Spotlight 3-Prompt 2

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

Mental illness is a controversial and often tabooed subject which has recently come to light in several popular TV shows such as Hoarding:Buried Alive. Though these shows can offer the general public an insight into how these mental illness effect the personal and professional relationships of the individuals dealing with them, I believe these shows are inherently disrespectful and unethical. In addition to this, the shows provoke unnecessary stereotypes and beliefs which exploit the people struggling with these mental illnesses and do not help them to get any better.

Regardless of whether or not the shows are ethical, there have been success stories of people who have gotten better and overcame their mental illness because of the show Hoarding: Buried Alive. Chris, a 46 year old Navy veteran was unable to have others enter his home, including his longtime girlfriend Annie. Chris felt he was unable to de-clutter his house or throw out anything he did not need because of the slight chance he may desperately need it in the future. Chris began meeting one-on-one with a cognitive-behavioral therapist in his home (funded by the show), in which the therapists worked with him to examine his thoughts and feelings about his possessions in order to help him distinguish whether he should save or discard them. By the end of the episode, Chris had made strides in decluttering his house and was able to begin to confront the idea of entertaining guests in his townhouse. Because of the attention and resources Chris received through the show, he was able to reform connections with those in his life he had lost touch with (such as his brother). In this sense, the show plays an imperative role in the future success of individuals suffering from mental disorders and compulsions leading to things such as hoarding. This source is credible because it is unbiased, and simply recounts one of the episodes of the show.

While the show does face much controversy, hoarding expert Marilyn Tomfohrde thinks the show gives, “an honest reputation of the condition.” Tomfohrde believes hoarders with less severe issues can view the show and be inspired to begin a de-cluttering project in their own home. She also believes the show gives an insight as to how frustrating a hoarding situation can be for all involved, and how desperate people become to solve it. She believes the TV show documents how desperate people are for help, and how the general public as a community need to realize how prevalent the issue of hoarding is for so many people. I believe this source is credible, but it does not explicitly state the TV show being either explicitly bad or explicitly good. It was difficult to find evidence of the show being ethical, so this website is more of a pro/con list which evaluates both sides of the argument.

Though some view the show in a positive light and it does help some people to overcome their emotional and psychological issues, there are far more who believe the show is exploitive and has a negative impact on the community as a whole. Licensed professional counselor Debbie Stanley believes the show over dramatizes the condition, and represents the victims of compulsive hoarding disorder as having little to no insight into their condition. She also believes it is a disservice to the condition and to those suffering from it to publicize it being cured simply by cleaning out the clutter. Stanley states stripping away a person’s coping mechanism (their clutter) before giving the appropriate therapeutic treatment is cruel and usually results in more severe degree of hoarding. I believe this source is accurate and reliable because it is written through testimonials given by licensed and highly educated psychologists and therapists, and they are able to give a professional insight into the show and the condition itself.

In the Huffington Post article on the ethical merits of the show, Anna Almendrala states her opinion of the show doing more harm than good. She provides a quote from author Randy Frost who says, “The shows promote the idea of arriving at a house with a cleaning crew and pressuring people to discard possessions is the way to solve the problem.” As stated previously by Debbie Stanley, this forced clean-out without the supplemental therapy can be detrimental to the psychological health of the parties involved. Because people who suffer from a hoarding disorder are likely to have experienced a traumatic event in their past, many critics of the show also believe it discourages seeking the root of the problem, and instead provides a temporary fix or a band aid to cover it from the view of the public. This means the individual suffering from the condition is still struggling from the consequences of their disorder and is not given help or resources for the underlying trauma they experienced. I believe this source is accurate because it provides testimony from both the positive and negative views of the show in an attempt to eliminate bias.




Media Project

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

Bailey Carsten

27 November 2018

Psych 105

Max Word Count: 985

Over an intended period of two weeks, twenty-two college aged men were confined to the basement of Stanford University’s psychology department. The purpose of this was to measure the fundamental attribution error, or a person’s tendency to regard human behavior as being caused by the influence of situational conditions. The experiment, led by Dr. Phillip Zimbardo in the early 1970s, is bathed in controversy centered around the validity of and cruelty displayed within the experiment.

