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Psychology Essay: Critical Evaluation of Machin and Spall (2004)


A critical evaluation of a paper by Machin and Spall which develops a practical model for supporting people suffering from grief and loss through counselling. The model is rooted in a measurement scale, the ‘Adult Attitude to Grief Scale’ which is extended in scope. Machin and Spall’s paper is briefly summarised, then key strengths and weaknesses are highlighted.

1. Introduction

The following critically evaluates a paper by Linda Machin and Bob Spall, ‘Mapping grief: a study in practice using a quantitative and qualitative approach to exploring and addressing the range of responses to loss’, published in 2004. The paper will be briefly summarised, bringing out the key features of the study. Then a number of aspects will be considered in more detail with a critical perspective, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of the paper. Overall, this is an interesting study with a useful practical model proposed, but certain areas seem to have been overlooked.

2. Review

2.1 Overview

Machin and Spall’s study is an ambitious attempt to further develop a relatively recent scale for measuring grief, the ‘Adult Attitude to Grief Scale’ (AAG). They have a three-fold aim: first to test the scale further, second to extend its use to other forms of loss, and third to map its use as a therapeutic tool. The scale was developed by Machin (2001) and consists of 9 items rated on a five-point Likert scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. The nine items can be grouped into sub-categories indicating whether the grief response is ‘overwhelmed’, ‘controlled’ or ‘balanced’. Initially tested on 94 respondents, the present study tests its use amongst 15 elderly men and women. The scale was extended to reflect losses other than bereavement, themes to develop in further counselling sessions were explored, and a flow-chart introduced to create a link between quantitative and qualitative elements.

Their study took part in three phases, loosely associated with the three aims outlined above. Phase one gathered quantitative data (age, sex and nature of referral for respondents, and responses to the AAG). Phase two amplified responses from the scale and was linked to individual expressions of grief explored in richer detail in counselling. This phase identified themes in dealing with grief including the role of socialisation and the way other people’s attitudes had an impact. Phase three examined the implications of the previous phases for therapy.

In a fairly extended discussion, the authors briefly relate their scale to other work in the field, including theories of grief, and set out a 6-stage model for counselling practice protocol. This is clearly explained, and suggests a practical use for the scale. First, the client completes the AAG. This is then assessed by the therapist with the three groupings (overwhelmed, balanced and controlled) in mind. The data illuminates whether the client is biased towards any one or more of the three grief responses. In stage four, the data extracted is used as a basis for exploring themes in more depth with client, and is followed by looking at the influences of social pressures upon the client’s grief. Finally, there is a move in therapy to help the client establish control or balance.

2.2 Critical Discussion

Overall, this study develops an innovative way to use a measurement scale for grief and bereavement. In contrast with many studies looking at measurement scales, the authors are clearly concerned that the scale’s practical use is developed. The way that the model for using the scale is developed by the authors allows a clear plan for helping people deal with grief through counselling and therapy.The model is well explained and appears easy to implement.

However, there are a number of areas which are more problematic.First, the theoretical context of the scale in terms of other measurements of grief and theories of loss is underdeveloped.

In this paper, Machin and Spall do not compare the scale to other measurements of grief and loss. In fact, there exist a number of other models, for example the ‘Inventory of Complicated Grief’ (Prigerson et al 1995), the ‘Grief Measurement Scale’ (Jacobs et al, 1986) and the Grief Experience Questionnaire (Barrett and Scott 1989), and it would have been useful to find out how the AAG relates to these earlier attempts at measurement. Does the AAG incorporate insights from earlier scales, for example, or does it offer a new approach?

In addition, there could be more discussion of how the scale relates to wider theoretical perspectives on grief. There are a number of theories regarding the process of grief and loss. Dual Process theory, for example, suggests that experiences of loss are determined by two distinct sets of stressors: loss-oriented stressors (concerning the deceased person and appraisals of what loss means for example) and restoration-oriented stressors (these concern how people deal with the changes that grief brings about, for example rebuilding a sense of self). Dual process theory further suggests that the two sets cannot be processed at once, and that the person suffering the loss oscillates between one or the other. Attachment theory, on the other hand, describes grief and loss in terms of ‘styles’ of attachment which are learned in early childhood and determine responses to grief. The way in which the child relates to the attachment figure (usually the mother) shapes the way in which that person handles subsequent experience of loss and separation (Worden 2009).

Elsewhere, Machin has provided a useful further elaboration of the scale (Machin 2005) where the three sub-categories of the scale (in their earlier version ‘overwhelmed’, ‘resilient’ and ‘controlled’ are clearly explained first in terms of how each translates into client assumptions and responses to loss, and second how they translate into other theoretical models. For example, Machin explains (2005), in terms of Ainsworth et al’s (1978) ‘attachment style’ theory, overwhelmed becomes ‘anxious / ambivalent attachment’ and in terms of the dual process model (Stroebe and Schut 1999), overwhelmed translates into ‘loss orientation’. In the current paper it would have been useful to have information of this nature.

In addition, the paper lacks any discussion of first the relationship between the three sub-scales (overwhelmed, balanced, controlled), and second which of the three positions represents the best position for the client. It becomes clear during the study that a ‘balanced’ perspective is best for the client, however this is not elaborated, nor backed up with any theoretical discussion of responses to grief, of the sort which occurs in Machin’s earlier paper (2005). Curiously, the authors do, however, take such a perspective on what seems a less intuitive question – what happens if bias is towards ‘balance’ and equally distributed towards ‘overwhelmed’ and controlledHere there is an attempt to tie the model to theory, but discussion is scant, and a more detailed theoretical perspective would have been welcome.

Another interesting point about the study is the way it combines qualitative and quantitative research. These are often treated as distinct methods of data collection, with quantitative research taking a scientific perspective, testing hypotheses and collecting numbers, and qualitative research concerned to look at subjective experience in greater depth and through text and words (Babbie 2010). However, they are increasingly used to complement each other in a ‘mixed methods’ approach. Such an approach can allow more innovative linking between results, creative design and allow for a problem-focused approach (Denscombe 2007). In this study, Machin and Spall certainly demonstrate a creative approach and one rooted in problem solving, as they use the quantitative data to identify areas of concern for individual clients and feed into subsequent therapy sessions. However, it can be asked whether they fully utilise quantitative techniques. They certainly collect numerical data from respondents, however there is no statistical analysis of results to show general patterns, for example looking at mean scores for responses or similar. Additionally, quantitative data is most usually gathered to test a hypothesis or explore research questions (Polgar and Thomas 2008), and there is no clear setting out of hypotheses here. In addition, there are questions about sampling. While there is no one method of generating the ‘correct’ sample size, there is a general idea that at least 30 respondents should be included to generate statistically significant results (Denscombe 2007). This study uses only 15 respondents. In addition, there are questions about the method by which the respondents interviewed (the ‘sample’) were selected. The aim in research is to provide information about a general population (Rubin and Babbie 2009); in this case, adults who have suffered bereavement or loss. In order that results can be generalised from the people included in the study to the overall population of interest, the sample selection should be free from bias and representative of the larger population (Rubin and Babbie 2009). However, in this study, the respondents were all selected through the ‘Older Adults Speciality’, which might have introduced bias, for example if they were from a particular geographical location, from a particular ethnic group, if they happened to be people who responded in a particular way to interviews or to counselling for example.

A final point is that it might have been useful to have more information about the respondents who took part in the study. While the paper develops a model for practice, it does not look at the way the participants responded to the six-stage process. Did the process help them deal with their grief for example The results of administering the measurement scale after the therapeutic process would have provided insight into whether the model is effective for helping patients deal with grief and loss.

3. Conclusion

The above discussion has looked at a paper by Machin and Spall (2004). This is an interesting and ambitious attempt to marry quantitative and qualitative approaches to research in order to test and extend a measurement scale for grief. The authors develop a seemingly useful model for practical use by counsellors and therapists. However, there are seemingly some problems with the study, for example the lack of integration with theory, and problems with the study’s methodology.

4. References

Ainsworth, M, Blehar, M, Waters, E, and Wall, S (1978) Patterns of Attachment. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ

Babbie, E R (2010) The Practice of Social Research (12th edn.), Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA.

Barrett, T W and Scott, T B (1989) ‘Development of the Grief Experience Questionnaire’, Suicide Life Threat Behav, 19:201-215.

Denscombe, M (2007) The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects (3rd edn.), McGraw-Hill International, Maidenhead, Berks.
Jacobs, S C, Kasl, S V, Osfeld, A, Berkman, L And Charpentier, P (1986) ‘The measurement of grief: age and sex variation’, British Journal of Medical Psychology, 59, 305-310.

Machin, L (2001) ‘Exploring a framework for understanding the range of responses to loss; a study of clients receiving bereavement counselling’, Unpublished PhD thesis, Keele University, UK.

Machin, L, and Spall, B (2004) ‘Mapping grief: a study in practice using a quantitative and qualitiative approach to exploring and addressing the range of responses to loss’, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 4:1, 9-17.

Machin, L (2005). The adult attitude to grief scale: A method for mapping grief. [online] Retrieved 25/02/11, The 7th International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society, from,%20Linda.pdf

Polgar, S and Thomas, S A (2008) Introduction to research in the health sciences (5th edn.) Churchill-Livingston, Edinburgh

Prigerson, H G, Maciejewski, P K, Reynolds, C F, Bierhals, A J, Newsom, J T, Fasiczkaa, A, Frank, E, Doman, J, and Miller, M (1995) ‘Inventory of complicated grief: A scale to measure maladaptive symptoms of loss’, Psychiatry Research, 59:1-2, 65-79.

Rubin, A and Babbie, E R (2009) Essential Research Methods for Social Work (2nd edn) Cengage Learning, 2009 Belmont CA

Stroebe, M and Schut, H (1999) ‘The Dual process model of coping with bereavement: rationale and description’, Death studies, 23,197-224

Worden, J W (2009) Grief counseling and grief therapy: a handbook for the mental health practitioner (4th edn.), Springer Publishing Company, New York.

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Dissertation Topics in Psychology (2018)

1. Introduction to Psychology Dissertations

This guide gives you some ideas for dissertation titles. Psychology covers many areas, so there should be plenty to whet your appetite here.Psychology dissertations typically take one of two forms, focusing either upon collecting and analyzing primary data or upon appraising secondary data only. Either type can be appropriate to your area of study. You will also find an overview of how to structure your dissertation in section three below.

2. Categories and List of Dissertation Titles

2.1 Developmental and Educational Psychology

2.1.1Are children’s eating behaviours and attitudes towards food affected by parents with eating disordersA quantitative study.

2.1.2Stranger danger Children’s internalizations of ‘the other’: a qualitative study.

2.1.3Father figures and perceptions of masculine authority in the pre-adolescent children of single mothers: a qualitative study.

2.1.4 To what extent is Vygotsky’s theories of child development a product of his cultural background, and do they have application to our post-capitalist societyA critical analysis of the literature.

2.1.5 Can attachment theory be used to explain the development of a subjective self in the child A literature review.

2.1.6 Does identifying children’s learning styles help improve outcomes: a quantitative study of primary school children.

2.1.7 Can the concept of reflective practice be used to help children learn in UK schools: a qualitative study.

2.1.8 What measures can be taken to help children suffering from anxiety disorders perform better in tests: a review of the literature.

2.2 Mental Health and Abnormal Psychology

2.2.1 To what extent does conflict over food in childhood impact on problematic attitudes to eating in adolescenceA qualitative study amongst anorexia sufferers.

2.2.2 The extent to which perceptions of social stigma impact upon sufferer’s coping strategies: a quantitative study.

2.2.3 The impact of diet on depression: can a ‘Mediterranean’ diet reduce symptoms in those prone to depressionA literature review.

2.2.4 To what extent are people with learning difficulties less or more likely to suffer from phobiasA review of the literature.

2.2.5 Can yoga and meditation be effective treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorder: A randomized controlled study amongst OCD patients.

2.2.6 Does personality type impact upon patient outcomes for hospitalization for mental disorders A quantitative study in a large UK hospital.

2.2.7 Is there a link between self-harm in adolescent females and use of social networking sitesA qualitative study amongst British teenage girls.

2.2.8 What is the relationship between children’s home routines and treatment for ADHDA study of the literature.

2.3 Social Psychology

2.3.1 Conceptual models of riots and civil unrest: a critical analysis of the recent riots in the UK.

2.3.2 What is the relationship between narcissism and the use of social media such as facebookA quantitative study amongst UK students.

2.3.3 Mad, bad or dangerousAssessing changing social attitudes to mental illness through a study of magazine and TV advertising.

2.3.4 What do reactions to work uniforms reveal about attitudes to authority and control: a qualitative study amongst UK supermarket, bank and council workers.

2.3.5 Gender, marketing and internet presence: a critical analysis of images of women in corporate website branding.

2.3.6 Private, public and liminal spaces: what are car driver’s perceptions of other road usersA qualitative investigation amongst regular drivers.

2.3.7 Gendered nights: the range of gendered behaviours in fetish clubs and bars. An ethnographic investigation carried out in London, Swansea and Manchester.

2.3.8 Can music be used to reduce low-level criminal behaviour in public placesA quantitative study of an urban bus station.

2.4 Counselling and Therapy

2.4.1 Counselling and power: to what extent does the counselor/client relationship demonstrate an unequal balance of power A literature review.

2.4.2 Does Freudian psychoanalysis have any place in the current UK health serviceA qualitative study amongst healthcare professionals.

2.4.3 Does length of treatment affect outcome for patients undergoing cognitive behavioural therapyA quantitative study of adults.

2.4.4 Can ideas about ecology contribute to therapy and counsellingA review of the literature.

2.4.5. Projective testing: an outmoded technique in current counselling and therapy practiceA critical overview of the UK situation.

2.4.6 How effective are cognitive behavioural therapy self-help techniques when used with children under 13 A quantitative study of pre-adolescent children.

2.4.7 To what extent can computer-aided cognitive behavioural therapy be a substitute for CBT with a trained therapist A qualitative study amongst UK CBT therapists and practitioners.

2.4.8 Is there a role for the unconscious in life coaching, and if so which theoretical models are most appropriate A review of the literature.

2.5 Consumer and Industrial Psychology

2.5.1 Fashion Tribes: can Cova’s concept of tribal marketing be used to analyse the brand image of high street fashion retailers. A case study of five UK brands.

2.5.2 Colour and shopper motivation: a quantitative study of the impact of colour in own-brand packaging by leading UK supermarkets.

2.5.3 Hierarchy, authority and the workplace: a comparison of attitudes to authority between a rigidly hierarchical UK workplace and one with an egalitarian structure.

2.5.4 Diesel dyke or lipstick lesbianChanging images of gay women in advertising and the media: a literature review.

2.5.5 To what extent can Hofstede’s concept of cultural dimensions be useful in understanding international branding: a comparative study of 3 global organizations.

2.5.6 Can ideas from counseling and psychotherapy be used to enhance the corporate annual review for employees A primary study carried out in a leading UK financial services provider.

2.5.7 Burnout amongst executive staff: what are the main predictorsA review of literature from the UK and Europe.

2.5.8Industrial psychology and interior design: How have ideas about workforce motivation and reward affected the look of the office or factoryA critical and historical review.

3. How to Structure a Psychology Dissertation, Tips

For details on how to structure a marketing dissertation, kindly check out the following post:

How to Structure a dissertation (chapters)
How to structure a dissertation (chapters and subchapters)
How to structure a dissertation research proposal

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Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) is concerned with the application of psychology in other to improve the quality of working life to protecting and promoting the safety , health and well being of workers(NIOSH).


OccupationalHealth Psychology (OHP) is concerned with the application of psychology inother toimprove thequality ofworking life to protecting and promoting thesafety , health and well beingofworkers(NIOSH). Protection and promotion are geared towards interventionsto reducehazards at work and to equip individual workers with knowledge and resources toimprove theirhealth(CDC, 2010).

Theterm OHP wasfirst mentionedby FriedrichEngels in1845 and in1987 ashe wroteon “theconditions of workingclass in England”. Karl Marx (1867 & 1999) also usedit inwriting “the horrificways whichcapitalismtookadvantageofworkers in Das Kapital”. Karaserk (1979) castigatedTaylors approach on how jobmustbe done havealso made contributionstoOHP.

OHPrequires aninterdisciplinaryapproach(Maclean, Plotnikoff & Moyer, 2002). Examples arepublic health, preventative medicine, industrialengineering, etc. The primary focus of OHP is the prevention ofillness andinjurybycreating safe andhealthyworking environment (Quick et al.,1979, Saiter, Hurrel, Fox, Tetrick and Barling , 1999). Themajorchallenge in promoting occupationalhealthischangingnature of work and workforce (Quick & Tetrick, 2002). Peoples exposure to workenvironment may bevery dynamic making it verydifficultfrom anepidemiological perspective to identify the sources ofill health (Berkman & Kowachi, 2000).


Amyriadofbenefits toboth employersandemployees can be realised from OHP. The Health and Safety atworkAct (1974) says,“it shall be theduty of every employer to ensure the health at work ofall employees. Employers have to uphold a duty of care and to ensureas far asisreasonable andpracticable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. Theemployermustnot act or conducthimself in a waythat will causeinjury to theemployee”.(HSE, 1995).

TheHealthand Safety Executive (HSE) in the United Kingdom hasbrought to bear ManagementStandards in OHP to helpbring downthelevel ofworkrelated stressbythe introduction ofthecompetency framework (CIPD, 2007). Stress is defined as a particular relationship between the person and environmentthatisappraisedby the person astaxingor exceedinghis or herresources and endangeringhisor her well being (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). Management Standards is defined as characteristics or culture of an organisation where the risk from work related stress are being effectively managed and controlled (Kerr et al.,2009). In theManagement Standards, six potential variables(demand, control, support, relationships, role and change) ifnotorganisedappropriately could lead to poor health and well being, decreased productivity andincreased sickness and absence (Cousins et al., 2004 & Mackay et al., 2004) . Theyalsohave the potential of impacting on workersdisregarding the type and size of the organisation (Mackay et al., 2004).

OHP, emphasise on the importance ofemployee control and participation. The SwedishWork Environment Act(1978) has made psychosocial and psychological stands. The Swedish Act ofCo-Determination(1977) give workers a mouth piece on job design, methods of production, working environment and organisational decision making (Gardell & Johansson, 1981).

OHP opens thegatewayfor employers todevelop stresspolicies which aregeared towards protecting health, safety and welfare ofemployees. In the UK, the HSE Act of1974 allowsorganisations to take note of all stressors andconduct risk assessment toquash stress and controlrisksfrom stress, consultations withtrade unions’safetyrepresentatives on all proposed actionsrelating to the prevention of workplace stress, managers and supervisorsaretrained on goodmanagement practice, providing confidential counsellingfor staffs if need be and lastly, provisionof resources to implement agreed stress managementstrategies. For example, The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals have a stress management policy in place which aim todesign andimplement services, policies and measures that meet the diverse need of their services, people and workforce ensuringthatno one is disadvantaged (BHRUT, 2009). They also aim to improving working lives (IWL), providing staffs with occupationalhealth services andprovidingconfidentialcounselling services (MSWRS, 2007).

Occupational Healthhelps in the setting ofperformancestandards bytheidentification ofhazards, assessment of risk basedon probability andseverity(major, serious and slight), risk control andthe need to monitor andmaintain it ( Cox et al., 2000). In Controlling workplace hazards, potentialhazards are eliminated, employees are restricted to hazards and aretrainedon how todo away with hazards (Smith et al., 1978). Employeesgetadequate information about thename of the hazard, its health effects and the types of exposure (OSHIA, 1970). Safety andhealth is effective in reducing employee risk at work (Cohen & Collagen, 1998).

Employers canuse global objectives (where a percentage of hazard reduction is set) to measure the incidence of workplaceinjury ( Quick & Tetrick, 2002). By this, they could see the viability of a health and safety training programs. Studies show that increasing hourly ratesof employerscan bebeneficial to safety behaviours and reduction in hazardexposure (Hopkins, Conrad & Smith 1986; Smith, Anger, Hopkins & Conrad 1983).

OHP giveemployers the opportunity to know the causes ofstress at work soasto put measures in placetostifle employees fromcapitalising onemployers’negligenceonhealth and safety at work since, as long asemployees havejustified evidence that the employerhas been negligent or breached theirstatutory duty, they will be due forcompensation which affects employersfinanciallybut will enrichemployees. Three examples ofsome compensation cases arethatofpoliceman Martin Long whoearned?330,000 from the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 andthat ofsocial worker ThelmaConwaywho alsoreceived ?140,000 in compensation after she developed stressrelated illness throughwork. Recently, Joyce Walters, a teacher who had a painful nodule on her vocal cord after handling a noisy classroom was paid ?150,000 (Haywood, 2010).


There is more toensuringsafety performance than a written health and safety policy (Smith et al., 1978). Itmust be emphasised thatholding safety programs for organisations are good however, there is the need to encourage communication throughout the various departments inorganisations. Informal communication provides motivation and meaningful information forhazard control ( Quick & Tetrick, 2002).

Curbinginjuries and illness atwork really requires a multifaceted approach that can definehazard, evaluate risk, establish means to control risk and incorporate managementsupervision and employees activelyin theprocess. Topmanagement should have a responsibility to be committed to health and safety programs (Cohen, 1977).The HSE stress indicator tool (HSE, 2007) must alsobe used concurrently to measure stress atwork in order to have a healthy and safer place to work.

Berkman, L. F. & Kawachi, I.(Eds) (2000) Social Epidemiology, New York: Oxford University Press.
BHRUHT(2009) Stress Management Policy 51(3)
CIPD(2007) What Happening With Well being at Work
Cohen, A. & Colligan, M. J.(1998) Assessing occupational safety and health training: A literature review. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.
Cohen, A.(1977) Factors in successful occupation safety programme. Journal of Safety Research, 9, pp. 168-178.
Cousins, R., MacKay, C., Clarke, S.D., Kelly. C, Kelly, P.J, McCaig R.H.(2004)Management standards and work-related stress in the UK: practical development. Work Stress;18. Pp. 113–136
Cox, T, Griffiths, A. & Rial- Gonzalez, E.( 2000). Research on Work Related Stress. Luxemburg.
Engels, F.(1987) Conditions of Working ClassinEngland. London: Penguin Books.
Gardell, B. & Johansson, G.(1981) Working Life: A Social science contribution to work reform. Chichester, UK: Wiley & Sons.
Haywood, L.(2010) SPEECHLESS: Outrage as teacher gets ?150,000 for losing her voice in ‘noisy’ classroom. The Sun, 10 November, p. 4.
Hopkins, B. L., Conrad, R. J. & Smith, M. J.(1986). Effective and reliable behaviour control technology. American Industrial, Hygiene Association Journal, 47(12), pp. 785- 791.
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HSE(1995) Stress at Work: A Guide for Employers. Suffolk: HSE Books.

Karasek, R. A., Baker, D., Marxer, F., Ahlbom & Theorell, T.(1981) Job decision latitude, job demands and cardiovascular disease: A prospective study of Swedish men. American Journalof Public Health, 77, pp. 694-705.
Kerr et al.,(2009) Occupational Medicine, 59: pp 574- 579.
Lazarus, R.S. & Folkman, S.(1984) Stress Appraisal and Coping. New York: Springer.
Lewin, L.(1951) Field theory in social science. New York: Haper.
Maclean, L. M., Plotnikoff, R.C. & Moyer, A.(2000). Trans disciplinary work with psychology from a population health perspective. Journal of Health Psychology, 5(2), pp. 173-181.
Marx, K.(1999) . Das Kapital. OxfordUniversity Press.
Morrison et al.,(2000) Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 38(1) pp. 34-41.
MSWRS(2007) ManagementStandards From Work Related Stress.
O’Reilly, N.(2009) Occupational Health, 61(12).
O’Reilly, N.(2010) Occupational Health, 62(8).
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (1970), 91- 596.
Quick, J. C. & Tetrick, L. E.(2002) Handbook of Occupational Psychology, APA: Washington.
Sauter, S.L., Murphy, L.R. & Hurrell, J.J.(1999) Prevention of workrelated psychological; disorders. A national strategy proposed by NIOSH. American Psychologist, 45, pp. 1146-1158.
Smith, M. J. (1986) Occupational stress. In G. Salvendy (Ed.). Handbook of human factors, pp. 844-860. New York: John Wily and Sons.
Smith, M.J., Cohen, H.H., Cohen, A. & Cleveland,R.(1978) Characteristics of successful safety programs. Journal of Safety Research. 10, pp. 5-15.

