Chapter 15 First Impression

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

Cognitive: I think this would be most helpful to me because therapists teach you new ways to adapt your thinking. You change the way you talk to yourself. Many times people are way too hard on themselves for things that are not a big deal. Cognitive therapy can be very helpful for that. The textbook talks about a dual cognitive-behavioral therapy. I think this might be the best one. It allows you to talk about how you feel and adjust your way of thinking to be more positive and changing negative behaviors with it. If their is a current behavior that makes you think negative thoughts about yourself, they work on changing the behavior and in turn the negative thoughts do not happen.

Humanistic: I prefer this approach to psychodynamic therapy because it focuses on the future and not dwelling on issues in the past. Of course it is important to talk about them, but we shouldn’t focus only on those because it is impossible to change them. I like that therapists are focused more on listening rather than forming judgments. Therapists act more as a compassionate friend that is there to listen. Although it does have an unconditional positive regard. I think it is important to tell the client when they are causing problems for themselves or others.

Behavioral: I think behavioral therapy is the most helpful for things like phobias and when people have anxiety in certain places. It can be helpful to people with traumatic disorders. I think exposure therapy like this is very helpful to people who experience high anxiety rather than talking to a therapist. Most times that is not where they experience the high anxiety so the therapist might not be able to get a good sense of what actually happens. Although it might not be as helpful for mood disorders or personality disorders. I don’t think this therapy is as universal for all disorders.

Psychodynamic: This therapy could be helpful and a variation of it is still used today. With talk therapy, of course you are going to talk about any sort of underlying or childhood issues that might be causing problems to this day. I think it is important to feel that you can speak freely to a therapist. Although in the techniques described in the textbook it seems silly that you can just say whatever, people could make you think they have a problem they made up. Talk therapy can be very helpful to people who feel they do not have another confidential place to speak freely about their issues. Although I think Freud’s methods are too focused on childhood issues. We talked about in class about therapists creating childhood trauma that people did not actually have. I think their can be issues with miscommunication.

Rocking to Sleep

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

Though the reasons why we sleep are unknown, we do know how to make our sleep the most beneficial to our bodies. In a study in the journal Current Biology, “Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory,” they observed people sleeping in a rocking bed. All of the participants were already healthy sleepers and with the rocking bed, their sleeping actually improved! We know we are affected by external stimuli while sleeping because we wake up to our alarms, loud sounds, and people shaking us awake. So, it is possible for rocking to affect our sleep as well.

Rocking something when it is in distress is instinctive in humans. We do it for babies and sometimes even animals. Often for infants, parents will rock them to calm them and help them sleep. The goal of this study was to see if rocking would help adults as well. First, they had participants sleep in the bed without rocking to monitor their brain waves during a regular night of sleep. Then participants slept in the same bed while it was rocking continuously throughout the night. The study also contained a control group that only slept without the rocking.

One theory for why we sleep is for memory consolidation, rocking not only improved overall sleep, it also improved said memory. Participants were given a memory test every night and morning. Researchers also tested how reaction times were affected by pressing a button as soon as an image appeared on a screen. Overall, there was an improvement in all aspects of the study.

When reading research, there are five important questions to ask yourself to guarantee a true experiment:

  1. How did they operationalize their variables, how did they define them? In this study they measured how “well” you slept by measuring your brain waves and memory consolidation as well as reaction times with various tests.
  2. How did they select participants? Researchers selected participants who were in good health with no history of drug or alcohol abuse and reported no irregular sleep-wake cycles.
  3. How did they assign participants to groups? In order to have a true experiment (that allows for the next question) you must assign participants randomly to groups. In this study they successfully assigned participants to a group with rocking beds and to a group with identical beds, without rocking.
  4. Does the method used allow for causal claims, a cause and effect relationship? In order to argue a cause and effect relationship, you must have participants assigned randomly, which has been done! The researchers can argue that the rocking allowed for a better nights sleep.
  5. Are the conclusions generalized to the right population? In this study, they generalized the results to all adults, when they tested young adults between the ages of 2o and 27. Though this can only be applied to healthy sleepers already.