The dispositional hypothesis set for the experiment surrounded the issue of prison violence, and if the amount of violence seen between prisoners and guards in real-life prisons occurred because of personal issues and differences, or if it was a result of the predetermined roles each party was expected to fulfill. The only rules of the experiment was the lack of tolerance for the guards to display tendencies of involuntary homosexuality, racism, or to deliver physical beatings.

The experiment began with an ad in the newspaper seeking participants for the fourteen-day experiment in exchange for a daily compensation of fifteen dollars. The original 75 applicants were put through several background tests and interviews to determine whether or not they were ideal candidates. Zimbardo and his associates ruled out anyone who presented with behavioral, emotional, or physical issues. The process then moved on to a coin toss, which randomly assigned each participant to play the role of either a prisoner or a guard.

The prisoners were given identical boxy dress-like garments and were removed of all of their personal effects, including their underwear. The guards were also not allowed to refer the prisoners by their name, and they were known only by a three- or four-digit number for the extent of the experiment. The purpose of this was to emasculate the prisoners and strip them of their personal identity. The guards were given uniforms consistent with those in real prisons during the time, along with a nightstick and sunglasses. They were required to wear the sunglasses twenty-four/seven in order to mask their humanity and keep them from connecting to the prisoners. The prisoners were required to remain in the simulated prison

In order to fully immerse themselves into the experiment, neither party was allowed to reference the simulation as an experiment after it began. They were refused the right to believe that what was happening was anything other than reality. To make everything even more realistic, the prisoners were ‘arrested’ at their homes by real police officers and were brought to the facility in the back of marked police cars. As they entered the basement of the building, the participants were greeted with the sight of sparsely furnished prison cells and a small coat closet henceforth known as solitary confinement. The group of nine men assigned to be prisoners were to be watched over by three guards at a time and were not allowed to leave the building under any circumstance. The guards, however, switched off on three-man shifts and were allowed to go home at the end of their rotation.

The prisoners were only allowed three small and unappetizing meals per day and allowed limited time to be out of their cells and in the ‘yard.’ Both the prisoners and the guards were unaware they were of the extent to which they were being observed during the experiment, something that Zimbardo believes is an indisputable argument to validate his results.

Almost immediately after the experiment began, the guards especially began falling into a routine of aggression and superiority towards the prisoners. The guards performed nightly headcounts, which became increasing drawn out and humiliating, along with interfering severely with the prisoner’s sleep schedule. The guards would awaken the prisoners at all hours of the night to perform these counts, as well as various humiliating and impossible physical tasks such as hundreds of jumping jacks and dozens of push-ups with prison guards seated on their backs.

The prisoners quickly began experiencing physical and mental breakdowns, displaying undeniable signs of extreme emotional depression, crying, rage, and acute anxiety. In reaction to their trying emotional state, the prisoners ultimately resorting to barricading themselves inside their cells, going on hunger strikes, and making various escape attempts. Despite the obvious distress displayed by the prisoners, neither the guards nor Zimbardo and his team were willing to stop the experiment or provide the prisoners any relief.

The most influential conclusion Zimbardo gleaned from this research was simply proof of how damaging our prison systems are to the guards and prisoners contained within them. Even without the racism, forced homosexuality and sexual assault, physical beatings, and threats to the life of the prisoners commonly seen in prison systems, the mental state of the simulation prisoners still devolved and deteriorated severely enough to bring the experiment to a close after only six days.

After less than a week of the experiment, fellow psychologist and Zimbardo’s then girlfriend, Christian Maslach, visited the site of the experiment with the intention of participating as a research assistant. Maslach became understandably concerned with what she saw and accused Zimbardo of cruelty towards the study subjects. This intervention seemed to open Zimbardo’s eyes to what his experiment had become and prompted him to instantly shut down the experiment and release his participants.

Though perceived as cruel and unnecessary, Zimbardo continues to stand by his project and express his insistence that his experiment was exactly that, an experiment; and not a mere simulation as it is claimed to be by so many critics. The main issue found within the experiment is that there is no dependent variable, or something that is changed to test a specific outcome or adjustment in behavior. Without one, the experiment loses credit and only served to give Zimbardo, his associates, and the participants a first-hand view into prison life.