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Psychology (imagery usage)


For a number of years imagery has been known to be an effective method to enhance athletic performance and sporting success. Currently Imagery researchers have majorly became interested in the mechanisms behind imagery’s performance-enhancing effects and how these can be maximized. It has also transpired through neuroscience research that a “functional equivalence” exists between imagery and performance of a skill or movement, as they are both triggered by the same neurophysiological processes (Decety & Jeannerod, 1996). A cognitive neuroscience approach to motor imagery in sport was presented by Holmes and Collins (2001) they examined current research efforts in neuroscience and applied the findings to developing a deeper understanding of motor imagery as athletes commonly use it. In particular, they highlighted the implications of the notion of the functional equivalence of the motor imagery and motor execution systems for sport psychologists. As a result, it has become one of the most popular psychological strategies employed by athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists. Holmes and Collins (2001) developed a PETTLEP model that included 7 different factors: Physical, Environment, Task, Timing, Learning, Emotion and Perspective. The PETTLEP model recommends that influencing the physical nature of imagery to near motor preparation will stimulate the peripheral receptors that are related with task execution and increase the psychophysiological congruence of motor preparation and motor imagery at the central sites, ultimately strengthening the memory trace (Beisteiner, Hollinger, Lindinger, Lang, & Berthoz, 1995).

Imagery has been defined as “using all the senses to re-create or create an experience in the mind” (Vealey & Greenleaf, 2001). Imagery is widely known to be used in any physical activity to improve performance, skill and change behavioural problems. Imagery in sport is a form of stimulation which is similar to a real sensory experience, except imagery stimulation occurs in the mind. Imagery can also be known as ‘visualization’ and there are 4 different types of senses which are all important and they are known as the kinaesthetic, auditory, tactile and olfactory senses but the kinaesthetic sense to athletes is the most important one because when our body moves in several ways we can feel it and this helps athletes improve performance. Through imagery you are able to re-create positive experiences that have previously happened or picture new events to prepare yourself mentally for performance. Holmes and Collins suggested that all athletes should be actively involved in the imagery experience.

(Adapted from Holmes and Collins, 2001, 2002)

The PETTLEP model of intervention are useful in daily clinic to facilitate learning, performance skills, strategies, modifying cognitions, regulating arousal and competitive anxiety in the handling of athletes and sports performance. For example if there was a football team that wanted to use imagery to prepare for the possibility of going to penalties of a tournament, the PETTLEP model would be: Physical: The players would imagine being in shortage of breath and they would even make themselves shortage of breath prior to imaging to stimulate the state they would be in during a match. The players could then perform the imagery in the standing stance wearing their kit and boots in the exactly same way they would when they practise or actually taking a penalty. Environment: When wanting to create an atmosphere the imagery used would be in the competition scene using photos, videos and sounds of the crowd to make an environment as if the players are actually taking a penalty. Task: Should be reflected in the image which means each player should focus internally and concentrate on factors such as which corner in the goal they are going to place the ball. Each player should include prompts they would work on when taking an actual penalty an example of this would be, never look at the goalkeeper and just solely focus on the ball and wait for the referees whistle to begin their run up. This should be mirrored in the imagery picture as a result. Timing: The penalty planning and carrying out the run up and flight of the ball should be imaged in real time.

Learning: When the athletes manage to master the technique then they can then move onto other elements such as the changes in emotion they would start to experience as they become a talented penalty taker. Emotion: Footballers are encouraged to add in the appropriate emotions they experience when going to take a penalty so they get used to these emotions and learn to relate them with success. Addition of related emotion will help increase the vividness of an image. Perspective: If the footballers view the technique of taking a penalty, they may perform the imagery from an external visual perspective. However they may prefer to use internal visual imagery when wanting to view the factors they will focus on when making their preparations for the penalty. As a result each footballer should consider which visual perspective is best and switch between the two.

Holmes and Collins (2001), “PETTLEP model” was said that there is evidence especially when mixing physical and environmental strategies in terms of conducting imagery on field (I.e. rehearsing imagery of kicking a football penalty on the field instead of imagining this while at home).
The SIQ questionnaire is an well-organized way of gaining knowledge about the athletes ability to conduct imagery. The next step would be to develop an efficient imagery intervention, that could develop the athlete’s ability.


Holmes and Collins, (2001), The PETTLEP Approach to Motor Imagery: A Functional Equivalence Model for Sport Psychologists, Journal of applied sport psychology, vol.13(1), p.60-81

Hall, C. R., & Martin, K. A. (1997). Measuring movement imagery abilities: A

revision of the movement imagery questionnaire. Journal of Mental

Imagery, 21, 143-154.

Free Essays

Astrology is to exact astronomy, what psychology is to exact physiology: an investigation into Astrology?


In the words of Joseph Crane , “Astrology’s purpose is to use the positions of the planets and stars in the sky to gather information on humanity. Astrology is a system that enables us to understand the past, present and the future within a universe”. The word astrology has been derived from the Greek word Astrologia. Astron means ‘constellation or star’ and logia refers to the ‘study of’. Astrology is an exhaustive research of the planets, stars and other celestial phenomena that engulfs us. Hence astronomy primarily revolves around the interpretation of stars and the identification of messages conveyed by the stars.

According to H. P. Blavatsky, “Astrology is to exact astronomy, what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit”. A distinction made between Astrology and Astronomy is that Astronomy is the exploration of the heliocentric view and observing the expanding universe. On the contrary, Astrology is understands the holistic and symbolic significance of the planets and stars

A Horoscope is a birth chart which contains symbols that astrologers use to discover the influence of cosmic events on personality of a person, and relationships; these symbols are also used to predict the future. Astrology interprets the position of stars as a symbol and develops a deeper understanding of what takes place on earth.

Astrology in ancient history

The inception of Astrology is evident in drawings of cavemen, which were later explained by the Mesopotamians and Greeks, along with some Egyptian influences. The planets and stars were looked upon as ‘omens’ portraying the ‘will of gods’. Astrology was also the origin of many vital derivations which were further developed between 2000 BCE and the fifth century BCE.

Earlier, cave drawings depicted maps of the celestial sky which have been concrete evidence to pre-historic astrology derivations. Later, Mesopotamians (which includes the Babylonian civilization), created complicated graphical Astrological charts in which they religiously believed stars symbolized ‘the Divine’. Furthermore, Greeks developed geometric and kinetic models which helped understand Astrology and horoscopes. Later, in the middle of the Renaissance period, Astrology rose again wherein astrologists were considered the smartest intellectualists, which includes Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei .

The 12 Zodiac signs

Ever since the prosperity of Astrology, there are traditionally defined to be 12 signs of the zodiac which are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces; and these are used to make predictions of individuals for the future. A quintessential aspect of understanding astrology is the mechanisms of cosmic objects.

Based on ones date of birth and the alignment of the constellations with the sun at that period is used to decide which one of the twelve star zodiac signs an individual belongs to. The underlying foundation of Astrological study is the notion that planet and zodiac placements can help determine certain characteristics and personality traits to make predictions for the future.

The birth chart, an important tool in astrology, is divided into twelve sections, referred as houses, where each represents one part of the zodiac with its house to contain a different meaning. Astrologers conclude that the movement of different planets into these houses influences human life on Earth and the future shifts of planets into a house will determine what will happen to and individual in the future.

Ophiuchus- the 13th constellation

For many year that astrologers have studied astrology and made future predictions, their predictions were based on the well-known 12 astronomical signs (zodiac) which represent the 12 constellations on the Earth’s ecliptic. However, due to the Earth’s precession[1] over thousands of years, it has shifted on over its axis and has also led to a shift in the constellations that lie on the Earth’s ecliptic. Although for astrological ease 12 zodiac signs are used for predictions, this is considered incorrect in astronomical study.

Numerous astronomers before had suggested the existence of a 13th consellation, Ophiuchus. This 13th constellation being found on the Earth’s ecliptic was only considered until recent hype created by hype astronomers in the west. These astronomers had denounce astrologers of practicing a doubtful art while they hadn’t even got the stars right.

The inclusion of the Ophiuchus has brought in a state of confusion to the astrological field, which has caused a shift in their time allocation. Ophiuchus is the only constellation based on a real person – a snake charmer. The Ehyptions interpret this person to be Imhotep while similar traits are found in the biblical disciple Joseph. The interpretation that Astrologers provide for this 13th zodiac sign is that those born when the sun is aligned towards Ophiuchus are believed to be healers and have a wise, rather intellectual temperament.


Astrologers have endowed us with a deep understanding of the different cosmic events and its influence on our daily lives. With the initial purpose of seeking the importance of the astrological events, astrologers have massively contributed to field of Astronomy as well. The discovery of the 12 constellations has been vital to the understanding of personality traits and relationships and in making predictions of the future.

Until recent hype, a 13th constellation has been an addition to the family of 12 constellations- Ophiuchus. Although the existence of a 13th constellation had been suggested by numerous astronomers before, this discovery came as a surprise to the general public, as astronomers casted doubts on the field of Astrology.

Astrology has been highly regarded for the future prediction it makes through the interpretation of astrological event. This particular aspect has enticed the general public to follow on weekly horoscopes and know about the future. In the wise words of William Shakespeare “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves; we are underlings.


Gurshtein, A. A. (1997). The origins of the constellations. American Scientist, 85(3), 264-273.

Bates, D. (2011, January 15). Horoscope change 2011: Sidereal astrology reveals 13th sign Ophiucus. Retrieved on April 14,2011 from Daily Mail online .

Lewis, C.J., (2010, July 3). How Does Astrology WorkAn Introduction to Birth-Chart Interpretation. Retrieved on April 16, 2011 from

Lewis, J. R. (2003). The Astrology Book: the encyclopedia of heavenly influences. Michigan: Visible Ink Press.

Willis, R. G. & Curry, P. (2004). Astrology, Science and Culture: pulling down the moon. New York: Berg.

Free Essays

Critically assess the contribution of a Wilhelm Wundt to the development of experimental psychology


Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was born in a village called Neckarau, situated in Baden. In 1858, Wundt became Helmholtz assistant and took an interest into creating experimental psychology (cited in: Robinson and Rieber, 2001). In 1861, Wundt conducted an experiment to test how his attention was affected during the time a pendulum swung and a bell was rung. He found that his attention was separate for the sound of the bell and where the pendulum swung. He concluded that people are unable to focus on two thoughts at the same time and can only concentrate on one thought at a time, taking roughly 0.1 seconds to change from each thought (cited in: Hergenhahn, 2009)

In 1862, he published a book called contributions toward a theory of sense perception. This book focused heavily on Wundt explaining there was a gap for experimental psychology and therefore he focused on the creation of experimental psychology (Henley and Thorne, 2004). In 1879, Wundt developed experimental psychology and many topics based on this new psychology. He also opened the first experimental psychology laboratory in Leipzig.

Wundt recognised experimental psychology as a science. His two goals for experimental psychology were; to explore how the law joined complex mental experiences with mental elements and to explore the various aspects of thought (cited in: Hergenhahn, 2009). His laboratory were based on three areas, these were; ‘mental chronometry’, ‘time sense’ studies and psychophysics (Pickren and Rutherford, 2010). Some experiments were based on; attention, reaction times, feelings, sensations and perceptions (Freedheim, 2003).

Wundt used introspection as a technique for gathering data. However, he did not use this technique in the same way as others such as; Descartes (1637). He adopted an experimental introspection that enabled him to gather more accurate data for internal perception. Though, he did believe that introspection could only be used for the fundamental processes of mind and not the complex mental processes (Hergenhahn, 2009).

Wundt split consciousness into feelings and sensations. From using his own internal perception by using a metronome (a time keeper for music), he proposed the tri-dimensional theory of feeling .The three dimensions were; pleasantness-unpleasantness, excitement-calm and strain-relaxation (Sharma and Sharma, 2006).

Wundt described attention as the sensory impression (apperception). He believed apperception was directed by the individual, whereas perception was involuntary. He suggested that an individual could control their attention, he called this voluntarism. He proposed that an individual could reorganize and organize these aspects of attention using their control; he named this creative synthesis (Hergenhahn, 2009).

Cattell (1883) Wundt’s first student conducted an experiment based on apperception and found that apperception took place during individual letters rather than whole words for unknown words in a recall experiment (Henley and Thorne, 2004). Another one of Wundt student’s Kraepelin (1856-1926) conducted an experiment based on schizophrenia patients and the attention theory. He found that people that suffer from schizophrenia struggled with the basic control process and have severe attention focusing (Henley and Thorne, 2004).

Wundt altered the Helmholtz and Donders method of mental chronometry, this in turn created reaction time studies. Reaction time studies allowed him to identify the time it took to respond to sensory stimulus (Bechtel and Graham, 1999). Wundt used the subtraction method when carrying out his reaction time studies; this method was based on Donders experiment. Cattell (1883) carried out an experiment based on letters and words that required the participants to name the words vocally. The findings suggested that the participants took roughly the same time to name both stimulus (the words and letters). He believed that people generally recognised words as a whole rather than letters separately (Henley and Thorne, 2004).

During the 1900 and 1920’s Wundt published ‘Volkerpsychologie’ (ten volumes), it was also known as social psychology. He believed that experimental techniques were good at investigating basic processes such as; perception and sensation. However, the technique was not as useful for high mental processes such as; problem-solving. He proposed that high mental processes could be investigated by ‘Volkerpsychologie’ and language; this was one of the volumes (Sheehy, 2004).

The positive aspects of Wundt’s contribution to experimental psychology were; he was the first to open the first experimental psychology laboratory in Leipzig this enabled others to gain an insight into experimental psychology. He also recognized psychology as a science. He also proposed many theories that set the foundations for many others to build on, such as; Cattell, Scripture (1864-1945) and Titchener (Henley and Thorne, 2004).

Although Wundt proposed some great contributions to experimental psychology, he was criticised for some of them. Some criticisms involved the ‘Volkerpsychologie’ as many people such as; Jahoda (1997) struggled to understand the ten volumes as the majority of it was not translated and as a result of this some of Wundt’s ideas were misinterpreted. Also many of the studies Wundt used were viewed as outdated or old-fashion (Henley and Thorne, 2004). Critics also believed that there was no solid evidence proposing that sensations and feelings existed like an object (Singh, 1991).

Critics also believed that Wundt didn’t put a lot of effort into making his experimental work more accurate. (Robinson and Rieber, 2001). Titchener, one of Wundt’s students criticised Wundt’s methodology as he felt Wundt confused others by mixing introspective psychology and experimental psychology (Nitta and Tatematsu, 1979). Critics also found that the introspection method seemed to obtain different results each time this method was used in different laboratories. Boring (1953) found that many results obtained from various different laboratories using introspection all had different results. This shows that in some ways introspection can be unreliable (Singh, 1991). Another criticism was people felt that some studies were unable to obtain results using the method of introspection. For example; unconscious influences would not be able to use introspection (Singh, 1991).

Wundt’s contribution to experimental psychology was very significant as he was viewed as the ‘father of experimental psychology’ (Singh, 1991). He introduced psychology as a science and set the foundations for experimental psychology. This enabled others to build on his foundations and introduce new theories such as; Edward Titchener. However, many people including some of his students have criticised some of his contributions for a number of reasons.


Bechtel, W., & Graham, G. (1999). A companion to cognitive science. USA: Blackwell Publishing.

Freedheim, D. (2003). Handbook of psychology: Volume 1 history of psychology. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Henley, T.B. & Thorne, B.M. (2004). Connections in the history and systems of psychology. (3rd edition).Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company.

Hergenhahn, B. R. (2009). An introduction to the history of psychology. (6th edition). USA: Cengage Learning.

Nitta, Y., & Tatematsu, H. (1979). Analecta Husserliana: The yearbook of phenomenological research. Holland: D. Reidel publishing company.

Pickren, W. E., & Rutherford, A. (2010). A history of modern psychology in context. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Robinson, D. K., & Rieber, R. W. (2001). PATH in psychology: Wilhelm Wundt in history: the making of a scientific psychology. New York: Plenum Publishers.

Sharma, R. N., & Sharma, R. (2006). Experimental psychology. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.

Sheehy, N. (2004). Fifty key thinkers in psychology. Oxon: Routledge.

Singh, A. K. (1991). The comprehensive history of psychology. (2nd edition).Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publisher.

Free Essays

Social psychology seems to have many origins; critically discuss the historical and philosophical roots of modern social psychology


There are many explanations for the origins of modern social psychology. It is therefore important to consider that social psychology cannot be traced back to one single source of origin (Burr, 2003). Hence, this is the reason why there are debates of what social psychology is. Allport (1985) described social psychology as “the study of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours which are influenced by the actual, imagines, or implied presence of others”. As seen from this definition there is a direct link between social science and the individual psychology (Sewel, 1989). Social psychology cannot be seen as a linear phenomenon. This is because social psychology has derived from combination of influences. The development of social psychology can be discussed in two different ways. Firstly, social psychology is argued to be found upon political movements and social philosophies in the United Stated of America (US). Secondary, it can be argued that social psychology developed due to the response of social and political needs.

3. There have been debates regarding whether social psychology should be dealt as a natural science or not. The ideology of natural science is very important as it affects the way the social psychologist deal with situations. For example, if there are specific scientific objectives then the study is laboratory based and uses experimental procedures in order to gain knowledge. Psychologists who use this positivistic method are classified as experimental social psychologists. On the other hand, critical-social psychology has competed with experimental-social psychologists. The strength of the critical-social psychologists is that they use a range of different methods in research, and are not limited to scientific knowledge. This includes both qualitative and quantitative methods. Overall, critical social psychologists are described as having a critical ideology in order to uncover meanings of social phenomena (Gough & McFadden, 2001). Both critical and experimental social psychology form the modern social psychology due to their important historical context. Experimental-social psychology is argued to be derived from the American tradition, and critical-social psychology has been argued to be derived from the European tradition. Although this has formed two distinct approaches in the use of methodology in psychology, there are still on-going debates over psychology as a science or not.

4. An important contribution that has made a great impact on the modern social psychology was from William McDougall. McDougall proposed for an evolutionary psychology, which was influenced by Darwin’s theory. Especially with the dominant fields of sociology and anthropology, McDougall was able to link science, sociology and psychology (McDougall, 1919). However, McDougall’s research in social evolution was also interpreted as radical due to the racism involved in behaviour gene inheritance. This shows that even though McDougall’s work has been a start point to the origins of social psychology, it has also led to misconcepts especially in the Western society. Another person who contributed to the origins of social psychology was William James which developed the theory of ‘stream of consciousness’. The strength of the ‘stream of consciousness’ was that it was not only using the introspect technique. The reason why James made an influence in social psychology is due to the step taken from introspection, in order to understand the human’s behaviour by their emotions and thoughts.

5. Although both McDougall and James made a great contribution to social psychology, especially in the context of theories and research, their interpretations are different. This difference is due to the discussion of human nature of free will. Overall, McDougall can be described as the origin of the European tradition of social psychology. This is because he believed an individual lacks free will due to the social and cultural forces. Whereas James can be described as the origins of the American tradition of social psychology. This is because James explained that individuals are conscious of their own decisions. Furthermore, James is an influencing figure in the philosophical movement of Pragmatism. Pragmatism approached ideologies and propositions with practical ideas, e.g. experimental validity.

9. The emergence of experimental social psychology is very different to critical social psychology. Rogers (2004) clarified the first social psychology experiments to be Triplett’s study on dynamogenic influence. In basic terms Triplett’s noticed that children performed better when in competition with others. Triplett’s study can now interpreted as social influence. However, Hogg & Vaughan (1998) argues that Triplett’s study cannot be explained as the first social psychology study because it was recognised later on when the study was reformed. Nevertheless, Triplett’s study established the use of experimental methodology in his investigation.

6. Volkerpsychologie was a movement in Germany in the late nineteenth century. The Volkerpsycholgie disciple tried to explain the reasons behind social groupings as collective dimension (Rogers, 2003). The social groups in Germany where mainly dominant of specific German nationalist character. From these German characters it was proposed that language and culture had a role in individual perception and thinking. This led to Wundt’s proposition of using experimental psychology in order to investigate language and culture. Hence, Wundt is described as the ‘founder of experimental psychology’ (Burr, 2004). As an experimental psychologist Wundt believed psychology was a natural science, which is the reason why Wundt used introspection technique to interpret the consciousness, inner-thoughts, desires and sensations of individuals (English, 1921). However he did not ignore the philosophy of psychology, particularly with the rise of crowd-psychology. The history of crowd psychology links to the French Revolution in 1789-1799. Crowd psychology can be described as a collectivist approach, in which the term ‘social’ is critical to our understanding, largely due to group influence and culture.

7. Between the periods of French revolution a lot of philosophical thinkers, including Comte and Durkheim, became interested on how the society and individuals influence each other. With the vast amount of literature emerging in France on social ideas the French-social theory began to develop. The French-social theory introduced Positivism, as of Comte. The doctrine of positivism allowed philosophy and science to be separated in order for science to become distinguished. However, the positivistic approach also was a major factor in the separation of American and European social psychology (Farr, 1996). This is why Comte can be perceived as the founder of social psychology (ALLPORT 1954). Comte’s work was influenced but also debated by Durkheim (Poggi, 2000W). Durkheim’s addition to French-social theory was the method of comparative, which is devised of observation (Randall, 1975W). The study of social representation became very famous in the French revolution period, particularly Durkheim’s research that showed collective representation within a society (Farr, 1996). One of the major influences that this had on the modern social psychology is from Moscovici study. Moscovici noted Durkheim as his influence for his study in social representation (Farr, 1996). Social representation theory brought a new development to the social psychology, which is now described as critical social psychology.

8. With the French revolution the philosophical era of Enlightenment emerged. Enlightenment era brought civilisation to individuals, away from the religious authority of the church (Burr, 2004). This allowed individual’s to search for truth of reality, by means of reasoning. The ‘search for truth’ allowed individuals to explore social phenomena. For example; the ideology of Marx on social class and labour, Piaget’s reasoning of child development. Within the period of Enlightenment two different theoretical concepts arose; Modernism and Postmodernism. The assumption of science as the foundation to knowledge is constructed by modernism. The principles of modernism are described as; democracy, liberal individualism, liberal humanism, and science (Roger, 2003). The science established by modernism, brought a progress from the knowledge gained from the religious beliefs to the knowledge gained from scientific methods. However, postmodernism argues that knowledge is not discovered but rather constructed. Postmodernism also argue that there is multiple variety of knowledge, which the individual constructs by means of reasoning. The individuals construct their knowledge’s due to situation factors including culture and society in different locations. For example, the psychological illness of depression cannot always be diagnosed with the same scientific tests in different cultures. The principle of the postmodernisms has had a key impact on critical social psychology. Even though modernism and postmodernism are opposite terms, critically speaking both have established a European tradition of collectivistic approach.

9. The emergence of experimental social psychology is very different to critical social psychology. Rogers (2004) clarified the first social psychology experiments to be Triplett’s study on dynamogenic influence. In basic terms Triplett’s noticed that children performed better when in competition with others. Triplett’s study can now interpreted as social influence. However, Hogg & Vaughan (1998) argues that Triplett’s study cannot be explained as the first social psychology study because it was recognised later on when the study was reformed. Nevertheless, Triplett’s study established the use of experimental methodology in his investigation.

2. One of the most significant event is social psychology is the World War 2 (WWII). Post war issues of social warfare arouse, which had an influence on social science applications. This event of WWII made the start of social psychology in the US in 20th century (Cartwright, 1979). This is mainly due the large amount of research conducted to investigate the reasons behind the Nazis attack on the Jews in WWII. Some psychologist including Lewin immigrated Germany to the US in order to conduct research on the areas of organisations and groups. He is now generally described as the ‘founder of social psychology’. Another researcher who also immigrated to the US was Moscovici who presented revolutionary findings in social representation in the field of minority influence. However, the main aim of social psychology research in the US was on government regulations of propaganda. Throughout this period the American tradition of social psychology started to emerge. The American tradition was an individualistic one which emphasises on individual importance, e.g. the society is made up of individual 1, individual 2, individual 3, ect.


Overall the American tradition can be interpreted as the historical roots of social psychology. Whereas the European tradition can be interpreted as the philosophical roots of social psychology. The American root of social psychology now has a great impact on social cognitive approach. Social cognition includes attribution, stereotypes, autism, (Striano & Reid, 2008). The European roots of social psychology have led to social constructionism and social representation. The modern social psychology is now constructed with the American and European doctrines. However, due to the political events and developing researches in social psychology, the disciple has only been able to contain within America (Cartwright, 1979). On the other hand, Gergen (1973) argued that social psychology cannot be interpreted as a science because social psychology is historically and culturally specific, which is the reason why the discipline is continuously changing. Critically speaking, there is an advantage of different approaches to social psychology, as it views dilemmas in different perspectives.

