Slouch, Yawn

Whenever I sit upright, say, when reading, I can usually stay alert.  But when I slouch on a bed or couch, I start yawning when I read or do something similar.

Of course, it makes sense, but is there something scientific behind it, at least in general?

In fact, there is.  I learned it in Psychology last fall.  In the 1890s, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, discovered the concept of classical conditioning.  He used a dog as his subject.  Dog naturally salivate at food, for it is internally wired into their brain.  They don’t need extrinsic commands. Then, Pavlov rang a bell to draw the dog to the food.  After then, the food was no longer necessary.

So, how do we explain this?  The bell, when combined with the food, takes precedence.  Thus, what was once irrelevant to the dog (the bell) has been incorporated into the dog’s repertoire of behavioral stimuli.  This incorporation is known as classical conditioning.

Now for my situation.  Keep in mind I’m no doctor or psychologist (and probably not planning to be either one), so I’m not trying to develop a direct theory of why slouching on a couch causes yawning or drowsiness when reading.  Just the correlations are enough.  Yet again, correlation does not mean causality.  But hey, at least it’s something quite practical from the course, that can be easily applied to us humans.  I guess I could do without the causality.  At least for now.

Source:  McLeod, S. A. (2013). Pavlov’s Dogs. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html

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Dr. Phil, 14 Years Is Enough

Since 2002, Dr. Phil McGraw has made unnecessary stardom out of psychology.  A specialist in forensic psychology, Oprah Winfrey chose him for advice on some case years ago, and he got his own show.  The rest, as they say, is history.  And that history spanning 14 years has just never makes any progress.

In today’s episode, first to be profiled was a 12-year-old girl who was extremely homicidally violent and it got so medically based he had to surrender this case to the realm of psychiatry.  With the help of an MRI radiologist, a prescription was dropped from her profile, a diagnosis was proposed, and she was behaving herself better.

But did they really need Dr. Phil?  They could have gone to a local psychologist and/or psychiatrist, and settle the matter there.

The other story covered was a grown man addicted to video games, perhaps as an excuse for a blood disorder.  Now Dr. Phil has nothing to do with blood, so he shouldn’t even go there.  Leave that to cardiologists and hematologists.  As for the relationship with his wife and child, psychology or even plain marital/family counseling could fit the bill.

See?  The white flag was flown twice.  Also, a few years ago, via Internet, he was equating a suicidal nature to not fearing death.  In reality, though, suicidal thoughts mean wanting to die, a completely different thing.  Could this be his misapplied forensic training haunting him?

In the ending credits, as usual, despite being an “advice” show, you’ll still need a professional for genuine advice.  (Just like the medical shows “The Doctors” and “Dr. Oz.”)  But I personally wouldn’t (pardon the pun) recommend any one with an social or emotional problem to Dr. Phil.

After all, are these matters really our business?