First Impression Post Week 6

I chose to respond to the first prompt about how memory is related to study habits. When I study I prefer to start several days before the exam date. Usually I set a goal to study 4 or 5 days in advanced for my exams, so I can gradually learn the material. This tactic helped me immensely throughout high school, and usually had promising results. In college this goal has been more challenging to achieve because I tend to be preoccupied with my assignments for other classes. During the first semester I had an easier time utilizing this study strategy compared to the current semester. Recently I have had many assignments and, thus, much less time to focus on studying for my exams. For instance, for this past psychology exam I wanted to begin studying 5 days before the exam date because it was the first one, but I was too busy with other assignments. Instead, I started studying heavily 2 days before the exam. Although I did retain a lot of knowledge studying this way, it was extremely stressful. I felt crammed and pressured because I didn’t have enough time to study as thoroughly as I wanted. For my future exams I am going to make sure I begin studying about 5 days in advance, so I don’t need to learn so much information at once.

When I use my preferred studying strategy I read over my notes once every day, but multiple times as the test date gets closer. Also, I try to quiz myself by writing down everything I know from memory on a white board. Writing down the information I remember makes me aware of what I am confident in and what I should study more. In addition, I find it helpful to study and review in groups. I benefit from discussing the material with others, as well as quizzing others. This strategy works well when I have time to put in the effort, but since time is scarce I need to start planning and better managing my schedule. Also, I am always open to new study suggestions and improvements.

First Impression Post Week 5

Video games are becoming increasingly violent with the help of technology. New technological advances have made video games extremely violent, graphic, and life-like. I think violent video games are intended for adults who are mature enough to handle death, guns, and blood. However, many teens and even young children are being exposed to this gruesome violence. Children should be refrained from playing violent video games because their brains are immature and underdeveloped. The vivid violence they observe, when playing video games, could lead to aggression and violent actions because their immature minds do not know how to process what they are seeing. Additionally, many teens are constantly playing video games and might find virtual killing as a stress and anger reliever. This virtual aggression could escalate into real-life violence. Although it is more concerning that children are being exposed to violent video games, some adults could also be unable to handle the violence. For example, people with mental illnesses or psychotic disorders may react negatively to video game violence because they have abnormal thinking and perceptions.

Although some extremists may believe that permanently banning all violent video games is the answer, I find that too extreme. Instead, a solution would be to decrease the amount of violence in these games, rather than trying to make the newest games even more gruesome and graphic. Another solution is to establish an 18 years and older age restriction on all violent video games, rather than just a select few. However, there are some downfalls to this option. Some adults are not mentally stable enough to play these games but have the right to purchase them. It would be discriminating to deny adults with mental or psychotic disabilities their right to play and buy violent video games, if other people their age can. Another concern is that parents are purchasing violent video games for their children. Many parents are unaware of the violent, graphic, and gory games they are exposing their children to. Parents need to be more involved and observant when purchasing video games for their children. Parents could play the game with their child, watch the minor play the game, set a time limit on how long their child can play, or they could research the game before buying it. Video games are an activity that can be used to relieve stress, relax, have alone time, or socialize with friends, but violent video games can send the wrong message. Video game companies should stop increases the violence and blood in their games, minors and those with mental disabilities should be monitored, and everyone should decrease their playing time.

First Impression Post Week 4

I chose to watch Thomas Insel’s TED talk “Toward a new understanding of mental illness.” I was drawn to this talk because mental illness is prevalent in my family and I am always eager to learn more about it. Insel’s TED talk emphasized that the mortality rates of common diseases/illnesses, such as leukemia, heart disease, AIDS, and stroke, are starting to decline. However, suicide rates from mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD, and borderline personality, have remained just as high since the peak in 1965-1995. The death rates from the other illnesses are decreasing because of early detection and intervention. Mental illnesses are not noticed early because people often assume they are behavioral disorders. Insel stresses that metal illnesses are not behavioral disorders, but brain disorders. To have a decline in suicide rates, brain disorders need to be detected and treated early like other illnesses.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this TED talk was the statistics about brain disorders. They are extremely common; 1 in 5 people are diagnosed with a type of brain disorder. They are disabling; 1 in 20 people with brain disorders become disabled. Lastly, they have an early onset; 50% of people show signs of a brain disorder by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

The presenter, Thomas Insel, was credible because it is his job is to make sure there is progress in treating brain disorders and decreasing suicide rates. Even though minimal progress has been made, he has been researching and investigating. Although Insel cares about this topic, he has not found a solution to the problem. He stresses the importance of early detection and early intervention, yet he does not tell us how to achieve this. He is unsure of what tools will be used to detect brain disorders and does not know what to look for before the abnormal behaviors are apparent. He does reassure the audience/viewer by telling us this is a step in the right direction.