I did not find it overly difficult to summarize the whole research article into my word count (985 words max). When just reducing the journal down to its bare bones and only taking into account what exactly happened within Stanford’s psychology department basement that summer, it is fairly easy to render it into a certain word count. I did however have to leave out some information for the purpose of keeping my writing more concise and interesting. One of the things I left out is how one of the guards, without knowing he was under surveillance, was continuously patrolling the hallway in which the prison cells. He did this not to play into the experiment, not because he knew he was being watched and wanted to do his job and get paid, but simply because he believed it was his job to keep his prisoners contained and in line. Though this is only one small part of information I had to cut out, I would have liked to include it to point out how extreme of lengths the guards went to in order to conform to their designated roles. The main issue I had when writing my version of the article was to try not to simply regurgitate the information I had written for the summary sections of the Pop Culture and Scholarly Article Critiques, as well as the extra credit assignment, as they were on the same topic for me. I definitely have new respect for journalists after completing this project. I have realized how difficult it is for them to write an unbiased account of someone else’s research without plagiarizing from the original article, while still making it interesting and making people want to read their article over anyone else’s.

Leithead, A. (2011, August 17). Stanford prison experiment continues to shock.                       

Johari- Bonus Blog

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

I very much enjoyed completing the Johari Window. Like the IAT tests that we took for the chapter 12 first impression post, it allows you to see if the perceptions you have about what you project to others are the same things that they see. The six words that I chose to  define myself through the Johari window were happy, independent, mature, spontaneous, sympathetic, and accepting. Aside from accepting, all of the words that I chose to describe myself were chosen at least two times. The words that people used the most to describe me however were caring and trustworthy, neither of which I chose for myself.

All of the people that I chose to take the quiz were friends, both from home and from here at school. I think it is important to chose people to take this test who you believe you are totally yourself with. For example, you may be more open and authentic with your best friends than with your parents or siblings.

I think this test is mostly reliable and accurate, but one fault I found with it is that it is nearly impossible to sum up a person in their entirety into five words. My best friend from home, for example, sent me a screenshot with over twenty words selected and asked me how she was supposed to narrow it down when, to her, I embodied all of these qualities. Other than that, I think the test was reliable and consistent and I greatly enjoyed doing it.

Chapter 12 First Impression

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

I highly enjoyed taking the tests. I chose to take the tests on race and sexuality, and my results were that I had a moderate preference of gay people over straight, and of black people over white. While this may seem interesting at first considering I am both straight and white, I was raised in a highly liberal and open environment (Boulder, Colorado) which had an affect on my home life, my social life and ultimately on my beliefs later in life. Being brought up in this type of environment means that white privilege and superiority were not tolerated in the slightest in any of the communities that I was a part of. This made it so that in a way I harbored a slight resentment for the stereotypical ‘privileged’ person (straight, white, financially stable, male), and because of this I began to more enjoy the company and views of those who did not fit that profile and express the views associated with white privilege.  I enjoyed the experience of taking the tests because it was interesting to see how similar my own perceptions of my views were to my actual results. I think this test could be extremely useful for college students in identifying and bringing underlying biases to the surface. I believe the only true way we are going to combat stereotypes and various ‘-isms’ (racism, sexism, ageism) is by educating others not only on the harm of stereotyping but  also by bringing to attention how many people truly posses these slight but harmful biases. I think this would also be helpful for my future career. As a social work major, it is going to be very important to be able to determine and get to the root of underlying biases to be able to eventually eliminate then.

Spotlight-Option 3

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

From what I found in my research, the DARE program was inherently unsuccessful, and often had the opposite result of what the proponents of the program were looking for. The DARE program, in a nutshell, uses fear tactics and preaches abstinence to middle and high school aged children. Instead of developing negative feelings towards drug and drug use after the program, many children in fact report developing a negative opinion towards the program leaders as well as the program itself. According to Dual Diagnosis, there are many studies that suggest that the DARE program did not in the slightest deter students from using drugs short or long term; in fact, drug use tended to increase within groups that went through the drug use program.

