What is Fish Behavior? Understand Their Psychology

Haven’t you ever gone scuba diving and marveled at the jewels of the sea? Scuba diving is the glamourous and more accessible way of looking at marine life and attempting to understand their existence. Marine biology, a branch of ecology has been the study of life under the seas and oceans that occupy almost 75 percent of our planet.

Since time immemorial, the vast oceans have not only provided as passages to new lands and fortunes, but they have also yielded food, medicine and sometimes even a better understanding of our own world and how the earth came to be so diverse.

It would surprise you to know that a substantial portion of life on earth exists underwater! Marine life has been instrumental in keeping the correct balance in our ecology and eco systems. Without understanding what makes marine life function, without comprehending the far-reaching consequences of the impact of marine life, it would have been impossible to make the advances mankind has made today.

But marine biology has not only contributed to scientific advancements – it has also opened the doors for tourism and adventure and for us to have a better understanding of ourselves.

For example, we now know that dolphins are almost human like in their nature and behaviour. Over the years as humans have interacted with such fish, they have actually been able to train them and use their services in the numerous marine aquariums across the world. We have shared and participated in the affection that such fish share with us. It is indeed a fascinating experience.

Conflicting Theories – Psychology of Learning

The psychology of learning is perhaps one of the most heated topics in modern psychology, and there are many conflicting theories and points of view in this arena. The largest area of disagreement is the infant phase, which runs from childbirth to when the child first begins to speak. During all phases of the child’s life, play and learning are of paramount importance.

During the first educational phase described my most theorists of the psychology of learning (0-2 years) children learn by imitating other people (especially the mother), testing out their environment, ritualizing play and eventually simple make-believe. In the psychology of learning, each of these comes at various stages, and all must be learnt in order for a child to be able to interact with their environment productively.

The next phase described by the psychology of learning is the toddler and early childhood phases (2-5 years) in which the primary means of learning is through the use of symbols. It is in this phase that a child begins to learn the arbitrary connections between word-sounds, pictures and concepts.

Since these connections cannot be learnt through trial and error, it is important that the child have as much support as possible during this period.

The psychology of learning and the philosophy of language both place enormous importance on this part of a child’s development. Another important discovery in the psychology of learning is that children in this phase use ‘compensatory play’, which is the first evidence of children trying to come to terms with their emotions.

According the psychology of learning, children transfer their emotions or an event that happened onto another object. For example, a child that has recently been scolded might be seen scolding her doll as a way of understanding how the scolding made her feel. When the child reaches ‘childhood’ status (7 years and up) their learning capacity is greatly increased.

The psychology of learning dictates that children should be given as much structure during this period as possible, to teach the child how to interact socially. Games like hide-and-seek and board games are heavily endorsed by those who practice psychology of learning. Institutionalized games, and organized sports play an important role in this stage of a child’s development.

Studies in the psychology of learning show that children at this age who participate in sports are more likely to have better grades and more energy, and are more likely to get along well with their classmates and friends.

Psychology of Daily Living: Five Essential "Street Smart" Tips for Success in Life

Five Street Smart Tips for Success in Life…

Did you ever notice that some people with absolutely no education wind up in the same profession as those who had engaged in extensive training? And… get this… some of those “college dropouts” went on to become millionaires, extending light-years beyond their educated colleagues!

You might think it’s some sort of accident… you might think it’s because, well just maybe, they’re way smarter than their colleagues.

But the truth may surprise you…

Actually, those successful people you’ve heard of – Steve Jobs, Bill Yates, Bob Proctor, Oprah Winfrey – they all dropped out of college; and, they all had one thing in common, knowledge of the “street smarts” of becoming successful in everyday life.

You might think that success people had the advantage of a proper family life, surrounded by love, acceptance and encouragement.

However, in many cases, the opposite is actually true.

For example, what would you think the chances of success are for a 10-year old black girl growing up in the slums? Living in a single parent home, this child was abused both physically and sexually until the age of 13, where she found herself pregnant by one of the men who raped her.

And, after losing the baby, she found herself in a correction facility for misconduct, where she had to spend many of her teenage years.

Would it surprise you that I’m talking about Oprah Winfrey? Yep, that’s right… Oprah didn’t have an easy beginning…

… And neither did Wayne Dyer, today’s “Father” of personal development psychology. Having been brought up in a home during the depression with a father who ran out on the family, Wayne was given up for adoption by his mother. She loved him, but just couldn’t afford to support a family during the depression.

But, like Oprah, Wayne had something that many of us strive to have – those ‘street smart’ tips of the psychology of daily living.

So by now you’re asking, “So tell me already! What are these ‘street smart’ tips for success in life?”

Well for starters, you need to know what you want. And, I don’t mean just having something in mind… I mean know like it’s part of your identity – something that you just can’t stop thinking about… something that’s FUN for you to do!

