Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Police Psychology | Eating Bugs

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

Water Beetles!  Yummm….  I watched as people walked up to a street vendor and gathered a fried bug on a stick when I was in Hong Kong.  I had been working with the Singapore Police Department and decided to beetlemake a little stop in Hong Kong on the way home.  I figured, this is the culture, I should try a bug.  So, I summoned up the courage and bought one.  Took the shell off as I was instructed and bit into it.  It was crunchy on the outside, but boy the inside was where the treat was.  It tasted like the inside of a large bug, sort of like a shrimp paste gone really bad.  It was much worse than the tequila worm from college, but then I had drank a significant amount of the bottle and couldn’t feel anything.  Here it was just me and the bug.  No Tequila, no revelry, no people encouraging you with their “yechs” and “oh my god he’s eating the worm.” 

Later that evening we went to a sort of “Denny’s” and had Hong Kong food which was rather good in an eastern kind of way.  I was comfortable with the food.  At the table next to me was a group of cute college girls out on the town and they ordered a plate of barbecue pigeon heads, about 50 of these little heads looking up at you while you ate their beaks and eyes.  I stared at them so long, they asked if I wanted to try them.  I did, and they weren’t that bad, but man the culture was really different.  When I went to China on a later trip to work again, there was a whole market with different kinds of bugs, silkworms, centipedes, deep fried scorpions, sautéed tarantulas.   Some say they only eat bugs for either medicinal purpose or to freak out foreigners.  Freaked Out!  Worked for me.  There are other places where we see culture first hand, although not through bugs.  Like in our police officers. (more…)

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Police Psychology | Humor and Culture


I was lecturing on police psychology to a conference crowd in Singapore, and I had included a funny metaphor of the development of the Apollo moon vehicle by NASA to show the rigidity in police organizations. The Police Psychology, horses ass punch line is that NASA, like police organizations, relied on decisions based on the rear ends of horses centuries before. It is a funny and amusing story and gets from a small chuckle to a major minute’s ovation in America when it is finished. In Asia, the audience felt I was insulting the police commissioner who they liked a lot (and I did too). Since it was my opening story, I sort of lost that audience as they would cringe every time I started a new story or joke. I guess you could say it was Zen – “be the horse’s rear end.” I became the rear end of the horse. With over 450 keynote addresses in my life, this was one of two that I hated intensely.

Laughter is the world’s best medicine. Or is it? Unlike vaccines and typical pharmaceutical drugs, humor is not necessarily universal. What we find funny here in the United States may be considered offensive in other countries. Humor can be vastly different from person to person, culture-to-culture, religion-to-religion, and even among sexual orientations. Everyone enjoys some form of humor, however, the humor that is enjoyed and valued may be vastly different depending on the person’s background, exposure and beliefs.

Charles Darwin explored the adaptive ability of humor and concluded that (more…)

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