media-psychology

anonymous asked:

Hi, I really enjoy your blog! I have a concept for a game that's a bit complex to explain, but the gist is the protag is able to enter a dimension that's influenced by the experiences of others. He's able to help them, not through 'fixing' their mental illnesses by defeating enemies or anything, but uncovering hidden or repressed issues. I'm sorry if this is a vague desc but I wanted to ask what you think and general tips to avoid unfortunate implications? thank you sorry if this is a weird ask

Oooh, that sounds like Psychonauts, which is like one of my favorite video games of all time (see here).

Alright, so here’s my suggestions:

  • Consult with people who have the mental illness in question. Listen to and implement their input. This is critical. If you only use one of my tips, make it this one.
  • Have the mentally ill NPCs explicitly consent to having the protagonist enter these dimensions and uncover the hidden / repressed issues. 
    • Note - This is one of the few things I don’t like about Psychonauts - for many characters, the consent isn’t there, even though it ultimately helps them.

  • Have the NPCs make an appearance in the other dimension and even be an active part of uncovering their own issues.
  • Go to TVtropes. Look through the tropes on mental illness (here). If you find tropes that exactly match what you’re planning on doing, be very, very careful. Tropes are tools, but be careful to avoid overdone or offensive stereotypes. 

  • Think about incorporating some of the lesser-known mental illnesses, not just the well-known ones.

  • Even if you do only use well-known mental illnesses, shake things up a bit. Research the many different ways mental illness can be expressed. For instance, OCD isn’t always being a germophobe who excessively cleans (see here for some examples).

  • Incorporate the different mental illnesses into the game mechanics of the specific dimension. For instance, you could have the PC move more slowly in the depressed world, or have an escort mission in a world based on dependent personality disorder.

  • This one’s probably obvious, but incorporate the mental illness into the level design. In consultation with people with mental illness (mentioned in my first tip), create an environment that reflects and stylizes their experiences.

Followers, do you have any other tips?


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Midheavens- Sign on the Tenth House Cusp.

Aries- Law enforcement/forces/Protecting vulnerable people/anything active that causes adrenaline.

Taurus- Finance/economics/business/gardening/conservation. Then on the other hand, anything creative such as writing/art.

Gemini-  Creativity/Humour/Languages/Communications/Media/Journalism.

Cancer-  Healing/psychology/creativity/vulnerable people/children.

Leo-  Could go into entertainment, theatre, working with vulnerable people, law, humanitarianism.

Virgo- Any serving job/healthcare/assisting/something where patience and care is needed.

Libra- Law/mediating/communications/creativity/aesthetics.

Scorpio- Psychology/Criminology/researcher/journalism/therapy.

Sagittarius- Teaching/Comedy/philosophy/science/researcher.

Capricorn- Business/economics/politics/finance/collective causes.

Aquarius-  Science, engineering, philosophy, politics, humanitarianism, law, yet they can also seek unusual status paths in life.

Pisces-  Metaphysical/healing/spiritual practices. Or anything creative actually.

Today in psychology we learned that men who are repeatedly and regularly exposed to erotic and sexual images of women will find their wives/girlfriends less attractive.

So, basically we live in a society that insidiously commodifies and sexualizes women on TV, in magazines, on billboards and in movies, and that in turn makes them less attractive to the men who are being exposed to this eroticized caricature of real women. It’s a catch-22 that keeps socializing women to believe that their value lies in their physical appearance, but their physical appearance will never be good enough. The commodification of female bodies has to stop; the sexism in mass media has to stop.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Demystifying the DSM-V

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that has a relatively high level of media awareness for it.  However, it seems like this level of awareness is typically limited to one type of OCD – the germophobic, cleanliness / orderliness obsessed kind.

This is definitely one way that OCD can present itself; however, it is far from the only way.

Despite what you may think, a character with OCD doesn’t need to have both obsessions and compulsions.  They can have only one or the other!

So let’s see what we’re looking at here:

Obsessions

An obsession is both of the following:

  1. Repeated, persistent thoughts, urges, or mental images that the character can’t control and doesn’t want. For most characters, these cause notable anxiety or stress.
  2. The character has to try to ignore or suppress the obsessions, or else tries to neutralize them with some other thought or action.

