Spotlight Blog 3: Peer Pressure

--Original published at BillardnBlog

Peer pressure can be brought up in someone’s life no matter their age. It can be very difficult to go against a crowd of people. Especially the ones you know very well. The pressuring situations may become more serious the older you get. Ways to resist peer pressure may have some overlapping methods, but there are some specific methods given to go against pressure at different stages of life. refer to peer pressure as the influence people your age give when dealing with certain decisions. They include how some people give in to the peer pressure. Mainly kids, find it difficult to go against their peers because they want to be liked or want to fit in with the majority. Kids health simply put resisting peer pressure as having the strength and confidence to say “no” to something that goes against your beliefs. That is what everyone is told, but there is so much more to peer pressure than just saying no. Some influence is very powerful no matter how confident you are in yourself. This site also suggests to surround yourself with friends that have similar views and beliefs as you. This will keep situations of peer pressure to a minimum. If they do arise, staying close to these people can help say no peer influence. These are well known and simple ideas to resist peer pressure. As kids get older more serious situations arise and the harder it is to resist the influence. relates peer pressure to teens specifically. The difficult situation that arises is the use of alcohol and drugs. Their description of peer pressure is conforming to “the group” wether is the jocks, musicians, or populars. Some situations teens are likely to face involve high risk. This site suggests considering the risks of the situation. If there is a party with alcohol, problems that could arise are if the police arrive and you get arrested. A snowball of questions can arise; how will this effects my parents, will this ruin getting into college later. This is a good idea on how to resist pressure because it makes you think about the consequences of the situation and having negatives out number the positives makes the decision easier to make. focuses on adult peer pressure. As adults are more mature since their teenage years, the ideas to help resolve peer pressure are more sophisticated. They go back to the simple way of just say no. This is a more reasonable suggestion because adults have a better understanding of themselves and their beliefs. They are stronger and can directly say no to a stressing situation presented to them. If saying no isn’t enough for the ones pressuring you, uwhelth suggests replying with statements that start with “I think, I will, and I want”. This shows good self control and strong hold on personal views. Validating yourself is a good method given to be strong against pressure. Some may always be against your personal views, but knowing you resisted the pressure can make you feel better because you stood up and stuck to your beliefs. From psych, self-efficacy is the belief in your own abilities. Having this belief keeps you stronger to stand up against the pressure being put on.

There are many ways to help resist peer pressure, but it ultimately comes down you your choice. You can weigh the risks, consult others, or make an excuse. But after all these things, the only thing that stops the pressure is a direct “no” and removing yourself from the unwanted situation. Staying true to yourself may be difficult at the time, its worth it later.


“Dealing With Peer Pressure.” Edited by D’Arcy Lyness, KidsHealth, The Nemours                       Foundation, July 2015,

“Teens and Peer Pressure.” WebMD, WebMD,

University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. “Dealing with Peer Pressure                 When You’re an Adult.” UW Health,                 pressure-when-youre-an-adult/46604.


Media Production

--Original published at BillardnBlog

Yoga and Meditation Good for the Body and Mind

New study tests the effects of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation on body’s brain function. They can positively increase one’s mood and energy in short amount of time being involved in these relaxing activities. Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation are well known and practiced in many Western societies. Yoga involves specific body positioning, breathing patterns, and meditation. Mindfulness includes mental training focusing on emotion with the surrounding environment.

This study was published in the journal Mindfulness, conducted by Kimberly Luu and Peter Hall at Waterloo University in Canada. It consisted of thirty-one female participants with experience of this yoga and meditation. Their experience ranged from four months to five years. All participants took part of three sessions: hatha yoga, mindfulness meditation, and quiet reading. They were timed 25 minute sessions conducted by a professional yoga instructor to allow for a positive yoga and meditation session. These were followed by 5 and 10 min post session testing to measure executive function of the brain. These tested functions such as emotions, behaviors, and memory.

As said in the study, “results revealed that 25 min of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation significantly improved executive function task performance”. Immediately following the individual sessions participants showed signs of improved mood. “…single session of hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation may have similar cognitive and mood benefits for moderately experienced hatha yoga practitioners”. The results were more prominent from the 10-minute post session rather than the 5-minute post session. For an overall effect, hatha yoga shown to be more effective than mindfulness meditation.



