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2/17 - 2/19

by: Elizabeth Notetaker

2/17 - 2/19 PSYC 3900H

Elizabeth Notetaker
GPA 3.5
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About this Document

Life transitions and awe
Honors Seminar Psychology
Dr. Leonard L. Martin
Class Notes
Psychology, existentialism




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth Notetaker on Friday February 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 3900H at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Leonard L. Martin in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views. For similar materials see Honors Seminar Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Georgia.

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Date Created: 02/19/16
Video on elephants Elephants giving birth -- compassion, gentleness of pack of elephants towards the new born baby elephant • Tied into existentialism = animals that don't have consciousnessand culture and all of these concepts that we do, so how did these elephants know what to do while this female was giving birth? ○ Is it just what elephants do? ○ They worked in cooperationwith each other and each had their own separate job and each checked on the newborn Experiment on altruism with children and chimps -- SUPER CUTE!! • Small children helped the man open things, pick up things, place things, etc. whenever he made a "mistake" 60 Minutes Episode "Born good? Are babies born with a sense of moralityor do we arrive as blank slates and use our culture to determine right and wrong? Or, worse, are we born mean and evil and become good?" • Researchers use puppet shows to try and determine what is going on in a baby's head ○ Puppet scenes exhibiting nice behavior and mean behavior -- does a 5 month old have a preference for either scene? ○ More than 3/4 babies tested reached for the nice puppet • Tried on 3 month olds -- used how long they looked at each puppet ○ Lookedfor 5 seconds at the mean puppet and 33 seconds at the nice puppet How many times do we go through life not following what is inside of us? • If we did follow what was inside of us we might end up very happy • We don't become selfish because of who we are inherently, we becomeselfish because of the modern culture around us Caspi and Moffitt • We need some predictability in our lives • Life transitions represent a break from the customary -- the old ways no longer work • Our role prescriptions may not be clear -- roles carry certain expectations,etc. ○ From student to business world ○ From single to married What about when you are in between roles? • Life transitions are novel, ambiguous, and uncertain ○ Graduation, marriage, divorce, having a baby, retirement • They motivateus to regain predictability and control What if we can no longer perform the old behavior? • When you are in a situation and you don't have a clear idea of what you should do, how do you handle it? • In this way, life transitions open the way to growth and change ○ On the other hand, we can't act confidently unless we know the kind of world in which we are trying to act -- so we may look for the traditional roles and expectations We follow our individual dispositions: 1. Transition to a new situation 2. There is a strong press to behave 3. Previousresponses are inappropriate 4. There is no informationabout how to behave in the new situation a. When there is no clear clue from the environment,you are forced to turn inside to who you really are --> authenticity When you are forced to move, that’s when you turn to your dispositions **traits = the things you turn to --> mostly have a strong genetic disposition (introvertsvs. extroverts, etc.) • Strong situational press = graduation rituals with caps and gowns --> what we get from our culture ○ Forced to stay in cold water for training • Individual differences guide behavior = as soon as graduation is over, everyonegoes their separate ways {Peace Corps, Med School, etc.} ○ Chose to go in cold water for fun During transition periods, we lose the external/culturalguides and we turn to our internal differences Victor Turner • Similar conclusion as Caspi and Moffitt but much grander Studied rites of passage in small scale societies: 1. Pre-ritual = structure = separation a. Growing up in a culture and you learn what it is and what they expect of kids --> learn how to be a good memberof the community b. Example: entering military school in different clothes from home, etc. etc. 2. Ritual = anti-structure = liminal a. When you need to "becomea man", in these societies that Turner studied, people with masks, etc. scare the child and they are not allowed to run back to their parents or hide --> forced to face what's happening b. Example: while in military school, forced to wear the same clothes, shave your hair, can't talk to your family for a while, etc. --> liminal period 3. Post-Ritual = structure = re-aggregation a. Example: idea is that at the end of military school, etc. you are turned into a soldier • Turner is most interested in the liminal period Structure: articulates and legitimatesdifferentiation Liminal: {betwixt and between} people are shorn of their pre-ritual attributes such as names, clothing, kin, uniforms, and roles • Individuals confront one another as integral entities and not as segmentalized occupants of statuses and players of roles • Liminal states deal with supposition, desire, hypothesis, possibility ○ You are not fixed in a certain categoryand what do we know about each other once those categories are gone? You can be anything you want • It deals with states that are nobler or baser, more beautiful or uglier, purer or more corrupt ○ Start getting things that are moreemotional,passionate or extreme • In the liminal state, individuals also experience a different quality of social relationship Communitas: a generic human bond --> {we're all just people} • Produces full unmediated communication,even communion,between definite and determinate human identities When the Titanic set sail, people were separated by class. When it sank, each man was for himself regardless of class, everyonewas a person fighting for their lives. It is possible to drop our concepts yet still have a guide for our behavior • Animal altruism • Infant altruism • Heritable traits • Basic human nature Is it possible to drop our concepts and still experience positiveemotions? Or do we only experience fear, uncertainty, and dread? • If we drop everything we can continue to live our lives and be authentic, which is often living in a • If we drop everything we can continue to live our lives and be authentic, which is often living in a better way Consider first of all that there are some experiencesthat are better experienced without words. • What is a spiral staircase? • What is a goatee? • What does it mean to feel cold? Hard to explain these with words, you often have to act them out, or draw or picture, or just have some kind of experience • These are understood better by experience instead of concept -- without the words, etc. • Opens you up to a positive experience when you live without concepts which can constrain you Babies eating lemons -- • Babies eating lemons for the first time -- show face of disgust and usually shake their head or hand it back to parents ○ There are things inside of us that are individual and seem to be genetic ○ We're sometimestold not to pay attention to these things  When you control things like this too much (not eating too much sugar so you don't get sick is maybe a necessary control)then you might lose authenticity Some experiences that are better experienced without words: spiral staircases, goatees, feeling cold. • Not everything has to be conceptualized ○ For example, how do you explain the experience of standing in the Grand Canyon? -- you can't, you just explain your reactions to it {it was great, it was breathtaking, etc.} ○ Some things are bigger than you can describe or explain -- "awe-inspiring" • Not all things that are awe-inspiring are positive ○ Atomic bomb mushroom clouds are technically awe-inspiring, although definitely not in a good way  Something you have to experience in person to be able to describe • To have a true experience just forget the words and experience ○ Walk in to the Grand Canyon, Swim with a Whale, Have a Baby Keltner and Haidt -- AWE Awe includes feelings of dread, fear, or terror mingled with: • Veneration • Reverence • Adoration • Astonishment • Feelings of beauty • Profoundly positive Vastness: anything that is experienced as being much larger than the self or the self's ordinary level of experience or frame of reverence • Physical size, social size such as fame, authority, loud sounds, lavish office Two componentsof Awe (Sundararajan, 2002) Negation: nullification of people's knowledge structures • So, people do not continue to process attributes of the eliciting condition Self-reflexivity:they try to process their own responses because there is little else they can do Accommodation:adjusting mental structures that cannot assimilate a new experience • Prototypicalawe involves a challenge to or negation of our mental structures • Can be disorienting and frightening • Make us feel small, powerlessand confused Also involves feelings of enlightenment and even rebirth • The mental structures expand to accommodatetruths never before known The Bismarck -- • German warship • This guy that was in the battle where he might die and his friends are dying and the fate of the world hangs on him and he describes the colors contrasts of the boats and the water because it was "awesome" ○ Something bigger than him that he was a part of Double Rainbow -- Double Rainbow -- • Guy in the video of the full double rainbow is screaming he is so excited and starts to cry basically, describing it as "so bright, etc." and just keeps saying "Oh My God!!", "What does it mean? I don’t know", "Too Much!!", "It's so intense!!" Two sorts of situations 1. Routine -- does not challenge or arrest us in any way 2. Crucial -- has an insistence that arrests us and leads us to reflect on the seriousness and import of life as a whole ○ Marriage vow --> "until death do us part" and you say "I do" you are making a decision that alters your life ○ Go to UGA for four years, next year you graduate, that's a crucial moment What happens in these crucial moments? • We are aware that something powerful and important is going on • Failure to make them off would reduce them to the ordinary Features of Crucial Events 1. Happen only once (or at least should) ○ If you've been married 7 times, that's not a crucial event for you 2. Experiment,trial-and-error seem inappropriate 3. Decision affects the direction and destiny of life in its entire cycle ○ Possibility of success or failure with respect to life as a whole 4. Calls attention to the being of the self and to life as a whole ○ Attention away from the details of life ○ Course of life is viewed in its total quality or worth 5. Demands a response from us that reveals the nature of our persons, our mostintimate desires and values, our ultimate beliefs and commitments ○ Teen pregnancy, getting paid to have tattooedon your forehead  Most people wouldn't do these things but some people do and it tells you about the kind of person they might be


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