According to an article published by LiveScience, there are many reports that suggest that as the children that went through DARE got older, they became curious in regards to the drugs that they were told to, “just say no” to. The education of the drugs effects, consequences, and implications were lost in the abstinence approach and left students with questions that had not been touched upon by the program leaders. Because of the mass of evidence against it, DARE ended up losing their federal funding in 1998.

Other abstinence based programs in schools have been facing similar negative and often reversed results. Programs based around the “just say no” slogan tend to lack in the education aspect and excel in the fear mongering component. Abstinence based SexEd programs are not only unrealistic, but often set students up for failure by not providing them with the information and preparation to have a safe and healthy sex life. When teens from regions where this form of education is commonplace begin to have sex, they are often unprepared and uneducated, which leads to a higher rate of unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Laura Lindberberg, a research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute said it best when she compared SexEd to drunk driving. She said, “We tell people not to drink and drive. We don’t teach them not to drive. … We would never withhold information about seat belts because then they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves.” This is probably one of the best analogy I have heard on this topic; instead of seeing a danger and not educating people about it and letting them try and navigate it by themselves, teach people how to keep themselves and their partners safe in the long run.


Chapter 13

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

In taking these tests, I found some very interesting (and in most cases accurate) results. The Humanetrics Jung Typology Test told me that I was slightly more extroverted than introverted, slightly more intuitive over sensible, moderately more driven by emotion than thought, and slightly more perceptive than judgmental. I would say that all of these are accurate by my own perception of my personality. I would say this is one of the most accurate of the tests (out of the four we were given), mainly because of the depth and quantity of the questions.

The second test, the Jungian Personalty test, also had a wide variety of in depth and insightful questions, which is why I would say is the other test that was very accurate. The results I got from this test were that I am a ‘Questor,’ meaning I am supposedly idealistic, self-sacrificing, cool and reserved, family and home oriented, have a high capacity for caring, and have a high sense of honer derived from my own internal values. I would say that these results, much like the first, are very accurate. I definitely see myself as someone who cares deeply for people, as well as holding myself to a high standard and putting others before myself.

I do not think that the third test would be as accurate, because it simply measured for ‘the Big 5’ personality traits, being extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and intellect/imagination. I scored in the 54th percentile in extroversion, the 26th percentile in emotional stability, the 62nd percentile in  agreeableness, the 15th percentile in conscientiousness, and the 40th in intellect and imagination. I would say these results are less true than what I believe about myself.

The final test, the color test, was by far the least accurate in my mind. Anything, from the song you’re listening to to a conversation you are having could sway your mood to the point that it influences you to choose a different color than you originally would. My color test told me that I was sensitive and compassionate, but still feeling strain and pressure. It also told me that I felt trapped and powerless, that I am getting less than I deserve for my hard work, and I want something interesting or exciting to happen in my life. These results read more to me like a horoscope than an actual personality test, and the vague, ambiguous statements could possibly be applied to any person in any given situation.

First Impression-Chapter 9

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

I have been lucky enough to have a privileged, individualized education for most of my life. Since the second grade, I have moved from private school to private school. Though these schools spanned across different states, teaching philosophies, and grade levels, they all had one thing in common: every single teacher genuinely cared for you as an individual and as a student. In some ways, this was both a blessing and a curse. Though I didn’t always see it as such, it was incredibly helpful to constantly have teachers on your side, advocating for you, keeping you accountable for your assignments, and pushing you to constantly challenge yourself inside and outside of the classroom. Coming into college, it took a little bit of an adjustment phase to realize that teachers here don’t come to you (as they did in my previous schools), you have to go to them and initiate the first step. I think if high school teachers made themselves less responsible for the students own accountability mindset, it would help them be able to adjust to college more quickly in the future. I think another change the school system could make is teaching the students material, not memorization. Coming out of high school, I knew how to study for tests, cram for tests, and take tests. I couldn’t remember the physics or calculus that I had learned just months prior. I think that if the school system made their educative model more holistic and correlate success to knowledge rather than testing, the young adults leaving that system would be far more prepared to advance in the career of their choice.

