to not bother him with any more phone calls becasue he had a life to live.  Those words were harmful to the injured man.  As a fellow human, I could not imagine what it would be like to not care about those I know personally or casually.


Another man that the injured man knows was referred to the company that subcontracted the job and were going to hire the new man to clean up when the job was completed.  Well, the injured man went to the hospital, pushing the completion date into the following week with a different crew.  The second man did not get the clean up job that he waited for because he had other jobs on the books for the following week.  


The clean up man was also not paid.  He was upset, he did not do anything and did not get paid for it.  He went to the internet and social media.  He blasted the injured man for giving him a referral.  He demanded that the injured man pay the wages that he wanted from the company.  Yes, there people out there like this.  Many people like this.


His harmful words bullied the injured man and caused him much emotional pain.  The injured man actually paid the clean up man to get him to remove all of the negative comments on the injured man's company web site.  Harsh words and bullying should not happen, but they do.  And as we see from this imjured man's experience, words can and do hurt.

Where Have I Been?

Well, it has been a while since I have been on to blog.  I went blind, had two surgeries, and had to relearn how to focus my eyes and see.  It was a fascinating situation and life event.  As soon as my eyes were a little better I started working on articles.  I am very eclectic in my areas of interest for psychology.  So I have many articles started and finished and waiting to be written.  I have two books in my head to write, three independent studies in progress, and much more to contribute to this blog as well as the articles for publication page which are also on my Google Scholar profile.


The format appears to have changed, so I am not able to add photos to compliment my blog.  I will contact the domain provider in Denmark and find out if I can fix this on my end.


Tomorrow I will once again begin blogging about issues that I come across that are related to psychology and education.

Disabilities and Group Behavior                     Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.  July 25, 2018   Image Credit:

These past few months I have had a life changing experience.  I went blind from cataracts, which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.  So, yes, I was a member of rge with-in group of disabilities.  Again.  At 19 years old a Mack truck ran my car over.  That was a devastating and kife aktering event.  Aside from llosing six inches of height from a twisted spine, rhe danage was permanent.  I have scars along my left side, arm, and breast.  I had ro learn to walk again.  My knees took a huge blow.  My right knee has tears in ACL, LCL, and MCL.  Because of a neurological disorder I cannot take pain medication.  So, for 31 years I haven'r had a sungle day without pain.  I did not accept the fact that the danage was permanent.  At least not until fout years ago.  I had a mini stroke that left me once agin unable to walk.I had weakness, inability to concentrate, I was initiallu unable to care for myself.  My eyesight became worse and I spoke with a severe palsy speach pattern.  When I was 19 the doctors determined that I had an 81% permanent muscle/skeletal loss that is degenrative.  I was tikd that before the age of thirty I would be wheekchair bound.  Well, I learned to walk for a third time.  But I did acceptt the idea that I should identify as disabled.  I got the parking sticker, canes, walkers, and a mobility scooter.  And, I am thabjful everyday for every step that I cab take.  All was well, and I was comfortable in my own skin, until lasr February when I went totally in the dark,  I am not afraid of blindness, but it was overwhelming when added to my already full plate of disability and living independently..  I became increasingly anxious, with worsening depression, and became prone to panic arracks.  Adfer rwo surgeries over the period of three and a galf months I can see. One interesting behavior is that I continue to close one of my eyes when concentrating.  I also found that  when in public people tended to exclude and ignore me.  I would say that it was more noticeable after my sight was restored because I had ro continue to wear special dark glasses.  There comes a time that we must accept our age and limitations.  As I transitioned over the 50 year milestone of life it has become easier to accept that I am no longer an athlete (Mack truck), but I am aging physically.  There is nothing wrong with that for anyone, as long as the situation is accepted and modifications are made to accomondate the physical changes.  Back to group behavior, as oppossed to individual behavior with-in a group.  Persons with a disability are in a sub-group, and the group will vary according to how a person identifies.  For example, a person can have a disability and hail from a specific socioeconomic class, or religion, or culture.  All of the main group idenrifiers wikk determine how an individual handles a disability to their person or how they respondto others who have a disability.  So, what behav aiors are most noted?  The first to come to mind is the ignore it approach.  Those with disabilities become invisible.  People in public will walk right in front of the disabled person.  They also ignore a disabled person when approached.  They tend to ignore and invade personal space, including the blocking of shelving in a grocery store.  It is huerful to the disabled person to be treated as if they are present.  It is hurtful, as a disabled person, The pain of ecvlusion is real, and unnecessary. I have also discovered that those with disabilities have to learn patience.  Patience because it is illegal to retaliate.  Those with disabilities have to learn to be humble, to have humility, We also have learned that those with disabilities teach those who ae not,  I could go on, but the mesage is clear.  Persons who have a disability should stand up for their rights.  And people who have no disabilriws shlould be concius of persons with a  disability.

The Frustration of Group Belonging

Dr. Tami Petersen, Ph.D.

May 2, 2018

Image Credit: Simle

So, we have all experienced that feeling that we keep doing the same thing.  I get it.  I have done it.  We do this many different levels.  We could just be in a rut and not know how ro break the cycle.  We might be lazy and not care to break the cycle.  Breaking that loop might be overwhelming.  Our within group might not approve of our breaking the established cyclic boundaries.  The very fact that an individual is in a rut or bounded system might not be so disturbing.  Some individuals can become very frustrated by the real;ization that they are in a holdinfg pattern, especially if that hol;ding pattern is not benefitting the quality of life for them.

Let's start with defining what it is that can be so very frustrating.  To put it simply, this is a behavior that we as individuals choose.  Is it by free will? Now that is a tricky slope.  The reason that repetition is so frustrating is because in our subconscious mind we know that we have no choice but to behave as we have been to amintain the present status and placement in the within group that the individual wants to belong.  Yeah, I know.  I literally said that there is no free will.  Well, that statemetn is true.  We have to behave a certain way in order to meet expectations of the group that we choose to identify with.

Now, I am not saying anything that hasn't been said in the world of psychology for almost a century.  I watched a video on YouTube of B.F. Skinner explaining that we really do not have free will.  We do have the illusion of free will until we realize the ever present antecedent that occurs to trigger whatever behavior that is repeating.  Once we know that we will always respond a certain way to certain antecedents we can become frustrated.  That is because we know we are all just very well trained humans and members of whatever group we chose to identify.

Not everything that we repeat is frustrating.  When we get stressed we might find a self-soothing activity.  This is most notable in children who fall on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), when a situation starts to bother them they often start to rock back and forth, hide, put their head down, squeeze a tension ball, or even become hysterical.  Something will happen to defelct that noticeable action that disturbed the child and the child will mitigate with personal defense mechanisms.  Here I am talking about behavior and I keep mentioning psychoanalytic theory.  Well get used to it.  Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes.  Meaning that to discuss anything from a psychological pers[ective I will use theory interchangably as it applies to the situation.  

So, we have identified what it is that is frustrating individuals who identify with  any group.  That is in itself a questionable statement if you are not up on psychological theiry.  Even those individuals who choose to not have a group with which they identify, they would be very surprised that they still share belongingness to a group.  Yes, by disenfranchising yourself from society you have elected to become part of a different group.  It happens.  So, if you don't like people and  choose to isolate yourself, that is great.  there are others who do the same thing.  We as a species are never truly alone in our behavioral patterns and will always belong to a group.

This group that we belong to might have expectations, or at the very least we interpret what they want from us.  We know our truth, right?  So repeated behaviors are a consequence.  Some repeated behaviors are good.  Washing your hands after using the rest room is a good thing and we are displaying behaviors consistent with societal expectaions of the western world.  Dating bad boys might be a repeated behavior that just sets you up for failure.  But we really don't have free will so we will continue to make the same choices until we understand that we can make choices if we accept the consequences.  Consequences might include group exclusion.  

Group exclusion acn be a very painful event.  As individuals we have to weigh the consequences.  We all know the saying that 'If you lie with dogs, you will get fleas."  Well this is what that saying means.  We have to make choices to belong to the group with which we choose to identify.  That is pretty basic, but often forgotten in the process.  So, if a group member of newspaper delivery people get together they will all have certain similarities for group cohesion.  Looking just at clothing choices can cause snit.  The attire worn in South Florida often consists of tank tops, T-Shirts, shorts, or sweatpants.  Shoes are optional. 

