The Implicit Association Test

This week, I chose to take two Implicit Association Tests (IATs) and talk about my experience with them and how I feel about my results.

I chose to take the sexuality and Race IATs. At first, I was asked a bunch of demographic questions like my race, ethnicity, sexuality, birthday, and level of education. Once I answered all 13 questions (which were not required), the tests began. I started with the sexuality test. At first I was shown a list of good words, bad words, “straight people” (a man and a woman), and “gay people” (either two men or two girls). Then, I was required to go through 7 series of words and images and sort them into the correct category as fast as possible. The E button was pressed when i saw something good, the I button was pressed when I saw something bad. As the test went on, I had to sort specific things into specific categories. I did mess up a few times trying to go as fast as I could. The Race Test was the same procedure, except slightly harder when show photos of black and white people. The pictures where gray so it was difficult for me to decipher which race was which.

My results were not shocking. When taking the tests it was easy to tell which way my results would go when I messed up. These tests could be useful for students my age who are confused and not sure how they feel, but I do not think that they are totally reliable because of how fast you have to select your choices and because they make it confusing by switching which button means what category.


The D.A.R.E. Program

The D.A.R.E. program was designed to “teach students decision making for safe and healthy lives”. This program is taught by police officers to students in kindergarten through 12th grade all across the United States and in 52 other countries. This program educates and enforces children to make good choices when it comes to drugs, violence, bullying, internet safety, and other issues that children may face. While this program was created to show children the right and wrong ways to deal with these situations, it received backlash for the ways it might not have had a positive influence on students.

The D.A.R.E. program has seen a decrease in drug and substance abuse in the children that it had reached, showing that 40% of students that consumed alcohol prior to the program had reduced their intake of alcohol after exposure to the program, while 32% of said students discontinued alcohol consumption altogether. The program showed that students were less likely to indulge in drug related activities, however the Government Accountability Office said that these results are not statistically significant and the program was ineffective.

In a 2007 survey, 95% of the students surveyed said that the program was helpful and it taught them to make good decisions in the future. 99% of the parents surveyed supported the program and said the program had a positive impact on their children. As the children grow older, however, they are exposed to other people who are making decisions that go against what D.A.R.E. had taught them, like drug and alcohol use, and are pressured into making the same bad decisions. As time goes by, the children forget what they had been taught in their D.A.R.E. program and give into peer pressure and societal norms.

The D.A.R.E. program focuses on keeping children from developing a drug addiction or dying of a drug overdose, which is something that should be funded and implemented even if it isn’t reaching all children. In a 2012 study, 60% of schools who had previously implemented the D.A.R.E. program had ended the use of the program. D.A.R.E.’s revenue has also plummeted from $9.7 million in 2000 to $3.7 million in 2011.

When I was in 5th grade, I participated in a D.A.R.E. program in my middle school. At 13 years old, drugs and alcohol were not on most of my classmates minds. Besides the awesome song and rap we learned (I still remember the whole thing) none of the information really stuck. Of course, we knew the difference between right and wrong in those situations, but it wasn’t anything we wouldn’t know in due time. Watching my classmates who had participated grow up, none of the information the program gave us stuck. Peer pressure settled in and everyone was drinking alcohol and smoking at some time. I think that if the program had been implemented at an older age, perhaps early high school years when you’re exposed to older, “cooler” kids who pressure you into doing things you’ve been taught are wrong, the information the D.A.R.E. program was trying to teach us would have been engraved in our minds a little better.

As for other programs, such as sexual education programs, I do believe that they should be used in high schools. Unfortunately, my class in high school did not have a sex ed program, and as a result, my class had a higher amount of teenage pregnancy’s than the classes that did have sex ed programs.

I do believe that it is important to educate children and students on what is right and wrong in these situations, but the programs should be implemented at an older age, or be taught at various stages of students lives.

