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Why do our identities sometimes become salient?

In class we have been discussing social identity theory, which explores the idea that everybody has many social identities that relate to our personal identity.  I believe  that certain social identities become more salient depending on the situation we are in , for example; last week during an IFP conference we were discussing women’s rights and the fact that we are still not completely treated as equals. I started to realise that when somebody said something against woman and about how maybe there is only so much we can do to treat them as equals I started to get offended. I believe this happens because when someone says something against the group we identify with (our in-groups) we start to feel like what they are saying is against us so we step up defend ourselves.

Another similar but, less serious example would be if someone said something against a tv franchise I like, such as FRIENDS , I feel personally criticised by them even though they are not actually criticising me. This often happens because we believe that our social groups are part of who we are so when somebody says anything against any of our social groups we feel that they are saying something about who we are which for no fault of ours offends us. I completely understand when somebody gets offended if another says something criticising their “in-groups”, it is part of our identity and when we have pride to be apart of that group and someone says something against it we feel as though a bit of our pride is diminished.


If we cannot conceive of a concept or thing, then do we need a word for it?

I believe that a concept or thing that is not tangible is hard to describe through words. For example: Love, love is intangible therefore to describe love there is nothing to look at, there is nothing to compare it to. Many feelings are good examples of concepts or things that really have to correct description for their given word. Feelings are very subjective therefore not allowing for a correct description.

The other side of this is that if you are unable to conceive of a concept or thing why should there be a word for it? For example if somebody isn’t able to conceive the idea of separation, they may not feel it is necessary for there to be a word for it.  However, to explain a concept or thing that is unconceivable for some but, conceivable for others there should be a word for it, this is because if the actual concept is one that is growing to not have a word for it would confuse people more.

I believe that many people choose to neglect the concepts they don’t understand because they don’t believe they should give importance to the things they don’t understand but, if there was a word for it and people started using it, it would perhaps encourage others to figure out what it means. This making the concept that was previously unconceivable by some,  develop into something everyone understands or has an idea of what it is.

In the earlier days if people didn’t make a word for concepts they didn’t believe or didn’t understand there wouldn’t be any languages or complex conversation between humans because we wouldn’t have almost all of the words in the dictionary. Every language has ideas and concepts that many previously weren’t able to conceive but through complex thinking and learning (something humans are very good at), the languages were further  developed and widened. Therefore, I believe that even if you don’t understand a concept you should still start developing words for it to better explain the concept.

Discoveries In The Field Of Psychology

  Psychology is a very new field in comparison to fields such as Mathematics and Chemistry, therefore, the timeline of discoveries is quite small and has a very long way to go. The 2 discoveries that interested me the most are “Behaviourism” and “Sociocultural” both of which consisted of very brutal yet, very revolutionary experiments and findings. Two of the most famous names related to both these psychological findings are Pavlov (who specialised in behaviourism)  Zimbardo ( specialised in Sociocultural). Behaviourism, as defined by Watson is “how behaviour is acquired and modified in response to environmental influences”. On the other hand Sociocultural looks more at the how behaviour changes by the people you are surrounded by and the culture they have.

Pavlov: A famous psychologist remembered by most as the experimentalist who proved conditioned responses. Derived from the theories of Watson, Pavlov conducted experiments on dogs, one such that became very popular some dog owners derive training skills from that very experiment. Pavlov would ring a bell every time it was time for the dog to have a meal, the dog got conditioned to the fact that every time a bell rings they will receive food. Therefore by the end of the experiment the “Pavlovian dogs” started salivating upon hearing the ring of the bell without actually physically seeing the food.

Image result for pavlovian dogs

Zimbardo: The famous psychologist who conducted the “Stanford Prison Study”. This experiment was conducted to identify whether normal people change themselves if they are put in different circumstances. A group of participants were split up, a few became guards and a few became prisoners in this experimental simulation. In very little time those who became guards started realising the power they had over the so called prisoners, this resulted in very brutal actions that emotionally harmed the prisoners as they felt inferior to the guards. This resulting in depression and suicidal thoughts and more extreme results than the experimentalists expected.

Image result for zimbardo prison experiment

Pavlov, I.P. 1928. Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes: Twenty-five Years of Objective Study of the High Nervous Activity (Behavior) of Animals. Translated by W. Horsley Gantt. New York: International.

  • This publication is mainly about his experiment on conditioning responses, it was incredibly revolutionary as it was one of the first experiments to prove how to condition responses, that triggered unconditioned responses (i.e. a stimulus-response connection that required no learning). Conditioned responses were defined conditioning as an automatic form of learning .

Zimbardo : A study of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison 

  • Zimbardo’s study focuses on the experiment and simulation that happened in Stanford, it explored the human behavioural changes when put in positions of authority or places in positions with no power.

What are some of the significant changes in Psychology’s timeline?

The psychology’s timeline shows a change in the way that psychologists are going into more detailed areas a fields instead of broader fields as the bigger ideas have already been discovered and researched but there are many things about the brain and humans that psychologists are yet to figure out.


Is there anything missing that you would like to see added to the timeline?

More research into the scientific side of depression and different mental illnesses, as I see that there is not much scientific research in the psychological side of why only certain people get these mental illnesses.

What area are you most interested in and why?

I am interested in the curing and the research behind mental illnesses and why certain people get certain mental illnesses. I am also very interested in why certain people do certain things, such as serial killers, what is different about them that they don’t feel remorse.

Dear Future Me

Dear Priya,

You have successfully completed IB. Today is my first official day of being an “IB student”. As scary as it is I am quite excited for what the next two years holds for me. I hope that IB hasn’t been too rough on you as everyone says it is going to be. However, I do hope that even the challenges we did face, we made it through with a smile on our face at the end . What usually happens when you enter IB is you are overloaded by the amount of work and effort you have to put in to be at the top. Knowing me, I won’t be completely satisfied unless I know the results I am getting are reflective of the work I think I put in.

During these two years, the last two years of high school and general school, I want to be sure that I make full use of the opportunities and resources available at this school. UWC is known for the unlimited directions that we have the opportunity to take at any given point in time. I do not believe I will feel right graduating unless I have achieved the title of “a true UWC student”. A student who steps out of their comfort zone, a student who does not give up if things get tough and a student who makes a change wherever they go, no matter how big or small. A change so significant that when they look back they have a sense of accomplishment and not a feeling of regret. 


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