“I Wish My Parents Were Like That!”

--Original published at Ashley's Psyche

The statement “I wish my parents were like that!” seems to be a familiar statement to most generations of children. Every child wishes that they could have a cool parent who lets them stay up late at night and eat sugary snacks whenever they want, but is that really the best way to raise a happy and healthy child?

In my eyes, I believe that the “best” way to parent a child is to maintain a supportive balance of being strict, but also lenient. Growing up with fairly strict parents, especially my father who was not raised in America, I did sometimes wish that my parents would let me do more things on my own or spend more time with my friends; however I still realize the importance of the strict treatment I received.

Due to the fact that my parents were strict, I developed a heavy sense of responsibility very early on in life. I knew the expectations that my parents held and pushed myself to meet them by making sure that I did my chores when asked, completed the schoolwork that I was supposed to, and did not do anything that would likely get me in trouble. I believe that in this sense, being strict with a child would allow them to develop this same sense of responsibility and gain the knowledge that in the “real world,” you cannot just do whatever you want whenever you want.

Nevertheless, I believe that it is also important to balance strict parenting with a sense of leniency. I commonly feel that I am not as independent as I could have been due to my constant need of permission from my parents that I had as a child. Independence plays an important role in decision making and problem solving, causing it to be a crucial trait for children to have. In order to instill this sense of independence in children, I believe that parents should still have rules set for their children, but allow them to make some decisions on their own, whether they are right or wrong.

But overall, whether a parent is strict, lenient, or balances both of these traits, it is most important that a parent is supportive of his or her child during growth. Showing your child any type of support during their early years will help them establish a healthy form of self-confidence that will benefit them later in life. For example, this type of support can be shown by using encouraging words with a child if he or she wants to give up on a task, or by praising a child for completing a task that he or she may have had difficulty completing. No matter what form the support may come in, I believe that it will ensure that the child will grow up to be happy, healthy, and a productive member of society.

Coke vs. Pepsi Taste Test Experiment

--Original published at Ashley's Psyche

What were the strengths of the research design?

One of the strongest parts of the research design for the Coke vs. Pepsi experiment was the random assignment of the independent variable. The independent variable in this case was if the taste tester received Coke or Pepsi in each of their five cups, as this was able to be manipulated by the Fluid Dispensing Engineer. The random assignment of Coke or Pepsi in each of the cups was done by flipping coin and pouring the corresponding drink for when it was heads or tails. Due to this process, whether Coke or Pepsi was in each of the cups can also be referred to as a true independent variable, due to its ability to be randomly assigned, which lessens the chance of a confounding variable being present.

Another strength of the research design was the prevention of bias as a confounding factor by keeping the Fluid Dispensing and Randomization Team separate from the Data, Logistics, and Analyst Team. The separation of these two groups was crucial as it prevented the Fluid Dispensing and Randomization Team from making any faces or saying any comments that would influence the Executive Soda Analyst while he or she tasted each drink, which would result in a confounding variable.

What were the limitations of the research design?

Two of the limitations that stood out in the research design were that there was neither a random sampling, nor a random assignment in regards to the person who held the position of Executive Soda Analyst.

There was a lack of random sampling in regards to the Coke vs. Pepsi research design as people who drank the drinks were only chosen from Dr. MacFarlane’s General Psychology class that occurs at 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Due to this fact, the results of the experiment cannot be generalized to the entire population of soda drinkers, as one class cannot be representative of the “people” addressed in the research question.

As well, there was a lack of random assignment in regards to the Coke vs. Pepsi research design as the Executive Soda Analysts were chosen by volunteer. Dr. MacFarlane asked those who believed very strongly that they could tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi to raise their hands, and proceeded to pick those people to be the taste testers. These was not an effective way to assign students to that role as confounding variables could then influence the experiment and provide invalid results. The question for the experiment was “can people tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi,” not “can people who think they can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi actually tell?”

What potential confounding variables were present in the study?

Potential confounding variables in the study could have been the amount of time it had been since the Executive Soda Analyst drank a Coke or Pepsi, the temperature of the soda, and the confidence level of the Executive Soda Analyst.

The amount of time it had been since the Executive Soda Analyst drank a Coke or a Pepsi can be considered a confounding variable as the taste tester who has not had Coke or Pepsi over a long period of time would struggle much more between the choose of both soda than a person who drink Coke, Pepsi, or both often.

