Friday, April 26, 2013

What are the most important lifestyle choices one could make to protect the brain?

     Important lifestyle choices, such as exercising, reducing stress, healthy diets, and mental exercises can help one to protect his or her brain. As for exercise, scientific evidence points to it as the best way to protect the brain (Lee, 2013). Lee (2013), "brisk walking for 90 minutes a week — 15 minutes a day — has been associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease" (para. 10). Lee (2013), "tests on human subjects who have been injected with the stress hormone cortisol have shown that stress can temporarily impair learning and recall (para. 11). Reducing stress helps to not impair learning and recall. A Mediterranean diet, which consists of fish rich in Omega 3 fats, olive oil, fresh fruits vegetables and fruits that contain antioxidants, which are healthy for the brain (Lee, 2013). Mental exercises are just as important as physical exercises. Lee (2013), "after a two-week course of brain exercises, one woman’s performance on a memory test improved by 200 percent, Small noted" (para. 12).

Lee, C. (2013). UCLA Today. Retrieved from

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why do you think there is a reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease in highly educated people?

      The most common form of dementia, is Alzheimer's disease. Over time Alzheimer's disease gradually gets worse. I think highly educated individuals have a reduce incidence of Alzheimer's disease because higher education has an effect on the level of cognitive function, memory, and thinking skills. Science Daily (2012), "people with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 21, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology" (para. 1). Higher education protects or creates a buffer against the effects of dementia on cognitive reserves, or on the brain (Science Daily, 2012).

Science Daily. (2012). Retrieved from

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What evidence has biopsychology provided in the argument that sexuality is biological and not environmental?

     In 1957 the first psychological test occurred to determine if there was a biological explanation for homosexuality. This test was undertaken by American psychologist Karen Hooker (The Mother of the Homosexual Movement), who studied the relationship between psychological development and homosexuality and illness. By studying both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and matching their intelligence, educational levels, and ages, all subjects were then given three psychological tests, which were the Make-a-Picture-Story Test (MAPS), the Thematic Apperception Test, and the Rorschach (Boston University, 2012). With finding no major differences in the answers given by the groups of heterosexuals and homosexuals because of the similar scores, Hooker was able to concluded that sexuality is not based on environmental factors (Boston University, 2012). Boston University (2012), "in 1973, based on Hooker’s findings, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders and in 1975, released a public statement that homosexuality was not a mental disorder" (para. 3).
     There have been other studies designed at determining whether homosexuality was or was not a genetic cause. Boston University (2012), "among the most notable were a series of studies Pillard and J. Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, conducted in the early 1990s that found that homosexuality is largely biologically determined, not environmentally influenced" (para. 4). In their identical twin, fraternal twin brothers, and adopted nonrelated brothers studies to determine if there was a genetics could explain homosexuality, they found that when one identical twin was gay there was a 52 percent chance that the other was also gay (Boston University, 2012). There was a 22 percent chance for fraternal twins, and only 5 percent for nonrelated adopted brothers (Boston University, 2012).
Boston University. (2012). Retrieved from

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What differences are known to exist between male and female brains?

      Research has shown that differences do exit between male and female brains, and the differences are of distinctive ways. Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge, Bernard Crespi of Simon Fraser University, and LSE colleague Christopher Badcock have pinpointed two distinctive ways that male and female brains differ (Kanazawa, 2013). The male brain can be characterized by systemizing tendencies and mechanistic thinking, and the female brain can be characterized by empathizing tendencies or mentalistic thinking (Kanazawa, 2013). Systemizing is the drive to explore, analyze, and construct a system (Kanazawa, 2013). Empathizing is the drive to identify another person’s thoughts and emotions, and to respond to those thoughts and emotions with an appropriate emotion (Kanazawa, 2013). All men do not have a strong male brain, and all women do not have a strong female brain, although the average differences between men and women are that men are more likely to have the male brain and women are more likely to have the female brain (Kanazawa, 2013).
     As for size, the male brain is 10% to 15% larger than the female brain. As for overall weight, the average weight of male's brain weighs 11-12% more than the average female's brain. Other differences between male and female brains are certain structural differences, which researchers believe may help balance out the overall size differences between males and females. Studies have shown that parts of the frontal lobe, which are responsible for decision-making and problem-solving, and the limbic cortex, which are responsible for regulating emotions, are larger in the brains of women (Edmonds, 2013). In the brains of men the parietal cortex, that is involved in space perception, and the amygdala, that regulates social and sexual behavior are larger (Edmonds, 2013). The male brain have approximately 6.5 times more gray matter than the brain of a female, but the female brain has nearly 10 times more white matter than the brain of male (Edmonds, 2013).
     Another difference is that in the brains of a female, neurons are packed in tighter (closer together) than in the brains of a male. Edmonds (2013), "this proximity, in conjunction with speedy connections facilitated by the white matter, is another reason why women's brains work faster" (para. 4). In some female's brains on certain layers of the cortex, there may be as many 12 percent more neurons (responsible for signals coming in and out of the brain) than in the brain of a male (Edmonds, 2013). Although, this does not predict intelligence or IQ scores, which scientists have determined by conducting imaging studies on how women and men think. Further research may determine more differences between male and female brains.
Kanazawa, S. (2013). Psychology Today. Retrieved from
Edmonds, M. (2013). How Stuff Works. Retrieved from

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brain Structures and Functions