Free Essays

Developmental psychology


When having any sort of relationship people that are important to you, caring is the foundation of it. When individual are less able to take care of themselves and are dependent on a certain individual is given the name caregiver, as there care for people that have physical or psychological disability. The way a caregiver delivers care by showing concern and empathy states how tough their bonds are. A strong bond in a relationship can, not only bring healthy psychological development in an individual who is being cared for, but also attachment with the caregiver.

Individuals can have an emotional bond to humans around them that there care for this is call attachment; John Bowlby one of the first attachment theorist, unfolding attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby, 1969, p. 194). The attachment theory states that caregivers feel some sort of safety with the child when obtaining and openness to the child’s desires. Once the child feels the caregiver is reliable this gives the child a chance to discover humanity.

Bowlbys four characteristics

Proximity Maintenance; The desire to be near the people we are attached to.

Safe Haven; Returning to the attachment figure for comfort and safety in the face of a fear or threat.

Secure Base; the attachment figure acts as a base of security from which the child can explore the surrounding environment.

Separation Distress; Anxiety that occurs in the absence of the attachment figure. The earliest strong bonds formed by a child with their caregiver impact on their healthy psychological development, but what happens to children who do not form secure attachments and strong bonds with their caregivers?

Physical abuse can affect children bonds in relationship which can and bring unhealthy psychological development to the child. Abuse from prima

Abuse by a primary caregiver damages the most fundamental relationship as a child—that it will safely, reliably get its physical and emotional needs met by the person who is responsible for its care.

Darlene Barriere, victim and writer of her memoir titled “Victim to Victory”, tells her story of child abuse and her struggle through childhood and adolescence. The physical abuse she suffered at the hands of both her mother and father lead her to not only hate her caregivers but drove her to attempt suicide to escape her pain. She started smoking at an early age and to fit in. She quit school and ran away from home to start sexual relations with older men. She was then later diagnosed with morbid obesity.

Compulsive overeating made food her drug of choice. Then she made food her enemy and suffered from the eating disorders of anorexia nervosa and bulimia. In the end it was psychotherapy that saved Darlene and helped her live a healthy lifestyle. Darlene displayed none of Bowlbys characteristics of attachment to her caregivers. By not forming a secure attachment to her caregivers in the early stages of her life, it had a negative impact on her behaviour later on in her life. Her story clearly shows how unhealthy her psychological development as a child and adolescent was and how important a strong bond with a caregiver is for healthy psychological development.

Child sexual abuse is a particularly complicated form of abuse because of the torment of shame and guilt involved. What is even more terrifying is that sexual abuse typically occurs at the hands of someone the child knows and should be able to trust—most often a caregiver such as a parent or teacher. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not just girls who are at sexually abused. Boys and girls both suffer from sexual abuse. In fact, sexual abuse among boys often goes unreported due to the shame and stigma involved. The emotional trauma is so powerful that it leads to an unhealthy psychological development in a child. This can not only leave deep, long lasting scars, but also bring self-hatred and sexual problems as they grow older—often either excessive promiscuity or an inability to have intimate relations. Thousands of cases go unreported and some find the courage to write about their stories on Internet forums, such as a story posted by an anonymous girl. In her case, she was sexually abused between the ages of 5 to 16 by her father. She would never feel safe around her father and developed a strong hate towards him. She became anti-social from a young age. Throughout this ordeal she was confused and did not know whom she could trust. She knew it would tear her family apart. After finding the courage to tell her family and report her father to the authorities it did just that. Guilt and shame lead her to run away from home and to drop out of school. She blamed herself and developed a self-hatred, which lead to depression. She found heroin as a way to escape her reality and her problems. Quickly became addicted, she started working as a prostitution to support her drug addiction. It was a decade later after spending time in rehabilitation and counseling that she cleaned up her act and overcome her hate for herself. By applying Bowlbys four distinguishing characteristics of attachment to this example, it is clearly visible that she had not formed secure attachment to her caregivers. She was not provided with a secure base to explore the world, which resulted in her developing anti-social behavior and falling into depression. She did not want to maintain proximity to her father and did not feel a safe haven around him. She felt more comfortable to be separated to her caregivers, which lead her into leaving her home at a young age. This all resulted in her unhealthy psychological development and because of this unhealthy development it had a negative impact on her life. Her story shows how important it is to for a child to develop a strong bond and secure attachment to its caregivers for healthy psychological development.

It is noticeable that failure to form strong bonds and secure attachments with a caregiver by a child early in life can have a negative impact on behavior in later childhood and throughout their life. Research suggests that children diagnosed with oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly display attachment problems. Often due to early abuse, neglect, or trauma. In examples of physical and sexual child abuse by a caregiver, it is evident that it leads to detachment and weak bonds with the caregiver. The outcome is unhealthy psychological development in the child. For a child to have a healthy psychological development it is crucial that a caregiver is available and responsive to a child’s needs. By doing so they establish a sense of security in the child. This sense of security develops a strong bond with the caregiver. The child knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to explore the world and results in healthy psychological development.


Myers,D.G.(2010).PSYCHOLOGY.(9TH). USA:Worth.

What is a caregiver.[Wise Geek].[online].9th September 2010 Available from:[Accessed 13th December 2010]

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From Victim to Victory a memoir.[child abuse effects].[online]. October 28, 2009 Available from;[Accessed 14th December 2010]

Free Essays

The Social Psychology of the Ethnic Group: the Case of the Bosnian Serbs

Abstract: This is a qualitative study, which will focus on the psychology behind the formation of ethnic identities in former Yugoslavia. It will explore the identity of the Serbs in Bosnia and will look at their behaviour throughout the war in Bosnia through the prism of crowd behaviour. The essay will examine the internal, as well as external characteristics of the Serbs as an ethnic and social group, and will reveal how their collective identity has been created through the manipulation of certain historical and political factors. The study will aim to propose an innovative approach to understanding crowd behaviour. It will consider the dynamics of external events and their recreation in the political discourse at the time from a constructivist point of view.

1. Introduction and overview

Understanding the psychology of the crowd in a particular historical and political context may lead to a variety of questions. They are mostly related to the creation of collective identities and the manipulation of these identities to fit certain political realities. A complex and fluid matter, social and crowd identity are often wrongly perceived as static and exceedingly given or attributed to a certain group of people. In the study of modern conflicts, group behaviour is a milestone for the proper assessment of the factors, which might lead to a social or political clash.

1.1 Background and Rationale

In the early 1990s, the world witnessed the demise of the Yugoslav federation, which was accompanied with bloodshed and ethnic clashes between different communities residing in the former Yugoslavia. Under the leadership of Slobodan Milosevic, certain ethnic groups were opposed to others, as a result of political manipulation of historical and social factors (Crampton, 2002; Perry, 1998). This dissertation will attempt to address the issues behind the violent clashes in Yugoslavia, which took place between 1992 and 1995 through the prism of group behaviour and the formation of identities. It will assess the importance of historical conditions and events in the context of a wider socio-historical group dynamics, based on collective perceptions, created by political elites.

1.2 Proposed structure of the dissertation

The dissertation will be divided in the following chapters: introduction; chapter for the research aims and objectives, pursued by this study and the specific research questions, it is looking to explore; literature review section, which will highlight critically main works in the field of social psychology, as well as ethnicity and culture conflict. The literature review will be followed by a methodology and research design section, focusing on the methods chosen for this research projects and their reliability. A separate section on ethics and ethical consideration will be included, followed by data presentation chapter, which will summarize the results of the research. The discussion chapter will focus on the consistency of the results and their relevance to the findings from the literature review. The last chapter will provide conclusions and recommendations, and will give a brief summary of the findings. Additionally, it will make recommendations based on these findings.

2. Research Aims/ Objectives

2.1 General research aims

This paper has the following research aims:

To propose an explanation of the Bosnian Serb conflict through Reicher’s theoretical framework for the flexibility of the crowd
To identify the specifics of the processes, which have led to the creation of ethnic identity and the existence of this identity as a constructive, or destructive one

2.2 Research questions/hypothesis

This dissertation will focus on the formation of ethnic identities in the context of the Bosnian war. It will examine the psychology behind the creation of the Bosnian Serb identity as necessarily oppositional to the Muslim one, and will seek to explain the perceptions, which have led to the creation of this dominant identity.

The study will attempt to show that ethnic identities are not fixed and they operate in a particular context, which is part of a wider process of individual self-identification. It will also explain how norms for ethnic behaviour are created by policy-makers in order to justify political agendas.

3. Novelty and importance of the proposed work

3.1 Significance of the topic

The war in Bosnia, which led to the demise of former Yugoslavia, is perhaps one of the most poignant episodes in Eastern European history in the post Cold war era. The understanding of its causes and the events that took place remains one of the most challenging subjects for historians, and experts in conflict resolution and social psychology. The importance of the project is revealed through its implication of the group dynamics of ethnicities and ethnic identities in former Yugoslavia and Bosnia in particular, which might be crucial for understanding current ethnic conflicts; also, it focuses on an antagonistic relation between minority and majority groups – a strong and perpetuating opposition, which is even more discernible with the advent of globalization. Last but not least, this research project is significant because it explores a debatable and controversial question: are ethnicities fixed, or are they created in a certain historical and political settingThe study also reveals the parallel between ethnic and social behavior and the psychological mechanisms, which operate in the context of its creation.

3.2 Originality of study

The study will attempt to provide an innovative framework of analysis, using a specific theory as a reference and a particular ethnic group as an example. The originality of this study lies in the application of a psychological model of group behaviour in the boundaries of a historically and culturally bound community. In the course of the project it will be revealed that mechanisms, which apply to the behaviour of the crowds, can also be applied in the context of ethnic groups.

4. Literature Review

To summarize the literature in this field is a formidable task, because of the complexity of the issue, and therefore only key works will be considered. For clarity, the literature review needs to be divided in two sections. One section will critically approach works, related to crowd behaviour. A separate section will explain leading theories, related to ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Finally, gaps of research will be identified, and a theoretical framework proposed.

4.1 Crowd behaviour and identity

In order to understand the complexity of the matter discussed in this paper, a close review of the literature related to crowd behaviour is necessary. Since the 1960s and 1970s, there is a general tendency towards understanding social identity not as necessarily historic and fixed. Authors such as King (1963) and Moore (1978) have reflected upon social behaviour as a result of external provocation. Additionally, authors such as Stephenson (1979), Graumann and Moscovici (1986) and Berkovitz (1968) have focused on the empirical dimensions of the crowd, but also on the internal factors behind collective behaviour. In their works the tendency towards the explaining the crowd in the process of its making becomes even more recognizable.

In this study it is particularly important to mention the work of Lorenz (1966), who focuses on inborn, rather than acquired behavioural characteristics as determinants for aggression. These characteristics can be triggered in a particular social or cultural context. Despite the criticisms, that this study has raised, and despite the deceivingly primordial stance that it takes, it actually proposes a middle ground for understanding social identity and crowd behaviour, because it captures the fixed, as well as the instrumentalist side of social identity as a form of self-identification.

It is interesting to note that while many scholars propose visions of how social identity came to exist in the format of the crowd, only few attempt to explain whether crowds are violent and destructive, or peaceful and constructive. In a more recent study Rheingold (2003) looks at the crowd as a potential social reformer and carrier of state transformation. Similarly, Surowiecki (2004) sees crowds as the expression of the customary belief, which can become the shaper of social norms. A vision of the constructive forces of the crowd shows the rationality behind crowd behaviour. Both Rheingold and Surowiecki emphasize that crowd behaviour can be shaped according to social norms and signals, in order to follow organized pattern. In this sense they also imply the notion of a modelled behaviour of the crowds. This idea is taken further by Reicher in his study of the crowds as respondents to particular events. Reicher (1996) makes a contribution by mentioning the importance of perceptions in crowd behaviour. The mere existence of the events as such is not important, until they are individually projected, experienced and absorbed. Their internalization by the each one of the individuals in the crowd is what triggers their sense of belonging to a certain crowd or group.

The researcher has decided to use Reicher’s framework in this cross disciplinary study of ethnic identity and the behaviour of the crowd.

4.2 Ethnicity and identity

The literature on the subject of ethnicity is complex and therefore the researcher has decided to separate the works in this field in several categories. Authors such as Crampton (2002) and Perry (1998) explain the formation of ethnic identities through the prism of history. On the other hand Denich (1994), Fowkes (2002) and Gordy (1999) focus on the materialistic, so to say aspects of ethnic identity and define the psychology behind it as a product of earlier conceptions of the Serbian states. A third group of scholars explain the formation of ethnicity as a construction, and the formation of ethnicity as an instrument for political or economic power. Authors like Oberschall (2000) and Shigeno (2004) focus on ethnic identity as a product, and not necessarily as a primordial characteristic.

One of the challenges in this literature review was to find literature, which is related to both ethnicity and crowd behaviour. Perhaps one of the reasons is that very few, if any, scholars are willing to accept that certain ethnicities can be attributed the behavioural characteristics of the crowd. This paper will argue the opposite and the findings will attempt to fill the gaps in research.

6. Methodology and research design

In order to meet the research aims of this paper, the author has decided to collect primary, as well as secondary data.

Secondary data will come from the analysis of relevant literature such as journal articles and books.

As a research method the author has decided to conduct ten interviews with Bosnian Serbs who fled after the war and have settled in London. The author has chosen interviews as a research method, because they provide the opportunity to explore abstract factors such as the people’s perceptions and visions throughout the wars. The interview also allows the participants to give a more detailed account of their experience throughout the war and the way the concept of their ethnicity has been represented by the Milosevic circle. One disadvantage of the interview as a research method however is that the data is often difficult to process, because of the unstructured answers of the participants. Its potential weaknesses as a method are also related to issues of subjectivity, because of its format (Bryman, 2008; Sarantakos, 2005).

The interviews will be divided in two parts – part I will have demographic questions and part II will contain eight open-ended questions, which the participants will have to answer. The text of the interviews will be attached in appendix A.

Possible limitations of this study might be related to time constraints, and finding and contacting participants.

7. Ethical considerations

The researcher is aware of issues of confidentiality and privacy related to this study. The names of the participants in the project will be kept in anonymity and the interviews will be used for the purposes of this research only with their own consent. The participants were provided with all information about the purposes of the questionnaire. All research will be conducted in correspondence with ethical standards. Confidentiality and data protection standards will be met.

The data collected throughout the survey will be used only for research purposes, and after a set period it will be destroyed.

Also, the researcher is aware that the subject, on which the participants will be interviewed is sensitive one and requires considerate way of asking the questions.

8. Conclusion and recommendations

This chapter needs to summarize the findings of the paper, and to make recommendations based on these findings. In this case, the recommendations will be related to the future study of ethnic conflicts and the sociology of civil clashes for example, such as riots and protests. Also, fields of further research need to be identified. The researcher might also share what improvements she has made as far as her research skills/methods are concerned.


Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods Oxford: Oxford University Press

Crampton, R.J. (2002). The Balkans Since the Second World War, London: Pearson Education Limited, p. 245-266

Denich, B. (1994) “Dismembering Yugoslavia: Nationalist Ideologies and the Symbolic Revival of Genocide”, American Ethnologist 21 (2): p. 367-390

Available at:

Gordy, E. (1999) The Culture of Power in Serbia: Nationalism and the Destruction of Alternatives. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press

Graumann, C. F. and Moscovici, S. (1986). Changing conceptions of crowd mind and behaviour. New York: Springer Verlag

Fowkes, B. (2002) Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Communist World. (Anthony Rowe Ltd. Chippenham: Wiltshire

King, M. L. (1963). Why we can’t wait. New York: Mentor

Berkowitz, L. (1968), “The Study of Urban Violence: Some Implications of

Laboratory Studies of Frustration and Aggression” , American Behavioural

Scientist, 11:4 (Mar./Apr.) p.0

Lorenz, K. (1966) On Aggression. NY: Haircourt, Brace and World

Moore, B. (1978). Injustice: The Social Bases of Obedience and Revolt, NY, White Plains: M.E. Sharpe

Oberschall, A. (2000) “The Manipulation of Ethnicity: From Ethnic Cooperation to Violence and War in Yugoslavia” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 01419870, November 2000, Vol. 23, Issue 6

Available at:

Perry, D. (1998) “Conflicting Ambitions and Shared Fates: the Past, Present and Future of Albanians and Macedonians”. Central Washington University

Reicher, S.D (1996) “The Battle of Westminster‘: developing the social identity model of crowd behaviour in order to explain the initiation and development of collective conflict”. CCC OO46-2772/96/010115-20 01996 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Rheingold, H. (2003) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, London: Basic Books

Sarantakos, S. (2005). Social Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Shigeno,R. (2004). “Nationalism and Serbian Intellectuals” Perspective on European Politics and Society, 5:1 Kononklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 138 (JSTOR)

Surowiecki, J. (2004) The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. New York: Double Day

Free Essays

A synopsis of Psychology and Advertising study: How are subliminal messages used by advertising agencies in Thailand?


This research synopsis has been written to outline how subliminal messages have been developed to seek to encourage consumers to buy products. Further to this, the research also seeks to understand how these techniques are employed by advertising agencies in Thailand today.

Therefore, the subliminal advertising techniques that have been developed to encourage consumers to buy products shall be identified through undertaking a review of the literature in this field. Once this has been completed, a questionnaire shall be utilised to ask advertising agencies in Thailand if they use any of these techniques. The researcher will then assess the findings of the questionnaire and compare them with each of the techniques that have been identified through the literature review. This will enable the researcher to understand how subliminal message are used by advertising agencies in Thailand today.


This synopsis has been written to outline how subliminal messages have been developed to seek to encourage consumers to buy products. Further to this, the research also seeks to understand how these techniques are employed by advertising agencies in Thailand today.

2. What is the lead question?

The question, which shall be used to explore this topic, is:

How are subliminal messages used by advertising agencies in Thailand
3. What are the aims of this investigation?

In conjunction with the research question, which has been stated above the aims of this study are:

To seek to identify how subliminal messages have been used in s to encourage consumers to buy products.
To seek to understand to what extent subliminal messages are used by advertising agencies in Thailand.
To understand which of the subliminal messages are used today.

Each of these shall be explored by implementing a research methodology.

4. How will this investigation be undertaken?

This investigation will be undertaken by determining the subliminal techniques, which have been devised to encourage consumers to buy products. In conjunction, with this a number of advertising companies who are situated in Thailand shall be asked which of these techniques they employ in their work.

5.What is the research strategy?

The research strategy that shall be utilised for this study will consist of a literature review, which will seek to identify how subliminal advertising techniques have been developed to encourage consumers to buy products.

The researcher has considered both the qualitative and quantitative methods, which may be used to undertake this study (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). The quantitative method focuses on measured variables, which have been determined through the formulation of hypotheses. Often these types of study may generate numerical data, which can then be used to test the hypotheses. In comparison to these, qualitative studies are not so clearly defined the researcher may be aware of a problem but may not have identified variables, which specifically have an impact upon the phenomena in question (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).

In considering both of these methods, the researcher has decided to adopt a quantitative approach to this study, as this will enable them to measure to what extent subliminal messages are used by advertising agencies in Thailand. To ensure that this investigation is properly undertaken, the researcher shall use the findings from the literature review, which would have identified how subliminal messages have been used in advertising, to devise a questionnaire. This questionnaire shall then be sent to advertising agencies in Thailand to ask them if they use any of these techniques in their work today.

The researcher will then assess the findings from the questionnaire and compare them with each of the techniques that have been identified through the literature review (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). This will enable the researcher to understand how subliminal message are used by advertising agencies in Thailand today.

6.What sources will be utilised to investigate these phenomena?

A number of sources shall be used to investigate this, these are as follows:

Advertising images, which have been used to date.
Journal Articles
Newspapers or magazines
Electronic database searches
Internet sources such as, Google Scholar or Advertising Agency websites
10. What are the main issues, which have been identified?

For many years, subliminal messages have been used by advertisers to entice different consumers to buy products (Nuijten, 2013). Many have surmised that an advert needs to:

Attract a consumer’s attention
Focus the attention onto the message
Make the consumer remember the message and
Cause the consumer to take the desired action (Benjamin & Baker, 2004; Goodwin, 1999 a; b).

This is why advertisers have sought to use subliminal messages to attract consumers to buy a variety of products. Thus, the main issues that have been identified in relation to this research are:

How have subliminal images been used to seek to ensure that consumers are encouraged to buy products
Which of these subliminal techniques is most effective
To what extent are these techniques employed by advertising agencies today

Each of these shall be explored through undertaking this research.

11. Are there any ethical issues, debates, or contexts surrounding your enquiry that you should be aware of?

There are no ethical issues associated with undertaking this research. However, some question whether using subliminal messages in advertising is ethical (O’Barr, 2013). Therefore, this will need to be considered when the literature review is undertaken to ensure that articles, which are used, are not biased.

12. Which type of dissertation is going to be undertaken?

This dissertation shall be presented in a written format as the researcher has identified that they need to undertake a literature review and questionnaires to ensure that the research question is fully explored and answered (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).

13. Why was this subject chosen this subject?

I was inspired by a guest lecturer called Dave Morris who spoke to us about advertising and psychology this year. I also had depression 2 years ago so I am very keen to learn more about human mind.

14. What motivated you to approach it in this way?

I wanted to understand how subliminal messages are used in advertising and how the techniques, which are used for this, were devised. Most importantly, I was curious about how they were used in the advertising industry today.

15. Conclusion

In conclusion, the researcher is highly motivated to undertake a study to investigate how subliminal messages have been developed over time and how these are used by advertising agencies in Thailand. This synopsis has been compiled to provide a brief outline of how they intend to undertake this study.


Benjamin, L.T., & Baker, D.B. (2004). Industrial-organizational psychology: The new psychology and the business of advertising. From Seance to Science: A History of the Profession of Psychology in America. California: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Goodwin, C.J. (1999a). Applying the new psychology: Applying psychology to business. A History of Modern Psychology (pp. 242). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Goodwin, C.J. (1999b). The origins of behaviorism: A new life in advertising. A History of Modern Psychology (pp. 315-317). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lincoln, YS. & Guba, EG. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Nuijten, K. C., Regt, A. D., Calvi, L., & Peeters, A. L. (2013). Subliminal advertising in shooter games: recognition effects of textual and pictorial brand logos. International Journal of Arts and Technology, 6(1), 5-21.

O’Barr, W. M. (2013). ” Subliminal” Advertising. Advertising & Society Review, 13(4).

Free Essays

The Psychology of Thinking and Communication


Considering the costs involved in implementing Jolly Phonics as a learning tool for children in schools, and the advantages of this tool in helping children to learn reading and writing skills quickly, a three year investment in this project is proposed for the LEA.The investment costs will be over ?150,000 for three years or ?50,000 annually for extensive implementation of this program in schools for early training of children.

Executive Summary:

The report focuses on LEA’s decisions on investments for the use of Jolly Phonics, which is a learning aid and technological tool specifically meant for children 6-14 years old. Jolly Phonics uses audio visual means to help children learn basic literacy skills and especially in reading and writing. Jolly Phonics is considered to use a child centered approach to learning through synthetic phonics. The method uses 42 letter sounds and the multisensory method is motivating for children and teachers, as students are expected to achieve better skills when they use the Jolly Phonics method. This is because children can learn the methods using audiovisual skills, sounds and different sensory methods. Considering the psychological theories of learning, the use of audiovisual skills could be most effective. Jolly Phonics is exclusively designed for children. The technique helps students to achieve skills in learning and reading, although thinking and communication are equally important. Jolly Phonics helps in increasing student motivation and children learn faster when using Jolly Phonics as a learning aid. This analysis shows the advantages of using Jolly Phonics in the schools to help teach children the basic skills of learning and examines whether the LEA should invest to help Jolly Phonics reach a large scale user base.


The report focuses on the processes of thinking, learning and communication in children and explains the various perspectives on how children could learn to read. Jolly Phonics is already used in some schools as a child centered and child oriented approach to learning new skills. It is important as the technological aid tool helps make learning easier and faster for children in schools. Jolly Phonics is made up of 42 letter sounds (Lloyd, 1992). The multisensory sight and sound method of learning motivates children and makes learning fun and easier. It also helps make teaching easier for the teachers who use Jolly Phonics as a teaching tool (Lloyd, 1992). Teachers feel happy when their students can achieve a level of learning with the Jolly Phonics technological tool for reading and writing. In multisensory methods, the letter sounds are categorized into seven groups and the sounds are presented in a specific order. The phonics technique enables children to begin building words as early as possible (Bowey, 2006). Jolly Phonics uses the synthetic phonics approach to teaching children the key skills of reading and writing and basic literacy approaches.