What if you did fit into that group for decades, but suddenly have to  change your clothing budget.  Well, T-Shirts for women at Wal-mart are between $14-$20 a piece.  Or, a woman can go to Beall's Outlet and get nicer tops and shirts for $3 a piece.  That individual who broke group dress code could become excluded.  That exclusion can lead to frustration.  Afterall, she is the same person but just dressing nicer with less money.  The difference is that the woman identified the rut she was in and made a personal change.  Now she might have made that choice because of economic motivation, but the wardrobe change would be enough to distress other group members causing a break in group cohesion until she is no longer a group memebr or chooses to re-conform to group dress code.

Some individuals choose to remain wioth a group that causes great distress.  Perhaps the individual belongs to a group of blue-collar workers who are known for short changing those who sub contract under them.  So the individual goes out to a job site and identifies that the job agreed upon is much more dangerous or difficult than agreed upon.  Even though the subcontractor increases the labor time to more than double, he will be happy with the money agreed upon initially.  There was never a mention of timing as a limitation from the man who called the subcontractor in.  At the end of the day a job might be well done, but not well paid.  Yes, this happens all too often in this demographic.  

Now, most people would agree that if you cheat me once, "Shame on you!" "If you cheat me twice, shame on me!"  Who is so naieve that they think that a contractor that short changes you once will not short you again.  That number should be blocked, right?  Contact between these group members should not continue.  But for some subcontractors the relationship will remain intact with hard feelings and tension at every moment of contact.  The real kicker is that once the contractor gets away with shorting the subcontractor, he always shorts him and eventually never pays him.  Why is this subcontractor still working for him?  The most obvious answer is laziness.  Yes, he is in a rut, and he is being taken to the cleaners.  He is working for nothing, but he would rather not break the cycle and remain in the group.  Yes, he is frustrated because he is working so hard and not getting paid.  No paycheck will cause distress and frustration, but the consequences of choosing free will and breaking that cycle would stop the cycle.  The familiarity would disolve.  Life could become overwhelming,  Reinventing yourelf or changing careers is always hard work, which includes the ability to use free wi;; to amke a social change in the group with which you identify.  So, I am, asking you now........Are you ready for a change?


Are Narcissists Trending for Generation X?

Dr. Tami petersen, Ph.D.

April 18, 2018

Image Credit:

Well yes I ask a serious question, are Generation Xers the ones who started the trend of selfish narcisstic bahavior of the younger generations today? The answer is yes, and there has been a flood of peer reviewed articles to provide statistical significance.  We will get to life experiences that also demonsdtrate this trend.  But, who or what is to blame?  How is it influencing future generations?  How is it influencing the family dynamic?  And, how is it influencing development?

So, yes.  The answer is in the textbooks we use currently to teach our undergrasuate and graduate students.  We are experiencing this first hand at the academic level,  There is a large difference in scholastic performance and developmental stage, or as we are referring to as the generation identifyers.  Baby Boomers did at one point go over the edge in behavioral changes.  There was a collective movement toward change, diversity, equal rights, and the rights to many other wrongs.  baby Boomers really did a fantastic job of getting the word out and communicating with their cohorts without the benefit of today's advanced technology.  Baby Boomers were into self discovery, and they as a group really wanted to know and like themselves.  This is a group that was centered on self growth, but never at a cost to others.  The vibe with this group has always been to rock the boat, nut don't toss anyone over.  We were individuals who thrived for the betterment of society and future generations.

Generation Xers were the first generation to have technology available, but not to the extent that it is currently.  As a Baby Boomer I remember getting our first family microwave, when cable and satellite TV became available, and even when the first video games came out.  Generation X as a group started to develop with no technology, except for a transister radio or if they were able to afford a color TV.  Yes, color TV was not always available and then not affordable.  The thing is, Generation X started off with a good foundation, because they were afterall raised by the Baby Boomers.  Generation X understood about hard work and effort but quickly adjusted to technology as it has developed.  Generation X is the audience that advertising agencies want to direct their marketing toward.  At this point they have the higher paying jobs and want the newest in gadgets.  There is an appliance for everything, but just how useful is that egg slicer or that chicken roater on the counter?  There are plenty of great things to have, but the more complicated they become the easier it is to break.  We used to repair broken items, but these days it is almost cheaper to buy a new printer for your computer when the imk runs l;ow.  Instant gratification is something that Generation X learned to love.  

Millenials are the first generation to grow up with technology from the time of birth , but they have experienced the growing pains along the way.  Growing pains like outrageous cell phone bills.  Cell phones that were huge at first development and then became to small that they were no longer useful.  And yes, Generation Xers had dial up internet to start.  The internet was not as easy to navigate as it is now.  We still used DOS and Apple was just getting started.  Windows was the future, and arrived in the middle of the Millennial age range.  So, this generation was raised by parents who knew what a treat technology was, but never learned to appreciate it as much as they should.  Millenials and Generation Xers are used to instant gratification.  So who is to blame for this narcissistic trend?  I would think that we would have to go with Generation Xers.  

As technology increased and things became easier, the role of parenting shifted.  Millennials were left to their own demise.  Yes, the kids were ignored by parents who were more interested in the best sound system or newest gadget for the house.  There was evidence that TV could haev negative consequences on children.  So, parents often limited television time for millennials.  In theory that sounds wonderful, right?  So, did the kids go out and play and create lifelong interpersonal relationships?  No, they stayed in the house and played video games.  They learned to isolate themselves and yet still be a part of a community by chatting onluine with their groups. 

Life experience cannot replace any thought or imagined concept concerning behavior.  In the early 90's I was baby sitting my younger Millennial cousins and when i sent them outside with a ball to play I didn't hear any laughter or noise at all.  So, after 30 minuites I went outside to find them both standing there on the driveway, with the boy holding the ball.  They told me that they had no idea what to do outside if they were all alone.  Yes, they had physical education in school, but the activities were monitored and controlled by the teacher.  They were miserable and wanted back in to play videos games..  They were uncomfortable with too much supervision.  Does this mean that Generation X parents weer possibly neglectful?  Well, yes it does. 

Millenials who are in college today cannot fathom pop cultural references.  They believe that they do not watch TV, but Netflix Hulu, Amazon, or whatever the newest platform is trending.  As we gained technology we appear to have replaced  behaviors that helped us maintain family values.  Future generations, the new on is referred to as Generation Z (the children of the milllennials), are confused by traditional family behaviors.  So, when did families stop eating together at regular times?  I am a Baby Boomer that eats breakfast at 6am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm.  I have a neighbor who has eratic eating patterns on a good day.  His family does not sit together to eat meals.  They do not use the table to eat, and when they do the children place their plates in their laps because the table height thing is confusing.  They have to sit sideways because the taboe is in the way.  

Life experience tells us so much.  Observations are everything to a resarcher.  During my current hiatus of research and rigorous journal article schedule, I still find myself watching and taking notes about the behaviors of those around me.  My neighborhood is full of many nice people, but we have differneces in opinions about things like eating schedules, bathing daily, and winding down after a day of work.  It can be 7pm and my neighbor might not have gotten home yet.  And here I am in my PJ's, drinking coffee, and watching TV before bed.  The worst part is that they have their kids out so late.  I hear them from my porch sometimes telling the children to go inside so that they can have some peace and quiet.  Every couple needs time together, I admit that.  The thing is that the Millennials then proceed to look down at their phones and appear to conduct a complete life in tandem but together.  

Yes, we are defioitely observing narcissistic behavior from the Millennials.  But they were trained to behave that way, right?  Yes, I know that Generation X members appear innocent.  Afterall, they provided for their children and bought them every gadget that the children wanted.  Especially if they were quiet and entertained.  So now Millennials are doing the same thing nut another step removed from what we used to consider normal family behaviors.  Children are learning fine motor skills and reading very fast in Generation Z.  It is not because they are ambitious.  It is beacuse they want to play more video games.  Development is definitely changing at a rapid rate.  Many things are changing at alarming rates.  The average age that mediactions are dispensed to amintain health are lowering.  There are children on anxiety medications, Millennials who are having LASIK surgery for cataracts, and obesity rates are rising form a lack of interest in moving anything other than a few fingers and thumbs. Generation Xers are worrying about heart disease and Diabetes earlier than ever.  Nothing is really bad, only different, and different for a Baby Boomer is interpreted differntly than it is for a Generation X or Millenial.