Compulsions

A compulsion is both:

  1. Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the character is driven to do either because of an obsession, or because of a system of rules that have to be followed
  2. The behaviors / mental acts are done to try to prevent / reduce the anxiety / distress felt by the character, OR to prevent some kind of bad thing happening.  However, these behaviors / mental acts clearly aren’t connected to what they’re actually trying to prevent, or are clearly excessive and unneeded.

Note – child characters might not be able to tell anyone why they’re doing what they’re doing.


The obsessions and/or compulsions have be time-consuming (at least 1 hour a day), OR cause the character significant stress or make their life more difficult.

It can’t be better explained by another mental disorder.

There are some specifiers you have to look at when writing your character:

  • A character with OCD can have good or fair insight, which means that they can recognize that their OCD beliefs are not true, or think they are probably not true.
  • If they have poor insight, the character believes their beliefs are probably true.
  • If they have the absent insight / delusional beliefs specifier, it means that the character is completely convinced that their OCD beliefs are true.

 You should also note if there’s a tic-related disorder.


So the stereotypical ‘obsessed with germs, compulsively cleans hands’ portrayal of OCD definitely fits the bill.  

But let’s look at some possible ways OCD can be expressed that the media tends not to show.

Obsessions only – a character has repeated, unwanted thoughts about murdering the people around them. They do their best to ignore or suppress these thoughts, and HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE TO ACTUALLY KILL PEOPLE and experience no compulsions to do so.  But the fact that they’re thinking about it so much causes them a significant amount of distress (‘What the hell is wrong with me??’).

Obsession and Compulsion - Unwanted mental images of graphic pornography that cause the character to feel guilty and ashamed.  In response, they feel they must atone for their sinful thoughts through silently repeating a prayer a certain amount of times.

Compulsions only – the character must check that they have fully turned off their oven a certain number of times, or else they fear their house will burn down.  They spend more than an hour a day going back to check that the oven is off, even driving home multiple times a day ‘just to make sure’.

[Shrink note - I’ll be going into a whole other thing on more ways to show OCD in a future post!]


As a personal aside, I really dislike it when people say “I’m so OCD” when they just prefer things organized and clean.  OCD has a lot of symptoms that are often debilitating to the people who have it, and by associating the disorder with these casual, non-clinical level symptoms, you make it harder for people who actually have OCD to make their struggles heard and understood.

Please say something like “I’m such a neat freak!” instead.


As always, followers with personal experience with this disorder are welcome to submit their experiences! :)

Is your Psychological Thriller only offensive when it’s gay?

Possible trigger-warning topic. Though I’m not sure how. All I’m truly sure of is how irritated I am. I’m irritated –not by offensive content in books, movies and songs these days– but by the people who openly attack these forms of entertainment. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Psychological Thrillers, and I know many other people are as well. So I feel an urge to stand up for the writers and creators of this genre. Let’s start with Killing Stalking, a manwha (graphic novel) about a stalker and a killer. This story is a psychological thriller. The main character is a stalker and just so happens to be gay. The man he stalks turns out to be a killer who subsequently kidnaps and tortures our stalker, though the killer is also beginning to feel a sort of attachment to this stalker that can still love him despite what the boy is being subjected to.

Many people are finding this “offensive”. But of course! Psychological thrillers and horror in general should be upsetting and offensive. It’s written to twist one’s stomach while keeping the reader intrigued. It’s meant to bring hope and hatred, fear and curiosity. The book is doing its job. But the offensiveness people are complaining about is the homosexual aspect. Readers are questioning why a gay couple is being depicted like this and calling it homophobia.

Keep reading

Thoughts #2: Forcing Happiness/Positivity?

I think it is so ridiculous that at this time of our lives, expressing sadness and vulnerability through social media is considered bad.Not bad.. More like, cringey, laughable, childish, unprofessional, or rather, disgusting.So many people gave up pouring their heart out and their true feelings to this free-speech platforms because they are embarrassed that others will laugh at them, or unfollow them, or even just getting no likes on that post. They prefer to google some poetic-sounding quotes or song-lyrics to put it as their Instagram caption or LINE posting. Those words will be written with no citation or even a quotation marks, as if those are their own words. And finally, they are hoping their followers will ‘get the message’, that they are currently, and actually… Unhappy.