Jolly Phonics lays the foundation for teaching literacy over three years in school, and the tool helps to hasten the process of learning (Lloyd, 1992). Jolly Phonics serves as a facilitator for word building. It is a comprehensive basic tool for learning and complemented by other tools including Jolly Readers and Jolly Grammar (Jolly learning, 2012). These three exercises help in laying the foundations for learning, and the five key skills of reading and writing (Lloyd, 1992).

Jolly Phonics training courses are comprehensive and use literacy skills that are built upon by Jolly Grammar that helps the children to enhance grammar skills (Jolly learning, 2012). If Jolly Phonics is used as a training tool in schools for enhancing reading and writing skills among children, Jolly Grammar and Jolly Readers will have to be used as well. The implementation of these three programs will be ?50,000 annually although this program and technical tool for reading will be of substantial help to teachers and students alike.

Evidence and Literature Review:

The Jolly Phonics learning programs have been successfully implemented with the collaboration of NGOs and charities such as Absolute Return for Kids. Evidential results from these implementation case studies have shown that the Jolly Phonics and synthetic phonics programs have helped very young children in learning basic literacy skills of writing and reading (Bowey, 2006).

Children learn how to form and use these letters quickly and easily (Lloyd, 1992). Along with developing reading skills for the alphabets, with the aid of sounds, children can enhance their new writing skills. The multisensory methods used in Jolly Phonics help the children to blend the sounds together so that they can read and write new words using the sounds of new letters (Jolly learning, 2012). With the sounds of the new words, children use segmentation to identify the association of words and sounds that helps them to improve their spelling (Stuart, 1999). There are some tricky words that use irregular spellings that help the children to learn these spellings and words separately.

The tool draws on the findings from learning research as it is known now that reading and writing develop together and reinforce one another. It is also suggested that writing words the way they sound, helps children to read faster.

In a report on synthetic phonics used in an East London School for children, the BBC (2005) reported that the method was revolutionary in teaching the basic skills of reading and writing to children using sounds. There is evidence that the program encourages parental involvement and there are beneficial effects of parental praise and encouragement as this helps to improve learning skills. The Jolly Phonics program could help students to develop comprehensive grammar, reading, writing and spelling skills (BBC, 2005).


Considering the benefits of this program and the learning skills that the tool helps to achieve, the LEA would be recommended to invest for 3 years before further reappraisal of the project results. The rationale for a three-year investment could be drawn from the fact that Jolly Phonics is most effective for the first three years of learning. With a three year investment from LEA, Jolly Phonics could become a successful technical tool for schools and the results of the implementation of the program have been provided by studies in schools of developing countries already using Jolly Phonics as an effective learning aid.

Bibliography and Further Information

Adams, M. J. (1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

BBC NEWS (2005), Trusting Phonics retrieved Feb 26, 2013 from

Bowey, Judith A. (2006). Need for systematic synthetic phonics teaching within the early reading curriculum. Australian Psychologist, 41(2), 79-84

Johnston, Rhona S. & Watson Joyce (1997). Jolly Phonics is research based – Systematic/Synthetic Phonics. Article. Literacy & Learning Magazine, Autumn issue.

Jolly learning (2012) Teaching literacy with Jolly Phonics. Retrieved February 26th 2013 from

Lloyd, Sue, 1992. The Jolly Phonics Handbook. Jolly Learning Ltd. Essex, United Kingdom

Stuart, Moral (1999). ‘Getting ready for reading: Early phoneme awareness and phonics teaching improves reading and spelling in inner-city second language learners’. British Journal of Educational Psychology. The British Psychological Society, 69, 587–605


BBC NEWS (2005), Trusting Phonics retrieved Feb 26, 2013 from

Bowey, J.A. (2006). Need for systematic synthetic phonics teaching within the early reading curriculum. Australian Psychologist, 41(2), 79-84

Jolly learning (2012) Teaching literacy with Jolly Phonics. Retrieved February 26th 2013 from

Lloyd, S, (1992). The Jolly Phonics Handbook. Jolly Learning Ltd. Essex, United Kingdom

Stuart, M. (1999). ‘Getting ready for reading: Early phoneme awareness and phonics teaching improves reading and spelling in inner-city second language learners’. British Journal of Educational Psychology. The British Psychological Society, 69, 587–605

Free Essays

Essay on Developmental and Social psychology?

Patch 1

Development Psychology

This essay will explain how the cognitive development theory and psychoanalytic theory explain personality. There are a variety of different research methods that are used when conducting psychological research, yet it remains arguable which method has proven the best. Still, the two main types that are frequently being used are cross-sectional research and longitudinal research. Cross-sectional research involves analysing different groups of people from different ages and then reaching a conclusion. Longitudinal research involves studying the same group of people over a long period of time so that changes made over time can be properly analysed. Arguably, longitudinal research appears to be the most applicable method in gathering data on development psychology as the changes in individual personalities can be monitored appropriately.


Development psychology is a scientific study which provides an explanation as to why changes occur within human beings. Whilst development psychology was previously aimed at children, it now looks at the behavioural changes of adults so that a better understanding of individual development can be made. Aristotle used the word ‘psyche’ to describe the structure (sole) of the human body and thus believed that the psyche “controlled reproduction, movement and perception” (Honderich, 1995, p. 727). He believed that observation was the essence of life and that in order to understand anything; individuals first had to observe, listen and then think about it. Aristotle’s notion was thus an extension of Plato’s work who had previously asserted that the human mind has all the knowledge it needs. He believed that the mind had three different parts (Tripartite Mind) and that in order to achieve a healthy mind; each part was to be balanced equally (Stocks, 1915, p. 207). Over-reliance upon any of the parts is what he believes leads to the expression of personality (Shuttleworth, 2010, p. 1).


The nature/nurture debate is based upon the notion that individual behaviour is the result of either being inherited (nature) or acquired (nurture). However, whilst it is clear that characteristics such as hair, eye and skin colour have all been inherited, it is less clear whether an individual’s personality has been. McLeod (2007, p. 1) believes that “psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the result of learning.” Therefore, he believes that personality depends upon how an individual has been brought up. Tomasic (2006, p. 202), on the other hand, believes that personality is both inherited and acquired: “personality is caused/influenced by the environment; personality is inherent in our genetic make-up; personality is a mix of both genetic and environmental influences.” Arguably, it is clear that the latter is more reflective of individual personalities in today’s society since changes within a person’s behaviour frequently occur. In effect, it seems as though an individual is born within a certain personality which changes over time as a result of environmental influences. Not all agree with this, however, and instead argue that children are born with a blank personality which is formed through social interaction.

This was recognised by John Locke who made it clear that all men are equal by nature and that “the bulk of the observed variation among individuals was due to environment” (Loehlin, 1982, p. 119). Jean-Jacques Rousseau supported the views of Locke although she believed that all children are innocent and good and that they simply become corrupted by society and all that is wrong within it (Lam et al, 2011, p. 5). Whilst this is similar to Locke’s views, he believed that children are manipulated into a form that is acceptable by society (Lam et al, 2011, p. 5). Therefore, whilst both views are similar, they differ in their perceptions of the new born child. The Minnesota Twin study which was conducted by Thomas J. Bouchard and began in 1979, however, demonstrated that identical twins separated at birth had remarkably similar personalities despite the fact that they had different upbringings (Bouchard et al, 1990, p. 223). In effect, this suggests that individual personalities are actually inherited, although certain traits can still be acquired. It is doubtful that this resolves the nature/nurture debate, nonetheless, since it has been said that “naturally, the researchers paid special attention to their similarities and may have come to mythologize the twins relationship.” Accordingly, the Minnesota study cannot be relied upon and it seems as though personality is actually a mix of both nature and nurture.

Psychoanalytical Theory

Sigmund Freud believes that individual personalities are created by the unconscious mind and that “human beings are driven by powerful biological urges that must be satisfied (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39). These urges are known as Eros which is the life instinct and Thanatos which is the death instinct. Eros ensure that activities are conducted which help to sustain life such as breathing and eating, whilst Thanatos is the aggressive instinct which promotes destruction such as fighting and murder. Nevertheless, the kind of urges in which Freud refers to are those which are undesirable and selfish since he argues that “human beings have basic sexual and aggressive instincts which must be served; yet society dictates that many of these needs are undesirable and must be restrained” (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39). Therefore, whilst all children are born with certain instincts, it is evident that these can be managed appropriately by their parents who help to shape their personality traits. Essentially, the first few years of a child’s life thereby “play a major role in shaping their conduct and character” (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39).

According to Freud, there are three different components of an individual’s personality which are the id, the ego and the superego. The id is the only component that is present at birth and helps to satisfy natural inborn instincts. The ego is the conscious component of the personality which reflects a child’s ability to learn and the superego component is the final component which is developed from the moral values and standards of a child’s parents. This latter component is thus the most important element of personality as it enables individuals to act in a sociably acceptable way by restraining the id’s undesirable impulses. Nevertheless, although Freud believes that sex is the most important stages of development, not all agree that young children are actually sexual beings and instead believe that Freud’s studies are inaccurate. Thus, Freud based most of his findings on a small number of emotionally disturbed adults (Crews, 1996, p. 63) which cannot be relied upon.

Cognitive Theory

Cognitive theories relate to the development of an individual’s thought process which helps us to understand and adapt to society. The cognitive process is thus considered to be the “processes or faculties by which knowledge is acquired and manipulated.” (Bjorklund, 2011, p. 3). Cognitive behaviour is therefore a reflection of the developing mind and is unobservable. Jean Piaget is one of the main cognitive theorists who helped to shape the way people think about children and made it clear that all human beings develop their personalities through their own cognitive abilities. Accordingly, Piaget believed that intelligence was a basic life function and that “all intellectual activity is undertaken with one goal in mind: to produce a balanced, or harmonious relationship between one’s thought processes and the environment” (Kipp and Shaffer, 2012, p. 202). In effect, this theory demonstrates that children’s personalities develop from challenges which are not immediately understood. Hence, Piaget believed that imbalances exist between children’s modes of thinking and environment events which “prompt them to make mental adjustments that enable them to cope with puzzling new experiences and thereby restore cognitive equilibrium” (Kipp and Shaffer, 2012, p. 202). Cognitive theorists thereby argue that children simply adapt to the environment through their own cognitive abilities which ultimately shapes their personality.


Overall, there are clearly different views as to how an individual’s personality is shaped and although many argue that it is inherited, others disagree and believe that it is acquired from societal influences. Arguably, after reviewing both the cognitive development theory and the psychoanalytic theory it seems as though personality is in fact a mix of both nature and nurture. This is because, although children do have some traits that are inherited and exist within the unconscious mind, an individual’s thought process does actually develop from adaption. Accordingly, children are thus prompted to make mental adjustments that enable them to cope with puzzling experiences which widely influences their own personality.

Patch 2

Social Psychology


Social influence happens when an individual’s behaviour is affected by external factors such as conformity, compliance and obedience, bystander intervention, social loathing and social facilitating. Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerald (1955, p. 629) thus made it clear that social influence is the result of two psychological needs; informational social influence and normative social influence which are the need to be right and the need to be liked. Arguably, social influence thereby refers to the effect in which individuals have upon one another and can happen intentionally or unintentionally as a result of the way in which the person who has been influenced perceives themselves (Changing Minds, 2002, p. 1).

Concepts of Social Influence

Conformity, compliance and obedience are the three main areas of social influence and often occur simultaneously. This is because, “those that conform tend to be obedient and compliant” (Constable et al, 2002, p. 1). Nevertheless, whilst conformity refers to the changes an individual makes so that they can be more like others, compliance relates to the changes an individual makes as a result of being asked. Furthermore, obedience refers to the process of obeying an order that has been made and often means that the individual has no choice but to make the changes unlike the former two social influences where the individual does have a choice. Coercion is the strongest form of social influences, nonetheless, since this forces and individual to change their behaviour even though they are reluctant to do so. Coercion is thereby the least common form of social influence since real feelings may not actually be changed. Hence, where social influence occurs voluntarily, it is evident that the individual will have made the changes themselves and therefore changes the way they feel about a particular situation.

This was recognised by Rashotte who pointed out that; “social influence is the process by which individuals make real changes to their feelings and behaviours as a result of interaction with others who are perceived to be similar, desirable or expert.” In effect, Rashotte (1999, p. 4426) does not believe that social influences also consists of compliance and obedience because of the fact that individuals do not have a choice but to make the changes required from them. Because of this, it is unlikely that the feelings of an individual will actually be changed if they have been forced to make the transformation. It is questionable whether these views are accurate, nonetheless, since it has been put by Perloff (2012, p. 18); “social influence – coercion and persuasion – exerts powerful, not always positive, effects on human behaviour.” Therefore, even if the social influence has resulted involuntary, this does not indicate that social influence has not taken place. Instead, a more powerful form of change has been exerted which has had a significant impact upon human behaviour.

Social facilitating is the process whereby individuals improve their behaviours when other people are watching. Therefore, whenever a person is undertaking a task, it is likely that they will do better at that task if other people are watching as they will alter their behaviour so that they can impress the onlookers. This is a mild but common form of social influence and illustrates that people can be affected by the mere presence of others. This can, however, be real, imagined or implied and was first recognised by Norman Triplett in 1898 when he conducted a study on the speed record of cyclists. It was concluded by Triplett that the speed of cyclists was faster when racing against each other than it was when racing against time alone (McLeod, 2011, p. 1). Social facilitating does depend on the individual concerned, nonetheless, because the behaviour will not always be improved and in some cases, the quality of the individuals performance may be impaired (Aiello, 2001, p. 163).

Social loafing is similar to social facilitation, yet whilst social facilitation tends to improve an individual’s performance, social loafing tends to slow someone down and prevents them from working as hard. Nevertheless, social loafing does not occur when being watched by others but when working in a group with others since it is felt that many individuals work harder when they are alone than when they are in a group. This is also known as the free-rider theory which means that “self interested individuals lack incentives to contribute voluntarily to the provision of public goods, or to reveal their true valuations of such goods” (Asch and Gigliotti, 1991, p. 33). An example of social loathing was provided in a study conducted on individuals involved in a tug-of-war game. Here, it was found that “people playing tug-of-war while blindfolded pulled harder if they thought they were competing alone. When they thought others were on their team, they made less of an effort” (Coon and Mitterer, 2008, p. 541).

Perspectives and Methods of Research

It is evident that social influence arises because of a number of different influential factors and the only way this can be identified is by undertaking a number of different activities involving humans. This enables a determination to be made as to whether the true feelings of the individuals involved have been influenced. Nevertheless, because of the complex nature scientific studies have, it is questionable whether the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of human beings can be accurately measured through empirical methods of investigation. This is because, it has been argued by Thomas Kuhn (1970, p. 4) that empirical methods of investigation are “influenced by prior beliefs and experiences.” Essentially, it could therefore be said that the studies conducted would have produced different results if they were undertaken by a different scientist.


Overall, there are a number of different concepts of social influence which appear to have been proven by empirical methods of investigation. These include conformity, compliance and obedience, bystander intervention, social loathing and social facilitating and can occur voluntary or involuntary. Social influence thus arises as a result of two human needs which are the need to be right and the need to be liked and happen depending upon the ways in which the individual perceives themselves. In proving these different concepts, a number of scientific studies have been carried out which all aim to demonstrate how social influence affects the changes of human behaviour. Nevertheless, although these methods have proven workable in explaining human behaviour, the accuracy of these methods has been questioned. This is because; it is believed that different outcomes would be produced if a different person conducted the studies since past experiences and current knowledge are said to widely influence the tests that are being performed. Despite this, it is evident that changes to human behaviour frequently arise which is largely the result of the changes that are being made within society whether they are intentional or unintentional.


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Free Essays

Application of Forensic Psychology within a trial: R vs. Golds


Before delving into the applications and relevant theories in Forensic Psychology in this case, it is first necessary to summarise the particulars of this case. This will allow for the evidence to be objectively assessed, and then broken down as the empirical evidence provided by the field of Forensic Psychology pertains to specific points. This will allow for the value of various aspects of the evidence on both sides to be assessed, which may result in a re-evaluation of the overall verdict. The psychological evidence will then be evaluated within the relevant theoretical framework, and these theories will in turn be critically analysed so that the degree to which the relevant findings and theories of forensic psychology can be used to interpret the meaning and weight of evidence in this case can be evaluated.
The defendant was convicted of murdering his wife, but appealed against conviction on the grounds that he was suffering from a mental illness and therefore was impaired substantially enough to meet the criteria for manslaughter, not murder. The appeal was dismissed. Although the defendant admitted killing his wife he did not give evidence at the trial, stating that he was not in a fit mental state. A voir dire by a medical expert, B, attested to the fact that the defendant ought not to give evidence due to his mental state, and when recounting this to the jury the judge ruled that no adverse inference should be drawn from this. The judge did however not allow evidence from B to be given at the trial. The evidence in support of the defence was given by three expert medical witnesses all attesting to the deteriorating mental state of the defence and that the criteria for diminished responsibility were satisfied. No medical testimony disputed this. Evidence admitted by the judge against the defence came from the defendant’s daughter, S, who recounted a conversation in which the defendant admitted assaulting the victim on a prior occasion. This was taken as evidence of the defendant’s bad character. During the trial there was some discussion of the definition of the term ‘substantially impaired’; the defence counsel defined the term as anything ‘more than trivial[ly impaired]’ but the judge refused this definition and declined to give the jury any further guidance as to the legal definition of this term.
A verdict of manslaughter would suggest that the defendant was not able to fully understand the nature of what he was doing, make a rational decision and exercise self-control (Morse, 2003). Of course the legal definition of ‘substantially impaired’ is also relevant; as it is defined by the English Homicide Act (1957) substantial impairment is constituted either by a ‘common sense’ standard or by any degree of impairment which is more than trivial but less than total (Prevezer, 1957). Whether the defendant reaches the threshold for these definitions of substantially impaired will decide whether he is convicted of manslaughter or murder.
One issue raised by the defendant in the appeal was that although the judge did explicitly state that the jury was not to draw any condemning inference from the defendant’s lack of testimony, he failed to remind the jury that S’s evidence should be considered with caution, because the defendant was not able to give any account of the alleged conversation. According to the literature in forensic psychology there could be valid grounds to this claim, however the claim itself could also be redundant entirely. This is because jurors do indeed evidently find it difficult to evaluate the weight of evidence and draw inferences appropriately (Thomas and Hogue, 1976). Thomas and Hogue (1976) developed a decision-making model for jurors, showing broadly that the weight jurors will ascribe to evidence varies across the population according to a variety of factors relevant to the characteristics of the jury. In this model the decision threshold which defines whether the jury votes for the plaintiff or defendant varies little across the population but may vary between cases and be affected by factors such as instructions to jurors. This latter point is very important because it addresses the effect that instructions to the jury can have, even a small effect could have made a substantial difference to the way the jury regarded evidence. Evidence suggests that this is particularly the case with emotionally-charged evidence which is pertinent to this case, Cush and Delahunty (2006) found that mock jurors who received no pre-evidence instructions to consider emotionally evocative evidence (gruesome photographs) dispassionately or with caution gave more verdicts in favour of the victim and scored higher on measures of victim compassion and crime negativity than did jurors who did receive such instruction.
Embedded within cognitive theory this evidence supports the defendant’s position on this point; without all of the pertinent evidence with the appropriate weights the juror as a sense-making machine would not be able to reach an informed decision (Pennington and Hastie, 1991). The heuristics and biases approach (Griffin, Gonzalez and Varey, 2001) views decision-making, thought and perception as vulnerable to various cognitive biases and distortions from mental archetypes. One such source of bias has been dubbed ‘WYSIATI’, or ‘what you see is all there is’. This notion is important in a forensic context because the jury will naturally find it difficult to take into account evidence that is not readily presented to them (Neal and Grisso, 2014) especially when presented with material evidence which contradicts it.
Another point to consider is the value of S’s evidence; factors which may be important to consider are the age of the witness (Ceci, Ross and Toglia, 1987), the power of hindsight and the nature of reconstructive memory (Leippe, 1980). According to a retrieval theory of memory, recognition and recall styles of memory are possible through a resonance-style spreading-activation pattern of retrieval attempts (Ratcliff, 1978). When a search of memory in this way is performed, certain archetypes or contextual information and assumptions about the objects in memory may fill in gaps or add meaning; depending on the age of the witness this may be even more important, because young children are more susceptible to such biases (Ceci, Ross and Toglia, 1987; Leippe, 1980). There may have been subtleties in the alleged conversation with the defendant which would reinterpret the meaning, especially in light of the defendant’s alleged mental illness which S could have missed in her memory of the conversation.
Even if the judge had instructed the jury to treat S’s evidence with caution though, the question is what effect would this have had on the verdict. The answer would seem to be that even though it may have changed the jury’s perception of the evidence (Cush and Delahunty, 2006), this would not have substantially affected the verdict because the evidence of S was of limited significance in the first place because of the strength of other evidence that the defendant had abused the victim. A cognitive decision-makin framework would see people evaluating this evidence overall in favour of the victim (Pennington and Hastie, 1991). In addition to this it was made clear to the jury that the case of the defendant was that he had not abused the victim. This makes it a somewhat trivial point in the overall case.
Cognitive theory is useful in the context of forensic psychology because it provides a framework for the decision-making process to be understood, and an opportunity for the value of evidence to be quantified. The theory does view human beings as rational agents who are able to objectively consider evidence, simply adding additional weight to emotional evidence. This could be seen as reductionist as it ignores a wealth of human experience and much of the cultural meaning inherent in cases such as this one. The spreading-activation theory of memory also has its opponents. Some memory researchers prefer to view memory errors as arising from consolidation or encoding errors (Squire and Alvarez, 1995). Both are useful in a forensic psychology context but it is important to remember that the evidence is interpreted theoretically, and there must still be a weight assigned to evidence based on theory. It must therefore be acknowledged that the interpretation of evidence is at least somewhat arbitrary based on these theories.
A second point in the appeal was that the judge was supposedly wrong to not allow the evidence of B to go before the jury. The value of expert witnesses is debateable in the literature, assuming that their professional opinions within their fields are valid and reliable, the problem arises with the effect their testimony has on the jury. Expert testimony usually affects the credence that the jury gives to the testimony or stance of the individuals being evaluated, and in this case the evidence of B may well have contributed to the judge’s decision to instruct the jury to draw no condemning inference from the defendant’s lack of testimony. Due to certain cognitive biases, the message an expert tries to convey may not be received by the jury as intended, which may vindicate the judge’s decision to not allow B’s testimony. Jury members will often ascribe disproportionate impact to expert testimony (Krafka, Dunn, Johnson, Cecil et al., 2002), meaning the intended message is exaggerated or otherwise distorted resulting in jurors who may believe something contrary to what the literature on mental illness suggests. B had stated that the defendant was not in a fit state to give testimony, and attested to the reality of his mental illness and deteriorating mental state despite the usage of antipsychotic medication. This last point may be of particular importance because members of the general public may not have a full understanding of the research into the effects of antipsychotics (Jorm, Korten, Rodgers, Pollitt et al., 1997) which B presumably did have. If the jury believed that antipsychotics could cure the defendant’s mental illness then this could lead to them drawing a condemning inference.
The weight that B’s evidence would have had is in question though because of the already substantial amount of evidence in support of the existence and chronic worsening of the defendant’s mental illness. This is an issue because if the jury was already convinced that the defendant was indeed mentally ill at the time of the killing and still voted to convict the defendant of murder then the impact B’s evidence may have had is a moot point. The only remaining question is whether B’s testimony would have added anything to the testimony of the other experts due to the voir dire examination. It does seem unlikely that the testimony of B would have differed significantly from the other experts, and due to the evidence suggesting that the individual persuasive ability of experts has more of an impact on jurors than the content of their message (Bank and Poythress, 1982) the judge was probably right to not allow the additional expert testimony.
A criticism of most of this research is that it mostly uses mock jurors, and also the mock cases obviously involved different experts and circumstances to the one in question. This means that the effect may be more or less pronounced in this scenario, but the evidence is from a very relevant context and is extremely likely to still be useful. The only potential problem lies in the participants not taking the mock case as seriously as they would a real case.
The general population may not have a good understanding of mental illness or mental capacity as these terms are defined in legal discourse (Jorm, 2000) which did necessitate at least some expert testimony. Another point is that the judge did not give any contrasting definition for the term ‘substantially impaired’ when the defence counsel offered the definition of ‘anything impairment more than trivial’. Although this was submitted as grounds for appeal, the evidence suggests that if anything this point would have resulted in the jurors adopting a standard of impairment that was too liberal by legal standards. This is because jurors and indeed people in general are not as able to disregard presented information as readily as most people believe (Lieberman and Arndt, 2000). According to theories in social psychology, hindsight bias and belief perseverance can lead to jurors actually relying on inadmissible evidence more than other evidence (Lieberman and Arndt, 2000). This is very useful research in this context because it highlights the importance of presented information; the definition offered by the defence counsel will be given inappropriate attention. Since the verdict was still to convict, this suggests strongly that the court was right to dismiss the appeal.
In light of the strength of the evidence and theory reviewed and the applications in this case, it is clear that the second and third points submitted by the defendant in the appeal were properly rebuffed by the judge, in fact the evidence suggests that these issues would have worked in the defendant’s favour if the judge had responded differently. As for the first point, it appears from the research that any effect on jury perception would be negligible, although there is some conflict in the literature as to the effect of instructions of limitation from the judge.


