Chapter 4 Development – First Impression: Option 1

--Original published at Rachel Bickelman's PSY 105 Blog

There are the stereotypes of parents ranging from tiger moms to helicopter parents and these forms of parenting are often viewed as overbearing and unhealthy for both children and their relationship to their parents. Though I do not believe there is a generalized “best” way to parents, as children are unique individuals and thus need their needs met in different ways, there do exist bad methods of parenting. I will discuss what I think is the ideal way to raise children.

In order to raise a child to grow up happy, healthy and a productive citizen, it is important to foster a trusting environment of love, care, acceptance, understanding, and encouragement. The first year of life is extremely formative and influential on physical development (i.e. motor skills), emotional health and even mental health. I know this because when we began to foster my (now adopted) younger brother, he was only 18 months old but had developed severe mental illnesses due to a lack of psychical, mental and emotional support in his first year of life. Since the foundation for the three main categories of health are heavily established during the first year of life I would ensure all these needs are met to their maximum potential. To do so, I would provide the infant with plenty of safe stimulation in all forms of their senses, sight, sound, touch, and taste to develop each aspect of their health. I think love and acceptance is important to teach too, thus I would exemplify this behavior as early as possible. Finally, teaching the infant that the parent will be a constant figure of love and support will carry over through life.

Though I believe children should be able to pursue their own interests I also think boundaries need to be established, such boundaries are in place to keep the child safe but allow them to explore their passions. These boundaries would be loose though and discussed with the child so they do not feel that the parent is a dominant figure to facilitate a system of open communication. Thus, the child would understand why the boundaries were in place. I think its important to have boundaries so that the child will learn how to be safe and moral and ethics but including open communication allows the child to form their own thoughts, discuss, and understand that these rules and boundaries are in place to keep them safe and healthy. Rather than forcing a child to finish their vegetables, explaining to them why they must eat healthy and its importance rather than a harsh command with no explanation. Parents should have their child’s best interest at heart and the child should know this. Of course, there must be rules intact but teaching the child the logic behind them rather than pressuring them to follow rules without explanation is important and I believe it would help them to develop curiosity and their process of thinking. By building a foundation of expectation through open boundaries, meaning children would learn right and wrong and understand why, would help them in the future to make choices they believe are just or right.

Communication is key in mental and emotional health and facilitating a relationship between parent and child will allow the child to share their feelings and avoid feelings of alienation, subordination, or intimidation of the parent. Through honest communication, encouragement, and a relationship built on a foundation of love and acceptance, I believe a child would grow up happy and healthy. Open and honest communication also means that the parent and child would be frequently interacting thus helping the child’s social skills and strengthen their familial bond. This way, the parents know their child, their personality and know how to best be trusting and supportive of them and vice versa.

Balance between physical, emotional, and mental health through a system of communication and love are important aspects I believe are necessary for children to grow up happy, healthy and productive citizens of society. Curiosity and exploration through open boundaries and the understanding of right and wrong are also important. Facilitating open communication and simply knowing that the parent will be a constant figure of support and love for the child’s endeavors is what I believe would result in a happy and healthy child.



Chapter One Case Example – Extra Credit

--Original published at Rachel Bickelman's PSY 105 Blog

Miguel’s struggle with his coursework can be perceived in various theoretical lenses in psychology. Looking at Miguel’s situation from a psychodynamic perspective may indicate there is conflict within his unconscious mind causing his irritability and anger. This conflict in his unconscious mind are likely driving his behavior when the situation is interpreted using the psychodynamic school of thought. Miguel’s feelings of imperfection, the conflict in his mind, contribute to his physical symptoms such as, trouble sleeping, irritability, and lack of focus.

If applying behaviorist psychology, Miguel’s struggles are being magnified by his behavior, his sleep schedule, amount of work done, and fights all of which are measurable. Miguel’s problem is his low energy and lack of sleep behaviors are causing a vicious cycle of irritability and anger. There is no benefit in Miguel’s behavior and thus contributes to his doubt in confidence. A behaviorist psychologist would likely conclude that this anger is also making his feelings of imperfection worse too. In this perspective Miguel is struggling because he has not experienced success with his coursework and feels anger towards himself in making (measurable) mistakes.

Looking at Miguel’s struggles from a humanistic perspective, these struggles would be explained from his feelings of imperfection which can indicate low self-worth. Since Miguel is not getting sleep or engaging in good social contact, his needs are not being met. This explains why he doubts himself. Additionally, because Miguel tends to focus on his imperfections rather than his strengths a humanist psychologist would argue that Miguel’s personal growth is being hindered. Because Miguel is too focused on being perfect and feeling inadequate, he is not focusing on more basic needs such as sleep and social relations.

