Saturday, 31 October 2020

Learning about the nature of reality

APPLICATION Harmful Media-Inspired Social Learning Although the human aptitude for social learning is generally adaptive, there can be downsides. The sociologist David Phillips (1974, 1979) discovered that media portrayals of celebrity suicides are associated with subsequent increases in suicides and car accidents among the general public. Phillips also showed that the more media coverage suicides get in a particular region of the country, the more people tried the act themselves. Feature films also often inspire unfortunate examples of social learning. The award-winning 1978 film The Deer Hunter showed soldiers playing the game of Russian roulette (Cimino et al. In the following weeks, many instances of teenagers playing this dangerous game were reported. In 1993 another film, The Program, had a scene in which teenagers were shown lying down on the median between car lanes (Goldwyn et al. Many people underestimate the realistic nature of VR until they try it out for themselves. A deep immersion is very important for the usability as a confrontation device. Because, only when a simulation is able to trigger genuine emotions, are psychotherapeutic effects to be expected. No arousal, no habituation. This a scene from the VR-software Richie's Plank Experience. A plank on top of a skyscraper, with a deadly abyss right underneath. For what purpose did the owner of this building install a plank there? But your task is clear: walk the plank. Make your way to the end, turn around, and come back to the starting point. Since VR headsets allow you to watch such scenes in 3D, the long way down instinctively feels like a real threat. That's when I decided, I know how.

I'm going to start giving back, because that way someone else will get that feeling, so that feeling lives on in someone else. Because I was so transformed by the experience, it's become more than a day for me. It's become a way of living. I guess when I talk to people about it, that's what I say, is that this day has turned into a way of life. I'll never forget when we received a request for a little 4-year-old girl, Sophie, who was a raving fan of Kelly Clarkson. Our team created a magical day with a limo ride, dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, and then off to the show. The most magical part of the night came after the show, when Sophie was fast asleep in her mother's arms. We surprised her with a private meeting with Kelly. Within days of the film's appearance in theaters, numerous teens tried this, sometimes with tragic consequences. We'll examine other unsavory examples of social learning in our coverage of aggression in article 12. Social Priming Observing others perform an action does much more than provide a model. Such exposure also communicates information about our social world. Thus, another basic way that people influence us is by priming ideas, norms, and values. For instance, watching someone engage in aggression makes aggressive concepts more accessible (Bushman, 1998). As we saw in article 3, when concepts are made salient or more accessible, they are more likely to influence our behavior. When other people remind us of the norm to be fair or to be charitable, for example, often we are more likely to act in accord with those norms. Consider a bunch of drivers at a busy intersection. You can even further increase the immersion by walking on a real plank in your room. And the total enthusiast places a big ventilator next to the VR area, to add some high-altitude winds to the simulation.

One might think that the knowledge of the circumstances would prevent any fear. You know that you are not standing in that dangerous position, but are only looking at graphic pixels on a display. What could you be afraid of? Falling off the plank wouldn't be a big deal. Forget what you learned from the film Matrix - a death in VR won't harm you in the real world. Even though you know that your brain is tricked, VR scenes are able to evoke intense emotions. If you can't believe it, then have a look at the reactions of people on YouTube, who are whimpering while slowly crawling over the VR-plank, crying out prayers while riding a VR-rollercoaster, or screaming in terror while defending with wild arm swings against an attacking VR-zombie. Our brain often directly reacts to what it sees - irrespective to what it knows. Lauren Clapper, Sophie's mom, said, That was the best day of my life with her. The TD Threshold created that for us. They didn't even know us. Just how far they went to make her happy is amazing to me, and they continue to be family to me. Sadly, Sophie lost her battle with her brain tumor shortly after this event. Everyone's heart was broken. Today I get very emotional just thinking about Sophie and her amazing smile. I keep a photograph of the moment when Sophie met Kelly in my office. The picture of Sophie's front row moment continues to remind me of the importance of our mission. To bring this full circle, John Ruhlin was the one who had the relationship that got Sophie backstage and the one who gave me the framed photo I now treasure. While stopped at a traffic light, some were approached (or not) by a passerby who asked for directions to a well-known store (Gueguen et al. The light turned green, but the researchers, positioned ahead of the drivers at the intersection, pretended to stall their car.

Those who had been primed with being helpful (ie, by giving directions to the passerby) were less likely to honk their horn at the stalled driver than were those who had not been asked directions. Robert Cialdini's (2003) focus theory of normative conduct emphasizes the important role that salience plays in enhancing the influence of norms. This theory distinguishes between two types of norms. Injunctive norms are beliefs about which behaviors are generally approved of or disapproved of in one's culture. Descriptive norms are beliefs about what most people typically do. Often the two norms align. For instance, people generally think motorists should stop at red lights and that most of them do. However, norms can also diverge. Scene from the VR software Altspace VR VR is also very useful for fighting the own social anxiety. Advantageous to parties in real life, VR offers the highly comfortable feature to instantly disappear when things are getting unpleasant. One click, and all the annoying people around you are gone - that's even quicker than doing an Irish goodbye, leaving the French way or ujti po-anglijski. Since you are just an anonymous, strange-looking avatar with a nickname, no consequences are to be expected. And even better: if you accidentally behaved like a total idiot, this can easily be undone - just delete the old shameful avatar, and re-enter the party secretly with a new identity. Why can't reality have this option! VR - ADVANTAGES It's possible to confront situations that are difficult to visit in reality: Walking over a skyscraper-plank probably is out of question if you are not totally crazy. AROUND THE WORLD IN 24 HOURS A common question we get at the TD Threshold is How do you get the tickets for Front Row events?

Ninety percent of the time, it's through the generosity of the people in our network. A friend or a friend of a friend. Relationships are the key that unlocks almost any door. Jaiden was a young boy who loved NASCAR. Diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer as a five-year-old, Jaiden has endured more than his share of treatments. Though these treatments battle the cancer, they often leave him feeling too sick and tired to play. On his worst days of chemotherapy reactions, only one thing could lift his spirits, and that was NASCAR. As sick as he was, he would always watch his favorite racer, Jeff Gordon. People also think others should not litter but believe that most people do. In studies directed toward decreasing littering and increasing energy conservation and recycling, Cialdini and colleagues have found that reminding people of either type of norm regarding these behaviors, whether through exposure to another person's behavior or to a posted sign, tends to increase adherence to the norms (Cialdini, 2003). Injunctive norm A belief about what behaviors are generally approved of or disapproved of in one's culture. Descriptive norm A belief about what most people typically do. APPLICATION Using Norms to Preserve There is a tricky aspect to using norms to change behavior. Cialdini (2003) has noted that well-intentioned efforts to get people to do the right thing, such as public service announcements, sometimes make salient a descriptive norm that turns out to be counterproductive. For instance, in 2000, visitors to the fascinating Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona were greeted by a sign saying, Your heritage is being vandalized every day by theft losses of petrified wood of 14 tons a year, mostly a small piece at a time. A survivor of the 9/11 attacks could - in the context of a trauma-focused psychotherapy - enter a virtual World Trade Center. For flight phobia, the confrontation program would obviously include flights - a rather expensive psychotherapy when trying this in reality.

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