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Perception Of Water : Cultural Influences On Human Behavior

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Perception of Water: Cultural Influences on Human Reactions to Water
Intro: Humans have some seemingly instinctual reactions: the knee jerk reaction, the rooting reflex, and, with specific exceptions (survivors of natural disasters like floods or tsunamis), a feeling of calm or peace when near bodies of water. Popular culture uses this reaction to its advantage. Day in and day out the masses are bombarded with advertisements, driving down the road and there is a billboard for a “spa destination” and behind the woman with cucumbers over her eyelids is a beach with calming waves. This image is meant to elicit a reaction from the person driving by of “wow that does look relaxing.” This whole scene is used so much it is a cliché, but why? In this research paper I will attempt to answer the question: why is water, as opposed to other elements, associated so strongly with peace in our minds that we feel at peace in the presence of water? Water, in many major religions, is associated with some sort of healing or peace and I believe that these associations are so deeply ingrained in to our culture that we have a physiological reaction to being near water. While water is important to us physiologically I think that the religious associations with water are much stronger than just a physical need.
What is the peacefulness effect?: The sometimes overwhelming sense of peace that people get when near water is talked about and appropriately named by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as the
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