Over the course of this project I have learned various aspects needed to be a journalist. I was able to get an inside view of the work needed to produce a well written article and how it can be presented to the general public. It must be appealing to the audience, but include valuable information dedicated to key findings within the study they were reporting.

I did find it troublesome being able to make the results easy to understand if someone is new to the study. After reading the original study, I found it difficult to understand the numerical data given to prove the benefits of yoga and meditation. I had to figure how to put it into words and describe the effects of yoga and meditation on the participants. This made me understand how the journal article could have become biased while being written. I tried to remain neutral while writing whether or not participating in hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation was beneficial to the body and mind. The original article had limitations and variations that may have contradicted their original results. Although, I was only reporting Luu’s and Hall’s study, which gave positive effects following yoga and meditation.

While writing the new article on the study I wanted to show the experiment to seem reliable to the readers. I tried to provide exact quotes from the original article similar to how the news article did. However, the original news article had quotes not found within the written article of the study. This showed me how there is more to writing the summary to the study. More research and sources are needed to give a well-rounded article.

There is high pressure put on journalists to produce a good article for many people to view. This opens a door to criticisms and degrading of the study. It needs to be professional and unbiased to the public’s eye. Simple enough to understand, but keep the scientific integrity. Be able to keep an audience’s attention, but present all the information needed to interpret results.



Luu, Kimberley, and Peter A. Hall. “Examining the Acute Effects of Hatha Yoga and                     Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Function and Mood.” SpringerLink, Springer             US, 26 Dec. 2016,


Rick Nauert. “Study: Yoga Meditation = Better Brain Function, More Energy.” Psych                   Central News, 7 Sept. 2017,                   better brain-function-and-more-energy/125664.html.

Mental Illness: Week 14 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

Starting this blog I had a very general idea of what schizophrenia was and how it affects people. I have never seen the movies listed in the prompt so I haven’t seen any type of display of the mental illness until the video Types of Schizophrenia – a day in the life of. Searching for more information on schizophrenia I found very strict descriptions with specific side effects. Although, the video described how each case is unique to every individual. I also learned how there can be positive and negative symptoms. Also schizophrenia can affect body movement, emotions, and mental functioning.

I was quite shocked by the video. It gave a real world sense of schizophrenia. It is difficult to describe many types of illnesses and disorders without having any relation to it yourself. But the video truly showed what people can go through without anyone noticing what’s going on. I learned from the video that certain hallucinations or delusions can be negative towards the person; it was as if they were being bullied by the voices in their head. This was new to me because I thought a common symptom of schizophrenia was simply voices in their head and not actually speaking to that individual.

From this new insight to schizophrenia I think the media is too direct and strict when talking about this illness. Many just focus on the hard facts that can relate to large groups of people. But in reality it is a very unique mental illness that is different for every person who has it. There are different symptoms and different experiences people go through. No one seems to take into account how everyday is a struggle for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia. I think better awareness is needed of how personal this mental disorder is to each individual rather than just the common knowledge and facts of it.

Spotlight Blog 2: Drugs

--Original published at BillardnBlog

D.A.R.E. which stands for drug abuse resistance education. It began in 1983 and became a widespread program all across the United States and many other countries around the world. It is an educational program presented to kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade reporting the dos and don’ts of drugs as well as how to avoid becoming involved with these substances. It was built up from the work of law enforcement and school officials. The program consisted of a 17 week program with a police officer teaching numerous classes in schools for each grade level. As the program grew bigger it spread its curriculum to prevention of being involved with gangs, violence, bullying, and internet safety (America). Although the program had a pure intention of benefiting kids, there was major controversy if the program stoped kids from using drugs or a provoking factor which led kids to substance abuse.

The main criticism this program received was it did not deter students away from the use of drugs in the short term nor later in students high school and college career. Various studies were taken to see the effect of the program on students. One of the first studies conducted against the D.A.R.E. program tested the use of marijuana among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. The initial data was in 2008, 5.8% of 8th graders, 13.8% of 10th graders, and 19.4% of 12th graders have been exposed to or had use of marijuana. Within a five year span these percentages increased about 7 percent (Dual Diagnosis). Another study showed a large percent increase involving tobacco use among students. One major study really opened the gates with its findings against the impact of the program. This study took place over an entire decade. It consisted of over 1,000 10 year-olds participating in the D.A.R.E. program. They were given a survey with questions involving self-esteem and drug use. Once the participants turned 20 they were given the same survey (Reaves). The findings were that those who participated in the D.A.R.E. program were no less likely become involved with drugs and alcohol than those who were not involved in the program. A worse finding was poor levels of self-esteem among the D.A.R.E. participants 10 years after being in the program.

