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Development Of Psychological Thoughts In The Philippines

Info: 5545 words (22 pages) Essay
Published: 27th Apr 2017 in Sociology

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It started during the 1980’s. In the context of Philippine colonial education, Filipinos believe that scientific psychology came from the West. Murray Bartlett, an American established undergraduate psychology courses in the College of Education, University of the Philippines. American textbooks and English language were used as the medium of instruction. The good thing here is that literary writing was in Filipino language that was in dominance. Francis Burton Harrison’s policy of attraction was also introduced during this time. [1] 

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The works of del Pilar, Jacinto and Pardo de Tavera were rich sources of psychological theories even though they were propagandists and not psychologists. Even Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo mentioned the term “Psicologos del verbo Tagalog” in his speech. They were not title holders in Psychology but they still have this innate nature. The English language and the American system of Education were the instruments used. During the twenties American psychology teachers were replaced by Filipinos. [2] 

The Philippine objection to uncritical importation of Americans’ Psychological models challenged some of the Filipinos. The first attempt was done by Sinsiforo Padilla who took over from Alonzo’s position as a chairman at the University of the Philippines. Nevertheless, it was his colleague Manuel Carreon who took the cudgels for appropriate relevant psychological testing. 1926 he published in New York his Ph.D. entitled the Philippine Studies in Mental Measurement. The arguments he presented was valid but the his wrong move was he published it in English. Nobody listened to him because during that time most of psychologists were ahead and they administered American tests. Some understood part of Carreon’s message were modified to fit the Philippine context. “change-apples-to-bananas” [3] 

Isidoro Panlasigui identified the new culture of Psychology. The third generation of American brainwashed Filipino psychologists like Panlasigui. Due to this, Panlasigui admires America and it was clearly showed when he wrote about the psychology of the Filipino as he fought for the colonial language to be used.

Alfredo V. Lagmay and his colleagues were sent to the United States not to neutralize the department. Lagmay studied Psychology in Harvard where he was trained in the area of Experimental Psychology. He came back to the Philippines during the poor unrest under Hukbalahap with Luis Taruc, as the head. During that time, the Department of Psychology in the University of the Philippines was part of the College of Education. It was then Lagmay’s first move to transfer it to the College of Liberal Arts by changing the educational point of view to a more scientific basis of orientation. Experimental Psychology is now an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum in Philippine schools and it was because of him. The U.P Department of Psychology was perceived as behavioral orientation form the 50’s up to early 70’s. His students continued some remarkable and significant studies in the field. [4] 

The History and Lines of Filiations in Philippine Psychological Thought


This aspect of psychology became part of university curriculum under Francisco Benitez during 1922. It was first taught in the University of the Philippines as a part of the education curriculum. This is the period wherein several studies in psychology such as Experimental Psychology, Educational Psychology and Psychology of Advice Giving were introduced. It was said that the Western Psychology first entered the UP system but it was spread widely in UST (University of Sto. Tomas) and University of San Carlos in Cebu. During the year of 1954, Joseph Goertz established the Department of Psychology and used English as the medium of teaching. On the other hand, in the midst of its growth in Manila this discipline was also introduced as a course in the University of St. Louis in Cordillera. It was facilitated by Fr. Evarist Louis a missionary priest. [5] 

Psychology-Academic Philosophy

However, Psychology-Academic Philosophy was established first at University of Sto. Tomas by Spaniards and improved by the Jesuits. This aspect was older than the aspect mentioned before. It started and founded in many universities like UST (University of Sto. Tomas) and other Spanish institutions like San Ignacio and San Jose. In such institutions the medical and philosophy courses started. The ideas and written records on that time were seen to be related to Psychology. In a deeper analysis those can contain the way of life before. It includes the language , how the “indio” perceive the concept of self ,its criticisms and the activities of the ancient civilization.