Ask yourself these questions when you see an article about any new research study you read about. It can help you to narrow down any false generalizations and incorrect claims made.

This study was done as a follow up study to a study that experimented with rocking beds and shorter naps. Participants in that study fell asleep faster and had overall better brain activity. Another follow up study was done with researching the effect of rocking stimulation on other species, specifically mice. Studies continue to be done on sleep because the reasons are still unknown and only theories.

So want to improve your sleep? Invest in a rocking bed and sleep like a baby.


After writing my own pop culture article about this sleep study, I understand how difficult it can be to transpose. The original study was often very confusing and difficult to read because of the terms I did not know. It was filled with information about the neuroscience of sleep and paraphrasing proved to be difficult. I understand issues that may arise for journalists when writing these articles for readers who may not have heard of anything in the original report. After critiquing the pop article, I learned how much simpler it was to understand the study after reading an article about it, rather than the original report. A lot of studying must be done and rereading of the report. I had to read the report many times when doing my scholarly article critique because it was filled with numbers, acronyms, and terms I had never heard of. I spent a lot of time looking up the definition of words related to neuroscience and sleep. After attempting to write my own pop culture summary of the study, I have a newfound respect for journalists making their articles as easily understandable as possible while still making the results of the study clear.

In my summary I chose to include most of the general ideas of the study and tried to stray away from using any terms that I did not know previously. After reading my pop culture article, I noticed it was very thorough in its description of the study and included connections to things that people reading the article could relate to. The article was over 1000 words so I felt it was important to include as much as I could. In the news article they do not mention anything about the legitimacy of the experiment with the five critical questions. Which the readers would have to find in the study report. Because of the length, I felt it important to answer those questions when reading research. I think that by including them in my article, readers may be more inclined to think of those questions next time they read a pop culture article. It also helps the reader to understand some of the important aspects of what goes into a research study.

In the news article, many connections were made between pop culture and the science behind the study. They mentioned the Mother Goose stories about rocking your baby. As well as a recent pop song called Rock-a-Bye Baby, that talks about motherhood. Making these connections in the article I thought added to the pop culture aspects of the article and drew more readers in. The article also mentioned other studies of the same caliber. A study was done previous to this with napping and one was done after, testing the same rocking motion on mice. I included the mention of these other studies because I felt it would gauge interest.

Original Report of the Study: Perrault et al., Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory, Current Biology (2018)

News Article: “The Neuroscience of ‘Rock-a-Bye Baby’ and Rocking Adult Beds.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 26 Jan. 2019

Chapter 14 Impression Post

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

In Elyn Saks TED talk, she describes her struggle with mental illness throughout her life. She worked to ween herself off medication, which did not work, and eventually she managed to balance her life with her mental illness. Watching this video, I felt pity the entire time. Living with schizophrenia sounds like a job you can never get away from. She was constantly struggling and it seemed to get in the way of her schoolwork, and a lot of the people she described being around her who were supposed to help her, seemed to make it worse and did not understand.

Compared to how schizophrenia is depicted in movies and TV, I think most times they are pretty accurate. Saks described being restrained on a bed many times, even when she was not violent. She describes muttering sentences that don’t make sense, and seeing things that are not there, stuff of nightmares. As far as I have seen in entertainment, schizophrenia is depicted almost exactly as Saks described. Before watching the TED talk, I expected Saks to describe her experience differently.

I think Elyn Saks turned out differently because she had this ingrained motivation to make herself better and not become her illness. Saks worked to get through law school, even when she struggled with symptoms. She attempted to live without her medication and tried for so long, until friends told her she needed to be on her medication. She describes having an excellent support system of people who understand her and her illness. I feel that having people around you who are understanding and willing to help is the important aspect of dealing with a mental illness.

Chapter 12 First Impression

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

The people in the video that were only paid one dollar seemed to have convinced themselves that the activity was actually fun even though it was terribly boring and the people who were paid 20 dollars seemed less inclined to actually believe what they were saying because they didn’t have to. We justify negative things in our lives when we feel they were necessary using this cognitive dissonance. This can be helpful and hurtful in our lives. It can be helpful when we are stuck in a job we don’t enjoy but still have to do.