We Are All Behaviorists (SURPRISE!!!)

April 16, 2018

Dr. tami L. Petersen, Ph.D.

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So I have some news that might be controversial and not very popular.  Well, popularity is not my objective, but rather bringing the truth to the surface for all to consider.  I propose that behaviorism is not regaining popularity.  I understand that we have degrees and licenses for behairoal studies, but if it is psychology, then it is behavior.  There is no way around this little fact.Those who wish to dispute this fact are just plain wrong, misinformed, and might not understand what psychiology really is.  We can first argue the definition of psychology.  We can then refer to the image above.  More evidence surfaces as we skim the surface of any introduction to psychology course.

I know that we define psychology as the study of BEHAVIOR and mental processes.  Yes, it is in the formal definition of psychology and we all agree on that.  So, behavior and how we think, or is it how we think that influences the behavior?  It is a moot point.  It takes two elements for psychological theory to present itself.  Some kind of thought process has to have occurred.  And, that thought process will be exhibited by behavior.  

But what is behavior?  The simplest answer is anything that can be observed.  this is what we teach at the beginning. But.....that is the beginning.  When we teach a child to speak we don't stop there.  We continue to increase vocabulary and add both reading and writing to the knowledge base.  It baffles me theat language acquisition is explained in this manner with no challenges, but behaviorism is a differnt thing with different rules.  Right?  

No, behaviorism is like everything else, we start witht he basics and then it gets more complicated as we increase our knowledge base.  For some unknown reason though the majority of the world has only considered the first identifyable indicator, which would be observable behavior.  Yes observable behavior is extrememly important and we must be ever vigilant to changes in observable behavior.  That does not negate the fact tha tbehavior occurs internally.

Wait, did I just say that behavior occurs internally?  That it is an intuitive triat that mostliving organisms have at some cognitive level?  Yes, I did.  Let's first look at that internailzation of behavior.  That sounds like psychoanalysis doesn't it?  Well, good for you you.  Yes, psychoanalysis is based on the theory that only a very small portion of behavior is observable and that most behaviors are unconscious.  I told you behavior gets more complex.  Now, we are saying that Sigmund Freud, whose works in psychology predate B.F. Skinner, are based on behaviorism.  And, yes that is exactlu what I am saying.  We just did not have a label for behaviorism yet and Freud's perspective considered a certain portion of the larger whole of behaviorism.

I made an evolutionary reference at th beginning of this blog that might have been overlooked or missed.  Behavior is constantly changing in every species, and it has to.  Evolution is based on the survival of the fittest as I was taught.  I prefer to teach that evolutionary theoruy is all about survival of the most adaptable.  That is what it boils down to.  If an organism can adapt to the changing environment, then it can hopefully survive.  B.F. Skinner, known as the father of modern behaviorism coined a phrase known as radical conditioning.  It is operant conditioning.  Meaning that he was able to document methods to cause or alter behaviors.  This is how we naturally do this for survival.  So, there are very strong roots of evolurtionary theory in behaviorism.  Just as there are very strong roots in motivation and memory often mentioned in psychoanalytic theory.  Psychoanalystic theory might not shape or radically change behaviors through manipulation, but it does use the body's antural processes to enable learning to occur.  That is what behaviorism is afterall.....learning.  Yes, I said it.  And I mean it.

I mentioned cognition earlier as well.  Those mental processes are right there in evolution because we soemtimes nake choices to change behaviors at a conscious level.  Oh, now I am blending modalities of psychology.  So we are defining psychology as the study of behavior and mental processes and look at all of the areas of study that fall underthe category of psychology mentioned this far.  Memory which is a mental process has already meen linked to psychoanalysis.  But wait.....there's more.

Biological psychology is a growing area of interest.  It is fascinating and everything in psychology has a tir to the biological modality.  Behaviors can be and are controlled often by hormones and medications.  If the body does not have homeostasis, then behaviors are most likely to be the first indication that something is wrong.  So biological psychology is heavily involved with both behavior and mental processes.  things are starting to get interesting.  We have covered evolutionary, biological, psychoanalytical, nehavioral, and cognitive psychology.  There are only two modalities left and we will have covered all seevn contemporary approaches acknowledged by most textbooks.

We should talk about humanism.  When we first start talking about behavior we mentioned that the focus is on observable behavior.  But what happens when behaviorism grows up?  It becomes humanism.  I am very serious.  There is an address given by B.F. Skinner himself from the early 1970's at UC Berkely addressing the American Humanistiv Society of America.  He boldly and acurately states that behaviorism is humanism.  That is because, wait for it, Maslow's hierarchy of needs influences behaior and his pyramid starts off behavioral and ends humanistic.  Leading us back to both behavior and mental processes having strong ties to himanism.  

What about that last modality? Social psychology, is the study of the individual who belongs to a larger group.  So we are not loooking at group behavior, but membership behavior.  Ooops! Behaviorism snuck in there, right?  And because we are members of a group we are using m,ental processes to determine which behaviors are scceptable to the with-in group.  Here we are with all seven contemporary approaches properly represented by both behavior and mental processes.

As an undergraduate I felt that there were levels to every modality, I could just feel it.  I would say that psychiology is not balck and white but in shades of gray (this is before the book series was writtedn).  I used the example of shades of gray because eveyone experiences the same thing differently.  We all haev different interpretations of our life experiences that make us unique.  we are tru;y individuals.  As my knowledge has grown and I have observed socail changes over the decades I see psychology as a fabric that would not be complete with just cognitive psychology, or social psychology.  I have to laught when I hear a psychologist state that she o rhe does not believe in behaviorism but rather gravitates toward attachment theory.  And.....what are attachments?  Mental processes often displayed as behaviors.  Behaviorism is not making a comeback it was already here.  Behaviroism has been with us from the beginning helping us become the species that we are.  Don't be ashamed or afraid of behaviorism.  Embrace behavirois, because it is psychology and how we identify both as professionals and as humans.

Mental Hygiene

Dr. tami Petersen, Ph.D.

April 11, 2018`+

Image Credit: Simple


Mental hygiene is a term used most often in the military pschiatry venues, but it is so very accurate.  When looking to determine if an individual is able to perform daily duties a peak into an individual's mental hygiene will tell us about that indicidual.  We know this, but maybe it has not been brought to out full attention.  Common knowledge that we just never think of, right?  The premise behind mental hygiene is that the more funtional an individual is to society the better their personal hygiene. And, those who are less functional will demonstrate poor personal hygiene.  Sometimes it happens because the child does not know or has not been taught how to do these things.  A pop culture reference would be from that Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy.  In that case Adam Sandler's character did not know about child hygiene, so he had a "stinky kid."  

The military runs a test on every soldier and veteran to determine how they are doing.  The assessment is called a Global Assessment for Functioning (GAF), and the score runs between 0-100.  Now the military adminsiters this assessment to determine how dangerous it is to let their soldiers back into society.  The assessment uses functioning and personal hygiene as a measure to determine a score.  the scores are broken down into 10 ranges, and lower an individual scores the worse their hygiene and the more dangerous they are to their self and others.So, it asks about daily habits such as bathing, brushing hair or teeth, and even about sleep patterns.  it can be administered  by considering public records, medical records, family interviews, and personal interviews.  More than one source of data is used to triangulate the score making it more credible.  There is a version for children as well, and that is why the comparison of child behavioral assessments was adressed here by first explaining the military version.  

When there are low scores on hygiene habits for adults, well we just don't have as many people around us.  We smell because we have not cared enought o shower.  We not only are dirty, but have old dirt stains.  A person who does not care about appearance does not brush their hair, brush teeth, change into clean clothes, or bath.  These are symptoms of depression, yes I know.  And these symptoms of depression produce a low self-esteem and eventual low self-identity.  And then one day that individual who suffers will become the "stinky kid" or an equivalent there of.