Ethnic Psychology

The third aspect of Psychology known as Ethnic Psychology. It originates from the Filipinos and through the influence of other countries. It is not only older but also much complicated compared to the previous aspects. It has many strands to be entangled and one of those is the psychology that came from the Filipinos themselves. An indigenous psychology that is owned or influenced by other countries. The language is a cone attributing factor especially those activities that can show the collective experiences of Filipinos. The works of Jose Rizal and Isabelo de los Reyes were consisted of Filipino Psychology and it was greatly connected to the Psycho- Medical Psychology of our forefathers. [6] 

Social Psychology

The study of Social Psychology is defined as a systematic study of the nature and causes of human social behavior. Primarily, its concern is about human social behavior. It includes a lot of matters regarding the individual’s impact on other people, the processes of social interaction and the relationship that exist between individuals in the society. It is not just concerned with the nature of social behavior but also with its causes. The study seeks to unravel the reasons and pre conditions of social behavior. It also depicts the analysis of social behavior in a dynamic way. It relies on methodologies, findings, experiments and surveys. In asking what the study is all about its 4 main concerns were also considered as a means of knowing it clearly. Basically it is about the impact that one individual has on another, the impact that a group has on its members then vice versa and the impact of a group to another group. [7] 

In the context of the discipline in a working definition. Psychologists focus their attention in understanding the behavior of individuals within the context of society. It is primarily concerned with the understanding of the how and why individuals behave, think and feel as the way they do. In dealing with behavior we mean feelings and thoughts as well as overt actions.” [8] 

Consequently, it is defined as a scientific study of how a person’s behavior, thoughts and feelings are influenced by several factors that can be real or imagined in the form or the presence of others. The field looks at behavior and mental processes including the social world in which we exist, as we are surrounded by other whom we are connected and by whom we are influenced in so many ways. It focuses on influence. [9] 

The definition of Social Psychology in the Filipino context was explained through the interview that I have conducted. According to Ms. Leslee Natividad from the Department of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines, Los Baƒ”os ,when I asked her what is the role of Filipino Social Psychology in the deeper understanding of Filipino behavior? She gave me a definition to answer the question .

“First we have to define first what Social Psychology is so…Social Psychology is the study of how individuals affect the society and how the society is affecting the individual .If we’re going to relate Filipino into that on how the Filipino is affected by the society that we have here in the Philippines and maybe in the world in general. Now the world and the Philippine society affect the Filipino individual. As a person, everything that we are experiencing around us. Things that we are seeing, things that we are hearing, things that are affecting each and every moment of our lives that is part of Filipino Social Psychology. All of our behavior is shaped by the kinds of experiences that we have.” [10] 

3 Main Areas of Social Psychology

Social Influence

It is the way in which other people affect our behavior. It is a process through which the presence of others can directly or indirectly influence an individual. These are ways in which other people affect our behaviors through thoughts and actions. How we are raised by certain people to whom we interact can affect our behavior. It varies with Conformity, Compliance and Obedience.

Conformity which pertains to the changing of one’s own behavior to more closely match the actions of others, Several studies suggest that individuals will change their behavior to conform to those of the group. They can be influence by private vs. face-to-face contact Plus, the gender and culture. Compliance is the act of changing their behavior due to another person or group asking them to change. Particularly, it happened when there is absence of authority and power. Obedience is also a way of changing behavior at a direct order of an authority figure.

Social Cognition

It is defined as the ways how people thinks about other people and how they act toward other individuals. It varies because of attitudes which consist of the way a person feels and thinks as well a person behaves. Impression formation is also a part of cognition which is forming the first knowledge or judgment about a person seen for the first time. Attribution is the process of explaining self behavior or others. They use this to make sense of the social world through mental processes. [11] 

“What was once called the objective world is a sort of Rorschach ink blot, into which each culture, lack system of science and religion, each type of personality, reads a meaning only remotely derived from the shape and color of the blot itself.”In this aspect of judgment of are beauty are based on the way we think about things. There is no universal concept or characteristics of people and object that are beautiful for them. Whatever we see around us is as much the sum total or our biases, thoughts and feelings as it reflects what physically exist. Those perceptions are active process of selecting, organizing and interpreting various bits of information so that we can create our reality. [12] 

Social Interaction

It is a way of knowing the positive and negative aspects of behavior. It is the area of Social Psychology which involves interaction and relationship between people. It includes prejudice which happens when an individual holds an unsupported and negative attitude towards other members of the society. It also varies with discrimination as treating people differently because of prejudice. Liking and loving, aggression were also developed here. [13] 

The liking and loving in our society known as interpersonal attraction is widely observed. Each one of us is attracted to some personalities in our society. It can be influenced and proved by the similarities, position, physical appearance and familiarity of both sexes [14] .

