Dr. Keith Ablow, MD, one of America’s leading psychiatrists, commented today on the tragic story of a former Police Captain that allegedly shot and killed another man in a movie theater. The man who was killed has been texting on his smartphone during the film’s screening — apparently enough to annoy fellow theater goers.
Dr. Ablow said the study of this kind of behavior is in its infancy but he said the very earliest studied seem to indicate that people who spend a lot of time texting on their smartphone often “achieve some level of de-humanized behavior.” They may become more, anxious, depressed, and intolerant of real people trying to carry on a normal conversation in person — or on the phone.
We spoke to a psychiatrists who treats people who are having trouble with “addictive behavior” today and were told that frequent texting “causes a difficult to explain loss of normal patience and kindness. People become short with others more easily when talking face to face and this more easily leads to misunderstands, anger, resentments, conflicts and even violence.”
Two doctors told us if you have frequent contact with young adults who cannot seem to rid themselves of anxiety, depression and unhappiness and other hindrances to operating calmly and normally in the real world it might be time to put the old smartphone away for a spell and experience “real life” for a day or two.
Doctor Ablow also said that arguments between people when a smartphone is involved have some of the same frightening hallmarks of how the human brain works during road rage. The use of the “machine” or “device” somehow seduces the brain into a false sense of reality that encourages us to perform out of character and over the top risk-taking and violence.
Below the Daily Mail article on the shooting in the Texas cinema, you’ll find an article (that is a few years od but came recommended by Dr. Ablow) from Forbes on psychology of texting.
- Chad Oulson had been texting his three-year-old daughter while he waited for Lone Survivor movie to start
- Retired Tampa officer Curtis Reeves, 71, shot victim in the chest after row
- Nicole Oulson was shot in the hand as she tried to protect her husband
- Terrified movie-goers say they heard arguing and saw popcorn being thrown before gun was fired
- Reeves claims he feared for his safety after being hit by an unknown object
By Daily Mail Reporter
A 43-year-old father was shot dead by a retired cop in a Florida cinema after row about him texting his three-year-old daughter as they waited for the movie to start, witnesses said.
Chad Oulson was shot in front of his wife and horrified movie-goers during an argument with 71-year-old Curtis Reeves.
The victim’s wife, Nicole, was injured in the shooting after holding her hands out to try to shield Mr Oulson during the confrontation at a movie theater near Tampa on Monday.
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Deadly shooting: Chad and Nicole Oulson (pictured with their three-year-old daughter) were shot in a movie theater over cell phone texting
.Senseless killing: Nicole Oulson was shot in the hand and Chad Oulson shot fatally in the chest
After Reeves fired at his chest the victim was heard saying: ‘I can’t believe I got shot’, according to Fox News.
Reeves has been charged with second-degree homicide after the shooting, which happened at about 1.30pm during a screening of the Mark Wahlberg film, Lone Survivor.
About 25 people were in the theater at the time and witnesses said they heard an argument between two men at the back of the room moments before.
Pasco County Sheriff’s officials said the shooting happened when Reeves asked Mr Oulson to stop texting at the theater in Wesley Chapel, a suburb about a half hour north of downtown Tampa.
Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Mr Oulson and his wife. Mr Oulson told Reeves that he was texting with his three-year-old daughter, Charles Cummings, who was at the screening, said.
In the arrest report, Reeves claimed that he was in fear of being attacked after being hit in the face by an unknown object.
‘It ended almost as quickly as it started,’ sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said. The sheriff’s office says an off-duty Sumter County deputy detained Reeves until police arrived.
‘Somebody throws popcorn. I’m not sure who threw the popcorn,’ Mr Cummings, who, as a birthday treat, was about to watch the movie at The Grove 16 Theater, said.
‘And then bang, he was shot.’
Mr Cummings and his son Alex, who both had blood on their clothes as they walked out of the theater, told reporters the show was still in previews when the two couples started arguing.
Mr Cummings said the man in the back row, later identified as Reeves, got up and left the auditorium, presumably to get a manager.