Let’s say, for example, you HATE your job. So how many hours a week to you REALLY WANT to work? As few as possible, right?

But, let’s flip the coin for a second… let’s say you’re doing something that you REALLY LOVE to do. How many hours a week would you be working then? For many, time seems to stop as they continually work for hours… or as the successful person thinks of it, “playing” for several hours past that 40 hour a week mark.

“Doing what your love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life”… Wayne Dyer

So that’s number 1 for successful life tips: Know what you want, and go after it.

And the number 2 “Street Smart” Tip: Practice the “7 Day Mental Diet”…

The idea here is to practice the next seven days to not thinking a single negative thought. Don’t worry, that’s actually impossible! But what you CAN do is this: try to catch yourself whenever you’re thinking something negative… when someone cuts you off in traffic, or the boss is sarcastic with you. Make yourself think (or even say out loud) “Stop” or “Cancel”. Tell yourself you didn’t really mean it and try to think something positive instead.

Why would this make a difference? Negative thoughts breed worry, and worry, believe it or not, is even below hate on the emotional scale of vibrations! By law of attraction, worrying about anything (or thinking negative thoughts about something) breeds more bad stuff!

So if you know of someone who continually complains about their life, be aware that it’s the complaining that brings on the bad life, and try to bring that conversation around to a positive bend as best you can.

“Tips for Success in Life” Number 3: Find something to appreciate in someone else…

Every day, and make it a habit to give compliments to strangers whenever you can.

This is more than just a nice thing to do. Did you ever notice how good YOU feel when you compliment someone and you see their face light up? By law of attraction, those GOOD feelings you have will summon good stuff your way!

And, furthermore, when you practice thinking good thoughts and having faith in others, they tend to subconsciously have faith in you – and this gives you more self-confidence and energy towards your true life goal. It gives you “inspired action”… which is the real secret to knowing what you want and going for it.

Number 4: Ask yourself a quality question.

This is what Tony Robbins preaches, and I’ve found it to be SO TRUE. We actually are all continually “talking” to ourselves in our minds… asking questions.

“Why does his always happen to me?” – That question, for example, is a recipe for disaster! Because the Universe will answer – “Because you’re a SCHMUCK!” You subconsciously will find the answer to questions you’re asking yourself.

So the answer to this is easy; just ask yourself a better question; i.e., “How can I use this situation to learn from and become better at what I do?”

“Quality questions create quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers”… Tony Robbins

And last but not least for your “street smart” tips for success in life, number 5: Use the ‘F’ Word (Faith)…

Faith in that what we’re doing is supporting a higher purpose, a purchase greater than us… that’s the common denominator for success.

Wayne Dyer believed in himself so vehemently that he actually purchased thousands of his books himself and stored them in his garage – all to make it look like he was popular! And where is he now? A millionaire, of course, recognized worldwide as the Father of Psychology!

But what Wayne and many other people do is always strive to do and be better. Commit to yourself that you will learn something today to make you a better person than you were yesterday. When you believe in yourself, others will also believe in you. And it all begins with faith.

Once you combine the power of belief with the first 4 essential street smart tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and meaningful way of life.

The Psychology of Consumerism

On the marketing and behavioral aspects of consumerism and the advantages and disadvantages of consumerism

Consumerism is in a way the more human aspect of business and companies and businesses consider consumers along with their employees as the essential ‘people elements’ of their endeavor. Yet consumerism can have its other meanings and represent a culture of buying, highlight the virtues and vices of a materialistic society and emphasize on the importance of globalized business environment. Companies have to keep their consumers happy and develop and sell new products based on consumer needs. The needs of the consumers and the needs of businesses however seem to be circular as companies create needs of consumers and consumers also project their needs to businesses suggesting an interdependent relationship. When I say, companies create consumer needs, we can consider the example of Apple iPhone. Apple successfully created a need in consumers to possess a product that would successfully integrate the phone and the iPod. Of course Apple must have also done the initial survey to find out what consumer needs or demands are and then finally expanded and focused on these consumer needs to come up with the new products, including the iPhone. A good company is the one that can provide realistic and well defined frameworks for initial vague consumer needs. The needs of the consumers are initially not well defined or clear as consumers tend to have some idea about what they want but are not too sure about what they actually want. So through surveys and discussions with consumers and in house technical or product development advisers, companies are able to develop on these initial consumer ideas and vague consumer needs and provide shape to their future product plans.

Yet we could first try to define consumerism and understand why consumerism is such an important aspect of business and marketing. The term consumerism seems to have both positive and negative connotations as consumerism could mean a culture of possessions and glorification of materialism. Consumerism could however also mean progressively more consumption of goods and products that could benefit the economy and the markets with a heightened buying culture among people although consumerism could also mean the entire gamut of marketing and business activities that finally lead to the buying of products by consumers.

