Thursday, January 25, 2007

Research Angst

So I spent the last hour trying to figure out what this article I'm reading was about. I tried to have fun with it. I looked up some of the measures they used and even took them myself (yeah, they were on depression, so... that was depressing). I couldn't find all of them though. I've found that when I want to really understand something THOROUGHLY, I feel like I have to look up every reference and measure and have it in my hands before I REALLY understand it. I guess I'm pretty literal that way. I mean... I rarely actually do look up references, but I also rarely feel like I understand the professional articles I read.

So the ward missionaries came tonight and manipulated me into committing to go to the referral center this Sunday. At least they were cute... but I was in such a bad mood from fruitlessly efforting over that article that I was quite rude. Example:
Man: I don't know why, but I always feel elated after going to the referral center.

Me: It fits into the opponent-process theory of emotion. The a-process is your anxiety of going to the referral center, and the b-process is opposing elation formed to offset the a-process. When the anxiety is gone, you're left with the b-process: elation. It's just like skydiving.
Yeah... I'm kind of a jerk sometimes. I feel bad about that. But after studying behaviorism, sometimes I just feel like everything can be explained somehow and we don't need to wonder why we feel a certain way or not. That's one of the puzzles I feel with life: why do things make sense when I analyze them, but then I'm not satisfied with those explanations? Having logical emotions doesn't make them any more pleasant.

Also, I had the pleasure this morning of attending another research meeting, at which I feel completely useless, and I don't even know why I'm going, other than to make myself even more famous. I guess it's fun to be "in the know" about research in the Taylor building... but seriously, am I going to have a career in this stuff? Even if I do, why should I care about being "successful"? I don't think I can make a difference even with my impressive effort.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I feel that way sometimes, combination of using my training to be rude, and being completely lost when with the people I hope will be my future peers. It makes me feel somewhat hypocritical, acting superior and then being totally confused.

The Chalice of Evil said...

Be nice to those guys! They're just trying to magnify their calling. Besides, it could have just as easily have been me coming to talk to you. :P

The Chalice of Evil said...

Also, jsut keep reading the hard stuff. I find that the more I read in a subject (even if it's thick technical stuff), the easier it gets. But, maybe that's just me.