Cognitive psychology would focus on how Miguel’s struggles have manifested from how he processes information and thinks. Miguel has though distortion evident in his feelings of imperfection. These thinking patterns cause his self-worth to decrease and impact his ability to fall asleep, irritability, and self-confidence. Because Miguel tends to become angry at himself when making mistakes, it likely causes him to ignore his coursework to avoid being angry at himself. Miguel’s desire for perfection likely causes him to become irritable, angry, and stressed when he does not think he had reached the level of perfection.

Biological psychology would explain that Miguel’s struggles are either due to his genetics or evolutionary. Miguel may have a family history of depression which is marked by irritability, lack of sleep, and low energy. In biological psychology it could also indicate a chemical imbalance within Miguel’s brain which is causing his change in mood. Or, in an evolutionary perspective, Miguel wants to be perfect, not just survive but thrive, this adaptive desire to be perfect may actually be hindering his life and causing more harm than benefit.

When explaining Miguel’s struggles with cultural psychology, it may be because he feels the need to meet that standards set by society. Perhaps he was socialized into thinking he had to be perfect. Thus, when Miguel fails to attain what he thinks is perfect, his confidence and mood decrease causing irritability and doubt in himself. Because he is feeling this way he may be more irritable and have troubles sleeping. Miguel’s struggles in this perspective are due to how perfection is understood within his culture.

First Impression Post 1 – Option 1

--Original published at Rachel Bickelman's PSY 105 Blog

The research question I’d like to explore is how stress affects memory. I hypothesize that when under stress, short term memory improves because the brain will be working harder to memorize the information. The independent variable would be the time given to memorize a deck of cards and the dependent variable would be how many cards were recalled. Supplies needed would not be costly, a deck of cards and a stopwatch.

In order to test this research question and hypothesis I would use hypothetic-deductive reasoning. My data would come from two randomly assigned groups of students with similar IQs and in the same cohort year to ensure that the independent variable will be the only entity tested and the sample is the same. I would recruit students by printing a list of all students in the same graduating class, rolling a dice and choosing each student counting by the number on the dice. For example, if the number was five, every fifth student would be contacted. The first 30 to respond would be chosen. Because all students are in the same year and admitted into the same college, their IQs are likely to be similar. This assumption though could cause flaws but this factor is glanced over because it would be too time consuming to gather the information.

In Group 1, students would be told they have up to twenty minutes to memorize a deck of cards (the number and suit) and to take their time. On the other hand, in Group 2 students would be told they only have exactly two minutes to memorize a deck of cards (the number and suit). Each student would receive a newly shuffled deck of cards to ensure they were not listening to the person before them. Manipulating the time and urgency in which students had to memorize the cards would be observed if it affected memory recall.

Students would be given points for how many cards they could recall in order (number and suit). Points would immediately end if a card was not in the order. For example, three points means three cards were recited in exact order of number and suit. These points would be recorded and compared to one another to see if the time made a difference in memory recall. After the results were collected, I would analyze this data and either accept or reject my original hypothesis.

PSY 105 – Introductory Blog Post

--Original published at Rachel Bickelman's PSY 105 Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Rachel Bickelman and I’m a sophomore Sociology and (new) Psychology major. My hometown is Hershey just twenty minutes from Elizabethtown. I love to play tennis, make art, hike, shop and spend time with my friends and family.

Since I declared a second major at the end of my first year, I signed up for this course. I don’t have a ton of background knowledge in psychology, but, when I think about the word I connotate it with: human behavior, emotion, analysis, and research all of which have always sounded interesting to me.

Looking at the course syllabus the three topics I’m excited to learn about are, “Chemicals & Consciousness,” “Personality Theory,” and “Classifying Mental Illness.” I am interested in “Chemicals & Consciousness” because I think it will involve the brain which has some uncharted territory; there always seems to be new information researchers are finding out about the brain and how it works. “Personality Theory” also sounds interesting because of how unique everybody is and learning how psychologists classify people together. Last, “Classifying Mental Illness” due to the stigma and misrepresentation and spread of false information. Also, the topic is super fascinating to me due to the implications mental health has on everyday life and in society.

Honestly, I’m interested in all the topics but if I had to choose the three topics I’m least interested in they would be: “Obedience,” “Attachment Theory,” and “Assessing Intelligence.” I picked these on a whim since I don’t know much about them and seem less exciting than the other concentrations in psychology.

By the end of this class I’d like to know what human emotion is most powerful. I’m not sure if that is a psychological question or if there is a definite answer but that would be cool to know. I’d also want to learn what is the biggest factor in mental illness: biology or environment? This could change the way that mental illnesses are both treated and managed.