First Impression Post #4 (Week 6)

For my first impression post this week, I choose option 1: critiquing my study habits. My study habits largely rely on how many exams I have during the week. Typically, I have a good schedule, with time dedicated to each class each day. However, as an exam approaches I find myself focusing more on that class, and letting some of the everyday work for my other classes fall behind. This causes me to have to play catch up once my exams are over. Typically, I read the pages assigned before class and I look over the power point when possible. I actively take notes in class that I review afterwards. I also make Quizlets for each day of class that I try to learn in the days following and leading up to the exam. Something that I definitely need to improve on is staying on top of this schedule. Better keeping up with this plan would keep me from studying for exams all at one time and then having to catch up in the rest of my classes.

For this exam in particular, I did not keep to my planned schedule well enough. I was able to make a Quizlet for each section from the book as well as each in class lecture. However, I found myself making the majority of them the weekend before the test. Had I made them (and learned them) throughout, I would have retained some of the ‘finer’ topics better. Meaning, I understood all of the broad topics which helped me do well on the multiple choices, however I did not do as well with some of the topics that simply required memorization. For this next test, I plan to also spend a lot more time looking at the practice questions. The ones given for the first exam were extremely similar to ones found on the test and had I focused on those more, I would have felt even more confident with the material. Overall, I plan to learn the information throughout the weeks leading up to the next exam instead a couple of days before.

First Impression Post #3

The TED talk that I chose to watch was give by Jim Fallon, called “Exploring the mind of a killer”. The reason I chose this talk is because I have always wondered if chemical imbalances in the brain or differences in brain structure are what cause a person to turn into a psychopathic killer, or if its simply just an outcome of the environment they grew up in and the personality they developed (basically the standard nature vs. nurture conflict).

The talk started out with Fallon telling about some experimentation that he conducted with the brains of psychopathic killers. He pointed out that there was distinct brain damage in the brains of murders. Specifically, he pointed out damage to the orbital cortex and the anterior temporal cortex that was a commonality among the brains. He then talked about a gene for violence that is passed down hereditarily, which led him to speak about his own family history. He mentioned how earlier generations of his family were murderers (at one point he said seven men in a row on his father’s side). He chose to talk about this to emphasize that while the ‘violent’ gene can be passed on, it isn’t always.

Something that I found most interesting about the talk was how he explained why most psychopathic killers are typically male. He said that the gene that allowed for more violence/violent tendencies is located on the X chromosome, meaning that you receive it prominently from your mother. This is why males prominently end up with gene because the y chromosome that they receive from their father does not have the gene.

I found the presenter himself to be a reliable source. He led off the presentation by providing the audience with his credentials. He mentioned having a degree in neuroscience and being a professor on the subject as well. He then described the personal research that he did on the brains and how he even went as far as beginning to put his own family through CAT scans to try to trace where the ‘trouble’ would be in his family. To me, it seems that his credentials are good enough for him to be a reliable source on neuroscience.

A potential research idea for this subject would be to conduct a cross-sectional study on how different ages affect the potency of this gene. By dissecting and analyzing brains, in much the same fashion as Fallon did, of psychopaths of different ages, it could show whether there is a time when the brain is more apt to cause violence. This could be done by measuring the amount of damage to the orbital cortex and anterior temporal cortex. If a trend was found, then there would be more information on when someone was more at risk of doing something violent. Pairing this information with knowing whether or not someone has the ‘violent’ gene, would help us to understand why these psychopathic crimes are committed.

First Impression Post #2

After reading the prompt for this week, the first thing that I did was to look into what a ‘jellyfish dad’ is. While I have heard of the terms ‘tiger mom’ and ‘helicopter parent’, I have never heard of ‘jellyfish dad’. After researching it, I found out that a ‘jellyfish dad’ is a dad that gives their child a lot of freedom. This contrasts both ‘tiger mom’ and ‘helicopter parent’ which involves micromanaging every aspect of your child’s life and attempting to ensure that they turn out exactly the way that you, as their parent, hope they will. In thinking about the way that I think children should be parented, I would assume that my opinions line up with most others. I would want to find a happy medium between the parenting techniques outlined above. While I feel that it is important to provide children with a structured environment, I do not feel that it is beneficial to smother them. Taking too much control over your child can hinder them in becoming responsible for themselves and even in developing creativity (due to the fact that every decision in their life is made by their parents). However, letting a child have too much leeway can also be extremely detrimental. Until they are old enough to make certain decisions for themselves, they need to be taught and shown how to be responsible and safe. Overall, I think that as a child gets older, they should be given more and more opportunities to prove what they have learned from their parents and to demonstrate the responsibility that has been shown to them. I feel that this would help their self confidence and encourage them to listen, and be responsible, as they get older.

Bonus Post: Theoretical Lenses in Psychology

The prompt outlines the problems that Miguel has been having with school/life. He is struggling to keep on top of his work, get a good sleep schedule, and to control his emotions. This is affecting his ability to do well in school and it is affecting his social relationships, as well as the way that he looks at/treats himself.

