Johari Window Blog

Our psychology class recently did a project where we created a Johari Window. Basically, you select 5 to 6 traits from this wall of about 40 that you think describe yourself the best. You then send it to other people and have them do the same. At the end, you have an idea of what people think of you. Selecting the traits that best describe myself was a weird process. It really made me look myself in the mirror and to be honest, it was a lot harder to see that I imagined. I wanted to pick traits that I believed described me but also that other people would believe described me. The results actually surprised me a little. I had ruled out some traits that I thought described me because I did not think others would feel the same way. As it turned out, when everyone else filled out my window, those traits that I had previously ruled out were the most popular ones. It was eye opening and it made me happy to know that people saw me as I thought I saw myself. I also felt a little stupid for doubting myself in the first place. This project taught me to believe in myself a little more and that I do a pretty good job of actually being the type of person I want to be. I’m not sure how valid of a test this is. Sometimes, people could just pick “good” traits and not actually reflect who someone actually is. When done properly though, it gives a really cool perspective. Despite what a lot of people, including myself, may say, we care about what others think. The Johari Window is a good tool to show that.

Week 12 First Impression: Option 1

IAT tests can show bias that you are not aware of. I chose to take 2 of the online today and they were actually pretty cool. They were given to me at random and both ended up being about differences between men and women. The first was about the association between men and women, and sport and dance. Results showed that I have a strong automatic association of men with sports and women with dance. While consciously, I don’t really believe that sports are for boys and dance is for girls, I can see where the association comes from. I play sports with all boys, the sports I watch are all boys and even sports video games are all boys. I believe that is probably the basis for that association. The second test was about the association between men and women and leading and supporting. This time the test showed a slight automatic association of men with leading and women with supporting. This one made more sense to me than the first. When I saw the results, I thought of how I handle conflicts that come up. If something happened and I needed comfort or emotional support, I would go to my mom or a girlfriend. If I needed a solution or something fixed, I was going straight to my dad. I never really gave it too much thought but after taking that test, all of that made sense. I can see this being used for a lot of things. For college students, it could be used in making a decision to pick a major or minor. Maybe the student has an unconscious preference to one or the other that the test can show. It could have the same use in your career when it comes to picking jobs. If you ever become a boss you could use it to find certain unconscious biases of people in the workplace. For example, the test could be used to see if people have negative biases towards their bosses/managers. You could use that information to make the workplace a little more comfortable.

Spotlight Blog 2: Option 2

I’m at a point in life where I am surrounded by stress. In order to function, I need to be able to manage that stress in healthy ways. I chose to find stress management tips for 3 groups of people; college students, athletes, and people in the workplace. I am currently a college student and an athlete. Both can be extremely stressful at times and I want to know how to deal with it better. In the future, I plan on joining the workforce so I will need to know how to manage stress in that aspect too. For advice on managing stress as a college student, I found an article by with 10 tips for managing stress in college. The first tip they give is to get enough sleep. This is important because the body needs its rest. The article says to get from 7 to 9 hours of sleep. According to the information from class, you ideally want 7 and a half OR 9 hours of sleep. If your wake up in-between these two times, you could wake up in a deep sleep cycle and feel crappy. Their second tip is to eat well. They claim that eating junk food lowers your energy level which leads to you having less ability to deal with stress. I can agree with this from personal experience. When I eat a lot of junk food, all I feel like doing is laying in bed. Next, Everyday Health says to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. These help you feel better especially when you are dealing with stressful times. They advise students to avoid unnatural energy boosters and relaxing with alcohol. We learned in class that things like the unnatural energy boosters can just be placebos sometimes. They are bad for your body and usually leave you in a worse place then you were to start. As for using alcohol; abuse of this substance can lead to addiction. If someone uses alcohol to cope with stress, there is a good chance of them becoming an alcoholic. They stress finding emotional support. Taking to friends, family, or school psychologists can help you reduce stress through a process called self-disclosure.  Another piece of advice Everyday Health gives is to not overload yourself and not give up on your passions. You need time to relax and if you overload yourself, the chance will never come. Also, doing something you love can reduce stress. For me, playing baseball makes all the stressful things I face go away. I can’t really imagine what I would do if I gave up on that and that seems like it applies to everyone. Finally, Everyday Health says to breathe and get a massage. We never really spoke about either in class, but they have always been talked about in connection to relaxation.

As I mentioned before, playing baseball makes all my stress go away. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stressful factors that go into actually being able to play. Everyday practices after class, weightlifting, keeping a healthy diet, preparing for games, and balancing your time leads to a lot of stress. Because of this, I looked to find tips on how to manage stress as a athlete. I found an article by Nova 3 Labs on stress tips for athletes. Their first three tips were also included on the list of stress tips for college students. First, they advised athletes to get enough rest. Just like in the Everyday Health article, they said to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This is starting to look like a common misconception and they should watch out for this. The other three tips that Nova 3 Labs shared with Everyday health were engaging in fun activities, managing your time, and getting support. They again stress the important of having time to relax and doing things you love, and confiding in others to lower stress. The final tip is to check your attitude. This is sort of a form of mindfulness-based stress reduction. Staying positive and staying in the present will allow you to not focus or stress over things like a bad performance in the past or a challenge that lies ahead.

