The Psychology of Native American Sports Mascots

Americans are starting to come to terms with the insidious nature of racism — in the way we act, how we speak about others different than us, and yes, even our team mascots. It’s a hard thing to realize that many of the things people took for granted or were seemingly “normal,” probably weren’t normal for every American.

Take, for instance, Native American mascots.

Native American mascots are fairly commonplace throughout the country, especially at the middle and high school level. Colleges have them, too. Even some professional sports teams — the Washington Redskins, the Atlanta Braves, and the Cleveland Indians — embrace Native American team mascots.

First, let’s be clear what a mascot is. Merriam-Webster defines a mascot as “a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck.” It’s no wonder many can’t see the harm in having a particular racial group represent their school’s team — in their eyes, it’s seemingly meant as a compliment. Pro-mascot advocates suggest that such symbols are meant as an honor and should actually make indigenous peoples of the Americas feel good about themselves.

Is It an Honor to Be a Mascot?

Given that practically anything can be used as a team’s mascot — for instance, Ohio State University uses a poisonous nut, the buckeye, as its mascot — it’s hard to imagine that mascots as symbols are honorable in and of themselves. Being chosen to represent a school or team’s pride or spirit needs to take into consideration how the person being so “honored” feels about it.

For instance, if a small town in Indiana wanted to honor a local industrialist from the 1920s who helped make their town into what it is today, it’s unlikely the town would proceed making her

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Insights on Listening to Improve Your Performance at Work

Music plays an important role in our life. It influences our emotions, eases stress and tension, and has therapeutic value. For example, listening to music before a medical procedure, such as a colonoscopy, reduces anxiety

One of the questions people often ask is, “How does music influence our performance?” To answer this question, we have to distinguish between listening to music prior to work or when we take a break, and listening to music while we are working, as background music.

Music arouses different emotions that have a different influence on our cognitive performance. Studies show that participants who listened for ten minutes to a fast and happy Mozart sonata before they were given a cognitive task performed better than those who did not listen to music or listened to a sad and slow music. This was called the Mozart effect. Most researchers believe that music influences our emotions, which influence our cognitive performance.

So before starting to work on a task that demands analytic and or/creative thinking, take a break, and listen to happy music that you like.

As for background music, the findings are inconsistent. Some studies found that it improved performance, while others found that background music had a negative effect on various memory and reading tasks.

These inconsistent findings are not surprising. To evaluate the influence of music on our performance, we have to take into consideration many factors. First, it depends on the type of work we are doing. Some tasks are more complicated, some demand attention and memory, some demand analytic and/or creative thinking, and some are repetitive and boring. We also have to take into consideration the various characteristics of music such as genre (pop, classical, heavy metal, etc.), tempo, volume, and likability.

Here are a few general guidelines:

The type of

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Psychology Around the Net: July 11, 2020

This week’s Psychology Around the Net explains the difference between emotional baggage and emotional success, dives into stereotypes and how to combat them, discusses mental health services for police officers amid today’s climate, and more.

Stay well, friends!

Mental-Health Advocates Push for More Services for Officers Amid Protests Over Policing: Law enforcement and mental health experts agree that mental health support programs for police officers are especially important now, during the nationwide protests over police brutality and racism. According to Dr. Michael Bizzarro, the director of clinical services for first responders at New Jersey’s Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health, the protests over policing are extremely challenging for law enforcement right now because it wasn’t so long ago police officers were being praised for their work during the coronavirus pandemic. Says Dr. Bizzarro: “In March, April, and May, they were heroes. Now they are being seen as villains.”

Emotional Success Versus Emotional Baggage: You’re probably familiar with emotional baggage, but how about emotional success? What’s that? Well, it’s not that you are happy all the time with no problems and just a rosy outlook, but it does mean you know how to deal with those problems and charge on.

Stereotypes Harm Black Lives and Livelihoods, But Research Suggests Ways to Improve Things: [EDITED INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT] Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, talks with Modupe Akinola, an associate professor at Columbia Business School who also studies stress, racial bias, and workplace diversity on how stereotypes are formed, how stereotypes affect decisions, and what we can do to combat negative stereotypes.

Is There a Connection Between Sibling and Workplace Bullying? Linda Crockett, an internationally recognized expert on workplace bullying and survivor of sibling scapegoating, intimate partner abuse, and workplace bullying, addresses

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Purposeful Parenting the Infant or Toddler

Purposeful parenting can begin even before a child is born. It can even begin before pregnancy. It is recommended that a woman who plans to become pregnant begin taking prenatal vitamins at least a month prior to conception, if possible. This ensures the proper vitamin balance for optimal development and decreases the likelihood of developmental defects occurring such as spina bifida.  

Even after pregnancy, there is much to prepare before the baby arrives. The mother’s regular prenatal care, diet, sleep, exercise, and stress levels all impact the growing child in utero. This time of preparation can be great practice for a mother to begin attuning herself to her child’s anticipated needs, growth, and development. Preparing her and the environment for receiving a new bundle of joy. The parenting relationship is, after all, life long. While this relationship may produce unforgettable, profound bonds of love, it can also be deeply demanding and frustrating for both parent and child at times. 

While purposeful parenting is focused on optimizing opportunities for stimulation and growth for the child, it should not be confused with an idea of attaining parental perfection. Simply just initiating an attempt at purposeful parenting is a wonderful way to impact the growth of the child positively. It does not mean that you have to get it right every time or check off every box, do every extra activity and try every method available. It is more about cultivating a willingness to think purposefully about the impact your actions have on your child’s growth. 

The child’s brain develops more rapidly during the first five years of life than any other time period. During the first three years of life, children are mostly pre-language and learning more about the social and emotional dynamics between those closest to them. They are learning

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