After watching the video, I believe that cognitive dissonance can sometimes be a good thing that we should promote. At times in college I believe that I have used cognitive dissonance. Whenever I am in a class that I do not enjoy or if I am trying to work on an assignment for a class. I tell myself that I need in order to succeed I need to finish it. I have convinced myself that I enjoy doing mathematics sometimes because I know it will help me be successful in lie with computer science or that people will believe that I am smarter or succeeding in mathematics.

At times this can be a helpful thing like justifying why some things are necessary like dessert when we are on a diet, but other times it can be very negative like when you continue to be friends with someone or some people after they have expressed negative opinions about you. You have convinced yourself that they are still your friends.

Chapter 11: Stress

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

In Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk, “How to make stress your friend,” she discusses changing our relationship with stress and how we can interpret the physical reactions our bodies have to stress. I believe Kelly to be very credible. She is a health psychologist and after reading a study that conflicted with her beliefs, instead of dismissing it she continued to do more research and adapted her methods of helping people cope with stress.

I thoroughly enjoyed this TED talk and will definitely apply her methods to my life and how I deal with stress. I feel her method of managing stress in new ways is very reasonable and easily applicable to everyone. She discussed how people who described their stress as helpful in situations were much more confident because their body was preparing them instead of making them unsure and nervous. She also talked about how people who were involved in the betterment of people close to them, had a better time handling stress. Also just being around people you care about, can help with stress. I think this can be applied to my life when I am preparing for a test or a presentation, I can prepare with other people. If I am alone in my room going over a presentation or studying, I will be significantly more stressed than if I were to do my presentation in from of someone that I know. Having that relief of knowing that person will make it less stressful and make it easier when you have to present for real. I do not think I currently have the best strategies for dealing with stress, but when I am struggling to work on homework, I ask someone else to work on homework with me, so I am more motivated and help responsible because I asked someone else to work with me.

Chapter 3 First Impression

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

My current sleep habits are poor, to say the least. I am often so tired that, in order to get through the rest of the day, I have to take about an hour nap after classes. I often go to sleep around 2 a.m. and wake up around 9 or 10 everyday. Most nights before I go to bed I lay down and watch TV until I am tired enough to go to sleep. And after, it will usually take me about an hour or more to actually fall asleep. I also sometimes drink coffee late at night.

I don’t think my sleep habits are necessarily the healthiest, but I am still getting about 7 or 8 hours. I think if I were to not watch TV directly before bed I would have a much easier time falling asleep. I also think working more during the day and not napping so much would help when trying to fall asleep at night. I have been working on improving on amount of naps per week by keeping myself more occupied during the day by going to the gym and working on homework during the day instead of late at night. This way I can go to bed knowing that I was productive during the day. This would help to reduce the amount of stress I feel on a daily basis as well. Improving the quality of my sleep would greatly increase my academic performance and stress levels.

I think a realistic goal for amount of sleep for college students is about 7 hours. This requires improving your time management skills. You have to balance eating meals, social time, time spent on academic work, and sometimes athletics. This is definitely a possibility, but it takes a lot of work to manage your time wisely.

Chapter 8 First Impression Post

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

I have had to improve my study habits since coming to college. In high school, I would rarely spend a lot of time studying for exams because I was busy with extracurriculars. In college, I have more time to study and spend time reviewing material. When studying for an exam though, I tend to procrastinate studying until the day before. I spend hours reviewing the material and making flash cards and rewriting information to help me remember. Positive habits are making flash cards and not being finished studying till I know the information which will, most of the time, take the whole day. For this class in particular, I started making flash cards after we get new material, every week. Flash cards are helpful because you’re writing the information down and then have a good study tool. I do need to review the practice questions after we complete the quizzes every week. I also need to look over my notes every day after class to make sure I have a general idea of what he had discussed. I need to improve by beginning studying immediately after we are given new material, in order to help me remember the information for a longer period of time. I also need to be more confident and ask questions during class if I don’t understand something, instead of thinking I’ll just look at it again later.