Once I graduate college, the stress will not stop. There are a lot of stressors around the workplace, including meeting deadlines and dealing with your bosses. I found an article from the American Psychological Association (APA) with tips to deal with stress in the workplace. Their first tip is to track your stressors. It’s important to know what your stressors are and how they work so you know how to handle them. They then say to develop healthy responses. Examples of this that they gave were exercise, get enough sleep, or do something you love; all things that the previous two articles touched on. The next tip is to establish boundaries and take time to relax. They suggest having set times where you are not doing anything work-related. This can go with the “leave time to relax” aspect that the previous articles talked about. It’s important to have this in your life because without it, there is no healthy escape from stress. After that, the APA says to learn how to relax. They support doing meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction activities. Both of which we know are healthy stress reduction activities. Just like the other two articles, the APA suggests finding support. Finally, they suggest talking to your supervisor. Supervisors want their employees to perform to the best of their abilities. This happens when everyone is healthy so if there is a problem, he or she will do what they can to help.

People always need ways to deal with stress. With the exception of sleep tips, I think that these three articles all give good, accurate advice and I will keep them in mind the next time I am dealing with stress.

Week 10 First Impressions: Option 1

I would have to say that most of my intelligence, and probably a lot of people’s intelligence, comes from school. Interactions with teachers went a long way towards helping me build that intelligence. My interactions with teachers were usually good. I was quiet but I did my work, got good grades, and was never an issue. As a result, my teachers put more focus on others that were struggling but if I ever needed help with something, they were happy to lend a hand. That worked well for me. I liked being able to figure things out for myself before I go to someone else. Doing things on my own did lead to me not being as close to some of my teachers as others but I was okay with that. When I did interact with my teachers, it went well. They always tried to do what they could to help me with whatever I came to them with. This was exactly what I needed in order to learn as much as I could and perform academically.

While those methods worked for me, they do not work for every student. Everyone’s ideal environment for learning is a little different. To get students to learn and do well, teachers need to do their best to understand what that environment might be for each student. In order to do this, they need more time working as close to one-on-one with students as possible. Smaller class sizes could achieve this. The average class in my high school probably had 30 people in it; it can be hard to learn the specific preferences of 30 people. Cutting down on class size makes it easier for the teachers to learn that. Another thing to change could be the curriculum. In Pennsylvania, we have these tests called the keystones. They suck, they’re stupid, and I spent a ton of time in class just learning how to do well on those tests. Instead of designing the curriculum to get students to perform well on standardized tests like that, make the emphasis on trying to make sure students are really learning the material. I think making those changes could help schools improve the performance of their students.

Week 10 First Impression: Option 2

Violent video games are all over the place. If you talk to someone under 50, there is a good chance they have at least a vague idea of what Call of Duty is. The Call of Duty games are just a fraction of the violent video games available for people to play. If I had to guess, either games like that or sports games are the most popular video games on the market. Growing up, I would have described myself as a casual video game player. My games of choice were sports games like Madden or NBA 2k but I would occasionally play a game like Call of Duty or Halo while over at a friends house. The violence and gore really had no effect on me. Part of this is probably because I was a little older when my friends started playing those games and understood what was going on. I saw the violence as just part of the game and nothing else. Judging from the way everyone else talked about it, it seemed like they felt the same way. Of course there were those kids that wanted to be in the army because they liked playing first person shooters. As they grew up they were never more violent than any of the other kids. I see where calls to ban violent video games come from; those games could be a lot for a kid to handle. I don’t think that is the right path to take though. Even before video games, I was exposed to violence. Whether it was grabbing gun-shaped sticks and acting like soldiers with my little brother or hearing about something that made national news, violence was still there. Banning video games will only take away one form of exposure. It sucks that we live in a world like that but there isn’t much we can do about it at this point. Instead of trying to hide our kids from violence by doing things like banning video games, we should take it head on. Teach them that there is violence in the world and that in many cases it is wrong. Then teach them how handle conflicts without violence. It’s not an ideal solution but it beats hiding our kids away.

