Motivation, Where did you go?

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

I originally chose to attend Etown based solely on the desire to get out of Mississippi. I wanted to be as far away from home as possible. Luckily for me i was offered a large enough scholarship that it made it possible to attend. Although the more time i spend here the more i feel at home. My fellow students here at Etown, new and old, never fail to have a friendly demeanor the first time they meet you. The teachers here i have met are always willing to have a small chat if you feel you can approach them which i feel promotes a healthy learning environment. Overall the sense of community here at Etown has fostered a desired to stay strong than the desire to attend here was originally.

Honestly, this semester i have been slacking pretty hard and I’m still adjusting to find my own rhythm when it comes to studying. When it comes to my own responsibilities i tend to be very lax and unmotivated, convinced that i can do whatever comes my way without any effort put in before hand. I feel this is because during high school i failed to develop healthy study habits and preparation tactics. This has come to plague my performance in school because i know if i actually ever put the effort in i could do so much better than i am currently.

Yet i digress, as i have slowly but steadily made improvements in my performance as the semesters pass. Luckily for me i have a plan going forward already for improving myself and my reliability in classes. I often miss due dates and fail to maintain any reliability or study, yet this semester as i am taking Japanese i have the hiragana and katakana charts posted above my desk and therefore my desktop PC. I feel because this piece of study material was and remains to be ever present in both my work-space and my gaming space i was more easily able to learn and reference it casually. Every time i look up from my computer monitor there it is hanging reminding me of my class work, this is why i plan to replace it next semester with a calendar that will mark what i will accomplish on a daily basis. Through this i will not be able to make excuses for myself and ignore the problems that crop up during the school year. I am very confident that this will improve my work ethic and am excited to implement it into my work space.


Kyle’s Johari Window

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

While going through the process of this Johari window assignment, i was hesitant about what traits i would select to describe myself. After taking the time to select traits, i sent it out to a few of my group chats to get people to help me out. It was extremely interesting to see a live response of what people thought would apply to me.  Although it helped me to construct a solid profile of how others happen to perceive me.

For myself i chose traits that i know apply to me but a few i know that i do not exhibit to others. Such as self consciousness, while i also had chosen friendly and extroverted because while i am self conscious i do not let it hold me back. As i predicted no one as of the time of writing had chosen this trait to apply to me. The top ones that ended up being chosen were friendly, silly, energetic & spontaneous . I can certainly see how others would apply these to me because of my outward actions. Though there were some outliers that i knew would answer responses like quiet and warm. I think this is not necessarily the best way to gauge ones personality because it only takes the information the others perceive and that information is also influenced by how well those people know you. If anything it is more of a public image survey.

I learned a great deal about how my friends and those around me perceive my actions and who i am. It also fed a bit into my ego and was nice to see that some people saw me as trustworthy and other positive traits. It was an interesting experiment that helped me learn about myself and my friends and because of that i am glad i took the time to put this survey out there for them to use.


If you would like to my window you can do so here:


D.A.R.E to Compare!

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

I personally believe these All-or-Nothing programs in schools cause more harm than good. When approaching topic and seeking to reduce or prevent behavior among a group it is generally better to educate than to outlaw. In the early 2000’s I was an involuntary participant of the government sponsored D.A.R.E program. Also simultaneously being from the deep south, in middle school and high school sexual abstinence was pushed on us from an early age. It just so happens that regardless of this constant push to prevent sexuality in youth we are uneducated (unless discussed by our parents or peers) in the methods and options involved in safe and healthy sex. That may be on of the factors contributing to Mississippi being 2nd highest in terms of teen pregnancy rates all throughout the united states #1. This is also found to be similar in drug use as students who have participated in the D.A.R.E. program has been found to be 5% more likely to use drugs like alcohol and marijuana as compared to students do were not involved in D.A.R.E. #2. Also what has been found is that D.A.R.E. causes children to disregard information related to the harmful effects of drugs when they see their peers using substances without visible repercussions#3.

From this position I could see two possible avenues of pursuit in attempting to reduce a behavior. Either we make these programs available and optional to those who wish to participate or change the direction of the programs and ensure that the group is informed of the dangers. Making these programs optional would allow those who truly want to participate to attend, and those who see the program as nothing more than an annoyance to avoid it entirely, thus avoiding a portion of the stigma associated with these programs#4. On the other hand by informing the public in an unbiased manner would provide them the knowledge necessary to make the intended decision, and potentially make them more likely to make said decision due to the mutual trust and responsibility place on them thereafter. I support educating those in school on the “taboo’s” of life but it is imperative that we go about it the proper way.

