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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What's Dominant In Your Psychological "Photo Album"?



"Dr. William Glasser synthesized the research on adult and youth motivation and reducing it to an easily understood metaphor. Glasser asserted that humans are born with a photo album in our psyche where we store life experiences.

"We keep those events that provoke feelings of pleasure in a particular section of this photo album, which Glasser labels a 'quality world.' Some of the early pictures in our photo albums remind us of the nurturing and unconditional love we received as infants.

"Later, Glasser asserted, as our lives unfold, we continue to seek opportunities to relive the type of events and experiences that appear in our quality world part of the album. Glasser broke down volumes of research on motivation into a finite set of feelings and needs that, he argued, are coveted by all humans. He said that whenever a particular experience satisfies at least one basic need, it is emotionally fulfilling and worthy of addition to the quality world photo album.

"According to Glasser, the basic human needs are the following:

(a) the need to survive,
(b) the need to belong,
(c) the need to gain power,
(d) the need to be free, and
(e) the need to have fun. 
 
(Richard Sagor. Motivating Students and Teachers in an Era of Standards Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 2003)

Glasser contends instructions related to survival - such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire - are relatively distinct. Individuals quickly learn that the particular discomfort is attached to this need, and it is plain what they must do to satisfy the survival instructions.

The nonsurvival, or psychological, needs are challenging because it is often less clear what an individual must do to satisfy them. Psychological needs, like biological needs, have their source in the genes, even though they are much less tangible and the behaviors that fulfill them are more complex than the physical behaviors used to fulfill the survival needs.

Glasser (1984) holds that we are essentially biological beings, and the fact that we follow some of our genetic instructions psychologically rather than physically makes neither the instructions less urgent nor the source less biological.

The ways in which we fulfill psychological needs can be summarized as follows:

1. We fulfill the need to belong by loving, sharing, and cooperating with others.
2. We fulfill the need for power by achieving, accomplishing, and being recognized and respected.
3. We fulfill the need for freedom by making choices in our lives.
4. We fulfill the need for fun by laughing and playing.

Glasser explains in the most recent of his widely read books, Choice Theory, all of our behavior is chosen as we continually attempt to meet one or more of the five basic needs that are part of our genetic structure. - See more at: http://www.brucedavenport.com/#sthash.PbwZaYQv.dpuf
In his Choice Theory, Glasser explains all of behavior is chosen as we continually attempt to meet one or more of the five basic needs that are part of our genetic structure. To satisfy the basic needs, a person must behave. This means acting, thinking, feeling, and involving the body, all of which are components of the total behavior generated in the effort to get what is wanted.

Let me underscore fulfillment. Glasser contends loving, sharing, cooperating, accomplishing, being recognized, being respected, making our own choices, laughing, and playing secure our psychological needs. Reread this list of the ways we fulfill all of those nagging mental needs. It seems so simplistic, yet profound in its straightforward design. No confusing, scientific terminology here -- Glasser speaks of human actions we all easily comprehend.


Breaking down needs like this reminds me of Robert Fulghum book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In case you have never heard of this volume or you have forgotten Fulghum's teachings, here is a list of them:

“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put thngs back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first workd you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”

(Robert Fulghum. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. revised 2004)


 The Most Needed Psychological Fulfillment

As I write this blog entry, I wonder what is missing most from the "photo album" of the psyche. I'm sure that love is a logical first choice as it possesses the unique ability to link wide gaps between human understandings and to secure redemption for individual wrongdoings. Yet, I am confident that love (albeit often nonreciprocal) is present in amazing abundance.

Power and respect? I'm not sure if we respect the right people in our society as many worship fame, celebrity, and material wealth. Still many manage to gain respect for the right reasons and do good with the power they possess.

And, I think most people have plenty of fun. In fact, many substitute expensive trips and playful excursions for meaningful one-to-one interaction in the everyday environment. So maybe they are unsure of the quality and effects of their pleasure, but fun is everywhere.

I sincerely believe we need much more focus on sharing, cooperating, and accomplishing. These three means in which we secure psychological needs even fit nicely together as one package. First, we must share to cooperate, and cooperating leads to fulfilling mutual accomplishment. Sharing and working cooperatively with others build strong human traits. No personal endeavor can offer more benefits for a social species than group labor.

