Selling with Shrink Think
is good. Psychologists are supposed to make it better, or at least help
individuals reach a certain level of maturity.
has been written about psychology and much of that is simply verbose
foolishness. I'm especially turned off by those pop psychology self-help books
that come a dime a dozen and are about as penetrating as a Jerry Springer show.
you want to read some interesting stuff, check out "Man's Search for
Meaning" by Viktor Frankl" or "People of the Lie" by M.
Scott Peck (the guy who wrote "The Road Less Traveled"). These books
were first recommended to me by a philosophy professor and friend whom I greatly
its best, psychology can help us see the truth within. Being the master
psychologist that he was, Jesus proclaimed: "The truth shall set you
free." And there's a variation on that theme by a prominent black
psychologist named Bobby Wright: If you free your mind, your behind will follow.
what stands the little tiny hairs on the back of my neck is when psychology
ventures into the arena of mere mind control; it's true vocation lost.
Dostoyevski cautions: "Profound as psychology is, it's a knife that cuts
heard of the Golden Marble Awards? It's a celebration of "excellence"
in advertising to children - a $12.7 billion annual industry. Two weeks ago, it
held the Golden Marble Awards at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Inside,
the awards were given during a conference billed as: "Advertising &
Promoting to Kids: the third annual conference about breakthrough marketing to
outside the hotel was a group of esteemed mental health professionals, educators
and doctors from across the nation. They were protesting - holding signs, giving
speeches, handing out leaflets, right there on 42nd Street. Among them were
Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston; Dr. Allen
Kanner of the Wright Institute in Berkeley, Calif.; Susan Linn and Dr. Alvin
Poussaint, both from Harvard Medical School.
represent a group of health care professionals and educators who are alarmed
about the recent escalation of corporate marketing directed at children.
Children influence $500 billion in spending per year. As a result, they are
bombarded with commercials for products, including violent toys and junk
food," Levin sent me in an e-mail memo.
does this have to do with psychology? Advertisers hire psychologists to teach
them how to penetrate the psyche of children for profit. I called up Kanner the
whether a product is good or bad, the enormous volume of advertising convinces
children to see themselves and others in terms of what they have and what they
can buy," he said. "I call this the commercialization of
10 years ago, Kanner explained, economists convinced ad execs that children
influence their parents, spending far more than advertisers had believed. It was
this new understanding that triggered the explosion in advertising to kids.
purpose of psychology is to help people. The purpose of advertising is to sell a
product for profit. Advertising manipulates children and it's unethical for
psychologists to participate in such manipulations," he said.
Poussaint, Linn and Levin are calling on their colleagues to remember they are
psychologists for people and not propagandists for profit.
are several recommendations they are calling for:
1.) The White House should convene a conference on corporate marketing and its effects on children and families, which will serve as a springboard for national dialogue and lay the groundwork for policy creation.
2.) Marketing to children, including all toy-based media programs, should be subject to comprehensive federal regulation.
3.) Schools should be advertising-free zones.
4.) Market research with children should be held to the same standards as academic research on human subjects.
advertisers say that children are savvy. That's why they need to come at them
this way. But research indicates that the advertising is working. Besides,
advertising works on an emotional level, not on a cognitive level, which is also
the reason why it works on adults. The belief that it doesn't work is part of
its power. No one wants to think that they're influenced, but it works,"
industry mogul Samuel Goldwyn once said that anybody who goes to see a shrink
ought to have his head examined. That's an exaggeration. But Kanner looks
forward to the day when his colleagues and the American Psychological
Association tell advertisers a different Goldwyn oxymoron: "Include me
defend the minds of your children. Intellectual self-defense is just what the