We can’t blame anyone, though. Society forced us to look, sound, and appear as if our lives are going amazingly. Being happy and positive is admired by anyone. The better our story, our achievements, or our shared-feelings, the more we get the feel of superiority. The happier and the more positive people appear on social media, the more attention and likes they get. Social media has become a game. It has become a competition of people showing off to claim “who has got the better life?”


But who are we kidding, forced positivity has always been there since waaaay before we were born. There is a reason why people shout “smile!” while taking pictures, and point us out if we appear sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love when people are happy, and I would love to be happy myself, but when happiness is forced.. It’s not so desirable anymore, isn’t it? It has lost it’s beauty and purpose. Some people say that you should tell yourself that you are or should be happy, so you WILL be happy. That statement isn’t 100% wrong. Thinking about positive thoughts that make you happy, could make you happy. Although, it wouldn’t stay like that for a long time. It’s forcing.. It creates a fake emotion. I personally still think that happiness is something that we received and feel, not made. Also, is it even healthy?

You can read more about what psychologists say about forced positivity here.

Forced positivity on social media has escalated to a point where showing vulnerability, which by the way is experienced by everyone in the world, is almost not acceptable anymore. Even my friends who follow someone who constantly “whining” or “complaining” on social media, were making fun of this person, to feeling annoyed by their posts, and eventually unfollowed them.
Have you ever wanted to just write and show people how shitty your day has been, or just how annoyed you are with your parents, but you cant because you think “people would rather not see this in my profile” or “it’s too sad, people will think I’m just whiny” or “I’m stronger than this.

So, think about this example; see, it’s hard when you just want to say “I can’t believe how bad my grades are and I hate myself for not performing as good as I should” when people that you follow are posting about how nice their holidays are, or that they just won a competition, got a great job, performed on a big stage, celebrated anniversary with their boy/girlfriend, and all those amazing life experiences.


Eventually, you chose not to show that “grey side” of your life. You chose instead to “compete” with them and chose the greatest moment of your life to post on your profile. You chose a picture of you smiling wide and look happy, maybe edit it a little for more likes. Until at the end, your image that you put on to public is this happy-go-lucky/positive personality. No vulnerability allowed. Even if you want to post about sadness, you have to put some kind of sarcasm, jokes, or funny emojis to go with it.


It’s unfair. 

We are humans, we feel down sometimes.

Sadness and weakness are what make us what we are.

When we force happiness,we hurt ourselves.

When you make people to force happiness,you hurt them.

Again, it’s not your fault. It is a collective thought. And I just wish people can be more comfortable of showing their feelings, their story (good or bad), their opinions, etc. Not only on social media, but also in real life.


Am I wrong?

For many decades a very controlled and corrupt media has been directing the attention of the masses by uniformly reporting on a state of managed chaos, which is scripted and staged to produce mental confusion and fatigue. The relentless reporting and rehashing of catastrophic and traumatic events, with images of despair and destruction repeatedly planted into the minds of the viewers, creates supreme states of anxiety, and are, in reality, a form of psychological warfare. Authorities play with truths, half-truths, deceptions and lies, to render you helpless, feeling it is pointless to do anything - this now passes as ‘the’ news, and it can rule your life.
—  Barbara Marciniak - Path of Empowerment
Critique of a certain Cracked article - the Good

So someone linked a cracked article to me that allegedly is about debunking the media myths about mental illness.

Some of the examples / myths addressed were great, and 100% true!  Way to smash those stereotypes!

Other examples, however… not so much.  As in I actually shrieked like an angry velociraptor when I read them.  And the kill bill siren was playing in my head.

So I’ve decided to do a short series addressing the various things said in this article.  We’ll start off with the ones that Cracked actually got right.

Yep, 100% true.  Eating disorders are vicious things that are incredibly difficult to overcome.  Recovery is possible, but you have to expect relapses and it’s a very long road to travel.  One thing to note - a diagnosis of an eating disorder requires 1 or more months of symptoms.  However, she could have been expressing disordered eating habits.