I think brain disorders could be recognized earlier by monitoring children who have abnormal behaviors. Although this method is still behavior-based, it could prevent the brain disorder from progressing into a disability. Another option would be for people to get brain scans if mental illness is common in their family, or if they show unusual behaviors at an early age. However, this method would be very expensive.

First Impression Post Week 3

The tiger mom parenting technique, which is common in Asian families, prioritizes hard work, education, rules, and discipline, over affection and play. These parents have very high expectations for their children and have very strict rules. Children are expected to have stellar grades, and have little leisure time for friends and electronics. This parenting strategy can be unhealthy for children because they are being controlled, have no independence or choice, and are scared of their parents. This often leads to rebellious behaviors, and/or low self-esteem. Although this technique does create a hard-working, and goal-oriented mindset that might help the children succeed in the future, they still will experience difficulties. They might struggle with expressing their emotion because their parents had tough love, rather than affection, and they might have poor social lives because their parents did not allow them to have play dates or sleep-overs. Children from tiger mom parents may be able to achieve great academics and impressive careers, but life is so much more than that.

Jellyfish dads are the total opposite of tiger moms. They are too lenient with their children and give them anything they want. These children call the shots and make their own rules. This parenting strategy lacks discipline, consequences, and structure, which does not prepare children for their futures. Since these parents are basically nonexistent, the children may feel neglected because no one cares about what they do. Also, they may even blame themselves for their parents absence. This can lead to negative self-esteem and no ambition.

The helicopter parenting technique is another extreme. These parents are over-protective of their children and don’t let them do anything because it is too “dangerous.” They are the parents who eavesdrop, spy, and search through their children’s belongings because they are so worried about them. However, too much hovering often leads to revolt and an untrustworthy relationship between the child and parent. Although these children are comfortable expressing their feelings because they have been so loved and nurtured, their parents are failing them because they do everything for their them, and are always there whenever they face an obstacle. Helicopter parents do not understand that children need to overcome some obstacles themselves so they have independence and maturity, which is crucial for succeeding in the real world. It is important to know that in the real world you cannot be dependent on parents.

The ideal way to parent is to have a balance between all three of these extreme strategies. Children should learn about how important it is to earn good grades, but should also spend as much time as possible being a kid because it goes by way to fast. Children should have toys, play dates, and should run around outside so they have creative minds. Today, too many children sit inside watching TV, playing video games, and going on smart devices. Parents who allow excessive amounts of electronics are being too lazy. Parents need to play and interact with their children to establish a healthy and trustworthy relationship. Children who interact with friends and parents, and explore their imagination are establishing  social skills for their futures.

Also, I think it is essential for children to be comfortable with their parents to establish trust. In a trusting relationship the parents will not hover and spy on their children because they respect them. An open and trustworthy relationship is necessary so children are not nervous to talk to their parents when they need help, have questions, or are seeking advice. Many children are too embarrassed or anxious to go to their parents when they need help because they do not have a strong enough relationship with them. Although I think a close relationship is essential, parents need to be parents. To explain, many parents try to be their children’s best friend, rather than their parent. In this instance the child disregards the rules and the parent lacks authority. Children need to be comfortable with their parents, but also need to know that the parent is in charge and there are rules that must be followed.

Lastly, it is a parent’s job to worry about their children, but they must let them explore and discover things on their own. Some parents do not let their children do things because they are too protective of them. For example, they do not let their kids get dirty, ride bike, play contact sports, and more because it could be too dangerous. Instead, parents should teach their children to be brave and face their fears, rather than hide from them. This allows children to express themselves and become independent. To conclude, a balance between the three parenting techniques will produce children who grow up to be happy, healthy, and productive members of society.

Theoretical Lenses in Psychology

“Miguel has been struggling with his coursework lately. He has felt very tired in recent weeks and has found it difficult to focus on his studies. Even though he is always tired, he has trouble falling asleep at night, is irritable during the day, and picks fights with his roommates. He is a bit of a perfectionist and gets mad at himself when he makes even tiny mistakes. It’s gotten to the point where he doubts his ability to do anything right.”