Despite the negative feedback, D.A.R.E. still continues to try and improve the lives of kids and try to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. After all the criticism the program worked to improve its curriculum and improve training to those who taught it. Following the studies conducted, by 2013 over 70,000 law enforcement officials and addiction counselors went through 80 hours of training including learning teaching strategies, drug information, and adolescent development, etc. (Dual Diagnosis). One of the first changes was to the elementary and middle school program. The name changed to “Keepin’ it Real” and the “myPlaybook” was added to the high school programs. Keepin’ it Real focuses on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL) it promotes healthy development of younger kids through relationships, responsibility, and decision making. The myPlaybook is an interactive website to engage students rather than reading information and answering questions (America).

Based on the numerous studies and criticism against the D.A.R.E. program I still believe there is some benefit to kids from this program. Being involved in it myself in middle school, I find it important to be given the proper information to help against alcohol and drug abuse rather than going further in life not understanding the use and effects of alcohol and drugs. Although, beginning the curriculum at such a young age may not be the best approach. Kids from kindergarten to around 6th or 7th grade might be too young to have these concepts presented to them. Being taught at an older age the students might take the information more seriously and have a further understanding of the concepts. They could then possibly find themselves being able to go against peer pressure. My belief is that as long as you’re given the information that would provide the best benefit then it’s only up to you to actually make a decision when in a situation involving drugs or alcohol. This includes other topics such as sex ed programs. I believe it is needed to educate students on these sensitive topics, but given the proper information at the right age of kids sets them up for success and its how they choose to utilize the information given is in their hands.


“D.A.R.E. America.” D.A.R.E. America,

“Does the DARE Program Work?” Dual Diagnosis,

Reaves, Jessica. “Just Say No to DARE.” Time, Time Inc., 15 Feb. 2001,,8599,99564,00.html.

Personality: Week 11 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

I always enjoy taking the fun, free quizzes online that range from what my spirit animal would be to what my personality type is. The four quizzes I took were longer than other quizzes I have done in the past and I think they asked well array of questions to pinpoint personality types. My results of the four tests were pretty constant with small switches between specific traits.

The fist two personality tests I took I received the exact same result. My personality type was ISTP. This stands for introvert, sensing, thinking, and perceiving. It was described as fearless and enjoy excitement. The humanmetrics site went into more depth with percentages saying there was little preference between introvert and extrovert and between thinking and feeling. I have more of a preference for my feelings rather than intuition.

From the other two tests my results were aimed more towards an extrovert and being more socially active. The BIG5 site added the traits of agreeableness and openness to experiences. The colorquiz site included my need for excitement and social interaction. Both comment on being very observant and diligent in my work.

From these four personality tests I do agree with the results to match my personality. Even though it fluctuated between introvert and extrovert or feelings and thinking, I believe I do change some of my views when present with different situations. Sometimes I could be social and active with groups of people while other days I’d much rather keep to myself. The common characteristic that I agree with is need for excitement and adventure; I am always ready for last minute plans that can turn into a really fun experience. What I found most shocking was that the color quiz proved to me the most accurate to describing my personality type, with the only data collected was my sequence of colors that I chose two times.

Stress: Week 9 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

I would consider myself a “go with the flow” kind of person. I try to keep my stress levels pretty low and not let unimportant things stress me out. Although, the things that do give me stress raise the stress levels pretty high. Sometimes I may make things seem worst than they actually are. One of my biggest stressors is school and my classes. Mainly exams are what I stress out the most for. Other things I’ll stress about are deadlines for assignments, how busy my schedule is, or even some professors (not including MacFarlane). I do have some ways to try and manage these things that give me stress.