The organization and teamwork involved in working toward a common objective offer new perspectives and new appreciations for all involved. Without sharing the load, people become overly confident in their ability to control their lives. They tend to become egotistical, self-righteous humans, refusing to listen to dissenting views and convinced that any criticism is detrimental to their work.

Growing and nourishing relationships is very self-fulfilling. In 1943, Abraham Maslow, a prominent American psychologist created Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to explain fundamental human behaviors. Of course, the deep human need for love is interwoven with belonging. 

According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within their social spheres. This sense of belonging motivates people to lean on their peers and listen to their recommendations. This is one of the primary reasons for social sharing known as the group-think mentality. If our friends are sharing a piece of content, we are much more likely to look at it and share as well.

According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within their social spheres. This sense of belonging motivates people to lean on their peers and listen to their recommendations. This is one of the primary reasons for social sharing–the group-think mentality. If your friends are sharing a piece of content, you are much more likely to look at it and share as well.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/the-psychology-of-social-sharing-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-0342845#yJHswtfdRRJ6kQ2S.99According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within their social spheres. This sense of belonging motivates people to lean on their peers and listen to their recommendations. This is one of the primary reasons for social sharing–the group-think mentality. If your friends are sharing a piece of content, you are much more likely to look at it and share as well.
We all know that cooperation between humans leads to something greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, but understanding the mechanisms that create cooperating agents in a system is one of the most important but least understood phenomena in nature. We do understand some things about the mechanics of cooperation. Here are some findings:

* Emotions appear to be a key regulator of behavior in cooperative relationships. Emotions affect behavior both directly, by motivating action, and indirectly, as actors anticipate others' emotional responses.

* Even though cooperation is the antithesis of competition, the need or desire to compete with others is a common impetus that motivates individuals to organize into a group and cooperate with each other in order to form a stronger competitive force. 

* There are four main conditions that tend to be necessary for cooperative behavior to develop between two individuals: 
  • An overlap in desires
  • A chance of future encounters with the same individual
  • Memory of past encounters with that individual
  • A value associated with future outcomes 

In a basic group like a tribe, most members cooperate because they do not want to hurt their friends by not participating in group efforts, and also because they may want help in the future. All group members experience the benefits of the large group, even those members who stop cooperating and become "free-riders." Free-riders are people who benefit from the group in food sharing and protection from enemies, for example, without contributing to food collection or war. In these cases, the personal connection to the group's members is often gone.

In most human societies individuals meet and decide whether and how to punish free riders who are not cooperating. This is coordinated punishment where group members signal their intent to punish, only punish when a threshold has been met, and share the costs of punishing.

A research study by UCLA anthropology professor Robert Boyd and his colleagues from the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico found cooperation is maintained by this punishment, which reduces the benefits to free riding.

(R. Boyd, H. Gintis, S. Bowles. "Coordinated Punishment of Defectors Sustains Cooperation 
and Can Proliferate When Rare." Science, 2010)

Could it be that we no longer maintain adequate punishment of those who refuse to cooperate with others? I believe those children who grow up in situations void of examples of cooperative citizenship within our democracy model this behavior and choose, themselves, not to share and not to cooperate for the good of society.

For these selfish individuals, there is no immediate punishment for "free riding," "freeloading," or "living on the dole." Without penalties for allowing this behavior to continue, generation after generation grows to expect "something for nothing." This creates a situation where government becomes akin to a mother nurturing nothing but mewing infants.

To me, the missing snapshots in Glasser's photo album are depictions of people sharing and cooperating with each other to achieve difficult goals. People without these extraordinary "pictures" of collaboration to reference have impaired psychological needs. They see no value in compromise or in negotiation, and they begin to distrust essential alliances altogether. In short, they lack the background and the experience to care for others unlike themselves.

What a simple and fulfilling life it would be if we all did our share of loving, sharing, and cooperating. But, quite the contrary, we have become more and more a nation of beggars and a nation of partisan thinkers and doers who would rather smear our competition than to make concessions and compromise with them. We choose tribes like Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, and Conservatives to bolster our short-sighted, narrow allegiance. Then, we look to these clans to benefit our particular way of life. And, these cliquish photo albums fatten each new day.



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