Chapter 2 – Neuroscience

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

I chose to watch Thomas Insel’s TED talk: Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness. I was drawn to this talk because many of my friends and family members suffer from mental illnesses and I was interested to learn more. In his talk, he first showed remarkable statistics on the survival rate of diseases like heart disease, leukemia, strokes, and AIDS. All of these have improved their survival rate greatly from their peak from 1965-1995. Then was the rate of suicide since it’s peak, it has not gone done at all. 35,000 people die a year from suicide. He then spoke about how these were diseases of the brain, they are very common and described them as not exactly behavorial disorders. They are behavior related when you see the outcome of what is going on in the brain. His goal to reduce the suicide rate is to diagnose early and start treatment immediately, rather than waiting for the behavior part of the disorder to develop and beginning treatment then. The most interesting part of the talk was when he spoke about the brain and how it is so intricate that we have really only just begun to understand it. There are over 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. I found Thomas Insel very trustworthy. He mentioned that he worked for the federal government and his job was working on reducing the rate of suicide. That is why he is so informed about the brain and it’s functions and how mental illness affects it. For the topic, mental illness and specifically suicide, I would research the events that happened directly before a person committed suicide. I would study and speak to people who have survived suicide attempts and talk to them about the events right before. Studying the events prior to a suicide attempt could help in preventing them. I could find out if those events were preventable and we could develop more signs of mental illness. If they were preventable, why didn’t the person take themselves out of the situation or was it something happening all in their brain.

Do Hand’s Free Devices Promote Safer Driving?

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

The Myth Busters episode, “Do Hand’s Free Devices Promote Safer Driving?”, tests whether it is safer to drive while holding your phone to your ear with your hand or having it on your dashboard, hands-free. They tested first by the host driving both ways, talking while holding your phone and without holding. The test yielded similar scores. They then went to Stanford University to test 30 people using a driving simulator. They had 15 hold their phones to their ears and 15 were not holding their phone, but all were still talking on the phone. The end results were mostly failing because they drove the wrong way or they crashed and two people passed.

A strength of this test was that they showed how truly unsafe driving with your phone as a distraction is. Only 2 of the 30 participants passed the test with the simulator. Most of the participants failed to drive safely while being distracted by their phone.

A weakness of the test was that they chose two ways of unsafe driving to compare, rather than one unsafe way and driving normally without any phone distraction. They should have performed two different experiments, one comparing hands free driving to driving without distractions and one comparing holding your phone to driving without distractions.

They also failed to start with a hypothesis which is what all experiments should start with after you have gathered information about the topic. When testing the host of the show, they had some sort of point system, but failed to describe where the points came from or what affected them.

This was a flawed experiment, but adequately showed the dangers of distracted driving.

A Case Example Extra Credit

--Original published at Grace's College Blog

Explanations for Miguel’s problems:

Psycho-dynamic: The idea behind psycho-dynamics is that your unconscious mind is affecting all your decisions. So, Miguel’s issue is that he can’t sleep because his unconscious mind is too concerned with his schoolwork and it being perfect.

Behaviorist Psychology: Miguel has been conditioned to think that his work needs to perfect and he has expectations that are too high. He is so concerned with his work that he is losing sleep and thinks that his work being perfect is more important.

Humanistic Psychology: A psychologist from the humanistic perspective would work on the issues in Miguel’s life that is causing the lack of sleep and the irritable behavior. A humanist would tell Miguel he needs to not focus on being perfect and simply do the best that he can and he should be satisfied with that.

Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychology focuses on mental processes rather than behaviors. So, a psychologist would look at what is going on mentally with Miguel rather than the resulting behaviors. Miguel is struggling mentally with the idea that he needs to be perfect. He is also struggling with irritability and inability to sleep. One focus is attention in cognitive psych so a psychologist might find the correlation between Miguel’s attention to his schoolwork and his lack of sleep.

Psycho-biology: Miguel might have insomnia and that is the reason he can’t sleep. Because he can not sleep, then he is irritable during the day and that is why he is picking fights with his roommate. Psycho-biology would look more at the biology behind Miguel’s behaviors like neurological disorders.

Cultural Psychology: In Miguel’s culture he may have pressure to be perfect in all of the work he does and that is why he is unable to sleep because he is too concerned with everything going perfectly.