Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attention Worksheet

1.         How do you define the concept of attention?
     Willingham (2007), “attention can be understood to mean the mechanism for continued cognitive processing” (p. 108). Therefore, some preliminary cognitive processing occurs with or without attention, and that attention affords further processing. Attention refers to how an individual vigorously process certain information that is available in the environment. Attention takes control of an individual’s mind in a vivid and clear form. Assume that attention is a highlighter. Anything highlighted stands out, or has attention drawn to it, which causes an individual to focus his or her interest on that particular area or aspect. An individual tunes out non-relevant information, perceptions, and sensations at any moment and focuses on the energy of importance because of attention (Cherry, 2013). Attention has two properties; limitation and selectiveness. An individual can only place certain amounts of attention on one subject at a time. Attention is selective and placed only on one or another cognitive process as an individual sees fit (Willingham, 2007).
2.         Can attention be consciously allocated to tasks?  Why or why not?
     Yes attention is consciously allocated to tasks but it is also not consciously allocated to tasks. The allocation of attention is a task that an individual has control over and does not have control over. If two or more tasks use different sensory output and input paths than an individual can allocate attention to those tasks. An individual possess the ability to assign attention to two or more tasks if he or she performs dissimilar sensory output and input paths. The mind also possesses the ability of honing in on a task while performing other tasks. For instance there are certain tasks, such as body functions that an individual does not consciously pay attention to. The mind possess the ability regulate breathing and an individual’s heartbeat. Therefore, certain aspects of attention are not consciously allocated. Attention is also allocated by habit; basically if an individual’s mind stays focused on one stimulus. In this instance cognitive manipulation and attention become automated and united, which continues the process beyond and individual’s conscious control.
3.         What is the relationship between attention and cognition?
     Science Daily (2013), “attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one thing while ignoring other things” (p. 1). There is an interrelated relationship between attention and cognition. There is a firsthand relationship between attention and cognition. Willingham (2007), “attention can be understood to mean the mechanism for continued cognitive processing” (p. 108). Cognition is a reference to thinking. Attention has a significant effect on cognition and cognition has a significant effect on attention. Simply put, attention is an individual’s ability of focusing on desired activity or desired information for a certain amount of time and that cognition is a thought process, which occurs in an individual’s brain that normally affects an individual’s learning. An individual’s ability to maintain attention on a certain subject is necessary for that individual’s thought processes for learning to occur. When attention problems occur they effectively interfere with learning and cognition. In contrast, the strengthening of the ability to pay attention for certain periods of improves an individual’s cognition.
Cherry, K. (2013). About.com: Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/f/attention.htm 
ScienceDaily. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/attention.htm 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Phineas Gage

