Spotlight Blog Post: Mental Health

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

Although I am pretty familiar with the reality television show, Hoaders, I could never actually bring myself to watch it. I never understood why millions of people would take time out of their schedules to watch other individuals struggle with a serious mental illness. A few years ago, just thinking about the show made me feel uncomfortable. Before this assignment, I initially thought Hoarders was an inappropriate form of entertainment because it put people’s lives on display. I never thought this was right – or even ethical! I felt as if those who were on the show were being wrongfully exposed, and I thought the purpose of the show was to mock what they are going through. Now, after learning more about mental health in our psychology class, I realize I may have been ignorant, and I might have misjudged the motivations behind airing this type of show. I wrongfully assumed Hoarders to be an unethical program without even watching it, but after reading various articles, I now realize the people on the show have agreed to be on television. I think this is because the majority of the individuals on the show actually have the desire to get better, and they want a public platform to share their stories. Throughout this semester, we have observed what psychology looks like in the media. In order to solidify my opinions concerning this topic, I discovered differing online sources to ensure I understood both sides.

The first article I found, written by Laurie Edwards-Tate, discusses how Hoarders has successfully created necessary awareness for the serious psychological condition of compulsive hoarding. The author effectively paints a picture describing what the hoarders’ homes look like, and how much the clutter, lack of organization, and reclusiveness devastates their families. This article accurately draws connections between the show and the symptoms of serious hoarding, citing reliable sources like the Mayo Clinic. Edwards-Tate points out how Hoarders accurately depicts the ways in which these very real symptoms show up in the lives of those with the illness. Instead of simply reading the symptoms in order to gain perspective into this type of mental illness, by watching Hoarders, viewers can truly see how these symptoms dictate those who are affected. Although it is unfortunate, Edwards-Tate also expresses how much the older generation is affected by this disorder. The show is important because it can show the younger generation ways to care for those with compulsive hoarding tendencies. Edwards-Tate closes this article with advice and evidence centered around what not to do around these individuals. For example, she explains how going behind a hoarder’s back and throwing their stuff away while only isolate the hoarder further. Although this article helped me gain perspective into why Hoarders should be watched, it still is not extremely credible because it was deeply opinionated, and it read like a blog. Regardless, it was still an informative article to read because it did cite the Mayo Clinic, and the author clearly understood the ramifications of this type of mental illness.

The next article I read in support of TV shows which delve into mental health disorders, like Hoarders, is located on a website called “Everyday Health.” This article is set up like a blog post, with health professions, Debbie Stanley, Marilyn Tomfohrde, and Lori Watson, commenting their opinions on the benefits, and the negative aspects, of this type of show. This was an interesting article to read because two of the health professions, Tomfohrde and Watson, agree that Hoarders is a positive program, which gives an honest representation of what it is like to have a mental illness like compulsive hoarding. Stanley, however, disagrees and believes Hoarders does more harm than good, and it even exploits those who are on the show. The evidence she uses to support stems from how the show treats the hoarders. For example, she explains how the show highlights the affected individuals as societal outcasts. Instead of causing people to be sympathetic, Stanley believes these types of shows targets individuals and makes them feel alone, which furthers their compulsive behaviors. The health professions who are in agreeance with TLC’s choice to air Hoarders also use evidence to support their opinions. For example, Watson explains how Hoarders not only shows people how to deal with their mental illnesses, but it also brings families together because this program allows them to deal with the illness as a family unit. She expresses how difficult it is for people with mental illness to seek help on their own, so having a program, which brings organizing specialists into their lives, helps them cope. It even helps their families become part of the process, which produces greater odds in them overcoming this type of illness. Much like Lori Watson, Marilyn Tomfohrde also believes Hoarders is an accurate representation of this particular condition. She expresses how effectively Hoarderscaptures the realness behind what it is like to have a mental illness. By helping people deal with their hoarding addiction and airing it publicly, it provides hope for others who are dealing with compulsive hoarding tendencies. This article was interesting because it came from three healthcare professionals: one who disagreed with the show, and two who agreed. Although the two agreed with Hoarders, the person with disagreeing input gave me a new perspective, and also decreased potential bias. Although this site was insightful, and the comments were meaningful, I wouldn’t say it has a lot of scholarly merit. Since it was set up like a blog, it consisted of three individual’s opinions instead of pure psychological facts and findings.

