Memes Explained By Psychology

Memes Explained By Psychology

Hhe current most popular form of communication is providing visual definitions of psychological topics.
10489
views

In today's culture, especially online culture, it is becoming increasingly popular to communicate using memes, or popular photos that circulate conveying a certain, often comical, message. Memes are plastered across social platforms, starting and prolonging discussions about topics ranging from politics to celebrities to national disasters. But what makes memes so popular? How do meme creators know what will appeal to people? One word: psychology. Many memes can be explained using psychological terms, which is likely what makes them so popular. Here are 8 popular memes explained using psychological topics.

1. Biden memes - Co-dependency

Vice President Joe Biden has found himself at the center of many memes, particularly ones like this that depict him in different variations of a strong emotional attachment to President Obama. This meme revolution began after Biden tweeted a photo of his and Obama's matching friendship bracelets for the President's birthday. These memes show, on Biden's part, co-dependency, which is defined as excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.

2. Starter Pack - Schemas

Starter pack memes depict 3-4 things that we often associate with a popular behavior, in this case asking to speak to the manager. This represents a schema, defined as a mental model of aspects of the world or of the self that is structured in such a way as to facilitate the processes of cognition and perception. In other words, schemas help us to understand the world via things we already know about. In the case of the starter pack meme, this means using photos to explain the popular behavior.

3. Clapbacks - Hostile Aggression

A clapback is a response, often to a criticism or an unwanted question. These responses are a perfect example of hostile aggression, which is specified as aggression driven by anger and performed as an end in itself. Rather than just answering the question or ignoring the criticism, people are often frustrated by these stimuli and thus, the aggressive clapback was born.

4. Bad Luck Brian - Fundamental Attribution Error

Bad Luck Brian features a bad yearbook photo that has become a symbol for misfortune. The bad things that happen in these memes are an example of the Fundamental Attribution Error, which is a tendency to overestimate the degree that behaviour is determined by personal characteristics, beliefs and attitudes that minimises the effects of the surrounding situation. People assume that these bad things, in this case getting hit by a firetruck, happen as a result of Brian's bad luck, a personality trait. This practice doesn't account for the influence of situational factors. Brian getting hit didn't have to be a result of his bad luck, it is just as likely that something about the situation caused this to happen. Perhaps the person driving the truck hated Brian and did it on purpose!

5. Evil Kermit - Cognitive Dissonance

The Evil Kermit taps into the idea of the little devil that sits on our shoulder and encourages us to do things that we know aren't necessarily the right thing to do. However, we sometimes give in because we want to do these things even if we believe that they're unsound. This represents the theory of cognitive dissonance, which is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change. In other words, it's when you believe two conflicting things at the same time. You can want believe that it is best to stay out of drama while also wanting to start some.

6. Aliens - Belief Perseverance

This meme features a man who tends to blame everything on aliens, even if another plausible explanation is presented. This shows belief perseverance, which is a tendency to persist with one's held beliefs despite the fact that the information is inaccurate or that evidence shows otherwise. Even when it's not aliens, it's aliens, and you will likely never convince this meme otherwise.

7. "This is fine" dog - psychological burnout

One of my personal favorites, this meme features a dog sitting in a house that is on fire stating that "this is fine." This shows something that many people face in school or high demand careers known as burnout. Burnout is the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion from a job or career that shows lack of motivation and a decrease in performance. Sure, the room might be on fire, but if you're burnt out due to stress you just don't have the mental capacity to care.

8. Other person vs. Me - Upward/Downward Social Comparison

These are comparison memes, which show one of two things: making fun of yourself by showing how much better others are than you, or showing how you are significantly better than someone else. The first would be an example of upward social comparison, which is comparing ourselves to others who are better than we are. This is often a result of low self-esteem. Inversely, the latter option would be an example of downward social comparison, which is a method of self-protection where we compare ourselves with people are less well off. We try to raise our self-esteem by looking at what we have that others do not.

Popular Right Now

A Day In The Life Of A Girl Who Struggles With Anxiety

Anxiety affects different people in different ways, and does not define who they are.
640
views

Anxiety sucks. You never know when you'll feel it but, when you do, you TRULY feel it. You may not know this, but just because it's bad at one point and some people have extreme cases, it doesn't have to be the same for everyone. Anxiety is a disorder that effects different people in different ways, and does not define who they are. Here's what my daily routine looks like in a nutshell.