Morse, S. J. (2003). Diminished rationality, diminished responsibility. Ohio St. J. Crim. L., 1, 289.
Prevezer, S. (1957). The English Homicide Act: A New Attempt to Revise the Law of Murder. Columbia Law Review, 624-652.
Thomas, E. A., & Hogue, A. (1976). Apparent weight of evidence, decision criteria, and confidence ratings in juror decision making. Psychological Review,83(6), 442.
Cush, R. K., & Delahunty, J. G. (2006). The influence of limiting instructions on processing and judgments of emotionally evocative evidence. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 13(1), 110-123.
Griffin, D., Gonzalez, R., & Varey, C. (2001). The heuristics and biases approach to judgment under uncertainty. Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Intraindividual processes, 1, 207-235.
Neal, T., & Grisso, T. (2014). The cognitive underpinnings of bias in forensic mental health evaluations. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 20(2), 200.
Pennington, N., & Hastie, R. (1991). Cognitive theory of juror decision making: The story model, A. Cardozo L. Rev., 13, 519.
Ceci, S. J., Ross, D. F., & Toglia, M. P. (1987). Suggestibility of children’s memory: Psycholegal implications. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 116(1), 38.
Leippe, M. R. (1980). Effects of integrative memorial and cognitive processes on the correspondence of eyewitness accuracy and confidence. Law and Human behavior, 4(4), 261.
Ratcliff, R. (1978). A theory of memory retrieval. Psychological review, 85(2), 59.
Alba, J. W., & Hasher, L. (1983). Is memory schematic?. Psychological Bulletin, 93(2), 203.
Bank, S. C., & Poythress Jr, N. G. (1982). Elements of Persuasion in Expert Testimony, The. J. Psychiatry & L., 10, 173.
Jorm, A. F. (2000). Mental health literacy Public knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 177(5), 396-401.
Lieberman, J. D., & Arndt, J. (2000). Understanding the limits of limiting instructions: Social psychological explanations for the failures of instructions to disregard pretrial publicity and other inadmissible evidence. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 6(3), 677.
Squire, L. R., & Alvarez, P. (1995). Retrograde amnesia and memory consolidation: a neurobiological perspective. Current opinion in neurobiology,5(2), 169-177.
Jorm, A. F., Korten, A. E., Rodgers, B., Pollitt, P., Jacomb, P. A., Christensen, H., & Jiao, Z. (1997). Belief systems of the general public concerning the appropriate treatments for mental disorders. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 32(8), 468-473.

Free Essays

The Changing Trend in Counselling Psychology: Internet Counselling as a Psychotherapy Practice


The emergence of counselling psychology as a distinct profession in the United Kingdom two decades ago was a significant pointer that the field’s practitioners, represented by the British Psychological Society, had finally recognised that the field is unique in terms of identity and practicing philosophy. This recognition is captured in the definition by the Society that counselling psychology is a value based approach to counselling as a profession, and puts emphasis on the counselling primacy or relationship-oriented approach based on therapeutic observation (Milton, 2010). However, amidst the recognition are challenges, both present and potential, affects and will continue to challenge the effectiveness of counselling psychology as a noble profession. The challenges, as a matter of fact, are based on the modes of delivery of delivery of counselling psychology. Presently, scholars and practitioners have identified issues, such as technological revolution challenges, ethical dilemmas in relation to health maintenance organisations, psychologists facing certain challenges including prescription delivery services, and challenges with empirical research based support system among many other issues. Although these issues are no doubt a big concern currently, the biggest debate has revolved around the role of technology in counselling psychology, considering that the literature about this area is hard to come by. The growing dilemmas are based on the impact of technology on the growth of counselling psychology and, at the same time, the challenges that come with its increased use, given the nature of counselling psychology services modes (Gackenbach, 2011).

Internet Counselling

Technology has become part of almost every household, and is predicted to continue having tremendous impact on the lives of families and households, particularly in the spheres of economic, socio-political and cultural aspects. In fact, internet technology has not only affected how families and households buy or sell things online through ecommerce trading platforms, but has also had a tremendous impact on physical and mental health of many people around the world. Health professional practitioners have, therefore, incorporated internet into one of their modes of transferring services to the care receivers or clients. In turn, the general public, including those in need of counselling services, can access these services from home within minutes, and cost effectively. However, the inherent challenges when delivering counselling services via internet cannot be assumed, and has attracted unending debate not only on its viability but also its effectiveness as compared to the traditional in-person mode of counselling (Reamer, 2013). The question would therefore be on whether advantages of internet counselling supersede its disadvantages.

The British Psychological Society established a “Division of Counselling Psychology: Professional Practice Guidelines” in 2006 (Reamer, 2013), which emphasised the need to have a balanced approach to counselling psychology service delivery methods. For instance, they state that the practitioners should not assume any form of automatic superiority over any one in terms of experience, feeling, value, and know-how. They also state that any practitioners should be ready to challenge the views of persons who pathologise on the basis of “sexual orientation, disability, class origin, or racial identity and religious and spiritual views” among other critical aspects of the society (British Psychological Practice, 2006, cited in Reamer, 2013, p.169). The concept of not assuming one-way knowledge in counselling psychology has led to a number of challenges, particularly with the increasingly growing technology-laden population, including those in need of counselling and psychological support. In certain cases, the client may not have the adequate mental capacity to interpret certain information, thus leading to miscommunication. In other words, the client may wrongly interpret a message as critical or not friendly, thus end up feeling hurt or injured. After all, online interaction sessions do provide neither counselling psychologist nor client with shared environment.

Internet psychotherapy sessions may suffer from miscommunication between the psychotherapist and client. In any case, studies have shown that miscommunication may inadvertently harm the client and possibly increase trauma after the disclosure of important facts about them (Gackenbach, 2011). For example, text or email based communication is prone to miscommunication since the more important non-verbal cues are missing. Moreover, most counselling psychologists are mainly trained on in-person techniques. The counselling psychologist may, thus, lack the writing skills necessary to adequately express meanings in written words. (Patrick, 2006)

As technology pushes people o the brink of being an entirely online society, the viability of internet counselling will remain a thorny issue as it is apparent that certain aspects of counselling psychology could be more difficult to deal with than others. Most professional organisations unanimously recommend that counselling therapists practicing online counselling sessions should continue using the basic ethical standards applied in the in-person psychotherapy sessions (Luepker, 2012). Some of the recommendations are based on the need to adhere to the informed consent used in in-person counselling, including informing the clients about risks, benefits, available safeguards, limitations, and exceptions to confidentiality and privacy, identity verification, limiting practice to the scope of one’s qualification, accurately representing themselves and their licensure status, finding solutions to the potential harm that may arise from dual roles, and establishing emergency response for clients in different geographical locations (Gackenbach, 2011). However, the question that has never been answered is how to deal with clients coming from different jurisdiction locations with varied laws and legal procedures. In addition, a therapist may find it extremely difficult to handle a case where a client threatens to commit suicide.

Informed consent, Disclosure and Confidentiality

The introduction of diverse digital versions in the counselling psychology practice has brought with it diverse problems related to informed consent, disclosure and confidentiality. However, like any other internet usage, the concept of informed consent, disclosure and confidentiality still lingers as serious sources of dilemma. The lack of physical presence may make it difficult to verify identity, thus may lead to psychotherapist treating a minor without parental knowledge, and this consent (Gackenbach, 2011). When such occurrence become rampant, there is likely to be more actions from policy makers to protect the majority from the possible breach of informed consent in the context of internet counselling.

Within the context of informed consent is the issue of confidentiality, a critical aspect of counselling psychology. Studies have shown that internet is not a secure platform to assure the preservation of confidentiality (Barak, 2008). Although psychotherapists are advised to inform the clients of the potential dangers and risks associated with modes of service delivery, including breach of confidentiality and experimental nature of the process, this kind of advice still leaves gaps in better ways in which confidentiality can be maintained, a concern that is unlikely to end any time soon.

Accuracy in assessment and monitoring effectiveness of interventions

One of the first steps in the counselling process is to assess and monitor the client (Milton, 2010) However, with barriers in the virtual world, it is may be difficult to accurately assess and monitor the patients during service delivery sessions. It is important to note that virtual interaction means lost contact, which is an integral part of achieving the goals of counselling psychology as outlined by the British Psychological Society. Moreover, one of the perspectives that were present during the formative periods of counselling psychology is the need for psychologist to understand people as relational beings.

In the process of fostering collaborations with people as well as contexts that draw on a range of perspectives, including the traditional views of people as independent entities, counselling psychology has always recognised that relational perspectives have significant contribution to make on not only understanding people but also help the clients work towards bettering their wellbeing (Patrick, 2006). However, this relationship is lost through lack of physical interaction between the psychologist and the client. Moreover, the psychologist’s inability to focus on other family members and intimate partners obviously jeopardises any chance of learning the relationship between the clients and their significant others. As Barnett (2005) states, failure to understand the relationship between clients and people close to them may make it difficult to assess the former’s self-esteem, likes, cultural upbringing and socio-political background.

The controversy that is likely to extend over a long period of time is the criteria in which internet psychotherapy sessions can be evaluated. While the traditional in-person counselling therapy has elaborate theoretical frameworksand models that support its use, internet counselling psychotherapy does not have any historical frameworks and models that guide its use. Although most psychotherapists have solely relied on relational counselling, they still run short because of the inability to establish therapeutic relationships with clients. At present, the main concern is how the traditional models can be interpreted into online models. Barak et al (2008) observed that internet-based interventions in the field of counselling psychology have been used for over a decade. However, no clear analysis of its effectiveness has been forthcoming. They, however, recommend adoption of online counselling as a legitimate option in offering psychotherapeutic counselling sessions. Still, they warn that the psychotherapists must be willing to use online counselling with strong ethical issues in mind.

Ethical challenges

The other challenge is the ethical issues that emerge from counselling psychology practice. In the field of practice of counselling psychology, one of the potential current issues is how to enforce ethical code of conducts, including ensuring psychologists only practice within their areas of competence based on qualifications in terms of training as well as experience (Patrick, 2006). In addition, the psychologists are expected to take reasonable steps in ensuring their work follow necessary procedures that protect clients from any possible harm. However, this challenge still poses serious challenges to the regulatory authorities as it is difficult to weed out unqualified persons from assuming counselling responsibilities at the detriment of the clients. In essence, professional accountability is still considered far from being managed. Furthermore, laws governing counselling psychology practices may be different from one geographical jurisdiction to another, with questions as to how the two persons; client and psychologist, can operate (Luepker, 2012). It has been observed that many practicing counselling psychologists have attempted to navigate through the legal and professional barriers in internet counselling by defining their online counselling services as psycho-education (Patrick, 2006). Although some online counselling may be legitimately offering purely therapeutic education services, some therapists cross the boundary and treat clients within multiple sessions, which clearly suggest therapeutic counselling sessions rather than claimed educational. This is a serious ethical breach that, although may be tamed by stricter regulatory laws and policies, may be difficult to interpret for appropriate actions to be taken.


Despite the advancement in technology and the desire to build long-standing strategies to effectively deliver appropriate services to clients in the field of counselling psychology, there are inherent challenges that remain controversial to date. Confronting the complexity of electronic media to deliver counselling sessions in the most professional manner has is one area that remains a challenge, and is expected to continue dominating this comparatively new profession. Moreover, virtual interactions are limited in the sense that the psychotherapist and the client are not connected beyond internet, hence are not able to experience the common advantages that come with physical interactions, such as nonverbal cue interpretations. Issues that have arisen, and will continue to generate debate in the foreseeable future are: miscommunication, inability to stick to professional code of ethics by some counselling psychologists, inability to assess and measure the success of online counselling sessions, and difficulty in keeping internet communications secure. In fact, these issues have been discussed and continue to dominate the profession’s sphere of influence. It may be important to state that counselling psychologists may need to participate in developing thoughtful policies and procedures related to technology use in the field of counselling psychology by involving clients in the process. Lastly, it must be important to state that whenever technological intervention affects therapeutic relationship, either positively or negatively, the impact becomes part of the profession, hence must remain in the record.


Barak , A., Hen, L., Boniel-Nissim, M. and Shapira, N. (2008). A comprehensive review and a

meta-analysis of the effectiveness of internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26 (2-4): 109-160.

Barnett, J.E. (2005). Online Counseling: New Entity, New Challenges. The Counseling

Psychologist, 33 (6): 872-880.

Gackenbach, J. (2011). Psychology and the Internet: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and

Transpersonal Implications. Waltham, Massachusetts: Academic Press.

Luepker, E.T. (2012). Record Keeping in Psychotherapy and Counseling. Protecting

Confidentiality and the Professional Relationships. London: Routledge.

Milton, M. (2010). Therapy and Beyond: Counseling Psychology Contributions to Therapeutic

and Social Issues. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Patrick, P. K. S. (2006). Internet counseling: Trends, applications, and ethical issues. In P. K. S.

Patrick (Ed.). Contemporary Issues In Counseling. Manuscript submitted for publication (Allyn and Bacon).

Reamer, F.G. (2013). Social work in a digital age: ethical and risk management challenges.

Social Work, 58(2): 163-172.

Free Essays


BF Skinner has made an important contribution to the study of learning by his work on another form of conditioning called operant or instrumental conditioning. He distinguishes between respondent behavior and operant behavior, the former being elicited by specific stimuli and the latter being emitted spontaneously by the organism, such as the random pecking behavior of pigeons. Operant conditioning operates on the environment and the learned behavior is instrumental in controlling events.

Skinner’s view of operant conditioning is that it is not a sequence of stimulus-response connections, but rather that behavior is spontaneously emitted by the organism. He tends to disregard the role of stimuli (Quinn, 2000). A desired target behavior can then be reinforced, which increases the likelihood of this behavior can be punished, which decreases the likelihood of this behavior in the future.

Positive reinforcement increases the target behavior by rewarding the individual. This reward can be tangible (money, a treat) or intangible (praise, an approving look). Importantly, what is rewarding to each individual may be different. A lot of people puzzle negative reinforcement with punishment. Negative reinforcement, however, increases the target behavior, while punishment has the opposite effect (Vito, Maahs, & Holmes, 2006).

Superstitious behavior can be established by accidental positive reinforcement contingencies. Escape behavior can also be involved in an accidental or superstitious contingency when a response is followed by removal or reduction of a negative reinforce. The response, however, is only accidentally or coincidentally associated with removal of the stimulus, and its removal is not contingent on performance of the escape performance (Sundel & Sundel, 2005).

Unlike reinforcement, punishment reduces the odds of the target behavior being repeated. Through experimentation with both animals and humans, behaviorists have developed a knowledge base about the most effective way to condition behavior. One golden rule is that the consistency of reinforcement and punishment matters more than severity. Indeed, parental use of harsh but inconsistent punishment is a good predictor of delinquent behavior. Additionally, reinforcement shapes behavior more efficiently than punishment – psychologists recommend that reinforcers outnumber punishers by a ration of four to one. Finally, both punishment and reinforcement should follow quickly after the target behavior (Vito et al., 2006).


Quinn, F. M. (2000). The Principles and Practice of Nurse Education (4th ed.). London: Nelson Thomes.

Sundel, M., & Sundel, S. S. (2005). Behavior Change in the Human Services: Behavioral and Cognitive Principles and Applications (5th ed.). New York: SAGE.

Vito, G. F., Maahs, J. R., & Holmes, R. M. (2006). Criminology: Theory, Research, and Policy (2nd ed.). New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.



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Neuropsychology of Language

The neuropsychological approaches are gradually leading to important discoveries about many aspects of brain function, and language is no exception. Progress has certainly been made in identifying the structure and form of language(s), its universal features, its acquisition and so on, but, until recently, this work has tended to ignore pathologies of language. More recently, neuropsychologists have begun to draw parallels between aphasic disorders and disruption to specific linguistic processes.

This work provides evidence of a double dissociation between semantic and syntactic processes, and illustrates clearly that no single brain ‘language centre’ exists. The development of research tools such as the Wada test, and, more recently, structural and functional imaging procedures, has enabled researchers to examine language function in the brains of normal individuals.

This work considers the various ways that scientists have examined lateralisation, and the conclusions that they have drawn from their research. The work supports the view that language is mediated by a series of interconnected cortical regions in the left hemisphere, much as the 19th century neurologists proposed. In addition, this work considers recent explorations of language functions in the brain using neurophysiological techniques.

At first glance, the two cortical hemispheres look rather like mirror images of each other. The brain, like other components of the nervous system, is superficially symmetrical along the midline, but closer inspection reveals many differences in structure, and behavioural studies suggest differences in function too. The reason for these so-called asymmetries is unclear, although they are widely assumed to depend on the action of genes. Some writers have suggested that they are particularly linked to the development in humans of a sophisticated language system (Crow, 1998). Others have argued that the asymmetries predated the appearance of language and are related to tool use and hand preference.

Scientific interest in language dates back to the earliest attempts by researchers to study the brain in a systematic way, with the work of Dax, Broca and Wernicke in the 19th century. Since then, interest in all aspects of language has intensified to the point where its psychological study (psycholinguistics) is now recognised as a discipline in its own right. In 1874 Karl Wernicke described two patients who had a quite different type of language disorder. Their speech was fluent but incomprehensible and they also had profound difficulties understanding spoken language.

Wernicke later examined the brain of one of these patients and found damage in the posterior part of the superior temporal gyrus on the left. At the same time as characterising this second form of language disorder, which we now call Wernicke’s aphasia, Wernicke developed a theory of how the various brain regions with responsibility for receptive and expressive language function interact. His ideas were taken up and developed by Lichtheim and later, by Geschwind.

In Broca’s aphasia, as with most neurological conditions, impairment is a matter of degree, but the core feature is a marked difficulty in producing coherent speech (hence the alternative names of ‘expressive’ or ‘non-fluent’ aphasia). Broca’s aphasics can use well-practised expressions without obvious difficulty, and they may also be able to sing a well-known song faultlessly.

These abilities demonstrate that the problem is not related to ‘the mechanics’ of moving the muscles that are concerned with speech. Wernicke’s first patient had difficulty in understanding speech yet could speak fluently, although what he said usually did not make much sense. This form of aphasia clearly differed in several respects from that described by Broca. The problems for Wernicke’s patient were related to comprehension and meaningful output rather than the agrammatical and telegraphic output seen in Broca’s patients.

Broca’s and Wernicke’s work generated considerable interest among fellow researchers. In 1885, Lichtheim proposed what has come to be known as the ‘connectionist model of language’ to explain the various forms of aphasia (seven in all) that had, by then, been characterised. Incidentally, the term ‘connectionist’ implies that different brain centres are interconnected, and that impaired language function may result either from damage to one of the centres or to the path-In Lichtheim’s model, Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas formed two points of a triangle (Franklin 2003).

The third point represented a ‘concept’ centre where word meanings were stored and where auditory comprehension thus occurred. Each point was interconnected, so that damage, either to one of the centres (points), or to any of the pathways connecting them would induce some form of aphasia. Lichtheim’s model explained many of the peculiarities of different forms of aphasia, and became, for a time, the dominant model of how the brain manages language comprehension and production.

Three new lines of inquiry – the cognitive neuropsychology approach, the functional neuro-imaging research of Petersen, Raichle and colleagues, and the neuroanatomical work of Dronkers and colleagues – have prompted new ideas about the networks of brain regions that mediate language. Researchers in the newly emerging field of developmental cognitive neuroscience seek to understand how postnatal brain development relates to changes in perceptual, cognitive, and social abilities in infants and children (Johnson 2005).

The cognitive neuropsychological approach has underlined the subtle differences in cognitive processes that may give rise to specific language disorders. The functional imaging research has identified a wider set of left brain (and some right brain) regions that are clearly active as subjects undertake language tasks. The emerging view from these diverse research approaches is that language is a far more complex and sophisticated skill than was once thought.

A universal design feature of languages is that their meaning-bearing forms are divided into two different subsystems, the open-class, or lexical, and the closed-class, or grammatical (Johnson 1997). Open classes have many members and can readily add many more. They commonly include (the roots of) nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Closed classes have relatively few members and are difficult to augment. They include such bound forms as inflections (say, those appearing on a verb) and such free forms as prepositions, conjunctions, and determiners. In addition to such overt closed classes, there are implicit closed classes such as the set of grammatical categories that appear in a language (say, nounhood, verbhood, etc., per se), and the set of grammatical relations that appear in a language (say, subject status, direct object status, etc.).

The work supports a model of hemispheric specialisation in humans. While it would be an oversimplification to call the left hemisphere the language hemisphere and the right hemisphere the spatial (or non-language) hemisphere, it is easy to see why earlier researchers jumped to this conclusion. Whether this is because the left hemisphere is preordained for language, or because it is innately better at analytic and sequential processing, is currently a matter of debate.

The classic neurological approach to understanding the role of the brain in language relied on case studies of people with localised damage, usually to the left hemisphere. Broca and Wernicke described differing forms of aphasia, the prominent features of the former being non-fluent agrammatical speech, and those of the latter being fluent but usually unintelligible speech. Their work led to the development of Lichtheim’s ‘connectionist’ model of language, which emphasised both localisation of function and the connections between functional areas.


Brook, A. & Atkins K. (2005). Cognition and the brain: the philosophy and neuroscience movement. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Crain, W. (1992). Theories of Development: Concepts and applications. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Crow, T.J. (1998). “Nuclear schizophrenic symptoms as a window on the relationship between thought and speech.” British Journal of Psychiatry, 173, 303-309.

Franklin, Ronald D. (2003). Prediction in Forensic and Neuropsychology: Sound Statistical Practices. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ.

Johnson, M. H. (1997). Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Johnson, M. H. (2005) Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Blackwell, Oxford, 2nd Ed.

Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I.Q. (1996). Fundamentals of human neuropsychology, 4th edition, New York: Freeman and Co.

Maruish, Mark and E. Moses, Jr. (1997). Clinical Neuropsychology: Theoretical Foundations for Practitioners. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ.

Loring, D.W. (1999). INS Dictionary of Neuropsychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stirling, J. (2002). Introducing Neuropsychology. Psychology Press: New York.


Free Essays

Ethical Issues in Psychology

Ethical Issues in Psychology Psychologists often work with vulnerable individuals in sensitive situations. An important step in becoming a mental health professional or consumer of psychological services is to be aware of the ethical issues faced by psychologists. If you are providing psychological services you are obligated to remain informed regarding current ethical standards or issues. If you are a consumer of psychological services, the professional should keep you informed regarding your rights.

If you find yourself in a situation where ethical standards are being violated or have doubts regarding the correct course of action, consult with a colleague. The faculty of the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University joint Psychology Department have identified several key ethical issues with which we believe our students should be familiar. This list is not complete and students will learn much more about ethical issues while going through the psychology curriculum. Near the end of their study, students are asked to demonstrate knowledge of these ethical issues as they apply them in their senior integrative experiences.

COMPETENCE: Consumers of psychological services have the right to expect that the practitioner is competent to provide the services offered. Generally, competence is established through training, experience, supervised practice, or a combination of these activities. Any practitioner should be willing to discuss their competencies with any consumer of services and be ready to make referrals to others when an administration of tests like the MMPI or the Wechsler intelligence scales requires understanding of the intricacies of both administration and interpretation.

Graduate course work and many hours of supervised practice are needed to acquire the necessary skills. The practitioner is also obligated to keep skills up to date with formal course work, reading, or other professional development activities. CONFIDENTIALITY: Psychologists and consumers of psychological services are frequently concerned about the issue of who is allowed to see and use information about individuals generated during research, consultation, or therapy.

In most circumstances private information must be kept confidential, that is, it is not revealed to others. However, there are important exceptions to this, mandated by state law and court decisions, and it is important to be aware of them. These exceptions tend to concern situations in which information that is normally confidential can be used to prevent harm to another person. For example, if a client describes abusive behavior toward their children, the therapist is mandated to file a report with social services.

