Spotlight 3 Prompt 3

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog


Most of the articles I found on the benefits of pyschotherapy over medication tended to have a very similar overarching theme; pyschotherapy is more effective in the long run. While medication can help short term, it isn’t going to get rid of the problem, it will push it under the radar (so to speak) for the duration of the medications effects. According to the washington post article, however, it would be best used for people with chronic mental illness who have been struggling for a long time. In the article by the APA, they stated that psychotherapy tends to have fewer relapses than medication, I think predictably as like I said, medications aren’t going to stay in the system forever. On the downside is the amount of time it takes, medications will give instant but short lived gratification, therapy is going to take a long time to take effect, but in the long run it has been shown to do the most good for people struggling with mental disorders. I definitely trust these sources, the APA being an authority on psychology, I should hope would be trustworthy. The Washington Post I also believe to be a reliable source, they are a well respected company with a reputation to keep, and to spread misinformation would harm that.



According to this article a study was done to test the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication in patients with depression of varying severity. The conclusion it came to is that, depending on a patients “brain state”, the person will either benefit from therapy or medication, but not much from the other. Either way it definitely demonstrated that medication has the potential to be a much more potent solution to depression in some cases.

The most important bit of information I saw in this article was the claim that medication is essentially necessary for the more severe forms of things like depression. It was conceded that therapy might be helpful for mild problems, but it would hardly be effective in worse cases.


My Opinion: I can easily say therapy is going to be the better choice in most cases. Finding reliable articles that were for medication was near impossible, most searches I did found me articles arguing against medication, and showing therapy becoming more and more popular due to all the side effects of medication and the possible inconsistency of it. My view is that slow and steady wins the race, therapy might take a lot longer than medication but the effects seem to be more permanent, with less risk of relapse which is a fair trade to me.

First Impression Week 15 Prompt 1

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

  1. Behavioral: This form of therapy definitely has the best chance of fixing someones more immediate problems, I think. Its strength lies in how it chips away at a negative behavior through scientifically proven methods such as conditioning. It might be a slower process but in the end I believe you would see the best results. However my concern is that someone would need to know why they act the way they do for this to work, and there are definitely cases in which you would need to dig for that information, leading me to believe that a combination of behavioral and psychodynamic therapy in which you bring up the problem through psychodynamics and deal with the outcome of the problem through behavioral therapy would be the most useful. In other words, behavioral therapy has the potential to become worthless to some patients without assistance from other forms.
  2. Cognitive: My favorite aspect of cognitive therapy is how a therapist would act as a kind of guide for someone to help them dig themselves out of a rut, without being too distant (like what I see with humanistic therapy, in which it seems like they just hope people will come to accept their problems and move on). Like the book said, we think in words, and changing the way we think about the world, the effects of things that happen to us, I can imagine would be a big help in convincing yourself that you aren’t completely doomed. The biggest problem I could see with this is if someone is stubborn and refuses to change their thinking. There are a lot of stubborn people in the world and unless someone is willing and open to changing their world view, this form of therapy would be wasted on them.
  3. Psychodynamics: I think that this has the potential to be extremely helpful to people with a broad range of issues, maybe not even necessarily diagnosed illnesses. When the issue isn’t chemical it seems like it often comes from unaddressed underlying issues a person has and this form of therapy is targeted at bringing out those issues, making a patient aware of them, thereby allowing them to deal with whatever is causing the problems. I think this form of therapy fails when you deal with someone who’s problems are simply biological, but for the type of person it’s meant for I believe it would be very helpful.
  4. Humanistic: This approach to therapy might be good for making a person more comfortable with themselves, but I don’t see it going far beyond that. That isn’t necessarily a problem, if that’s what someone wants then I think this would be a fantastic choice, it creates an open and accepting environment where a person can express themselves freely, but it doesn’t seem like it’s capable of really addressing a persons problems and helping them fix themselves. I know that if I was looking for therapy I would want to try to eradicate the problems at the root of my behavior, not become comfortable with my thoughts and actions.

Media Production Project

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

A recent study found there is a link between being angry and espousing economically conservative views.

Research involved several studies done with varying groups of people, each study introduced different methods of testing in an attempt to find if and how emotions played a role in political ideology, specifically if anger could be linked to right wing economic opinions. These studies found that anger can be connected to competitiveness, which in turn increases the likelihood for someone to take on right wing opinions.

The first study conducted involved participants, selected from an undergraduate subject pool, being asked to fill out a scale survey (rating statements from 1 to 5) on three topics; anger proneness,  competitiveness, and finally economic ideology. Surveys similar to this were also used in the other three studies. This study, as predicted, showed a correlation between anger proneness and economic conservatism as anger proneness predicted competitiveness which in turn predicted economic conservatism.