Man shot dead over texting dispute in Florida theater
.Grim task: Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, front, walks out to update reporters after an argument between patrons over texting sparked a shooting that left one person dead and another injured today
But he came back after a few minutes, without a manager and appearing upset. Moments later, the argument between the two men resumed, and the man in the front row stood up.
Officials said Mr Oulson asked Reeves if he reported him to management for using his phone.
Shooter: Curtis Reeves took a gun to the movies with him this afternoon and used it to kill husband and father Chad Oulson
Mr Cummings said the men started raising their voices and popcorn was thrown. Authorities said Reeves took out a gun, and Mr Oulson’s wife put her hand over her husband, and that’s when Reeves fired his weapon, striking Mrs Oulson in the hand and her husband in the chest.
‘I can’t believe people would bring a pistol, a gun, to a movie,’ Mr Cummings said. ‘I can’t believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn. Over a cellphone.’
Mr Cummings, who said he was a combat Marine in Vietnam, said Mr Oulson fell on to him and his son.
‘Blood started coming out of his mouth,’ Alex said. ‘It was just a very bad scene.’
Mr Cummings said his son went to call 911, while he and another patron, who claimed to a nurse, began performing CPR on the victim.
A man sitting next to the shooter grabbed the gun out of his hand, and the suspect did not attempt to get away, Mr Cummings said.
Mr Oulson and his wife were taken by ambulance to a Tampa-area hospital, where he later died.
Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said in a news release that Reeves was a captain when he retired from the department in 1993.
She added that he was instrumental in establishing the agency’s first tactical response team.
After he retired, Reeves worked security for the Busch Gardens theme park and was on the board of a neighboring county’s Crime Stoppers organization. Reeves’ son also is a Tampa officer, police said.
Police tape surrounds the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida, January 13, 2014. A moviegoer shot and killed one person and wounded another on Monday when an argument over text messaging in the Florida theater
Aftermath: Curtis Reeves was led away in handcuffs wearing a white jumpsuit after police removed his clothing for evidence
.Heated argument: The former cop and the victim argued before Reeves shot Oulson in the chest, killing him
.Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco (C) speaks to the media as police tape surrounds the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida, January 13, 2014
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said an off-duty deputy secured the gun and detained the suspect at the theater until authorities arrived.
‘The victim was on his cellphone, he was texting. We believe he was making some kind of noise. This noise led to an altercation,’ Mr Nocco said in a press conference.
‘During that altercation, the suspect decided to pull out a .380 and he shoots the victim.’ The suspect, also sat with another person, opened fire in the couple sat in the row in front of him.
‘It’s absolutely crazy it would rise to this level over somebody just texting in a movie theater,’ the sheriff added.
.Mayhem: Curtis Reeves was reportedly furious that Chad Oulson was texting during the previews, sparking an argument that ended with Oulson dead
Mr Cummings said that the victim had told Reeves he was just sending a text to his young daughter.
‘When you hear there’s a shooting at a movie theater, the first thing you think is the worst. But I can tell our citizens this is an isolated incident,’ Sheriff Nocco said.
‘These are two people that fate just brought them together today,’ he continued.
Cobb Theatres released the following statement on Monday afternoon: ‘We are deeply saddened by the events that occurred earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
‘The theatre is currently closed, and we are actively working with the sheriff’s office on this investigation. This was an isolated altercation between two guests that escalated unexpectedly.
‘The safety, security and comfort of our guests and team members are always our top priorities, and we are truly heartbroken by this incident.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2538812/Gunman-shoots-husband-dead-i
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The Psychology of Texting is Just in its Infancy
Alice G. Walton, Contributor
The psychology of texting is starting to sprout as a hot-button area, though the research is still amazingly in its infancy. From what studies tell us (and from simple observation), we love love love our texts. It’s been clear for a while that cells phones serve a host of purposes: they make great fashion accessories, security blankets, and lunch dates. When you have nothing to do, or don’t want to look uncool because you’re the only single in a crowd of couples, there’s nothing like checking your cell phone to give you an edge.
