mcnea034: November 2011 Archives

One of the most controversial TV characters on modern television has got to be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. The premise of the show is that Dexter is a blood spatter analyst who works for Miami Metro Homicide. He is a proud father and was even a great husband to a lovely wife for a while in the show. However, Dexter has a secret. When Dexter was three he was locked in a storage crate with his mother and a few other people who owed drug cartel money. They were made an example and he witnessed them all get brutally killed by a chainsaw. For the rest of his life Dexter could only feel things by killing them and so he became one of the longest running serial killers in America. At first glance the story makes perfect sense. Dexter witnesses trauma and suddenly his life becomes the product of a horrific incident. But regardless of how novel the story sounds it sounds almost identical to B.F. Skinner's theory of radical behaviorism. Radical behaviorists would love Dexter's story because it confirms what they believe, "...all of our actions are products of preexisting causal influences" as stated by the Lilienfeld text. They would whole-heartedly agree that Dexter has no free will when he kills people. He's simply been conditioned and that killing is all he can do. Especially since his horrific incident happened at such a young age and they believe the first few years of life are absolutely critical in adult development and that we can't change very much upon reaching adulthood. But with radical behaviorism and with Dexter, there are several challenges with them to critical thinking. Causal thinking does play a large role in how we act and behave. Nature wouldn't have endowed us with such huge cerebral cortexes if thinking and reasoning wasn't a large part of human existence.

Death is a common event for all of mankind. It strikes us at all times and is the eventual end for us all. But for some, death strikes in such a way that it causes severe damage and pain for those around them. No one knows this concept better than soldiers. Take for instance an American soldier named Joe (Last Name Not Disclosed) who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from duty in 2005. Joe witnessed his friend Gary die a horrific death at the hand of a land mine. When he came home from duty he was changed. He recalled grisly memories when he smelled gasoline. When he heard loud sudden noises he was instantly ready for combat. He remembered scenes of battle during work and he had trouble remembering things. (source) PTSD has so many harmful symptoms it sounds nearly hopeless to try and recover from. But there is hope. Exposure Therapy is the answer to the problem. According the Lilienfeld text exposure therapy works by using systematic desensitization which lets clients confront what they fear to eliminate the fear. It utilizes countercondtioning to which means to pair relaxation with an original anxiety stimulus. The two can't mix so the fear is dropped. A technique that falls user this category is something known as "flooding". Flooding involves a large sudden exposure to the fear inducing stimuli. Both of these methods are used to treat horrible conditions like PTSD which can be very debilitating. This is very relieving to me personally as I have family serving in the military and in active combat zones. I don't want any of them to have to deal with PTSD but if they have to, they can at least be helped.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by mcnea034 in November 2011.

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