Clients, themselves, need to be aware of both the requirements and the limits of confidentiality. INFORMED CONSENT: In their roles as researchers, therapists, and consultants, psychologists offer a variety of services. Informed consent is a central principle in these actions. This means that consumers of psychological services have the right to know precisely what services are being offered, what benefits can be expected, and what risks are involved. After being so informed, consumers then have the right to refuse the services or terminate participation.

In research, therapy, or other activities accompanied by some identifiable risk, consent needs to be in writing. When individuals, for some reason, can’t give their consent, a surrogate or guardian may be allowed to consent for them. RELATIONSHIPS WITH VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS: Psychologists frequently interact professionally with clients who are less powerful than themselves because of their age, species, emotional insecurities, intellectual ability, legal status, or other attributes.

As a general rule, psychologists are expected to act in the best interests of such individuals, to avoid taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of clients, and to treat animal subjects humanely in accordance with accepted practice. A romantic relationship between a therapist and client is one way that this ethical principle may be violated and is one of the most common causes of lawsuits against therapists. A GENERAL CONCERN FOR ETHICAL PRACTICE: The issues outlined here provide a broad outline of ethical practice in psychology. Specific courses will elaborate on these issues and help you identify situations in which they apply.

However, each individual, whether a practitioner or consumer of psychological services, needs to be aware of the role that ethical guidelines play in directing the application of psychology to the problems of the real world. We hope that awareness of specific ethical issues in psychology will broaden your view of the meaning of ethical behavior as it applies to any endeavor. Whether you go into politics, education, business, manufacturing, law, medicine, or any other vocation, you will need to take the time and effort to examine what you are doing in terms of its ethical implications and have the courage to confront unethical behavior.

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Strengths, Weaknesses of One of the Perspectives of Psychology

Stephanie Graham Psy-201 October 7, 2012 “What Are The Strengths And Weaknesses Of One Of The Perspectives Of Psychology” Behaviorism is one point of view in psychology directed to a scientific study of the behaviors of man and animal, and is insisted that the cause of our actions and personality lies in our environment, rather than our biology. Behaviorism, also referred to as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning.

Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorist believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shape our behavior. There are two types of conditioning, classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning was studied by the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov, he demonstrated that dogs could learn to associate a neutral stimulus, such as the sound of a bell, with an automatic behavior, such as reflexively salivating to food. He believed he had discovered the mechanism by which all behaviors were learned. B. F.

Skinner investigated operant conditioning of voluntary and involuntary behavior is a form of learning in which an individuals behavior is modified through its consequences, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. He called his approach to psychology “radical behaviorism,” where everything a person does, says, and feels constitutes behavior. Even if the behavior is unobservable it can be subjected to experimental analysis. Skinner demonstrated that our social environment is filled with reinforcing and punishing consequences that shape our behavior.

For example many people don’t enjoy getting up early to go to work every day, but they do it to get the reward: a paycheck. They are being rewarded for good behavior. If some one didn’t show up to work, or not call in that person may be fired and not receive a paycheck. This would be a punishment for their behavior. Growing up my parents would tell me that hard work gets good results. Getting straight A’s on my report card I received some incentives. If I didn’t get into any trouble I received more incentives as well.

But if got a bad grade on a homework assignment or test they would take away incentives or any rewards. Without knowing it I grew up on the operant conditioning and adapted it to my daily life where hard work just seemed natural and has some incentives. Weaknesses: Behaviorism examines human and nonhuman beings from the point of view of the behavior they demonstrate. Behaviorism is the understanding of behavior of people and animals in their every movement, emotional response/ reaction, the way they think.

Environment plays a great role in the life of people, but it is hard to interpret the behavior of people only focusing on the environmental factor. In some ways behaviorism neglects the individualism of every person making a general behavioral pattern for everybody. A weakness is in Skinners operant conditioning theory, is the fact that it does not always work. A person can be pretending they stopped the behavior just to receive the reward. If you give a person a reward for good behavior, that person will expect a reward every time.

Strengths: One main strength of the behaviorist approach is that it focuses only on behavior that can be observed and manipulated in a controlled environment. Behaviorism tends to predict the behavior in certain circumstances. So having the possibility to predict would give a person the ability to control behavior, avoiding any unnecessary reactions. People are more aware of how to control behavior which has become very important in parenting, and useful when helping kids reactions adapt more socially with others.

Behaviorism has helped bring the “desired outcome” with the help of reinforcement, and punishment. It is a simple concept of behavior using the principals such as classical and operant conditioning. Pavlov’s approach aims to study behavior that is observable and directly measurable. Behaviorism has a tremendous contribution to the development of psychology. As in every perspective approach, study, or theory has its advantages, disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses. What works for one person may not work for another.

But it is just as important in helping people. Skinner and Pavlov both had great techniques in trying to recognize, predict, and control behaviors. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. You could say the Pavlov’s theories were groundbreaking in a sense however even under favorable conditions however a person and especially an animal cannot be expected to do the exact same thing every time regardless of a like result. Variable change always has to be accounted for. Such as lack of interest or tiredness.

Skinner was on a better tract in my opinion with the rewarding/punishment of behavior. Some issues could arise there as well such as the interpretation of rewards by the individual and just like Pavlov you would have to change them or interest would be lost after eventually. Depending on circumstances both seem very applicable on a case by case basis both having their strengths and weaknesses both very valid points but must be determined by what is to be achieved and who it is being done on.

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Psychology and Coon

Interview Interpretation Sheet Your Name: Mickey Beaty Directions: Please provide substantive answers to the following questions regarding the information you gathered from your interviewees. Plan on at least 150–300 words per question written in complete sentences and full paragraphs. You may use a separate Word document instead of this worksheet if you prefer to complete your answers in a paper format (including a title page to identify your work). Please submit either this completed sheet or your Word document paper as your assignment. 1.

Describe any common elements among the statements made by your subjects. I interviewed three different subjects on the definition of psychology and the role of psychologists. During the interviews I conducted all of the subjects shared the same belief of psychology being the study of behavior. Two of the subjects were of the same belief that psychologist record data accurately or inaccurately and waste resources. 2. How do the notions about psychology shared by your subjects differ from the definition of psychology described by Coon and Mitterer?

Although all the subjects I interviewed said psychology is the study of behavior that differs from the definition of psychology according to Coon and Mitterer in the introduction to Psychology textbook. The textbook defines psychology as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes (Coon & Mitterer 2010). The subjects I interviewed were partially correct in there description of psychology but they did not describe it as a scientific study just a study of behavior. 3.

Describe any major misconceptions your subjects may have about psychology based on what they shared during their interviews. The subjects I interviewed had very different beliefs on what the role of psychologists was or the functions of their position. Some of the subjects were very skeptical of the work that psychologists do and their effectiveness at their position. Another subject had a misconception of a psychologist being just a psychiatrist who sits and listens to problems and talks people through their issues.

There are many different forms of psychology that the subjects didn’t mention. They had notion of psychologists just siting and taking notes on people’s behavior instead of recognizing the scientific studies and experiments that lead to factual findings. I think the biggest misconception of psychologists among my subjects was the inability to look past just the study of behavior and inject the scientific method to the study. 4. Describe how your subjects’ perceptions of psychology related to the four goals of psychology as described in the Coon and Mitterer text.

The four goals stated in psychology gateways to the mind by Coon and Mitterer are description, understanding, prediction, and control. The subjects that I interviewed all had the description portion of the four goals correct. Answering psychological questions often begins with a careful description of behavior ( Coon & Mitterer). The way you get a description of behavior is by studying the behavior in which all the subjects agreed upon.

I think the some of the subjects related to the control aspect of the goals because they had been in teaching profession in which it is a controlled environment to get results. Although I was not able to gage the perceptions on understanding and prediction I predict that they had knowledge of these elements do to their educational backgrounds. 5. How do your subjects’ views relate to the main ideas of the theories and contemporary views (such as the biological perspective, cognitive view, sociocultural perspective, et cetera) introduced in Chapter 1 of the Coon and Mitterer text?

The subjects I interviewed were I believe the subjects I interviewed relate to the biological perspective. Two of the subjects I interviewed were teachers and they indicated genetics playing a role in behavior. They had seen a variety of different students from different backgrounds and concluded that the genetic make-up of students have an effect on behavior. That also speaks to the psychological perspective behavioristic view. The key idea in this view as stated by (Coon & Mitterer) Behavior is shaped and controlled by ones environment.

These subjects taught kids in different environments and seen behaviors change with the use of control. 6. Describe your subjects’ demographics, such as gender, age, and education level. Identify any differences and similarities in their responses that may be based on these demographic factors. Out of the subjects I interviewed two were women and one was a male. All three subjects were in the age range between 45-65. All of these subjects have attended college and two of them obtained master’s degrees in different fields outside of psychology.

All of these subjects that I interviewed stated that they believed psychology was the study of behavior. The differences that these subjects had were on the role of the psychologist. Two of these subjects had very cynical ideas on how effective and important a psychologist is. Some of the statements by these two subjects were along the lines of psychologist’s being a waste of resources or interpreting data incorrectly. The third subject was from the belief of a psychologist role as being able to assist a client by building relationships and trust to resolve issues.

Although these subjects had similar educational backgrounds as well as being relatively in the same age group I believe there could be different elements that give them different prospective. The two cynical subjects are racially different from the third party which may have an effect on the different prospective. They also come from a different class which may give them a different prospective or preconceived notion on psychologists. References Coon, D. , & Mitterer, J, (2010). Introduction to Psychology: Gateways To Mind And Behavior (12 ed. ) Belmont, CA :wadsworth

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Psychology the Nervous System

Assignment 3 Written Essay Questions 1. a) We are able to experience different types of sensations because our nervous system encodes messages. German physiologist Johannes Muller in his doctrine of specific nerve energies described a kind of code which is anatomical. In his doctrine, Muller explains that different sensory modalities exist because signals received by the sense organs stimulate different nerve pathways that lead to different areas of the brain. For example, when the ear receives signals, these signals cause impulses to travel along the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex.

And signals from the eye cause impulses to travel along the optic nerve to the visual cortex. Because of these anatomical differences, light and sound produce different sensations. b) The code in the nervous system that helps explain why a pinprick and kiss feel different is known as functional. These codes rely on the fact that sensory receptors and neurons fire or are inhibited from firing, only in the presence of specific kinds of stimuli. Functional encoding may occur all along a sensory route, starting in the sense organs and ending in the brain. 2.

The lens of an eye operates differently from a camera, that just like a camera, the eye registers spots of light and dark, but neurons in the visual system build up a picture of the world by detecting meaningful features. The eye doesn’t passively record the external world, like a camera, ganglion cells and neurons in the thalamus of the brain respond to simple features in the environment, such as spots of light and dark. The existence of a specialized face module in the brain, explains why a person with brain damage may continue to recognize faces, after losing the ability to recognize other objects. . These units which were named after Alexander Graham Bell were called decibels (dB). Each decibel is 1/10 of a bel. Using decibels, they can be used to determine sound intensity, intensity of a wave’s pressure. Humans have an average absolute threshold of hearing of zero decibels and all decibels are not equally distant. For example, in my own environment, in my living room there is a 40decibel sound, my refrigerator and the light traffic from my window has about 50 decibels of sound.

Everyday noises that may be hazardous to hearing could be rock concerts, deafening bars, stereos that are often played on full blast. In addition to that, noisy home appliances, lawn mowers and heavy city traffic also are hazardous to our ears. 4. If you were to inhale vapour from a rose, your receptors for smell have specialized neurons embedded in a tiny patch of mucous membrane in the upper part of the nasal passage. Millions of receptors in each nasal cavity respond to chemical molecules in the air.

So when you inhale vapour from a rose, you’re pulling these molecules into the nasal cavity and can also enter from the mouth. These molecules then trigger responses in the receptors that produce that of fresh roses. From there, signals from the receptors are carried to the brain’s olfactory bulb by the olfactory nerve. And from the olfactory bulb, they travel to a higher region of the brain. 5. The basic concept of the gate- control theory, states the experience of pain depends on when pain impulses can get past a ‘’gate’’ in the spinal cord.

The gate is a pattern of neural activity that blocks pain messages coming from the skin, muscles and internal organs or lets those signals through. Most of the time this gate is kept shut by impulses coming into the spinal cord from large fibres that respond to pressure or by signals coming down from the brain itself. However, when body tissue is injured, the large fibres are damaged and the smaller fibres open the gate. Once the gate is open, pain messages reach the brain unchecked. However, the theory doesn’t explain phantom pain, the pain from an amputated limb or organ that a person continues to feel after surgery.

Melzack explains, even though there are no nerve impulses for the spinal cord gate to block or let through, the brain not only responds to incoming signals from sensory nerves but is also capable of generating pain entirely on its own. An extensive matrix of neurons in the brain gives us the sense of our own bodies and body parts. Pain results when this matrix produces an abnormal pattern of activity, as a result of memories, emotions, expectations or signals from various brain centres and not just from signals from peripheral nerves.

Because of the lack of sensory stimulation or a person’s efforts to move a nonexistent limb, abnormal patterns may arise, resulting in phantom pain. 6. a) The role stimulus generalization plays in this problem is where mental images of the sights and smells of the clinic can become conditioned stimuli for nausea, aside from the nurse’s uniform, smell of rubbing alcohol or the waiting room. b) High order conditioning can be illustrated in this problem of vomiting and nausea where a patient who drank lemon –lime Kool-Aid before their therapy sessions developed anxiety disorders.

They continued to feel anxious even when the drink was offered in their homes rather than at the clinic. c) Classical conditioning could help patients reduce pain and anxiety through the use of placebos. For example the use of pills and injections that have no active ingredients or treatments that have no direct physical effect on the problem. The bigger and more impressive the placebos are, the stronger their psychological effects are. 7. The evidence shows that punishments are effective when they are carried out immediately.

As shown in the studies of criminal records of Danish men, punishments were effective in deterring young criminals from repeating their offences. After examining repeat arrests through the age of 26, punishment reduced rates of subsequent arrests for both minors and serious crimes. However, recidivism still remained fairly high. Other studies have indicated that the severity of punishment made no difference, in that fines and probation were just as effective as jail time. The consistency of the punishment is what matters most.

For example, when law breakers get away with their crimes, their behaviour is intermittently reinforced and becomes resistant to extinction. Speeding tickets are another example of when you receive punishments. Even though the use of photo radar systems is useful for catching all speeders or reduces speeding, it doesn’t eliminate speeding entirely. As mentioned before, punishments are most effective in the period immediately following its delivery. This would explain when police officers supervise the speed traps; they are more effective since the punishment is given out immediately.

However, when photo radars catch you, you have to wait for several weeks to receive the ticket. Laboratory and field studies find that punishments fail in everyday life, in schools, families and workplaces because of six drawbacks. The first is that people often administer the punishment inappropriately or mindlessly. People swing in a blind rage or shout things they don’t mean and when people aren’t angry, they misunderstand the proper application of punishment. Secondly, the recipient of punishment often responds with anxiety, fear or rage. Negative emotional reactions can create more problems than the punishment solves.

For example, a teenager who has been severely punished may strike back or run away. Children, who have been punished physically in childhood, risk at being in depression, having low self-esteem, violent behaviour and many other problems. Third, depending on the presence of the punishing person or circumstances, the effectiveness of the punishment is often temporary. When a police officer is around at a park, you wouldn’t dare littering but if the police officer isn’t around then you wouldn’t be as afraid of littering. Forth, most behaviour is hard to punish immediately.

For example, while you’re at work, your children eat all the deserts that were for tonight’s party, but you don’t punish them till after work, the punishment is no good. You children’s behaviour would have been reinforced by all those deserts. Fifth, punishments express little information, in that punishments may tell the recipient what not to do, but doesn’t communicate what the person should do. For example yelling at a student who learns slowly, won’t teach him/her to learn faster. Sixth, an action intended to punish may instead be reinforcing because it brings attention.

For example, in the classroom, students enjoy when teachers yell at them in front of their classmates, putting them in the limelight. Often rewarding the student’s misbehaviour they are trying to remove. 8. a) Fixed Interval b) Variable Interval c) Variable Ratio d) Fixed Ratio Take a Long look 1. What is meant by the term “form perception”? Form perception means when an infant can or can’t respond to stimuli as shape, pattern , size or solidity. Thus they can see or can’t perceive form. 2. Why is the “preferential-looking” method of studying infants likened to a biologist’s use of a microscope?

This method is similar to that of a biologist’s use of a microscope because this method is one of the first tools researchers turn to when they want to study how babies think. The method literally opened the doors to understanding the minds of infants. 3. What patterns were the babies in Fantz’s studies least interested in looking at? The patterns the babies were least interested in were the shapes that were just plain with no complexity. The least interesting shape for the infants was the square with no designs or complexity inside the square. 4.

A preference for looking at faces is said to “set the stage for an infant’s future survival and growth” (p. 41). Suggest two areas of learning that an infant’s attention to faces might facilitate. Two areas of learning that an infant’s attention to faces might facilitate are innate and primitive knowledge. The innate knowledge of the environment is shown by the infant’s interest in the kinds of forms that will later aid in object recognition, social responsiveness and spatial orientation. The primitive knowledge help provide an accumulation of knowledge through experience. 5.

The early psychologist William James thought that the world for babies was a “blooming buzzing confusion” (see page 211 of the course text). Do Fantz’s findings support this statement? Explain. Fantz’s findings pointed out infants, regardless of age, can demonstrate that basic form perception is present at birth and ruling out a learning or developmental factor. Meaning that, babies have some kind of understanding of the different patterns and forms that are presented to them. This is how they are able to differentiate between faces, their mothers face or a stranger’s face. 6.

Imagine you have been hired by a toymaker. Using Fantz’s findings describe your design for an infant toy or crib mobile. Using Fantz’s findings, I would create a toy that would have detailed patterns and include pictures or objects of faces of people or similar to those of people. Thus, I would create a toy with a face similar to that of humans and cover their body with items of great complexity, for example, a bull’s eye or a checkers board type of pattern. You would be able to place this toy over the infant in the crib, which should keep the infant entertained for many hours.

Watch out for the Visual Cliff 1. What is meant by the statement that Gibson and Walk take a nativist position on the topic of depth perception? Both Gibson and Walk believed that depth perception and the avoidance of a drop-off appear automatically as part of our original biological equipment and has nothing to do with experience. On the other hand, empiricists argue that these abilities are learned and aren’t biologically hard wired in us. 2. Write a one-paragraph summary of what Gibson and Walk discovered from their visual cliff studies with infants.

Gibson and Walk had 36 infants for this study between ages 6 and 14 months with their mothers participating in the study. Nine of infants refused to move at all off the center of the board, which wasn’t explained by the researchers, but perhaps infant stubbornness. However, the other 27 infants crawled off the board and crossed the glass when called by their mothers on the shallow side of the table. Only 3 of the infants crept with hesitation off the brink of the visual cliff when called by their mothers from the deep side.

When the infants were called from the cliff side by their mothers, most of the infants either crawled away from their mother on the shallow side or cried in frustration at being unable to reach their mothers without ‘’ falling off the cliff’’. The infants would often peer down through the class of the deep side and then back away or pat the glass with their hands, but would refuse to cross. After these results, it was difficult to prove that human’s ability to perceive depth is innate rather than learned because all the infants had at least 6 months of life experience to learn about depth through trial and error. . What did Gibson and Walk discover about depth perception in young animals? Gibson and Walk discovered that the ability of various animals to perceive depth developed in relation to when the species need such a skill for their survival. For example, within 24 hours of age, baby chickens never made the mistake stepping off into the deep side while looking for food. Kids and lambs response was the same as the baby chickens, which indicted the visual sense was in complete control and the animals ability to feel the solidity of the glass on the deep side had no effect on the response.

The rats were different from the others, as they didn’t show any preference for the shallow or deep side of the table. This could be explained by the fact that rats locate food by smell and doesn’t depend very much on its vision, but moves around using cues from the stiff whiskers on its nose. 4. Describe how Gibson and Walk use evolutionary theory to explain their infant and animal findings on depth perception. Gibson and Walk used evolutionary theory to explain that all animals that are to survive need to develop the ability to perceive depth by the time they able to move independently.

For humans, this doesn’t occur until about 6 months of age and for chickens and goats it’s immediately. For dogs, rats and cats it’s about 4 weeks. Thus, this ability is inborn because to learn through trial and error would cause many potential fatal accidents. 5. Give one example of a finding that suggests depth perception has a learned component. A later study placed younger infants, ages 2 to 5 months, on the glass over the deep side of the visual cliff. The infants showed a decrease in heart rate, a sign of interest and not fear.

This had indicated that the younger infants had not yet learned to fear the drop off and would learn the avoidance behaviour later on in life. 6. How has social referencing been found to impact youngsters’ behaviour when faced with a visual cliff? In the Gibson and Walk study, when the mother had been instructed to maintain an expression of fear on her face, the infants refused to crawl any further on the table. However, when the infants saw their mothers looking happy, they checked the deep side again and crawled across.

But when the drop-off was made flat, the infants did not check with their mothers before crawling across. Knock Wood 1. Why is Skinner referred to as a radical behaviourist? Skinner is referred to as a radical behaviourist because he believed that all behaviours are ultimately learned, are controlled by the relationships between the situation that immediately precedes the behaviour and the consequences that directly follow it. This includes behaviours that are public or external, private and events such as feelings and thoughts.

He believed that private behaviours are difficult to study, but acknowledged we all have our own subjective experience of these behaviours. However, he didn’t view internal events, such as thoughts and emotions, as causes of behaviour but rather as a part of the mix of the environment. 2. What is a Skinner box? How was the food dispenser set up for the pigeons in this study? Refer back to your text. What type of reinforcement schedule is this? The Skinner box consists of a box or cage that is empty except for a tray or dish into which food may be dispensed.

This allows the researcher to have control over when the animal receives reinforcement, such pallets of food. The earlier boxes contained a lever that when pressed, would cause some food to be dispensed; rats were most commonly used in these boxes. For pigeons, the conditioning chambers were designed with disks to be pecked instead of bars to be pressed on. This study is an example of fixed – interval schedules, as the dispensers were rigged to drop food pellets into the tray at intervals of 15 seconds, regardless of what the pigeon was doing. 4.

What were the pigeons conditioned to do as a result? One of the birds was conditioned to turn counter clockwise, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another bird was repeatedly thrusting its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. Two of the birds developed pendulum motion of the head and body in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return. One of the other birds was conditioned to make incomplete pecking or brushing movements directed toward but not touching the floor. . How did the pigeons’ behaviour change when the delay period for reinforcement was extended to a minute? With one of the head bobbing and hopping birds, the bird’s movements become more energetic until finally the bobbing and hopping become so intense, that it appeared that the pigeon was doing some kind of dance during the intervals. When the reinforcement in the cage was discounted, the birds’ behaviour was considered extinct. This resulted in the superstitious behaviour disappearing gradually.

In the case of the dancing pigeon, there were over 10,000 responses that were recorded before extinction occurred. 5. Was extinction of this behaviour possible? This type of behaviour can persist a lifetime because any behaviour that is reinforced once in a while in a given situation, becomes very difficult to extinguish. This is because the expectation stays high that the superstitious behaviour might work to produce reinforcing consequences. In real life, instances of accidental reinforcement usually occur at irregular intervals which make extinction of this behaviour almost impossible. . What explanation does Skinner give for the resiliency to extinction of human superstitions? Skinner states that any behavior that is reinforced once in a while in a given situation, partial reinforcement, it becomes very difficult to extinguish. This is due to the expectation that stays high that the superstitious behaviour might work to produce the reinforcing consequences. In real life, accidental reinforcement usually occurs periodically, so you could imagine why superstitious behaviour may persist for a lifetime. 7.

Use Skinner’s operant conditioning principles to explain the development of a superstition that you hold or once held, or one you have observed in someone else. Using Skinner’s operant conditioning principles, I noticed my friend who enjoys roulette had a superstition that when he bought himself and the person on his right a drink and place the bet on black he believed he would win. Of course he wouldn’t always win, only the person to his right side won with a free drink, but he always thought this would bring him good luck when he needed it.

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Theories of varied motivation in psychology

It is said that entire psychology is about the study of motivation itself. In fact the science of psychology evolved to explain, answer and reason the ‘why’ of human behavior. Motivation holds the answer to this ‘why’ because when we attempt to reason for a particular behavior or attitude then basically we are finding the motivations responsible for that particular behavior (Gorman, 2003, 1). People perform a variety of actions through multiple roles according to their dominant motivation that guides their behavior.

In psychological studies the implicit motivations determining human behavior are not only considered from point of view of biological drives and neurological impetus but they are also explained by relational aspect of human behavior where motivation is a dynamic aspect of the behavior that helps people to interact with the world (Nuttin, 1984,1).  Many theorist attempt to offer generalized explanation for a majority of human actions purely in terms of natural instinct or sudden impulse.

