It’s been a long time coming, but I’m back. I have stories to tell of the past few months, though, so here’s Part I: all about school.
I’m not too tired or too busy to take a little time out of my day to write on my blog.
Which, to be honest, has been FOREVER.
Because, as you will see in the next few posts, my life has been insanely insane and simply impossible to manage beyond my day-to-day needs re: academic work and work work (so I can pay my rent and eat).
So this first part of my updated blog will be about what I’ve been doing at school, and how I’m developing a scientific mind that I never knew I had in me.
Ani has a scientific mind after all!
This second semester had a lot more psychology in it. I took the second half of biology, as well as four psych courses: research methods, history of psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology.
To say the least, these past few months have been heavy on reading and heavy on learning new things.
I was especially taken with social psychology. While individual psych is interesting, what’s even more fascinating is the dynamics that form once individuals are observed in their social context. I strongly believe that every behaviour is socially constructed—there is no “innate” or “biological” behaviour, at least not for humans.
I learned a lot of new concepts and theories that have sparked interesting ideas in my mind. For example, does social facilitation influence how pleasurable or intense a public scene feels? Or should kinksters all get training in excitation transfer theory so they can distinguish real feelings towards someone vs. feelings that have been triggered by physical arousal?
These are two pieces that I’m currently shopping and pitching around, hoping to find a good place for them. But if I don’t, I’ll write them here!
Most of my sex and relationship writing outside of the blog now have to do with science—I take studies, put them in context, and try to distill their lessons and wisdom for our own lives. I have discovered that I have quite a mind for psychological science, especially stats. Or the little stats that I’ve done so far (more to come next year as I take the 3rd year stats courses.)
A note on science
Although I’ve never been one to dismiss science before, I have never had a big focus on supporting my thoughts and beliefs with actual data. Personal experience and the word of experts tended to suffice.
But personal experience is often misleading, and often wrong: your social group is rarely a representative sample of a population. Not that personal experience is meaningless, but we should be careful to generalize personal experience to, well, everyone.
For example, just yesterday I was having a discussion on Facebook with a man who said that kinksters were “broken”. I tell him that I take offence at the label, since I don’t consider myself “broken”. He replies that his personal experience of the kink community supports his statement. To which I reply with a study that has shown that kinksters are just as healthy, or healthier, as vanillas. He said that the information was “counter-intuitive” but that he would consider it.
Here’s the thing, though: science is often counter-intuitive. Many of the intuitions we have about the world are based on a limited sampling and often biased observation. In my research methods class, we had a fun time looking at common wisdom and sayings and debunking them with science.
The easiest example is that the Earth is flat. Sure, our limited senses make it seem like the Earth is flat.
But it’s not.
And so, we cannot trust our limited experience to give us the truth of things. The truth is often hidden, out of reach of our ordinary senses and activities. And this is why we do science.
For reasons that I will cover in a further post, I will be taking summer classes (and reducing my regular year course load). This summer will cover interpersonal relationships (I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE), mind and brain, and mental health and well being. So I’m sure I’ll have tons more stuff to write about as the summer goes.
Also, as I am writing this, I should be working on my final report for the experiment we did in research methods… so maybe I’ll end it there and leave more stuff to discuss in “Where’s Ani been? Part II”.