The nature of aggression involves hurting others. It has been defined as “any form of behavior directed towards the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment.” (Baron and Richardson, 1993)

According to psychologists they have identified three types of aggression. Firstly, is the Person-oriented aggression wherein the main goal is intentionally hurt someone. Secondly, is Pro active aggression when an aggressive behavior is done to achieve some desired outcome like gaining possession of an object. Lastly, is Reactive aggression is the reaction of an individual to an aggressive act. [15] 

In a positive way one of the best examples of pro social behavior is Altruism. It is a helping behavior that is costly to an altruistic person. It is a desire to help even there is no possible reward. It is always expected to depend on empathy. Empathy is the ability to share emotions and understand another person. [16] 

Projects of Filipino Psychology

The first project is to develop indigenous psychological concepts. Ethnic concepts and theories can be translated into another language but deviations in meaning will occur especially with respect to location. There were some concepts that Filipinos exhibited and some foreign researchers tried to analyze and study. The first was the concept of Shame or “Hiya” which was studied by Frank Lynch in 1961. Sibley during the 1965 analyze this behavior. During 1981 Salazar studied it thoroughly and said that it was a complete societal feeling that is not only passive but also active. He showed the external aspects ” hiyain, ikahiya at manghiya” and also the internal aspect that involves the feelings and emotions like the act of “kahiya hiya and mahiyain”. The second concept was Fatalism or “Bahala Na”. Bostrom in 1968 was the first psychologist that become inquisitive about this Filipino behavior. He compared it with American Fatalism but in Filipino Psychology it has a different orientation. Before, Osias explained way back the 1940’s that “bahala na” attitude is the combination of fatalism and determinism.

On the other hand Lagmay corrected it and said that for him it is not about fatalism it is more of determination and courage to face unguaranteed times. Lastly, is the concept of “Utang na Loob” which was translated by Charles Kaut into English known as debt of gratitude. Enriquez disagreed and Holnsteiner gave his opinion that ‘utang na loob” is contractual. [17] 

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The second project is utilization of indigenous research methods. The role of Santiago and Enriquez in building a concept of Filipino oriented research was very important. They suggested a model to be used in research. The model will serve as a guide of researchers of indigenous ways. It was divided into two scales. First is used in knowing the idea and “diwa” of an member of a society. It includes “Pagmamasid”, “Pakikiramdam”, “Pagtatanung- tanong”, “Pasubok”, “Pagdalaw dalaw”, “Pagmamatyag”, ” Pagsubaybay”, “Pakikialam” at “Pakikilahok”. The other scale is for the researchers to know what will be the future or end of their study. They use several stages such as “Pakikitungo”, “Pakikisama”, “Pakikisalamuha”, “Pakikibagay” ,”Pakikisangkot” at “Pakikiisa”

The third project is to create an authentic and appropriate social scientific psychology. In the deeper analysis of constructing a real version of social psychology social behavior is a must. The society of Filipinos revolves smoothly because of their “Pakikisama and Pakikipagkapwa”. In dealing with both concepts it has been discovered that between the two “pakikipagkapwa” is more important for Filipinos. It has a more deeper sense and implication. It means treating other people as fellow man. In English the context was changed. The word “other” perceiving the self and other self in an individualistic way. [18] 

The Bases of Filipino Psychology

Primarily, Prior knowledge of Psychology was the first basis of Filipinos for it involves important parts of Filipino Social Psychology. The knowledge of psychology “Babaylan” or “Catalonan” for the native Filipino people was an important part of Filipino Psychology. The “Babaylan” was the first Filipino psychologists. Aside from this were the prayers and whispers of various ethnic groups in the Philippines. Those were rich sources and stream of Filipinos’ prior knowledge of Psychology. We were also used in the psychology of the Filipino literature, even if it was expressed in oral or written way. It includes proverbs, stories and legends. The values and attitudes that Filipinos inherited were significant bases of Psychology. It includes most of Ethnic Psychology. [19] 

Man and his Thoughts

The second is the basis of man and his thoughts and it denotes giving importance to man and his or her ideas. This is where Filipino Psychology and Psychology in the Philippines met. Filipino psychology was a part and always been a part of the world’s psychology. This basis has a clear influence of rational psychology that has been developed and improved in the University of Sto. Tomas. This was considered as traditional philosophy rooted in the ideas of Descartes and written works of Aristotle. Psychology is an aspect of Filipino Psychology as an academic discipline in some universities in the Philippines. [20] 

Period of changing mind

It was the third basis because it is associated with Filipino personality. There were a lot of bases seen in this period. Particularly, this basis was evident in the written works of some Filipino writers like Pedro Serrano Laktaw and Isabelo delos Reyes. Even before the psychology of language was seen in written outputs produced by Filipinos. It somehow showed the shallow orientation of Filipino in terms of experiences in researching and conducting studies. Filipinos should not dampen their spirits instead they should hope for some improvements.

