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    • Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi: Psychological Screening for Magistrates and Judges
      Hardly will anyone argue the fact that in our contemporary Nigeria, the public institutions and their occupiers are riddled with greed and corruption. For far too long, especially under the Jonathan government, the general perception nationally and internationally is that judicial corruption is all too deep, high and widespread.
      The Nigerian judiciary is perceived as a corruption-producing institution and carries out its corrupt practices in a highly methodical and silent manner. It appears to be a pathologically and unashamedly judicial system where persons personally offer themselves to be nominated and appointed by any and every corrupt means possible and, once on the bench, some of these magistrates, judges and justices continue with their bribery mind set resulting in litigants having a long view of the courts as benches from where partial judgments are rendered day in and day out. From the lowest to the highest court, beginning with the customary courts, magistrates' courts, high courts, Courts of Appeal  to the Supreme Court, along with its supervisory establishment, the National Judicial Council which is made up of judges who have risen up in the court system,   corrupt practices are perceived to remain deep and alive in the system.
      Judges as used in this discourse include magistrates, judges and justices, as they all judge cases and are supposed to be public servants, hired by the public to administrate our laws. But all too often some of the judges make decisions that are contrary to the law and find a way to be against the weight of evidence with dirty money/gifts as the motivation for judicial partiality.
      Corrupt judges are persons who are most likely to manipulate or treat others either harshly or with callous indifference, and in the process, become pervasively patterned to deceitfully disregard the rule of law while paying homage to the rule of impunity.
      Crooked judges with time become addicted to materialism, necessitating increasing avenues to sell judgments with the help of antisocial lawyers, in particular.
      Corrupt judges in a pervasive and ongoing manner swim in secrecy, inequity, and in corrosive environments. They pray that the nation continues to flow within a highly dysfunctional political system; as such an environment is required to feed their power. These corrupt judges appear to be vulnerable to intense reactions of fear and favor when engaged in their work. In general, judges are very powerful persons and each has a choice if he or she wants to be fair, competent and impartial or not.
      For some years now, we have had policies, reforms and training to help reduce judicial corruption and other malpractices. While there are some judges that have benefitted from these offers, there are some whose personalities are so dysfunctional, harmful, derelict, and even dangerous that they continue with their crooked ways.
      One of the insiders of our judicial system, maybe in an angry or honest way having been forced to retire, Justice Ayo Salami, a former President of the Court of Appeal, in his public comments, talked about the rotten officers in the judicial system. Justice Salami called these sorts of judicial officers “corrupt elements.” He noted that the Nigerian judiciary is filled with dishonorable persons not suited to be judges who get into the system and make it to the highest level of judicial authority.
      Justice Salami revealed how high-ranking, currently serving and/or retired judicial officers act as “arrangees” or couriers of kickback, leading to the "purchase of justice" in various cases. He told the world about some judges living lives of opulence in Nigeria, owning multiple vintage cars, in addition to having several houses with exotic furniture.
      A former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher, equally noted at different times how “all kinds of people" now find themselves on the bench as judges with many of them lacking any sense of decency and justice.
      To reduce the number of potentially bad and actively crooked judges, psychological examinations of judicial offers becomes a necessary step in moving forward. This is not about the use of psychiatrists who focus primarily on the biological aspects of mental illness and psychiatric medications; instead it is about using psychological science with the help of doctoral levels and certified psychologists to assess the fundamental personality, emotional, and cognitive traits of persons like potential and active judges.
      Through psychological selection procedures, potential candidates for magistrates, judges and justices can be screened for psychological conditions or characteristics which may compromise their ability to function effectively. Through the psychological evaluation process, we can detect and screen out those with obvious antisocial tendencies and who are threats to public fairness because of their access to power in the courts. Through the psychological evaluation process, we can screen out those with crooked tendencies, or those whose grasp of reality is markedly materialistic and who suffer from professional emptiness.
      Through the psychological testing process, we can detect those with good problem-solving skills, of average and above intelligence, and those who can act appropriately in very tempting situations, as well as detect those who are impulsive, sexually loose, drink heavily, or have problems managing their financial lives.
      Through the psychological evaluation process, we can reveal those with indicators of dishonesty, moral omissions, and a sense of hostility, aggressiveness, dominance, or abusiveness. In this historic period of rebuilding Nigeria, let’s use the psychological process in the form of a new broom to clean up and improve on our chronic judicial challenges.
      Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist, a Consultant in National Psychology, and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.
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    • Human Factors Psychologist in Aviation