Basal ganglia
Located within the cerebral hemispheres, it is a component of the corpus striatum, and consists of the substantia nigra and subthalamic nucleus (Bailey, 2013). Its functions are that it controls cognition, movement coordination, and voluntary movement.
Corpus collosum
A thick band of nerve fibers, which divides the cerebrum into right and left hemispheres, and connects the brain’s right and left sides, which allows both hemispheres to communicate (Bailey, 2013). Also it transfers sensory, motor, and cognitive information between hemispheres (Bailey, 2013). Its function are that it controls communication between the brain hemispheres, eye movement, maintains the balance of arousal and attention, and tactile localization.
Temporal lobe
One of the four main lobes of cerebral cortex (Bailey, 2013). Its functions are auditory perception, memory, speech, and emotional response.
Occipital lobe
One of the four main lobes of the cerebral cortex. Its function is visual perception and color recognition.
Frontal lobe
One of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex. Its functions are problem solving, decision-making, and planning.
The most highly developed and largest portion of the brain, consisting of gyri, which are folded bulges that create deep furrows (Bailey, 2013). Its functions involving the body include motor function, organization and planning, touch sensation, determining intelligence, determining personality, thinking, perceiving, producing and understanding language, and interpretation of sensory impulses (Bailey, 2013).
Spinal cord
Composed of bundles of nerve fibers and it runs from the brain through a canal, which is in the center of the bones of the spine (University of Pittsburgh, 2013). Its functions are that of a neural transfer network; it sends signals to and from the brain and the rest of the body, and it is capable of regulating a certain amount of its own reflexes.
Composed of white matter and a thin outer layer of folded gray matter, and it contains numerous amounts of neurons used for data processing (Bailey, 2013).  Its functions are that it controls movement coordination, maintains balance, and equilibrium.
A portion of the hindbrain. Its functions are that it controls autonomic functions, such as digestion, breathing, sneezing and swallowing, heart and blood vessel functioning, coordination of body movement (Bailey, 2013). It also relays nerve signals and messages between the spinal cord and the brain.
A portion of the hindbrain which connects the cerebral cortex and the medulla oblongata (Bailey, 2013). Its functions are arousal, sleep, controls autonomic functions, and it relays sensory information between the cerebellum and cerebrum.
A horseshoe shaped paired structure of the limbic system, and  its functions are navigation, spatial orientation, emotional responses, the consolidation of new memories, and acts as a memory indexer (Bailey, 2013).
It is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located within the temporal lobe (Bailey, 2013). Its functions are memory, arousal, emotional responses, hormonal secretions, and autonomic responses associated with fear (Bailey, 2013).
Pituitary gland
A small endocrine organ, which is divided into a posterior lobe, intermediate lobe, and anterior lobe. Its functions are growth hormone production, endocrine function regulation, production of hormones that act on other endocrine glands and hormones that act on muscles and kidneys, and it stores hormones that are produced by the hypothalamus (Bailey, 2013).
It is similar to the size of a pearl and is a structure of the limbic system. Its functions are autonomic, endocrine, and motor function control, homeostasis, water and food intake regulation, and sleep-wake cycle regulation (Bailey, 2013).
A large dual lobed mass of grey matter located under the cerebral cortex (Bailey, 2013). Its functions are motor control, control of sleep and wake states, it relays sensory signals to the cerebral cortex, and it receives visual, somatosensory, and auditory sensory signals.

University of Pittsburgh. (2013). Retrieved from

How would you describe the damage to the motor pathway in the brain of a person with Parkinson's Disease?

     What causes Parkinson's disease is still unknown today, however with the development of an animal model of Parkinson’s disease much is learned about the disease (Knierim, 2013). Knierim (2013), "Parkinson’s disease results from the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta" (para. 14). Which, is the cause of the damage to the motor pathways in an individual with Parkinson's disease. When the substantia nigra neurons are lost this puts a hold on or stops the output of motor cortex, which inhibits voluntary motor commands from descending to the spinal cord and brain stem (Knierim, 2013). Substantia nigra activity excites the direct pathway and inhibits the indirect pathway (Knierim, 2013). The direct pathway excites the motor cortex and the indirect pathway inhibits motor cortex. Which, disrupts the inhibition and excitation balance in the basal ganglia and the excitation of motor cortex is reduced. The resulting symptoms that occur include resting tremors, and severe bradykinesia or akinesia. In the advanced cases of individuals with Parkinson's disease there is difficulty initiating movements. However, what may still be normal are involuntary, reflexive movements. 
Knierim, J. (2013). Neuroscience Online. Retrieved from

How does experience affect object recognition and visual perception?

     Experience plays a key role in object recognition and visual perception. Visual perception is one sense of an individual's body that allows his or her brain to interpret what is seen. Object recognition is an individual's ability to recognize an object and its physical properties. Experience shapes both object recognition and visual perception. An individual's brain guesses at what that individual sees based on his or her past experiences. Visual perceptions are hypotheses based on an individual's stored information and past experiences. Through experiences an individual can determine and understand what an object actual is, how it relates to him or her as far as its purpose, and determine how it relates to the world  instead of perceiving the object for what it is not. Object recognition and visual perception differ from individual to individual based on pervious past experiences.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Relationship Strategies

     Before one can understand which strategies one could use to strengthen a relationship and know-how said relationship would be strengthened, one must know when relationships begin and how they are developed. Relationships begin and develop when one is an infant. This first relationship is a development between an infant, the infant’s mother, or father, or both, or caregiver. This relationship is based on the needs of the infant and how the mother, or father, or both, or caregiver is available and responsive to said needs. In this relationship love begins.
     For one to strengthen a relationship the strategies that could be used are to carve out time to talk, handle conflict constructively, express admiration, show affection, create shared meaning, and model Michelangelo. If one uses these strategies in their relationship and has their partner do the same then said relationship can only grow stronger. The reason the relationship will grow stronger is because by applying said strategies one shows a genuine interest in their relationship and their partner. Which, pulls their partner closer into the relationship for further development and growth. By using said strategies one shows their partner they are willing to invest in themselves and in their partner to strengthen and better their relationship.
One so willing to instill the strategies of carving out time to talk, handling conflict constructively, expressing admiration, showing affection, creating shared meaning, and modeling Michelangelo shows their true commitment to themselves, their partner, and their relationship.

