1 1 Image of Psychologists and Psychology on People s Minds and Effects of Media on Turkish Audience Developing These Schemas Başak DALDA Middle East Technical University rd grade student, May 007 Psychology is a fairly wide area to talk about. It has several branches (social, clinical, experimental, health, forensic etc.) and each branch has several different issues to consider. In this paper the focus is on clinical psychology in general. The main emphasis is on the perceptions of public and psychology students about psychology and psychologists. In order to have an opinion about something, one should rely on some sources- either by experiencing individually or by applying to some external materials. Of course, the reliability factor of those sources is very important in shaping person s ideas. According to Televizyon İzleme Eğilimleri Araştırması that was conducted in 1 different cities of Turkey and that included a total of 606 men and women by Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu (March 16, 006), 7.8% of Turkish people watch new programs, 6.8% of people watch series, and 0.8% of people watch movies (Turkish movies not included to this ratio) on TV. In the same study it was seen that 6.7% of those who participated the study trust television, % of them does not (http://www.rtuk.org.tr/sayfalar/icerikgoster.aspx?icerik_id=aaedb0-0c96-e8e-899-8c0b8a7af). Given these statistical information, it is not difficult to estimate the power of media on Turkish audience. People spend time in front of TV and they trust what they see/ hear there. And although the most preferred programs are reflecting the pure truth (news), a considerable amount of audience watch the programs which has nothing to do with reality itself (series, movies ). But they still claim to trust the programs that they watch, including those that are nothing but fiction. Therefore the role of producers, scenarists, directors, channel owners (let us say media in short) is very important in choosing the programs to present to public. The power of media comes from the desires of the audience. There is a reciprocal relationship between these two. The more something is spoken among people, the more media brings it to surface in almost every program. Te more media brings those issues on TV, the more audience talk about it and watch it. Therefore, as long as the audience continues to trust/believe what they see on TV it is somewhat easy for media to create the image of anything in the way they want. In this paper, the effects of media on the image of psychology/psychologists on people s minds in Turkey are studied. It is expected that the movies and series on TV have a considerable effect on shaping schemas. For this reason college students (M=9, F=) from different universities in Ankara (Gazi University, Çankaya University, Middle East Technical University, and Bilkent University) and İzmir (Ege University) and rd grade psychology students ( M=, F=17) from Middle East Technical University participated the study. For college students a single paged questionnaire which consists of open ended questions and multiple choice questions (Appendix A). For 0 psychology students a single paged questionnaire which consists of open ended questions and 1 multiple choice question (Appendix B) was distributed in order to see the differences between people in the field and those who are not. Some of the people received the questionnaire via and returned it in the same way. Others were distributed face to face. All 0 psychology students were distributed the questionnaire face to face.
2 Results A comparison was done between psychology students and people who are outside the field of psychology in terms their ideas about the characteristics of a psychologist. The similarities and differences between the images of psychologists on the minds of these two groups were figured out. Table1 shows the answer given to the question What comes to your mind when you hear the word psychologist by both groups. Table1. The answers showing the psychologist images on people s minds People outside the field Number of ratings* Psychology students Number of ratings* FEMALES İyi dinleyici (Good listener) Yardımsever (Helpful) Çözüm üreten (Problem solver) Yol gösteren (Guide) Güvenilir (Trustworthy) Mantıklı (Reasonable) Sakin (Calm) Ilımlı (Sober) Danışman (Consultant) Sabırlı (Patient) Zeki (Intelligent) Zengin (Rich) MALES İyi dinleyici (Good listener) Sabırlı (Patient) Sakin/ Uysal (Calm/Easygoing) Çözüm üreten (Problem solver) Çok bilmiş (Leery) Rahatlatıcı (Relaxing) Yardımsever (Helpful) Sır saklayan (Confidant) Deli (Crazy) Uzman (Expert) Kontrollü (Controlled) Danışman (Consultant) Doktor (Doctor) Anlayışlı (Understandable) Sessiz (Quiet) İyi dinleyici (Good listener) Güler yüzlü (Cheerful) Bilgili (Well-informed) Empati yapan (Empathetic) Duyarlı (Sensitive) Konuşkan (Talkative) Sabırlı (Patient) İyimser (Optimistic) Araştırmacı (Researcher) Yardımsever (Helpful) Sıkıcı (Boring) Sorgulayıcı (Questioning) Huzur veren (Peaceful) * The most frequent answers As can be seen from the table the most frequent characteristic of a psychologist that comes to the minds of both men and women is being a good listener (8% of females and 7.9% of males). In females, it is followed by being helpful (8% of females) and being a sufficient problem solver (16% of females). In males however, being a good listener is followed by being patient (0.69% of males) and being calm/easy going (17.% of males). Among psychology students the most frequent answers to this question are: being understandable (0%), quiet (0%), good listener (%), genial (%), and well-informed (0%)