True.  Culture has an incredible influence in how mental disorders are both expressed and experienced.  

Yep, depression is incredibly difficult to deal with in relationships.  However, it is not impossible to continue to have one - it’s just ‘hard mode’.

Yeah, “Schizoid embolism” doesn’t mean a damn thing.  However, the word “schizoid” actually doesn’t have much to do with schizophrenia at all - it’s the word associated with a personality disorder that is associated with being withdrawn from social relationships.

Yep.

This is one of my least favorite tropes in Hollywood.  Yeah, supportive social relationships help, but they can’t cure your mental illness.

Yeah, “catharsis” is a good thing, but they’ve confused “psychiatry” and “psychology”.  Psychiatry is a medical specialty concerned with drugs that affect your mental health.  Psychology is the stuff with actual therapy.

Yep, schizophrenia is an incredibly difficult mental illness to deal with, and medication and therapy is practically necessary to ensure remission of the disorder.

This one has me going ‘ehhh’, because while it is accurate to say that transgender people are at incredibly high risk of being victimized and the target of hate crimes, I seem to recall the movie specifically calling Buffalo Bill out for not being transgender?  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie though.

Stay tuned for the next part, where I look at the ones that Cracked got partially wrong, and the part following, which makes my brain melt out of my ears because of the intensity of the fury it makes me feel.

Sam Pepper’s latest “prank”

I’m usually not the one to rant on the internet. I tend to keep my thoughts to myself or discuss them with my friends in real life rather than shouting them out through social media. However, I need to get this of my chest. This needs to be said. I’m probably not the first one to discuss this topic. I’ve seen tweets about it, but I didn’t look further into it until now. And for a while, I was at a loss of words.

So, I recently watched Sam Pepper’s new “prank” video, where he’s “pranking” a guy into thinking that his best friend has been killed right in front of him.

I am disturbed.
I am disgusted.
I am horrified.

For those of you who haven’t seen this video yet, I’m sure there are transcripts available of it somewhere on the internet. But to explain it quickly, they simulated a kidnapping simulation on this guy, blindfolding and duct-taping him and putting him in the trunk of a car. Later we see the two guys (the one being pranked and the one ‘in on the prank’” taped to chairs with bags over their heads. The masked man, the kidnapper, proceeds to “shoot” Sam’s best friend in the head. Queue the sad music.

Dear Sam Pepper,
Can you truly not see how wrong this is on so many levels? Did it not cross your mind, that you may cause permanent trauma and psychological damage to the person you did this so called “prank” on? What kind of sick mind would come up with a prank like that?

There are people in the world who suffer those things in real life. We live in desperate times, where there are ongoing wars in several countries. There are terrorist attacks. People are raped, robbed, hurt and yes, killed. It’s not something that should put a smile on your face, and you’re a sick, sick person if you find these things entertaining or funny.

The “prank” you pulled was a realistic simulation of a murder. Yes, a murder. The poor guy is duct-taped to his chair in an absolute state of panic. He’s sobbing, screaming, begging. It was painful to watch even when I knew it wasn’t real. You have to understand, that even if it is a completely fictional, planned and elaborate simulation for you, it was a 100% real situation for him. He was going through real emotions, real thoughts and very real pain.

Imagine being forcefully held while your best friend is being dragged away from you. Imagine being shoved into the trunk of a car and driven off somewhere. Imagine seeing your best friend killed. You can’t, can you? Guess what, HE CAN.

Do you know how much a “prank” like this can scar a person? Do you realise, that he might have lost the ability to sleep at nights - that he might be haunted with nightmares of his friend being killed in front of him? Do you realise, that he’ll be haunted by that “prank” for a very long time after this? You, sir, are disturbed.

There’s a reason why I had to look away from the screen for most parts. There is a reason to why I felt horrible watching it, even though I knew it was fake. There is a reason to why I felt the need to write this opinionated ramble. The reason is, things like these need to STOP! Sam Pepper, your pranks have gone WAY TOO FAR.

DO YOU REALISE, THAT MURDER AND OTHER SERIOUS ISSUES ARE NOT TO BE RIDICULED IN THE FORM OF “PRANKS"?
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S UTTERLY DISGUSTING TO FEED OFF SOMEBODY’S SUFFERING?