After reading these first two articles, which were mainly in support of controversial mental health TV shows, I wanted to get a different perspective. The first article I visited which advised against watching Hoarders is called, “Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good.” The author, Anna Almendrala, believes this show degrades the seriousness of mental health issues. She states those who are on the show are rushed to throw away their things just so they can entertain people. Almendrala critiques the show because it suggests compulsive hoarding is a disorder which can be resolved quickly. It suggests people can hire a cleaning lady to fix all their problems, and then they don’t have to deal with their mental health again. Despite her criticisms, Almendrala does commend the show for drawing attention to mental health issues; however, she does not believe it should be a form of entertainment for people since it is such a serious issue for some. This article seems the most credible out of all of the websites I visited. Almendrala addresses the pros and cons of watching the show, instead of simply stating the negative impacts it may have. She references reports from the British Psychological Society, and she also quotes multiple psychologists about what it means to suffer from compulsive hoarding. This article was easy to read because of its organization, and it also presented a logical and well-researched argument for not watching shows like Hoarders.

I chose to view “Stop Watching ‘Hoarders:’ Our Lurid Reality TV Obsession with Mental Illness Has Crossed a Line” as my last article, which highly disagrees with how the show represents mental health illnesses. The author, Rachel Kramer Bussel, never watched the show because she personally dealt with hoarding tendencies. She did not want to watch others deal with it since she herself battles with it. After overcoming her issues with hoarding, she decided to give the show a try, in hopes it would help people by showcasing the hardships they are going through. She, however, was disappointed with how those on the show are represented. She believes the hoarders are exploited and are often misrepresented in order for the show to be approved for more seasons. Bussel supports her claims with evidence centering around how the commercials advertise the phrase “more extreme than ever.” She is sickened by this because the TV show is selfishly benefiting off the illnesses of others instead of trying to help them for honest reasons. The author does not believe Hoarders should be a reality TV show because mental health should be not a form of entertainment for “normal” people. Also, if people are trying to overcome compulsive hoarding, they shouldn’t watch Hoarders. Instead, she suggests reading memoirs, such as Judy Batalion’s White Walls, because it does not exploit the condition like reality TV does. She concludes the article by stating those who watch reality TV to avoid their own problems, should stop worrying about others and should take control of their own lives. I found this article, and the website, to be credible. Not only does the author supply evidence from how the show advertises to support her thoughts, but she also gives credit to other websites and psychologists who agree Hoarders should not be watched as reality television.

After reading all of these articles and gaining much more insight into this topic, I still believe Hoarders has the power to do good things for those who are struggling with compulsive hoarding. If people want to watch reality TV, I think it should be about something meaningful, that promotes change and understanding. After reading the articles opposed to the show, I realized the producers of Hoarders need to refrain from dramatizing mental illnesses in order to get viewers; however, I still think the way the show highlights the effects of hoarding, both on the individual’s personal life and their family, is a great way to promote the seriousness of mental health issues. After this semester, I now realize the effects of mental health, and how necessary it is to continue to help those who seek attention.


Almendrala, Anna. “Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 17 June 2015,


Bussel, Rachel. “Stop Watching ‘Hoarders’: Our Lurid Reality TV Obsession with Mental Illness Has Crossed a Line.” Salon,, 23 Jan. 2016,

Link:            bsession_with_mental_illness_has_crossed_a_line/

Edwards-Tate, Laurie. “Ending Its Fourth Season Next Week, the A&E Network Series Hoarders Is Drawing Huge Audiences and Higher Ratings than Ever.” Hoarders: Reality TV Exposes a Serious Psychological Condition | At Your Home Familycare, 11 Aug. 2011,  exposes-a-serious-psychological-condition/.

Link: tv-exposes-a-serious-psychological-condition/

Stanley, Debbie, et al. “Does Reality TV Accurately Portray Hoarding?” Stroke Center, Ziff Davis, LLC, 10 Jan. 2014, disorders/experts-does-tv-accurately-portray-hoarding.aspx.

Link: portray-hoarding.aspx







Chapter 15: First Impression Post

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For this post, I decided to rank the four different types of psychotherapy. After reading through my textbook and revising my notes from class, my rankings, from most helpful to least helpful, are cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic, and behavioral.