Positive Psychology Themes

    Positive Psychology
     Positive psychology tries to build the human strengths by first assess and understanding them. As human beings we all are creators of our own social and personal worlds. We as humans have much to gain by seeing that we are self-aware and by seeing that we are in charge of said means of building our own personal and social worlds instead of waiting for external forces to build them for us. The belief in the ability to have the choice, the chance to change, and control what influences any goals that we set and how much effort that we use to pursue said goals. People that are able to function with a high level of skill are the most responsible when it come to owning and answering their own actions. 
Creators and Creatures
     We as humans are not just creators of our own personal and social worlds, but we are creatures of them as well. Unlike other creatures we human creatures are self-aware and use this self-awareness to draw from feedback from a factor of biology that occur now and that occurred in our past. What occurred in our past and what occurs now molds our behaviors. As creatures we need an understanding of what affects us and how it affects us externally. So that we are capable of making needed choices that will enable a state of well-being in all factors of our lives.
     By applying and using the scientific method one can use psychology to see past all non-truths and determine all truths. This is keen to determining and understanding of subjective well-being and civic virtue. Humans as both creatures and creators have two main needs. These needs are of belonging and of autonomy.
Caryle L. / The University of Phoenix. (2004). Introduction. Retrieved from Caryle L. / The University of Phoenix, PSY 220 website.

Intelligence vs Wisdom: Senator John Edwards

     The public figure I have chosen that I think acted unwisely is Senator John Edwards. Senator John Edwards was married to Elizabeth Edwards for 33 years and they had five children from their marriage, although one child died.  In 1998 John Edwards was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of North Carolina. In 2004 Senator Edwards became the running mate of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as the Democratic candidate for vice-president. George W. Bush was elected President that year, so Senator proceeded to run for The President of the United States in 2008. During 2008 campaign Senator Edwards had an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, who at the time was one of his campaign workers. This extramarital affair, lead to the birth of a daughter and lead to Senator Edwards using campaign money for personal use to pay Rielle Hunter and to cover up the affair.
Emotional Intelligence
     Senator Edwards lacked and still may lack emotional intelligence. Senators Edwards lack of emotional intelligence lead to him having an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, fathering a child with her, and by the way he abandoned his wife Elizabeth Edwards and their four children. Senator Edwards’ interpersonal relationship with his wife and children he had with his wife showed a lack of insensitivity toward their feelings and family status. Senator Edwards showed arrogant behavior by having an extramarital affair in the first place, because he was married with four children. Senator Edwards showed toward his wife and children a lacked emotional perception and expression, emotional understanding, emotional facilitation of thought,  and emotional management, because he forgot what it meant to be married and to have children from said marriage.
Successful Intelligence
      I think Senator Edwards also lacked successful intelligence. As a lawyer, as a public figure, as a Senator, and as a Presidential candidate Senator Edwards lacked successful intelligence. By using public funded campaign funds to pay Rielle Hunter and to use said funds to cover up his extramarital affair. Senator Edwards did not think wisely in the three different ways that makes one successfully intelligent, which are analytically, creatively, and practically.
     Senator Edwards’ unwise judgments were the lack of emotional and successful intelligence.
Bolt, M. (2004). Pursuing human strengths: A positive psychology guide. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

The Nature-Nurture Issue

     The pro-nature and pro-nurture perspectives center on nature vs. nurture, which may be the oldest debated issues in psychology. This centuries old debate within psychology by psychologists remains an issue because there is no definitive proof of either prospective. The issue at hand is weather behavioral traits are inherited (inborn) or learned after birth. The belief of the pro-nature perspective is that behavioral traits are inherited or also known as genetic inheritance. While the belief of the pro-nurture perspective is that behavioral traits are learned also believed to be the result of environmental factors. This perspective is the belief that the brain begins as a blank slate, also known as tabula rasa.   
     I think it is flawed to ask how much of a particular behavior is because of genetics or experience; because there is not a definitive way to determine if behavioral traits are the product of nature or nurture. I believe nature and nurture both affect behaviors. Churchland asserts “the physiological-or-psychological debate and the nature-or-nurture debate are based on incorrect ways of thinking about the biology of behavior, and a new generation of questions is directing the current boom in biopsychological research” (as cited in Pinel, 2011). There may be one exception and that is if one has a mental disorder at birth which will determine behaviors. One may become aware that they seem to have the same behavioral traits as their parents, but there is no definitive way to tell if those traits are inherited from one’s parents or learned from interactions with one’s parents. It is appropriate to separate the contributions of genetics and the experiences when measuring the development of differences among individuals because not human creatures and non-human creatures share the same environments or genes. Genes and environmental differences will always very.

