Sigmund Freud

Freud (1900, 1905) developed a topographical model of the mind, whereby he described the features of the mind’s structure and function. Freud used the analogy of an iceberg to describe the three levels of the mind.

On the surface is consciousness, which consists of those thoughts that are the focus of our attention now, and this is seen as the tip of the iceberg. The preconscious consists of all which can be retrieved from memory.

The third and most significant region is the unconscious. Here lie the processes that are the real cause of most behaviour. Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see.

The unconscious mind acts as a repository, a ‘cauldron’ of primitive wishes and impulse kept at bay and mediated by the preconscious area.For example, Freud (1915) found that some events and desires were often too frightening or painful for his patients to acknowledge, and believed such information was locked away in the unconscious mind. This can happen through the process of repression.

Sigmund Freud emphasised the importance of the unconscious mind, and a primary assumption of Freudian theory is that the unconscious mind governs behaviour to a greater degree than people suspect. Indeed, the goal of psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious.

Eros, or life instinct, helps the individual to survive; it directs life-sustaining activities such as respiration, eating and sex (Freud, 1925). The energy created by the life instincts is known as libido.

In contrast, Thanatos or death instinct, is viewed as a set of destructive forces present in all human beings (Freud, 1920). When this energy is directed outward onto others, it is expressed as aggression and violence. Freud believed that Eros is stronger than Thanatos, thus enabling people to survive rather than self-destruct.

Genie – The Feral Child

Curtiss, Fromkin, and Krashen continued to measure Genie’s mental age through a variety of measures, and she consistently showed an extremely high degree of scatter. She measured significantly higher on tests which did not require language, such as the Leiter Scale, than on tests with any kind of language component, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. In addition, throughout Genie’s stay with the Riglers they tested a variety of her brain functions and her performance on different tasks. For these they primarily used tachistoscopic tests, and during 1974 and 1975 they also gave her a series of evoked response tests.

As early as 1972 Genie scored between the level an 8-year-old and an adult on all right-hemisphere tasks the scientists tested her on, and showed extraordinarily rapid improvement on them. Her ability to piece together objects solely from tactile information was exceptionally good, and on spatial awareness tests her scores were reportedly the highest ever recorded. Similarly, on a Mooney Face Test in May 1975 had the highest score in medical literature at that time, and on a separate gestalt perception test her extrapolated score was in the 95th percentile for adults. On several other tests involving right-hemisphere tasks, her results were markedly better than other people in equivalent phases of mental development; in 1977 the scientists measured her capacity for stereognosis at approximately the level of a typical 10-year-old, significantly higher than her estimated mental age. The scientists also noted in 1974 that Genie seemed to be able to recognise the location she was in and was good at getting from one place to another, an ability which primarily involves the right hemisphere.

Genie’s performance on these tests led the scientists to believe that her brain had lateralised, and that her right hemisphere had undergone specialisation. Because Genie’s performance was so high on such a wide variety of tasks predominantly utilising the right hemisphere of her brain, they concluded her exceptional abilities extended to typical right-hemisphere functions in general and were not specific to any individual task. They attributed her extreme right hemisphere dominance to the fact that what very little cognitive stimulation she did receive was almost entirely visual and tactile. While even this had been extremely minimal it had been enough to commence lateralisation in her right hemisphere, and the severe imbalance in stimulation caused her right hemisphere to become extraordinarily developed.

By contrast, Genie performed significantly below average and showed much slower progress on all tests measuring predominantly left-hemisphere tasks. Stephen Krashen wrote that by 2 years after the first examinations on her mental age Genie’s scores on left-hemisphere tasks consistently fell into the 2½- to 3-year-old range, only showing an improvement of 1½ years. On sequential order tests she consistently scored well below average for someone with a fully intact brain, although she did somewhat better on visual than on auditory tests. The scientists especially noted that she did not start to count until late 1972, and then only in an extremely deliberate and laborious manner. In January 1972 the scientists measured her in the 50th percentile for an 8½- to 9-year-old onRaven’s Progressive Matrices, although they noted she was outside of the age range of the test’s design. Similarly, when the scientists administered Knox Cubes tests in 1973 and 1975 Genie’s score improved from the level of a 6-year-old to a 7½-year-old, more rapid than her progress with language but significantly slower than that of right hemisphere tasks.