#1 Martin, Joyce A, et al. “National Vital Statistics Reports Volume 66, Number 1 .”, Division of Vital Statistics, 5 Jan. 2015,

#2 Zili Sloboda, ScD, et al., “The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study: A Randomized Field Trial of a Universal Substance Abuse Prevention Program,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Jan. 21, 2009

#3 Maia Szalavitz, “DARE to Follow the Data,”, Sep. 25, 2000

#4 Denise Hamilton, “The Truth about DARE: The Big-Bucks Antidrug Program for Kids Doesn’t Work,” Los Angeles New Times, Mar. 20, 1997

Personality tests

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

Throughout life people are often administered or choose to take various personality tests. Strangely enough despite all the tests i have taken results tend to be consistent. After taking the two tests i was classified as an ENFP personality type, something which i already knew and did not surprise me much. Then taking the Big 5 I again was told that I was an extrovert and very empathetic, although i was shown to have a low score in conscientiousness.

What i did find surprising though was the color quiz, as after taking the test it was scarily accurate. Describing habits that i had been showing these past few weeks looking back, one being the wanting of change but the unwillingness to put the effort in to make such change happen, among others. Overall i found this test to be accurate but the reliability of it is unclear to me.

Reading Faces: Social Cue’s

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

Earlier in my freshman year i took a test, this test was the STRENGTHS test. After finishing this test i was assessed to have Empathy as one of my STRENGTHS. After taking this new test i found myself to be moderately successful, as i scored a 17/20. It seems that the STRENGTHS test was at least somewhat accurate in its predictions of my abilities. Although i found the test to be a bit unreliable as a lot of the facial expressions can be confused for other things. I also did not appreciate the abstract concepts that they expected me to recognize such as politeness. Seriously? A majority of the time when in real life it is much easier to assess a persons emotional or psychological state based on the context of the situation.

The context of a situation is key to differentiating more complex emotions between the simpler, happy, sad, angry. Going forward in life i feel like this information would be useful whenever we are in awkward or difficult situations and this knowledge would help us better gauge the state of the situation that we are in.

Study Strategies: Beginning, Middle, End.

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

After discussing my own study strategies and what i plan to do to for myself. It would be helpful to look at what others advise to students like me, and those unlike me. In this post i will look at study strategies suggested for the various stages of your academic life cycle.

High school:

In this article from it is suggested to study alone, remove distractions, take breaks, use flashcards, & DONT CRAM.

The advice they give on studying alone i can understand because a majority of high schoolers (and college students) tend to get distracted when studying in groups. This and the removal of outside distractions (music, tv, people, etc.) definitely have potential to lead to healthier study habits, as having these distractions removed takes away to temptation to stall and allow you to focus fully on studying. They also mention taking break every 15 to 30 minutes, this is good if not great advice because this matches up directly with the spacing effect and allows the brain to not become burnt out on focusing on that single task. Most importantly they advise against “cramming” which may be the most important piece of advice in the article. I say this because if this study technique is cemented as a habit early on it can have dangerous consequences later in your academic career. Although they do not state why cramming is bad scientifically i do know that it is a negative habit due to the amount of information you are taking in and that encoding that information when cramming tends to be less effective than when your study time is spaced out.


College Students:

I personally hate repetition so i will only be listing techniques not listed previously. This is because study techniques are not meant to only be for part of your life but they are like houses, without a good foundation you cannot hope to further progress confidently (That is unless you go back and change those foundations ? ).

The highlights of this article include taking good notes, staying away from tech, and  staying organized. One that i agree with completely is keeping good notes. I learn through doing something physically and that psychical interaction allows my brain to encode and retrieve the information that I write down more easily.  The key is to not just mindlessly write down what is on the board or what the teacher is saying. It is understanding what is important in what the teacher is saying. You can have a whole manuscript of a movie but if you don’t understand the message of the movie then the transcript is useless. The idea of distancing ones self from technology while studying is an interesting one. It can be beneficial as that is just one less temptation you have to go through facebook/reddit when you should really be studying. Yet one habit i wish i had was the ability to be organized and keep a effective planner.



In this article it focus’ on the habits we can pass down to our children and those younger than ourselves. The most important tips that i can designate are these. To know your expectations in the classes ahead, think positively, and actively listening. Going into a class and knowing what to expect and what is expected of you helps to set a certain tone for the class (Thats what syllabi are for!). Another factor in healthy learning is the mood in which you are in while learning. If you can find yourself in a positive mind set while learning you will be more open to learning more effectively and retaining the information because you want to learn the material. Active listening however is something that will play a part in your note taking experience and the quality of your notes. The attention paid to the teacher or material at this point would allow memories and material to better stay with you after the fact.



Legalize the Leaf

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

With the rise in popularity of marijuana, both in recreational use & in the medical field, so has the question of whether or not to legalize the controversial plant. Each individual may have a difference in opinions, of which would be built on their own personal experiences.

On that note: My personal opinion is that medicinally, marijuana should be absolutely legal across the united states. Although for recreational use marijuana should at least be somewhat of a restricted substance.

