Spotlight Post 3

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

When thinking of peer pressure, many people probably imagine a teenager being pressured to have a sip of alcohol or hit of a cigarette. However, the prevalence of peer pressure is expanding beyond just adolescents. Peer pressure is still existing as kids become adults. Also, it is now effecting multiple daily live activities, not just the use of drugs at a party. Three separate websites discussed peer pressure in situations some people usually would not think of: at the workplace, between siblings, and in during sexual activities. In addition, each website discussed possible ways to avoid peer pressure in these particular situations.

Handling Peer Pressure in the Workplace

Peer pressure between coworkers can range anywhere from asking someone to go out for a beer after work, to asking a coworker to cover a shift. Due to peer pressure, a work environment can become very hostile and unhealthy. Individuals may feel uncomfortable or targeted by those they work with, and the website recommends that this is when a manager should step in and use the following tips to create a more healthy work environment:

  1. Learn to step in at the right time. In a work place, there is going to be conflict because it is nearly impossible for everyone to get along. Most of the time, employees can work out their issues themselves and it should not need to include the managers of the work place. Although, it is important to know when things are getting out of hand and coworkers feel pressured to come to work. This is when a moderator should step in and give potential consequences.
  2. Don’t be afraid of differing opinions. Typically, it is important for coworkers to work together as a group and share the same viewpoints; however, it is also healthy to have diverse opinions. Having multiple levels of creativity is great because it can make a business unique and generate a plethora of new ideas.
  3. Team building exercises. Building a strong group mind can help decrease the pressures of a workplace. It is important to make sure coworkers are comfortable around one another and not intimidated by anyone. This can also help individuals learn each others strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they respond to a variety of situations. Group building exercises such as yoga, adventure courses, escape rooms, and outside activities are great for building a stronger team and can add some fun to work!

Personally, I believe that these tips would be very helpful to a business and would be successful at lowering the rate of pressure in a workplace. As we discussed in class, people have preexisting stereotypes and sometimes they are even unaware of them. In a workplace, it is very important that certain people are not prejudice towards any other workers or clients/ customers. These methods to abolish peer pressure provide ways in which individuals can develop positive relationships and avoid unneeded stress at work. In addition, if there is a situation that has gotten out of hand I think it is important for a company to know what to do and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Sibling Peer Pressure

Peer pressure has traveled from school to home, and now siblings are often pressuring one another by threatening to “tell mom” or pick on one another when one does not get their way. This can make children act in a certain way out of pressure and fear of consequences from their sibling or parent. This article provided tips for parents that have noticed signs of peer pressure between their children. The article provided tips parents can do in order to lessen peer pressure between their children:

  1. Be proud. As children are developing, it is important that they know their parents are proud of what they are doing and that they love them. Some children may act out irrationally towards their sibling because they want their parents attention, or because they think it will make a parent like them more over their sibling. This can be avoided by reminding your kid that you are proud of their accomplishments and growth.
  2. Don’t compare. Comparing one sibling to another can often make one believe they are inferior to their brother or sister. This can pressure children into turning to other things to make them feel better or make them act irrationally towards their parents out of spite. A way to avoid pressure between siblings is by treating them equally in all situations and not giving to connotation that one is better than the other.
  3. Encourage. Children are going to make mistakes, however it is important that they are encouraged to try again instead of being discouraged by their parent or sibling. Encourage children to be honest about situations where peer pressure might be occurring and make sure they understand the consequences of their actions.

I think that this website provides good tips on ways to handle peer pressure between siblings and that it would be successful if used by parents. As we discussed in class, siblings are very unique because they have a similar upbringing and share genetics. Often times, siblings can confide in one another for support or advice because of the huge similarities between their lives. Because of this, it can often cause either a very positive or a very negative relationship. The way parents raise and treat their children has a huge impact on their actions and relationships with siblings. Sibling peer pressure is very likely to happen, but it can be controlled and avoided by the use of these tips.

