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mantz007

  • Posted What Will Be Important to Me in Five Years? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Having many friends who have become addicted to some sort of drug whether it be alcohol or nicotine, it has been hard understanding why this happens. I always thought that it was one hundred percent their choice on whether or not they could stop using. After learning about drug abuse, withdrawal symptoms, dependence, and cravings, I know that once people start using it isn't as easy to stop as some might think. My best friend Stephanie grew up in a family with an alcoholic mother who physically and mentally abused her. Eventually she moved away to live with her father and step-mother in hopes to have a better future. Her freshman year of high school was her worst in terms of drinking. One night she drank so much that she went unconscious and an ambulance had to be called. I just couldn't believe that she had let it go so far especially since she has seen what alcohol has done to her mother and their family. This class opened my eyes into what goes on in someone's brain and body when they are addicted to alcohol or any drug for that matter. I learned that genetic factors play a key role in the vulnerability to alcoholism. So, Stephanie always had a greater chance of becoming an alcoholic than someone whose parents or family members didn't have a problem with alcohol. Once someone becomes addicted to a drug they build up a tolerance to it so that they need greater quantities to achieve the same effect. As the tolerance is building, the harder it is to stop using even for a few hours or a day. This is due to the body's withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Right when you stop using or go off your pattern of using, your brain sends signals to your body saying that you want the drug, in Stephanie's case alcohol. Second, if you deny that craving and still don't use then your body reacts through withdrawal symptoms. These are unpleasant effects of reducing or stopping consumption of the drug that the person had consumed habitually. These genetic factors, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms make it nearly impossible to stop drinking unless you have a strong support system and get professional help. In Stephanie's case her father and step-mom were not very supportive of her in general. Stephanie did get better for a little while as she stopped drinking for about a year and a half. But with this reduction in drug use came about more problems such as anorexia and depression. Once again these problems were not looked at as a medical problems that needed treatment by her parents (which it should have been), but it was seen as Stephanie's fault. Witnessing Stephanie go through problems with alcohol I realized that you can't always blame addicts because it is harder to stop consumption once you start. The psychology concept that has impacted me the most in my life personally is drug addictions and the reasons behind them....
  • Posted Does Birth Order Affect Intelligence? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Throughout the years there has been much debate on whether or not birth order in families affects their IQ scores. http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/birthOrder.shtml One of the first studies done was in 1874 by Francis Galton which came to the conclusion there was a high correlation between birth order and IQ scores. The reasoning for his finding was... 1. Firstborn sons would be more likely to have the financial resources to continue their education. 2. Firstborns had the advantage of being "treated more as companions by parents." This means that they also undertake more responsibility than their younger siblings. 3. Firstborn children would get more attention and better nourishment in families with limited financial resources. Therefore according to Galton there was a correlation between birth order and IQ scores. (His reasoning is similar to those offered by modern scientists.) Another study done was in 1973 by Lillian Belmont and Francis Marolla. Now this study included the aspect of family size with birth order and intelligence. Here were their results... 1. "Children from large families tend to make poorer showings on intelligence tests and on educational measures, even when social class is controlled." 2. "Within each family size (i) firstborns always scored better on the Raven than did later borns; and (ii) with few inconsistencies, there was a gradient of declining scores with rising birth order, so that firstborns scored better than secondborns, who in turn scored better than thirdborns, and so forth." 3. "In general, as family size increased, there was a decrease in Raven performance within any particular birth order position." For example, a thirdborn born child from a 3-child family would be expected to score higher than a thirdborn child from a 4-child family. A thirdborn child from a 5-child family would be expected to score even lower, and so on. This study brought about a very important aspect in whether or not birth order affects intelligence. Due to these two studies I can understand why scientists can come to the conclusion that there is a casual relationship between birth order and intelligence. It has been disproved that birth order and intelligence have a high correlation by the idea that families with lower IQs have more children than families with higher IQs. I have definitely witnessed these findings throughout my time in high school. It seemed like the families with the largest amount of kids had lower IQs rather than the families with only one or two kids. Through my personal experience I couldn't be sure of the family's IQ or the children's but from witnessing them in classes and throughout their high school career it became pretty obvious. Now, putting my own family into this study I can definitely see the relationship between birth order, family size, and IQ. I was an only child for twelve years and so I got a lot of attention from my parents and nurturing of intelligence. Once my sister came along that attention decreased to level out to the both of us and for...