I think the biggest reason I get stress is because of my procrastination. Leaving everything to the last minute puts a lot of pressure and stress on my to get assignments done on time and have them done well. I can try to fix that by setting aside time to get work done. Also making sure these times are set in advance to any assignments being due. I do have a planner that I use to set up every week to help plan and organize my school work. One of my biggest stress relievers is exercise. Being in a sport or just going for a run helps me forget all of my problems and clear my head of anything bad that could have happened that day or week. It’s able to calm me down and refocus on the thing that was stressing me out. I think setting aside free time for yourself is important because is give you a break from anything that is bothering you. I know coloring can be very helpful as it is relaxing and fun to do. Being around other people can help; going out with friends will let you focus on something fun rather than what is stressing you out. From this you’re able to regain focus and calmness to work at the stressor that is causing a problem.


Emotion: Week 8 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

I feel as though I am decent at being able to pick out facial expressions and emotions of people. Although, I did not do as well as I thought I would on the emotional intelligence test. My score was only a 14/20. I believe that telling emotions through body language is easier than the multiple choice test with only pictures of faces. Telling emotions can be shown through more than just someones face, their body language is a major signal as to how someone is feeling.

Some emotions are easier to read than others. Happiness, anger, and sadness are common and easy to tell through someone’s facial expression and the pictures on the test. Other, more specific emotions such as contempt and embarrassment were harder to pick out just from a facial image. Embarrassment I got confused with amusement because the the person seemed to have a smile, but just not showing teeth. The tell sign in the image was the downward tilted head.

The website that I took the test on recommended that the best way to get better at telling people’s emotions is practice. From my first impression post this was one of my goals in this psychology class. I hope this section will help me learn the signals that relate to specific emotions. I could use this in my daily life to help with any kind of relationships I have. Having a better skill at telling people’s emotions will help me form better conversations with them or help me react in certain situations. Being able to know if someone is sad or angry I’ll be able to know how to respond to that person and help comfort them as needed.

Sleep: Week 7 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

Sleep is much needed for a college student in order for them to work through their incredibly busy schedule. Although, many take on the mentality “sleep is for the week”. Students stay up late then wake up early the next day numerous times in a week. This tends to be a poor cycle to follow as it does not allow students to focus and learn effectively in their classes. A well known fact is the proper amount of sleep one should have is at least 8 hours per night. This is difficult for many college students trying to balance their work assignments, social life, extra curricular activities, or sporting events. I’d believe the amount of sleep a student should try and reach is at least 6 hours of sleep. Maybe on the nights their most busy they would get small amount of hours to sleep, but other nights taking the time to go to bed earlier and gain a few more hours.

My current sleep habits are not what I wish they would be. Typical nights I am in bed between 12-1. With my schedule I have 8am classes everyday, so my alarm is set at 7 o’clock every morning. I normally get 6 or 7 hours of sleep per night. I know that these are not healthy sleeping habits due to how tired I can be the following day. Its harder to focus and participate in classes. Although, getting to sleep at a reasonable time is sometimes difficult because I am involved in a sport. Everyday the team has a practice afternoon or night. Some nights we wont get home from an away game until 10 at night, then I’ll have homework to do after.

There are ways I have been trying to use in order to get more sleep. Through the soccer department, I have to log in 4 “study hall hours” every week. I try and utilize them to get ahead with homework, reading, or notes. Especially if I know I have a soccer game coming up that will take away most of my time or studying. Another way I could help myself is using the free time I have between classes on some days to work on upcoming homework so I won’t have to spend that time later in the night. This will all help me get to bed earlier and gain more hours of sleep. I hope I am able to plan out a better sleeping schedule because I do know if I or anyone continues with a poor sleep cycle, there are higher consequences. There are higher levels of fatigue and poor health. Even becoming sick with something such as Mono or Epstein Barr.

Spotlight Blog: Memory

--Original published at BillardnBlog

Having good study habits is crucial in all levels of education. Learning better ways to study at a young age can improve throughout years of schooling and can make studying a much simpler, less stressful task at higher levels. Its not about how long you study a subject but how well you learn it and thus able to retain it. Spending numerous hours on a single topic with poor study habits is time wasted as the information is not being retained properly and then not able to be recalled later for an exam. Its best to figure out what works well for an individual when it comes to studying. Although it may be difficult to find the best methods, there are many sources that give studying advice to all levels of students.

