June 12, 2007
It’s funny how the human mind works. We seem to be wired by association. If a new thought or concept is brought up we immediately attempt to associate this new piece of data with something we are already familiar with. This is probably our brain trying to put context around the unknown. Psychologists use association in their treatment programs to help patients deal with their thoughts and underlying issues by associating them with something that is known. A few years back I had an opportunity to visit with a psychologist during one of my college classes. Everyone had always said I needed my head examined so I figured this would be a great way to have the doc check under the hood and maybe have my cerebral oil changed. The psychologist used word association to attempt to better understand what thoughts or words I would connect. He would give me a word and I was to respond with the first thing that came into my head. For example, he would say “happy” and I would respond “baseball”. He would say “home” and I would say “baseball”. He would say “heaven” and I would say “baseball”. After several minutes of this exercise all with the same result the psychologist suggested perhaps I should schedule some appointments with him. As much as I liked talking about baseball, I didn’t think I had the time to devote several hours each week to go to his office so we could talk about it. I appreciate that he might be a fan but he seemed to be obsessed to me since all he ever talked about were baseball related terms.