          Researchers have studied the brain for years to find the exact role of the brain in cognitive functions. Phineas P Gage, a railway construction worker received a traumatic brain injury, which provides insight into exactly how a traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects cognitive functions. Phineas Gage’s accident uncovered important information about how the brain areas support cognitive function and what happens when a traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs.
The Role of the Brain in Cognitive Functions
          Several structures compose the brain, which play a key role in several cognitive functions. Four structures or lobes that divide the cerebral cortex and play a role in cognitive functions are the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe. The frontal lobe’s functions include decision-making, problem solving, and planning. The parietal lobe functions as a processor of the body’s sensory information and controls the ability for understand language (Bailey, 2013). The temporal lobe’s functions include speech, memory, emotional response, and auditory perception. The occipital lobe’s functions include visual perception and color recognition. Other structures of the brain that play a key role in cognitive functions include the subcortical (located beneath the cortex) structures, which include the thalamus, amygdala, caudate, putamen, hippocampus, and cerebellum.
         The thalamus functions as a relay station for motor and sensory information, which includes visual, somatosensory, and auditory sensory signals. The amygdala functions as a processor of emotion (strikingly the emotion of fear) and information regarding social functions (Willingham, 2007). The caudate and putamen are separate but related structures important in movement and some barely understood cognitive functions (Willingham, 2007). The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory. The cerebellum plays a role crucial in motor control and likely in certain higher level cognitive functions, although the exact role is still unknown. Another structure is the spinal cord; along with the brain they compose the central nervous system. The central nervous system collects somatosensory information about matters, such as temperature, pressure, and pain, and sends motor information to the body’s muscles (Willingham, 2007).  
Phineas Gage’s Accident
          Phineas Gage’s accident is an account of an incident involving Phineas P Gage, born July 9, 1823, in Lebanon, New Hampshire (Grieve, 2010). In 1848 on September 13, Gage a railway construction workman suffered a traumatic penetrating head injury. Gage was working outside Cavendish, Vermont, at the Rutland and Burlington Railroad project, when a tamping iron measuring three feet-seven inches long was accidentally fired through his skull (Grieve, 2010). Reports initially suggested that damage occurred to both of Gage’s lobes in the accident; however, by using modern computerized tomography (CT) scanning on Gage’s skull, there was evidence showing that there was mainly left frontal lobe damage that occurred when the tamping iron passed through his skull. Although a traumatic accident, Gage physically made a good recovery and lived 12 years after the accident but died in San Francisco on May 21, 1860, from epilepsy complications (Grieve, 2010).
What Was Revealed About How Brain Areas Support Cognitive Function
          The cognitive abilities of an individual predict functional outcomes after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) (Spitz, Ponsford, Rudzki, & Maller, 2012). Although what is unknown is to what extent concurrent cognitive abilities affect the rate or magnitude of functional recovery (Spitz, Ponsford, Rudzki, & Maller, 2012). A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can precipitate numerous changes to an individual’s emotional, social, and behavioral functioning. Individuals also commonly experience problems with executive functions, information-processing speed, and memory. Before his accident, Gage was a hard worker and responsible individual however after his accident he became irreverent, fitful, impatient of advice or restraint when conflicts occurred with his desires, at times he was pertinaciously obstinate, but vacillating, and capricious (Spitz, Ponsford, Rudzki, & Maller, 2012).
          The specific changes that Gage went through pointed to emerging theories concerning localization of brain function, or an idea that specific functions are associated with certain areas of the brain (Cherry, 2013). However, today there is a better understand of the role of the frontal cortex and how it plays a key role in higher order functions, which include social cognition, language, and reasoning.
         The role of the brain plays a key role in brain cognitive functions. Phineas Gage, a railroad worker remembered for surviving an accident involving a tamping iron rod passing completely through his skull, which mainly damaged his left frontal lobe. Phineas Gage’s accident enabled neurologists to retrace the emotional and cognition findings of what goes on in an individual’s brain when injuries occur to the frontal lobe areas. Through studying Phineas Gage’s accident relevant information revealed how brain areas support cognitive functioning.

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Bailey, R. (2013). About.com: Biology. Retrieved from http://biology.about.com/od/humananatomybiology/a/anatomybrain.htm
Spitz, G., Ponsford, J. L., Rudzki, D., & Maller, J. J. (2012). Association between cognitive performance and functional outcome following traumatic brain injury: A longitudinal multilevel examination. Neuropsychology, 26(5), 604-612. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029239
Cherry, K. (2013). About.com: Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/phineas-gage.htm

What role does emotion play in memory? Provide an example in your response.

          The role that emotion plays in memory is that it is one factor that can influence memory.  If a subject is important to an individual than it might hold an emotionally significant for that individual, therefore the memory of that subject might be influenced. Individuals usually find an emotional event memorable, which influences the memory of that event. An individual’s clearest memories are usually memories that have an emotional significance, which indicates an important role for emotion in memory (Willingham, 2007). When a memory holds a positive or negative emotional response for an individual it can be easier to remember that memory or store it in secondary memory and retrieve it from secondary memory and put it into primary memory. However there is an appearance that the intensity of an emotion of importance whether positive or negative has no relevant significance. Studies have shown there is a positive correlation between how vivid a memory seems and how emotional it is (Willingham, 2007). Examples of emotion playing a role in memory are the emotions I felt when I saw each of my children’s births. Each birth had an emotional significance that fosters the memory of those events for me. These are events that I am likely to not forget or they are easily retrieved from secondary memory and put it into primary memory.