  1. Cognitive Therapy 
    • According to our textbook, cognitive therapy is extremely effective because it helps people eliminate harmful thoughts they may be thinking about themselves, and to adopt healthier behaviors and ways of thinking. Cognitive therapists train their clients to counter these negative thoughts with healthy actions and attitudes.
    • I am apt to believe this type of therapy would be the most helpful to someone because of its focus on the mind. I believe dysfunction thoughts lead to dysfunction behaviors. If someone is struggling with self-doubt or other negative feelings, but is able to alter how they mentally perceive certain situations or emotions, they are going to be able to cope with difficult feelings in a healthier manner. The main reason as to why I think cognitive strategies are the most effective is because being able to cope with challenging emotions in a healthier way is going to affect how someone behaves for the better.
  2. Psychodynamic Therapy 
    • In class, we extensively studied the Psychodynamic theory, and after reviewing my notes, I believe this type of therapy is also very effective. Psychodynamic therapy centers around resolving unconscious issues from traumatic childhood experiences. Therapists work to help their clients interpret difficult feelings and memories.
    • I think this type of therapy is towards the top of my ranking because a lot of people who struggle with their mental health have experienced a traumatic event in their past, so it is necessary for individuals to seek professional attention so they can find helpful ways to cope. Therapists are essential in helping people make sense of why memories from their past keep effecting present situations.
  3. Humanistic Therapy
    • This type of approach helps individuals see their potential, and it also shows them they have the ability to make rational choices. I think this type of therapy builds people up because it points our people’s best traits and highlights personal fulfillment.
    • Although I think it is so important for people to learn to build themselves up and to understand what makes them strong and capable, I feel like this therapy “dances” around the problems people face. The only criticism I have for this type of therapy is it does not seem to confront issues as effectively as cognitive or psychodynamic therapy do.
  4. Behavioral Therapy
    • According to our textbook, this type of therapy attempts to distinguish dysfunctional behaviors and it also provides positive behavioral strategies to cope with problematic ones. In class, we learned that behaviorists, such as Pavlov, Thorndike, and Skinner, made use of classical and operant conditioning to teach certain behaviors and reactions.
    • I think this therapy is the least effective because it teaches positive behaviors instead of discovering why someone acts a certain way or behaves badly. I think it is necessary for mental health professionals to help people deal with negative thoughts before teaching new behaviors.

Media Production Project

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

Maximum Word Count for the Summary: 407

People tend to assume we are in control of our thoughts, but curious researchers wanted to know: do we actually have complete control over them? Researchers Bhangal, Merrick, Cho, and Morsella conducted two different experiments on college students from the University of San Francisco in order to test whether or not the students were able to control their thoughts. They hypothesized students would subconsciously utilize information they were blatantly told to ignore in order to influence how they answered test questions. Prior to the study, the researchers operationalized their variables by defining the various stimuli as the independent variable, and the test, which measured the information they could recall, as the dependent variable.

In the first experiment, 34 students were each exposed to various stimuli. Before they were shown these different colored objects, they were told to refrain from counting them. Despite the clear instructions from the researchers, when it came time for the test, it was evident about 90% of the students subconsciously counted the objects. In the second experiment, 40 different college students, who were randomly assigned to groups, were given the same test, but were told to either focus on the colors of the shapes or the number of objects which appeared on the screen. Even with instructions to only be conscious of one of these tasks, when tested, 40% of students could not only name the color, but could also recall the number of objects presented.

The results of the experiment supported the researcher’s hypothesis and lead them to further investigate why the students subconsciously retained information when told not to. The researchers concluded the student’s brains created “action sets,” which are used to make decisions concerning future situations. The two tasks caused 40% of the students to create two different action sets, so when asked to recall information, the students subconsciously utilized both pieces of information regardless of being told not to.

In both experiments, the students participated for course credit, which means there was no random sampling. Since there was no random sampling, the conclusions of the study can only be generalized to the specific population tested. The researchers did, however, use random assignment when grouping the participates, and the stimuli, known as the independent variable, was manipulated, thus the researcher’s methods allow for causal claims.


My main focus for this project was to not only summarize the researcher’s results effectively, but I also wanted to weave the five critical questions into the summary. I felt like it was necessary to provide answers as to whether or not the study answered the five critical questions. Even though the majority of the questions were answered in the full research study, the journalist who wrote the pop culture article omitted answers to all but one of the questions. Due to strict deadlines and the dense scientific findings in the full research study, I can only imagine how difficult it is for the journalist to address all of the five critical questions in his articles. This being said, I still think it is important to include whether or not the article could answer the five critical questions because it communicates the validity of an experiment. Although the journalist’s writing is of a higher caliber than mine, compared to the news article, I think I incorporated the use of the five critical questions more effectively.