Children are very sensitve to being called out as different.  And those who are often lose self-esteem.  A child with a poor self-identity will become a target for bullies.  Yes, a literal target for humiliation.  And when the victim complains it is not surprising that the bullying children lie to get away witht heir bad behavior.  the vivtim is often looked upon as the child who cries wolf.  So, yeah, I get it.  Complaining only causes additional grief.  It should not but does. As adults we are causing this issue.  Especially when we as educators are dealing with large quantitites of children.  

I also undertand that the mentality of most adults, especially those over the age of 30 think that we all get picked on at some point.  The general thoughts are that the child needs thicker skin.  Or, some may think of bullying as a way to determine the pecking order.  It used to be how we decided who was "king of the hill/" So the were times when bullying was not such a bad thing.  Kids would have a scuffle or learn to avoid situations that caused their exclusion.  Some children grew up with huge emotional baggage.  Some children learned to use the bullying to their advantage.

How could we use it to our advantage?  Simple, we just did not allow them to intimidate us.  We ignored the teasing and that in turn made us "king of the hill." So what haopened?  Why is bullying so different now than it was 30 years ago?  Well, our social norms have changed.If we were embarrassed on the p[layground then our class knew about it, or even the school at the very worst.  But, with technology the world now knows about it.  Yes, that is a big audience.  Children do not realize that even though it is on YouTube and has gone viral, they would still not be recognized in all likellihood out in the real world.  

So, what was once a rite of passage has now developed into a huge social event that can damage an individual's self-esteem or identity for life.  It can crush a child and change the outcome of who and how they develop.  That is why I mention GAF scores and assessments.  We need to be ever vigilant thesee days.  Our future leaders and caretakers are now developing and if they do not care about themselves how can they care about others or the planet?  If we are not careful we could allow the creation of a generation of chip eating, video gaming, social media using agoraphobes.  That would be horrible.  These children would not make decent parents. 

Our cociety as we know it could crumble.  And it can all be prevented by a little mroe dilligence at home by the parents.  Juast showing an interest in the child's day and welfare is a huge step.  As educators we need to recognize the signs of bullying before it gets out of hand.  Many young suicides have been linked to bullying.  Will we end bullying?  No.  It is something that is with us and has been with us since time began.  Bullying is an evolutionary characterisctic of humans and a traits of certain individuals.  But, we can teach our children better methods to mitigate teh stress caused by bullying.  We can teach our children that by allowing themselves to accept bullying they are allowing the bully to control them.  By not acceoting the bullying behavior they are taking their lives back.

Is This Typical In-Group Behavior? Do You Belong?

Dr. Tami Petersen

April 9, 2018

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This particular blog is at the request of a blue-collar worker who is intellectually not a member of his chosen with-in group.  We have all heard the saying, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander/"  And, for the most part we live by this ancient rule first coined by Hammarubi in the Mesopotamian Valley many millenia ago.  Blue-collar workers are a volatile group to be certain, and has been documented in my published works.  But, there is a growing trend for this particular demographic to behave entitled.  They are adversive to negative consequences, even if the consequence is of their (blue-collar with-in group) own doing.  The trend might also lean toward a disembodiment of the demographic, which would make them bond tighter as a group.  Yeah, I really said that.  Freud's theories are alive and well in this demographic with the mitigation behaviors for anxiety and defense mechanisms used.

Let's start with the antecedent, the cause , of this requested topic.  There is a long standing tradition for blue-collar workers to be a little rough around the edges.  This demographic also tends to be more egocentric than other social classes.  Not that i am defending the actions of any demographic or social class, but blue-collar workers often work real hard for little monetary compensation.  When there is only one or two persons working together to complete a task the workload is often more evenly divided or if it isn't then the social loafer is easily identified.  If there are more than two workers the social loafing becomes easier.  The problem is that these workers often get paid by piece work, or for a job witht he particulars not written down.  

When a job description is open to interpretation amongst an already known volatile group, well.... the fallout has a dominoe effect.  Reputaions are lost and the potentiality for future revenue is lost.  There are a lot of jobs that are not desirable.  Especially in the Florida heat.  Florida, especially the south parts of Florida are hot all year long.  When we say hot we mean in the winter it stays uin the 80's or 90's F.  In the summer it can and does get worse.  The entire time Floridians battle almost year round humidity and rain.  The rain is warm, yeah, so it only makes things steamy.  There is no doublt about the physical drain on the body from this unwelcoming environment, and yet we need blue-collar workers.  

The complaint from my requesting blue-collar worker is that there is an epidemic among his cohorts to socially loaf and expect to get paid the original negotiated price.  Or, they might not show up on time and leave early, not fullfilling the verbal agreement and still expect full pay.  Some workers expect a ride to the job, help to complete their task, cash payment (preferabkly with a bonus) and a ride home.  Yes, thye really do this.  Some blue-collar workers will locate a future scheduled job and show up early, so the work but not very well, and take payment from the customer.  That is actually theft, and it happens way too often for comfort.  

So, getting back to the original request for this topic, I was asked just why do with-in group members expect some slack when they are called onto a jobsite but never give that same slack in return?  Now, that sounds as if the initial complaint is about why can they get away with full pay for half completed verbal contracts, and he cannot?  But that is not his complaint.  He is paying them the negotiated rate, to be good to his word and then going back and hiring m,ore people to help finish the job.  He is losing money.  Yes, he jhas been advised to garnish wages according to the percentage of work that was actually completed.  Of course the volatility of the demographic shows its nasty head and we have a with-in group member hesitant to garish wages because the retaliation can be worse than just finishing the job.

I do believe that this is a real social problem that is increasing due to the slowed economy.  It will take quite a while for the non-tourist oriented jobs to bounce back economically.  Things will eventually get better, and workers will eventually have to be held accountable because there will be more job stability for these independent contractors.  The theft of jobs from one company or the other will also cease because there will be more work available.  So this is a social trend that will evolve into something else.  In the meantime, it is very frustraating for many blue-collar workers who are just trying to pay their bills.Having to pay for shoddy or incomplete work is also very frustrating.  And, as this man has shown me, he was blasted through social media and the other websites that he uses to promote his business. He was left high and dry by workers who agred on a price, were paid half up front and were supposes to recieive half upon completion .They did not even complete 1/4 of the work and left after an hour, costing this man an additional $800.

As mentioned before they respond very adversive and bold when thye do not get their way.  I question this behavior, is it a trend of egocentrism designed to disenfranchise with-in group members?  This very same man who only paid a set of workers half up front refused to pay for the completion of a job never completed.  That is logical to me.  Any tradesman knows that you must bring your own tools and equipment to a job.  This man has had to provide for his workers consitently.  He stipulates that he has no hard feelings about this unspoken rule of etiquette as long as it is his job and worksite.  However, he does have a problem when he has to supply equip,ment and supplies for other companies when he works for them.  That includes fuel, oil, maintenance, and beverages.  

It really does appear that this group is trying to cause a split among members to keep them from truly bonding with others of the same with-in group.  the group is seeking, as it seems, strength through the separation of group members.  They are all bickering like a group of middle school children and that is what is making them want to stick together.  They are comparing stories of the hardships they are experiencing and bonding over the lack of consistency. I mentioned Freudian theory when describing their behaviors so that should also be addressed.

Freud was brillant.  There is no other way to say it.  Yes, he had his challenges in life.  Yes, he was a man in the Victorian Era, so he might have over-emphasized the concept of sex as the only motivater.  He might have been in a lot of pain and therefore developed an addiction to cocaine, which was a legal pain killer until recently.  But his theories are sound and we have really not changed anything over the years.  We might have added to the knowledge base, but we all start off woth his base theories when using the psychoanalystic perspective.

