Laura’s Psychology Blog

One Professor’s Observations of the World of Psychology….   

November 7, 2010

readings in psychology for november 7th 2010

Football was a part of Roger's younger years

Football was a part of Roger's youth

Here is what I am reading today:

“The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is calling for any athlete who is suspected of having a concussion to be removed from play until the athlete is evaluated by a physician with training in the evaluation and management of sports concussion.”

“A new study by researchers at the University of Leicester and University of Leeds has concluded that parents’ efforts towards their child’s educational achievement is crucial — playing a more significant role than that of the school or child.”

” It’s commonly accepted that we appreciate something more if we have to work hard to get it, and a Johns Hopkins University study bears that out, at least when it comes to food.”

“Even though most adults want to avoid looking older than their actual age, research led by St. Michael’s Hospital shows that looking older does not necessarily point to poor health. The study found that a person needed to look at least 10 years older than their actual age before assumptions about their health could be made”

November 22, 2009

Forty Years Can Pass Quickly

Filed under: Avocations,Football,Hobbies — Laura Freberg @ 10:09 am

Today is a bit of a milestone for Mr. F and me–forty years ago, November 22, 1969, we went on our first date. And what did we do? We went to the USC-UCLA football game, of course. Little did the 17-year-old Mr. F know that this activity would be a thrill for me, but that other girls might not share that view.  As always, the game was amazing, with the Trojans winning 14-12 on a last minute reception by Sam Dickerson. Apparently, forty years later, fans are still debating whether he was inbounds or not–certainly there was no review in those days.


Sam Dickerson's 1969 Game-winning Catch Is Still Debated

Sam Dickerson's 1969 Game-winning Catch Is Still Debated

Mr. F was being recruited by both schools at the time, so had received the tickets as part of the recruiting process. We enjoyed many other dates that year attending sports events–including floor level seating for Bruin basketball games, which allowed us to marvel at Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and his teammates.

We’ve been back a few times to watch the USC-UCLA football games, and this year’s looks like it should be pretty exciting, too. We won’t be attending in person, but will probably be watching on television. Who do we cheer for, you ask? Well, we really can’t lose. Mr. F ended up competing for UCLA, and all three of my degrees are from UCLA, but he went on to get two master’s degrees from USC. Daughter Karen earned a master’s at USC and competed for their track team, setting both indoor and outdoor school records in the shot put. Because USC was so kind to my family, I have to admit I like their style and generally root for them.  I’m sure social psychologists would have a good explanation for that.

September 6, 2009

It’s College Football Time Again!

Filed under: Football,Hobbies — Laura Freberg @ 9:07 am

One of the major hobbies chez Freberg is watching college football, and the season got off to a glorious start for our multiple alma maters (UCLA–USC for Mr. F, UCLA for me, Army for Kristin, and Florida, USC, and Tennessee for Karen). I don’t remember another weekend in which all won simultaneously. Hopefully, this bodes well for the season!

I hope SJSU got paid a bunch for playing USC...

I hope SJSU got paid a bunch for playing USC...

While reviewing the news this morning, I came across an old, but still funny article on ESPN on “New Rules for College Football Fandom.” Here are some of the highlights:

9. You are allowed to root freely against the following schools for no specific reasons: Notre Dame; Notre Dame in their puke-green jerseys; Notre Dame when playing on “Triumph of the Will”-shaming propaganda house organ NBC; USC; any school that plays its fight song approximately 4,387 times per game like USC; Michigan; Miami; Ohio State; any school like Ohio State with a pretentious “the” in front of its name, because otherwise how would we know which Ohio State university they were talking about?; any school coached by Steve Spurrier; any school coached by Nick Saban.

(We understand the Notre Dame part, but root against USC?  Never!)

15a.  If you weigh more than 275 pounds, you can spell out only the following letters when shirtless and wearing body paint: O, W, M.

This one was followed by:

38. (For women): Never hit on a man spelling out the following letters in body paint: O, W, M.