Period of giving value to societal problems

The time of giving importance to societal problems was the fourth basis because this serves as a witness of the society. Hartendorp is one of the American psychologists who become interested in our Psychology. The theory of Osias in 1940 is about the relation of language to the society and in connection of the knowledge of paralanguage in the actions of the individuals. However, his period is also the time of some Filipino psychologists. In such a way Filipino Psychology have this sure basis and it includes the works of Isidoro Panlasigui, Sinsiforo Padilla and Alfredo Lagmay who all gave importance to the acts and capabilities of an individual. [21] 

Societal problems

Problems in the society were the fifth bases because it gave value for improvement and development. Aldaba- Lim is known for giving high value in societal problems. He often encourages Filipino psychologists to listen to the problems of the society. All doubts in his dedication will vanished if a person will examine all his efforts and contribution in some of his researches in Psychology. The period of Activism served as a witness of this basis.

Language, culture and Point of view

Language, culture and Point of view were the sixth bases because it is the most fundamental of all bases.Filipino language and dialect is very significant because it is a witness in the many studies conducted and translated into foreign language. The field must still use medium, system and ways to guarantee the wide scope of study. Regarding culture there are none or very few Filipinos who still doubt about the language and culture of the Philippines. According to some professors and psychologists there was this “acquiescence effect” in the can be seen in a scale used and answered by Filipinos. The American perspective was used in analyzing this. It must be done primarily in a Filipino oriented point of view. [22] 

The Concept of Language

The concept of local language as a source of concept for Filipinos is a helpful tool because it gives a clear connection to their culture. Language is not just one effective way of communication but also a rich source of information. It is an affluent basis for the better understanding and orientation of culture. It is suggested to formulate a certain Filipino concept from the broader and wider scope it has. Language is the primary source in the study of Social Psychology of Filipinos.

The native language is a rich source of concepts meaningful for and significant to the local culture.” As a source of insight, some concepts were proven to be important in understanding the Filipino personality, worldview and behavior. Some of those were the concepts of “hiya”(shame), “utang na loob”(debt of gratitude) , “pakikisama”(yielding to the will of the leader or the majority, “bahala na” (fatalism) and “amor propio” (sensitivity to personal affront) which even some American psychologists attempted to study those.The problem with the token use of Filipino psychological concepts in the context of a western analysis is that it can lead to the distortion of Philippine social reality and can affect the education of Filipinos.It still preferable to use the language as a main resource. [23] 

Most Filipinos speak Filipino, the national language; and English, the language for commercial and legal transactions. The Philippines is the world’s third largest English-speaking country, after the United States and the United Kingdom. Literacy rate is a high 96%.Approximately 111 languages and dialects are spoken in the country and most Manileños speak at least one other dialect besides Filipino. [24] 

The Concept of Kapwa

The concept of “kapwa” in Filipinos is an important aspect of Filipino social life. “Kapwa” is reflected because interaction among other individuals especially in the Philippines is an essential aspect of social life. Language reveals a lot about Filipino nature. For this reason, social interaction should be an evocative core of analysis in the process of classifying the concept of “kapwa”. The Filipino language in this notch, gives a conceptual division in several levels and modes of social interaction. Santiago and Enriquez identified eight in Filipino.

The Levels of Interaction

Interaction of Filipinos were categorized into levels namely pakikitungo (transaction/civility with), pakikisalamuha (inter-action with), pakikilahok (joining/participating), pakikibagay (in- conformity with/ in- accord with), pakikisama (being along with), pakikipagpalagayan/pakikipagmalagayang-loob (being in rapport), pakikisangkot (getting involved) and pakikiisa (being one with). [25] 

The concept of Kapwa as a shared inner self turns out to be very essential psychologically and philosophically speaking. While “pagtutunguhan” (dealing with/acting toward) is another term which can be used to refer to all levels of interaction. Besides, pagtutunguhan also connotes the most superficial level of interaction: the level of amenities while “pakikipagkapwa” refers to “humanness at its highest level”(Santiago,1976) [26] 

