Similar to all of the changes that the Industrial Revolution has brought about in the previous centuries in the world of work, the field of psychology has also had its share of advances that has transformed the way we live and think in the world today when compared to life a couple hundred years ago. Modern psychology has shown us that we have the power to remedy our own problems in life simply by learning how to influence our thoughts and behaviors. This is known as empowerment, or the general ability to raise our own level of consciousness so as to take charge of our lives without having to be dependent on others to do this for us.
Let’s take a closer look at three main advancements within the field of Psychology that took place during the 20th century.
1. Carl Jung’s Extraversion-Introversion paradigm
In the early part of the 1900’s, around 1920, famed Psychologist Carl Jung came up with the Extraversion-Introversion paradigm. While the mainstream media took Jung’s paradigm out of context and mistakenly classified introverts as shy while extraverts were more outgoing and loud, this was not Dr. Jung’s intended purpose. The main purpose of the extraversion-introversion paradigm was to examine how people processed information. Introverts processed more internally while extraverts preferred more external pleasures. Carl Jung did not believe that anyone was solely in one category or the other. In fact, it was known that he felt that if someone did fall into one category exclusively, then they would need to be locked up in a mental institution. Hence, our lives would be out of balance since we are social creatures so lack of socialization would drive us crazy; likewise so would too much socialization without our designated “me” time.
The art of multi-tasking that many individuals pride themselves on being so good at may not be the gift that they think it is. In recent years, French neuroscientists did a research project that involved 16 men and 16 women involved in a rousing game of letter-matching. It was observed that when both groups were engaged in the single-matching portion of the game, they were using both sides of their brain. Later on when they begin to play the double-matching portion of the game, where they had to “multi-task”, the study showed that both sides of their brain lit up instantly. To sum this study up, conventional wisdom has always taught us that we actually double our brain power (making us feel smarter) by engaging in activities or projects that give us the illusion where we have to multi-task. In reality, we are merely dividing up the work with each side of our brain performing a different task. Some scientists refer to this as our brain’s “computing power”. So what if we are doing three or more jobs at once? Well, that is probably an illusion in and of itself solely designed to make itself feel good about ourselves.
3. Random acts of kindness
Finally, have you ever noticed that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you perform an unselfish act of altruism toward your fellow person? This is because random acts of kindness have been observed in MRI studies within recent years to show that the part of our brain that empathizes with others emotions and views is activated when we do something nice and kind for another person. Also, positive neurons are released in our brain which raise our consciousness and enable us to feel more energetic and alive; kind of like exercise releases endorphins.
That is just three of the biggest advancements that have taken place in the field of Psychology over the last century. The main thing to take away from all of this is just how powerful our mind really is and how much it influences everything we do. As we conclude this article, we will leave you loyal readers with a quote from Chinese poet and philosopher Lao Tzu.
There are so many more that it would fill a whole library of books just trying to explain them. And that is just the last century or so that technology and the internet, aka the “information age”, has opened our eyes to learning so much about ourselves. Just think of the breakthroughs in modern psychology that we can expect over the next few decades as we move toward the 22nd century.
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” – Lao Tzu