Even the people engaged in performing those actions may also agree to this viewpoint. However, the theory of instinct and impulse presents an incomplete rational because there are critical external factors and attractions that also contribute towards the particular motivation. Therefore human motivation is a dynamic product of combination of intrinsic human traits as well as their environmental setting.

Another important factor that plays an important role in explaining motivational factors in behavior is human emotion (Gorman, 2003, 89). Human beings experience a number of emotional states that continue to fluctuate and they act as causative factors in a large number of actions undertaken by them. As a matter of fact, motivation is a product of a very complex process of internal and external interaction of human beings with themselves and their surrounding and it acts as stimulant and provide energy for their behaviors and consequent actions.

Psychoanalytic Explanation of motives

Motives interests psychologist because they provide insight into the character and approach of individuals, providing psychologists with test materials on which they can further form and expand their theories. The reasons of specific actions, such as why did a person steal, why did he commit a murder, why did he participate in a cause where he was not interested, or why did he contributed a majority of his wealth to charitable causes can perhaps be better understood if the motives behind them are sought. The implicit notion is that there are some actions which deviant to a person’s characteristics and those that are difficult be explained by any standard rule based system (Peters, 1958, 28).

Psychologists, in their attempts to explore the motives, that is the set of specific reasons for deviant as well as normal actions have given considerable attention to the unconscious self of human beings of which they are themselves unaware. The unconscious self is composed of repressed feelings of deprivations, unfulfilled desires and infant sexuality and it subtly acts on every human being to set the framework of many of their actions (Peters, 1958, 55).

This theory of unconscious mental process, as proposed by Freud, and the psychoanalytic explanations it offered, did not profess to explain the entire gamut of human behaviors, but it certainly provided a more panoramic view to cause and reasons of many human actions that were hitherto conventionally explained on mere visible evidences. According to the new wisdom, actions performed by people have a long and complicated background and though they may appear final or conclusive in their immediate bearing, they are part of a long chain of interconnected events.

Therefore even the simple question that why did John walk across the road take vast proportion in psychology. As explained by Peters (4), the simple answer that John crosses the road to buy some tobacco is insufficient, even though John himself in unaware of any other motive. To a psychologist, in crossing the road to buy tobacco, John is conforming to many social and cultural stereotypes such as he is not running or crawling across the road to get the tobacco (ibid, 5).

If John had run, then his goal of obtaining tobacco would had fallen incommensurate with his action that should had warranted more urgent justification. However as John walks across the road, it indicates that procuring tobacco is a kind of activity that should be accomplished in a normal behavioral conduct to make it appear as an appropriate social function. A psychologist might further argue that John has secret liking for tobacconist’s girl, and he goes to the particular shop to see that girl, though he may himself be not aware of this.

Another explanation might be offered that John had an unconscious disliking of work from which he wanted to escape and the act of going to tobacconist was a way for him to stay away from the unpleasant work. Its important to see here that in neither of these explanations John himself is aware of any other reason other than buying tobacco, but each of the region, both of them or several others can be true to the case.

The Biological Approach to Motives

The biological or physiological aspects of motives are perhaps the earliest explanations that were offered to reason for motives behind human actions and behaviors. This approach views human as ‘drive-oriented’ animals who are more the product of biological factors of cellular and neurochemical reactions, acting through our genetic traits alone and spurred by release of hormones to various actions. This physiological analysis puts instinct as the primary reason behind every human action and its framework basic human instincts such as desire to eat, drink, sleep and have sex combine to form the further ramifications of human behavior (Gorman, 2003,14).

In this model, drives for specific actions stimulate people and they respond accordingly in their behavior. It states that behavior of people is the result of homeostasis, that is, the tendency to maintain a stable internal environment of body. Body responds to any deprivation that threatens the stability of internal equilibrium and unleashes corresponding behavior to correct it (Weiner, 1980, 11). Thus homeostasis drive theory accounts for situations where a person may be compelled to steal food if he is hungry, or run if he is threatened, as maintaining the internal equilibrium is principle motive of any living organism.

Behavioral approach to motives

As Nuttin (1984, 16) states, understanding of motivational process is critically dependent on understanding of dynamic aspects of human behavior. In the field of psychology behavior refers to cognitive activities that an individual performs in the context of a behavioral world (ibid, 17). These activities can not be understood if they are treated separately, and therefore an integrated model of behavior interpretation is required that views that takes a complete and related view of all the processes in the living organism.

According to the behavioral model, the various biochemical functions and basic drives are encompassed by behavior that gives these individual traits their full meaning and purpose (ibid, 18). As such hunger, thirst, sleep, sex drive, fear, ecstasy, loyalty etc are not isolated factors in determining motives. Instead they are integrated as part of the behavioral structure that creates a sense of organic continuity. Thus seeing changes to watching and hearing changes to listening in the behavioral model.

Various theories and models in the field of social behavior have come with suggestion that human behavior reflects a person’s intent to act (Orbell, 2004, 145). According to each of these models it is possible to predict behavior from intentions and behavioral control displayed by a person. Behavioral characteristics can successfully account for specific types of motivations seen with various actions. For example, harvesting, hunting and fishing are quite different behaviors, yet they are done with the same objective of procuring food.

Similarly, despite their different behavioral traits, people are essentially same every where, in the sense that they seek love, trust, social respect, and financial stability, thus acting through almost identical motivational drives. Within the behavioral system, a form of unity and cohesion is attempted out of multiple elements interacting together in a motivational setup (Nuttin, 1984, 84).

Humanistic Approach to Motives

The humanistic approach in describing different motives for human actions is a relatively new field. Its fundamental principles, as stated by Weiner(1980, 409) are

1. Humanistic psychology studies people in their real life circumstances, where humans are subjects of the study, rather than object. People are described in their own consciousness and perceptions and the reasons and motives of their actions are placed along with their individuality, in a holistic and complete framework.

2. Humanistic psychologists also believe that human choice, will, their desire to move ahead in life, to grow and realize their potentials contribute to their actions, behavior and approach to life.

3. The dominant characteristics of any individual is to achieve personal potential, and develop their capacities and talents to highest level. Thus the central motivation in an individual’s life is to grow, move ahead and develop his or her own self.


Human actions would continue to be defined, analyzed and interpreted from a number of points of view, according to various theories, models and approaches to understand its complexity and give complete meaning to its attributes, in order to evolve a wholesome picture of factors that motivates people towards a varied degree of actions.

Motivations can be best understood from the dynamics of behavior and the integrated setup that provides basis for planning, thinking, action and achievements of goals to people. Further, people are motivated to different actions based on their own perception of needs and requirements as well acting through their subconscious self, which explains for the difference in their perceived reason of their certain steps from the actual reasons justifying it.


Gorman, P, 2003, Motivation and Emotion, Routledge, New York.

Nuttin, J, 1984, Motivation, Planning, and Action: A Relational Theory of Behavior Dynamics, (trnsltr) Jean E. Dumas ,, Raymond P. Lorion , Leuven University Press; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Leuven, Belgium.

Orbell, S, 2004, Contemporary Perspectives on the Psychology of Attitudes: The Cardiff Symposium. (edit ) Geoffrey Haddock,  Gregory R. Maio, Psychology Press. Hove, England.

Peters RS, 1985,The Concept of Motivation. Routledge & Kegan Paul :London

Weiner, H, 1980, Human Motivation, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ


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Personality Psychology and People

Monique Contero INFJ Tu. Th. 8 pm 10/23/2012 I learned that I am “The Protector” my primary focus of living is internal; I take things in through intuition. I also learned that my secondary mode is external; I deal with things according to how I feel about them and how they fit with my beliefs. I am a gentle, caring, complex person who is very intuitive. I am also artistic and creative. I put great importance on keeping things orderly and systemic. I put most of my energy into finding the best system in getting things done. I am usually right and I usually know I am but sometimes I don’t know why.

I put a lot of faith and trust into my instincts and intuitions because most of the time I can sense things most people can’t see or feel. I get strong feelings and I can understand people. When someone is going through something I can usually feel it inside myself. I am a deep and complex individual but I am usually quiet and very observant. Most people don’t understand me and I don’t open up much to people I don’t know. I hold a special place in most people’s heart to the people whom I am close to because I have a big heart and compassion for them.

I usually care more about people’s feelings then I care about my own. I don’t like conflict and when conflict arises I am sensitive towards it. I get irritated or angry when there’s conflict and I don’t know how to tolerate it and I get stressed out over it. I am a stubborn and I don’t like listening to other people’s opinions. I am also a perfectionist. I am never at peace with myself because I know I can do better. I believe that change happens with us before it can happen in the world. I am easygoing though.

I am devoted, patient, protective around people I care about who get hurt by others, and I am a natural nurturer. In the workplace I am always coming up with creative ideas and I like working alone. The field I am best in is fields that are self orientated and allow me to use my creativity and instincts to help the world. I am the type of person that belongs in social work or working in law because I am a natural protector and I believe in growth. I can use my personality traits to help people to come up with new ideas to help the company expand.

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Psychology Reflection Paper

Rocio Herrera Dep 2004 Dr. Norda Hernandez Mr. and Mrs. Harsh-Heart use authoritarian parenting style, I do not see any advantages when a parent uses this type of parenting style to raise their children. Authoritarian parenting style set very high standards for the children; parents are very demanding and are not responsive to the child’s needs or concerns. Parents don’t try to understand the child or try to understand the child’s point of view. These parents set strict rules of conduct and are critical of their children for not meeting these high standards.

Parents want to control their children by telling them what they need to do without explaining why they want their children to do things and if the child questions the authority, parents reply with “Because I said so”, instead of going in to detail why it’s not a good choice. Children raised by authoritarian parents don’t learn to think for themselves and don’t understand why parents want them to behave in a certain way. Parents with Authoritarian parenting style tend to focus more on bad behavior than positive behavior; if the child behaves badly they are harshly punished.

Children may learn to behave themselves because of fear of the parent or may have a hard time learning to think for them or they may rebel in reaction to the controlling methods of their parents. Another disadvantage for children raised by authoritarian parents is they have little or no freedom. Children raised under this control have less social ability, they are more likely to experience a nervous breakdown, become runaway. Children can’t distinguish between a good choice and a bad choice; it limits the child to think freely.

A child may fall into depression, alienation of public life and develop other psychological problems, the child may have poor social skills inn which may lead to inferiority complex, lack of confidence and self-worth. Adolescents may fall into unhealthy habits such as drug use or early exploration of the sexual activities. Authoritarian parents pick and choose who their teenager friends. There is no room for creativity or freely expression; adolescents may not think about his/her likes instead they tend to obey their parents which can create self-identity problems.

Ethical issues arise when using harshly punishment to discipline children such as if it’s morally correct because of the impact and effect that it has on children and even as an adult. Harshly punishments can be physical, verbal, withholding or penalties. Physical punishments are spanking, paddling, using a belt, hair brush, slapping or using anything to hit a child. Verbal punishments are shaming, using cruel word, putting a child down, ridiculing. Withholding rewards are for example you are not allowed to watch TV until you don’t do your homework.

I tend to use withholding rewards from my son when he does not want to do homework, I tell him that the faster he is done, the sooner he can relax and watch TV. Penalties are such as if the child breaks something having him to pay it from his/her allowance. I also use this one too to discipline my son, he lost his Nintendo DSI at Wal-Mart, I quickly went to buy him a new one then he broke it so I asked him to pay for it from his piggy bank. I wanted to teach him to take care of the things he has and things cost money and we need to be more responsible of taking care of the things we like.

Spanking is corporal punishment and although spanking was once the most popular way to discipline a child, it is no longer considered the first option or acceptable. Spanking sends mix signals to children such as if you spank your child for hitting his sibling, are you saying it’s acceptable for you to hit but not acceptable for the child to do so. As a parent you should lead by example and obviously you want to be clear in what you are projecting. The problem with spanking is parents are frustrated, angry and tired when they use physical punishment.

How can one measure measure if you are crossing the thin line between physical discipline and physical abuse when you acting on anger or frustration? You really can’t, especially if you are hot headed. The safest way is not to do it, take a moment to cool off and acting on anger. It is a negative reinforcement and harmful. Children can lose self-esteem by being spanked as form of discipline, I find it humiliating way (for the child) to teach the difference between right and wrong.

If a parent just does it once, it is easier to resort to that type of discipline in the future than using verbal discipline. A child may get used to being spanked every time he/she behaves bad and it may not have the same effect anymore and this can lead to a more severe way of physical discipline such as punching and kicking. How I differentiate what is ethical and unethical way of discipline is by knowing that I only want was best for him and will do anything in power to raise him to best I can and refraining for anything that can harm him, emotional and physically wise.

As parent you have to put on the scale the advantages and disadvantages of spanking and of course the disadvantages are greater. The Department of Children and families is responsible for protecting from child abuse and neglect. In severe cases such as the child having broken bones, bruises and cuts children are taken away from their home and put into child protective services and may charge the parent with child abuse and be asked to take parenting classes in order to get their children back.

Child Protective Services is concern with the safety and wellbeing of children. Mr. and Mrs. Easy-Going use Authoritative child-rearing style, it is the most successful approach. Authoritative parents listen to their children, encourage independence, place limits, consequences and expectation on their children’s behavior, express warmth and nurturance, allow children to express their opinions encourage children to discuss options and give their children consistent discipline.

This type of parenting style values child’s autonomy and self-expression, but knows also sets limits. Parents use rational expiations for why they must follow the rules, accepts the child’s qualities but also encourages the child to grow by modeling proper behavior. Children raised by authoritative parents are socially accountable for their actions, making them socially trustworthy. Allowing children to have discussions with parents on topics children learn how to communicate with others, and learn how to obey the rules without showing signs of anger.

Children raised in household that promote love are qualified to conquer dreams and goals at will; children grow up to be efficient grownups. Children do very well in school and exhibit academic achievement. They are very confident and become successful adults. These parents are more focused on teaching than punishing a bad behavior; although children are more happy and better behave than other children being raised by an authoritarian parent. A disadvantage of authoritative parenting is sometimes difficult to maintain when you have a willful child.

A parent must develop or have a high degree of patience and must be cultivated if parents want to maintain an authoritative atmosphere at home. House rules may have to be change as the child continues to grow such as the rules of a 6 year old will not be the same as when the child is 8 years old. The rules require periodic refinement in order for children to benefit from it. Since not all situations are the same sometimes parents need to amend or develop a new response to something the child says or does. This type of child rearing style requires dedication and sometimes attitude adjustment.

It is evident that the advantages are greater than the disadvantage in authoritative child rearing; this is a great approach to allow your children to grow mentality, physically and mainly emotionally. This by far the most effective way to raise your children with all the skills they need to become successful in life. I was raised by grandmother and she use authoritarian child rearing style and I had a unpleasant childhood, I was constantly yelled out and was severely punish physically and although I love grandmother until this day I still recent her for raising me that way.

What I learned from my experience as a child is that when I have my child I was going to do things differently. I try very hard to be a better parent by motivating, teaching, and encourage my son on how important it is to make good choices in life. We have discussion about school, I allow him to make choices on his own and allow him to express his feelings and thoughts. In the Hispanic culture is normal to spank your children, yell at them and hit them with the chancleta but I want my son to better than me and using the authoritative child rearing style is the best approach.

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Educational Psychology as a Career

Name: John Mc Nevin I. D: 11135166 Course: BSc. Psychology Module Code: PS4032 Title: Investigation in to My Possible Career as an Educational Psychologist. Word Count: 910 Educational Psychology (Part One) Educational Psychologists work with students of any age in education and they work and help with the students’ psychological and educational development. They often observe the student within the educational setting and they can then sometimes intervene and recommend ways in which the students’ learning can be enhanced.

This intervention can involve the educational psychologist working with the student on a personal level or by working with parents, teachers or colleagues of the student. Report writing is one task which educational psychologist would do one a regular basis, writing reports on students as they assess them. Ed. Psychologists help students to overcome obstacles which can prevent them from learning. They also evaluate the systems of education where the students are learning.

They also often work with teachers by alerting them to the social factors which may influence a child’s learning. Educational psychologists may also work with children with learning disabilities and special needs, helping to create better learning conditions for them. They have discussions and meetings with the parents and teachers of the student. When they work with parents and teachers of students, careful discussion and consultation is required as the psychologists’ input and advice needs to be understood and seen as relevant to those who know little about psychology.

Educational psychologists usually have a number of children/students in their care and another task which they undertake is to keep up to date records on how the learner is coping or hopefully improving. They are also charged with coming up with intervention plans to help in the learners’ educational development. To become an educational psychologist a person must study for a minimum of about 6 years. Firstly a student must complete a psychology based degree which is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Post-graduate study is essential. A MA in educational psychology is the next step. UCD offers a 2 year full time course, MA in educational psychology. Educational Psychology is also highly linked with teaching so work experience as a teacher would help greatly in the pursuit of becoming an Ed. Psychologist. Work experience is essential if a person wants to do a doctorate in Ed. Psychology. This is the optimum level of education if a person wants this career. There are many skills needed to be an educational psychologist.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital to interact with the children and students you will be working with. Research and development skills are required. As you would be working with children, patience and sensitivity are essential skills. Good report writing skills are needed along with the ability to solve problems. Most of all a person needs to be committed to helping children to overcome barriers to their educational development. In the doctoral training in Ed. Psychology, students gain practical experience working with local councils.

Other examples of relevant work experience includes work as a speech and language therapist, as a learning support assistant, an educational social worker, as well as a teacher and as a graduate assistant in an Educational Psychology Service. I found a lot of this information by reading a powerpoint presentation I found on the internet by Dr. Barbara Mc Donnell, Stanmillis University College. The Psychological Society of Ireland is the professional body in charge of regulating the psychology profession in Ireland.

The PSI promotes high standards of psychological education and practice and it provides its member with professional networking and promotion. By becoming a student member of the PSI you gain professional recognition and professional accreditation. Students also get a reduced rate to join and membership includes subscription to a monthly magazine which will increase a students’ knowledge of psychology and keeps the members up to date on matters in Irish Psychology. I learned of this by accessing the PSI website. Likely employers of educational psychologists include councils and schools.

However in Ireland in the present climate there is little in the way of employment in schools as an Ed. Psychologist so there is then the option to set up a private practice. I was told this when I interviewed an Educational Psychologist named Yvonne Cunningham about Educational Psychology as a career. She gave me a great insight into what it would be like to be a professional educational psychologist and she gave me a lot of the information I gathered for this investigation. Part Two I’ve always enjoyed being educated in school and before choosing to do psychology in college I was seriously considering being a teacher.

My mother is also a national school teacher which I believe influenced me to have an interest in education. I also believe that I have very good inter-personal skills and great patience and I thoroughly enjoy working with children. During Transition Year I spent a week on work experience in an Irish speaking National School and I loved this experience of working in education. After researching Educational Psychology as a career I still have a keen interest in it as a potential future career, however I am still undecided.

By completing this assignment I have learned a lot about what it is to be an Educational Psychologist and I am a lot more interested in it now after researching it. I am keen to learn more about this area of psychology. References UCD website courses and programmes[accessed 27/02/2012]. Retrieved from http://www. ucd. ie/education/graduateprogrammes/taughtprogrammes/masterofartsineducationpsychologymaep/ Psychological Society of Ireland [accessed 27/02/2012] Retrieved from http://www. psychologicalsociety. ie/

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Psychology and Health Issues

Psychology and Health Issues: Stress By: Kimberley Messina HCA/250 Have you ever heard of the term “fight-or-flight” stress response? You will feel this when you have more to worry about and handle then you are used to, or simply, when you are stressed. When your body is going through the fight-or-flight stress response, your body will make more hormones that will speed up your heart rate, give you a burst of energy, and make you breathe faster than normal (Healthwise, 2009). There are times when a little bit of stress could be useful, such as if you need to react quickly or if you need to work harder on something.

For example, If you are trying to win a race or finish any work that is important on time. When you have stress that lasts for a long time or if you have stress too often, then your body will most likely have a bad effect from stress. When you are overly stressed, you can experience headaches, back pain, sleeping issues, and an upset stomach. Furthermore, stress can lower your immune system which will make it harder for your body to fight off the disease. With people who have existing medical problems, stress can make your problem worse. Stress has been known to make a person moody, depressed, and tense.

This has caused many people to not do as well with their school or job, as well as having their personal relationships suffer. The mind and the body are connected, which means that stress will impact a person’s psychological health just as much as their physical health. Stress can impair your thought process, mental exhaustion, and can cause depression, psychoses, and some neuroses. You will feel pressured, overwhelmed, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, insecurity, and can have panic attacks, social withdrawal, and migraines (Healthwise, 2009).

When your psychological health becomes affected by stress, it can affect anything that you are doing, such as your job, parenting, and school work. As we mentioned earlier, stress can be beneficial if it is a small amount, this goes for your psychological health as well. It can have a positive affect on your motivation, reaction to your environment, and your adaptation. There are many psychology education programs that can help you identify your major stressors and help you manage any stress.

One in particularly is called the Worksite Wellness Program, which is a site that was provided from my workplace. This website provides information on how to set up different activities and offers some guidelines on how to create some supportive policies and environments that revolve around stress management (). Within the website you can answer stress management questionnaires that can help employees assess their personal listening skills and their ability to handle stress. They also have handout notes that explain the workplace demands of the employees.

Furthermore, there is an evaluation you can take within the website that will allow you to identify whether or not your worksite is ergonomically suitable so that you can reduce any risks for repetitive motion strains. Finally, the website my job offers has handouts that you can print that will help the employees learn how to manage their stress at home and within the workplace. There are many psychological health issues when it comes to stress, as I have mentioned above. The major psychological health issue with stress would have to be its ability to mentally impair you.

What I mean by this is that when you are under an unhealthy amount of stress, it will negatively affect the way you think and act. Our lives are made up of many decisions that we must make, and when under this amount of stress, it can become difficult to think clearly and make the better choice. This is because when a person is stressed, it changes the brain and causes them to have an addiction, anxiety, or depression. Stress affects many different individuals and groups and according to the American Psychological Association, the top three causes of stress is due to the economy, work, and money.

The developmental, social-cultural, and gender factors all impact stress. Developmental traits such as any behavior towards children that is abusive can cause them to have long-term abnormalities in the hypothalamus-pituitary system, which is what regulates your stress (UMMC, 2011). Also, children face stressors throughout school, whether it is bullying, peer pressure, and tests for classes. Personality traits could also impact stress. There are people who tend to over-respond to stressful situations, which will cause them to stress more than they should.

Older adults’ response system to stress becomes more difficult. The older a person becomes will impact their stress because they have to worry about higher risks for medical problems, the loss of a spouse or friends, and financial stressors (UMMC, 2011). Women, especially working mothers, will face higher stress levels because they carry a heavier load of stress than men and other women. They are also at risk for more medical problems due to having a child. Divorced or widowed people tend to have more stress than people who are married. They also tend to live shorter lives overall.

Furthermore, people who are isolated or lonely, are targeted for sexual or racial discrimination, and experiencing a financial strain are impacted by stress much more then other people. There are a many risk factors related to stress. Some can be controlled while others cannot. You can control some situations to avoid stress such as looking for better ways to manage your time so you can get more tasks completed without feeling pressure. Also, you can try out new ways of thinking such as stopping the worry thoughts and letting go of the things you cannot change (UMMC).

Taking good care of yourself such as getting enough rest and eating well can help avoid stress because you feel better throughout your day. Finally, speak up and talk about your needs and concerns because it can cause stress if you do not. The stressors that can not be controlled are events such as a car accident or another traumatic event, and a serious biological illness. There is no cure for stress, but there are treatment options to help you manage your stress. You can have self-care in your own home or take medical treatments.

Self-care in your own home would consist of removing yourself from the stressful situation or address it, regular exercise, healthy diet and nutrition habits, meditate, acupuncture, and creating social support for yourself. Furthermore, you can also write in a journal, make a hobby for yourself, and express how you are feeling with someone you trust. It is good to laugh, cry, talk, and even express your anger in healthy ways. There are medical treatments depending on the different types of symptoms you are experiencing and how severe these symptoms are.

You can receive counseling by mental health professionals and medical intervention for any of the physical problems that are discovered (Melissa, 11/25/12). There are a few health promotion strategies to address stress. Educating yourself is the first step in promoting good health against stress. Having the knowledge on how to handle stress when it comes your way is a good way to prepare you on how to react when it happens. When a person becomes stressed, most of the time they react in a negative way, which makes things worse.