I wake up, eat, go to class, do homework...just average stuff. Every day goes on as normal, or as normal as it gets. What you don't see is that I'm constantly questioning myself and overthinking the simplest of actions.

Oftentimes, I struggle to hold a conversation with someone I'm not very familiar with because I'm scared I'll say the wrong thing that'll come back and bite me in the ass, or that the other person is not genuine and that they're gonna go behind my back and say nasty things about me.

Now I know that other people's behavior doesn't have any control over how I live my life, but I'm not going to deny that it hurts me emotionally. In fact, I use that emotional pain as motivation to go out and do my best. The best revenge in life is success. If someone else feels intimidated by how well I'm doing, then I know I'm doing something right.

But to make difficult situations slightly more bearable, I surround myself with close friends and others that I trust will have my best interest in the event something goes awry. Generally though, everything works itself out without calling for desperate measures.

Contrary to popular belief, living with anxiety doesn't mean that a person is constantly living through a panic time. A few times I may experience panic attacks, but they're usually mild and go away in time. My anxiety doesn't interrupt my daily life and doesn't keep me from doing the things I love.

Whenever it starts to, I always remind myself that everything happens for a reason and just because I don't feel well in one moment, doesn't mean that I'm always going to feel that way. It usually subsides rather quickly.

I am not defined by my anxiety, and in fact having anxiety helps me be more aware of my surroundings and to be more considerate of others. Whenever someone else has an issue, I will listen to them and help them calm down. My experience allows me to be more empathetic towards people and to be of assistance to them in ways others cannot. Anxiety attacks are really uncomfortable, but they don't go on endlessly. Like Axl Rose sings, "Nothing lasts forever in the cold November rain".


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

You Pledged To Never Do Drugs But Now Addiction Is In The Air

This generations wave of addicts
974
views

Can I hit that? Is that a juul? Oh my gosh, that's so cool! Can I hit that?

Do you remember the time you pledged to never do drugs in elementary school? Or maybe that time in middle school when they had the D.A.R.E assembly? You swore you would never get involved with drugs because they showed you a lung that was black from smoking cigarettes. You have seen the ads about vaping, how we think that big tobacco companies are not aiming towards kids even though they have flavors like bubblegum, cotton candy and any kind of fruits you can name.

It is often overlooked. We don't really think there is a problem, but there is. Every party is filled with clouds, the smell of sweetness is in the air. The urge to hit someone's juul is crawling around the room. It's no wonder why sickness spreads so fast on college campuses. If you have a juul, vape, or suorin, or whatever device that can blow out smoke -- you know what I mean. And not to mention all the drunk sorority girls who basically beg to get a hit. "Can I hit that?"

The addiction is literally in the air.

I never even knew what a juul or suorin was until college. I knew what vapes were but I thought they were harmless.

These things that are supposed to help people with their nicotine addiction ultimately started a whole new wave of addicts.

It's hard to resist -- I get it. Everyone around you is doing it and you think, "What is the harm in trying it once?" You start learning little tricks, how to french and ghost inhale, how to do O's, and suddenly you find yourself investing in one of these devices.

And it's not cheap. Especially if you're illegally buying it from smoke shops who don't I.D

You begin investing in these devices, constantly hitting it every so often, you don't even realize you're getting addicted. You're even addicted to the motions of putting the device to your mouth.

And of course, it's all fun and games until your nicotine level goes from a 3 to a 50. It is easy to get addicted and it seems completely harmless because there are no studies on what the long-term effects of these have.

This generation's problem is the wave of vaporized smoking devices. If you have not been a part of this wave -- you are in good standing.

If you are a part of the majority who is already addicted, there is hope for you!

It is easier said than done, but think about it. Juul pods cost a crap ton, for what, only 4? You know those go by extremely fast -- especially if you bring that to a party. Vapes itself range from $50-$300, that is if you actually get a nice one. Plus on top of that, you pay $20 for juice that burns your mouth if it leaks.

Imagine how much money you can be saving when you stop feeding your addiction.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Facebook Comments