Cerebral Lateralization

Hemispheres of the Brain
Our brain is divided into two main hemispheres, the left and the right. Each hemisphere is dominant in certain functions. Click either the left or the right hemisphere of the brain below and fill in the hemisphere’s appropriate functions. 

LEFT HEMISPHERE                            RIGHT HEMISPHERE

LEFT HEMISPHERE: Vision: words and letters, Audition: language sounds, Touch: NA, Movement: complex movement and ipsilateral movement, Memory: verbal memory and findings of meanings in memories, Language: speech, reading, writing, and arithmetic, Spatial Ability: NA

RIGHT HEMISPHERE: Vision: faces, geometric patterns, and emotional expression, Audition: non-language sounds and music, Touch: tactile patterns and Braille, Movement: movement in spinal patterns, Memory: nonverbal memory and perceptual aspects of memories, Language: emotional content, Spatial Ability: Mental rotation of shapes, geometry, direction, and distance

·         Sodium Amytal
     The sodium amytal test of language lateralization is normally administrated to patients before neurosurgery (Pinel, 2011). Neurosurgeons prepare and plan for surgery after the results are ready from each patient’s sodium amytal test. The results are important to avoid damaging any areas of the cortex; likely to be involved in language (Pinel, 2011). When this test takes places the carotid arteries, one at a time on both sides of one’s neck are the sites where a small amount of sodium amytal is injected (Pinel, 2011). Pinel, (2011), “the injection anesthetizes the hemisphere on that side for a few minutes, thus allowing the capacities of the other hemisphere to be assessed” (p. 413). While this test is administered twice separately, patients are asked to recite a different series of phrases such as days of the week and to name pictures of common objects (Pinel, 2011). Once the hemisphere normally the left hemisphere, which is specialized for speech is anesthetized, the patient is rendered completely mute for a minute or two and once the ability to talk returns, there are errors of serial order and naming (Pinel, 2011).
·         Dichotic Listening
     The dichotic listening test is administered to healthy patients because it is noninvasive (Pinel, 2011). During the standard test three pairs of spoken digits are presented through earphones; the digits of each pair are presented simultaneously, one to each ear (Pinel, 2011). This is where a patient will hear digits like 1, 4, and 6 in one ear while hearing 7, 9, and 10 in the other ear; afterward the patient is asked to recite all digits that were heard. Kimura found that most people report slightly more of the digits presented to the right ear than the left, which is indicative of left-hemisphere specialization for language; although patients identified by the sodium amytal test as having right-hemisphere specialization for language performed better with the left ear than the right (Pinel, 2011). Although sounds from each ear are projected to both hemispheres, Kimura believed that contralateral connections are stronger and take precedence when two different sounds are simultaneously competing for access to the same cortical auditory centers (p. 414).
         ·            Functional Brain Imaging
     The use of functional brain-imaging is how lateralization of function is studied. One’s activity in the brain is monitored by positron emission tomography (PET) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while activities are achieved such as reading (Pinel, 2011). Functional brain-imaging techniques show that there is significantly more activity in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere through the use of language tests (Pinel, 2011).   
·         Comparing effects of unilateral lesions
     Lesions in the left-hemisphere are more likely than lesions in the right-hemisphere lesions to produce ipsilateral motor problems; although the effects of unilateral brain lesions indicates that the right hemisphere is superior to the left as far as performance on some tests of emotion (Pinel, 2011).  
Pinel, J. P. J. (2011). Biopsychology (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Two Common Sleep Theories: Recuperation and Circadian

1. Sleep restores the body to a state of homeostasis.

2. Sleep plays no role in physiological functioning.

3. We become tired when it is dark out.

4. Function of sleep is to restore energy levels.

5. Function of sleep is to conserve energy.

6. We become tired from wakefulness.

7. We sleep until the body is physiologically sound.

8. We sleep based on an internal timing mechanism.

9. Sleep depends on vulnerability from predators.

10. Sleep deprivation may cause behavioral disturbances.

11. We have a sleep-wake cycle.

12. When we sleep is based on some evolutionary aspects.


1.      What are the main differences between the recuperation and circadian theories?
The main belief of the recuperation theory is that if is awake one’s homeostasis will be disrupted in one’s body in one way or another and sleep is needed to restore it (Pinel, 2011). The belief of the circadian theory is that one will sleep according to a sleep-wake cycle. In this theory sleep does not have any effect of physiological functioning.
2.      Which theory do you most agree with? Explain.
I agree more so with the recuperation theory. My beliefs are that one’s physiological stability is affected by sleep and is restored by sleep. This seems to point to the instance that when one awakens their physiological stability is sound, but as they remain awake this stability lessons and needs to be restored. I believe that fatigue is brought on by a lack of energy, although food may restore the lack of some energy; only sleep can fully restore it.  
      3.   Describe the stages of sleep. In which stage do we dream?
As far as sleep there are four stages, also referred to as sleep EEG. In stage 1 there is a low-voltage, high frequency signal that is similar to, that of alert wakefulness, but slower than (Pinel, 2011). During stage 2, there is slightly higher amplitude and a lower frequency than the stage 1, punctuated by two characteristic wave forms; K complexes and sleep spindles (Pinel, 2011). In stage 3, there is an occasional presence of delta waves, and they are the largest and slowest EEG waves, with a frequency of 1 to 2 Hz (Pinel, 2011). In stage 4, there is a predominance of delta waves (Pinel, 2011). During sleep after one reaches stage 4, one will remain at stage 4 for a time; then one will retreat back through the stages of sleep to stage 1 (Pinel, 2011). The majority of time when one dreams is during REM sleep.
      4.   What are the five common beliefs about dreaming?
The five common beliefs about dreaming is the first, there are external stimuli can become incorporated into their dreams (Pinel, 2011). Second, there is a belief that dreams last only for an instant (Pinel, 2011). Third, there are people who claim they have no dreams. Fourth, there is the common assumption that penile erections are indicative of dreams that include sexual content (Pinel, 2011). Last, there is a belief that sleeptalking and sleepwalking occur only when one dreams (Pinel, 2011).
      5.   What are the two common theories about dreams? Which of the two theories do you agree with? 
Two common theories about dreams are the Freudian theory of dreams and Hobson’s activation-synthesis theory. I agree more so with the activation-synthesis theory by Hobson, which states that the information provided to the cortex when one is in REM sleep is random and that the resulting dream is the cortex’s effort to make sense of these random signals (Pinel, 2012). As far as my dreams they are always random and never just dreams of what I wish for and are rarely based on sex. As for my children, who I asked their dreams are always random dreams based on different subjects and never sexually based.