 

Sources:

D.A.R.E. America

D.A.R.E. Pros and Cons


Violent Video Games

I believe that violent video games can have very negative effects on children who do not receive enough supervision from their parents. Video Games have ratings for a reason, and that reason is so that children who could be susceptible to violence and destruction do not play and are not exposed to the video games, however, many parents ignore the ratings and allow their children to play violent video games without watching to see just how the games could effect their children. Parents should at least watch the video game in action before allowing children to play them so they can decide whether or not their child should play it or not.

Three of my younger cousins have disorders such as ADHD and anger management issues. The three of them have been playing violet video games since they were very young (around 6). Since they were already violent by nature, they felt the need to learn how to execute different moves in the video games, which I have observed other children to do as well. I believe that this is a disturbing practice because of how interested children are in correctly stab a teddy bear in the heart with a pencil just like their character in a video game did to another person.

Children who play video games will be less affected by violence in the future, they may even enjoy watching something violent or even doing something violent. Exposure to violent video games at a young age should not be something we are allowing to happen in our world, and I believe that if we were able to get rid of violence in video games altogether children will grow into more peaceful, less violent adults.


How Divorce Affects Children

Divorce is becoming more and more relevant today than it has been in recent years, and more studies have been performed to see how the children from these so called “broken homes” differ from children that come from families that are still together. A study published by The Huffington Post entitled Does Divorce Inevitably Damage Children? suggests that children from divorced families are much like children from two-parent homes, after about three years. This basically means that divorce does not, if at all, lead to social, psychological, or academic problems. Because there are differences between development of children of different ages, the divorce affects children that are younger, say a toddler for example, than someone that is older or an adolescent. The Huffington Post is as credible as its authors. The author of this specific article is a man named Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. Doctor Nowinski is a clinical psychologist and author, who has written about divorce and its affects on a family.

A second article, published by The Scientific American entitled Is Divorce Bad for Children? states that researchers have found that children typically do not experience problems with the divorce while its happening, nor when they’re adults. Of course, divorce will affect a child in the moment, bout the research suggests that the affects more or less vanish and leave the children almost if not totally back to normal. The Scientific American is a credible source because it is the longest continuously published magazine in America and has had articles contributed by many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein.

The opposing argument has been easier to find articles about. An article published by Psychology Today entitled Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones provides information suggesting that divorce is detrimental to children of all ages, including adults. The author of the article provides personal experiences growing up in a divorced home and explains how she believed the divorce was her fault, how she lost motivation and did not care what would happen to herself. Her and her brother’s social life suffered and her familial connections were destroyed.

One final source that says divorce has negative affects on children is from The Week entitled 9 Negative Effects Divorce Reportedly Has on Children. This article combines 9 different studies that all show that divorce can negatively affect children in ways that include smoking, poor social habits, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, and even, early death. The Week is a British news magazine, but also publishes an American edition. Although they are biased towards the left wing, they always source credible information.

While I believe that divorce and its affects on children varies from person to person, I would agree with the first source provided in the article. I agree that the affects of divorce can and will affect a child when the divorce is still new, but as time goes by and the child adjusts to the changes of their life, they will have a new “normal” where they function normally.

Articles:

Does Divorce Inevitably Damage Children?

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones

9 Negative Effects Divorce Reportedly Has on Children


Psychoactive Drugs

Many states in our country have legalized the use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, and many more are considering if they should too. While this topic has seen many arguments as to whether or not marijuana should be legal, and in what context it would be legal in, I would like to give my opinion on the matter. I believe that marijuana should be legal in every state for medicinal purposes. Marijuana has been tested and has given positive results that it can aid in the treatment of illnesses like epilepsy, and can decrease nausea, muscle pains, and inflammation. There was a study done on a young boy whose epilepsy caused him to have nearly 100 seizures every day.  This boy was given a dosage of CBD (cannabidiol), which would ensure he wouldn’t get high off of the drug. After a lot of trial and error, the family finally found the right dosage for the boy and got him down to zero to three seizures a day. This is only one of the many ways medical marijuana have helped people of all different walks of life overcome health obstacles.  Click here to read more about this study.