From the psychodynamic perspective, Miguel’s problems are stemming from an unconscious conflict that is directing his conscious mind. Miguel may be unconsciously losing interest in school, his friends, or the way that his life is at the moment. This could cause his conscious mind to lash out at his friends and fall behind on his school work. He could also be feeling unconsciously overwhelmed by his life, which is causing him to become angry with those around him. His unconscious mind may be struggling with the idea that he is not ‘good enough’, which could be driving his conscious mind from keeping up with his school work.

From the behavioral perspective, Miguel’s problems arose due to an issue with his learning or something that is motivating him to continue this problematic behavior. A behaviorist may suggest that Miguel’s bad grades have been associated with negative feelings towards himself. As he struggles to keep up with his work, he feels worse and worse about himself, causing him to respond by lashing out at others.

From the humanistic perspective, Miguel’s problems are because of an issue with his conditions of worth. It is possible that Miguel is unhappy with the life that he is living and that he feels that this is not the path for him. In trying to fit in, and be the type of person that will be liked and accepted by others, Miguel may feel that he does not have the freedom to choose in his life. This hindrance of his personal growth could be hurting him emotionally, thus causing these negative outcomes.

From the cognitive psychology perspective, Miguel’s problems are a product of his mental processes. He could have a mental difficulty in solving problems or decision making which is keeping him from functioning properly. For example, Miguel having difficulty with the mental processes involved in processing information could be keeping him from doing well in school. Also, issues with problem solving could play a role in how he is picking fights with others.

From the neuroscience perspective, Miguel’s problems are stemming from a biological issue in his brain. It is possible that the neurotransmitters in Miguel’s brain are at incorrect levels, thus causing some kind of mental illness such as depression. He could have also genetically inherited some of these negative behavior patterns.

From the cultural psychology perspective, Miguel would be having these issues based on his environment. Since this psychology is based on understanding culture and group behavior, the problems could be coming from Miguel feeling as if he does not fit in to his environment or even that he does not fit into his social group.

First Impression Post #1

I chose the second option for this week which involved choosing and critiquing a Mythbusters clip. The clip that I chose was ‘Is Talking on the Phone While Driving as Dangerous as Driving Drunk?’. To test this question, two of people would drive a course that had various obstacles without any mental/physical impairment added. Then, they drove the same course and completed the obstacles while talking on the phone to someone that was providing them with various tasks (such as repeating sentence back to them). Finally, the course was driven a third and final time after the subjects consumed a certain amount of alcohol. Each time, there was a driving instructor in the car who judged whether or not they passed or failed the course.

Before watching the video, I assumed that talking on the phone would definitely be difficult for the driver but would not be as impairing as driving while drunk. While their experiment showed that both of the variables negatively affected the driver (as the test was failed by both drivers when on the phone and when drunk), it was mentioned that they failed the test by greater margins when talking on the phone. I found this quite surprising. Not so much that talking on the phone resulted in worse results than driving drunk, but in that the margins were so much larger. I think that this could be in part due to the set up of the experiment. While they did have an adequate control, in the form of the first run of the track without any impairments, there were some areas that were lacking.

One problem I saw was in the test run after they consumed alcohol. They did not mention in the video how much alcohol they consumed or what the results of the breathalyzer were. I would assume that if the levels of alcohol consumption had been larger then perhaps the results would have been more comparable. Another potential problem that I saw was in how the experiment was not repeated. Each run was only done one time which would leave a large amount of room for error. Overall, I found the results a little bit surprising and while there were some errors in the execution of the experiment, I do not feel that the results would be too different. Ultimately, it can be concluded that both talking on the phone while driving and driving while drunk are very dangerous.

Introduction to Psych105

Hello! My name is Jessie Rubelmann. I chose to take this class because I am a Biology Pre-Med major. Going on to medical school requires students to take the MCAT exam and since a large portion of this test has to do with psychology, taking this class is very important. During my junior year of high school, I took a psychology class. Since I enjoyed this class very much, I am looking forward to taking psychology at E-town. When I hear the work ‘psychology’, the first things that come into my mind are closely related to the brain. Its structure, processes, and the different ways in which your surroundings affect the brain, and thus, your behavior. The three topics that I am most looking forward to are ‘Moral Development’, ‘How to make Memories’, and ‘Theories of Intelligence’. I find Moral Development very interesting in how it can be looked at in a historical context. Information about how people develop morally can add a lot to looking at the causes behind wars and other conflicts. Learning about how memories are made is also an intriguing topic for me. I am excited to see how different chemical processes in the brain can allow us to store memories from previous experiences. Looking into the different theories of intelligence is something that I look forward to simply because I do not feel that I know very much about it. I want to understand the different ideas that have been proposed about intelligence and I hope that there is some kind of genetic aspect to this topic. The three topic that are of the least interest to me are ‘Scientific Method’, ‘What is Addiction?’, and ‘Stress’. The scientific method is not at the top of my list because I feel that throughout my education I have learned about it numerous times and I feel that I have a decently firm grasp on the concept. ‘What is Addiction?’ and ‘Stress’ are low on my list for the same reason. Last semester, I took Dr. Hagan’s Science of Addiction FYS. Since we went into great detail on the nature of addiction, I am not excited to look into it again. Also, my term paper for this class was based on stress, so I feel that I have gone to great lengths with these topics already. In terms of what question about psychology that I want to be answered by the end of this class: How to brain processes allow memories to be created and stored?