Teens Resisting Sexual Peer Pressure

It is widely known that for teens, peer pressure is very prevalent and can impact the ways they act. Although, it seems that sexual peer pressure between teens is discussed less than peer pressure about drugs or alcohol; however, sexual peer pressure is still very common. Many children are taught abstinence and to just say no, but it may be hard for teens to realize warning signs and know what to do when encountered with a pressured sexual situation. This article provided tips that teenagers can follow to avoid being pressured into sex to further ensure they are comfortable and happy with their relationships.

  1. Know limits ahead of time. It can come as a surprise when sexual advancements happen out of the blue. In any situation, it is important to think about what you want ahead of time and rehearse what you would want to say if it ever was to come up.
  2. Go on group dates first. Group dates are very helpful to get to know a person of interest. It allows teens to hangout but not have the nervousness or pressure of being alone with someone. Hanging out in a group allows individuals to get comfortable with each other and discover what someone might like and not like.
  3. Be open with parents. Parents are a very good judgement and can usually see aspects of people that teens may not catch. Additionally, having parents around may make it impossible for sexual advancements to take place, which will protect a teen from feeling pressured into things.
  4. Do not feel obligated because of a relationship. Everyone has their own opinions and pace that they would like to take in a relationship. The article mentions that a relationship does not just mean sex and that it is not a deciding factor if someone truly wants to be with someone.

I think that this advice is helpful, although it is very common for teens to want sexual advancements but feel pressured by their parents not to have sex. According to Freud’s psychosexual stages, there is a time (usually puberty) when individuals become attracted to the opposite sex and it is very normal to want to have sex. It depends on an individuals readiness, influences, and upbringing to decided if they want to have sex or not. These tips are very helpful in particular for those who do not want to have sex but have trouble saying no. It is likely that these tips would be successful because they help an individual to avoid peer pressure by avoiding any sexual situations and having a back up plan.


Media Production Project

--Original published at MelanieBlevins


The research article entitled “Major Depression with Seasonal Variation,” written by Megan K. Traffanstedt, discussed the abstract and findings from a study conducted at Auburn University. This study was conducted in order to collect data on seasonal depression. This study was able to determine if depression is directly related to latitude, season, and/ or sun exposure. The results of this study did not show what they had hoped. There was no data to support a correlation between the measures of depression when compared to the the three variables. In conclusion, results do not support the existence of seasonal defective disorder (SAD).

The following three variables mentioned above, season, sunlight exposure, and latitude, were all tested separately over the course of at least one year. At the same time, a control variable was tested data about mood variations. This allowed for a baseline of mental health disordered, which provided data for varying levels of mental depression. Season was studied as a continuous variable and data was taken from the winter solstice starting December 21, 2006. The team at Auburn University used the U.S. Naval Observatory website to gain perspective about to get a duration of daylight in hours and minutes for the year. Data on latitude was based on a survey, and those who took the survey lived mostly in the northern, middle, or southern latitudes. The study was designed to find a relationship between depression and each variable to confirm or deny the hypothesis.

Results of the study rejected the hypothesis. There was no indication that any of the three variables are related to depression. The research article claims that SAD is a  “well-entrenched folk theory” that many believe because of the stress of the wintertime. Stressful life situations may coincidentally happen in colder months and cause individuals to be convinced they have SAD. In all, this study did not completely rule out the existence SAD; however, the data collected does not support depression caused by sunlight exposure, latitude, or season. In the contrary,  there is not enough empirical evidence to completely rule out the existence of SAD for further studies in the future.

Personal Analysis

It was very difficult to write a summary about this article because of the immense amount of information given in the research study. Even in the journal article summary, a lot of information about the study was left out which made the results change meaning. After writing this, I found out that the job of a journalist is much harder than what I initially thought. Often times, journalists have to draw things out or make up information to make the story more interesting. In addition to this, I have found that some journalists twist words around which portrays a separate meaning from what the data supports. This could be for multiple reasons, one being to help the flow of the story and another being to gain reader interest. For my analysis, I tried to include all information that was given in the original research article. I found this to be time consuming and hard because I had to write and rewrite my summary over and over again until I got the final product. I tried to make sure that I got the most important points of the article in my summary, such as the purpose for the study, the data, and the results. I also made sure to not add any of my own opinions or words to my summary so that it was strictly factual. I think sometimes it might be hard for a journalist to write a summary that is unbiased because topics can have such controversial viewpoints. Overall, I think I did a great job summarizing the I really enjoyed all aspects of the media project.