      Human Factors Psychologist in Aviation

      John K. Lauber, PhD Airbus Industries

      In the 1960s when I was a graduate student at the Laboratory of Comparative and Physiological Psychology at The Ohio State University (OSU), I would never have predicted the career path that I have been fortunate to follow. Although rats, cats and monkeys offered interesting opportunities for research, somewhere along the line I discovered that pilots were even more interesting as subjects, and my professional life has never been the same since!
      Read more
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    • Overview of Psychological Disorders and How They Are Diagnosed
      By Kendra Cherry | Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD | Updated April 19, 2019 What exactly is a psychological disorder? How is a psychological disorder diagnosed? Defining exactly what constitutes a psychological disorder can be tricky and, definitions have changed over time. The first problem is that a mental health professional must first decide exactly how to define "disorder." How do you determine if there is something psychologically wrong or unhealthy about a person? How do you decide what's normal and what's abnormal? If you were to define disorder as something that lies outside of the statistical norm, then people who are considered exceptionally talented or gifted in a particular area would be regarded as abnormal. So rather than focus on actions that are considered outside of the normal statistically speaking, psychologists tend to concentrate on the results of those behaviors. Behaviors that are considered maladaptive and cause significant personal distress and interrupt daily functioning are more likely to be labeled as disorders. Today, many mental health professionals agree that psychological disorders are characterized by both personal distress and impairment in multiple areas of life. Learn more about how clinicians define and classify psychological disorders and discover how many people are impacted by such disorders every year. What Is a Psychological Disorder? A psychological disorder is a designation often used interchangeably with the terms mental disorder, psychiatric disorder, or mental illness. The “official” term is mental disorder, defined in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual, the DSM-5. It defines a mental disorder as: "...a syndrome characterized by​ a clinically significant disturbance in an individual's cognitive, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental process underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities." The DSM-5 also notes that expected responses to a common stressor such as the death of a loved one are not considered mental disorders. The diagnostic manual also suggests that behaviors that are often considered at odds with social norms are not considered disorders unless these actions are the result of some dysfunction. How Are Psychological Disorders Diagnosed? The classification and diagnosis is an important concern for both mental health providers and mental health clients. While there is no single, definitive definition of mental disorders, some different classification and diagnostic criteria have emerged. Clinicians utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to determine whether a set of symptoms or behaviors meets the criteria for diagnosis as a mental disorder. The International Classification of Diseases, published by the World Health Organization, is also frequently used. Purpose of Getting a Diagnosis While some people may avoid seeking a diagnosis out of fear of social stigma, getting a diagnosis is an essential part of finding an effective treatment plan. A diagnosis is not about applying a label to a problem; it is about discovering solutions, treatments, and information related to the problem. Psychological Disorder Prevalence Relatively recent research has revealed that psychological disorders are far more widespread than previously believed. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 26 percent of American adults over the age of 18 suffer from some diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. The 1994 National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) indicated that 30 percent of respondents had experienced symptoms of at least one psychological disorder in the previous year. The survey also showed that nearly half of all adults experience some form of mental disorder at some point in their life. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that there were approximately 9.8 million adults in the U.S. with a serious mental illness in 2014. NIMH defines serious mental illness as a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder diagnosable within the past year that meets diagnostic criteria specified by the DSM-IV. These disorders must also lead to serious impairment in functioning that limits or interferes with one or more major life activities. A 2005 study replicated the National Comorbidity Survey and found that 12-month prevalence rates were approximately 26 percent among U.S. adults. Anxiety disorders represented the most common psychological disorders (18.1 percent), with mood disorders (9.5 percent), impulse control (8.9 percent) and substance-related disorders (3.8 percent) following. Different Types of Mental Disorders The DSM-5 describes numerous psychological disorders, as well as disorders that fall under a category of similar or related disorder subtypes. Some of the prominent diagnostic categories include feeding and eating disorders, mood disorders, somatic symptom and related disorders, sleep-wake disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. Article Source
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