Psychology 2013-2014

2013-2014

Auditory Verbal Agnosia

Auditory verbal agnosia, better known as pure word deafness (PWD), is an exceptionally rare and specific type of auditory agnosia. Agnosias in general are defined as having the inability to interpret and understand sensations. Like other agnosias, PWD is not classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) because it is not considered to be a psychological disorder. The primary symptom of PWD is the inability to comprehend spoken words. PWD patients describe hearing spoken language as meaningless noise as though the person speaking was talking in a foreign language. Additionally, it has also been noted that these patients experience greater difficulty perceiving consonants because they are temporally more dynamic stimuli compared to vowels which are steady state stimuli (Slevc, Martin, Hamilton, and Joanisse, 2011). Interestingly, patients with PWD maintain the ability to hear environmental sounds, speak, repeat spoken language, read, and write (Wirkowski, Echausse, Overby, Ortiz, and Radler, 2006).

Survival Psychology According to John Leach

It is an unfortunate truth that disasters, whether natural or man-made, occur and force people into situations of high anxiety that often lead to death. John Leach, a psychologist in the field of survival psychology at the University of Lancaster, has observed, however, that people in these situations often die unnecessarily. This surprising and seemingly unusual statement has led Leach to pursue the question of why in an identical survival setting, some people die and others don't. In his studies, Leach has identified cognitive processes, particularly working memory, which inhibit one's ability to survive in a situation of extreme anxiety. Leach's findings have ultimately led to the opinion that "it is not the 'will-to-live,' but the 'won't to live' that matters" in a survival situation (Survival, 26).

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