  • Posted Does Violent Media Affect Children's Aggression? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    At the age of four Saturday mornings meant that you could turn on your favorite television show while eating breakfast and have a relaxing morning. But was your favorite show Barney or Power Rangers and does that make a difference? After watching a video that demonstrated children's behavior during and after they watched Barney and then during and after Power Rangers showed significant differences in their behaviors based off their exposure to media. During and after the children watched Barney, a calming show full of love and friends, the children played nicely together, sharing toys, and not hurting one another. Once the children watched Power Rangers, a action filled show with fighting, they immediately began imitating the fighting displayed by the Power Rangers during and after the show. Not only did the children act out the motions of punching and kicking but they also began punching and kicking the other children around them. This is a specific example of how children's exposure to violent media affects the amount of aggression displayed through their behavior. Another experiment was conducted to see how violent video games influenced aggressive behavior (Psychology Today). http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201003/the-broad-view-research-video-games-and-aggression This meta-analysis examined 380 studies that involved over 130,000 participants. Through this experiment it was proved that there are short-term and long-term effects on aggressive behavior due to violent video games. Playing violent video games for a short period of time seems to activate the idea of violence and increases people's overall level of energy or arousal. Playing violent video games over a longer period of time increases the person's overall aggressiveness. It has also been found through these studies that playing violent video games desensitizes people who play these games and makes them less sensitive to the negative aspects of violence. In an article from Science Daily I found something Bruce Bartholow said, associate professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science, very interesting. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525151059.htm "More than any other media, these video games encourage active participation in violence," said Bartholow. "From a psychological perspective, video games are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular video games, the behavior is violence." This supports evidence found in studies that violent television shows and video games increase aggression in children and desensitizes them to violence. Even though there is all this support for violent shows and video games increasing children's short-term and long-term aggressive behavior there are also arguments that go against this. One study from another article in the Science Daily suggests that, "Depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression, and therefore current levels of depression may be a key variable of interest in the prevention of serious aggression in youth," not violent video games. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214112031.htm The second argument against violent media affecting children's aggression argues that there is no obvious link between real-world violence statistics and the advent of video games and says that video game usage has reduced real...
  • Posted Clicker Training 101 to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    A very important concept that was discovered by Ivan Pavlov while he was doing research on the digestion of dogs is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which animals come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. This type of learning can be used to teach animals and humans to carry out a certain behavior or eliminate a certain behavior. Some everyday examples can be seen in advertising, fears and phobias, fetishes, disgust reactions, and training animals. Clicker training was the way my family and I decided to train our new puppy Bella when we got her two years ago. I was hesitant at the idea of using a clicker to reinforce good behavior because I didn't understand how the noise of a clicker could tell the dog to continue a certain behavior. This became a lot clearer after learning about classical conditioning. Training animals, and people for that matter, is not an easy task, but through classical conditioning it can be done. Training my dog simple things such as to sit when we told her to became a lot simpler using the clicker training. We conditioned our dog Bella to sit when she heard the noise of the clicker and then reinforced her with a treat. The clicker became the conditioned stimulus as it was now associated with a treat and then the conditioned response was her sitting. Eventually the treat was no longer needed to reinforce the behavior and then later on the clicker was able to be removed. Here is an article that summarizes how to use clicker training and how the clicker becomes a conditioned stimulus: http://www.understandinganimals.com/article/4 Now the question is, does clicker training, a form of classical conditioning really work? In my experience yes! Eventually my dog continued to sit on command even without the clicker which is what we wanted the outcome to be! Here is a youtube video that shows a dog being trained using a clicker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiSwb7iuVtw&feature=player_embedded Research has found that there are many benefits to clicker training. Besides having your pet trained to do simple commands and difficult tricks, your dog will actually continue to display these learned behaviors after the clicker has been removed. Some other benefits of clicker training is that... 1) it's a positive training method free of harsh corrections 2) you can train dogs of any age 3) it creates a deep bond between you and your dog because it's based on cooperation 4) proven by animal behaviorists and animal trainers for many years 5) accurately marks the end of the desired behavior, which means clearer communication with the dog 6) the clicker can take the place of the treats so you don't have to worry about overfeeding your dog and spending extra cash buying treats. These findings overrule the other hypotheses that clicker training doesn't last or isn't an effective method of training animals. (Ruling out Rival Hypothesis) Not only...