The second study consisted of 203 recruits from Amazon Mechanical Turk. It hoped to separate sociocultural and economic conservatism, and see if anger increased both. The idea was that if sociocultural and economic ideals came from the same goals, anger should promote conservative views in both. This study hoped to evoke anger in participants by having the “anger” group respond to a writing prompt in which they were to describe something that frustrates them, while the control group wrote about a typical day for them. Afterwards the participants filled out two scales which borrowed from the original in the first study as well as two scales measuring independence and sociocultural beliefs. At the end of this study the participants were asked which side of the political spectrum they felt they fell on. The study again found a link between anger and economic conservatism but not between anger and sociocultural conservatism.

Study three sought to show how fear, specifically a perceived threat to ones environment, might affect someones political views. It also wanted to compare competitiveness with a possible alternative, “other-blaming”. Participants  (undergraduate students again) were asked to complete an identical writing task as seen in the second study. After the writing they were asked to complete an emotional testing scale, separated by type of emotion (anger, anxiety, and fear). They were asked to rank how accurate a word pertaining to that emotion was to how they were feeling on a scale from one to five. Then participants again completed the competitiveness scale from study one. After all of this they were given two hypothetical candidates, one who espoused right wing economic views and one with left wing economic views and asked who they would support, then asked where they believed they leaned politically. The results of the study showed that people who felt angry were more likely to “other blame” than people in the control group or in the fear group, but that only competitiveness had an impact on rates of conservatism.

For the final study the researchers turned to Amazon Technical Turk for recruits again. In this study participants believed they were completing two completely separate tasks, one was the emotion manipulation activity used in the second study, and the other involved unscrambling words that evoked resource scarcity, resource abundance, or were neutral as the control group. After these tasks were done they responded to the same scales from the first two studies. Unsurprisingly the study showed that people placed in the resource scarcity group were much more likely to express economically conservative views. The researched believed this was a result of the environment having an effect on peoples emotions, causing them to become more competitive.

Overall these studies have shown that people who are more prone to anger are also often more likely to hold conservative economic views. However it is important to understand that only economic ideology was impacted, sociocultural views were not affected and thus demonstrated to be played on by other emotions. It is necessary for people to understand things like this, so as to help them better form opinions and keep in mind that their emotions could be being played with to manipulate them during election seasons. Hopefully by arming people with this information they can keep themselves more informed and more rational.





I found it pretty easy to summarize the original research article in the allocated amount of words. It’s really a simple task when I just made sure to get straight to the point. I chose to summarize each study individually, how they were done and what the results were. I tried not to waste anytime with fluff like news articles tend to due to keep the audience interesting. I just wanted to explain exactly what was found as well as I could personally understand it, and the amount of words I was given was more than enough to do that. I don’t think I was forced to leave out any information, if information was left out it was because I either didn’t completely grasp what I was reading or I felt it unnecessary (such as repeating results from previous studies). When I talked about “fluff” I was referring to things I noticed in the original news article like quotes that didn’t really need to be there, such as one meant to give an example of someones response to the “what makes you angry” question. I didn’t think it was really needed to give someones response, you save time if you just get to the point and tell us what the results of the study were. I don’t think you need to give an example of “what makes someone angry”, most people probably get that concept. Without things like that I believe I was probably able to explain the studies a little more in depth than the news article did, and I used even less words. I don’t like the generalize so I won’t speak for all journalists, but the writer of the article I picked seemed more concerned with writing an interesting article than an informational one, which I don’t fault them for, I just think if it was more dense it could have had more information packed into the amount of words used.



Keri L. Kettle, Anthony Salerno (June 6, 2017) Anger Promotes Economic Conservatism Retrieved from Sage. 

Johari Window Bonus Prompt

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

This was a pretty interesting experience, I always enjoy seeing what people think about me. I guess I was a little surprised in how little I had similar responses with people, only one person ended up putting one of the same answers I selected, and it was one I figured a lot of my friends would put about me as a major part of my personality. I was definitely surprised with some of the answers people did give too, like organized and introverted, things that most people who know me would never say about me. I’m not sure if I would say this is a valid way to measure your personality though. It’s more of a better way to figure out how you come across to other people, as everyone can have different experiences with you which would lead them to putting different answers. Maybe to some people you’re quiet and others you’re loud, etc. One thing I suppose I kind of learned about myself was how I organize my desk. I guess I always knew it but I never consciously acknowledged it, but after asking a friend why they put organized when most people know I’m the opposite, she told me she had noticed that when I sit at a desk I have specific places I put things, which I thought was a kind of interesting observation. Other than that I didn’t have any big life changing answers that really made me look inward at myself.

