Saturday, April 25, 2015


Back in the day around 2 maybe 3 B.C., a thirty-something Jesus told this story:

A man was walking the treacherously winding road from Jerusalem to Jericho.  So dangerously notorious for travelers, this particular road was referred to as the Way of Blood. Whilst traveling the Way of Blood from Jerusalem to Jericho, the man was confronted by brigands, and then not surprisingly was stripped, robbed, beaten, and left for dead.    

It so happened that a Priest happened along, and noticing the dying man lying on the road, decided to pass by on the other side.  Another person happened along, this time a Levite, but he, too, chose to scoot across to the other side of the road. Rather than help the distressed and suffering victim, both the inimical priest and the Levite chose to completely avoid him.  Nary had the priest or the Levite offered any assistance whatsoever.

The third traveler passing was a Samaritan.  This was the Good Samaritan, who saw only a man in dire need of assistance.  The Good Samaritan stopped and with wine and oil, and dressed the man’s wounds.  He then lifted the man in distress onto his camel, took him to the nearest inn, and the Good Samaritan paid the fare with his own money.  The Good Samaritan even told the innkeeper to continue to take care of the man until his return, and that he would most certainly pay for the extra expenses.

Back in the day of that parable, Samaritans were considered, by the Jewish community, to be wretches and ronions, the guttersnipes of the community.  Nowadays, the Good Samaritan is colloquial for someone who helps a stranger.  In fact, many hospitals and charitable organizations are named after the Good Samaritan.

Just a couple days ago I, too, was in distress.  I had been riding my bicycle down the road and I lost my wallet.  I lost my black genuine leather wallet!  In my wallet I had my Driver’s Licence, my Regina Public Schools cheque stub, and my Sports Exchange Consignment Agreement.   In it I also had my   Madame Yes Clothing & Accessories card, my Regina Public Library card, my Costco card, my BMO card, my Conexus card, my TD debit card, my Air Miles Gold Card, my PC plus card, my Shoppers Optimum card, my Saskatchewan Health Service card, and my Consent Under the Human Tissue Act card.  And embarrassingly contained in my wallet were my MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD and one MAGNUM XL CONDOM.


Fact:  All of the aforementioned are the rather predictable contents indicative to that of a regular middle-class consumer; that is, save for my MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD and my MAGNUM XL CONDOM.


(My MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD and my MAGNUM XL CONDOM, which I purportedly had in my wallet and lost, is a lie.  I mentioned my MENSA MEMBERSHIP and MAGNUM XL CONDOM, not as a lie, but to impress and be funny and to begin this essay on the RESPONSE EXPECTANCY THEORY.)

The Consent Under the Human Tissue Act card listed my phone number and the good Samaritan who found my wallet dialed her phone accordingly. 

Methinks you may need more adolescent humor. 

MENSA MEMBERSHIPS are for IQ, and MAGNUM XL'S for eye candy.  MENSA CARDS are for those with superior smarts; whereas, MAGNUM XL CONDOMS are for those with plenteous penises.  MENSA is an international society that has only one qualification for membership – well-above intelligence as based on a standardized intelligence test.  A MAGNUM XL, too, has only one qualification for membership – a well-above average length and girth endowment as measured on a standardized ruler, or if need be, a yardstick.

The fact of the matter is neither was in my wallet.  I keep my MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD in a jar by the side of the door; I keep my MAGNUM XL CONDOM in a drawer by the side of the bed. 

I AM KIDDING (adolescent humor again)!

I will explore this humor by discussing a social theory of IRVING KIRSCH, RESPONSE EXPECTANCY.

What people experience depends partly on what they expect to experience?  According to Kirsch, this is the process behind the placebo effect and HYPNOSIS.  Kirsch characterized clinical hypnosis as a “non-deceptive placebo.”

Like placebos, hypnosis produces therapeutic effects by changing client expectancies.  But unlike placebos, hypnosis does not require deception to be effective.  Many psychological problems are maintained somewhat by dysfunctional response expectancies. Response Expectancy plays a major role in hypnotic inductions and such effects.

Back to my lost wallet, and to be more specific, the contents of my wallet.  Methinks, dear reader, you did not anticipate my MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD and my MAGNUM XL CONDOM.  Response Expectancy plays a significant role in twist and surprise writing and in comedy, and sometimes in both.  Expectancy plays a significant role in the twist regarding the contents of my wallet, in-congruent; methinks, to what you were anticipating.

In teaching some of my Psychology classes, I’ve invented a game called Wally and Priscilla.  Volunteer student participants playing Wally and Priscilla are asked to come forward and empty the contents of their wallets and purses on a desk placed in the center of a classroom.  Once that has been done, the rest of the class members debate aloud over what kind of people these particular Wally and Priscilla volunteers really are, as intrinsically described from the public display of the contents dumped from their wallets and purses.

And the responses sometimes are not at all expected.  This is in relation to the RESPONSE EXPECTANCY THEORY, could confirm to the peers of the volunteers who have emptied their wallets and purses, that these classmates are good sorts or bad sorts, depending on their premonitions, as were judged according to their past social experiences with them.  
Factoid:  the contents of the wallets and purses are adumbrate (in the subjective perceptions of their classmates) to a life well-spent or ill-spent.

But WALLY and PRISCILLA is but a game, a creative exercise in social psychology.  Losing my wallet was not a game.  Losing my wallet was not by my design.  But it could have been.

Let us imagine that I deliberately lost my wallet for a RESPONSE EXPECTANCY THEORY social psychological experiment.  If this were so, then the RESPONSE EXPECTANCY would produce only a zero-sum proposition. A zero-sum proposition is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the loss (or gain) of the utility of the other participant/s.  Participants playing in the losing-my-wallet game would only include me (the loser) and whomever (the finder).  Whoever finding the wallet would either call me or not call me. 
However, since I did not deliberately lose my wallet; in fact, since I lost my wallet purely by accident, the RESPONSE EXPECTANCY, not surprisingly, would produce that same zero-sum or all-or-nothing response. 

The contents of a wallet lost or not, is never meaning to besmirch, but will oftentimes reveal a boulevardier or two amongst us.  (This undoubtedly is due to the fact that those folks who tend to be chary will not volunteer.)  

This RESPONSE EXPECTANCY THEORY plays a significant role in anti-depressant medications and in psychological therapies, especially including HYPNOTHERAPY

Hmmm …


Methinks you need adolescent humor yet again.

I'm sure, dear reader, that you noticed my pun-intended snappy title and whilst on a humor roll I'd like to refer back to that MENSA MEMBERSHIP CARD and MAGNUM XL CONDOM.

And so ends this naughty and ribald tale of my lost wallet, a tale rife with racy and risque innuendo ... a rather perfect writing example of the potential value of the RESPONSE EXPECTANCY THEORY in the world of humor and HYPNOTHERAPY! 

(Nicole and Michael, are both artists from Ontario, who were just passing through Regina on their way to the West Coast, and Risa is a fine arts professor at the University of Regina.)



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