Do you realise, that what you did is emotional violence?

This video will make money. Sam Pepper will actually get money from putting someone through major psychological trauma - and that’s wrong. Exploiting despair, panic and fear - putting someone through something like this is WRONG. 100% wrong.

There are a million things wrong with this guy. You’d think the sex scandals were the peak, but I guess not. Sam Pepper disgusts me.

To finish this off, I want to make it clear that I’m not a therapist nor a psychologist. I know Sam Pepper probably has an army of loyal fangirls who will come after me, telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, I feel like this was too important to be left unsaid. One should never, ever exploit situations of utter despair.

The Reasons Why Your Cell Phone Is Slowly Killing You

For those of you who watch my show, you may have seen the episode from last season when I threw Kidd Cole’s cell phone into the river. What you don’t know is that I would have been just as satisfied, if not more so, throwing my own phone in the river.

Read on: http://bit.ly/1DS2If2

Fanfic tackles things commercial fiction won’t. And the more people write it, the more it can.

Trying to make a genre explicitly “all survivors, only survivors” makes it really unsafe, and (ironically) ideal for serial abusers.

I don’t care what the people debating whether noncon and dubcon mean to accomplish with their patronizing, dehumanizing, and intrusive opinions about how survivors should heal, what we should be allowed to have, and what everyone else should virtuously refrain from having. The effect they’re having on our communities is noxious. They’re endangering survivors by attempting to gaslight and isolate us from the rest of fandom.

Describing what’s wrong with what they’re doing won’t get rid of the people who just like encouraging writers’ self-doubt and self-loathing, but those trolls need to be stripped of their pretensions of nobility and recognized for what they are. And, hopefully, making it clear that this crusade is irresponsible, cowardly, and harmful will convince the people eager for a respectable, “see what a good person I am?” cause to rethink their attachment.

Blaming rape and CSA on problematic sex in fiction is as backwards as blaming kidnappings on Stockholm Syndrome: we’re having feelings about and writing this stuff because it exists and it’s affecting real people. NOT the other way around.

The existence of a world where abuse is ubiquitious and most abusers get away with it is offensive to survivors. The existence of commercial fiction where everything turns out beautifully in the end and healing is a straight and inspiring trajectory is offensive to survivors.

Fanfiction that doesn’t follow the approved finger-wagging scripts or make non-survivors happy and complacent in their preexisting beliefs (that the world is just, that people can feel what they’re supposed to feel, that abusers have “monster” stamped on their foreheads and survivors are 100% pure and innocent) … has given me and a lot of other survivors the means to transform our stories and empower ourselves.

That apparently makes some people so uncomfortable that they’re trying to control 1. our thoughts, 2. our writings, 3. our sexuality, and 4. our privacy. That whole dynamic is as creepy as it is abusive.

Survivors can call bullshit when people who don’t like what we write assert that our creativity has been warped by our damage, and the results of it are sick, disturbing, and ugly, and it should all be kept away from the world, because there are also people who aren’t considered survivors in our corner. Reading things we write and benefiting from it. Writing things we read and inspiring us. Just existing, and not meeting society’s criteria for what someone broken looks like, and valuing the genres we’re drawn to despite their own fears and doubts about whether they have a right to be here. Those people are provding a tangible benefit to survivors. They’re making us harder to single out and hurt.

What are you doing?

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Day 16 [03.05.16]
51 days until my last A Level.
- Today completed additional notes on Media Studies minds maps then revised another Psychology topic.
- Now I’m planning on doing a final Media Studies Theory mind map before called it a night.🌷

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Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self

We’ve created a culture that fetishizes the new(s), and we forget the wealth of human knowledge, wisdom, and transcendence that lives in the annals of what we call “history” – art, literature, philosophy, and so many things that are both timeless and incredibly timely. Our presentism bias – anchored in the belief that if it isn’t at the top of Google, it doesn’t matter, and if it isn’t Googleable at all, it doesn’t exist – perpetuates our arrogance that no one has ever grappled with the issues we’re grappling with. Which of course is tragically untrue.
—  Maria Popova