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Is forgetting an intentional act? Why or why not.

     I do not believe that forgetting is an intentional act. The reasons why are that if an individual intentionally tries to forget a certain subject he or she actually strengthens his or her memory of that subject, and forgetting in primary memory occurs because of interference and decay; therefore one cannot intentionally forget. Two types of interference occur, which are proactive and retroactive interference. When new learning is interfered with by older learning then proactive interference occurs. When later learning interferes with earlier learning retroactive interference occurs (Willingham, 2007). Decay contributes to forgetting because it is a spontaneous decomposition of the representation over time (Willingham, 2007). For an individual to try and intentionally forget a subject brings attention to that subject and that subject becomes harder to forget. Intentional a subject cannot be forgotten however by not intentionally trying to forget a subject it may be forgotten.

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What is visual perception? Why is visual perception such a difficult task to engage in?

          Visual perception is a function of the eyes and brain, therefore what is seen through the eyes the brain interprets. Basically the brain enables one to understand what the eyes see. Visual perception functions as a means to identify objects and allows an individual to navigate in the world (Willingham, 2007). Visual perception allows an individual to judge the shape, size, and brightness of objects and the distance of how close or how far away an object is. Visual perception is a hard function. The main problem that makes visual perception hard is what is called inverse projection problem. Inverse projection problem relates to the way that light falls on the retina (Willingham, 2007). The world and objects in the world are three-dimensional but are projected onto the retina only as two-dimensional. The retina is two-dimensional, therefore shape and orientation indeterminacy is a problem. Another problem is determining an object’s color and brightness, which is referred to light source, reflectance, and shadow indeterminacy. Which refers to the amount of light that hits the retina from an objects depends on the source, the object's reflectance, and if the object is in a shadow or not. This is a problem because the only source of information we have about surface features is the light that falls onto the retina, therefore in different light settings determining color and brightness is difficult (Willingham, 2007). Without the eyes seeing and the brain interpreting what is seen then an individual would not have sight or vision, therefore the eyes and brain work together to enable visual perception.     
Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Cognitive Psychology Definition