Sleep-Option 2

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

My sleep habits are generally not very healthy. On weeknights, I usually go to bed between 1 am and 2 am every day, and on weekends I am rarely in bed before 4 am. I was very lucky with my class schedule, and do not have to wake up until either 9 am or 11:15 am unless there is a conflict with sports. Playing a sport, my free time as well as my time to do homework is very limited and because of this it can be hard to go to sleep before midnight. My roommate is in the same situation, and though she often goes to bed an hour or two before me, she hasn’t been able to be in bed before midnight since we started college. I don’t think that these sleep habits are healthy, because I am constantly tired throughout my day. I think that a realistic amount of sleep for a college student is between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night. In order to improve my sleep habits, I could turn my TV or Netflix off and put my phone away earlier in order to try and relax more quickly. I could also set myself up with a routine before I go to bed (something like reading a chapter of a book or journaling about my day) so that my brain and body knows when it is time to relax and start shutting down.

Spotlight 1-Divorce

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

It is not divorce as an act that damages children, it is the toxic environment that is created when two parents no longer love or respect one another. At the same time, one child’s experience with having divorced parents is not going to be the same as the next, as every couple get divorced for different reasons, at different times, and with varying levels of maturity and tact. Regardless of whether or not it was the act of divorce that triggered the child’s emotional trauma, divorce is caused, amplified, and exaggerated by the parents.

This source argues that divorce is the worst thing you can do to a child and that divorce can be lethal to a developing child’s psyche and mental processing. The article cites The Longevity Project as cause for this argument, claiming that divorced children have a shorter lifespan by five years than children of families that are together. This article also states that children never recover from this trauma they endure from divorce, and that that trauma is comparable to an earthquake destroying one’s home. Another point the author makes is that boys coming from broken homes have difficulty managing their anger and aggression and will have trust issues their entire lives. Girls with divorced parents are hypothesized to have problems with self-esteem and intimacy, and also develop trust issues that they will carry with them throughout their lives. The final point that this article makes is that divorce is more damaging to a child than the death of a parent, because when a parent dies the child loses hope of ever having a whole family. With divorce, the child retains the fantasy that their parents will one day reconcile and come back together. Allan Bloom was an American philosopher, classicist and academician. He was a very credible man that taught at Cornell University, University of Toronto, and Yale University. The website this article was published on his site and under his name, so it leads the reader to believe that the article is written by someone educated and informed. I don’t think this article is correct, because I believe that two happy homes are far healthier that one disjointed family. Divorce can surely be damaging to a child if not handled in the right way but living in an unhappy or unhealthy home can be far worse.

In this article written by Jann Gumbiner, the author uses personal anecdotes and experience to detail the damaging effects of divorce on children. She claims that there is no such thing as an intelligent divorce; divorce is bad, plain and simple. The touches on the blame children place on themselves when parents get divorced and how they lose motivation and direction and quickly become ashamed of their family. She also argues that children with divorced parents see divorce as more of an option in their own marriages and are less likely to stick it out and work for a happy marriage. The article was written by a woman who was a child of divorce as well as a psychologist with a self-proclaimed ‘excellent education.’ It is also published on Psychology Today, which is a fairly reputable publication where psychologists with different specialties and backgrounds come together to share their insights and research. One problem I have with the way that this article was written is how much the author bases her findings off of her own personal experiences with divorce. I don’t think that this article is correct either. The author pulls far too much from her personal experience growing up in a broken home and uses little to no evidence aside from her own life to back her claims.

This article, written by Susan Pease Gadoua, argues that children are not damaged because of the act of divorce, they are damaged because of parental fighting and inconsistencies within their home life. She believes you can’t measure if divorce hurts children, because there is no way to compare the outcome of a family that gets divorced with a secondary outcome of the same exact family in a world where the parents stay together. She backs this with an argument that families differ by age of children, socio economic status, culture, degree of tension in the home, etc. Ms. Gadoua believes that divorce can provide relief for children because they do not have to endure the parents fighting any longer. This article is written by an author of multiple books on divorce, as well as a licensed therapist specializing in marriage and divorce. Like the previous article, this article is published on Psychology Today, which is a decently reputable source. I agree completely with this author’s point of view. She recognizes that an unhealthy home can be psychologically and physically damaging to children, and how divorce is sometimes the only option to keep parents and kids alike happy and healthy.