I liked these, too, but unfortunately, most of these rules are ignored:

10.  Please observe the following age limits on male attire:

• 25-and-under: Team jersey or shirtless (body paint mandatory)
• 26-35: T-shirt, jersey, shirtless if you work out at least three times per week and/or have a BMI reading of less than “morbidly obese”
• 36-50: Polo shirt
• 51-75: Sweater vest with polo shirt underneath; sweatshirt from bowl victory two decades ago
• 75-over: Shirtless, alcoholic steam rising from graying chest hair

11. Please observe the following age limits on female attire:

 • 25-and-under: Baby-doll tank top, or sports bra if spelling out letter with body paint; cowboy hats; short shorts with team nickname on rear; nothing but a letter of intent and a smile (recruiting hostesses only)
• 26-35: T-shirt, jersey or sweatshirt
• 36-50: Any outfit accented by bead-heavy team necklace
• 51-75: Any outfit accented by glittery hat or electric glasses
• 75-over: Hair must be dyed school colors; polyester pants to match.

I’m kind of partial to the idea of the 75-over female attire, but I don’t think my daughters would ever speak to me again….The important message, I think, is this is supposed to be fun! And a game!

Florida State fans

AP Photo Politically correct? Come on! This is college football!

February 1, 2009

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Filed under: Biological Psychology,Football,General Psychology,Hobbies,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 10:06 am

We are a football house chez Freberg, although our tastes run to college football rather than the “for pay” NFL. But you have to love the Super Bowl! This year, we don’t have a “favorite.” Family members who are avid Steeler fans are pushing us in that direction, but we have this thing for underdogs.

Modern Day Gladiators

Modern Day Gladiators

One of my psychologist friends describes football as an “heroic” game, and there do appear to be underlying themes of gladiators, combat, victory, and defeat that probably trigger some collective unconscious related to our hunter-gatherer past. Fans watching their teams win experience both a sense of elation and relief, while fans watching their teams lose experience despair, much as observers of ancient combat knew that the outcome of their army’s performance would mean life, death, or slavery to them. Fans supporting the victorious Brazilian team in the 1994 soccer world cup had increased testosterone levels, whereas those supporting the losing Italian side had reduced testosterone levels. Not to worry guys, the effect is temporary.

These effects are even more pronounced when the home team loses, again harkening back to a time where it was a lot safer for the folks at home to lose an “away game” than a “home game” in war.

So may the best team win!

January 29, 2009

Concussions Have Long-lasting Effects

Filed under: Biological Psychology,Football,General Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 4:41 pm

At the risk of sounding like a Super Bowl Scrooge (and I do love football and intend to enjoy the game), I was troubled by new data about the long-term effects of concussion. Comparisons of former athletes showed that those who had experience concussions in early adulthood experienced deficits in attention, memory, and movement thirty years later that did not occur in athletes with no history of concussion. The athletes in the study were all healthy, but the authors remained concerned that they might be at greater risk of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Heading the ball can lead to brain damage

Heading the ball can lead to brain damage

This is not too surprising, given past research in the area of concussion. Previous work showed that soccer players performed significantly more poorly than swimmers and track and field athletes on tests of attention, memory, and planning [2]. Cerebral atrophy was found in one third of the former members of the Norwegian soccer team [3]. You might not think of soccer as a contact sport, but players receive frequent injuries while heading the ball and running into each other, the ground, and the goalposts.

Dr. Kushner summarizes recommendations for returning to play following a head injury, but one wonders if these will be modified in light of new information.

Will such knowledge deter athletes who want to continue playing following a concussion? I doubt it.

1.  De Beaumont, L., Theoret, H., Mongeon, D., Messier, J., Leclerc, S., Tremblay, S., Ellemberg, D., & Lassonde, M. (2009). Brain function decline in healthy retured athletes who sustained their last sports concussion in early adulthood. Brain, doi:10.1093/brain/awn347

2.  Matser, E.J.T., Kessels, A.G., Lezak, M.D., Jordan, B.D., & Troost, J. (1999).  Neuropsychological impairment in amateur soccer players. JAMA, 282, 971-973.

3.  Matser, E.J.T., Kessels, A.G., Jordan, B.D., Lezak, M.D., & Troost, J. (1998).  Chronic traumatic brain injury in professional soccer players. Neurology, 51, 791-796.

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