First Impression Week 12 Prompt 2

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

If I am understanding exactly what cognitive dissonance is properly, I would have to say the most notable change that occurred in me was when I was twelve years old. At the time I was incredibly religious, my whole life revolved around my religion. At the same time however, I held a lot of socially left wing views (my support for legalizing gay marriage was the most important in this case). I had a few atheist friends at the time who would frequently talk to me about the topic of religion, and eventually one of them brought up the contradictions between my personal beliefs and what my religion would have me think. I had somehow never read the bible up to this point and was unaware of most of the specific things it said until I started debating with these new atheist friends. He showed me verses that went against everything I believed politically and I had to choose whether I would stick to my morals or my religion and I chose my morals.

I can easily say that changing your beliefs due to cognitive dissonance is a very good thing to do. It would be ridiculous to just cherry pick your beliefs and choose to ignore certain aspects of contradicting ideas so that you can live in your secure bubble. It’s important for your growth as a human to closely examine and scrutinize the things you believe and say, and make sure they match up properly, doing so might be uncomfortable at times and may force you to rethink the world but I believe that’s just an important part of life.

Spotlight 2: Drugs

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

I think it’s well established that D.A.R.E. has been an ineffective effort for a long time now.  Almost, if not all, evidence has shown that it either had no impact on drug use, or it caused children to be MORE inclined to abuse drugs. Several U.S. government officials have labelled the program as “ineffective” such as the U.S. surgeon general, the U.S. General Accounting Office, and even the U.S. Department of Education, which prohibits funding for D.A.R.E. in schools. There’s really not much to say beyond that. The fact is that, statistically, D.A.R.E. did nothing. In fact, like I said above, some studies have suggested it may have even caused people to use drugs. An older study on the topic from Indiana University found that people who were exposed to D.A.R.E. showed an increased risk of using hallucinogenic drugs. This was explained as students becoming curious about the very drugs police officers told them to avoid. According to some of the articles I found, leaders of the program used very suspect tactics to push their agenda, such as attempting to bribe academic journals not to publish their findings. People who advocate for the D.A.R.E. program are often being mislead by an emotional response to what they believe they are doing, or they are essentially acting as lobbyists pushing the government to continue the program for their own interests.

So if the abstinence pushing strategies of D.A.R.E. did not work for drugs, would similar strategies work for other issues? I think that question should be met with a strong “absolutely not”. One of the other most common “abstinence only” teaching examples would be on the topic of sex, and trying to use it with sex is probably even less effective. Unlike drug use, sex is a natural biological drive that is present in most people, trying to tell kids to “not have sex” just isn’t a good idea It’s (arguably) exactly what we’re made to do. Schools that employ the abstinence only teaching style often overshadow the idea of safe sex with no sex to begin with which does nothing but endanger the children they are supposedly trying to protect.  Moving away from specifically sexual abstinence, I don’t see how it could be a good method in any other situation. The premise seems to be based on the idea that if an adult tells a kid not to do something, they won’t, but that has never once been an effective technique to prevent behavior, if someone wants to do something they will. Instead we need to teach children the consequences of the actions you’re trying to prevent, and teach them the safest ways possible to go about those behaviors. The words of adults is rarely if ever an effective deterrent so instead of hoping we’ll just be obeyed unquestioningly, I say we arm kids with the knowledge to make good choices, and let them choose for themselves what they want to do with it.






Was D.A.R.E. Effective?

Natalie Wolchover –

Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Ph.D. Hanson –

The Truth about D.A.R.E.

Kanopiadmin –

First Impression Week 11

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

The tests all gave me results that seemed pretty accurate to myself, however they varied in credibility. They all told me I was an extrovert but each one had different overall results. One test told me I fell into the “ESFJ” category, another told me I was an “ENFP”. These two tests were both about the same length and asked similar questions but somehow gave two different results. I would explain this as me changing my my answers if I was unsure or maybe a little dishonest with myself, which is the most obvious issue with these tests. It’s very easy for someone to lie, not even necessarily on purpose, to get results that they WANT to get rather than what might actually be accurate. Another test, the color test, seemed like complete garbage. It basically amounted to picking colors in a certain order. It made me think of astrology and horoscopes, and the results were sometimes even written with improper grammar such as “He is being forced to be happiness and pleasure on hold for new due to his limiting circumstances.” The test didn’t even ask questions, I don’t see how you could learn anything about someone from having them choose colors. All in all, I think the first three tests seemed reliable (for something so bare-boned), they gave what I would call accurate results and it seemed like the results made sense based on the answers I gave, but it is of course limited by how honest someone is. The fourth test however was completely worthless.