From a psychodynamic perspective, Miguel is suffering from an internal issue with his unconscious mind. The underlying issue is his unconscious desire to be perfect, which is causing him to experience negative behaviors, such as being irritable and not sleeping. This is plausible because Miguel’s internal battle to be perfect could explain his unusual actions and personality.

From a behavioral perspective, the observable behaviors Miguel is experiencing are: a lack of focus on school work, the inability to sleep, and mood swings. Since Miguel is a perfectionist he has developed a learned behavior, being too hard on himself, which is causing him to act out. His desire to be perfect is fueling his negative actions and is preventing him from focusing, sleeping, and getting along with his roommate.

From a humanistic lens, Miguel needs to focus less on his imperfections and hardships, and more on his strengths. Miguel is experiencing a condition of worth, a condition people think they must meet in order to be accepted by themselves and others. Miguel’s condition of worth is being a perfectionist because he doesn’t accept or take care of himself unless he feels that he is perfect. A humanistic psychologist would help Miguel realize all the great qualities he possess, and that he can free himself of perfectionism.

One of the aspects of cognitive psychology is the importance of mental processes in how people process information, solve problems, think, and make decisions. In Miguel’s situation, he is struggling with processing how to maintain a balance between his schoolwork and sleep, while still being perfect. Instead of having positive problem solving skills he looses focus and becomes irritable, and then makes the decision to lash out at his roommate.

From a neuroscience lens Miguel’s negative behaviors and feelings are occurring because of biological impacts. When evaluating Miguel, neuroscience psychologists would consider behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. They might realize that Miguel is going through these obstacles because mental illnesses, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mood disorders, are prevalent in his family. If this is the case, Miguel could have a chemical or neurotransmitter imbalance in his brain that is causing him to be tried, irritable, and to be fixated on being perfect.

From a cultural perspective, Miguel could be obsessing over being a perfectionist because of his ethnicity and beliefs. In his culture, he could be held to high standards, in which he is expected to be successful, especially in regards to academics. Thus, his cultural responsibility could explain why he is so stressed, pressured, and has low self-confidence.

First Impression Post #1

The Mythbusters short clip I watched was “Do Hands-Free Devices Improve Driving Safety?” Before watching the video I was confident that hands free-devices are much safer than holding a phone while driving. However, the clip stated otherwise.

To test this question, the two men made a short driving course and took turns completing it, while they were on the phone with the other man. One positive to this method was that the course included sharp turns to ensure the men had to really focus on driving. Also, both men completed the course twice, once while using a hands-free device and once while holding a phone. Another strength to this method was that while one man was driving, the other was asking him questions. Asking questions instead of having a simple conversation made it more challenging for the drivers because they had to think about their answers. The only weakness I noticed was that this driving course wasn’t totally realistic because it was lined with orange cones. From personal experience, I know that orange cones are stressful to drive through, and thus, could have made the men anxious. The results from this method showed that using both the hands-free device and phone were dangerous and distracting.

The Mythbusters were thorough because they used a second method, in which 30 volunteers participated in a virtual driving course. This virtual course was realistic because it included other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and required the driver to follow a GPS. In addition, the Mythbusters were continuously asking the drivers questions, to add to the distraction. This method had the same results as the previous one; both the hands-free and phone were unsafe. However, I observed some weaknesses. First, the 30 volunteers were split into two groups, one used the hands-free device and the other the phone. It would be more precise to have all 30 volunteers do both versions of the test. This would improve the test because the phone-volunteers may have failed because they are bad at driving with one hand, and could have passed if they were able to place both hands on the wheel. Also, listening to a GPS and someone on the phone made the test much harder. To make it more practical, I think the volunteers should do a third version in which the only distractions were the other drivers and questions.

Introduction

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am an OT major! I decided to take psychology because it is required for my major, but I also find it very interesting. In high school I took an introductory psychology course and really enjoyed it. To me, the word psychology means the study of the functions of the human mind and how it effects behavior and emotions. I look forward to exploring and learning about mental illness, memory, and stress. These topics are appealing to me because mental illness and memory loss disorders run in my family, and gaining skills to cope with stress is always great to learn, especially as a college student. The topics that look the least interesting are attachment therapy, personality theory, and theories of intelligence, probably because I am unfamiliar with them. However, I am eager to learn about all of the topics in this course. The questions I would like to answer by the end of the course are what causes mental illness, and how are the different types classified?