Scholarly article:

Origional news article:

First Impression post- Week 16

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

During psychotherapy, therapists use differing psychological techniques in order to help individuals overcome their emotional barricades and achieve mental and physical growth. The four different types of psychotherapy include psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. According to the textbook, psychodynamic viewpoints claim that individuals respond to a situation based on their childhood memories and unconscious forces. Psychodynamic therapy attempts to enhance ones understanding of themselves in order to gain further insight about emerging themes in their relationships. The next, behavioral, is a type of therapy that attempts to eliminate an individuals unwanted behavior. To do this, therapists apply new learning principles in order to help one realize their problem behaviors. Cognitive psychologists look at the relationships between the events one experience and their emotional reactions. Therapists in this field teach individuals new and adaptive ways to think that will hopefully change ones emotional reactions based one what is happening in their life. The last type, humanistic therapy, attempts to advocate that people are born good and have a pathway in life. Therapists attempt to help clients develop a stronger sense of self and understanding of their feelings in order to find meaning in their life. My viewpoints on ranking these four categories are listed below:
  1. Psychodynamic therapy. I believe this would be the most effective type of therapy if I needed to attend one of the four. This would be the most helpful because it relates to a persons past experiences, which makes therapy very personal and interactive. Being able to understand yourself is a very important step in therapy because it makes an individual realize they are in control of their emotions and they can change them at any time. Based on the past, I may feel a certain way about a situation but not realize it because its an unconscious thought. By accepting my underlying viewpoints and emotions, I would be able to better understand my emotions, what triggers them, and how to avoid/help the ways I am feeling.
  2. Cognitive Therapy. I believe this is the second most effective type of therapy behind psychodynamic. This would be helpful because it would assist one in changing their emotional reactions and realize what triggers certain emotions. The reason I do not put this first is because it does not help someone to relate their past experiences to emotions, only certain events that take place. After an event takes place, the emotional behavior is what is assessed. However, this does not look at the reasoning behind emotions as well as psychodynamic therapy does.
  3. Behavioral Therapy. I would place behavioral therapy third in the list because I personally do not think it would be that helpful for me. My emotions usually do not cause extreme behavioral problems, so eliminating my unwanted behaviors would not increase my emotional health by a great difference. This would still be helpful for me based on physical reactions, but personally my emotions are what I struggle the most with. Learning my emotional reactions and being able to control/ change them would be much more effective.
  4. Humanistic Therapy. I do not think humanistic therapy would be very helpful for me at all. I am aware that every human is good-hearted deep down, but humanistic therapy reminds me more of religion than psychology. In tough situations it is hard to convince yourself that life has meaning and you have a pathway. It would be very important for me to learn my self worth, but I feel like I could also find this through the other forms of therapy plus I would have the benefits from the other forms of therapy as well.

First Impression Post- Week 15

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

For my first impression post this week, I chose the first option which was the video showing a day in the life of a Schizophrenic. This is a very interesting topic and I chose it because in my High School psychology class we watched the movie A Beautiful Mind when learning about Schizophrenia. The main character in the movie was a man who suffered from Schizophrenia and believed that people from the FBI are watching him and that they want him to fulfill a certain mission. During the video, I saw a lot of similarities between the individual and the main character John Nash. These similarities may be a way to show how the media portrays Schizophrenia, further influencing how the public feels about individuals with the illness. From the perspective of the media, it seems like Schizophrenics always believe someone or something is out to get them. A persons hallucinations can then manipulate them to do certain things by calling them names or threatening them with things such as death or sickness. In both the movie and the video, it is shown that the person having trouble getting through everyday tasks without imagining things going on that aren’t really there. John Nash even imagined a whole other person being with him for many years when in reality that person was not there. Schizophrenia can come in many different forms, meaning every person will be different. However, the media has portrayed it in these similar ways in both the video and the movie.