As said before, learning good study skills at a younger age can be beneficial later. This all begins with a young child’s parents. There are ways for a parent to help their child learn better study habits. Advice I found to parents was having a designated work space for their kid to study and work on homework. Parents should help their child with time management, seeing how long different assignments will take and allowing enough time to complete them (Staff). This is similar to distributed practice, studying or working in smaller parts rather than all at one time (MacFarlane). This source also mentioned mnemonics or the tricks to help recall information later. This could either be a song or rhyme or abbreviation to help remember larger concepts. I believe this is good advice to a parent in order to help their kids learn good study habits which will help later in their education.

At higher levels of education such as high school, there is more specific advice given to students for better study habits. A source I found did reiterate finding a specific place to study that allows no distractions while working. Again it states that a student should split up their work or alternate between subjects. They further elaborated and gave advice to take handwritten notes while reading information and then turn the notes into flashcards (VLACS).  This is good study advice because given in an online lecture, Dr. Ian MacFarlane stated how just reading notes or the material is not productive and only gives false impression that the student understands the information. Another good study habit that was suggested is to self-study and self-testing. Studying the information in similar ways it would be tested on an exam is good for learning the material (MacFarlane). One piece of advice given from this source was not the best. It suggested to students that they should be reviewing notes and materials weekly. It is best to review notes within the same day they were taken to further understand the material.

I am able to mostly relate to the study advice given to college students. It becomes even more detailed about the best ways for studying at this level of education. A common theme through all ages of studying is the breakdown of time and either work in smaller chunks or alternate between various subjects. Studying in smaller bits over cramming information helps retain the information into long term memory. Cramming only puts the information into short term memory and it is harder to recall during an exam. It was suggested that a student should allow around 30 to 50 minutes of studying for one subject and then have a ten minute break or move to another topic. It’s advised to review notes within 24 hours of taking them to make sure you understand the material and then focus on things that you don’t. A statistic was given “…retention rate is 60% higher when information is reviewed within 24 hours of hearing” (Media). It is restated that a way to help remember information is applying meaning to it. Either use a personal experience or mental image. Stated in lecture by professor MacFarlane, this is known as semantic encoding and allows for most retention of information. Being able to relate the information to as many things as possible make it easier to recall the information later.

There are many overlapping ways to help get the best out of your study session. You want to learn the material rather than just familiarize it. If it has meaning and purpose theres a more likely chance of being able to recall it. There is many resources to help plan an effective study schedule, find the ways that work best for you.


MacFarlane, Ian . “General Psychology Mini-Lecture 4: Memory and Studying.” YouTube,         YouTube, 1 Oct. 2017,

Media, Column Five. “How to Study: Studying Tips for College Students.” Rasmussen                 College – Regionally Accredited College Online and on Campus, Rasmussen College, 15           Nov. 2011,

Staff, GreatSchools. “Study skills for middle school and beyond.” Parenting, 22 Feb. 2016,

“Top 10 Study Tips for Students.” VLACS, 13 Feb. 2017,                     students/.

Memory: Week 5 First Impression

--Original published at BillardnBlog

My personal study habits vary depending on different things. The way I would prepare for an exam might change due tot the subject and material needed to learn for that test. It may also depend on how the professor makes the exams and what are the key details needed to learn. For the most part when I study I read each chapter that will appear on an exam. I like to make sets on quizlet for terms, people, and smaller details. If you don’t know, quizlet is an online source that you’re able to make flashcards of your information and look at other people’s sets. I take my own notes along with the ones provided in my lectures. My biggest limitation in studying is my procrastination. I tend to cram in as much studying as possible the night before an exam.  I need to improve upon time management so I can space out sections to study throughout a week instead of studying four chapters in one night.

Specifically for this class’s first exam I did again try and cram as much studying as I could the night before. I worked with another student in our class and we went through the entire study guide given to us and wrote down all important information on the white board in the study room we were working in. We also looked up a few videos to help remember stages in the more difficult theories. After taking the exam I have an idea of what the professor finds most important in the material. As we work toward the next exam I know to pay more attention of specific psychologists and their studies or theories. I will most likely make a quizlet for the psychologists in the chapters discussed along with what they are known for. I will take more of my own notes while reading in the book to get more specific details that we would not cover in lecture.