Consumerism thus has a broad definition and can include a range of buying and business behaviors, so finally consumerism is a ‘kind of behavior’ and that is how it is important to psychology and psychologists. Consumerism is about individuals or groups and how they select or buy secure and use or dispose products and services so that they can satisfy their needs of consumption and the practice of consumerism would also have a significant effect on society. The study of consumer behavior in a systematic and even a scientific manner would be the basis of the psychology of consumers and consumerism. The psychology of consumerism could be considered from two different aspects – one from a marketing or the business viewpoint in which consumerism is seen as essential since it helps maintain companies and businesses so the psychology would be based on how to attract consumers whereas the other viewpoint is the behavioral aspect of consumerism or why consumers buy or consume products and services, and what are the reasons of a buying culture and how this could be justified with normal or abnormal behavioral analysis.

The latter part of this discussion can help us answer several issues about consumerism.

Consumer Psychology from a Marketing Aspect –

Consumers buy according to their personal needs and what they feel is necessary and also according to social needs as they follow trends and thus become interested in certain products and services. Certain products appear more important, essential or attractive to consumers and these products tend to have certain value which makes it easier for companies to sell these products. Businesses and companies are capable of attracting more consumers by using the psychological principles of marketing and consumer behaviour and the key is to create want or the requirement for a product. Businesses and companies understand initial consumer needs through surveys and then they develop new products to attract consumers. Once products are developed, brand image and advertisements help in providing an association between products and companies and when consumers develop an element of familiarity with this association between brand name and product features, they tend to even want the product. In keeping with the demands of competition and consumerism, companies tend to give promotional offers, discounts, sales and low priced products with the aim of attracting more consumers. Considering the marketing perspective, consumerism is advantageous as more consumers and increased buying behavior would mean more sales of products although the disadvantages of increased consumer spending would be minimal except that increased consumerism would also signal increased competition from other manufacturers.

Thus the most essential features of consumer psychology from a marketing point of view are – creating the need for consumerism or for a specific product by advertising specific and unusual features of the product, developing the association between brands and products and offering attractive options such as discounts and sales to attract not just more consumers but also more sales.

Consumer Psychology from a Behavioral Aspect –

From a behavioral perspective, it would be interesting to engage in an analysis of buying behavior and we can try to understand why consumers buy in the first place. There could be several reasons for buying that arise from social and personal needs, from emotional and financial needs and some of these needs are healthy and positive and in fact essential in our daily life. However, buying behavior as in ‘shopaholics’ would be unpredictable, random, and even unhealthy, from a psychological point of view as excessive buying or consumerism cold indicate bipolar illness or a kind of addiction. However consumerism and specific focus on luxury brands could highlight the almost unhealthy addiction to fashion trends and status symbols in modern times and globalization seems to be encouraging this. Companies and businesses create choices in consumers so consumers already have a ‘need’ when they engage in buying behavior. Although this need could be personal and social, the need could also perfectly an emotional need to possess.

From a psychological viewpoint consumerism is about fulfilling our inherent need to control and possess certain objects which could well replace or substitute other possessions. For example, a woman undergoing divorce proceedings may suddenly develop the irresistible need to buy things continually because the need for possessiveness towards a partner has been diverted to other directions.

From a more clinical point of view consumerism could be explained with abnormal psychology and the role of depression, the need to satisfy excessive possessiveness and also the blind faith or dependence on fashion trends and all these are seen as negative aspects of consumer psychology. If consumerism is considered as a positive phenomenon, the advantages of consumerism would be the application of psychological principles in understanding buying behavior.

Consumerism and the study of consumerism helps us to understand and recognize not just consumer needs and how these needs are created or fulfilled but also the behavior and attitudes of consumers towards products and the business directions or endeavors to understand marketing from a behavioral perspective. The psychology of consumerism is thus about creating needs and associations so consumers develop certain familiarity with the product ideas even before buying them.

Consumerism could be both positive and negative and represent not just a global and globalized culture but also highlight the superficial trends and deeper necessities of individuals across societies and communities.

The Psychology of Kindness

On the human need for personal kindness and kindness of others, and what it means for the future of humanity

Kindness or benevolence is a very important psychological attribute. We are kind to others for various altruistic and sometimes selfish reasons. An individual may be kind to a homeless man and give him a blanket because of sympathetic and empathetic reasons or a man may be kind to a woman due to ulterior motives. Kindness is thus triggered from personal motivations including need for fame or reputation, need for love or companionship or from genuine empathetic and sympathetic considerations.

Kindness towards a homeless man is a sympathetic type. whereas kindness kindness towards a friend is an empathetic type.