As far as my opinion on recreational use of marijuana, I think that the states should be in charge of whether they want to legalize it or not. I think that sooner or later (sooner rather than later) marijuana will be legalized in all 50 states both legally and recreationally.


Memory & Study Habits

Memory and study habits go hand in hand at this stage of my life. My study habits are very strict and organized. I set aside specific times throughout my day for creating cheat sheets, notecards, reading materials, etc. I enjoy planning for study time which excites me and makes me want to study. I am a hands-on and visual learner, so I like to have set instructions and be doing something related in the process. Our in class activity of synaptic communication was a fantastic learning tool for me because it allowed me to become a part of what I was learning. Memory is a very important skill at this time in my life because there is so much I have to memorize in the occupational therapy major as well as in my other classes. My short term memory is very great, I can store information and retain it at ease for a test or exam, but because it is short term, it flies out of my brain and I never think of it again. My long term memory needs expanding. I have tried several different techniques for my long term memory but nothing has seemed to work. No matter how often I study, I never seem to be able to recall information easily, if at all. If anyone has any ideas as to how to expand your long term memory, leave it in the comments so I can try it out!


“Is Yawning Contagious?”

“Is Yawning Contagious?”

For my week 2 First Impression blog post, I chose to dive into the Mythbusters MiniMyth, “Is Yawning Contagious?” and post on my blog the strengths and weaknesses of the methods used in the episode.

Strengths

  • large sample size
  • dependent and independent variables
  • followed the scientific method
  • had a well constructed hypothesis

Weaknesses

  • Initiating the yawning
    • I think that the way the Mythbusters began the experiment was not a strong start. From what the viewer saw in the video, the woman who started the yawning was not clearly seen by all of the people in the sample size. She was shown yawning while the test subjects were not looking, or while she was closing the door while the subject had their back facing her.
  • Separating participants
    • I personally think that the hypothesis that yawning is in fact contagious would have been more accurately approved if the subjects were in the room in small groups to see if they would influence each other to yawn, almost like a domino effect.
  • No research prior to exeriment
    • The Mythbusters gave a brief lesson on why and what happens when a person yawns, and even though it is a short MiniMyth, I think it would have been more accurate if they had also included some of their research on this topic before conducting the experiment.

 


Introduction

Hello, My name is Sarah Hasenauer and I am a freshman at Elizabethtown College, where I am majoring in Occupational Therapy! I am from Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from campus. I am excited to begin learning about psychology because it has always caught my interest and I think it is cool to have a little bit of insight on why some people think and act the way they do. I did not chose this class, I was assigned to it, but I am happy I have it in my schedule this semester. I took an Introduction to Psychology class the first semester of my junior year in high school and I enjoyed it very much, especially the dream portion. When I hear the word “Psychology” I think of the way our brains work and why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do. I hope that this class will take me deeper into the field of psychology and widen my knowledge of the subject.

Looking at the course schedule in our syllabus, it’s easy to pick out a few very exciting topics that I am looking forward to. The first to catch my eye was “how to improve memory” because I have an awful memory! A second interesting topic is “personality and culture” because I have a fascination with personalities and identities and what makes people different and similar. Another topic is “Mood disorder & anxiety” because I know quiet a few people who have anxiety disorder so it’ll be neat to learn about what’s going on in their mind and in their emotions. There are also a few that aren’t so interesting. The “Scientific Method” because we’ve touched on that topic in high school at least once every school year. Two other topics that don’t sound too interesting are “The Brain: Micro-level” and “The Brain: Macro-level” just because I have no idea what that means! hopefully Dr. MacFarlane will be able to make these “boring” topics very interesting! A question that I would like to have answered by the end of my time in Gen Psych would be, what is operant conditioning? I’ve never heard of that and I am very excited to find out what that is.

I am very excited to begin my first year at Elizabethtown College and to begin General Psychology 105!