There were a few primarily right hemisphere tasks Genie did not perform well on. On one memory for design test she scored at a “borderline” level in October 1975, although she did not make the mistakes typical of patients with brain damage. In addition, on a Benton Visual Retention Test and an associated facial recognition test Genie’s scores were far lower than any average scores for people without brain damage. Although these contrasted with observations of Genie in everyday situations, researchers wrote that they anticipated these results. Curtiss’ explanation was that these tasks likely require use of both hemispheres, noting that previous results on the memory for design test found a negative impact from abnormal brain function in either hemisphere, and that these would therefore be very difficult for Genie since she exclusively used her right hemisphere.

Cultural Differences in Parenting Styles

Evidence that Chinese American youth who had been born in the United States experienced significantly more psychological distress than Chinese Americans who lived in Hong Kong further supports the hypothesis that it is a comparison to their peers that is causing the distress. Asian American teenagers see that there may be something out there that is better that what they have and they want it. Conversely, the teens in their native country fail to see this cultural difference, and apparently it does not cause as much harm. This struggle of coping with the cultural difference may be what causes most of the psychological distress and even interpersonal conflict between the teen and the parents.

The Self Determination Theory states that “people have the natural inclination to engage in activities that are experienced as self-chosen or volitional” (Vansteenkiste, Zhou, Lens, Soenens, 2005), regardless of cultural values. This suggests that people have a universal need to develop a sense of self, separate from any other human being, even family members.

Results of the study showed that autonomous study motivation, when the teen chooses to study on their own as opposed to being forced to study by their parents, “positively predicted attitude, concentration, time management, and active study behaviour… [and was] negative correlated to performance anxiety” (Vansteenkiste et al, 2005). Conversely, controlled motivation was “negatively predicted attitude, concentration, time management… [and was] positively correlated with performance anxiety, passive-avoidant school behaviour, and dropping out” (Vansteenkiste et al, 2005). This provides evidence that self-motivated behaviour and the ability to decide for oneself is necessary for success in the academic areas in life.

Psychological control exerted by parents onto their children in all areas of life “was associated with higher levels of anxiety/depression and delinquent behaviour”.

Authoritarian parenting may cause rebellion as a result of dissatisfaction with the parental relationship, while permissive parenting may case higher satisfaction and no need for rebellion. However, in both cases, lower self-esteem may still result due to the fact that the parents did not act as a strong role model for the teen.

Additionally, it is possible that some teens are happy with an authoritarian parent. They may be so used to it that it does not cause them to be upset or rebel. Rather than be angry at their parents for taking away their freedom, they may be thankful that their parents aren’t putting them in a situation in which they do not know how to handle. Some teens are by nature not very independent, and prefer their parents to provide more direction for them. Therefore, it is hypothesised that the teenager’s perception of the parenting style is more important than the actual parenting style. If a teen does not perceive the parent as being authoritarian, then they will still be able to develop their own sense of self.

Cultural Differences in Parenting

Cultural Approaches to Parenting

6 Things to Know About Child Depression

Depression can run in the family

Studies show that 25 percent of kids who have a parent who has suffered from clinical depression will experience their own episode, says Dr. Fassler. If both Mom and Dad are depressed, the risk increases to around 75 percent. Scientists aren’t exactly sure of the reason for this, but one theory posits that these kids have a genetic vulnerability, which is then exacerbated by a stressful environment. That said, keep in mind that genes aren’t destiny, even when there’s depression in the family: Rachel’s siblings, for example, so far seem untouched by the disease.

The AACAP estimates that as many as one in 20 children and adolescents is depressed. “Another way to think about it is that, on average, at least one child in every classroom will have it.”

It’s often masked or mimicked by other problems

“Approximately forty percent of children and adolescents with depression also have an anxiety disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and about one in four has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” says Dr. Fassler. Learning disorders are also common. Experts don’t know quite how these relate to each other, but they do know that when there are coexisting conditions, it can be harder to suss out and treat each one: Symptoms can overlap, making the conditions harder to identify, or medication may not be as effective. That’s why some mental health professionals suggest that every child diagnosed with depression be evaluated for the other disorders, and vice versa.

Yin Yang

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What is Yin Yang?

Yin Yang illustrated from the Tao Te Ching

When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

Yinyang – Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

Not only does this ¬yinyang-flavored explanation claim to illuminate natural phenomena, it also implies that there is an intrinsic relationship between natural events and political systems. Human beings, especially political leaders, must align their virtuous actions with the morally-oriented universe. If they follow and harmonise with (shun) the order and patterns of the universe, they will be rewarded with prosperity and flourishing, but if they go against and conflict with (ni) it, they will be punished with disasters and destruction. Whether one engages in shun or ni depends upon whether yin and yang are in a state of balance. Thus, yinyang provides a heuristic outlook for human understanding as well as ethical guidance for achieving harmony in action.