Knowing how to relax and get a grasp on the situation will help you better control your emotions and make better decisions. The next step would be to make lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes will consist of exercise, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and using relaxation or other alternative techniques such as herbal or natural remedies (HPI, 2012). Exercise is a great stress management technique that distracts you from the stressful event and balances out the negative affect that stress takes on your body. You can do aerobics, take walks, go swimming, and take yoga, or tai chi.

There are many options to choose from and all you have to do is pick one. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will help you identify the source of your stress, reconstruct your priorities, change your response to stress, and find different methods that will allow you to manage and avoid stress. Relaxation or other alternative techniques can lower your blood pressure, respiration, and pulse, and release muscle tension and emotional strain (HPI, 2012). These techniques would include going for a massage, meditating, acupuncture, listening to music, going on vacation, and hypnosis.

Herbal and natural remedies such as aromatherapy and valerian can help with your anxiety and overall stress. All herbal and natural remedies should be talked with your doctor first. Throughout this paper, I have provided an overview of stress and how psychology plays a role with it. Then I reviewed a current psychology education program called the Worksite Wellness Program that was provided from my employment. After that, I discussed the risk factors that can be controlled as well as how to control them, and which factors that couldn’t be controlled.

Next, I discussed how developmental, socio-cultural, and gender factors impact stress. Then, I talked about the treatment options that are available to the public as well as the promotion strategies to address stress. Finally, I provided information on the lifestyle changes that people will need to enhance their health and methods to prevent stress. References: Healthwise. (October 14, 2009). Stress Management: Topic Overview. WebMD. Retrieved on November 21, 2012. From http://www. webmd. com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview. UMMC. (2011). Stress- Risk Factors.

University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved on November 21, 2012. From http://www. umm. edu/patiented/articles/who_at_risk_chronic_stress_or_stress-related_diseases_000031_6. htm. Melissa Conrad Stoppler. (November 25, 2012). Stress. eMedicine Health. Retrieved on November 22, 2012. From http://www. emedicinehealth. com/stress/page6_em. htm. Health Promotion International. (2012). Lifestyle, stress and work: Strategies for health promotion. Oxford Journals. Retrieved on November 22, 2012. From http://heapro. oxfordjournals. org/content/1/3/363. abstract. [pic]

Free Essays

Psychology of Spending: Where Does Belt-Tightening Begin?

The Psychology of Spending analyzes consumer’s ideals of the scarcity principle – in which, consumers are mentally forced to buy certain brands as they have before. The high costs of their choices make no difference even after their economic status is not as unique as it was once before. For example, the Water-Diamond scenario in which we will pay thousands of dollars for a diamond, but we will not pay thousands of dollars for a bottle of water.

Our mental state of underestimating its value because it is a ‘need’ makes us consider it invaluable by numbers. Every consumer has encountered these kinds of thoughts pertaining to their buying habits in different perspectives. We could also address the issues of supply and demand. Luxury goods are in demand because of the advanced technology we are experiencing in our New Economy. We have found ourselves trapped in securing the newest trend because of the gadgets, computers, cell phones, and other accessories around us everyday.

You can notice these triggering children to purchase their own cell phones because it is now a need – not a want. Cell phones have trampled into the same estate as water in the water-diamond scenario. We consider cell phones as invaluable goods for keeping in touch with our friends and family around the world. The ultimate ‘need’ comes from feeling inadequate or isolated without one so our demand increases to where we must purchase accessories as well. According to the article, the high-end wants are really needs now due to the vanity and exposure to as many choices as possible. Consumers have more than enough to consider when they want to buy products. Generic products are slowly, but surely losing the interests of these buyers.

The marginal utility of large net worth has declined as more and more luxury goods are being produced. As aforementioned earlier, the demand for luxuries has increased and the suppliers are interested in increased sales – so they have given the strength of the ‘scarcity’ rule away to growth. For example, they could increase the price of their merchandise if every high-end retailer produces no more than 40,000 units of their product.

The product’s marginal utility will remain at its best possible light to the consumer’s eye. A well-known factor, which was mentioned in The Psychology of Spending, is the wealthy household’s attempts to buy large amounts of land no matter what the economic status is. Other issues arise in comparison to their counterparts in the luxurious industries.

Some indirect factors that corner the marginal utility of luxury goods is the quality of the resources used to produce the goods. If the quality of the resources is reduced, the probability of increased sells could remove the ‘high-end’ aspect of the products. We will be used to the products and then ‘anyone’ can get it so it will not be considered high quality or high-end anymore. Properties over the $10,000,000 are probable to a decline in net worth if more products are created with their same unique characteristics.

More interest rates will appear viable to the consumers, but their efforts in securing the products will increase due to their ideal of ‘scarce’ resources available. A discontinuation of a certain production will and could, harness the power for its collectibles to cost more. According to the Psychology of Spending, the monetary means or sense of superiority means a lot to the public. We are more than anxious enough to buy the newest trends without a second thought. If the new trend costs more than our capabilities, we will have to worry about the possibility of not ‘being in style’.

The article’s outline of the economy during 2000 would be changed in today’s time. Our nation is experiencing a new, inaccurate development in which prices are increased due to the war. We, as consumers, have changed our buying habits a little bit but not much compared to the purchases made in 2000. Newer, faster, and cheaper products have caught our attention and the internet’s flourishing marketplace has given all consumers – wealthy and lower income- the same opportunity to buy these goods.

As a mechanism to the psychological attachment to more money means more power, we can conclude that all high-end products are being purchased about 2% from the higher-income families. A majority of these implications can trigger a more thorough understanding of why the lower-income families are attempting to buy these products as well. None the less, their ability to manufacture or overproduce these products has lost its initial marginal utility it once had.

In today’s society, these products do not create a ‘high’ as they once did. The consumers know that anyone can buy it at any price. Discount retailers have placed some sophisticated names on the shelves to attract their income counterparts for more information. We can expect this to continue until many consumers decide that their labels mean nothing – naturally.

Some of the best products are left to the generic manufacturers whom will need those materials for a competitive advantage. As remarkable as this change is to our society, the distinctive features of these high-end products are slowly leaving the market. Imitative strategies have stripped the meaning of ‘brand’ and consumers are still buying these products without regard to their tastes. More than enough companies are losing the whole perspective of re-establishing their economic strategy to remain at the top of their industry. We can only wish for our buying habits to sway into finding a more distinguished product to assist in our highs.


Free Essays

John Nash

Using the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) John Nash has been given the primary diagnosis of being undifferentiated. Plus abnormalities of the brain structure and function, disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations. Nash often has panic attacks, withdrawal from social activities, and loss of attention to personal hygiene and grooming, and the inability to separate real form unreal events. John Nash is classified under Undifferentiated Type because he had a number of symptoms such as delusions, disorganized behavior, disorganized speech, and hallucinations.

He believes he is being forced to work for the government to decipher codes. That they inserted a coded chip in order to keep track of him, and if he doesn’t comply with their wishes, they will expose him to the Russians, who in turn will kill him. This interferes with his personal and work life tremendously. He also thought the imaginary person William Parcher, who belonged to the United States Department of Defense, was out to get him. In his mind, William Parcher was black-mailing him to do as he was told, or the US government would have him killed.

I also believe that Nash could also be classified with anxiety and depression because after leaving the mental hospital, he wasn’t able to work, wasn’t able to properly take care of his child, or even feel attracted to his wife. Axis II: Schizophrenia Nash would be determined best under Schizotypical Personality. Nash has excessive social anxiety at times, few or no close friends, paranoia and suspiciousness, and odd disorganized speech. Axis III: John had a late onset of symptoms starting at around age 30.

His first hallucination was that of a roommate who moved in shortly after he started at Princeton. His Thoughts are delusional and paranoid. He thought no one liked him and he had no close friends or relationships. He thought that every one of his peers where beneath him. He also thought he was a government agent. He thought people where following him, and he would show paranoid behavior by looking out the windows and over his shoulder. Axis IV: John Nash is a 51 year old, Caucasian male. He has a family wife and child,and is exceptionally smart.

Nash’s stress can be blamed on his wife not understanding his problem or he felt like she did not believe him. Another is when Nash came home from the mental hospital and was brought into a house with a new child, which would be a big environmental stressor. He did not know how to take care of the child properly. Also, a new job promotion at Princeton University was also a stressor. Axis V— between 31 and 40 On the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, I believe Nash is in between 31 and 40. John Nash had disorganized speech and disorganized thoughts.

John Nash is extremely intelligent has no learning disorder and also had a strange fixation with mathematics. Treatment: Some medication individual psychotherapy so that the Nash can get regularly talked to, focuses on current and past events or problems, experiences, thoughts and feelings. Cognitive-Behavioral Conclusion: John Nash will probably never be completely cured of his mental disorders but the treatment plan that I recommended for him should make him suitable to certain thing so that he can fit into a normal society.

Free Essays

People who do Crazy Things are not Necessarily Crazy

Every human being faces at least one affliction in his or her life that leads him or her to behave in an unusual manner. While some people obtain support from others and learn how to handle situations correctly, others fight their battles alone and find themselves committing unthinkable acts. One taking a dispositional view would allegedly reach the conclusion that those who perform these unthinkable acts must suffer from insanity. With an opposing outlook, social psychologists observe how certain individuals react to difficult circumstances and determine why particular escapades occur as a result of distinct settings.

They understand that “occasionally, these natural situations become focused into pressures so great that they can cause people to behave in ways easily classifiable as abnormal” (Aronson). Humankind should strive to fathom the depth of human behavior, and simply labeling these people as psychotic only decreases the chances of doing so. Some murder trials, after examination, will prove certain individuals to be psychotic, while other proceedings linger in the mind as an obscurity.

Often times, people do not want to accept the fact that not all murderers are demented. Szasz argued that we often prefer to attribute antisocial deeds to a person’s mental illness rather than to his or her intent or choice. It is difficult to accept the idea that sane people could willingly commit atrocities” (Kleinke). Thus, it remains crucial that we recognize how grievous conditions can generate one to become an eloquently volatile being. Two defined groups of individuals that account for a number of the enraged acts suggested as being “crazy” are: vulnerable persons dealing with agonizing treatment by the public and helpless minors growing up in unpleasant homes that lack affection.

Considering the backgrounds of people who act deceivingly will allow society to better understand the reasons why unwanted deeds are committed and how they can be avoided. Just a few weeks ago I watched a showing on television called “Too Young to Kill: 15 Shocking Crimes” in which Eric Smith earned the second spot on the list. Smith had a full head of red hair, a face covered by red freckles to match and a thick pair of glasses for his bad eyesight. At age thirteen, this appearance never seems to be the most popular when trying to make friends.

Kids continually mocked the redheaded loner and rejected his friendship. Since no one wanted to be seen spending time with the outsider, Smith exhausted most of his time bike riding in the small town he lived in. Eric Smith represents the vulnerable individual who put up with too much overwhelming treatment from his peers. Eventually, he had to cope with his anger, and he did so in a horrifying manner. One particular morning, as Smith did his routine bike ride around the town, a four year old named Derrick Robie asked his mother if he could walk alone to a summer camp that he attended just a few blocks down.

Hesitantly, she agreed, only because the neighborhood was known to be exceptionally safe. Smith, riding his bicycle to the same camp, passed Robie along the way and decided to lure him into an unseen area. Smith said he saw Robie as an easy target; he knew the young boy stood defenseless. Robie was brought into a wooded area where he was brutally beaten and smashed over the head with a large rock. Smith even sodomized young Derrick by shoving a stick up his butt hole in order to stab his heart and confirm the preschooler’s death.

A defense psychiatrist tried to blame the murder on Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which literally means deadly rage and anger. It is “currently categorized in theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an impulse control disorder” (Wikipedia). However, when involved in many murder case trials, one finds that “consciously or unconsciously, people who are the subject of social science research may skew results” (Levant). Since the rare disorder is seldom seen at age thirteen, jurors demanded that Smith undergo extensive medical testing.

Results proved that his brain function and hormone levels were normal and had nothing to do with his sadistic behavior. A person suffering from psychosis often loses contact with reality and contains no control of his or her actions in painstaking moments. Smith confessed that he influenced naive Derrick to follow him into the woods in order to kill him in private. He knew exactly what he was doing and entirely understood the implications of his behavior. Furthermore, throughout the initial trial, he did not once apologize for killing an innocent child. Even after the crime was over with, Smith felt little remorse.

It was not until the succeeding trial over a decade later that he acknowledged his wrongdoing and asked for forgiveness. Finally, he attempted to clearly answer the question that everyone had been waiting for a response to: “why did he do it? ” Smith avows that he now has morals, something that he did not previously have. He asserts that no matter how minuscule an abuse situation, it all combines together to create a much larger issue for the one being bullied. Eventually, the individual will not be able to endure anymore pain and could potentially be driven to kill.

Bullying can lead to a victim craving revenge and taking out anger on someone seen as less significant. Smith himself explains this behavior in his testimony by alleging that: “it is not because they’re evil or satanic little kids; it’s because they want the abuse to stop and it’s the only way they know how to. ” He is aware that his actions were not a result of some form of psychosis. Instead, it was the unpleasant situation that instigated Eric Smith to act in a crazy way. Certainly he remains guilty; though, if the conditions at his school had been different, he would not have committed that terrifying crime.

An even more shocking murder case than that of Eric Smith’s is the one known as “The Beltway Sniper Attacks,” which involves the juvenile known as John Lee Malvo. Fatherless throughout life, Malvo felt a strong connection at age fourteen to a man he and his mother met, John Allen Muhammad. Malvo’s mother left him with Muhammad for a long period of time until she was able to smuggle him over to Miami with her, but only as an illegal alien. Border Patrol caught them both and brought them into jail. After about a month, young Malvo was released on bail. Naturally, he longed to be in the care of the only other person he trusted: Muhammad.

John Muhammad gave Malvo purpose and he even enlisted Malvo into school as his son. When Muhammad’s ex-wife, Mildred, was granted full custody of their three daughters Muhammad went berserk. Knowing that the death of his ex-wife would gain him guardianship, he thought out a plan to murder Mildred with no one suspecting him as being involved. The arrangement consisted of a killing spree that had no connection between any of the victims. This way, when the shooting of Mildred would occur, she would just be another random victim of the unknown mass murderer.

Muhammad invited Malvo to participate in the homicides and told him that they could terrorize the nation together. Malvo admired Muhammad so, of course, he accepted the proposal and murdered ten innocent people as a result. Lee Boyd Malvo, holding the number one spot on the shocking crime’s list, epitomizes the deprived minor who yearns for a father figure. According to a forensic psychiatrist, Alexander E. Obolsky, the two snipers involved in the Maryland and Virginia shootings were narcissists who planned out their attacks.

Malvo and Muhammad gained an emotional high from the feeling of being in charge. This conduct does not automatically indicate that the two suffer from psychosis. Obolsky affirms, “the person [the sniper] is crazy only in the sense that he does not care about people the way typical people do” (Pustovar). In agreement, forensic psychologist Dr. Neal Dunsieth insists, “the sniper might have some particular personality traits or be predisposed to strange beliefs, but I haven’t seen a lot that points to a mental illness” (Pustovar).

Counselors and social workers have spent much of their time with Malvo during his nine years in prison. As reported by Carmeta Albarus-Lindo, who has absorbed over one hundred hours of her time with Malvo, Malvo has drastically turned his life around. He himself states that he habitually struggles with feelings of shame, guilt and repentance. Knowing she was just a few people away from being killed by Malvo, Mildred claims, “that boy was a victim before he even knew it. ” If shot, she would have wanted the full responsibility given to her ex-husband.

She fully realizes that he took complete advantage of the boy’s insecurities. Immature Malvo was just a child with a great deal of growing up to do when he first met Muhammad. Every young person needs an adult to help guide him or her through life. When growing up, people are taught that their parents know best; adolescents typically believe that this statement holds full truth. Sadly, Malvo happened to be hooked up with Muhammad as his guardian and he followed directly behind his footsteps. Lee Boyd Malvo, which is the boy’s real name, was cruelly brainwashed by the grown-up man whom he called “Father.

Calling Malvo by the name of “John Lee Malvo” symbolizes the circumstances in which John Muhammad took over Lee Boyd Malvo’s essence and independence. Simply accusing all murderers of possessing some major mental disorder will in no way explain the reasoning behind numerous homicides. When assuming that all killers are psychotic, we are fundamentally “defining insanity as a label we give to people when we cannot put ourselves ourselves in their position and understand their actions” (Rosenberg). People must realize that, often times, certain motives trigger a person to kill.

It is up to society to interpret the underlying incentives that are behind countless murders. It is much like Eric Smith’s attorney recently stated: “nothing will change what happened to Derrick. But maybe something can prevent what might happen to someone else’s child. ” Society must study the various causes of killings and find the deeper issues behind the killer so that future outbreaks might be stopped. This is important to do so because “people who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy” (Aronson). Any human being faced with a dreadful situation risks the chance of performing a spontaneous mistake.

Works Cited

Free Essays

Psychology and Best Friends

What is you most prized possession? A prized possession is something that makes you happy the most above all else. Your most prized possession can be an item or a person. One of my most prized possessions would be my best friends, because they are what makes us believe in ourselves, make one of the biggest influences in life, and let us have the ability to stay strong. Without our best friends I would not be the same person I am today. Our mental and physical abilities are essential in life, it can build us strive and become driven into our success.

People should not be dependent on computers because, this can damage a person’s mental and physical ability. It can affect someone physically by having the habit of bad postures, back/neck aches, and eye pain. These body parts are essential for us to live comfortably and be able to work efficiently. Also it can affect a person’s mental health, some of the different causes are, poor concentration, poor attention span, not being able to multi task, no use of own knowledge, as well as sleeping disorders.

If This possession is more valuable to me than other possessions because, this is what brings us happiness for me and for everyone. Best friends support us and are what help us to move forward in life. This possession is something that anybody can receive but only in one condition, show different character traits so that he or she will give you the same respect. I need this possession because whenever we are feeling down, I can depend on my friends easily.

Free Essays

Angels in America

If we were to imagine what destruction is like, how would anyone of us portray it? Would our portrayals be as catastrophic and devastating as the word means? It depends on the person who imagines it. Now, if we were to imagine destruction from a psychological perspective this may be entirely different for each person. Why this would be the case is probably because of the unique personalities that each one of us has. Some of us may not be able to bear the uncertainties that destruction could bring into the world, hence, fearing it. Others may just ignore the details of chaos and live on with their ignorant, static lives.

Then, there is the remaining portion of us who know the bigger picture of destruction and are hopeful to change the world from the aftermath of it. In a similar perspective, these comparable portraits of characteristics correlate to one of the unique themes of Tony Kuskner’s play, “Angels in America”: identity. In this theme, the identities of the characters in the play symbolize emotions of ambivalence, the static views of the gay community, and the hope for change in the chaotic era of the 1980s American society. Kushner subtly conveys Harper’s character to represent the ambivalent emotions of the American society in the 1980s.

As a character suffering from psychological problems, Harper’s personality is very complex. In one bizarre aspect of the play, she’s having an interesting conversation with one of her hallucinations, Mr. Lies, to discuss her constructive, yet imaginative, plans to live a new life in Antarctica. While in a counter-perceptive view, Harper feels uncertain and fearful to move out off anywhere because of the paranormal threats that she’s worry about. “A man with a knife” that she speaks of is one of those dangers that she is strangely concerned about (Millennium Approaches 24).

The sort of ambivalence and fear that Harper’s identity carries in Kushner’s play somehow depicts the “apocalyptic anxiety” that is happening in the United States in the 1980s (Garner, Jr. 2). The “escalation” of this catastrophic concern is “reinforced by economic crisis, ecological disaster, overpopulation, the AIDS epidemic, and the fall of European communism” at the time (Garner, Jr. 2). In addition to all this build-up of chaotic events in the country, people begin to dread the nuclear annihilations that could potentially commence during the postwar moments of the Cold War.

In order to draw out the people’s sense of fear and uncertainty over the destructive events in the 1980s, Kushner tries to convey it through Harper’s paranormal concern of the ozone layer. After she explains to herself how the ozone layer is “a kind of gift, from God”, Harper then says, “But everywhere, things are collapsing, lies surfacing, systems of defense giving away. . . . This is why, Joe, this is why I shouldn’t be left alone (Millennium Approaches 17)”.

Her ambivalent concern on the total deconstruction of the world correlates to Americans’ “Cold War anxiety” on the possible nuclear threats in the 1980s (Garner, Jr. 3). By illustrating Harper’s complex identity in the play, Kushner is able to portray the types of ambivalent emotions (fear, terror, and uncertainty) that people felt in the destructive events of history at that time period. As imaginative and abstract as this drama is, Kushner portrays the stagnant identity of Roy Cohn in his play to figuratively allude the inert views of the gay community in the 80s society of America.

In his playwright notes, Kushner briefly explains how he makes use of the real Roy Cohn’s attributions in history to develop his fictional Roy in his play. Based on what Roy has done in the past, his illegal maneuvers during the trial of Ethel Rosenberg make his overall identity cynical and egotistic. Ideally, Kushner effectively make use of these two traits in his version of Roy. In a similar perspective, the fictional Roy knows how to get his way in almost anything throughout the story because of his possession of “clout” in society (Millennium Approaches 45).

He emphasizes his powerful stature by telling his doctor, “I can pick up this phone, punch fifteen numbers” and “in under five minutes”, he can reach the First Lady on the other end of the phone line (Millennium Approaches 45). In this scene, Roy reasons with Henry about his social “image” as a heterosexual lawyer in New York. If his original diagnosis of AIDS has caught news to the media, then Roy’s static identity will be destroyed. Yet, Kushner doesn’t convey this. Instead, Roy says, “AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer” to convince Henry hat he must maintain his appealing status for the public (Millennium Approaches 46).

Ideally, Roy has no intention to reveal his homosexual self, nor does he show any sympathy for gays. His biased statement, “Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout. ” intriguingly portrays his psychological denial of his true identity (Millennium Approaches 45). The selfish desire of social redemption that Roy is struggling to fulfill represents the “disturbing symptoms of the larger culture’s inauthentic response to suffering” that Kushner is trying to convey in his play (Omer-Shaman 11).

Symbolically, Kushner illustrates Roy’s static identity of social redemption in order to depict the general public’s unchanging perspectives against the gay community in the 80s society of America. Interestingly, Prior’s enduring identity in Kushner’s play represent the hope for change in the American society at the time. Kushner makes Prior’s character very apparent and symbolic to his readers; he is a homosexual who is diagnosed with the AIDS at this particular time period – perhaps it’s a historical reference in Kushner’s part.

At some parts of his play, Kushner descriptively portrays Prior’s bloody wounds and entrails of his tormenting disease to represent foreshadowing moments of “Christian redemption” in the latter story of the drama – Prior’s meetings with the Angels (Ogden 6). Similarly, as one critic depicts, the blood lesions that Prior suffers through creates a slight correlation to Christ “bleeding wounds” and pains from a biblical viewpoint (Ogden 6). How these religious connections tie in with Prior’s enduring personality starts by his own fantasy with the Angel in his apartment.

Unlike Roy’s character, Prior openly says, “I can handle pressure, I am a gay man and I am used to pressure, to trouble, I am tough and strong,” as he courageously calms himself in the mist of the heavenly circumstances (Millennium Approaches 117). Ideally, this scene of the play does not only depict how brave Prior is, but also how strong and confident Prior is to reveal his true self. Furthermore, the fact that he says, “I am used to pressure”, depicts his enduring identity to overcome the social pressures he has as a homosexual.

Similarly, Kushner conveys this familiar perspective of Prior’s in his last meeting with the Angel in heaven. In this scene, Prior rejects the Angel’s prophet of stasis in the final scenes of the drama. He tells the Angel, “We live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that’s it, that’s the best I can do… Bless me anyway. I want more life. ” to conclude his declination as he exits heaven (Perestroika 133). What Prior says to the Angel as he leaves heaven is ironic to what he has been through in the whole play.

Despite how much he has suffered from his tragic life, Prior’s enduring soul still wants “more life” to essentially hope for better things to come in the world as it continues to spin forward (Perestroika 133). Remarkably, Kushner utilizes Prior’s enduring soul to symbolize the hope for change in America during the chaotic messes within 80s society. Although the character’s personalities portray an abstractive and imaginative perspective in the play, Kushner subtly make use of this unique aspect to correlate the realistic concepts conveyed in his play’s theme of identity.

In general, the dialogues in play may sound a bit fantasized – even strange. Yet somehow, Kushner is able to connect his fictional characters’ lives in his play to the lives of the 1980s society of America. Because of this ironic and interesting comparison between fiction and reality, Kushner is able to express the real, dramatic emotions that are felt during that time in history. By capturing the historical events and moments of the 1980s, Kushner subtly reveals the sense of reality of his drama through the surreal identities of his characters.