For my reaction to the video, I thought that the video was interesting because it showed that a person with this illness can experience multiple voices that can effect their perception of what is going on. Prior to viewing this, I was unaware and thought that the individual only experienced one hallucination and not multiple at one time. I thought that the video itself was not scary, but the concept of the video was very frightening to me. It was scary that the persons hallucinations caused him to do negative things, such as not eat and not take his medicine. It also worried me because many individuals in the world are not aware that they have schizophrenia because they have not been diagnosed. These individuals are struggling to get through everyday life because of their inhibitory thoughts. However, for those that are diagnosed, I think that the people around them can make a positive impact on their mindset. For example, the woman in the video helped the man to realize his actions and get back on track with taking his medicine. This is important because it shows that schizophrenics may be better in a group setting instead of being left on their own, even for short amounts of time. The thoughts of the man got stronger and more negative as his day went on because he did not take his medicine in the morning. I realize now how important it is for individuals to take their medicine on time and receive care throughout the day.

Spotlight Post #2

--Original published at MelanieBlevins


It is shown that the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program’s methods of drug prevention were very unsuccessful at reducing drug rates in children and teens. Their slogan “Just say no” was unsuccessful at preventing kids from using drugs, and often times the DARE program had more harmful effects than good. According to Content Times, the program did not affect teenagers rate of experimentation with drugs. Although, it may have “actually lowered their self-esteem.” A 10 year study shows that those who learned the DARE slogan in sixth grade had reported lower levels of self-esteem 10 years later. The program made kids feel bad about themselves when they could not “say no” and did not help keep them from experimenting with drugs.

Additionally, a study done at the University of Illinois showed that high school seniors who had been in DARE classes were “more likely to use drugs than their non-DARE peers.” This data supports that the program was unaffected and caused more harm than good. It was shown that kids involved in the DARE program were actually “more likely to use “illicit” drugs like cocaine or heroin, or cave into peer pressure” when compared to those who had never heard the DARE slogan before. There is significant evidence showing that the DARE program was unsuccessful and should not be continued or attempted again.

Similarly, I do not believe similar programs should be set up in schools that relate to abstinence in sexual education. When children are taught not to do something, I think they can become more likely to confide or fall into peer pressure when confronted with the situation. Sex is a common phenomena and I do not think there is a point in trying to teach children to “just say no,” when in reality it will not be that easy for them. One day, that child will grow up and be confronted with sex and they may not know what to do. Children are likely to be pressured into things they do not want to do, and it is better that they know how to handle the situation safely instead of being taught to say “no.” Many people are taught abstinence their whole life and many of them were left uneducated about the dangers of sex and sexual abuse. Educating children about how to safely deal with sex would be much more beneficial for both the child and their parent.  For example, it could allow a teen to develop a closer bond with their parent or guardian because they would not be afraid to come to them about a situation involving sex. Although, those taught abstinence could be afraid to talk about their feelings towards sex/ what problems they are facing. When barrier of trust is developed, a child should be able to be open about it with their parents and explain the situation. I believe teaching about safe sex would be much better than just teaching children to day no, because sex is going to occur for them one day and the best thing we can do is teach them what to do when it happens.

Week 14 First Impression Post

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

Taking the Implicit Association Tests (IAT) was very interesting but also slightly difficult to take. At first, I did not know which tests to choose because I was not sure if it would effect my results for each category. I did prefer some tests over others, but each test had the same basic organizational pattern and result listing. As I began the test, it was simple and I was not sure how someone could get those questions incorrect (I soon had it coming for me). As you progressed through the test, it wanted you to go as fast as possible. It was hard to concentrate categorizing the questions into the right area while also going at a high speed. Also, as the test went on it gradually got harder (of course). I found it more difficult as the categories changed keys because I would automatically press the “I” key for a picture or word when really should have pressed the “E” key. Once you got the hang of the test it switched up on you to make it more difficult but kept reminding me to keep the tests fast paced, it was slightly stressful to say the least. Toward the end of the test I saw the red X a lot because I kept continuously getting things wrong.

Getting the results of my test, I could slightly predict what they were going to be based on the pictures or words I categorized incorrectly. However, the results did surprise me slightly because I thought that I messed up equally between both of the tests I took, but the results show I did significantly better on one test when compared to the other (and by better, I mean I could better predict my results). Some of the tests were easier to judge than others as well. For example, I had to think more when trying to categorize the political test when compared to the test of old people vs. young people. Although, I did prefer one test over the other so that may be why the results are skewed for one test and not the other. The test on ages was easier for me to complete than the test on politics and Donald Trump.

