Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Dole Changes People

New research suggests long stints of unemployment can have long-term effects on personality traits, changes that may become near-permanent.

It's accepted knowledge that unemployment can have negative psychological consequences. Not only is a person's job status is not only often tied inextricably to a person's self-worth, but it's the life jacket that keeps the rising tides of poverty at bay. But how does unemployment affect the psyche long-term?

researchers found that men who spent several years looking unsuccessfully for work tended to demonstrate higher levels of "agreeableness" during their first two years of unemployment. Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits identified by psychology's five-factor model (FFM) -- along with openness, conscientiousness, extroversion and neuroticism. The testing showed after an uptick in agreeableness during the first two years, men's agreeableness levels began to quickly slump, with long-term agreeableness levels consistently lower for unemployed men than for those with jobs.

"In early unemployment stages, there may be incentives for individuals to behave agreeably in an effort to secure another job or placate those around them," the researchers wrote in the new study, published last week in the Journal of Applied Psychology. "But in later years when the situation becomes endemic, such incentives may weaken."

Men who spent longer amounts of time without a job also demonstrated ebbing levels of conscientiousness and openness.

"The results challenge the idea that our personalities are 'fixed' and show that the effects of external factors such as unemployment can have large impacts on our basic personality," Christopher J. Boyce, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, explained. "This indicates that unemployment has wider psychological implications than previously thought."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the true xmas spirit

From the BBC
Excessive spending at Christmas can result in people experiencing a miserable time afterwards when debts have to be repaid .There is a feeling of uncomfortable tension derived from experiencing conflicting thoughts - "Can I really afford this?" - and the need to satisfy one's generosity - "It will really make someone happier at Christmas if I buy it".

This feeling of uncomfortable tension as a result of conflicting thoughts and actions has been explained as "cognitive dissonance" by psychologists.
This is particularly relevant in festive shopping when personal finances are being stretched.
At Christmas, people are challenged with what can be considered to be a moral form of cognitive dissonance, when people are torn between balancing their finances and the wish to make others and themselves happier - which is the societal expectation of what Christmas is really all about.
Knowing they may well not be able to afford what they are buying, people enter into transactions encouraged by heavy marketing influences. And they will try to reduce their internal psychological conflict in order to justify their actions.
They will explain that their happiness and that of others is more important than their debt, that others cannot do without when people around them are receiving and being happy and that, above all, Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and the spirit of Christmas should be encouraged in a time of nationwide gloom. Such actions are typical responses when people are experiencing dissonance. Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good - managing my finances to reduce debt - but do something bad - spend freely at Christmas - then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance. The resultant effect can be extremely negative in the long term when the reality of the dissonance is exposed.

Those people who enter into a festive spending spree knowing they really are stretched financially display an inability to rationalise and explain away the conflict. In some ways they go into denial and may wish to ignore the issue until a later date, but pay heavy personal consequences.
It's a Christmas bubble - and bubbles burst.
If people do lose control of their spending and shop in denial there can be a massive loss of confidence and self-esteem. People can even slip into a mild or chronic depression due to the negative financial consequences and loss of self respect. Once people wake up from their denial, especially if they don't have a support network and feel isolated, they can become very low psychologically and emotionally. People can end up with problems in other areas of their lives, like relationships and work. And in January or February when the bills come in, those people who wanted to know them when they were being generous at Christmas won't be around any more, and they will be left to sort things out on their own