Friday, 17 October 2008

Do I need 'Psychologies' magazine?

I'm vaguely worried about the appearance of Psychologies on the newsstands of the nation. I say 'vaguely' because I admit that I haven't succumbed to buying a copy, so it's perhaps not fair of me to pass judgement … But here I go anyway!

It came to my attention via ads in the Guardian's G2 section, and I've surfed around the mag's website to try to get a handle on what it's about. Skimming over the contents of the latest issue, it looks like the usual mix of celebrity interviews, problem pages, and {skincare/healthfood/holiday}-vendor-driven items masquerading as helpful health-related info. What worries me is the mag's title/raison d'ĂȘtre. What could be interpreted as research-driven reportage is more likely the same old women's mag guff dressed up in a pseudoscientific overcoat*.

The main reason why I'm concerned about the emergence of this publication is that I don't like the way that the popularisation of knowledge about human psychology is taking hold in society. [Originally I'd posted a second reason, but I've just deleted it for fear of a lawsuit from the mag's contributor I was moaning about.]

It's so easy for people to read a few articles about, say, posture or gestures, then sit in a meeting (or worse, a job interview) and analyse every move you make. This has become engrained in our society to such a degree that I find myself consciously wondering whether I'm making eye contact often enough when talking to friends (never mind interviewers), and uncrossing my arms when waiting at the school gate for fear of looking unapproachable, when really I'm just feeling chilly!

All in all, I'll stick to New Scientist for my weekly insight into theories of human behaviour, thanks very much.

* Talking of overcoats, I see this month's issue has an article on "What Your Clothes Say About You: How our life journeys are woven into our wardrobe". They'd better not come round here to analyse me. I'm still wearing yesterday's clothes (saggy old trackies) pulled on in haste at 7:00 so that I could get straight to the computer to meet a 9:00 deadline…


wordsmith_for_hire said...

At least you got dressed at all! I usually start work in my dressing gown...

ms_well.words said...

Ah, that's the difference between dog owners and cat lovers (you can't 'own' a cat, can you?). I have to get up to take Fido for walkies at 7am, so dress is pretty much a necessity, given that's the time when I do most of my daily socialising too.

Maybe this is the origin of the term "the cat's pyjamas"? Cat lovers don't need to get dressed??

BTW, I did pick up a copy of Psychologies in the supermarket, and it's everything I expected it to be, right down to the pointless article from Derek Draper who, I see, is "returning to politics". Psychology's loss is politics' gain… (ho, ho); or is it just that Mandy needs someone to hold up his Lordly coat-tails?

MD said...

Psychologies magazine makes a pleasant change from the usual drivel available on the newsstand, it's harmless self evaluation and it nearly always puts a positive spin on things. No harm there.