Police Psychology:  Sleep – What’s the Point?

by Douglas Gentz, Ph.D.

 

Sleeping doesn’t make much sense from a, “survival of the fittest” perspective. How does it benefit an animal or a person to become completely inattentive to their environment – helpless to fight or flee – for six or seven hours out of every 24? Reason suggests that over millions of years those members of any population that slept the least (or not at all) would have been more likely to survive to an age old enough to reproduce and pass their genes to the next generation . . . So there must be a very good reason for the fact that all animals, including humans, have to sleep on a regular basis. The reason has been a mystery until the last few years.

All the cells in any animal’s body take in nutrients (glucose) and O2 to provide the energy the cell needs to work. As a result, every cell produces waste products that have to be moved out of the cell and eventually released from the body. The normal pathway for “emptying the cellular trash” starts with the waste products being carried away from the cell by lymphatic fluid, collecting in the lymph nodes, transferred to the blood stream, and then transported to the kidneys for filtration. Eventually, those toxins are “liquidated” from the body in urine.

It turns out that there are lymphatic vessels throughout the body except in the head. So, since there are no lymphatic vessels to carry lymphatic fluid throughout the head, how do the cells in the brain, which makes a lot of waste products, take out the trash?

That question remained unanswered until an explanation surfaced in some interesting research conducted by Dr. Maiken Nedergaard and her colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2013 (National Institutes of Health, Research Matters, October 28, 2013, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-sleep-clears-brain). Dr. Nedergaard found that cerebrospinal fluid saturates the brain, acting just like lymphatic fluid but only during sleep. The only time the brain flushes out all the toxins it produces is during sleep. Interestingly, one of the especially destructive toxins that needs to be flushed is the protein beta-amyloid which is famous for building up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

This fascinating finding is yet another compelling reason to prioritize and practice good sleep hygiene as major part of your commitment to personal wellness.

 

Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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Police Psychology:  Rock and Roll

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last Monday in Cleveland Ohio.  I had been there before and never saw it as part of police psychology, or psychology at all.  This time I did.

I never knew that The Beatles had 13 original albums and 237 original songs in 8-9 years, Taylor Swift was signed as a songwriter at age 14, or that so many rock singers had country singer Johnny Cash as a major influence on their music.  I didn’t know a lot of what I saw, but there is one thing that stood out to me —  becoming a rock star wasn’t all about talent. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  Emotional/Social Intelligence

New Software Upgrade for Police Officers

by William Cottringer, Ph.D.

Effective policing involves excellent use of all cognitive skills, especially emotional and social intelligence (E/SQ) Emotional/social intelligence can best be defined as involving the following group of skills:

1. Self-awareness. This is the ability to know and understand your own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, goals, beliefs, perspectives and values, and to recognize their impact on others. This skill allows you to read others better without imposing your own projections or normal expectations that others should think and behave the way you do. At the same time you are keeping your own limitations in check so you don’t miss the other person’s abilities and weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  Anger!! Part 2  Seeing Red

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

There are many that believe the expression of “seeing red” comes from when a Matador wants a bull to charge, he waves a red cape at him.  The theory is the bull “sees red” and gets really angry and charges.  Humans that “see red” get very angry and lose control.  In reality, bulls are red-green color blind and don’t see the color red.  A bull’s vision is like: (see below)

A Man Sees

A Bull Sees

As you can see there is a lack of color in the picture of what the bulls sees.  Bulls charge at movement, not color.  But we still use the expression anyway.

When you are working with children on anger control, one exercise you often us is to use the metaphor of the turtle.  The turtle hides in his shell when things go awry, and he collects himself until he feels it is safe again.  You teach the child that the turtle is a smart animal because he hides away from the things that can damage him, and sometimes emotions can damage you, so you have to “hide away” from them until you get yourself collected.  Everything stops inside the shell.  We work with kids on putting their hands up over their head when they are upset, making an imaginary shell.  We even tend to give the turtle a “T” name like, Tucker the Turtle.  Tucker tucks away when upset or angry.  And so forth and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology Interview:  Intelligence and Counterintelligence

with James Turner, Ph.D.

 

Some of the earliest use of psychology in operational policing was by the military.  I remember reading stories of how B. F. Skinner invented a pigeon-controlled missile which were much more accurate than the guidance systems available at the time.  Police psychology: counterintelligenceEbbinghaus had military applications of his memory work at the turn of the twentieth century, and we all know the history of the IQ tests had military motivations.  Jim Turner worked in developing many uses of intelligence and counterintelligence while working for military agencies and police agencies some of which are still classified.  His last work was for the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy where he taught.  This was an interview with Jim to learn a little more about intelligence in the police psychology world.

Gary:  Jim, what exactly is intelligence?

Jim:  Intelligence is a collection of information from a variety of technologies, that have to be interpreted.  Different types of intelligence include actionable intelligence, direct action and responses, then there is background intelligence on ongoing, internal and external processes.

Gary:  Then what is Counterintelligence? Read the rest of this entry »