  • Posted Is there such a thing as an "addictive personality"? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    There has been a widespread debate whether addiction is caused by the drugs themselves or some other factor. Psychology Today has an article that simply states the view point on "addictive personality". http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/look-it-way/200903/the-addictive-personality" People across many societies and cultures can become addicted to alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Is this addiction caused by their "addictive personality" or some other factor? According to Stephen Mason an author of Psychology Today, "addiction depends, first and foremost, upon having an addictive personality." Our society tends to believe that drugs are, all by themselves, addicting. Yet there are many people who can drink a few glasses of wine at dinner or who have smoked marijuana a few times and have not become addicted. Doesn't this fact, in and of itself, disprove our society's belief that drugs are addicting by themselves? Yes it does! Being addicted to something is merely an "out-of-control habit"; someone who wants to get that good feeling all the time and organizes there life around it. This means becoming absorbed in a task such as drinking, gambling, going to church or any other task that brings about good feelings for someone. People with this "addictive personality",10%-15% of the population, simply don't know when to stop. This can refer to almost anything: drinking, smoking, going to church, or gambling. Stephen Mason brings up a common phrase that we have all heard of from our educators, peers, parents, and the media, "too much of a good thing can be bad." The people with this "addictive personality" are very good examples of this saying. Here is a video that briefly explains "addictive personality": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85HM4b1cAsM I agree with the many scientists that believe people can become easily addicted if they have an "addictive personality", yet there is proof that supports genetic influences on addiction as well. This being said, one cannot forget about other factors that can influence addiction and the other theories out there besides the "addictive personality" theory. One more link that I would like to provide for this blog post includes a song written and performed by Rob Bryanton. This song explains a lot about the "addictive personality" and its possible causes. http://imaginingthetenthdimension.blogspot.com/2008/02/song-10-of-26-addictive-personality.html This song supports the idea of "addictive personality" but it also brings up questions of how this "addictive personality" came about. It could be from nature, nurture, media, or genes. All these things influence individuals, even their ability to become addicted to a certain drug or action....
  • Posted "Watching" versus "Asking" to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Which method do you think determines someone's behavior better, watching behavior unfold in the real word or handing someone a questionnaire to fill out? In my opinion, naturalistic observation will compile the best results. These two approaches of studying human behavior have one major difference: "watching" versus "asking". The benefit of naturalistic observation is that the subject being studied doesn't know they are being observed so then the results aren't skewed. In this method of studying human behavior, the results seem to be truer as the subject is being one hundred percent themselves instead of possibly changing their behaviors or attitudes if they knew they were being studied. Here is a short video that explains naturalistic observation really well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdXjPxOsfuo Surveys can be an efficient approach to studying human behavior but there can be some downfalls. During surveys the participants might not put their full effort into their responses, they might not answer them honestly, and they could miss group variables such as race and gender. Overall, the method of naturalistic observation studies subjects in their elements without interference where as surveys can cause a participant to slightly alter their responses. I think these methods of observation are very important because they give scientists multiple ways of observing human behavior in a way that is best for their particular study whether that is naturalistic observation or a survey. During high school I experienced both of these methods first hand. For one project I had to observe someone in his or her elements. While I was observing this person I had to be very careful not to be obvious that I was watching them so they wouldn't alter their behavior. For another project I had to survey a class for each subject regarding their grades and how much time they spent studying a week for that subject. Most of the results were typical straightforward answers such as a B or 3 hours a week. But then of course you had the students who didn't put answers such as "why do you need to know?" or "I don't know, you expect me to keep track". Answers like these skewed my results, as I had to take them out of my final results. These real life experiences helped me see that naturalistic behavior definitely allows the researcher into the person's behavior and life without skewing the results where as surveys can sometimes alter the outcome. One thing that I still wonder about is, what kind of studies needs naturalistic observation and which studies would surveys work better for?...
  • Posted Is there such a thing as an "addictive personality"? to Taylor's Blog
    There has been a widespread debate whether addiction is caused by the drugs themselves or some other factor. Psychology Today has an article that simply states the view point on "addictive personality". http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/look-it-way/200903/the-addictive-personality" People across many societies and cultures can...
  • Posted "Watching" versus "Asking" to Taylor's Blog
    Which method do you think determines someone's behavior better, watching behavior unfold in the real word or handing someone a questionnaire to fill out? In my opinion, naturalistic observation will compile the best results. These two approaches of studying human...
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