In the real world (college or a future career), this test would be helpful to determine an underlying bias between an individual or a group of people. For example, in a work environment that involves assisting the elderly, it would be helpful to know it the nurses were more in favor of old people or young people. This could be beneficial in many situations in order to make sure all staff members are non-bias and non-prejudice towards other employed workers or to customers/clients. However, I must say that my results do not match up with the way I feel towards one group or another and it is possible that an individual could receive biased results when in reality they do not prefer one over the other. This could be something to take into account when looking at results and deciding who to hire on board in a work place.

Overall this test was a lot of fun and I may have learned some things about myself that I never knew before!


First Impression Prompt Week 9

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

For a college student, getting eight hours of sleep is almost as common as not getting sick during the first semester. From personal experience of myself and my friends, it is clear to me that college students do not get nearly enough sleep throughout the week or on the weekends. Many students struggle with time management as they try to juggle all of their academics, as well as a job, sport, club, or hobby. Most of the time I am feeling exhausted and it is obvious that other students in my classes are as well.

Having just got off spring break, I am feeling well rested and rejuvenated because I spent most of the past week in bed. However, as I type this at 11:19pm on Sunday night, I am thinking to myself that I may have made some bad choices. I have the tendency to relax and have fun during the day, whether it be taking a nap or hanging out with friends. Then, I usually stress myself out at night and cram to get all my assignments done as a motivation for me to go to bed. I am very aware of how unhealthy this is, and it causes my sleep patterns to be based on how much work I have to do instead of how much sleep I should be getting.

On average, I get about 6 hours of sleep during the week. I am sure some students get less, but over break I was finding myself sleeping 9 or 10 hours simply because I was sleep deprived from the weeks prior. My current sleep schedule is very messed up and it is going to be a rough next couple of days as I try to get back into my old routine. Also, losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time definitely did not help my case.

I think a realistic goal for myself as a college student should be 7.5-8 hours of sleep every night. There are many factors that stress me out and I have noticed that if I have a longer nights sleep I am more productive and focused throughout the day. To improve my sleeping habits, I think that I should make more time throughout the day to get my homework finished and then plan to have social interactions once my work is one. This will still motivate me to do my work because I will be looking forward to seeing my friends, but it will also help me to lower my stress levels and go to sleep at a decent time. Along with this, I should set a time that I want to be in bed by and shoot for that every night. I think that a good goal for college students is to be in bed no later than 11 or 12 o’clock, then they can plan their day around the curfew and make sure everything is finished early.

I hope to use my analysis, as well as what we learn in class, in order to form healthier sleeping habits and receive all of the gains that may come from getting a good nights sleep!

Spotlight Blog #1

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

Divorce has become increasingly common in the past generations,  and if you aren’t a child with split parents it is almost guaranteed that you know someone who’s parents are divorced. The increase in divorce rates raises the question of how healthy or unhealthy it is for the child to be separated from both parents, and what negative developmental outcomes may be at risk when filing for a divorce. In this spotlight post, I will analyze four scholarly articles, two being “for” divorce and two being “against” divorce, in order to come to a logical conclusion states if a divorce is more positive or more negative for children.

By any means, divorce is harmful for a parent and child relationship because it causes a split bond between the family, leaving the child’s world torn to pieces. According to Jayna Solinger from Iowa State University, one of the biggest problems with divorce is the effects of split custody. Due to custody battles, split custody can be granted by the court which allows for one parent to have a greater “entitlement” to the child than the other parent because they’re awarded more time with them. When a child lives with one parent (parent #1) most of the time, they tend to develop a stronger bond with that parent than with the other (parent #2). Although this may be helpful to bring the child and parent #1 closer together, it can be detrimental for their relationship with parent #2. Solinger states, according to the National Survey of Children, that ” close to half of all children with divorced parents had not seen their nonresidential parent in the past year, and only one in six had weekly contact or better.” Parent #1 seems to be favored by the child while parent #2 is almost forgotten during daily life. This can cause negative effects for a child because they may believe parent #2 had abandoned them or does not love them as much as parent #1, although a lot of the time that is not the case. Because the child does not have quality time with both parents, it can be difficult for them to believe their parents really love them or want them. In the long run, this can cause major trust issues for individuals because they’re living in constant fear of abandonment. It may also cause issues with insecurity because they constantly believe they were not good enough for their family.

