Saturday, May 7, 2016

Introduction to a Humanities based Psychology

Contemporary academic psychology is dominated by schools of thought that propose psychology as a natural science. However, there are approaches that critique the assumption that psychology can be a natural science and offer an option to the hegemony of natural science based psychology. In this lecture I introduce psychology as a part of the humanities.

Part 2 (Dilthey & Habermas)
Part 3 (Spranger & Jaspers)
Part 4 (Phenomenology & Existentialism)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Freud & The Cocaine Episode in Context

This essay was originally posted on January 5, 2015

Coca in Context: From The Andes to Paris & Atlanta
An early documentation of the use of the medicinal properties of the coca plant came from the Spanish friar, Vincente de Valverde, reporting on the importance of the coca tree to the Incas:
"...coca, which is the leaf of a small tree that resembles the sumac found in our own Castile, is one thing that the Indians are ne'er without in their mouths, that they say sustains them and gives them refreshment, so that, even under the sun they feel not the heat, and it is worth its weight in gold in these parts, accounting for the major portion of the tithes."1

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Myth of Freud's Iceberg Model

Originally published on February 29, 2012

The 1933 illustration Freud used to depict the psyche.
About ten years ago I was heading to teach a class in introductory psychology at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. As I walked passed the social sciences office I encountered a box of books marked "free". Little did I know that the box contained an out of print gem, Robert C. Bolles' The Story of Psychology: A Thematic History.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Media Psychology: Traditional & Neuromarketing

In this four-part lecture I introduce the major concepts of traditional advertising, Public Relations, and the recent event of "neuromarketing". We will explore the history of the relationship between psychology and these fields from Hugo Munsterberg's pioneering study of the psychological use of film to contemporary neuroscientific investigations. The lectures are based on two texts which should be read: Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, and Vance Packard's classic analysis The Hidden Persuaders. The Frontline documentary by Douglas Rushkoff The Persuaders is also assigned to students who take this college lecture.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Giobbi's Online History & Philosophy of Psychology Lectures.

In an effort to cultivate an interest in the history and philosophy of the social sciences, I am making my lectures on the history and philosophy of psychology available online. It is my hope that these lectures will encourage students to pursue an understanding of the histories & philosophical backgrounds which inform their area of research.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Junk food News & the Network Spectacle: On A Healthful News Diet

In his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, media ecologist Neil Postman discusses how the American obsession with entertainment has impacted how the news is presented, and what we consider news to be. Thirty years after its first publication, the book remains a relevant critique of how the television medium shapes the message. In the post-television age, one wonders what Postman would think about how the Internet has shaped the content of the news, as well as the deep impact of Clinton-era deregulation that many argue to be the impetus for the debased state of serious television journalism.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Personal Saviors: The Function of Identification & Displacement in our Political Preferences

Earlier this week I had a remarkable conversation with a Conservative voter. They expressed their disdain for the "liberal media's" misrepresentation of conservative politicians. When I asked for an example, she offered the case of the former President George W. Bush, whom, she felt, was unfairly ridiculed for his inability to articulately express himself. She went on to explain, in rather personal terms, how she sympathized with Bush's predicament because she too found herself unable to communicate her thoughts in an eloquent way. As I stood listening to this argument I wondered if she could hear her own words? Could this individual really find an ally with Bush based on their shared failures? Was it possible that her own personal insecurities, and I might add her evident incapacity to communicate, led her to identify with a man who was clearly inept to be the president of the United States? Was she even vaguely aware that Bush's ineptness served as a sort of vindication for her own impotence, and that blaming the media was a mechanism to displace the blame for his own insecurities? One can only assume that this identification and displacement took less mental energy than actually improving one's own ability to speak and think, but, then again, that effort would require the individual to question some core assumptions they hold about themselves and society. I believe that this illustrates the psychology behind our political identification and why we find that we support certain politicians and political parties despite evidence for their ineptitude.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

On The Psychology of Religion (Part 2)


Psychology & Religion

Psychology and religion have a historically uneasy relationship. Many psychologist hold the view that religious belief is parochial, myopic, and ignorant. Many religious thinkers find psychology to be rigidly adherent to objective empiricism (only accepting as valid that which is observable and measurable) and capable of producing only shallow interpretations of spirituality. Although these attitudes are not reflective of all psychologists and theologians, we can make a general observation that what religion  might lack in certainty, psychology might lack in wisdom.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On The Psychology of Religion and Religious Belief (Part 1)

Religion matters to many Americans. When asked, 42% of the population believes in creationism and 57% believes that religion can answer all or most of our problems. This high level of religiosity in roughly half of the population entices a number of questions regarding religiosity and the human experience of religion.