3 Another question was also asked to participants in order to find out the image on their minds about psychology. The answers to the question What comes to your mind when you hear the word psychology are summarized in the Table. Table. The answers showing the psychology images on people s minds People outside the field Number of ratings* Psychology students Number of ratings* FEMALES Ruh sağlığı (Mental health) Ruh hali (State of mind) Depresyon (Depression) Ruh (Psyche) Bunalım (Emotional upset) Bilinç altı (Subconscious) Freud Denge (Balance) Davranış (Behavior) MALES Ruh hali (State of mind) Psikolog (Psychologist) Deli (Crazy) Depresyon (Depression) Bilim (Science) Doktor (Doctor) Ders (Course) Hasta (Patient) Düşünce bilimi (Science of thoughts) Freud Beyin (Brain) Ruh (Psyche) Davranış (Behavior) İnsan (Human) Beyin (Brain) Duygu (Emotion) Anlayış (Understanding) Freud Rahatlama (Relaxation) Terapi (Therapy) Biliş (Cognition) Bilinç altı (Subconscious) Bilinç (Conscious) Sorular (Questions) Deli (Crazy) Sorun (Problem) Patoloji (Pathology) 7 * The most frequent answers According to these results most of the females (0%) thinks of mental health when asked about the psychology. They are followed by those who think state of mind (16%) and depression (16%). Among males, the most frequent answer is state of mind (17.%) which is followed by psychologist (1.79%) and crazy, depression, science (each of them 10.%). When looking at the answers of psychology students, the most frequent answer is behavior (%). It is followed by human (%) and brain (0%), emotion (0%) Media After finding out people s opinions about how a psychologist is or how he/she should be, it is investigated where they acquire these ideas from. The main purpose was to understand the extent to which media effects people s judgments about psychology and psychologists. In order to have that information, participants were asked Where do you get information about psychology and psychologists? Table summarizes the answers given to this question.
4 Table. The Distribution of answers given to the th question Subject Item* 1 x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x 6 x x x x x x x x Subject Item* 1 x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x 6 x x x x Subject Item* x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x 6 x x x x x x x x x x x x * Items are: 1-Real psychologists that I see on TV -Actors playing a psychologist role on TV/cinema -Things ı have heard from people that I know (relatives, friends, neighbors etc) -Psychologists that I know personally (relatives, friends, neighbors.. etc) -Psychologists that I have gone personally for some reason 6-Psychologists of whom I have read a book, article or writing All items were totally checked 16 times by participants. The target item ( item : actors playing a psychologist role on TV/cinema) was checked 9 times (.0% of all checked items).which means that.0% of participants form their ideas about psychologists
5 and psychology by watching some movies and series on TV and at cinema which includes actors who play a psychologist role. But as seen from the table, the majority of participants form their ideas by watching real psychologists on TV (.60%) which shows how much power media has on people s thoughts. Conclusion As seen in Table1 everybody has somewhat information about what a psychologist is. It is important to note that, all the adjectives that were used to express a psychologist image were related to a clinical psychologist whose job is to accept patients in order to listen to them and help them solve their conflicts, depressions etc. None of the participants gave an answer indicating knowledge about other branches of psychology. For instance, nobody said a psychologist is someone who examines animal behaviors or a psychologist is someone who works for companies and makes job analysis. This is most probably they do not see these examples on any means of mass communication like TV. This indicates that the media does not only have a power to manipulate the information but also responsibility to give the true ones. If media use realistic examples on their programs about psychology and psychologists, people will acquire true information about the field. This, in turn, will be beneficial for both people who want to consult a psychologist but hesitate to do so because of the negative image on their minds created by media and also for psychologists who want to reach a wider amount of people for helping them. But the strange thing is that, psychology students did not give any of these kinds of answers, either. Their answers are also including only a clinical psychologist and with very similar adjectives to those given by other people. What does this indicate? There are two options. First one is that the question was unintentionally leading people to think only of clinical psychology. The second explanation is that learning all the branches of an area is not enough to erase the schemas that people have had for all the previous years of their lives. Psychology students were exposed to the image that the media created about psychologists for many years and the first thing that comes to their minds is from their old knowledge rather than recently learned information. The reason is not known for sure. Another point that should be considered about this study is that all participants were college students in Ankara with some degree of intellectual capacity. The real distribution of Turkish people s thoughts cannot be represented with this sample. The number of sample, the areas to cover and the quality should be enlarged to have a more reliable idea about the Turkish people s schemas about psychology/ psychologists and the sources that they use in forming those ideas in further studies.