The final article I have chosen is written by Rachael Rettner. She too believes the idea of ‘staying together for the kids can do more harm than good and can be very harmful to children of any age. She believes children of parents who fight a lot yet stay married experience more conflict in their own adult relationships than children who do fight and get divorced. Rettner acknowledges the research that children who come from divorced families are more likely to be divorced, but questions whether or not this is due to the divorce itself or the fighting and drama that went on in the home leading up to the divorce. In her own words, “Constant exposure to their parent’s strife is likely what causes children’s future relationships to suffer.” Rachael Rettner is a health science writer for the website Live Science. Live Science is a science news website typically coordinated with major news outlets like Yahoo!, MSNBC, AOL, and Fox News. This source seems credible because it only publishes articles written by writers employed by the news source, so it does not receive or publish pieces written by nonprofessional writers. This specific author also has a degree in health sciences, making her specifically a credible source. I highly agree with all of the claims thus author makes. I appreciate that she acknowledges the evidence presented by the other side of the argument yet contrasts it with her own opinion and background.

Through my own personal experience as well as the claims made by the authors in the articles, I believe that divorce is not inherently harmful to children and they can come out the other side. I don’t believe that divorce as an act is what leads to the mental harm we see in children later on, but that it is the parent’s fighting and lack of respect for one another that hurts their kids.




Bloom, Allan. “Divorce Always Harms Children.” Allan Bloom PhD and Associates. 6 Oct. h      2018.

Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones. (n.d.). Retrieved from   children-even-grown-ones


Divorce Doesn’t Harm Children – Parents Fighting Harms Child. (n.d.). Retrieved from            doesnt-harm-children-parents-fighting-harms-child


Divorce Doesn’t Harm Children – Parents Fighting Harms Child. (n.d.). Retrieved from             doesnt-harm-children-parents-fighting-harms-child









Psychology Today-Jann Gumbiner


Psychology Today- Susan Pease Gadoua



Chapter 3-Prompt 1

--Original published at Bailey PSY 105 Blog

In my opinion, use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana should be legal. Medicinal marijuana contains different proportions of THC and CBD than recreational marijuana. Medicinal marijuana allows for the pain relief offered by CBD with little to none of the ‘high’ provided by THC. Medicinal marijuana has been proven to provide pain and nausea relief for cancer patients, as well as reducing muscle spasms and increasing appetite in those with conditions such as cancer, HIV, and AIDS. Personally, my family uses CBD oil to help keep my dog’s epilepsy under control, and we have seen a marked difference in her appetite and the frequency and severity of her seizures. In places that medical cannabis has been legalized, people have an opportunity to obtain a medical marijuana card that allows them to purchase any number of cannabis products from dispensaries. I also believe that the legalization of medical marijuana could offer a solution to the opioid epidemic in America right now. Cannabis has had no proven long-term adverse effects on the user, unlike alternate pain relief medications such as Percocet or Vicodin. The cons to legalizing medical marijuana are nobody really knows yet if medical cannabis is safe for long term (or short term for that matter) use, and that young people with medical marijuana cards are more susceptible to side effects and potential addiction later on in life. It is also a concern that people will unnecessarily acquire a medical marijuana card in order to get around the system and use the product for recreational use. I believe however the pros far outweigh the cons, and benefits such as pain and nausea relief, enhanced appetite, helping with PTSD, and creating more jobs within the community are worth more than the minimal risks.

I believe that recreational marijuana should be legalized as well. There are many people that believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and has a high potential to be used and abused illegally, and that if it were to be made legal the situation would only get worse. After living in Colorado for six years, it is my opinion (and the opinion of many in the Colorado community) that the legalization of marijuana truly doesn’t hurt anyone. Marijuana is a relaxant, and unlike a hallucinogenic like LSD or peyote, does not cause the typical user to lose control of themselves and have manic episodes. Although tasks such as driving a car could be far more dangerous under the influence of marijuana, I argue that it’s affects are no more harmful than those of alcohol and in some cases poses even less of a risk. I believe that marijuana should be legalized everywhere in the United States for those above 21.