On the other hand aside from the concept of “kapwa” According to Russell, In 1922 there were several explanations in essay forms about the high Filipino Self Concept. One of the most ordinary is it being the character of race as Filipinos got from the Malays. In 1965 Fox said that this is a trait of Filipino culture that is paid to be in the social context because of its fortitude to produce close family ties. . [27] 

The Concept of Human Interaction

The concept of Human Interaction includes the distinction between (Pakikisama or Pakikipagkapwa?) It is an essential part because it is very consistent in Filipinos. Aside from the good sides of interaction, previous work on Philippine values pointed our three evil characters in Philippine interpersonal relations. These are the “walang pakisama” (one inept at the level of adjustment); the “walang hiya”, (one who lacks a sense of propriety and “the walang utang na loob”, (one who lacks adeptness in reciprocating by way of gratitude.

In a deeper analysis some studies were conducted, It was argued that pakikipagkapwa is more important for Filipinos. According to Enriquez, in spite of the fact that western psychology works in the Philippines, the use of Filipino has led to the identification of the value “pakikipagkapwa” which is more important that pakikisama. The barkada (peer group) would not be happy with the “walang pakikisama” but the Philippine society at large cannot accept the walang kapwa tao.” Pakikipagkapwa is both a paninindigan (conviction) and a value. It includes all the other mentioned modes and levels of interaction. “Pakikisama” is a form of pakikipagkapwa but not the other way around. In fact “pakikisalamuha” is even closer than “pakikisama” in meaning to “pakikipagkapwa.” [28] 

Application of Filipino Social Psychology

Filipino Culture

The Social, Political, Ideational dimensions are diverse into aspects which were exhibited by Filipinos. The study of the customs and beliefs of Filipinos serves as a function of social and economic dimension of Filipino culture. The Philippine culture is such very rich. It was very evident in the following ways. In courtship and marriage most of the Filipinos regard this as a process of love as a parental affair. The marriage is the family affair which is measured as a success based on the number of children. Filipinos also believe in ” Babaylans and Catalonan” which were said to posses supernatural powers to supplicate God. They were also fond of charms and they believe that when they perform their rites particularly on the Good Friday they will gain magical powers like anting-anting, lucky cards, stones and other stuffs. As a part of their social life they celebrate feasts to commemorate important events like Fiestas, Holy Week, New Year, Christmas and etc. It really played an essential role in the economic security and social solidarity of Filipinos. They are also known for their superstitious beliefs which are greatly connected to their rituals and ceremonies.

In connection to supernatural beings they follow these beliefs to avoid bad luck. It was seen in birth, illness and death which control the psyche of Filipinos. In religion when Christianity was introduced by Spaniards, it became a driving force to the life of the Filipinos. They were also thoughtful especially when someone is sick and in need. They are afraid of what other people might say. Some of their practices include giving dowry, carrying of guns, choice of padrino and carrying bow and arrows, sibat and kris. During the time of our ethnic groups’ laws were also made with regards to property ownership an settling arguments. [29] 

Filipino Values

“Filipinos use values to fill the demand for democracy. “The Filipinos are known to be hospitable. But aside from this trait, there are many other values that the Filipinos possess which help them live harmoniously with their neighbors. These have also made the Filipinos appealing towards others due to their pleasant demeanor. The following are some of the Filipino values such as “Bayanihan” is the creation of an association with neighbors and helping whenever one is in disastrous need. “Close Family Ties” are something the Filipinos are well-known for. The primary social welfare system for the Filipino is the family. Many Filipinos live near their family for most of their lives, even as independent adults. “Pakikisama” or harmony, involves getting along with others to preserve a harmonious relationship. Hiya is shame and a motivating factor behind behavior. It is a sense of social decency and compliance to public norms and behavior. Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behavior and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family. “Utang na Loob” or Debt of Gratitude, is owed by one to a person who has helped him great. There is a local saying: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalinangan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan’, meaning, ‘One who does not look back o where he started, will no get to where he is going.”Amor Propio” is concern for self image. Filipinos believe that how they present themselves to others is an important aspect to be accepted in society. “Delicadeza” or sense of propriety refers to sensitivity regarding the limits of proper behavior or ethics in a situation. Filipinos try to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. “Palabra de Honor” or word of honor is very important to the Filipinos. They believe that one must keep their word whenever they make a promise for the person to whom one has made a promise will count on it.” [30] 

Filipino Family

The study of Filipino Family is valuable because they value family relationship. In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the provider of the family while the mother takes responsibility of the domestic needs and in charge of the emotional growth and values formation of the children. Children see their mot


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