The final behavioral trend that was mentioned by the rquesting blue-collar worker is that of egocentrism,.  He may not have used that word specifically, but the word hung over his description of events just the same.  His cohorts, and mabe he as well, appear to interested only in themselves and their own plight for survival in this economy.  The low economy fuels the need for fewer workers in his business.  The behaviors he described were so classically Freudian that they have to be mentioned.  He claims that his peers and workers often complain about people and their behaviors.  The odd part to him is that they are describing exactly what they are doing.  It is as if they are trying to bring the offensive behavior to light and redirect the with-in group police to others in teh group.  So, if one worker takes a smoke break every 15 minutes then that worker complains about another worker to redirect the boss away from their behvaior.  And, it will not be just one thing that is complained about.  They are sneding the boss out to several workers for different reasons so that all attention is off the real offender.  And, here is the kicker, the work is not completed.  And, yes, they still want full payment for shoddy and incomplete work.  I told you it is very similar to childhood antics of adolescents.  One last thought, even though the man who brought this to my attention loves his job, maybe this just is not his real social group.  maybe he just does not identify with blue-collar workers, but has not found his place yet.  Food for thought.





Where is the Love?

Dr. Tami petersen, phD


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So let's really talk about what is happening in our culture.  We are plagued with violence. With the increase of technology, we haev more news stories that are available faster.  Our population has increased.  Statistically if we have the same portion of individuals who have a propensity for violence, then when the population increases that bottom line number of offenders will increase.  And, yes, we know about it faster.  With social media we are all voyeurs, peeking into the lives of others at an alarming pace.  Protests were a good thing in the 1960's.  The people were heard and a lot was accomplioshed.  But society was different and had different boundaries and expectations.  Why do we not respect others and property as we did?  Why are we so incredibly stuck on our own needs and wants?  Why do we choose certain within groups and why do those within groups refuse  to include those who do not fit their standards?

Contemporary society has evolved, and as a planet we all know that we are one large group.  If we could keep our perspectives at this level we would have a safer world.  We have a dangerous world.  It is dangerous because we like to be individuals.  Well, in the 1960's we were all about individualism.  The diffrence is tolerance.  As a global society we are and should be individuals, but share a common goal.  The goa; for most contemporary adults is more selfish than it used to be.  What ever happened to just helping another human being woithout a motive?  There is an angle for everyone. 

As we continue to divide ourselves into sub-groups and sub-sub-groups we lose sight of the big group.  We for get about what brought us all together back then and what should bring us together now.  We lost the love.  With love lost, we have trouble with acceptance, tolerance, and peace.  Many sub-groups seek to be heard.  And their voice is heard.  unfortunately, we hear violence and non-tolerance of others and their ideals.  Our moral compass is not working like it used to. 

Can we blame technology for this? No.  As much as most of us would like to blame someone or something else, the blame lies within all of us as individuals.  i say this becasue if we look at the way our society has divided itself, we have almost completely undome what we had set out to accomplish so many decades ago.  Racism is a huge factor in sub-groups that are not tolerable.  Even the larger concept of discrimination has shown its ugly face.  And as a society we embrace it.  Yes, embrace it.

Thionk about all of the violence and shootings that have a discrimination at the foundation.  Police officers shooting dogs out of fear. Shootings that are skin color related.  The shooting might have been for another reason, but we don;t care.  We will turn it into a race thing.  People who claim a white ethnicity in the United Staets are in fact a minority, but we as a society do not think according to real statistics.  So, if a black police officer shoots a white is fine.  There will be little if any news coverage.  If a person of color, any color is shot the stakes change and there will be news coverage with up to the minute reporting.  

What about religion?  Religions are not very tolerant of other religions.  As a protestant I am ashamed of our society.  My best fruiend is Jewish. The day we met she asked if her religion would bother me. Really?  Is that what we have become? Untolerant of other opinions?  Yes.  Most religions teach us to have tolerance of other erligions.  It is the respectful thing to do.  We should be one group, yes I am back to that.  

Many decades ago we wanted change in society.  That was beautiful.  The change desired was not harmful in any way.  The change so desperately needed was only helping others.  If someone did not agree with the protester's point of view, then it was fine.  The protester would wish that disagreeing person the best of peace and love.  "It's alright my brother/sister." This was the way it was.  Their protests were peaceful.  They cleaned up after themselves better than we do today.  I know we cleaned up afterward better because i was there.

In this era protests often become violent.  The speakers are hateful at times.  The protests often turn violent.  It is not uncommon for participants to loot and burn their town down.  This behavior makes no sense.  Protesters of today behave like children lashing out.  We need more love and tolerance.  That is what we are missing.  So you can protest.  I might not think much good will come of it in our current state of mind globally.  You should then respect that I have a different opinion.  You should not call me a closed minded individual who does not respect the right to protest.  I respect the right to protest, but I also respect the right to not agree with a protest and still accept you for who you are, not the group wuith which you identify.

Fluid or Crystalized?

Dr. tami Petersen, PhD

April 2, 2018

Image Credit: Simple

So, let's talk intelleigence, speciffically fluid or crystalized and the difference.  These two types of intelligence have a purpose and place.  Is one better thatn the other?  When crystalized intelligence is not useful, can an individual switch back easily to fluid intelligence?  Why does crystalized intelligence infuriate certain social groups?


We should first start with the definition of fluid and crystalized intelligence.  Fluid intelligence develops during the adolescent stage of development.  This is when individuals learn to interpret and solve situations with common knowledge.  I think that there is a shift in fluid intelligence and it is now being learned sooner out of necessity.  Society is changing rapidly so our developmental stages will have to make a shift to keep up.  Some people choose to not further their scholastic knowledge base beyond the high school level. 


The blue collar working force is a good example, because this demographic by definition makes a living and socializes with individuals who as a group do not furhter their education.  This demographic often does not even get a license or certification for what they do.  This group uses common knowledge to solve problems.  Some solutions are ingenious.  A pop culture reference would be the title charater in the TV show McGuiver.  The man used common knowledge of his surroundings and the items available to solve problems. 


Lawn maintence crews, pool boys, trim carpenters, or even newspaper carriers do not need special schooling to perform their jobs.  These people encounter problems all of the time and do not have a manual or training to solve their daily challenges.  If a newspaper carrier gets a flat tire, then he uses Fix-A-Flat.  If a trim carpenter forgets his hammer or nails, then he stops by the hardware store.  If a pool boy over chlorinates the water, the he uses chemicals to alter teh PH in the swimming pool.  


What is interesting is that by not having formal educations this group often thinks that they are smarter than those who have an education.  The justification is that academic knowledge brings forth different perspectives and increases the vocabulary used to describe the problem.  Blue collar workers do not often increase their vocabulary, but stick with words and phrases understood by the group at large.  The mentality is that by being able to communcae with the group, thy demonstrate a better knowledge base about the arising problem waiting for a solution.  If another individual, not have group membership, brings a solution using words that are not undertood, then that solution will not be trustec by the group.


Crystallized intelligence occurs when an individaul gains academic knowledge over one or more subjects.  An increase in knowledge will give the non group member confidence is his assessment and solution.  The lack of enthusiasm can cause stress and frustration for the non-group member.  The non-group member will use terminology that is sound and correct, but often not understood by others.  Crystalized intelligence is a superior method because problems are often solved correctly with the correct materials making the solution more desireable and last longer.


So, the real question is which method is better?  Fluid or crystalized intelligence?  The answer is that they both have a place.  Obviously, those individuals who are still developing have not gained enough academic knowledge and life experience to use crystalized knowledge.  So, that leaking radiator in her car miught stop leaking when she pours a pepper shaker into the radiator opening after the engine cools.  It is fixed, but not really fixed.  Eventually, the radiator will start leaking again.  Kudos to fluid intelligence for a quick fix, though not permanent.  Or, what about that manual transmission car whose starter went out?  Fluid intelligence will create the solution of pushing the auto and poppiing the clutch into second gear.  This of course is much easier in areas that have hillls.  The crystalized answers are a better fit for the long haul.  Patching a radiator or replacing it will solve the problem, but mechanical knowledge will have to be gained to complete that task.  What about that starter?  Fluid intelligence will keep that auto moving until the transmission or cluth burn out from the make shift solution.  So, the crystalized solution of replacing the starter would be the better choice, but require knowledge gained acadmically, usually through mechanic learn the procedures.