Assignment: Eating

Part I—Dispelling Myths

Set point theories explain all weight issues in human beings.
Satiety happens when the stomach is distended.
Hunger is controlled in the LMH/VMH areas of the brain.
Peptides in the gut send satiety and hunger signals to the brain.
The neurotransmitter serotonin is involved in hunger and satiety.
Settling point theories take lifestyle changes into account.
The nutritive density of the foods we eat play no role in hunger/satiety.
Set point theories are used to design fad diets and quick fix diet schemes.

Part II—Applying What You Know

1.      Sally asked, “My parents were both obese.  Is that why I am?”
     No this is not why you are obese. Although there is a genetic link for obesity, there is no guarantee that you will be obese because your parents are; obese people are those whose energy intake has exceeded their energy output (Pinel, 2011). Your parents, and you may just need to consume more energy than others which is a sign for a preference for the taste of high-calorie foods (Pinel, 2011). Rodin, (1985) asserts “some consume more because they were raised in families and/or cultures that promote excessive eating; and some consume more because they have particularly large cephalic-phase responses to the sight or smell of food” (as cited in Pinel, 2011).
2.      Bob asked, “My girlfriend and I eat together for every meal.  We eat the same amounts and types of foods, but she never gains weight like I do.  Why is that?”
     Bob, your girlfriend and you seem to have differences in energy input and energy output. She may eat the same amount of as you, but her energy intake may not exceed her energy output. Were as, your energy input exceeds your energy output. As well as she dissipates excess consumed energy faster than you. There are also other factors that may affect your girlfriend and you; like not enough exercise, basal metabolic rate, the ability not to react to fat increases by diet-induced thermogenesis, and NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (Pinel, 2011). Bob the genetic differences in you and your girlfriend also factor into energy metabolism and body weight.
3.      Suzy asked, “I have been seriously dieting for several months.  I don’t eat much now because every time I do, I just feel sick.  Do you know why this is?
     Suzy, you seem to be suffering from the disorder called anorexia nervosa. Brooks and Melnik assert “aversive effects of meals are much greater in people who have been eating little” (as cited in Pinel, 2011). You have not been eating enough so there will be adverse effects such as you feeling sick. Adverse effects of eating are signs that you have undergone food deprivation. Any meal or amounts of food you consume may produce a variety of conditioned taste aversions that reduce the motivation to eat (Pinel, 2011). Suzy, you seem to be severely undernourished.
4.      Talia asked, “My mom says that I became anorexic because I have been reading too many Cosmo magazines and want to look like those girls.  Maybe I did, but I really just don’t crave food.  What do you think it is?”
     Talia, you may be suffering from either the disorders called anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Although you do not seem to suffer the adverse affects of eating like those who suffer from anorexia nervosa. Although bulimics are less capable of controlling their appetites, this may be why you do not crave food. You seem to have entered into a cycle of starvation, but I am not sure if you are bingeing and purging (Pinel, 2011). You seem to have a distorted body image. You may see yourself as less attractive and maybe fatter then the girls in Cosmo magazine. You also may be suffering from a combination of both disorders or from one then the other and vice versa.    

History of Personality Psychology

     Personality psychology is the centerpiece of psychology as a whole, and it is with reference to individual persons that many of the most important theories, findings, and applications in psychology must be oriented (McAdams, 2009).
First Period of Personality Psychology 
     The first period of personality psychology was from approximately 1930 to 1950 was marked by the establishment of the field and the development of a number of general systems (McAdams, 2009). Comprehensive conceptual systems for understanding the person were proposed by personality psychologists during the 1930s and 1940s (McAdams, 2009). During this first period of personality psychology personality was established as a vigorous field of scientific inquiry in university settings by Gordon W. Allport and his greatest contribution is probably the textbook he published in 1937: Personality: A Psychological Interpretation (McAdams, 2009). The importance of this first period can be seen as the establishment and development of personality psychology and Gordon W. Allport’s work still defines personality psychology today.
Second Period of Personality Psychology
     The second period of personality psychology was from 1950 to 1970. Departments of psychology are more specialized and have grown, spanning professional specializations in personality-related areas as counseling, clinical, and in industrial/organizational psychology (McAdams, 2009). During this period research efforts were focused on elaborating and the examination of certain personality constructs. These were the need for achievement, anxiety, extraversion, as well as needs, motives, and traits. The importance of this was the ability to measure and the impact on behavior could be observed. During this period grand theories of personality psychology established in the 1930s and 1940s were put to the side in order for more focus on controversies and problems which concerned personality measurement. The importance of this was issue was that it brought about debates in personality psychology over the efficacy of trait-based versus situation-based approaches to predicting and understanding social behavior (McAdams, 2009).
Third Period of Personality Psychology
     The third period of personality psychology started around 1970 and is still present today. Buss, Cantor, Hogan, Johnson, Briggs, Maddi, McAdams, Pervin, and West asserted “the phase began with critique and pervasive doubt concerning the legitimacy and worth of personality studies, but it evolved by the mid-1980s into a broad sense of renewal and revitalization” (as cited in McAdams, 2009). Personality research has and will continue to be sensitive and more sensitive to external situational factors and complex interactions of internal personality variables in the prediction of behavior (McAdams). Now there are new research methodologies in place that further the scientific study of people. The importance of this third and continuing period is that there has been growth and a need for further growth and understanding in personality psychology. 
All three periods have provided key roles in the development and advancement of personality psychology.