Week 8 First Impression Prompts: Option 2

Taking the emotion test made me realize one thing: I suck at reading faces. I was pretty hopeless distinguishing the emotions. I could tell the difference between basic things like happy and sad but beyond that I had no idea. The hardest for me was embarrassment. I was 0 for 2 with that. It was hard to tell that apart from sadness and shame because people seem to make similar faces for those three emotions. I also had problems distinguishing between love, compassion and desire. Again, the faces all seemed similar to me. I think the test accurately reflects my ability to read emotions. The expectations for this test were definitely low to say the least and my result backed that up. That being said, I started to do a lot better towards the end after reading the explanations after every question. I was able to start taking the emotion test like an actual test and that improved my score. The information I learned from taking this test could definitely be applied in real life. Now that I have a better idea of what the emotions look like, I may be able to figure out how my friends are feeling without them having to tell me. I thought the test was pretty credible but it seemed like the faces in it were trying to clearly show one emotion. In real life, people are not going to make it that obvious so it may not be a true measurement to how good someone is at reading emotions. My suggestion to improve the test would be to add in some more subtle faces instead of ones trying to make it obvious.

Week 7 First Impression Posts: Option 2

I definitely agree with the idea that most college students are sleep deprived. At college, it almost feels like sleep takes a back seat to just about everything else which is not healthy at all. That’s just the way it is though, there is way too much to focus on and still get enough sleep every night. I try to put an emphasis on getting enough sleep each night but it does not always work out. Currently, I’m probably getting about 6 and a half to 7 hours of sleep each night. From what I’ve heard, 8 hours is the ideal amount of sleep so I’m about an hour short. The lack of sleep does not affect me during the day so I do not see it as a problem. One sleep habit I am trying to change is looking at my phone right before bed. I’ll always find myself either on social media or watching shows for a while before bed. This can get really bad during times when I’m binge watching a show on Netflix. I will stay up an extra hour or so sometimes just because I want to keep watching. Not only does this take away from my sleeping time, but staring at the screen can make it harder for me to fall asleep. Because of that, I am making an effort to cut down on my phone use before bed. I think 6 and a half to 7 hours of sleep is a realistic goal for college students. College can demand a lot out of students so a full 8 hours of sleep seems unrealistic to me.

Spotlight Blog 1: Studying

Tests are at the top of the list of stressful things a student deals with. In most classes, they count for a majority of the grade and can be a nightmare to prepare for. Everyone has different methods of preparing, some better than others, for these tests. For those without a set method, there are sources online that suggest the best methods of studying for all types of students and even their parents. Some of these study tips stack up with how memory works while some do not.

In my opinion, exams in high school did not carry the same pressure and weight that the exams in college do. That being said, students still need to prepare for them. While looking for study tips for high school students, I came across an article from LiveAbout appropriately titled “10 High School Study Tips for Students”. As the title says, the article gives the reader 10 tips to help a high school student study. I read them and compared the tips to what we learned about memory. The first suggestion was to study alone. The author, Holly Ashworth, advises the reader to study alone because unless a group is very serious about studying, they will struggle to stay on-topic. Ashworth makes a good point with this tip. Group study sessions can be beneficial but they do tend to get off topic more than someone would while studying alone. I wouldn’t say avoid this all together though. If you can find a good study group, studying can be a lot more efficient. Group-mates can create tests for each other to take. Because of interference, new or old memories that block the ability to retrieve information, students need to study in an environment as close to the test as possible. It is hard to get closer to the test environment than a practice test made and graded by someone else. Tips 2 and 3 tie into each other. Tip 2 says to find the perfect study area and tip 3 says to get all of your materials out. It is important to eliminate all distractions while studying and that all starts with the setup. Tips 4 and 8 both deal with flashcards. Tip 4 tells the reader to make flash cards and tip 8 tells the reader to test themselves with the flash cards. The use of flashcards can be effective but must be used correctly. A lot of students make the mistake of studying flash cards in one particular order. When you do that, you are basically memorizing a list, not the meaning of what you need to learn. When using flashcards to study, make sure they are shuffled before you start using them and before every other time you go through them. Tip 5 says to eat healthy while studying. There was not much evidence as to why this was important in the article but it does make sense. From personal experience, junk food can make me sluggish and studying while sluggish just does not work. Tip 6 says to narrow your studying down to the important parts. Ashworth suggests the use of a study guide provided by the teacher. This goes back to the idea of a practice exam. You should study as much information as you can if there is not enough time, use the study guide as a practice exam. If there is not a study guide, go back to the textbook and turn section headings into questions. Tip 7 says to take a break from studying. This is applying the idea of distributed practice. The brain actually retains more when you study for a little bit and then take a break. Tip 9 says to get enough sleep. Sleeping helps the brain retain what you studied. The less sleep you get means the less you retain. Finally, tip 10 says to study all semester long. The brain will retain more information when studying is spread out. Cramming the night before does not work (MacFarlane).