But people use texts for a variety of other purposes. What’s fascinating is what people are willing to say in texts that they would never say in person. Somehow it’s OK to be a little more revealing, forthright, and feisty than it is when you’re talking face to face. And this honesty-via-text works both to our detriment and betterment. So why is it that texting gives us this extra oomph?
The short answer is because it puts some extra space between us and our recipients. It removes us from reality just enough so that we get up the chutzpa to say these things we’d normally be too anxious to reveal or ask of another. For this very reason, some psychiatrists, like Dr. Alan Manevitz, at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, have integrated texting in their practices, encouraging patients to text message what’s happening in their lives in real time. While this sounds like it would be enough to drive a psychiatrist mad, it actually serves a great purpose.
Once upon a time, Manevitz says, people came to their psychiatrists to lie on the couch and free-associate, ratting off whatever was on their mind. Now, texts let us do this from the field. “Texts allow us to capture people’s voices in the situations they’re in, right when they’re in them. Then when they come in to the office, we talk about what’s happened, but I’m already aware of it through their texts in the preceding week. The events are captured instantaneously. This is not from memory (which can pose accuracy problems), it’s in real time.”
Texts also allow patients to be more comfortable opening up about their experiences than they tend to be in person. They’re more willing to reveal the thoughts they’ve had, says Manevitz, or the choices they’ve made, which is particularly true for teens who are experimenting with new activities and substances that they might be ashamed to reveal on the couch.
The best explanation of the phenomenon, Manevitz says, is Oscar Wilde’s well known quote: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” The masks that texts give us can make us refreshingly honest, mildly annoying, or pushed further, they let us be a little bit deviant.
A couple of recent studies have found more people using texts for not-so-great things, like bullying and “sexting,” which can border on harassing if it’s undesired. A study earlier this week found that “text-bullying” has become much more commonplace in the last few years. The rates of “victimization and perpetration” on the Internet steadied, but the text versions of these acts rose significantly.
Another new one revealed that 13% of kids engage in sexting, sending suggestive messages via cell, and almost as many have taken part in sharing nude or explicit photos. Sexting may be fun, but it is not always a positive experience for those involved, the study found. It’s also linked to a higher prevalence of depression in teens, and a greater likelihood for suicide attempts. This doesn’t mean that the one causes the others – only that the two tend to coexist.
Though most of the text studies are done in adolescents, it’s probably safe to say that adults are also using texts in some creative ways. Texting without thinking, says Manevitz, like firing off an angry one to your ex or boss is common, since there’s a satisfying immediacy involved in this method of communication. But, if used well, the very nature of texts also allow us to check ourselves, since we see the words before they are sent – which cannot happen in verbal communication. (Manevitz actually recommends sending yourself the text first, to test it out, which can be a good method for self-monitoring.)
So texts do have their benefits, but it’s a double-edged sword. Their existence has actually helped out the health industry, who have used text messages to help people improve themselves in the weight loss and quitting smoking departments. One recent study found that smokers were twice as likely to quit when they took part in a program that did things like send back words of encouragement when participants typed “lapse” into their cell phones after breaking their abstinence, or typed “crave” to receive tips to get through cigarette cravings.
It will be interesting to see if researchers start to devote more time to studying adults’ use of text messaging in other arenas. They’ve surely changed the way we interact in more ways than just these. Have you noticed that you behave differently in text than in email, phone, or in person? How have texts changed the way you communicate with others?
How To Stay in the Present Moment
by Michael J. Formica, MS, MA, EdM
The other night I was discussing the “how to” of being present with a friend of mine. I fell back on the old Zen standby, “Chop wood, carry water.” Her 13-year-old daughter, who was sitting with us, chimed in with the incisive understanding of delicate concepts that belongs only to a child, “So, don’t chop water when you should be carrying wood.” Exactly right.