First Impression Post Week 10 Prompt 2

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

The idea that violent video games and violence in the media causes children to become violent is ridiculous, I think. To begin with a bit of anecdotal evidence, I am someone who has played video games since I was five years old. Obviously as time went on and I got older I started moving into video games that featured a lot of violence and graphic images, but despite that, I have never been in or had the urge to be involved in any sort of violent actions against another person or animal. In fact I consider myself a huge advocate for pacifism and in fact I would almost say I’m radically opposed to anything that involves ending another life, as long as that life is real. Of course there are reasons outside of my personal experience. First of all, the violence people commit in games is often a stress reliever, it distracts people from their problems that might make them go out and hurt someone. It’s a similar concept to punching a pillow when your angry, it provides a healthy outlet for negative emotions. Second, to claim that people learn to use a gun from playing video games is completely false. A lot of anti-violent video game activists will claim that children are taught how to use weapons from the games they play, but many weapons take more in depth training than playing a game with a controller or keyboard and mouse to become proficient with. Many violent criminals are using weapons that are mostly intuitive like guns which really don’t take much work to figure out how to use. To claim they’re being taught by games is giving the games way too much credit than they really deserve. I think that overall, most violent criminals are people who are born with an inherent violent nature. They are people who already have the capacity to do harm and all it really takes is a motive, not an inspiration.

First Impression Week 9 Prompt 1

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

I have always been a pretty laid back person, I think. I’ve never really worried too much about anything, I tend to figure “Eh, I’ll get around to it” or “It’ll work itself out in the end”, and usually that has worked in the past. As such it has never been necessary for me to figure out proper ways to manage my stress. This year has really tested my resilience to stress. I took on a lot more responsibilities than I ever have before, my boss consistently schedules me more than I would really like, given the amount of work I have to do outside of my job that I can barely find time to do because of it. Taking on this class was a big jump for me, I’d never really challenged myself too much in school, preferring to play it safe with easy on level classes. So like I said until now I’ve never had a lot of stress but even when I have had to deal with it, I just didn’t let things bother me. This still seems like it works pretty well, when most people talk to me about all the assignments we have coming up, or when I talk to people about the upcoming exams, they always seem way more worried than I think I’m even capable of being. If it’s fair to consider this a stress management strategy, I’d say it works pretty well for me. When things do start to boil over, however, I tend to just get in my car, put on some chill music and drive for an hour or two to calm down. But I think I could take some steps to help out more. I’m very unorganized, and always have been, my teachers in elementary school used to joke about how my desk was like a black hole, where my papers would get lost and never be found again. The same issue continues to today and I think if I could just get myself more organized it would help me stay calm. The few times I have tried to organize myself I did feel a lot better while it lasted. The one issue I think a lot of people struggle with, to which I am no exception, is procrastination. I am sitting here writing this at 9 P.M. the night before it’s due (probably a lot sooner than some people) because I just didn’t feel like getting myself in the mindset to do it until now, and now I have to worry about making sure I do every single first impression post. If I hadn’t kept putting them off like I did I wouldn’t have to worry about this as much, so while I’m not sure if it’s realistic, making myself do my work at a more reasonable time is an obvious good step to managing my stress.

First Impression Week 8 Prompt 2

--Original published at Kevin Psych Blog

I scored a 13/20 on the emotional intelligence quiz. I don’t think this represents what I had expected to score, I definitely didn’t expect to miss as many as I did. I thought I would probably only miss one or two because, how hard can it be? It was fairly difficult at times, sometimes it had to do with the subtlety of the difference faces being made but other times it seemed like it had more to do with how overly exaggerated some of the expressions being made were. For example, their example of an angry face looked a lot like pain to me, with how the person bit down on their lips. It didn’t look like any angry person I have ever seen, it looked more like someone who just got hurt and was trying to hold in a scream. So as far as credibility in my scoring, I’m not sure I trust it entirely. If they had used faces of, perhaps, famous people from moments captured on T.V. as realistic examples I think it would have been more credible. The information given after answering did seem reasonable and useful. For me the easiest faces to read were the fear and happiness ones and the hardest was anger, as it seemed like a lot of other emotions create similar expressions. I think the applications of this knowledge in real life are pretty obvious, to use the information to try and see what people are really thinking. It would be useful to know how honest someone is being by using small facial cues.