I purposefully chose to leave out specific statistics, such as the p-value of the results, because although it provides great support for the researcher’s hypothesis, I think details like this are too specific for a summary of the study and its results. I also chose to leave out other complex details, such as the specific colors of the shapes, since this does not help communicate the overall findings of the study. Much like the journalist of the news article, I did not feel as if including very specific details would be appropriate in a condensed summary of the full experiment. For me, the most difficult aspect of this project was knowing I could not exceed 407 words in my summary. At first, I was overwhelmed because there were so many important details, and I had to decide which aspects were the most informative and necessary to include in my summary. Once I began writing, I discovered summarizing was not as much of a challenge as I thought it would be because I have already worked with the pop culture article and the research study in previous papers.

After critically reading a journalist’s article and a research team’s full study, I have learned how important it is to read with the scientific attitude. If one does not read media articles and research studies with humility, curiosity, and skepticism, then they can be quick to accept skewed psychological findings and data. Since we read a pop culture article, I was able to see how journalists wrongfully generalize research studies to “all people.” This made me more aware of biases in the media and how some journalists are willing to distort real scientific findings in order for their articles to receive more views. The full research study taught me how important it is to interact with complicated texts in order to understand the full purpose of the experiment. This project has taught me how essential the five critical questions are when reading over scientific research. I have also learned how to summarize lengthy research more effectively.

Bhangal, Sabrina et al. “Involuntary Entry into Consciousness from the Activation of Sets:           Object Counting and Color Naming” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, 21 Jun. 2018,       doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01017

“You Don’t Have as Much Control Over Your Thoughts as You May Believe.” Study Find,         Study Finds, 2018,            believed/

Bonus Blog Prompt: Johari Window

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For some reason, it was initially extremely difficult to choose 5 words which best describe me. I do not really know why it was such a challenge, but I think it maybe had something to do with the fact I hadn’t ever thought about describing myself before. After staring at my laptop for quite some time, I decided that I am dependable, happy, extroverted, friendly, and trustworthy. Even though it was difficult for me to describe myself, I think my description was pretty accurate because most everyone who completed my window picked these 5 words. There were also a few words, such as intelligent, caring, kind, and organized, that I did not pick for myself, but most people picked for me.

I think the Johari Window is a valid test because the people who completed are around me a lot, and seem to know me very well. If I sent this link to my acquaintances, I think I would have gotten completely different results. In my opinion, one issue I have with the Johari Window is a lot of the words have very similar connotations, such as friendly, cheerful, and happy. I think in order to get even more accurate results, the descriptive words could be a little more unique, and less like synonyms.

I sent my Johari Window to those who have close relationships with me; however, I did not send it to any of my family members. Although I think my friends know me extremely well, I do not think they know me like my mom and brother do. For example, if I sent this to my mom, she would NOT have described me as organized, like many of my friends did. She would have laughed if she saw that people think I am organized because after all, my room and car are always a mess! If my younger brother saw that most people think I am friendly, he would say that it is all an act! This shows that the results of the Johari Window are all relative because you often show different parts of yourself depending on who you are around.

Through this process, I learned that I have many blind spots, which are words that I never thought could describe me. I think that people, myself included, are often hard on themselves, and it is important to realize that everyone has many good attributes which compose their personalities.

Spotlight Blog Post: Stress​

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For our second Spotlight Blog Post, I have decided to focus on evaluating different stress relieving techniques. As we learned in class, stress is a response to a situation, threatening one’s sense of well-being. Different groups of people, such as students, athletes, and parents, all deal with various types of either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) stressors, thus it is important to see what kinds of strategies most effectively alleviate stress.