Erikson’s Timeline

       McAdams (2009), “Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development lays out eight stages of life through which individuals progress, from birth to death” (p. 348). The first stage trust vs. mistrust takes place at the age of infancy. The second stage autonomy vs. shame and doubt takes place at the age of early childhood. The third stage initiative vs. guilt takes place at the age of childhood or play age. The fourth stage industry vs. inferiority takes place at the age of childhood or school age. The fifth stage identity vs. role confusion takes place at the age of adolescence and young adulthood. The sixth stage intimacy vs. isolation takes place at the age of young adulthood. The seventh stage generativity vs. stagnation or self-absorption takes place at the age of mature adulthood. The eighth stage ego integrity vs. despair takes place at old age. These stages set forth an agenda for psychological individuality by specifying the central psychosocial concerns one faces during that period in his or her life (McAdams, 2009).
     As of today, I find myself in the sixth stage intimacy vs. isolation of Erikson’s eight stages of life. This stage takes place during young adulthood, between the ages of 18 to 40. I am close to the end of this stage, seeing that I will be 38 at the end of this year. The psychosocial issue of this stage is of course intimacy vs. isolation. The associated virtue of this stage is love.  Although I am in the intimacy vs. isolation stage the identity vs. role confusion stage contributed to my current stage. In the identity vs. role confusion stage two questions were asked; “how do I fit into the adult world” and “who am I” which enabled me to have a fully formed sense of self (Cherry, 2012). Having a fully formed sense of self was essential for me to form intimate relationships (Cherry, 2012). Therefore I answered the question of this stage “how can I love” unconsciously.
     I knew one day I wanted love and wanted children of my own to love. I unconsciously knew I could love by loving someone else. I believe I unconsciously have loved others by just forming intimate relationships with them. Unconsciously love has happened like with my ex-wife, I unconsciously knew I could love her by fostering intimacy with her. Three times now I have had children and each time I have unconsciously just loved them when they were born without thinking to love them. I once was married and had three children, but now I am a single father of three children. I may indeed become married again or at least form an intimate relationship with a significant other therefore, I choose intimacy over isolation.
     My youngest child of three children Xavier, who is 4, is in the third stage initiative vs. guilt. This coming fall Xavier will enter preschool or Head Start at the same school that my other two children his brother and sister attend. What Xavier experienced in the autonomy vs. shame and doubt stage contributes to his current stage. In this stage the psychosocial issue is of course initiative vs. guilt. The associated virtue of this stage is purpose. During this stage Xavier has started to assert his power and control over the environment through directing play and other social interactions (Cherry, 2012). He can do this by taking initiative through planning activities, accomplishing tasks, and facing challenges (Cherry, 2012). In this stage, I as a parent and caregiver need to encourage his exploration and help him to make the appropriate choices (Cherry, 2012).
     I know I can never be discouraging or dismissive of him, because I do not want him to feel ashamed and become too dependent of others. Xavier’s play and imagination are an important role of this stage and his sense of initiative will be reinforced by giving him the freedom and encouragement to play (Cherry, 2012). “How can I be powerful” is the central question of this stage (McAdams, 2009).  I believe Xavier unconsciously has answered this question. Although he has asked several times how he can be strong like me, his father and even tells me he is strong like me. At his age I think he has become powerful in his actions as a loving son and brother, actions of powerful friendships, imagination, thoughts, skills, and awareness of who he is within our family. I believe he answered the question unconsciously, but I may be wrong, and he may have indeed answered it consciously. Xavier’s success in this stage will lead to his sense of purpose, and failure will result in a sense of guilt (Cherry, 2012).
     In my life I have gone through six stages of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Each stage has contributed to the next stage. I am nearly at the end of the sixth stage intimacy vs. isolation, and it will contribute to the next stage generativity vs. stagnation or self-absorption. Throughout these six stages I have gone through and experienced six psychosocial issues, six central questions, and six associated virtues. If time is on my side I have two more stages to experience of psychosocial issues, central questions and associated virtues.
McAdams, D. P. (2009). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Cherry, K. (2012). Psychology. Retrieved from
Cherry, K. (2012). Psychology. Retrieved from

