Archives for Psychology - Page 2
Romantic comedies are a staple of the movie industry. They are utterly predictable and there is already a surfeit of them, yet they just keep coming. It would be nice if they were just mindless entertainment. Then those of us who find them tiresome could just roll our eyes and ignore them. But they are perpetuating a way of thinking about the world that sells us all short.
[Bella’s intro: For many years, I have been writing about the research on single people and their social ties. Contrary to the stereotype of single people as isolated and alone, studies show that on the average, single people have more friends than married people, and do more to maintain their ties with neighbors, friends, siblings, and parents. That means that single people who fit this profile should have plenty of support when they need it, even if they have no children. However, as Professor Joan DelFattore points out in this smart, engaging, and carefully-researched essay, friends and relatives who are not nuclear family members are not always accorded their appropriate status or rights – even when their place is already ensconced in the relevant laws. This is an important article, and I am very grateful to Joan DelFattore for allowing me to share it with you here.]
Everywhere I go, it seems, people want to talk about the election. I know lots of centered, secure people, but these days, when the topic turns to the election, they all seem anxious. The American Psychological Association must have noticed the same thing because they commissioned the Harris Poll to conduct an online survey on the topic. More than 3,500 adults participated, either in English or Spanish. It was a diverse sample.
I like the smell of smoke. Here in southern California, when that distinct scent wafts through my windows and doors, it usually means that one of my neighbors is grilling on their deck. A few nights ago, though, the smell of smoke just kept getting stronger and stronger.
It came in a beautiful envelope, with an elegant smaller envelope for my reply – almost like a wedding invitation. The organizers of this event for my alma mater, Vassar College, must have had marriage on their minds. The invitation was to an event called “Reflections on an Election Year.” The reply card included the note, “Due to our limited capacity, we ask that you limit your one guest to a spouse, partner, or Vassar alumna/us.”
People are put down for being single. We know this not just from our own personal experiences and observations but from numerous scientific studies showing that single people are indeed relentlessly stereotyped. But who is stereotyped more? Are single men or single women judged more harshly?
There was a time when schizophrenia was blamed on bad mothering (“schizophrenogenic mother”), when some believed that racial differences in I.Q. were entirely genetic, and when it was almost unheard of to use studies of twins as a way of understanding profound questions about nature and nurture. All that and more changed significantly, thanks in large part to the career contributions of the brilliant scholar, Irving Gottesman. When he died on June 29, 2016, the mark he made on the fields of psychology and psychiatry merited a lengthy obituary in the New York Times.
Singlism (the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single) is different from other more familiar isms such as racism, heterosexism, and sexism. For example, other isms are sometimes linked to violence. On the other hand, because singlism is rarely part of our cultural conversations, people practice it without awareness or apology. What is especially disheartening is that it is practiced unselfconsciously by some of the intellectual vanguard of our times, the cutting edge thinkers and writers.
Now we know what adults of all ages who are not lonely have in common. The answer comes from a new review article, “Age differences in loneliness from late adolescence to the oldest old age,” based on a study of more than 16,000 German adults.