The temperature of the soda can be considered a confounding variable as most people do not drink soda warm. The taste testers may know the taste of cold Coke or Pepsi better, and could therefore identify each drink easier than they did when it was warm, as it may have tasted different.

Lastly, the confidence level of the Soda Analyst can be seen as a confounding variable. Dr. MacFarlane chose only those that felt he most confident in their abilities to tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, meaning that each of the tester may have made snap judgement due to their over confidence.

Was the conclusion we drew valid? Why or why not?

The conclusion we drew was not valid due to the limitations and confounding variables of the research design. Due to the lack of random sampling, none of this information can be generalized to a bigger population. As well, due to the presence of so many confounding variables, there would not be a high level of confidence in the results of the experiment.

What are 5 specific changes you would make to the research design to improve the study?

  1. Refrigerate each of the sodas so that they are cold for when the taste testers are drinking them.
  2. Take a random sample from the entire campus population and not just one psychology class.
  3. Randomly assign who will be a taste tester using a random number generator.
  4. Give the taste tester a palate cleanser after each drink.
  5. Have more than five trials.

Is Yawning Contagious? The MythBusters Seem To Think So.

--Original published at Ashley's Psyche

As the name may suggest, the MythBusters are a group of people who perform a variety of televised experiments to prove whether widely known statements are true from a scientific viewpoint, or whether they are not. In an episode that I have just recently watched, the MythBusters were testing whether yawning is contagious or not.

To test this theory, the MythBusters created a pop-up structure in public that consisted of three identical rooms. As the test subjects, who believed that they would be waiting for an audition, were ushered in their rooms, one of the MythBusters would yawn in front of two of them, and then shut the door. The third test subject would not be yawned in front of, as he or she would be considered the control. They did this for fifty different people and recorded their results.

From this experiment the MythBusters concluded that yawning is contagious, as there was a four percent difference in yawning that happened between those that received the stimulus and those that did not. However, I would like to disagree. I believe that there were many confounding variables that influenced the MythBusters’ experiment.

This is not to say that the MythBusters did not have many strongpoints in their experiment. Their sample size was large, which lowers the chances of bias. They isolated each of the test subjects, meaning that one subject could not influence another subject in any way. They did not inform the test subjects about the experiment being performed, therefore the subjects were not thinking about yawning and influencing the experiment in that retrospect. And the MythBusters had a control in which they could compare the results of the other two subjects with.

Nevertheless, there seemed to be some confounding variables that the MythBusters did not take into account. The two most notable for me were that each of the subjects may have had a differing amount of sleep the night before, as well as that each of the subjects may have been having a reaction to the room, and not to the MythBuster yawning.

The amount of sleep each of the subjects had the night before can be considered a confounding variable as the less sleep one subject got, the more prone to yawning they are likely to be. In order to eliminate this variable, the MythBusters should have either recorded an average amount of sleep that each person got the night before to reference later, or split up each of the subjects in to categories based on their hours of sleep.

As well, the issue of the color and décor of the room could be a confounding variable. Different colors and amounts of space are known to influence the brain and its attentiveness. A plain white room may have caused many of the subjects to become bored or tired, which would explain why they eventually yawned while waiting. To correct this confounding variable, I would suggest that the MythBusters have rooms set up with different colors and decorations, and then some that have nothing at all, in order to compare the amount of yawns that happen in each.

I would be very interested to see the results of the MythBusters’ experiment if they took my suggestions into account. I feel as though they would come to a very different conclusion than the one they did during their test.

Miguel’s Hypothetical Situation

--Original published at Ashley's Psyche

Described below are the hypothetical behaviors and mental processes of a boy named Miguel. What follows are the interpretations of Miguel’s behaviors and mental processes from the viewpoint of six of the main 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.

Psychodynamic Perspective:

Miguel may have had a traumatic experience when he was a child, where he made a mistake that had severe consequences or caused him to be harshly reprimanded by his parents. Now he fixates on every mistake he makes as a means to prevent himself from having that experience again. This has created a “perfectionist” complex in Miguel, which he likely tries to repress. That act of repression then causes Miguel to be irritable and tired, but unable to fall asleep as his unconscious mind is still focused on his insecurities about completing simple tasks.