Everyday each of us will ise both fluid and crystalized intelligence.  We switch back and forth with little notice.  Where and when we can we use crystalized knowledge, and those areas that we have little knowledge of we use fluuid intelligence.  An individual might use crystalized knowledge to perform their job during the workday and fluid intelligence when they make the family dinner, calling it surprise casserole.  Some jobs do not need crystalized intelligence, so that paper delivery man gets up early, picks up his bundles of papers and delivers them using fluid intelligence.  later in the day that same man might write an essay using crystalized intelligence and win an award for his knowledge and achievements.


Crystalized intelligence can at times infuriate groups that do not depend heavily on it, but rather depend on fluuid intelligence.  Adolescents really do not like being given rules.  They are relying on fluid intelligence to live by, so when presented an alternative using crystalized intelligence they are often angry.  Angry because they do not understand what you mean.  Angry because you think you know more, and rightly so.  Angry because they do not understand why you have a different solution.  Other groups are also often infuriated.  Groups do become angry because they often do not understand the vocabukary used to explain the solution.  They feel like they have been bested by the non-group member.  There is a delicate balance for those who present crystalized intelligence to those who are using fluid inteliigence solutions.

Where Do I Belong?

Dr. Tami Petersen 

March 21, 2018

Image Credit: Simple


Belongingness can be a huge issue.  As a social species humankind must belong to a group to feel complete.  We know that this is a biological need and drive because we have mirror nuerions.  We know that we learn social behaviors by mimmicking the group with which we identify.  So how do you know where your group is?  What if you find yourself in the wrong group?  What if you are not ready to accept the group that you should be a member of?  What happens if you are pushed out of your group?


Well the easy question first.  To know where you belong can help an individua; tremendously mange daily stress, meet social obligations, and shape behaviors.  We often gravitate to those who have similar interests.  We need to know that there are othes out there who think and act as you do for the same reasons that you do.  In a simpler time this was much easier.  Country club members stuck together, meighborhoods bonded over geographic location.  CUltural similarities are a strong reasons to maintain interpersonal relationships with group members.  An example of si,ilar interests would include membership to a group such as a gym, school, or sport.  There are clubs and other venues to find persons who share your interest. 


To fins a group that accepts you for your interest because they share the same interests is comforting.  Some individuals love SciFy and so a Star Wars fan can make freinds that have similar interests.  Similar interests in the SciFy might include Dr. Who, StarTrek, AI, robotics, Marvel or DC comics.  The group itself is dedicaetd to the love of Scify, individual interests can vary making the group more interesting and diverse.  The trick is to know your own likes and dislikes so that you can express yourself and find others with similar interests.


Some individuals start off with the group that theu truly identify.  This event might even occur in childhood, such as a group of adolescents who were on a sports team or in the marching band.  Everyone has a different purpose and interest in the group and their presence increases the bond of group membership.  Life will take us in different diections, and we often lose contact woth those earlier groups with ahich we belonged.  We have a choice to change or grow to relocate into a different group or isolate ourselves.  Isolation is not a good choice becuase it can cause personal harm emotionally.  


Life is not predictable, so group membership might change because of a life event.  The first thought I have is parenthood.  When we start a family we often our interests change and therefore we do make a social change to group membership with a different crowd.  Yes, some interpersonal relationships are left behind forever, or rekindled only after those left behind make the change to once agian fit into the group.  There are times when we identify so very closely with our group that when we have a life change event, we do not recognize the need to reidentify.  A good example would be a person who was always athletic and then suddenly physically disabled.  Another example would be the person who was always athletic, but as they have aged their body will not comply with physical demands of former activities.


That personal anguish will remain as long as the individual does not accept the group that is a better fit.  This can happen if an individual has an occupation where he or she just does not fit with the group members.  Many blue-collar workers are not satisfied.  The most common reason is that even thought he or she may have an extensive education, other members in the group that fit the occupation  cannot accept the educated group member.  The differences might just be too great. An example might include an individual woth a PhD who throws newspapers or does yard work.  Another example is a disabled person who just does not want to go out bar hopping or wandering around a mall, flea market, or bazaar.  That disabled person might not be able to keep up, and accessibility might be an issue.  Again, if these individuals feel like they do not belong it can cause them pain both physically and emotionally.


When life events cause changes,, the group may choose to push a member out.  This is an innate instincr going back through evolution. Animals are known for pushing out elderly, sick, or disabled group members.  The group is only as s trong as the weakest link.  Isolation occurs until the iso;ated member finds a new group to jouin.  Finding a group might not be the solution, but acceptance is always a solution.  So, that disabled individual might not be an athlete, but a new group that shooses different less physically stressful outings might be the answer.  The addition of a cane, ramp, or mobility scooter might also be the answer.  As sad as this sounds, no one wants to wake up and become disabled today.  No one wants to have trouble walking.  So by relovcating to a different group the individual might accept the life changing event.  


Stress is the number one underlying cause of hospitalization in the United States and more deaths every year have stress as a contributing factor.  Research has been dedicated to stress and group belongingness for decades.  The initial data indicated that not belonging causes emotional and physical pain as registered in recordeed brain activity.  But, as society has rapidly changed since the introduction of technology and the internet, so has the outlook on the experience of not belonging changed.  The change is a gradual process. These examples indicate when an individual finds his or herself in the wrong group.  As long as the individual remains in the wrong group there will be personal anguuish and a sense of not belonging.  The life changing event that caused the disability.  Until an individual accepts where he or she belongs, locates the group with which he or she belongs, and embraces the changes ahead there will be turmoil.  A Freudian battle of the ID and Superego might take place until homestasis occurs and the balance of group belongingness is set right. Strssors are then released and life can become balanced agian.

Student Stressors

March 14, 2018

Dr. Tami Petersen

Image Credit: Simple


Stress is probably the worst feeling or emotion experienced by any animal, but especially the human.  As humans we keep track of stress occurrances and the subsequent outcomes.  More people are hospitalized or die from an event that was caused by stress.  Stress appears to be the common factor for most illnesses, social problems, and self-conflict.  As adults we know aout stress.  We hae responsibilities that include work, paying bills, caring for others, and assorted personal obligations.  We all know about stress and have coping strategies from taking medications or combinations of medications to ease the physical symptoms.  Some adults exercise, or have a hobby, or meditate.  The trend has been to seek spiritual enlightenment to release the feelings of stress.  As adults we know what stres is, how to recognize the signs, and that it needs to be addressed. 


Obviously, adults have the upper hand when it comes to experience of stress.  this experience allows us to take immediate action to control symptoms before it gets out of hand.  Children are still learning.  Young adults are learning to recognize stress, but have not developed working coping strategies.  Teenagers appear to embrace the stress as an expected event, and this approach has two major outcomes that are disturbing.


Young adults are flooded with responsibilities that they are not prepared for.  The school system used to prepare us better for the transition into adulthood.  In Florida we were taught boat safety, hurricane preparedness, how to write checks, balance abnk accounts, create budgets, how to shop , prepare healthy meals, and even the best method of washing dishes.  There were not as many surprises 40 years ago.  


Millenials did not have the same training in school.  They have not been taught to be adults.  As strange as it seems, the school system actually expects the parents to teach their children these valluable lessons.  Yes, these are the same parents who would rather give their children an electronic device to keep them busy and out of sight.  The parents who are often referred to as telephone parents because they give the kids a cell phone and just check up on them.  The parents who are not as involved in their lives.  


Now, i am not saying that an entire generation produced neglected children, but the trends in behavior had an outcome that is quite noticeable.  We see commercials on TV where it is accepted and even funny that most teenagers cannot change a tire.  So we have young adults that are experiencing stress from everyday life experiences.  Why?  The answer is that they are not prepared and are not sure what to do in certain circumstances.  Just last week I heard a conversation in the hallway at my university between two young adults who are trying to make sense of how to pay bills and what the reminders are for.  The first student's phone beeped indicating that he had a text message.  He pulls the phone out of his pocket and reads the message.  That part was perfectly normal in behavior.  He then became disturbed and stressed out over the message.  The second student asked if he was Okay, and he started telling her, very loudly, that the telephone company must be running out opf money.  He just paid his bill last week and now they are sending him a message about another oayment.  