On the contrary, the effects of divorce are seen to happen in short term. According to Hal Arkowitz, the negative effects of a divorce diminish rapidly after the initial event and do not pose as a threat to further development. A psychological study done in 2002 by E. Mavis Hetherington at the University of Virginia found that many children do experience short term effects,  which causes them to experience anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. However, according to the study “these reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year” and “only a minority of kids suffer longer.” For a little while, divorce can be slightly harmful to a child and cause slight psychological dilemmas. However, the research shows that children can move on from the divorce rather quickly and adjust well to the new situation. This proves divorce does not have any long-term effects and does not pose as a threat to the child’s overall development into adulthood.

The theory stated above can be disproved because it has been seen that divorce may make children very unhappy about their new family situation. According to Carl E. Pickhardt, divorce causes a more aggressive response in an adolescent. At an older age, adolescents are at a higher risk for developmental issues due to their parents divorce, whereas a small child may be less likely and only experience short term grief. An adolescent is independent minded and able to react negatively towards the divorce by performing rebellious actions or becoming extremely angry. An adolescent may become more defiant and distant from the family because they view them as unstable and unable to live a successful life. Acting out towards the parents may be shown as a way to get back at them or prove that they are not in control of what happens in their own individual life. The adolescent may then be impelled to commit more serious acts of offence and/or leave the family get involved in a dangerous environment. The aggression spurred from the divorce may then continue on to other situations where the adolescent will act out aggressively because it is what they know best. The young adult can develop to be short-tempered, violent, or abusive due to the negative event that happened in his/her life.

To take an opposing view, Dr. Shoshana Bennett looks primarily at the positive effects that can come to a child because of a divorce. Bennett claims that “divorce isn’t always negative for kids” and that sometimes it is in fact “excellent for kids.” When a married couple is unhappy, the children of that couple experience many negative effects as well. But, once the couple splits each parent has the opportunity to find their happiness, which in term leads to them becoming a happier parent. Tension in the house can frighten kids and cause anxiety due to the arguments many couples face. Additionally, it is possible that, due to the parents unstable nature, the children encounter nasty arguments with one or both parents as well. A split in households allows for both parents to use whichever parenting styles they find to be the most effective with their children. This leads to a healthier environment for the child, which in the long term will support strong growth and development. Also, it is possible that children can benefit from the divorce by watching how strong each parent can be in a tough situation; this teaches the child that negative situations do have positive endings.

There are compelling arguments from both the positive and negative sides of this situation. The data and information given allows either side to be seen as “correct” based on the way each is explained. The authors of the “positive” argument articles are Hal Arkowitz and Dr. Shoshana Bennett. Hal Arkowitz is a story writer for the Scientific American and a professor of psychology at The University of Arizona and has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Hal Arkowitz seems to be a very credible source due to his background in psychology (both as a psychologist and a professor). Dr. Shoshana Bennett is a PhD Clinical Psychologist who is famous for the popular Radio Show. Additionally, she is a guest lecturer, has preformed field research, and has written many books about hope, prevention, and healing. Dr. Shoshana Bennet also seems to be a very credible source due to her background with the practice and credibility through her talk show and college lectures.

On the flip side, the two authors from the “negative” argument against divorce are Carl E. Pickhardt and Jayna Solinger. Carl Pickhardt, PhD, is a psychologist in a private counseling practice and has published numerous books that focus on child and adolescent psychology. Many of his works relate to divorce and discuss healthy ways for parents to deal with children and adolescent development struggles. Carl Pickhardt is a very credible source due to his background in psychology and the abundance of work he has done with this specific topic. He has worked families through divorce and can provide accurate insight about developmental consequences that can occur. Additionally, Jayna Solinger was a student at Iowa State University that graduated with a major in psychology. However, Jayna is still working toward their PhD and only has experience through college field work and psychology classes. I agree that she is a credible source however she is in fact less credible than the other scholarly authors mentioned above.