Behavioral Perspective:

Miguel may not be in an effective learning environment, which is influencing his ability to study. The lighting and decor of the room may be distracting him, or a lack of color and lighting could be putting him in a bad mood. The same can be attributed to Miguel’s lack of sleep. Miguel’s roommate may make a light of noise, keep his or her light on late at night, or talk to Miguel into the early hours of the morning. This would explain why Miguel picks so many fights with him or her.

Humanistic Perspective:

Miguel is struggling with his coursework and cannot get to sleep because he is not happy with who he is as a person. He needs to stop worrying about the past mistakes he has made, and believe that he is more capable of doing right than wrong. If he takes strides to believe in himself and focus on how he can succeed in the future, he will no longer have problems sleeping or doing homework, which will put him in a better mood overall.

Cognitive Perspective:

Miguel may not be fully developed cognitively. Miguel’s cognitive processing systems may get overloaded and shut down easily, causing him to have difficulties in paying attention and completely coursework. He also many not be fully developed in the problem-solving and decision-making regions of his brain. This can be concluded as Miguel is a perfectionist and doubts he can do anything right, meaning that he cannot properly come to solutions and be confident and content with them. These factors are most likely why Miguel is in such a foul mood and cannot sleep.

Neuroscience Perspective:

Miguel may have a genetic predisposition towards being a perfectionist. It is likely that Miguel was born this way, or inherited his perfectionist nature from his parents, who may show perfectionist tendencies as well. Miguel likely is always in a foul mood and cannot sleep because there he cannot find a way to stop being a perfectionist, as it is ingrained in his genetic code to act that way.

Cultural Perspective:

Miguel may come from a culture where making mistakes is not socially acceptable for children. Many cultures hold children to high standards and do not hold a very positive view of the mistake-making processes. Miguel may feel this pressure to conform to his culture’s social norm, therefore he beats himself up over any mistake he makes, leaving him unable to sleep well and extremely irritable.

Psychology? I Thought You Were an Education Major?

--Original published at Ashley's Psyche

Hello. My name is Ashley Sanei and I am a Secondary English Education major at Elizabethtown College. This will be my sophomore year here at Etown, and I have to say, General Psychology (PSY 105) may be the class that I am looking forward to the most this semester.

Ever since my first semester as a freshman at Etown, I have been jealous of the students that were placed in PSY 105. I have always had a love of thinking critically and analyzing the ways that the mind works, so General Psychology always seemed to be the perfect fit for me.

But is simply liking psychology enough to justify taking a whole class on it? To me, it is not just that I like the subject, but that I can see how it will greatly improve my skills as a future teacher. As a teacher, I will need to meet the needs of many different types of learners, whose minds all work in a variety of different and complex ways. In my eyes, there is no better way to meet the needs of those minds than to know the basic processes of how they work.

However, learning about the vast amount of mental and behavioral processes in human nature is a very intimidating notion. As a person that has no formal background in anything relating to psychology, is it stressful to think about everything that the word “psychology” can encompass. When someone says the word “pyschology” to me, I tend to think of the science behind every decision and social interaction that humans have in their day-to-day-lives, which does not seem like a very simple topic to cover.

Yet, the challenge that this course presents to me does not mean that I am any less excited about the information we will be learning. In fact, I cannot wait to participate in the course sections based on improving memory, coping with stress, and analyzing personaility. I am the most the most excited about these partical sections of General Psychcology due to my natural curousity and lack of knowledge on each of these human habits.

Is anyone really born with a “bad” memory? Where does stress stem from in the brain, and what triggers that reaction? How do humans create such a wide variety of different personalities? I am hoping that I will be an expert in answering these questions, and many more, by the end of this course.

This is not to say that General Pyschology does not incorporate some topics that I am less interested in learning about. For example, learning about the process of the scientific method, why research design matters, and the difference between past and present psychology is not very interesting to me, as I am more interested in the abstract ideas involved in psychology, not the concrete process of how those ideas are further studied.

Nevertheless, I know that the topics I may not be the most excited about studying are still crucial in gaining a well-rounded grasp on the essence of psychology, and I will do my best in understanding them. I am excited to see what this semester and class has in store for me, as both a student and a future teacher!