          Psychology is the study of the mind. The movement of psychology toward behaviorism moved from the study of the mind toward the study of behavior. Although behaviorism had flaws, therefore the development of cognitive psychology occurred because of the argument against behaviorism. Behaviorism only focused on observable behaviors but cognitive psychology more so concentrated on internal mental states. Cognitive psychology, unlike behaviorism is more relatable to other disciplines, such as philosophy, neuroscience, and linguistics. Cognitive psychology greatly set itself apart from behaviorism, and with its development psychology was again brought back to the study of the mind.
Defining Cognitive Psychology
          The study of mental processes is cognitive psychology. The emphasized mental processes include perceiving, thinking, believing, problem solving, remembering, speaking, decision making, learning, and reasoning. It uses scientific research methods in studying mental processes. Simply put, cognitive psychology is a scientific approach to studying the mind. Cognitive psychology focuses on how an individual acquires, processes, and stores information, and it studies how individuals view and understand the world around him or her. It also tries identifying behavior through characteristics other than its obvious properties (Willingham, 2007). The rise of cognitive psychology was in response to the flaws in other methods of studying the mind.
Key Milestones in the Development of Cognitive Psychology
          One key milestone was neuroscience. Neuroscience can examine how the brain and the nervous system determine behaviors. Neuroscientists can account for intelligent behavior through the use of abstract constructs, hypothetical representations, and processes (Willingham, 2007). Neuroscientist also established definitive links between structures of the brain and functioning (Willingham, 2007). Through neuroscience, cognitive psychologist use techniques of localization in identifying brain areas that enable functioning (Willingham, 2007). The research of neuroscientists enables the understanding of states of consciousness, sensory experiences, emotion, motivation, development through life spans, and psychological, and physical health.
Information Processing Model
            Information processing model, another key milestone is an approach for studying the human mind (Willingham, 2007). Cognitive psychologists use this model as a framework to describe and explain mental processes. This model likens the thinking process of humans to how computers work. The human mind is similar to that of a computer, therefore it takes in information, stores, and organizes it in order for its retrieval later. In humans the sensory register, composed of sensory organs, such as the ears and eyes and the ears inputs information (Kowalski & Westen, 2011).  Then short-term memory stores information for retrieval later or transfers it to long-term memory. In humans the display of information processing is through behaviors. This processing of information supports behavior and human thought (Willingham, 2007).
Criticisms of Behaviorism
            The criticisms of behaviorism, is another key milestone. Behaviorism could not answer many questions, explain different aspects, or account for different human processes that cognitive psychology could. Behaviorists focused mainly on observable behaviors and almost disregarded the importance of genetics, unlike cognitive psychology. Behaviorism could not give a reason to explain internal mental processes or intrinsic drives. Behaviorism could not account for human language. Behaviorism mainly observed animal behaviors and could not explain the behaviors of humans, nor could these observations explain different abilities, such as reasoning and thinking. Behaviorism explained that repetition or reward was how behavior occurred but could not answer why behavior occurred without repetition or reward. The development of cognitive psychology occurred because of the criticisms of behaviorism.
The Importance of Behavioral Observation in Cognitive Psychology
            Behavioral observations are a key component of cognitive psychology. Behavioral observations give cognitive psychologists a means of testing and evaluating theories about behaviors and a means of testing any predictions about those behaviors. A cognitive psychologist cannot observe mental processes directly; therefore behavioral observations allow one to derive logical conclusions of their existence based on observable behaviors. Behavioral observations enable different types of behavioral research methods to help and serve the needs of cognitive psychology in testing theories, which include descriptive, relational, and experimental research. Descriptive research is an individual’s description of behavior collected by naturalistic observation, self – report or case studies (Willingham, 2007). Willingham (2007), “relational research examines two or more aspects of the world with an eye to seeing whether they are related” (p. 44).
Experimental research is similar to relational research of measuring if two factors have any relation to each other but change occurs with one factor so that one can observe the effect of that change on the other factor (Willingham, 2007).  Descriptive, relational, and experimental research methods experiment with variables, find relational factors, and use observation in providing psychological theories their valid foundations. Behavioral observations permit for less errors and mistakes of interpreting mental processes and behaviors.
            Simply put, cognitive psychology is a means of studying the mind. Several milestones occurred in the development of cognitive psychology, such as neuroscience, the information processing model, and criticisms of behaviorism. Cognitive psychology derived from the criticisms and flaws of behaviorism. The focus of behaviorism is on observable behaviors, although cognitive psychology became a means to studying mental processes. Cognitive psychology can answer the questions behaviorism could not provide. Behavioral observations are key factors in cognitive psychology, help with interpreting mental processes and behaviors. Through studying mental processes cognitive psychologist expanded psychology through observations and beyond observations.

Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

How does the way in which you perceive the world influence your thought process? Provide a specific example in your response. What other factors do you think impact your thought process?

          How one perceives the world is often based on differing factors, such as cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, personal beliefs, nonreligious based beliefs, science, traditions, political ideologies, and philosophies, which influences one's thought process. Although, many individuals misunderstand what constitutes beliefs and what does not constitute them. Beliefs have infiltrated the minds of so many individuals that everything they perceive or think incorporates a belief for them, which includes his or her experiences and knowledge. How I perceive the world is based on nonreligious beliefs, which influences my thought process. My thought process is less but basically non dogmatic, nationalistic, ethnocentric, prejudiced, racist, authoritarian, and closed-minded. Therefore, the actions of a man, woman, or a group of individuals is never based on the race or religion of that individual or group. I see past that and lean toward understanding that individual's or group's thought process as to why he or she perceived their actions as acceptable. Other factors that impact my thought process are my beliefs in science and being a father and role model to my children.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Which milestone in the development of cognitive psychology do you feel has had the most impact on the field? Why