College Students

College students are prone to experiencing large amounts of acute stress. A few examples of acute stress could be an upcoming test, going home over break, or submitting a research paper. Although all of these stressors are different, they are all examples of short-term stress. This means even though college students get extremely worked up and stressed out over these examples, they are acute stressors meaning there is an end in sight. According to Melissa Cohen, who wrote the first website I visited called, “Student Guide to Surviving Stress and Anxiety in College and Beyond,” describes college student’s stress as being episodic acute, meaning they experience short term stress quite frequently. I was interested in this article because it focuses on how stressful testing situations can be, and as a college student, I often feel overwhelmed when I think about my own upcoming tests. Cohen provides many tips on how college students can reduce their anxiety before they go to take the exam. The first tip she discusses is studying effectively and efficiently. Based on what we discussed in class, studying effectively for an exam is a type of constructive strategy known as problem-focused coping. This means by preparing effectively for an exam, the stressor is being tackled directly. Another stress relieving technique she suggests before taking a test is to get a good night’s rest, eat a balanced breakfast, and to limit caffeine intake. Cohen says getting a good night’s sleep and eating breakfast makes college students feel calmer and less stressed going into test day. Also, since caffeine is a stimulate, it speeds up the Central Nervous System, which inhibits the body in terms of feeling relaxed. She then discusses how regular exercise not only provides physiological benefits, but it can also provide psychological benefits, such as easing a stressed-out mind. Cohen then discusses how college students also suffer from negative self-thoughts. Since college can be very difficult at times, she explains students must practice positive self-talk. If stressed-out students go into a testing situation, already feeling defeated, then they are setting themselves up for failure. Just as we discussed in class, she touches on how important social support can be for college students when they are feeling overwhelmed. Talking to someone about stress is another constructive strategy known as emotion-focused coping. Cohen closes by expressing how getting involved in a sports team, club, or pursuing a hobby is not only a great way to alleviate stress, but it is also a perfect way to get involved around campus.


Athletes of all types and skill levels are often faced with high levels of stress when they realize what is expected of them during practices and games. Just like in college students, the type of stress athletes face is usually acute stress because their game schedules allow them to see an end in sight. On the Sports Psychology website, Aaron Moffett wrote an article targeting athletes which provides a variety of stress relieving techniques. He begins by saying all stress is not necessarily bad. For athletes, a little bit of healthy stress can actually enhance performance. This “good stress” is known as eustress, which can result from the responsibility of leading the team during practice. The “bad stress,” or distress, stems from poor performance in a big game. Moffett says athletes respond to negative stressors in one of three ways. First, they could have a physiological response, which could mean their heartbeat speeds up before a big game. Second, they could have a specific behavioral response, such as nervously passing back and forth. Lastly, athletes could have a cognitive response to a stressor, which could result in them thinking negatively about themselves. He advises athletes to match how they respond to stress with a specific coping strategy. Athletes who respond to stress in a physiological manner should try implementing certain breathing and muscle relaxing techniques. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and calmly will slow the heart rate, and it can also help get more oxygen to the muscles. Those who respond to stress with a certain behavior should first analyze whether or not it is a positive or negative behavior. For example, when some athletes get stressed, they respond with drinking or smoking. These are two examples of detrimental behavioral responses, and they are also ineffective coping strategies. Instead of responding to stress with a potentially harmful behavior, Moffett encourages athletes to either write “to-do” lists or to exercise. By writing lists, a person will feel more in control over what is stressing them out. As mentioned before, exercise has many positive psychological and physiological benefits. Lastly, those who respond to stress with an “I can’t do this” type of attitude need to utilize cognitive coping strategies. For example, it is important for athletes to practice positive self-talk. If an athlete struggles with defense, they should not respond with “I just can’t do this.” Instead, he should focus on how great his offense is, and continually challenge himself to improve defensively.


 Parenting is no doubt an extremely stressful job. The type of stress parents feel is not just acute, but they also feel a lot of chronic stress as well. For example, worrying about children is extremely different from worry about an upcoming test. The test anxiety has an end in sight, whereas the stress parents feel for their children lasts their whole lives. The article I visited called, “Stress Management for Parents” describes the constant tension parents feel as “chronic tension.” When parents feel worried, their bodies respond with fight or flight, the body’s natural response to threats. The article’s focus is primarily on techniques that relax the mind. The first tip discussed is called progressive relaxation. Tense parents are instructed to tighten each muscle group, and then after a few seconds, the muscles should be released. This technique relaxes both the mind and the body. The next tip discussed focuses on breathing. When a parent gets stressed or anxious, their breathing often gets shallow, which decreases oxygen flow to the rest of the body. The article instructs parents to spend 5-10 minutes a day correctly breathing. By laying on your back, placing your hands on your ribs, and focusing on taking deep breathes, the mind is relaxing, and the body is then fully oxygenated. The next tip recommended is taking a mental vacation. In class, we discussed how effective this strategy can be. When taking a mental vacation, you first picture a place where you feel calm. Then, using as many senses as you can, you put yourself there and imagine how it must feel. This technique engages the mind and provides relaxation.

The three articles I visited all mentioned how negative stress can be detrimental. Each article revealed healthy techniques, very similar to the ones we discussed in class, for college students, athletes, and parents.

Chapter 11: First Impression Post

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For this blog post, I will be analyzing my current stress management strategies and how they work, and then I will be discussing other strategies which could also be effective in alleviating stress.