Kindness towards someone in need may come from altruism or need for personal reputation. For example, your act of kindness may arise from your need to be seen as a good Samaritan or a benevolent member of society. Or a man may be kind towards others because he needs fame for his donations and gifts to society. A man may be kind to men or women as there may be a need to gain other people’s affections, love, sexual favors, respect or companionship. So kindness may be motivated by empathy, sympathy, need for reputation, respect or other ulterior motives.

Some people are naturally kind and cannot refuse if someone asks them for a favor. Kindness is related more to mental strength than weakness. Developing a theory of kindness in psychology could involve studying the activity of the brain and neural circuits when people suddenly feel this emotion of overwhelming kindness. Thus a physiological basis is important in a psychological theory of kindness. There may also be “kindness gene” and some people may be kinder than others due to hereditary reasons, they may have had a kind parent and thus inherited the trait. Kindness can be learnt through social conditioning and some people are kind because they watched and learnt from their parents or teachers.

I personally believe that kindness is an innate psychological trait and some people are more kind because they are born that way. I will not go back to the nature versus nurture debates but learning kindness from others may finally become too superficial if there is no innate natural kindness. So, I would suggest that kindness is innate and kind people are born that way.

Psychologists must definitely study the kindness gene and if there is any, what triggers kindness, what kind of emotion or neural activity is related to kindness and how it can be defined in psychological terms. The social conditioning of kindness is a possible theory and as I said, social conditioning may not finally lead to genuine kindness in individuals, as kindness I believe is inherent or innate and not taught or learned.

I wrote in my other essay on Altruism that altruism, which is a more purposeful or social kindness could be due to ulterior or unconscious motives of recognition. Do philanthropists always give away wealth because they are genuinely kind or are they looking for fame, reputation, respect and recognition for their philanthropic services?

Kindness could be based on sympathy, empathy, need for fame or personal recognition or a sense of duty or responsibility towards society or fellow citizens. So, some kids are kind, give away their clothes to homeless people, because they are naturally kind and sympathetic. Some may see a homeless person and feel empathy as they too may have been homeless at some point. Some men may intentionally develop personal kindness because they need fame and recognition and others feel a sense of strong responsibility towards society and perform kind acts. So there are specifically six reasons suggesting six types of kindness according to the underlying reason or cause.

1. Empathetic

2. Sympathetic

3. Altruistic or social

4. Motive oriented

5. Responsible

6. Superstition-based

These six different types can be elaborated with more examples. You feel sympathetic towards your dog and loosen his chain and you feel empathetic towards your friend and help them with advice or resources. People may feel a genuine altruistic need to give or they may have ulterior motives such as fame, recognition or even money and success. The kindness related to social responsibility comes from a genuine need to influence society, and kindness in older people is often accompanied by this overwhelming sense of responsibility towards other human beings so this is a type of social kindness.

I would suggest that children are more triggered by genuine sympathy and the adults are motivated by need for recognition or social responsibility when they engage in acts of kindness.

Sometimes you will see people leaving large amounts of cash in the Church or donating large amounts of money to others because they feel it will bring them good luck. This is superstition-based or can be termed as “superstitional” kindness. Let us turn to responsibility. Some individuals are “kind” towards a cause because they may feel responsible towards society and may want to do something about the cause. You see an ad to donate clothes and money to refugees in a foreign country. You immediately decide to give a large sum quite impulsively. Is this impulse due to genuine sympathy, empathy, responsibility, altruism, superstition or recognition need? As I wrote in the essay on the Psychology of Altruism, there may be ulterior motives for being altruistic and genuine selfless altruism is rare or non-existent. However, kindness or generosity as a result of social responsibility or responsibility towards other less privileged individuals may be considered as an altruistic type of kindness. So, altruism and social responsibility are associated in fundamental ways.

Now let me talk about the human need for kindness and this means both giving kindness and receiving kindness. Humans do have a genuine need for love, affection, happiness and also kindness. Kindness comes from love, affection, sympathy, empathy so may be considered a type of secondary or derived emotion rather than primary emotion such as love or anger. Let us say, sympathy creates kindness but it is necessary to give and receive kindness because human beings are social beings. Kindness creates a bond between the giver and the receiver and in cases when you are showing kindness to a cause, it is a generic social or altruistic kindness. It also creates your emotional bond with society and your cause. So, giving creates social bonds and that is why it exists in the first place. Kindness created social bonds and helped build families and societies. On the other hand, receiving also evokes a sense of gratitude among the receivers of kind acts and helps to create attachments and generosity. If you are generous towards a homeless man, he may learn from you and become generous towards others when he is no longer homeless. So, kindness develops or creates a cycle of positive interaction in society. Such positive interactions are at the core of social change, transformations and a spirit of genuine concern for each other. This is ultimately the goal of humanity.