          I believe the development of the information processing model had the most impact on the field. Information processing was bound to the human mind by a metaphor, which served as a powerful force in cognitive psychology, and became a composite of characteristics shared by humans and machines. Information processing is the means by which individuals take in, use, store, and process information. The information processing model is an approach to studying the human mind, which is characterized by three assumptions. Humans are similar as computers as both are processors of information, which this processing of information supports behavior and human thought . Willingham (2007), "representations (of objects and events) and processes that operate on these representations underlie information processing" (p. 28). In largely isolated modules that are organized in processing stages information processing normally occurs (Willingham, 2007). Basically information is absorbed from the environment transformed then it is emitted as more information. I consider the information processing model a milestone in the development of cognitive psychology because it provides a framework to describe and explain mental processes.
Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Research Methods Used for Uncovering Basic Emotions

 Category Analysis
           Category analysis is one research method for uncovering basic emotions. This method is a means to analyze emotions by studying the emotion words meanings (Deckers, 2010). Category analysis assumes that the development of words occurred to describe the emotional experiences of individuals. Deckers (2010), “in other words, the reason for words such as love, hate, sad, happy, afraid, and angry is because each labels a distinctly unique feeling in a particular situation” (p. 317). Therefore, without the experience of these feelings the invention of words that designate emotion would not have occurred. To determine the varying modes or ways individuals express emotions Johnson-Laird and Oatley used their analysis of 590 English words meanings to classify each word into an emotion category, and words with similar meanings classified together (Deckers, 2010). One concern with their analysis was determining if a “word” used to describe a feeling was subjective. Their analysis yielded a result of the categories of five basic emotion, which are happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger. Happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger are words describe basic emotions.  
Facial Expressions
          Facial expressions are another research method used for uncover basic emotions. The reasoning related to facial expressions is that basic emotions have facial expressions that correspond with that emotion, such as a frown coincides with sadness. Ekman and Izard assert that “if there is no distinctive facial expression, then the corresponding subjective state should not be considered an emotion facial expression” (as cited in Deckers, 2010, p. 318). Ekman along with Izard made the discovery whereas facial expressions with coinciding emotions were precisely identifiable by individuals of differing cultures worldwide, which led to Ekman’s proposal of the six basic emotions along with the coinciding facial expressions. These six basic emotions that have identifiable facial expressions are surprise, happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger. An assumption of Ekman’s was that emotion intensity and the accompanying facial expression intensity increase simultaneously, therefore the more intense a facial expression is, the more intense an emotional feeling will be.
          Lopatovska and Arapakis (2010), “facial expressions, are the result of facial muscle contractions, which induce movements of the facial skin and temporary deformations of the facial features, such as eyebrows, nose, and mouth” (p. 5). For example, an individual usually expresses sadness through his or her eyes, eyebrows, and mouth regions. Ekman asserts that “in sadness, the inner corners of brows are drawn up, skin below the eyebrow is triangulated with the inner corner up, upper eyelid inner corner is raised, corners of lips are down or the lip is trembling” (as cited in Lopatovska & Arapakis, 2010, p. 5). Facial expressions are a channel for emotions associated with the effect of the emotions, and serve as a universal language, which enriches the interactions between humans.
Lopatovska, I., & Arapakis, L. (2010, September). Theories, methods and current research on emotions in library and information science, information retrieval and human–computer interaction. Information Processing and Management, (), 1-18.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What is cognitive psychology? Would you classify cognitive psychology as a hard science or a soft science? Explain your answer.

