Monday, August 24, 2009

The Great Myths of Psychology

In the 22nd Century, historians will look back on the "science" of psychology and laugh and laugh at our quaint beliefs. They'll also be amused at our economic theories, because their economics will be managed by Globovac, the Overlord of Earth. But that's a topic for another post.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is to highlight an article I read over at Cracked.com--6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes. As a parent, my favorite has to be the one on the self-esteem crap the schools like to push on our kids. Here's an excerpt (money line is at the end):
* * *

Even elementary schools jumped on board and started giving self-esteem classes to kids, because as all Americans know, the key to happiness is constant rewards for little to no actual accomplishments.

Why it is Bullshit:

This seems to be one of those deals where they've confused correlation and causation. Rather than thinking, "Maybe kids with high self-esteem feel good about themselves because they get good grades in school and have lots of friends," they decided that it's the other way around, that they succeed because they have self-esteem. So they tried to teach people to feel good about themselves for no other reason than pure entitlement, figuring the actual reasons for feeling good about themselves would follow at some later date.

This results in some kids having too much self-esteem, a breed of human that scientists classify as "douchebag."

We're not kidding. Research shows kids who have an inflated sense of self-worth become aggressive when their sense of superiority is called into question, leading to a more damaging fall for little Billy when he realizes what a loser he is (whereas fat Ralph already knew himself to be a loser and is therefore immune to disappointment).

We're certainly not experts, but it would, you know, seem like the solution would be to teach the stuff that leads to success (like social and communication skills, better strategies at dealing with stress, etc.) and just let that lead naturally to success and thus self-esteem, rather than just bypassing all that and going right for the self-esteem part.

Mr. Miyagi didn't teach the Karate Kid to believe in himself. He taught him how to kick people in the fucking head.
Pat Morita needed no self-esteem training. "Get your own, Daniel-san! And sit on it, Fonzie!"

***Gratuitously Tangential Update***

Bob Newhart played psychologist Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. In the episode, "Bob and Emily and Howard and Carol and Jerry", Bob was joined by guest stars James "Lo Pan" Hong and Pat "Arnold" Morita:

6 comments:

BakedPenguin said...

Nathaniel Branden (aka Ayn Rand's lover) wrote quite a bit about self-esteem, but it wasn't the bullshit that gets trotted out in the 'feel-good' versions.

Some of his points included the idea that self-esteem relies on actual achievement, real values, etc. It's far healthier than the "affirmations make you feel better" bullshit.

James Hong said...

Yes, I remember that gig. Pat and I were glad to get the work. The best part was when we partied with Marcia Wallace after we shot our last scenes for the episode, then went back to her trailer and banged her silly.

Pro Libertate said...

That's a disturbing thought that may damage my psyche permanently.

BP,

Cracked was absolutely right when they noted that it's a false correlation that's to blame. Successful people often have high self-esteem. They aren't successful necessarily because they had high self-esteem to begin with, however. Confidence should build with success.

the innominate one said...

Cracked was absolutely right when they noted that it's a false correlation that's to blame. Successful people often have high self-esteem. They aren't successful necessarily because they had high self-esteem to begin with, however. Confidence should build with success.

damnit! now Cracked is publishing my thoughts as well!

need...more...tinfoil

Pro Libertate said...

Cracked into your skull, have they?

somebody said...

酒店經紀人,菲梵酒店經紀,酒店經紀,禮服酒店上班,酒店小姐,便服酒店經紀,酒店打工,酒店寒假打工,酒店經紀,酒店經紀,專業酒店經紀,合法酒店經紀,酒店暑假打工,酒店兼職,便服酒店工作,酒店打工經紀,制服酒店經紀,專業酒店經紀,合法酒店經紀,酒店暑假打工,酒店兼職,便服酒店工作,酒店打工,酒店經紀,制服酒店經紀,酒店經紀