Contrary to popular belief, human beings cannot multitask. What we are capable of is handling a number of serial tasks in rapid succession, or mixing automatic tasks with those that are not so automatic. That’s one of the reasons that the NTSB reports that texting while driving is the functional equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. You just can’t effectively attend to two things at once – even the superficially automatic ones.
So, how do we stay present? The first thing to recognize is that, try as we might, we really can only do one thing at a time, so we ought to do that thing wholeheartedly. Most of our time is spent in the past or the future, rather than the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the moment. That’s how life ends up passing us by – we do it to ourselves.
Rehearsing – and that’s all we’re doing is rehearsing — the past is problematic because it’s something that can’t be changed. It’s done, set in stone, immutable and immovable. Certainly we can change our relationship to the past, but staying there is simply ruminative and, for some of us, baldly destructive.
Anticipating the future is also problematic – even futile — because, no matter how much we’d like to convince ourselves otherwise, we can’t really control the direction in which things will go. We can set an intention, true, but, in the end, the universe has a way of deciding.
Staying present, then, means staying here – right here – and there are a few simple steps that can lead us to the experience of profound attention and a direct experience of the moment that we’re in.
Take a breath – breath, along with change, is the only constant, and being present starts with the breath. Simply draw a deep breath and let it out through your nose. When we breathe through our mouth it triggers a subtle anxiety response, which increases heart rate and redirects blood flow. That’s why you rarely see elite runners and cyclists panting, and why one of my own martial arts instructors used to make us train for hours with a mouthful of water. A slow release of breath through the nose has the opposite effect of mouth-breathing, and draws a relaxation response.
This technique and intention is also taken in part from the Theraveda Buddhist meditation tradition. Try it out – take a breath and, when you exhale, what happens? Exactly – nothing. In the Theraveda tradition – the oldest of the Buddhist traditions – meditation practitioners are taught to focus on the out-breath because on the out-breath nothing happens. Everything falls away for that simple span of time – a breath.
What are you doing right now? – consider, as a correspondence to that moment of suspended breath-time, what you’re doing right at that moment. For most of you, right now, you are reading. Are you just reading? Where are your thoughts? Your emotions? Your hands? Your sense of time? You are reading – that’s it…so, just read.
Not being present is easy. There are bills to pay, and kids to pick up at school. There are doctor’s appointments and reports to write, books to read, parents to resent, loved ones to miss and the list goes on and on. With all that going on – past and future – it’s no wonder that presence is so elusive. It is not, however, as elusive as you might believe.
Be a witness – in becoming aware of what you are doing – exactly what you are doing – in any given moment, bear witness to it. Observe it, name it and stand away from it — all at once. The moment is now…now…now…now… When we cling to a “now”, rather than simply bearing witness to it and letting it pass by, we become trapped in time as it passes.
The great Zen teacher Takuan wrote in one of his essays on swordsmanship that the mind cannot come to rest on a thing – in this case he meant an opponent or a technique or a stance — because then the mind itself becomes trapped by that thing and we, turn, become trapped by the trap. The mind must flow like the breath if we are to remain constantly and consistently present in the moment and not mired in the past or at the sufferance of anticipating the future.
Let the rest go – much like bearing witness, or engaging witness consciousness as the wisdom teachings refer to it, whatever is not there in that moment let go. Be there, right there, right then. That’s all.
The concept of nirvana is often misconstrued as the experience of great peace and the attainment of bliss. That is the outcome of nirvana. Nirvana itself translates to something more like “no holding” or “no clinging”. It is this release that brings freedom, which affords that great peace and attainment of bliss. Travel light — what we do not need in that moment, don’t take on board.
Come back to the breath – when the world or your thoughts begin to again intrude, simply come back to the breath. Inhale, and release your exhale to unbind yourself from the shackles of the past and the anxieties of the future. The constancy of breath can create the constancy of presence for us, if we choose to show up.
The act of being present is, in a sense, a meditation without meditating. The stillness here, though, comes from action – breathing, attending, witnessing, releasing and breathing again. This simple cycle can profoundly change the way that we experience our world.