          Cognitive psychology is a scientific approach to studying the mind, which arose as a response to the flaws in other methods in studying the mind (Willingham, 2007). Cognitive psychology is a field that is nearly 50 years old; it is a field of psychology, which emphasizes the study of mental processes that include perceiving, thinking, believing, problem solving, remembering, and speaking, and it seeks to identify behavior by characteristics other than its obvious properties. Cognitive psychology replaced behaviorism, and it acknowledges internal states and rejects introspective techniques that other perspectives employee. Cognitive psychology ideas grew out of older ideas, or in direct opposition to older ideas (Willingham, 2007). I would classify cognitive psychology as a hard science. The reason why is because it uses pre-defined methods, such as the scientific method to test hypotheses, it adheres rigidly to rigorous standards, and makes solutions directly from theories. Soft sciences normally rely on qualitative descriptions in obtaining results.

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Who would you consider to be the founder of cognitive psychology? Why?

      I consider Ulric Neisser to be the founder of cognitive psychology. The reason why is that Neisser is even referred to as “father of cognitive psychology.” He was creative researcher, and advocate for ecological approaches to cognitive research (Association for Psychological Science, n.d.). Throughout Neisser's career, he remained the underdog's champion, a remorseless revolutionary, and maintained the goal for pushing psychology in the correct direction. Neisser's publication of Cognitive Psychology (1967), brought together research concerning pattern recognition, perception, attention, remembering, and problem solving. Neisser strongly emphasized information processing and constructive processing both. Association for Psychological Science (n.d.), "because Neisser first pulled these areas together, he was frequently referred to and introduced as the father of cognitive psychology" (para. 2). Neisser constantly described cognitive psychology as an assault on behaviorism, he was uncomfortable with behaviorism, and he considered behaviorist assumptions wrong because they limited what psychologists were able to study (Association for Psychological Science, n.d.). In Cognitive Psychology, which was immediately successful, Neisser did not fully attack behaviorism, but instead he presented a fascinating alternative to behaviorism. Researchers, who were working on problems within the field witnessed a unified theory, which connected the researcher's research to this approach. Cognitive Psychology is viewed as the founding book for cognitive psychology, and is seen as the work of an intellectually curious revolutionary who was bent on finding the appropriate means to understand human nature.
Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2012/may-june-12/remembering-the-father-of-cognitive-psychology.html

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quiz 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.
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. (3) Foreclosure defines one who did not explore options but made commitments to childhood or conventional modes of being. (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 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.

My Experience

          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. The second answer to the question was: Sure, people change, but not so much their traits. 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. 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 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.
Human Motivation  
          I strongly agree with the diversity view of human motivation, which posits a large number of different motives or needs. 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. 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. Through an extended period of time when a certain need constantly interacts with a certain press forms a thema. McAdams (2009), “therefore, human motivation must be understood in terms of the interaction of needs and press to produce themas” (p. 280). 
Psychoanalytic View  
          I least agree with the psychoanalytic view. 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.