Obviously he was causing a scene about this text message.  As the only faculty in the hallway, I felt obligated to calm him down for the sake of the other students.  I asked him if it was a message about not recieveing the payment he made last week.  His reply was that this was a newly generated message to let him know that his bill is ready to view.  I explained to him that this was not about his late payment last week, but rather an automated message to let him know that the billing cycle has completed for the next payment.  He will have until his due date to make the payment on time.  It turned out that the other students were relieved because they have experienced the same thing as well.  So, I had an impromptu lesson in the hallway about billing cycles, and if you pay this month late then you have to pay next month on time and that the due dates do not change from month to month according to the day that they actually pay the bill.  


These are young adults and they are not eqiuipped with the base knowledge to function in society.  They are stressed and fumbling around.  They are confused and lost.  Stress is a leading cause for health issues, such as diabetes, anxiety, and even disabling depression.  Life is full of stress and these new young adults are not able to cope.  They are learning to develop coping strategies to battle stress and stress related pathologies.  Some young adults are becoming more physically active.  They are going to the gym, running, and eating better.  Martial arts has always been popular, but young adults are starting a trend to learn the fundamentals.  They are seeking the beginning, so they are learning Qi Gong and Tai Chi.  They are learning Yoga and meditation.  They are becoming very transcendent in their life philosophy. All coping strategies mentioned above are very helpful in eleiminating or mitigating stress.


Teenagers are often very mellowdramatic.  They always have been and always will be a little tightly wound up.  Behaviors that are more nuerotic are common in teenagers because they are going through developmental changes that include hormones imbalances.  They cannot control the roller coaster of emotion that they bring with them.  Teenagers and stress are synonomous because they embrace it and expect it. 


If stress is not around a teenager will cause stress over the fact that life is going smooth.  They are prepared for a sharp turn in the other direction.  Living with the expectation that something will happen in a way almost causes behaviors to create chaos where none existed before.  This group is known for two disturbing outcomes, but do tend to pull through and become young adults. 


The first outcome is the rebellion.  Some tenagers feel the need to rebel against anything and everything.  They create stressfull situations.We all know the type of teenager that never smiles, back talks, roll their eyes, and seeks isolation.  They are easily spotted, and even make themselves unapproachable tot heir peers to drive the point home.  They believe that they are better off alone and refuse to make connections or show interest in any activity.  They present as someone who is waiting for the sky to fall on them.  They are vivtims before the fact, and that can cause several disturbing outcomes.  They can buy into the charade and really become depressed.  The feeling of not being worthy or ostracised, which they actually created, is often the source for a harmful outcome.  These older children have been known to harm themselves through different reckless behaviors, including drug over doses, attempted suicide, performing dangerous physical stunts, and even purposefully harming others.  This is a touchy subject, but the profile for older children who commit crimes and acts of violoence often fit this description. 


The second outcome is also disturbing and sad.  Older children who tend to handle stress poorly are often the victims of their own doing for life.  They force estrangement from tehir family and friends.  Thye ruin all interpersonal relationships because of stress.  They cope with stress by amking themselves impossible to interact with.  They cease childhood friendships and walk away from family members.  The reason that these older children isolate themselves from everything they once liked and loved  begins to not matter.  As silly as it is, a grudge can be held for a lifetime.  This is a sad outcome because everyone has potential to be great, but when this path is chosen the only outcome accepted is failure.  How do we help this demographic handle stress better?  That is a question yet to be answered.


Children are also stressed in life.  Children got o school, and the school system is causing the very thing that they are so determined to stop.  They are creating stress in interpersonal relationships.  Children at an early age are discouraged from forming tight bonds of friendship with a few peers and are instead directed to be friends with everyone.  This Utopian creation will never work.  Children are so focused on making firendships that learning is on the back burner.  They are stressed tot he point of becoming ill because of social exclusion.  If one memebr of the group does not like a child the entire group must not like the child.  The schools are creating pre-ganglike behavior. 


Children are not allowed to socia;ize in the cafeteria as thy once did.  they are instructed to sit, eat, and be quiet.  Suddenly, the student who is socialized properly becomes the trouble maker.  The child who wants to be accepted tries to amke friends and is not allowed.  This rule of unanamous conformity is creating stress on very young children.  It is interesting, if a child has a hard time at school because of bullying the parents who complain are looked themselves for neglect.  The school will look at the child being bullied as deserving and further ostracize the child.  Unless the bullied child cannot handle the onerwhelming stress and reacts with violent self-harming behavior.  Then the establishment is redirected to another culprit, the very bullies that they created.


Stress is happening.  Stress has always happened.  Social norms are changing to create a different environment that is more condusive to exclusion and bullying.  Changed in the social environmet for students are making a once safe zone a potential war zone.  The safety of our children are at stake and it all starts with stress.  Yes, we have school violence, school shootings, and gang violence.  Instead of looking to solve the problematic outcomes, we should be focussing on the cause.  We as a society are causing harm to students of every venue from kindergarten to post graduate students.

Neoliberalism is Socially Trending

March 12, 2018

Dr. Tami Petersen

Image Credit: Simple

Neoliberalism is a term that up until recently has been used in describe economic trends and the behaviors associated with it.  The term refers to the ability to self-soothe, act with autonomy, or even to liberate an individual from a within group.  It is this last example that leads current researchers to choose this narrowly specific descriptive word to identify Mellennial social behaviors.  Millenials are the first group to have grown up with technology.  This generation does not remember pre-internet times.  They have not used a card catalog and micro fiche to conduct research.  They simply type or ask a question and the answer is provided. 


This new generation is able to double check what they are learning with other sources for instant feedback, especially if they have a question that has not been addressed.  This instant feedback enables them to pair new associations and retain the new information better than ever before.  Socially, this is the first generation that has never felt isolation as generations in the past.  Yes, they may be excluded at times, but their perspective appears to differ from earlier generations.


Social status was once very important.  Humans are social creatures and we have always had that need to find those who share our interests.  Like attracts like.  For any interpersonal relationship to work there has to be a shared or alignment of interests.  For instance, people who like science fiction often find friends that also like science fiction.  This does not mean that both of you will like Star Wars, but one of you might and another might like Dr.Who or Star Trek.  Married couples will often share similar or aligned interests such as a healthy lifestyle.  The husband might like the gym and daily runs, while the wife meditates and practices Yoga.  But there is still an element that bonds them.


Millenials have always lived with technology, so they have a much larger world.  They are globally connected and this larger venue allows them to make many bonds with others virtually.  Now, are those bonds creating satisfactory interpersonal relationships? Maybe, or maybe not.  It is trending in public schools to frown upon best friend groups and encouraged to create groups of friends where all have equal statuses amid the within group.  This is obviously an attempt to curtail the growing epidemic of bullying.  


In reality these groups are more likely to ostracize individuals who are not part of their group and that leads to more bullying.  This is a real problem for Generation Z at the current time.  These children are under a lot of stress to fit in, and when they do not or are not accepted they often become physically ill or in extreme circumstances inflict self-harm.  Millenials, on the other hand, are prone to less intimate interpersonal relationships.  They are almost desensitized to the effect of exclusion.  Millenials were less likely to report stress from group exclusion in a recent study.  


So, exclusion is not a bad thing for Millennials.  The attitudes from participants of this recent study did indicate that exclusion could be felt as a positive opportunity to find their forever group.  Millennials stressed that they would prefer exclusion from a group than to remain where they were not comfortable.  There are always more groups to join and more friends to make because the world is at their fingertips. This brings us back to the topic at hand, Neoliberalism.


Neoliberal attitudes of the Millenial generation are helping shape individual behavior.  Millennials are less likely to blindly follow a group and more likely to think for themselves.  A trait that was not passed to their children.  So, Generation Z children are not as savvy in social situations because their Millennial parents were online.  Attachments between Millennials and Generation Z are not as strong as previous groups.  Which is why Generation Z children are having difficult experiences on a social level?  Millennials socialize only on the surface.  They make connections and then move on.  