As I started college, I don’t think I was completely aware of how stressful it can be at times. Compared to the stress of high school, college stress manifests itself in more intense ways. For example, in high school, my teachers would constantly remind us what assignments were due and when. In college, a lot of knowing what is due falls on the responsibility of the students. This is just a part of the growing up process, but it can be difficult and stressful to adjust to at first. Another part of college that is stressful is learning how to time manage effectively. In high school, we spent the majority of the day in class. This is very different than college because most days, I only have one or two classes, which means that I am only spending about 1-2 hours of the day in class. Even though I am only in class for a couple hours a day, there is a lot more work and reading expected of me. In high school, most of my grades revolved around homework, paper, and in-class assignments. If I did not do as well as I wanted to on a test, there were still a lot of chances for me to earn points back. This is very different from college, and a specific example of this is my Biology class. In Biology, there are no papers, homework, or in-class assignments; instead, the grade received in this class is based on how you perform on quizzes and tests. Since our tests are so high stakes, it creates a very stressful testing situation. I tend to get very anxious as I am taking the exam, and I am sure this affects my performance.

In order to cope with stress, I make myself a schedule. If I have 2 big exams in one day, like I did last Monday, I will set a certain amount of time aside to make sure I am dedicating enough study time for each exam. I know that this is an effective strategy because whenever I make a schedule, my exam grades typically increase. Another strategy I use is whenever I get stressed, I listen to music because it relaxes my brain. Any type of music usually works, I just like focusing on the lyrics. Lastly, I have a “stress journal” I like to write in whenever I am feeling overwhelmed. Writing stressful assignments down usually helps me prioritize them, and then I feel like I have more control over them. Getting thoughts down on paper and out of my mind usually does the trick, and I highly recommend this strategy to everyone.

Three other strategies that I would like to become a part of my regular schedule are working out, to quit procrastinating, and to get more sleep. I have read online that working out helps relax your mind. Whenever I get really stressed, I go to the gym, and I normally feel much better afterward. I am hoping this can eventually become a habit. Secondly, I feel like everyone struggles with pushing things off to the last second. Whenever I do this, I tend to feel pressure and an uncomfortable amount of stress. I would like to stay more on top of things, and I think this would reduce my stress levels. Lastly, getting more sleep is always a good idea. If I would stop putting assignments off to the last minute, I could go to sleep earlier. Then, I would wake up less stressed out.


Chapter 3: First Impression Post

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

After assessing my current sleeping habits, I have concluded that they are probably not as healthy as they could be. After I finish doing all my homework, socializing, and spend time either watching TV or playing on my phone, it is usually about 11. Even though I am in bed at 11, I normally have a hard time falling asleep. I am usually preoccupied with thoughts about school and homework, and I think that by the time I actually fall asleep, it is probably around 11:15 or 11:30. I usually get out of bed at around 6:30, and since I am a commuter, I leave for the college at 7:15.

Although being in bed by 11 and waking up at 6:30 seems pretty healthy, I have a bad habit of setting six alarms to wake me up in the morning. Although I do not know much about the sleep cycles yet, I am almost certain that setting an alarm for 5:50 and hitting the snooze button 12 times is not healthy. Even though getting that “five extra minutes of sleep” always feel so good, I do not think it benefits the human body in any way. In fact, I might be doing a disservice to myself.

If I was going to try and improve my sleeping habits, I would aim to be off my phone around 10:30. I think it is important that the brain has time to unwind and detox from screens before it sleeps. If I did this, I think there is a chance my academic performance could improve. Next, I would set either one or two alarms to wake me up in the morning instead of six. If I do this, I may be completing my sleep cycle more effectively.

I think a healthy amount of sleep for a college student is around seven hours. Growing up, I was always told eight hours was ideal, but there is a lot more homework and social aspects that come with college life. Therefore, I think seven is sufficient and reasonable.


Spotlight Blog Post: Learning Styles​​​

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

As I read over the two options for the Spotlight Blog Post, I was flooded with a memory from the sixth grade. I can remember being forced to take a test which evaluated whether I was a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner. After seeing my results, I remember my teacher telling me that I was “shockingly auditory,” which meant I was not a mix of two learning styles, like most of my classmates; I pretty much just fell into one category. As I went through high school, I thought I was simply an auditory learner, and that is what I based my study habits and techniques around. Now, as I look back on my experience, it is interesting to see how much pressure was put on my teachers to specialize their lesson plans to adhere with the specific types of “learners” that were present in the classroom. Over the years, many teachers, parents, and scholars have taken sides on whether or not learning styles are relevant to consider when making lesson plans, or if they are simply just myths.

