Author Archives: Michael Kokolis

Social Influence and Pledging – Extra Credit

Pledging my fraternity was probably one of the most psychologically stressful times in my life. Leaving out the details of the process, the gist is that we, the pledges, are essentially at the beck and call of the brothers. Whatever and whenever they need things done, it is our duty to carry out their demands without question. In summation, the established brothers of the fraternity are the authority figures to whom we, the pledges, respond to. The pledges conform to this behavior due to their low place at the social totem pole of the fraternity. Although we are not actually forced to perform such tasks, we do anyway because they are the figures of authority of which we are expected to conform. We know that once completing our pledge program, we will be rewarded with our initiation, the ultimate end goal. Therefore, with the incentive of initiation, we accept this compliance towards the intimidating authority figures. A specific example of this surrender to power is when we, the pledges, were sitting in the library and an unidentified man claimed to be a brother (whom turned out to be a brother) came into the library and began ordering us to do things. We had no idea who he was but, because he said he was a brother, we instinctively caved to his demands. We could of simply answered back and questioned who he was, but we were respected and carried out his demands simply because he identified himself as a figure of authority in our fraternity. Later, we learned that the brother was in fact on a co-op program therefore, a member we had never met before. Our compliance to the initially unrecognized member’s demands,  proved that both intimidation and ideas of authority can be enough to push people into actions they’d rather not participate in.


Fear of Spider

The fear of spiders is one I can not quite understand. The phobia of spiders is actually quite funny. Being that I myself am not afraid of spiders, I find it funny being around someone who is. Its ironic that we are hundreds times bigger than the tiny creatures but many people fear them as if they are all deadly and are out to kill us. When I am around someone with such a phobia, the sight of a spider will cause chaos in the room. My room mate has a phobia of spiders, also known as arachnophobia, and the episodes that take place upon the sight of a spider are actually hilarious. He would jump up and run as far as possible from the spider and almost take on the fettle position. He would panic and actually beg me to kill the spider. Being that spiders don’t evoke fear from me, I do not mind getting close to one and killing it. One time, ill never forget it, I took the tissue used to kill the spider and as a joke put it close to his face. There was a sheer look of terror on his face. This is when I truly understood the power of a phobia and how it could take over someone.

A phobia I can understand is the fear of heights. I personally don’t have such phobia but its a logical fear that one can fall from large heights and possibly die or get severely injured. There are many other fears that are very understandable. Most of which would lead to death or severe injury. It are these fears that I believe everyone has to some extent, but those with phobias have it more than others.

Flashbulb Memories

Flashbulb memories are a quite interesting topic. We often forget moments in our past that take place on a daily routine but if something extraordinary or a tragic disaster takes place, it is hard to forget. That will always be a  memory that is almost burned into our minds. For an example id use September 11, 2011. Everyone knows what happened that day and the tragic toll it took on our country. Many people remember what they were doing and where they were when they heard the news. But for most people, the days leading into it and the days after are hard to remember. For me personally, the following day was another meaningful day in my life. My birthday falls on September 12. With almost an imaginary audience thinking I’d walk into my house with everyone cheering and getting me excited for tomorrow being my birthday,but  I walked into my house to find my dad and his coworkers sitting on the couch and watching the news. This tragedy was nearly 13 years ago, making me about 6 years of age on that birthday. I don’t remember many of my birthday’s up until quite recently because its an annual even that i have become so used to but the birthday of September 12, 2011 is a birthday I will never forget.

Psychoanalysis and Childhood Abuse

Psychoanalysis is an understanding of the human mind studied in the 1900s. This is a look into the early mind of humans and how it affects the development of a person’s personality and traits. Things such as negative childhood experiences can trigger psychological problems and long-term effects on the human mind that can completely change a person. These childhood experiences can include, but are not limited to, bullying, physical and sexual abuse, loss of a family member or friend, and many more. Experiences like these can change someone emotionally and socially. Memories of these usually linger in a person’s mind for years and become almost impossible for the victim to shake. In my blog, I will make reference to the possible psychological results of sexual abuse in childhood as well as childhood experiences that serial killers share.

Children who experience sexual abuse can have developmental failures that can affect their transition to adulthood dramatically. A study showed that men who were sexually abused as children are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, be aggressive and anti-social, or physically or verbally abusive to their mates. The drugs and alcohol are used as a tool to help them mask or rid them selves of the emotions from their memories. The attempts of suicide come from the victim unable to handle their emotions from the memory. A victim’s tendency to be anti-social typically springs from their fear of relationships and connection with another human after someone has put them through such experiences. Finally, victims tend to abuse their mate out of rage the memories bring them. In cases in which a parent is the abuser of the victim, the victim tends to mirror their childhood experience by switching roles and being the abuser to someone who longs for love and acceptance.
Another possible outcome from childhood abuse is for the victim to grow into a serial killer. Many serial killers experience emotional abuse or neglect, which can be very crucial to a human’s mental development. This abuse can include embarrassment or lack of love and affection. Punishments would sometimes result from their parent’s own personal amusement, in a way to take their mind off their own problems. The punishment was usually undeserved but almost always extremely harsh. The anger the child experiences cause them to fantasize about revenge and in most cases carries to their adulthood. This neglect causes a child’s lose in the belief of a loving world and keeps them from feeling sorrow for their victims once becoming a serial killer. Serial killers often share a history of experiencing or witnessing sexual abuse. These events will have lasting affects on a child and cause anger that can last their whole lives. Their anger would turn to action. A child will often feel belittled by the experiences and will feel hurting others will somehow help restore their self worth.
The cause of such lasting affects of negative childhood experiences is a result of the child being in the early stages of his or her life. In these stages, the child’s mind is in a sensitive state of development as it is still trying to understand life and social behavior. The example of sexual abuse stands to help show how a single experience can change a person and bring them down many negative paths. The serial killer example shows the flip side in which many different experiences can change a person into something as ruthless as a serial killer.

Works Cited

“Why Do Rapists Rape?” Examiner. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.

“10 Most Common Traits of Potential Serial Killers.” Listverse. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.