FACTS AND FICTION IN PSYCHOLOGY

Dr.Krishna Prasad Sreedhar

  • Psychologists can read the minds of others.

This is a popular myth that prevailed from the beginning. No honest Psychologist would claim so. However, as Psychologists are trained in observing the verbal and non verbal behavior of people, they may be able to guess the intentions of others more accurately than lay people.

  • Psychology is an occult science.

This is absolutely untrue. On the other hand know that Psychology is the scientific study of the experience and behavior of living beings with a view to understand the principles that govern these phenomenon. As in other sciences Psychology aims at 'Prediction' and 'Control' of behavior.

  • To study Psychology, one should have extra ordinary capabilities.

Totally untrue. Any body who is interested in this subject can study it.

  • A Psychologist can hypnotize any body with a piercing look.

No. Never! Psychologists who are trained in hypnosis or hypnotherapy can hypnotize others if the patient/client is totally willing and cooperative. A mere study of Psychology will not equip a person to hypnotize any body.

  • If one can hypnotize a person you can make him do any thing.

Sorry, never. Even under deep hypnosis a hypnotized person will not obey if he is asked to perform unethical actions.

  • Mental illness is incurable.

Times have changed. Presently mental illness can be treated effectively with drugs and psychotherapy by competent Psychiatrists and Clinical psychologists.

  • Mentally ill people are dangerous.

Surprisingly it has been found that mentally ill people have lower rate of violent behaviors, such as assault, rape and homicide than those in the general population. Nevertheless, people with Paranoid disorder (suspicion that others are plotting against them) may assault others to protect themselves.

  • Genius is 'akin to insanity'.

No such relationship has been found in experimental studies. On the other hand some major studies have shown that people who had IQs 140 or above (bordering on genius) when reassessed in their mid-forties showed that their death rate, divorce rate, and mental illness rate were all lower than those for the general population. It is concluded that it is a myth to believe that creativity and genius are 'akin to insanity'.

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