Marijuana has proven to have many positive physical and psychological benefits to those who need it most (i.e. Cancer patients or those with severe anxiety). If assigned by prescription it could at least be somewhat restricted in who uses the substance. Although if is not impossible for someone to pass on or sell their prescription to others, but this should not prevent the legalization of marijuana, because on that logic medicine like Adderall should be banned.

Yet in my opinion, regardless of if the substance is harmful or not, it should have an age limit. Such as alcohol does, i feel that marijuana should have a similar age gate ranging from twenty to twenty four. By legalizing marijuana we can profit from it not only economically but socially. Think back to the prohibition, a rising in crime was directly correlated to keeping a substance from the public. It would not be completely wrong to correlate this back to marijuana. Regardless it is important to note that marijuana is not alcohol, nor is it cigarettes, we cannot handle marijuana the same way we do those substances.

The thing about people is that “If there is a will” they “will find a way”, it is impossible to completely control people. If the public wants something, you can only hinder them, not stop them. Just like with alcohol it can and will be bought for those who cannot buy it themselves, but at least the money spend can be circulated within our economy instead of changing hands between customers and dealers. It is an untapped market with insanely high demand (Have you ever tried to find a dealer? Its not that hard to find one and its easy to make money selling too).  Overall i feel it is in America’s best interest to legalize marijuana.

Study Habits & Me

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

Studying has never been a significant part of my life. Throughout school i have never had the need to study. I would review the required material before class occasionally and be able to remember almost exactly everything i needed. When i no longer required those concepts or memories i would dispose of them. Although this was not a smart way to do things it was my way of studying. Although if in the future i needed to recall that information i could easily relearn it for as long as i needed it, all i would require to effectively relearn is a simple study session.

Going into college i had to change up my study habits. Unfortunately. Now whenever i need to prepare for a test/exam my procedure tends to vary for each subject according to my relative ease of understanding the material. As an example for Language Studies (in my case japanese) i spread out about an hour a day to study over the course of a week.l As for other information based subjects i typically cram for 2 to 3 days before hand depending on what my schedule allows.

Admittedly my study methods are certainly not the best but they get me by as is. If i could get my habits in order i would much prefer to study all subject as i do with languages.

My memory is typically very good over a short term period for information i deem important, so for this exam i went through and took each of the practice exams roughly 10 times each to ensure i knew the concepts and material. Unluckily for me i completely disregarded who’s names matched to what achievements/theories so i was at a loss when i arrived at the matching section. Going forward this is absolutely something i will keep in mind.

For the second exam i plan to spread my studying over the course of a week and most likely write down what i feel is important to myself so that i remember those things better. My reasoning behind this is that i think i personally learn more efficiently through muscle memory, so by that logic if i write something down i will be able to remember it better. The proof that i have to back this up is that when i study Japanese i have to write a lot of the Hiragana and so far i have had near perfect scores on all tests and quizzes to date, despite missing a few classes. I am interested to learn how large a factor muscle memory can play into learning.

An Introduction

--Original published at Kyle's Gen Psych Blog

Alright, so just to get the basics about myself out of the way. My full name is Brennan Kyle Praseut, i prefer to go by Kyle because I’ve always felt like my first name sounds just a bit too old for me. I am a computer engineering major with a cognitive science minor. I was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, but almost on a yearly basis me and my family would move to another state. In total I’ve attended fifteen different schools, all of which helped widen my perspective on life and all in all it had made me a better person to have had the chance to experience the constant shift in cultures that came with the constant traveling. I’m a pretty goofy person but i have a bad case of RBF.

So on to the questions:

Why did i take this class? 

I chose this class not only because of it being a requirement for my minor ( Cognitive science) but because i have always had a fascination with human behavior and how a persons experiences shape them and their decisions.

What background do i have in Psychology?

Professionally? Next to none. I have not had any prior classes related to this subject. Personally? I enjoy reading books that deal with/assess human psychology and behavior.

What do i think of when i hear the word Psychology?

That really feels like a loaded question. The word reminds me of something larger than we can possible hope to understand fully. A mystery that continues to grow as we (as people) do.

What in this class looks the most/least interesting to me?


  1. Moral Development – Morality is something that varies wildly between people and understanding how that comes about is facinating
  2. Theories of Intelligence – I hope to in the future research AI and Deep Learning Algorithms and this will help me to understand those subjects better
  3. How to get Good Sleep? – Who isn’t interested in good sleep? Thats the real question here.


  1. Exam 1 – Not Exam 3
  2. Exam 2 – Not as fun looking as Exam 3
  3. Exam 4 – Exam 3 actually looks interesting

I  really hope  i don’t bomb exam 3 now….  by the end of this class i know how advances in technology have affected our social behavior and decision making.