In college, the tests get harder and consist of even more information. Studying becomes crucial if you want to do well. The Huffington Post put out an article on their website with 9 studying tips for college students. The first tip suggests that students should use multiple study spaces. This tip makes sense because switching environments actually does have an effect on the retrieval of information. If you study in one room the entire time and then take the test in a different room, there could be problems with retrieval because your brain is used to being in the original room. Switching up where you study eliminates that issue. The second tip says to use study and homework groups. Again, as long and the groups are on-topic, they can be successful. Tips 3 and 5 advise a few of the same things as the LiveAbout article. Tip 3 says to make flashcards and 5 says to sleep. Tip 4 goes back to the idea of studying in a situation as similar as possible to the test. They advise readers to make tests for themselves to take. Taking practice tests will prepare the mind for taking an actual test better than any other method. Tip 6 says not to categorize yourself. For example, a student will say they are a visual learner and then only use study habits that work for visual learners. If you box yourself in like that, you could be missing out on other strategies that could really work for you. Tip 7 says go to class. This is a pretty obvious one. Although there are textbooks for most classes, professors could present and explain the information in a way that is easier to process. You will miss out on this opportunity if you do not go to class. Tip 8 says to switch between subjects. Mixing up the order of the things you study is a good habit to get into. Tests questions are not in a specific order so mixing up the order of what you study gets the brain ready to switch from section to section like it has to on a test. Tip 9 says to manage your time. It is important to spread out your studying and not cram (MacFarlane).

As we get older, some of us will become parents and the study habits of our kids might be an issue. An article from written by Kelsey Sheehy says that teens are sacrificing sleep in order to study and gives three tips to help them avoid that. The first tip says to set a schedule and make studying a part of every day instead of cramming. Spreading out the studying will be better for memory than cramming and it will allow the student to get a better night’s sleep before the test. The second tip is to get rid of distractions. This will allow the student to just focus on the material. The final tip is to take breaks. Again, breaking up studying is better for memory than covering all of the information in one session (MacFarlane).

MacFarlane, Ian. “PSY 105: Introduction to Psychology.” Elizabethtown College.           Psychology Department, Elizabethtown College, 2017.

Week 6 First Impression: Psychoactive Drugs

The legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses seems to be on the brink of being a popular movement. I think it’s the right time to start legalizing it for both means.  Research shows that marijuana has medical benefits. It reduces pain without the addictive qualities of the painkillers that people usually get prescribed, like Percocet. Over the summer, I watched this series of short videos by Vice Sports on Youtube. They interviewed all of these ex-NFL players about their experiences with painkillers while playing and after their career was over. The responses were the same, football had left them with a destroyed body and an addiction to painkillers. A few of them spoke about how they started using marijuana instead of painkillers to deal with their deteriorating bodies and the stories were impressive. Every single one of them said that their lifestyle had improved significantly once they traded the painkillers for marijuana. Kyle Turley was one of those players interviewed. He has been making efforts to legalize the use of marijuana and has also been encouraging other ex-NFL players to use it in place of painkillers. Obviously, not everyone is an NFL player but there are a lot of people in a lot of pain for one reason or another. Instead of giving them addictive painkillers that may only add to their problems, let them use medical marijuana. There is plenty of evidence that it works.

Recreational use of Marijuana should be legal too. It isn’t as harmful as other drugs. Really, it isn’t harmful at all besides making people kind of lazy while they’re high. You don’t see people advocating for the medical use of cocaine or heroin. I feel that the reason marijuana is not legal yet is because of the stigma it carries among some, mainly older, people. That stigma still puts it in the same class as drugs like cocaine and heroin but in reality it is not. Marijuana is not addictive like those drugs and it is safer to use. Marijuana has a lot of positive uses and should be legalized. It’s just a matter of convincing the public of those positive uses.

First Impression: Memory

Study habits have always been a sort of problem for me. In high school, I never had a problem with studying except for a few math tests. Every class would give us a study guide that outlined everything that was on the test. We would fill it out, review it in class and then the night before the test, I would look at it for an hour and go to bed. Once college came around all of that changed and I am still working on an effective way to study. My studying style varies depending on what class it is. For a math class, I will do problems from the textbook or on a review sheet. So far that strategy has worked well. I run into issues when studying for other classes like psychology or marketing. I usually read my notes from class and read the chapters of the textbook. That can be an issue because it probably is not the most efficient way to study. It’s time consuming and can be a real problem when I have multiple tests to prepare for. This got highlighted last week with the psychology test. To be honest, I barely studied. It was a week when I had 4 tests and a quiz and I did not manage my time well. I waited to study and when studying for some of the other tests took longer than I expected, I found myself with little time to study for psychology. Again, I just read my notes and read chapter 1 and 4. I don’t even think I retained much from studying anyway and I paid the price on the test. For the next test, things are going to have to change. I’m not going to wait until the last day to study. My plan is to review a chapter per day. That will let me read over everything in detail. On top of that. I may try to make flash cards for the important parts of each chapter or even look for a quizlet online. No matter what, I need to put more effort towards studying for the next test.