6 6 APPENDIX A: Questionnaire for people who are not from the field of psychology Bu anket, kişilerin psikoloji alanı ile ilgili düşüncelerini araştırmak amacıyla, Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi psikoloji. sınıf öğrencisi Başak DALDA tarafından hazırlanmıştır. Ankette, demografik bilgilerinizin yanı sıra, iki adet açık uçlu ve iki adet çoktan seçmeli soru bulunmaktadır. Sizden hiçbir kişisel bilgi istenmemektedir. İstediğiniz noktada cevaplamayı bırakabilirsiniz. Katılımınız için teşekkür ederim. Başak DALDA: Ankete katılmayı kabul ediyorum. Tarih: İmza: Yaşınız: Cinsiyetiniz: E K Öğrenim durumunuz: Mesleğiniz:
7 7 Aşağıdaki sorular, sizin düşüncelerinizi öğrenmek amacıyla sorulmuştur. Soruların doğru- yanlış cevapları yoktur. Her birini dikkatlice okuyup cevap veriniz. 1- Psikoloji denildiği zaman aklınıza ilk gelen kelimeleri yazınız ( İstediğiniz sayıda kelime yazabilirsiniz). - Psikolog denildiği zaman aklınıza gelen sıfatları yazınız ( İstediğiniz sayıda sıfat yazabilirsiniz). - Daha önce herhangi bir sebepten psikoloğa başvurdunuz mu? ( X işareti koyunuz) Evet Hayır - İlk iki soruyu cevaplarken, aşağıdaki kaynaklardan hangilerini göz önünde bulundurdunuz? ( X işareti koyunuz. Birden fazla seçeneği işaretleyebilirsiniz) Televizyonda gördüğüm gerçek psikologlar Televizyonda/ sinemada izlediğim, psikolog rolü yapan kişiler Yakınlarımdan (akraba, arkadaş, komşu vb) duyduklarım Tanıdığım ( akraba, arkadaş, komşu vb) psikolog(lar) Bir sebepten dolayı bizzat başvurduğum psikolog(lar) Kitabını/ makalesini/ bir yazısını okuduğum psikolog(lar) Diğer (belirtiniz) Göz önünde bulundurduğum hiçbir kaynak yok
8 8 APPENDIX B: Questionnaire for psychology students Bu anket, psikoloji öğrencilerinin bu bölüme yönelik düşüncelerini araştırmak amacıyla, Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi psikoloji. sınıf öğrencisi Başak DALDA tarafından hazırlanmıştır. Ankette, demografik bilgilerinizin yanı sıra, üç adet açık uçlu ve bir adet çoktan seçmeli soru bulunmaktadır. Sizden hiçbir kişisel bilgi istenmemektedir. İstediğiniz noktada cevaplamayı bırakabilirsiniz. Katılımınız için teşekkür ederim. Başak DALDA: Ankete katılmayı kabul ediyorum. Tarih: İmza: Yaşınız: Cinsiyetiniz: E Bölüm/ Sınıf: Okul: K
9 9 Aşağıdaki sorular, sizin düşüncelerinizi öğrenmek amacıyla sorulmuştur. Soruların doğru- yanlış cevapları yoktur. Her birini dikkatlice okuyup cevap veriniz. 1- Psikoloji denildiği zaman aklınıza ilk gelen kelimeleri yazınız ( İstediğiniz sayıda kelime yazabilirsiniz). - Psikolog denildiği zaman aklınıza gelen sıfatları yazınız ( İstediğiniz sayıda sıfat yazabilirsiniz). - Psikoloji bölümünde okumayı seçme nedenleriniz nelerdi? Cümle halinde yazınız (İstediğiniz sayıda cümle yazabilirsiniz). - İleride psikolojinin hangi alanında çalışmak istiyorsunuz? ( X işareti koyunuz) Klinik Psikoloji Sosyal Psikoloji Endüstriyel & Örgütsel Psikoloji Sağlık Psikolojisi Diğer (Belirtiniz)