Character Evaluation: Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski

     Walt Kowalski, portrayed by Clint Eastwood, in “Grand Torino” is a Polish American, Korean War veteran who served in the US Army veteran and is a retired Ford factory worker. Walt was recently widowed after 50 years of marriage and starts to isolate himself from the rest of his family, namely his son’s, their wives, and children. All the while Walt has to deal with a bad cough resulting in blood every time he coughs and is dealing with an invasion of Hmong descendent into his long time neighborhood. A Hmong family named the Vang Lors, moves next door which really puts Walt on edge, a man living alone except with the company of Daisy, a labrador retriever.
     Neuroticism can best describe Walt Kowalski when Grand Torino begins. He seems to be dealing with depression from losing of his wife, who he loved dearly for 50 years. Along with his depression comes angry hostility, because of his wife’s death and from the pressure of his son’s who seem to be distant and non-understanding of Walt’s pain. On top of that angry hostility surfaces as well because Walt believes he is losing his beloved neighborhood to an invasion of Hmong residents and the local Catholic priest is constantly visiting Walt and tries to convince him to open him up to talking about his pains and tries to convince Walt to come to church. Although Walt does display conscientiousness because, he was a war veteran, a dedicated Ford factory worker and devoted husband. He is self-discipline and orderly, because he resists the temptation of letting his life fall apart because the world around him is changing vastly and dramatically. A recently deceased wife and new unknown neighbors of an unfamiliar origin is quite much to handle.
     As Grand Torino continues Walt displays openness to experience as he becomes familiar with his new neighbors the Vang Lors and by spending time with Sue Vang Lor, the daughter of the Vang Lors and comes to terms with the death of his wife. Feelings and actions are shown by Walt toward the Vang Lors as he has sympathy for the young Hmong neighbor Thao Vang Lor, who tries to steal his prized Ford Grand Torino. Instead of turning the young man in to the authorities Walt teaches him values of what it is to be a man and a provider for one’s family. Walt also teaches the Thao skills and trades that help him obtain a job with one of Walt’s friends. Walt displays agreeableness as he opens his heart to the Vang Lors and shows modesty as he starts to realize he is the same as his neighbors just another human being living life as one’s sees fit. He develops trust with the Vang Lors and starts to come to their aid whenever help is need. He also allows the Thao to drive his prized Ford Grand Torino when he has a date with a young woman.
     Life seems to be progressing along for Walt and his neighbors in positive ways and extraversion flourishes in Walt. Warmth has filled Walt’s heart and he shows warmth and gregariousness to the Vang Lor’s and considers Thao and Sue his own children. Positive emotions encompass Walt’s life again, until one fateful day Fong "Spider" a relative of the Vang Lor’s and his gang member friends continue to cause trouble for the Thao and Sue. These gang members are those whose idea it was to still Walt’s car in the first place. The gang members take action against Walt and the Vang Lors by first performing a drive-by style shooting by firing shots into the Vang Lor’s home, then they kidnap, beat, and rape Sue the sister of Thao. Walt is ready to take action against the gang members in order to free the Vang Lors for the oppression of the gang and allow Thao and Sue freedom. Walt shows a level of altruism rarely seen by going to the gang member’s home and baiting them to shot and kill him by pretending to pull a gun out of his jacket, but it was only a lighter. Walt sacrificed his life for others, for the well being of the Vang Lors.
     Walt Kowalski displayed angry hostility and was a depressed man until the Vang Lors changed his life. Walt had a reason to live life again and a reason to share his life with others. As the relationship grew between Walt and the Vang Lors he grew into a tender-minded and gregarious neighbor and father figure who is the definition of altruism. In Walt’s will he left all his worldly possessions to the church his wife attended, to the Vang Lors, and left his prized Ford Grand Torino to Thao Vang Lor.  

Issues and Problems

     When an issue or problem arises it needs to be explored by any scientist in any of one’s field of science, in which field of science the issue or problem relates to. A scientist will use the scientific process which is the means to explore an issue or problem by using a three step process. McAdams, (2009) stated “science generally proceeds according to three steps: (1) unsystematic observation, (2) building theories, and (3) evaluating propositions” (p. 12). The first step, unsystematic observation is how one uses tools or one’s senses to develop a scientific understanding. The second step, building theories is how one makes a theory by organizing the observations from step one. McAdams, (2009) stated “scientists organize the various observations collected in Step 1 into a more-or-less coherent system that explains the phenomenon of interest” (p. 14). Step three, evaluating propositions one will attempt to evaluate or even justify what is true of a given statement which is proposed by a given theory, (McAdams, 2009). Reichenbach asserts “the theories of Step 2 that derive from the observations of Step 1 must be empirically tested in Step 3 as the scientist moves from the context of discovery to the context of justification” (as cited in McAdams, 2009).
McAdams, D. P. (2009). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