I admire the ability of Millennials to let exclusion and ostracism to just roll off of their backs.  I am saddened by the fact that the Millennials, as a group, have failed Generation Z.  Millennials were just not there for their children, they were gaming, streaming, or otherwise online and expected their children to do the same.  Generation Z did not completely follow in their parents' footsteps. Neoliberalism is a good term for millennial behaviors.  They are free, empowered, liberated, and even transforming in their ability to maintain their sense of self.  Neoliberalism is what allows Millennials to move on when shunned.  They can just pop their earplugs or headset on and ignore the commotion around them.  They can join another group that aligns with their growing needs.  The trend for Millennials is Neoliberalistic behavior, but Generation Z has not completely finished developing yet.  Will Generation Z continue with their precursors, the Millennials, and become Neoliberalistic?  We will have to wait and see how this plays out.


Changes in Understanding Entertainment

Dr. Tami Petersen, MS, PhD

March 3, 2018

 Image Credit: Simple

Where do I start?  Well the begining started riughky 80 years ago.  The radio was the contemporary form of entertainment.  It as very entertaining. There was a lineup for air space much like the schedules set up by the networks today.  It was a simple thing, because we had one choice for venue and very few stations that we ould tune in.  At this time television was introduced.  The first ones were tough to watch.  The screens wqere inches in diameter, the screen was round, and beveled like a glass globe.  The images were in black and white ad fuzzy.  Radio was still around for those who held out, and they really produced wonderful shows.


Eventually, the television became wasier to use, move, and watchl although, it was still in black and white.  I can renenber the very limited channels, but we always found something to watch.  As kids we had Romper Room and on PBS eary Sunday mornings we had Ronald McDonald reading us cartoons from the newspaper.  My parents had such good choices like Howdy Doody, Rin Tin Tin , and F-Troop.  I remember the conversion to color was slow.  Partly because my generation loved qhat we had.  We had the original Dr.Who happening, Captain Kangaroo, Looney Tunes.  Some things needed color and we didn't care either way.  I remember having a portable/pocket TV in the early 80s that was black and white, but I never missed my soaps....even during my college classes.


We were the first in my county to have cable TV bsvk ine 70s.  That meant we had regular TV, but the option to watch a couple hours of movies on Friday and Saturday night.  That was it, just a movie two nights in a row.  Eventuallly other networks started, playing reruns of older shows and adding their original programming very slowly.  The VCR came out and cable got better.  What is the point of thid rhetoric? The point is that we knew what it was.  It was television.  TV.  Yes we watched old and original programming, we watched recorded things, and even cabble programming.  Not once did anyone get so confused to actually call it anything ther than what itwas.......TV.


Ok, as a collge educator I often ask for pop cultural references to prevent any embarrassment and maintain confidentiality for discussion questions located online.  In class I always give a pop culture references.  For those who do not know, a pop culture reference would be a book, magazine, online soial media, TV, movies, local newa, television shows, or anything else that will give an example that mimmicks life but is not real.  This is when the problem started.  My students were confused.  They do nit watch TV.  Honestky, they swear.  After further investigation.......ready for this.......they watch Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.  JUst as when I grew up, the screen size can vary and shape of device can be different, but they cannot understand that when this happens it is still television.  They are just getting it from a different source.


I cannot believe that they actually think that it is not TV.  Yes, they know the shows and plot lines.  Yes, when using pop culture they get ut.  But I am not using television shows when I reference The Walking Dead, Dexter, or Breaking Bad.  It is however their parents referenced this mode of entertainment.  I feel that our generation z and millennials are misinformed and naive to basic knowledge at times.  I cannit tell you how much class time is dedicated each semester to gaining a group undertanding of what the term TV means.  



New Horizons Ahead

February 28, 2018

Dr. Tami Petersen, MS, PhD

Image Credit: Simple


The image above is the norm for our society, but it is also new and unnerving for those who do not accept change very well.  Technology is wonderful.  It has opened our lives up, and made the world a much smaller place.  We are truly all connected in ways that would scare an individual from centuries past.  It workd like magic to those who do not understand.  Technology changes perspective, it gives instant feedback, Education isbeing shaped to accomodate new learners who only understand learning through technology.  It creates new within groups.  Meetings and interviews and even dates can occur despite great distances witht he use of technology.


Millennials were the first generation to have technology from the time of birth. So, as an educator I can see changes in the development of students.  We now have Generation Z following as a second generation technology user.  These children do not understand what it is like to have to wait for their designated telephone time.  They have never had the proverbial telephone on the wall with a 100 ft. cord to move around the house.  They have never had their mom set an egg timer on the counter to limit telephone time.  If we were not sure about something we called a professional to help out.  These new generations just look for a video online to explain how to fix simple and even complicaetd repairs.  You can truly find any information you want on the internet now. 


Paper books are not neccessary in classrooms, it is greener to just have an eBook on a tablet or notebook PC.  Answers are just a fingertip away, and that sounds very nice.  Some of us remember spending days in the library looking up peer reviewed journals in the library on microfische.  We had to read the articles to determine if the information we were seeking was included.  Technology has recreated how researech for the average adult, child, and resaercher gains information.  As an educator who remembers the days before technology, I am torn.  I long for the more simple days.  No stress about connectivity, WiFi, or compatability.  And as an educator, I am thankful for the ability to communicate with my students 24/7. Some educators are balking at the changes and have yet to embrace the full technologucal experience of teaching and learning.  Personally, I love to sync grades from the textbook company.  Grading used to take hours and days, and now we are no onger hampered by the students waiIing for grades and feedback.  I also love the ease that we have in creating our lesson plans.  


I am thankful for educational textbooks using technology to create interactive textbooks that help these students pair associations.  Yes, i said pair associations.  They are using the tools we give them to make the lessons relatable to their experiences in life.  They are pairing associations just as Pavlov's dogs did two centuries ago and the newer generations are learning using their bodies.  Yes, I said bodies, as in the nervous system.  We are capable of sending out neurotransmitters to make us feel good when learning.  The technology we have does that for students.  When they sleep they pair associations and create long term memories.  No need for cramming for exams.  Why?  If the educator does his or her job, then the student will hae created the correct pairs of association and will have learned something.  Something that will not be forgotten after the exam.


It may sound strange, but the days of cramming for exams should be over.  We need tot each our children how to use the information we teach them.  Can we with Algebra? Yes.  Any clas  can be changed into the newest format of technology so that the student has the option to learn things only once.  Which is why instant feedback is so very important.  Students should have their electronic devices with them in class.  They should have the ability to look up credible sources to confirm wha they are learning.  They should haev the opportunity to use Pop Culture references to make the associations more personally relatable.  When all of these elements are combined, learning occurs.  I am talking about the mid 90th percentile in class learning.  There are peer reviewed articles out there to tell us as educators how to use technology to our advantage.


Technology also alllows or can allow for a greater sense of belonging.  Some of remember the awkward years when we were ostracized at times.  When we embarrassed ourselves.  Well, we cannot end the ostracism or embarrassment.  However, technology allows for the younger generations (and old if they like) to join groups of interest online.  Virtual gaming and other forums allow anyone to assume an identity, let themselves our, and be the person that generations ago was hidden often times to fit the within group with which they identify.  Group inclusion is important to the development of social skills.  The ability tfor an individual to develop social skills online when just two generations back could not have happened is amazing to me as a researcher.  


Facetime is a popular method of communication between freinds and family.  To be honest even pets are getting in on facetime chats with pet technology.  Meetings are more commonly held by using services that help orchestrate large numbers of users to enter a single "room" for viceo chatting.  Job interviews haev been steadily increasing in the virtual world.  Jobs are more cohesive to a home environment as we grow with our technology. Online dating was the rage (and still is) a decade ago.  It is common to see an online date or conversation between a person and a device that is connected to another individual.


I have to say that as a researcher I find the changing environment exciting.  Witht hese changes development stages will also have new norms.  We will be busy finding patterns in learning becasue of technology.  That means job security for many.  As an educator I am so thankful that I can focus on the topic that I am teaching, rather than having that sick feling in my stomach because I have so many more papers to grade and tests to administer.As mentioned before, I am at a university where my cohorts are not ready to embrace the changes we ahead in the academic arena.  I see nothing but good, if the educators just embrace technology and the developmental changes that are occuring in front of our eyes.  We are watching a social change for our species and are the luckiest educators and researchers to have this mind blowing experience.