Course of Psychology

Associate Professor ARAKI Yukiko (Psychology)

[Theme] My Psychology Research

I specialize in the field of "psychology." Just what sort of ideas does the term "psychology" bring to your mind? Some may associate it with counseling or clinical psychotherapists while others believe that studying psychology means being able to see into people's minds. The truth is that the study of psychology encompasses an extremely broad range of fields. For instance, the psychological community I belong to has a name that spans many different divergences such as the Japanese Psychological Association, the Japanese Association of Educational Psychology, the Japanese Association of Health Psychology, the Japan Society of Developmental Psychology, the Japanese Society of Personality Psychology, and the Japanese Association of Behavior Therapy. Amongst them you will find that various words such as "experimental," "cognitive," "animal," "music," "physiological," "social," "cultural," "industrial," or "correctional" are placed before psychology. The fact that the study of psychology is composed of such a diverse array of fields should give you an indication of just how truly complex is the human mind. Simply studying psychology will not allow you to see into people's minds as the mind requires exploration with light shed on it from various perspectives.

You want to keep on going, but you just cannot.You know you could succeed if you tried your best, but you just cannot find the motivation. No matter what you do, it just feels wrong. What sort of assistance should we provide students who have become trapped in this sort of mindset? On the basis of this standpoint, I conduct empirical research on pessimism and feelings of helplessness. According to learned helplessness theories advocated in America, if students have repeated experiences in which no matter how hard they work they cannot achieve success, they will begin to believe that the next time will not go well either. This results in difficulties in handling even simple tasks or situations that could have originally been resolved with little effort, giving rise to emotional and motivational issues, and an eventual fall into a state of apathy. This theory began with experiments using dogs that were then followed up with many experimental and survey studies on humans. The theory has been tested in clinical and instructional situations as well.

Even if the same mistakes are taken, some feels depression, some doesn't at all. I believe that causal attribution methods such as how we think about the origins of success or failure, flexible thought, and coping strategies for stress are extremely significant for remedying and preventing apathy, and therefore, I use these as primary factors in my continued studies based on learned helplessness theories. In my investigations of human helplessness, I devise experimental techniques, utilize physiological indicators, conduct surveys across a diverse range of age groups, compare differences between the cultures of Japan and America, and employ all sorts of multilateral viewpoints and research methods. However, people are not as easily explained as this theory. We need to clearly differentiate and recognize things that can and cannot be explained using theories. Although each study may only provide the slightest of information, I continue my research in the belief that steady accumulation of these slivers of knowledge will eventually provide us with a means to help those who have been entrapped by their helplessness.

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