Yin and Yang – Wikipedia

Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing forces) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Certain catchphrases have been used to express yin and yang complementarity:

  • The bigger the front, the bigger the back.
  • Illness is the doorway to health.
  • Tragedy turns to comedy.
  • Disasters turn out to be blessings.

Yin is characterised as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity, and nighttime.

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and active; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.

Yin and yang applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself. If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient or has vacuity.

The Tài Jí Tú ~ History and Fallacy (Ancient Chinese Medical Theory)

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The “Yin-Yang” among the Insignia of the Roman Empire?


Nickel, Helmut . “The Dragon and the Pearl.” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 26 (1991).


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Yin Yang ~ Dream Catcher Link



Ojibwe (Traditional Native American)

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Ojibwe Dream Catcher History

Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people. The original web dream catcher of the Ojibwa was intended to teach natural wisdom. Nature is a profound teacher. Dream catchers of twigs, sinew, and feathers have been woven since ancient times by Ojibwa people. They were woven by the grandfathers and grandmothers for newborn children and hung above the cradleboard to give the infants peaceful, beautiful dreams. The night air is filled with dreams. Good dreams are clear and know the way to the dreamer, descending through the feathers. The slightest movement of the feathers indicated the passage of yet another beautiful dream. Bad dreams, however, are confused and confusing. They cannot find their way through the web and are trapped there until the sun rises and evaporates them like the morning dew.


Originally the Native American dream catcher was woven on twigs of the red willow using thread from the stalk of the stinging nettle. The red willow and twigs from other trees of the willow family, as well as red twig dogwood can be found in many parts of the United States. These twigs are gathered fresh and dried in a circle or pulled into a spiral shape depending upon their intended use. They used natural feathers and semi-precious gemstone, one gemstone to each web because there is only one creator in the web of life

The dream catcher has been a part of Native American culture for generations. One element of Native American dream catcher relates to the tradition of the hoop. Some Native Americans of North America held the hoop in the highest esteem, because it symbolized strength and unity. Many symbols started around the hoop, and one of these symbols is the dream catcher.

Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher when hung over or near your bed swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by. The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and slide down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.”


Long ago when the word was sound, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder’s willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.

But, Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, in each time of life there are many forces, some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they’ll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.

When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the great spirit, the web will filter your good ideas and the bad ones will be trapped and will not pass.

The elder passed on his vision onto the people and now many Indian people have a dreamcatcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good will pass through the center hole to the sleeping person. The evil in their dreams are captured in the web, where they perish in the light of the morning sun. It is said the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of the future.

Multiple Dreamcatchers

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Contemporary/Modern Dreamcatchers

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Making My Own

DIY Dream Catcher


DIY Tutorial ~ How to Make a Dream Catcher

35 Dream Catcher Ideas

Zhu Yi Yong

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Art ~ Haunting

This is a haunting series of oil paintings by Zhu Yiyong. Investigating the effects of pollution on modern urban China, Yiyong uses a unique technique involving thin layers of paint on finished works representing dust and dirt.

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Art ~ Red Star

Red Star series and portrayed a old man holding red yarn cat’s cradle in the shape of a star. Yi Yong has painted many works for this series, as the subject matter is something close to his heart. The red star symbolizes China’s Red Army and the cultural revolution. Born in 1957 in the Sichuan Province of China, Lived through communist China before the Cultural Revolution, and then witness the dramatic changes which came after. He studied oil painting at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute where he continues to teach as an associate professor. Yi Yong has also done paintings outside of the Red Star series where he paints realistic scenes, plays with light, and threads Chinese tradition throughout.

His work showcases an ongoing exploration of the popular child’s game, cat’s cradle. The game of cat’s cradle is played all over the world existing in many different forms and under many different names. It harkens back to an age of simplicity and innocence, a time when a child’s imagination is taking form and their interests are beginning to grow. The red star that every child has shaped in their hands carries all the weight of China’s revolutionary past. It is a wry juxtaposition, the children of the future holding in their hands the powerful symbol of China’s collective memory.

Wai Ming



David Choe

James Jean

Photographic Flip Books

DIY Flip Book


  • The Girl With All The Gifts
  • An introduction to Buddism
  • Raising Human Beings


  • The Girl With All The Gifts
  • Inception
  • A beautiful Mind





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