On the University of San Diego website, there is an article posted called, “One Classroom, many Learning Styles: Strategies for Teachers.” This article communicates to teachers how critical it is that they successfully determine which learning styles are represented in their class to ensure their lessons plans are effective. Instead of using the typical “VARK” questionnaire to determine if a student is a visual, auditory, reading, or kinesthetic learner, they use the seven intelligences (founded by Howard Gardener). Gardener proposes that in a classroom setting, students can be labeled: visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, or logical. Instead of believing that children can only be one type of learner, they theorize that children are stronger in one area but can also use other styles to understand new information. This website encourages teachers to use a student-centered approach. The teachers ultimately have authority in the classroom, but it is their job to assist students in learning with the styles that are specific to them.

“Understanding the Importance of Learning Styles,”  published on More 4 kids, is another highly supportive article. The author of this article is a mother who homeschooled her children, so it provides a different perspective than the last article. As she homeschooled her children, the author found that by adapting how she taught, based on their learning styles, was not only reflected in their academic performance, but it also made the process better for everyone. She stresses to teachers that if they neglect to understand how a child learns, it can result in conflict and even an inappropriate diagnosis (such as Attention Deficit Disorder). The author explains that she arrived at this conclusion because of her own experience teaching her two boys. As she began schooling her eldest son, who happened to be a visual learner, she thought that the techniques she used with him would also be effective for her youngest son. However, the youngest son was much more difficult because he was not performing well and he could not physically sit still. After being told by their family doctor that he should go on medication for ADD, the author decided to do some research of her own. She concluded that her son might be a kinesthetic learner, and all the visual techniques were frustrating for him.

Olga Khaazan, an award-winning staff writer for The Atlantic, argues against the use of learning styles in the classroom because they are simply ineffective. Khaazan begins, “The Myths of ‘Learning Styles,'” by discussing how Niel Fleming’s development of the “VARK” model gained its momentum during the self-esteem movement (the 90s). In the classroom, teachers were taught to view children like special individuals who had a unique learning style associated with them. As a result, the lessons should have been geared toward a specific learning style in order for struggling children to make sense of the material. She continues to critique how students grow up believing they already know how they learn, and since they feel defined by a certain learning style, they often get complacent in the classroom, and they develop bad habits when it comes to effective studying. Khaazan draws attention to the research of Daniel Willingham, a psychologist at the Univerity of Virginia, and Polly Husmann, a professor at Indiana Univerity to help support her claims against learning styles. To test the effectiveness of studying in a way that is specific to a learning style, Husmann had hundreds of students take the “VARK” questionnaire. After the students figured out how they supposedly learned best, they could choose whether or not they would apply the recommended strategies. As Husmann predicted, the students did not see improvements to their exam scores. Willingham theorized that by only catering to one learning style in the classroom, “educators may actually be doing a disservice” to the students because they are limiting the importance of other skills (

On the American Psychological Association website, Blake Harvard shares his negative opinions on learning styles, but instead of just critiquing the concept of learning styles like the last article, he takes it one step further by presenting more effective alternatives. Harvard starts by discussing that even though learning styles are no longer the backbone that gives structure to the classroom like they use to be, many institutions still wrongfully rely on them to shape their curriculum.  As an educator, Harvard was always asked to reach all the learning styles when he was teaching a lesson, but after a while, he realized that there was very little scientific evidence that supported learning styles. Instead, he began to research learning strategies that would be more effective in the classroom and were actually proven to reach children. Three examples of research learning strategies are retrieval practice, distributed practice, and interleaved practice. These are just a few examples of what student can do instead of focusing on studying one ineffective way. When a student uses the skill of retrieval instead of staring blankly at notecards, they are more effectively studying by attempting to retrieve information from their memory. These types of learning strategies require a student to be actively studying instead of just staring at a term and not connecting other information to it.

Before reading all of this research, I had always believed that learning styles were a necessary part of every child’s education. After gaining all of this newfound knowledge, I now see that there is actually very little scientific research that supports learning styles. As a “shockingly auditory” learner, I would tend to disregard any type of visual or kinesthetic learning strategies, and now as a college student, I see how this may have hurt me. I am currently adapting my study habits to include all type of strategies because each one is necessary when attempting to retain information. Instead of listening to youtube videos on certain topics like I did all through high school, I am now making charts and spending more time invested in the textbooks. It is important that all types of learning are integrated into the classroom so that schools produce well-rounded individuals who can problem solve, analyze, time manage, etc.