Personally, I sway towards the positive divorce side of the argument. Unhappy living situations can lead to domestic violence and abusive relationships among the residents of the household. Although aggression may be caused by the divorce, it is less likely to effect a child’s long term development when compared to years of abuse and unhealthy living styles. If a relationship has failed time and time again and all other means of repairing it are exhausted (e.g. couples counseling), I believe it is best for both the parents and the child if the couple follows through with a divorce. Usually, the court requires for children to attend counseling during and after the process of their parents splitting up. This can be a healthier alternative for the child and gives them another option other than staying with both parents when their relationship is not working out.




First Impression Post- Week 6

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

For this weeks first impression post, I am choosing to analyze my studying habits. In High School, I found it easy to study the night before an exam and still get the grade I wanted. I mostly memorized what was on the study guide and then forgot what I had learned two weeks later. During my first semester of college, I got a light taste of how college tests were administered and I knew I needed to change my studying habits; although I am still trying to figure out how to do so.

On the first Gen Psych exam, I definitely did not do as well as I wanted to. To prepare for the exam, I tried to use all the resources Ian had offered to the class, such as the practice test, practice questions, study guide, etc. However, I squeezed all of that information into my brain during the days leading up to the exam instead of learning it one step at a time. While taking the test I found that my brain was confused and mixed up a lot of the information I had crammed to learn. Also, I was not prepared enough to apply what I had learned. I memorized all of the information in my notes, but I did not question myself about how it could be applied to different scenarios. This made it difficult to answer some of the written response questions thoroughly.

With this in mind, I have started studying my notes after class the day we take them, as well as one day on the weekend. If the information is learned over time, it gives my brain time to learn the information and find ways to apply it in everyday life. Then, once the test has arrived, I will be less overwhelmed with information and studying will be a review process instead of a learning process. I hope to use what I have learned from the first exam, as well as what we learn in class about memory, in order to change my study habits and become a more successful student.


First Impression Post #3

--Original published at MelanieBlevins

For the third first impression post I chose to watch the TED talk by Jimmy Fallon. This was entitled “Exploring the Mind of a Killer.” Psychopathic killers and murder mysteries have always been an interesting topic to explore through television and news articles. This was particularly interesting because it put a new spin on crime by looking at it from a neurological level and showing the differing brain structures of psychopaths.

Jimmy Fallon has studied neuroscience and is now a professor at the University of California. By looking at the brain of a psychopath, Fallon hoped to find a reason for psychopathic tendencies.  Fallon discovered that multiple factors can result in a psychopath- events in the early childhood, genes, and brain damage. Usually, psychopaths have brain damage to their orbital cortex; the inside of the temporal lobes in ones brain. The particular aspects of each psychopathic killer depends on when the brain damage occurred. Additionally, Fallon discussed the MAOA gene which is the gene passed from mother to son. This can cause the brain to experience extremely high levels of serotonin during development. Also, this explains why most psychopaths are men because this gene comes from a mothers X chromosome. Exposure to this has been seen to cause frustration and violence later on in life.

What interested me the most about this talk was that most psychopaths are shown to have similar brain development issues resulting in their violent tendencies. This is interesting because usually when you hear about killers they are claimed to be crazy, where in fact they could each be mentally ill. Additionally, there are others in the world that may have overexposure to serotonin but are not serial killers. This raises questions about those individuals and if they have underlying thoughts or violence issues.

I believe that Jimmy Fallon’s presentation was correct and that he is a trustworthy candidate. He has studied behavior in the brain for thirty years and has a lot of background with neuroscience. He had research to back up his claims about the correlation between serial killers and brain issues. He showed the audience his findings by explaining brain scans and showing images of the scans to those watching. Overall, I think Fallon made a very strong conclusion from his experiment and presented it well.

Based on the video, I would test the effects of the MAOA on those who are not serial killers. A lot of people in the world have this gene defect but are not effected with as much extreme violence as others. This may have to do with past experiences during brain development that have caused extreme cases. I can test the correlation between the MAOA gene and past life experience to determine levels of violence and psychopathic tendencies.