• Posted Does personality effect Conformity to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Why do some people embrace society's values while others reject them? What social or psychological forces lie behind the tendency to conform? The article I read did an excellent job in explaining why individuals who have different personality characteristics and who occupy different roles in society are more likely to participate in conformity than others. Not all acts of conformity spring from the same motivations, some arise do to intimidation and some simply for approval by the rest of the group. Research has been done to test the factors and determine the main causes as to why individuals imitate each other when under social influence. Studies have also shown that behavior is influenced by both personality and social factors, they explained that you are most likely to conform when: you are facing a unanimous majority of four or five people, you must give your response in front of a group, you have not already expressed commitment to different idea or opinion, you find the task ambiguous or difficult, you doubt your abilities or knowledge in the situation, and last but not least if you are strongly attracted to a group and want to be a part of it. In conclusion, all research that has been done thus far has found no correlation between personality type and conformity, however they did find that diffusion type people were most influenced by peer pressure whereas identity-achievement types admitted to engaging in conformity behavior for achievement gains. So no matter our personality are we all just victims of social acceptance, even if we have the strong urge to stand out in the crowd and go against conformity? I would really like to see further research on this particular topic to see what would make certain people speak out against the crowd. Sources:
  • Posted The Adolescent Mind and Perceived Risks to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In the article I read it stated that to reduce adolescent risk taking a different approach is needed, one that recognizes how adolescents reason. For decades adolescents have been bombarded with facts about the risks they take, most of them involving automobiles, addictive substances, and sexuality. Yet efforts to scare young decision makers with facts and numbers seem to be not affecting the young crowd at all. There is even evidence that some risk-awareness raising programs such as DARE, actually increase the behaviors they are designed to prevent. In our text Lilienfeld stated that adolescents routinely encounter new adult-like opportunities to engage in potentially harmful activities, but their brains aren't ready to make well- reasoned decisions. The article had also stated that teens fall victim to what is known as the "Immortality Myth" meaning that young people think they are immortal and invulnerable to harm. However the article did contradict itself by saying that research actually proved the exact opposite when it came to the adolescent mind and their perceived risks. a growing body of scientific data shows that young people are actually well aware of their vulnerability. Adolescents estimated some of their risks quite accurately, and even overestimated their risks of negative outcomes like contracting HIV the first time having unprotected sex. Although young individuals do display an optimistic bias, adults display the same fallacy in their thinking, so this does not explain why adolescents take risks that most adults avoid. Dr. Reyna and her colleagues have reached a startling and highly counter intuitive conclusion about the reasons for adolescent risk taking: Young people take risks not because of a belief that they are invulnerable, but because they engage in too much rational calculation when making choices. Adolescents mentally weigh their risks against perceived benefits. Research has also suggested that the trouble is to get young brains to compute a quick and categorical "NO" rather than weighing the odds. Adolescents took about a sixth of a second longer than adults to get to the obvious "No," when asked questions such as is it a good idea to swim with sharks? a sixth of a second may not seem long, but it reflects a major difference between the brains of adolescents and adults. The areas of the brain that quickly grasps situations in order for one to make a good "judgement call" is located specifically in the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are still maturing in an adolescent and don't reach full maturity until early to mid twenties for most people. So does the cognitive changes in adolescents effect the bad decisions they make? Although more research can still be done to test this theory, our text and the article I read do favor the side of development when it comes to these teens making life or death choices. The best thing one can do as an adult or a parent is to reduce the harms as much as possible until the adolescent brain is fully matured to see not...
  • Posted Can a Girl and Boy Just Be Friends? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In the article I read it focuses on the real meaning behind the phrase "s/he's just a friend." The article had stated that at the beginning of a friendship the boy and girl will have mutual feelings for each other, meaning they do not think of their relationship anymore than just friendship, but all the time spent with each other eventually changes the relationship into something more. This is known in Psychology as proximity: physical nearness, and a predictor of attraction, seeing someone on a frequent basis creates an perfect opportunity for relationship formation. Have you ever noticed when you were younger you always had a crush on the boy/girl that lived next door to you? Or the guy/girl that waited at the bus stop with you every morning? These are examples of how proximity works when it comes to forming relationships. Would you still have a crush on that particular person if you didn't see them on a daily basis? However in the article I read it also stated that opposites attract. This contradicts what we've learned in Psych 1001 which states in our text book that like attracts like. The article continued to explain that having a friend of the opposite gender excites us mentally, but not enough research has proven this to be true. This does not explain then why some girls may prefer girls over guys and some guys may prefer guys over girls when it comes to what attracts and excites them. Our book also makes a valid argument that having things in common with someone or also known as similarity, can become a predictor of attraction as well. Another key aspect the article stated on why boys and girls can't just be friends is due mainly because of attitude and nature.Flirty nature more specifically can cause jealousy, and irritation especially when the guy flirts with someone other than his so called friend and naturally the sexual tension may be there. This can end the friendship abruptly. Although there is more support and evidence proving that guys and girls can't just be "friends," more research still needs to be conducted to test out any other hypotheses as to why this became the golden rule. Those of us who have seen the 1991 film My Girl directed by Howard Zieff, have experienced first hand how awkward a friendship can get when spending too much time with one another can start to turn into something else. Sources:
  • Posted The Controversies in Negative Reinforcement for Dog Training to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    As many well established dog trainers know, there are various different ways to teach your dog or puppy obedience and training. Two particular forms of training drew a lot of public attention and that is Positive and Negative Reinforcement. Negative Reinforcement in the dog world is defined as: A punishment that is given to your dog or puppy or something is taken away to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated more frequently. If any one is familiar with Cesar Millan we know that he is very much a fan of this particular approach, and his particular choice of training drew a lot of ethical questions. In the article I read it touched base with the correct way to train your dog with using negative reinforcement which drew a very thin line to punishment. In our text punishment is defined as an outcome or consequence of a behavior that weakens the probability of the behavior. In the article the trainer had stated you could use negative reinforcement when you are potty training your dog. The article has also stated, if your dog where to have an accident in the house to place him/her in their crate so they know they have to potty outside, is this really the proper use of negative reinforcement? It seems more like punishment because nothing has actually been taken away from the pooch, besides his freewill. The other methods which were listed are the use of things such as, Shock Training Collars, Choke Collars, Bitter Apple and Cayenne Pepper spray, and water spray collars, or in Cesar Millan's case kicking the dog when unwanted behavior occurs. While all these methods seem more like punishment (in just scaring the dog out of the unwanted behavior) trainers nation wide are not using negative reinforcement correctly, making dog owners shun the idea of negative reinforcement, which if used properly could be a very effect method of dog training. Trainers such as Cesar Millan have fell victim to being labeled as an animal abuser because of his particular methods in dog training. He claims that he is using negative reinforcement, when he's not actually removing a stimulus, but striking fear into a dog when an unwanted behavior occurs. He may run into less issues with the owners if he calls it as it is, and admits to using punishment whether the negative reinforcement to train his dogs. More dog owners and trainers seem to be switching over to the less controversial training of positive reinforcement! Which in the dog world is defined as, A treat and lots of praise to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated more frequently. This method seems more beneficial to the owners and of course their dogs, I mean how can you go wrong with treats? I hope this particular article opens the eyes to our many dog trainers and owners out there, and helps them re-evaluate their method of training, and if they choose to stick with negative reinforcement make sure...
  • Posted Everyone Experiences Insomnia? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I would have never classified myself as having a sleeping problem, that is until I read chapter 5 of our Lilienfled textbook and discovered that Insomnia can take multiple forms including: Having trouble falling asleep, Waking up too early in the morning and waking up during the night and having trouble falling back to sleep. Scared that I fell into all 3 of these categories of Insomnia I did some more research on Insomnia in the adult population and discovered that most adults have experienced Insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives, an estimated 30-50% of the general population are affected by Insomnia (Wow! that's half), and about 10% affected by Chronic Insomnia. I went on learning that Insomnia is also classified by the duration of the problem, and not everyone agrees on the definition. I would also have to agree with this statement seeing as there have been times in my life, particularly the stressful periods were I did experience all the symptoms listed for Insomnia. I do love my sleep and didn't think that I had a sleeping disorder so I blamed it on stress which was altering my sleeping patterns. This brought rise to my next question, can stress cause Insomnia? Researching a bit further I discovered that Insomnia affects woman more so than men and that the incidence tends to increase with age. It is typically more common in people in lower socioeconomic groups, chronic alcoholics and mental health patients. Stress most commonly triggers short term and acute Insomnia, and if not treated or address can turn into Chronic Insomnia. Although stress and Insomnia seem to have a real strong correlation, I don't believe there is enough statistical evidence to actually prove the causation of Insomnia due to stress, many other factors can contribute to irregular sleeping patterns, whether it is stress or simply what you ate right before you went to bed. So is it accurate to diagnose someone with Insomnia because they've had a couple of rough nights of sleep? I don't believe so, however symptoms lasting for less than one week would be diagnosed and defined as Transient Insomnia, symptoms lasting anywhere between one to three weeks would be diagnosed as Short-Term Insomnia and anything longer than that would be considered Chronic Insomnia. They did come out with a new drug that is supposed to help those experiencing all the above categories of Insomnia, but is more geared towards people who are suffering from Transient or Short-Term Insomnia. I have added the link below:
  • Posted Twin Studies of Homosexuality to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    As we all are now fully aware there is still the endless debate of Nature Vs. Nurture studies. Twins potentially provide us with one of the most powerful techniques available for separating the influenced of genetic and environmental factors, and on psychological and behavioral traits. This process is called twin studies, as Lilienfeld would state in our text the logic of twin studies rests on the fact that identical twins are more similar genetically than are fraternal twins, if identical twins are more alike on a psychological characteristic we can infer that this characteristic is genetically influenced. There are several articles every year that assures us there's a link between homosexuality and biological features, the headlines imply that people are born with tendencies which will make them gay or lesbian and that change of sexual orientation would be impossible. The article had discovered that only about 38% of the time the identical twin brother would be a homosexual, however the public still believes that genes "nature" still play a major role in if one "chooses" to be homosexual or not. studies have also shown that many family factors had a strong influence on the sexual preference of the specific twins in which were involved in this particular case study, therefore making homosexuality and environmental "nurture" factor. The study had also showed that the same family environment was perceived in different ways by identical twins, these differences later lead to homosexuality in one twin but not in the other. in conclusion no specific study shows if homosexual twins are genetically influenced or if it is simply family factors, this will be an ongoing debate for generations to come it's one of those studies that may go even further than genes itself. Will we ever come to a conclusion? so far all hypotheses have been ruled out, and there are still many more being made. Source: . Bailey, JM; Pillard,RC (1991): A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 48, 1089-1096...
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