Harvard, Blake. “Learning Myths vs. Learning Facts.” Psych Learning Curve, 17 July 2017,

Khazan, Olga. “The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 12 Apr. 2018,

More4kids. “Understanding the Importance of Learning Styles.” Homeschooling Education Learning and Reading Resources, More4kids International, 10 Mar. 2011,

“Teaching to Every Student’s Unique Learning Style.” University of San Diego, 5 Jan. 2018,







Chapter 3: First Impression Post

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For this week’s first impression post, I decided to choose the second prompt, which deals with the efficiency of the Abstinence Treatment versus the Harm Reduction Treatment in terms of addiction. The Abstinence Treatment is the complete termination of drugs and alcohol usage, whereas the Harm Reduction Treatment is centered around using drugs and alcohol within moderation.

After considering these two treatments, I believe that if I was helping a loved one seek a cure, I would be more inclined to encourage them to consider the Abstinence Treatment. An abstinence-only type of approach to addiction seems to be more effective because of the weekly AA (alcoholics anonymous) meetings that are held, which are mandatory. These meetings promote a sense of accountability and safety to those in attendance. On the contrary, the Harm Reduction Treatment membership is usually online, thus it is more difficult to connect with real people who are going through the same struggles, and it is also harder to feel accountable. Another major critique I have concerning the Harm Reduction Treatment is that since it allows people to drink or use drugs, how do they recommend lowering the number of times someone uses cocaine or heroin? By still being able to take such harmful, addictive drugs, it seems like it would be near to impossible to coax them off of these substances. The Harm Reduction Treatment may be a good course of action for someone to take who has yet to reach their all-time low, in other words, this treatment seems more useful for an individual whose life has not been ruined by drugs or alcohol. If I was watching a loved one struggle with addiction, I would not want them to see them hit their lowest point before they showed signs of recovery.

Although I objectively think the Abstinence Treatment is a better course of action, I am sure that this is not just as simple as it seems. I cannot even begin to imagine how those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol feel as they try to recover. This process is probably excruciating, and I am sure addicts have issues coping with the fact that abstaining is a permanent treatment. All things aside, I still am inclined to believe that by attending AA and working the program, one will have a higher success rate of achieving sobriety.

First Impression: Chapter 8

--Original published at Jayln's Perspective

For this first impression post, I have decided to choose option one, which consists of critiquing my own study habits. In particular, I will be unveiling how I prepared for our first Psychology exam.

Since our exam took place on Monday afternoon, I spend the majority of the weekend sitting in the library. The first key technique I did to review was printing out Dr. Macfarlane’s study guide. Once I had this printed out, I went through my notes and the book, and I completed the questions with very detailed answers. I made sure these answers consisted of key Psychological terms we covered in class, as well as important phrases from the textbook. A factor that I think contributed to my decent performance on the exam was instead of typing up the answers, I hand wrote them. In high school, my teachers always stressed the idea that when you hand write something as opposed to typing it out, your brain is more apt to recall the information in a testing situation.

The second technique I used to study was to take the practice quizzes many times with my notes, and then complete the practice test without any notes. These quizzes were helpful with narrowing down what book information was the most important. Now looking back on how I studied, I think the most influential part of the process was the practice exam. I allowed myself 50 minutes to take it, and once it was completed, I was able to see how I would do with the amount of time I had studied. After I viewed the results of the test, it was evident that I needed to put more time into reviewing.

After seeing my results on the first exam, I was not overly thrilled with how I did because I know I could have done better. Something I will do while preparing for the next exam is to work on applying knowledge instead of simply memorizing information. This will consist of me asking the questions “why” or “how” instead of just focusing on the “what.”  I have a tendency, especially in Biology 111, to memorize flashcards, and then once I get to the short response questions, I struggle to apply the definitions I learned. I think this bad habit I have stems from high school. When I was in high school, I was able to just rely on my memory because many of my teachers never required me to dig deeper. For the next Psychology exam, and for any other exams I have, I am going to improve my grades by not just stating the definitions when answering short responses, but connecting the terms to the “why” aspect. All negative things aside, something I do very well is staying focused. When I have exams or quizzes, I take studying very seriously. I always turn my phone off so I do not get distracted, and instead of studying for hours at a time, I take mini breaks in between so my brain does not shut down.