4 Stages of Ego Development

     1. What is the fundamental process of selfhood, according to Loevinger?
This is a general process by which each of us synthesizes or puts together our experience as our own (McAdams, 2009).
     2. From what paradigm does Loevinger’s model come?
It comes from the cognitive developmental paradigm in personality psychology (McAdams, 2009).
     3. Which assessment test is used to measure Loevinger’s ego stages?
The assessment test is the Washington University Sentence Completion Test for Ego Development (WUSCTED).
     4. Name and define the four statuses defined by Marcia.
(1) Identity achievement defines one who has explored identity options and subsequently made identity commitments (McAdams, 2009). (2) Moratorium defines one who is currently exploring identity options but has not yet made commitments (McAdams, 2009). (3) Foreclosure defines one who did not explore options but made commitments to childhood or conventional modes of being (McAdams, 2009). (4) Diffusion defines one who has not explored options and has not yet made commitments (McAdams, 2009).
     5. The capacity to cope adequately with the conflicts of the individualistic level occurs at which stage? (Loevinger)
This occurs at the autonomous (I-5) stage of ego development.
     6. Why is Loevinger’s assessment not given to young children/infants?
Loevinger’s assessment is not given to young children/infants because Loevinger’s method of assessment does not enable her to measure the development of the ego in the earliest years (McAdams, 2009).
     7. At which Loevinger stage of ego development does the ego develop a greater tolerance for the individuality of others and greater awareness of the conflict between heightened individuality and increased emotional dependence?
This occurs at the individualistic (I-4/5) stage of ego development.
     8. When elderly people reflect upon the past in order to settle accounts, what are they undertaking? (Erikson)
Erikson described it as integrity and Butler agreed and said it was a life review.
     9. According to Loevinger, the self of early child is locked in what stage?
The self of early childhood is locked in an impulsive (I-2) stage (McAdams, 2009).
     10. Which Loevinger stage of ego development emerges with the capacity to cope adequately with the conflicts of the individualistic level?
This capacity to cope adequately occurs at the autonomous (I-5) stage of ego development.
     11. In which Loevinger stage does the child move from an egocentric frame of reference to an identification of one’s own welfare with that of a group?
This move from an egocentric frame of reference to an identification of one’s own welfare with that of a group occurs in the conformist (I-3) stage.
      12. At which of Loevinger’s stages does the individual have an appreciation of the worlds’ rules?
An appreciation of the worlds’ rules occurs in the self-protective (delta) stage of ego development.

What Else Might Change

     In response to the question “what else might change,” McAdams proposed two responses that do not just state yes and no, but give a brief detailed response. The first response to the question was: No, we should not expect to see more change, once we realize just how hard it is to change, (McAdams, 2009). The second answer to the question was: Sure, people change, but not so much their traits, (McAdams, 2009). When I asked myself “what else might change,” and which response I agreed with it was: Sure, people change, but not so much their traits, (McAdams, 2009).
     I believe the truth is significant personality change may occur, but that change may not be captured in a person’s trait scores, (McAdams, 2009). One’s personality and behaviors are able to change and those changes can affect personality traits, but no change in traits occur. Traits are inherited, but personalities and behaviors are not, therefore changes only occur in said personalities and behaviors. Changes in personalities and behaviors sometimes occur because of problems and issues, characteristic desires and wants, goals and motives, life plans, values and beliefs, coping strategies, developmental concerns, hopes, wishes, expectations for intimate relationships, vision for the future, understanding of the past, but these reasons for change are not traits, therefore traits do not change, (McAdams, 2009).
     A personal example is of a breakup of a long-term relationship I shared with another. She and I both made mistakes in the relationship. After the breakup I realized I needed to make changes in my personality and behaviors. My traits were not the cause of the breakup; in fact the cause was partially to do with my personality and behaviors. Some aspects of my personality and the behaviors displayed in the relationship did not truly reflect my traits. Therefore I have and had to make changes to prepare for a future relationship.  
No, we should not expect to see more change, once we realize just how hard it is to change, is a response I do not agree with, (McAdams, 2009). I however do agree with: Sure, people change, but not so much their traits, McAdams, 2009). People do change and changes happen because of reasons in one’s life. However traits which are inherited do not change.

Motivation Theories

     Concerning motivations there are three theories. These three theories are the psychoanalytic view mainly founded by Sigmund Freud. The humanistic view partially developed by Carl Rogers. Then there is the diversity view and the best known representative of the diversity tradition in the study of human motivation is Henry Murray’s theory of needs, (McAdams, 2009). Of these three theories I agree with the diversity view the most. 
     I strongly agree with the diversity view of human motivation, which posits a large number of different motives or needs, (McAdams, 2009). The reason I agree with the diversity view is because of Henry Murray’s theory of needs. The directedness of human lives becomes apparent over time, therefore it takes more than one situation to understand behavior; and it will be understood through one’s life through time, (McAdams, 2009). This is how behavior can be understood as a part of a purposeful sequence of one’s actions. One’s life’s characteristic direction and purpose is provided by time-binding. Human beings organize their lives and bind their time because of forces that reside within where physiological and psychological needs are located and within one’s environment where various situational constraints and opportunities for need expression or press, (McAdams, 2009). Through an extended period of time when a certain need constantly interacts with a certain press forms a thema. According to McAdams, 2009 “therefore, human motivation must be understood in terms of the interaction of needs and press to produce themas” (p. 280).   
     I least agree with the psychoanalytic view. According to McAdams, (2009) “the psychoanalytic view of human motivation suggests that behavior is ultimately determined by unconscious sexual and aggressive drives and by the complex intrapsychic conflicts that arise in daily life” (p. 298-299). The main founder of this theory Sigmund Freud insisted that human beings are not in control of their own fate and believed that there was another force making the moves for human beings. This is an issue I strongly disagree with. I believe human life and human behaviors are not as simple as unforeseen forces which there is little control over, but more complex.
     Through my own life’s experiences, through interactions of other human beings, and through my limited, but important study and knowledge of psychology I cannot agree exactly with either of the motivation theories of psychoanalytic and humanistic views. These two theories share the belief that human behavior is motivated not by human beings themselves but by forces which humans have little control over. However I stand firmly behind the diversity view, which puts forth the common-sense proposition concerning motives and goals, everybody is different, (McAdams, 2009).