1.  Observe and Describe a social gathering (where, how many people, type of gathering) 
          The social gathering I observed was over this past weekend took place at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The North Carolina Museum of Art is the United States’ largest museum art park, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am not sure how many people were exactly there but there had to be at least a couple of hundred men, women, and children coming and going all day while I was there. This was a gathering to visit and enjoy a series of collections of old and newer art exhibits displayed around the art park indoors and outdoors. This gathering was filled with friendliness and one’s helping others understand the artwork on display.
2.  What influence does culture have on personality? What culturally derived traits did you observe in this gathering?
          McAdams, (2009) stated “beginning in the 1940s, Raymond B. Cattell advocated a brand of trait psychology that emphasized rigorous quantification and statistical analysis in research, with the ultimate goal of improving scientists’ ability to predict behavior” (p. 115). Culture affects one’s personality in tremendous ways, but it is one’s traits that affect how one’s personality is affected by culture. Traits create one’s personality; therefore traits cause behaviors to occur in culture, as well as reactions and interactions. Trait tendencies are what determine the reactions and interactions of one in culture. In the gathering I witnessed I observed people with traits such as extraversion, agreeableness, and those with openness to experience.
3.  Which one of the four positions of the nature of traits do you agree with most and why (table 4.1)? Compare and contrast your position against one of the other four positions of the nature of traits. 
          I agree with the second position of the four positions of the nature of traits the most. This second position is behavioral dispositions. I do however completely disagree with the second position of neurophysiological substrates. Behavioral dispositions are defined as trait tendencies to think, feel, and act in consistent ways which interact with external influences, such as situational variables and cultural norms that influence a person’s functioning. Concerning trait attributions they can be used for describing behavior summaries and for suggesting causal or generative mechanisms for behavior. I agree with how behavioral dispositions keep the option open pertaining to psychophysiological substrata and I believe that traits do exist as dispositions that affect behaviors although it maintains traits are existent as dispositions which exert a substantial impact toward behavior (McAdams, 2009). I agree because I believe outside influences will and can affect one’s personality. If one wants to fit in with a certain group of people their personality may change in order to be accepted. As well as it depends on the culture one lives in. Take for instance women in Afghanistan, they are barely able to educate themselves and live in an oppressive culture, so their personality is attuned to outside influences. However if they were taken out of Afghanistan and sent to America then the different culture will affect and set a different personality.  
          In contrast neurophysiology substrates traits are thought to exist in the central nervous system (McAdams, 2009). This states that neuropsychic structures are hypothesized patternings of psychophysiology—say, which are particular brain circuitry or neurotransmitter pathways which exert a causal influence on behavior, accounting for consistencies over time and across situations. McAdams (2009) stated “traits are biological patternings in the central nervous system that cause behavior to occur and account for the consistencies in socioemotional functioning from one situation to the next and over time” (p. 110). These traits will not be influenced by outside interferences such as culture. I completely disagree with this. If this were the case then no one would ever be able to change who they are or how they act, and interact in certain situations nor be able to adjust to cultural differences. One would have control over who they are or who they want to become. Therefore from birth to death one will always be the same and never changed. In my own personal life I have made changes constantly in life. 

Quiz Three

1.      (T) or F George Kelly developed the first modern theory of personal constructs in the 1950’s. 
2.      T or (F) Cognitive style and learning style are the same.
3.      T or (F) People low in integrative complexity tend to make more well-informed and well-balanced evaluations of complex issues, are more open-minded and tolerant, and show considerable cognitive self-direction.
4.      T or (F) People high in integrative complexity may sometimes encounter more difficulty in making clear-cut decisions based on moral principles.
5.      T or (F) People with strong gender schemas tend to process social information along the lines of traditional gender stereotypes.
6.      Match the following:
Social-cognitive theory
Useful tool in understanding depression
Ideal self
Promotion focus
Ought self
Prevention focused
Actual self
Attributes one believes he/she possesses
Studied identity in college women (guardians, drifters)
Studied identity development in adolescents and college students (4 statuses)
Generativity seven features
Explored generativity (four types)

7.      (T) or F Tomkin’s Script Theory began as a model of Murray’s work.
8.      T or (F) McAdams’s narrative approach focuses on Loevinger’s concept of identity.
9.      (T) or F Telling life stories cannot bring healing.

Quiz Two

1.      (T) or F  People can be compared and contrasted with respect to their traits.
2.      (T) or F  Scientific research on traits began in the late 19th century and was greatly promoted by advances in statistics, such as the invention of the correlation coefficient and factor analysis.
3.      Match the following theorists with elements of their theories:
Through extensive factor
analysis, he derived 16 basic source traits.
His critique launched the
person–situation debate in personality psychology, which ran through the 1970s and 1980s and eventually shaped a good deal of thinking in personality psychology today.
His approach to traits tended toward the literary.
Factor analysis- extraversion–
introversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism

4.      Match the following:

encompasses such qualities of human personality as gregariousness, assertiveness, and excitement seeking,

Openness to Experience
culture, intellectance, and inquiring intellect
Friendly compliance
hard-working, self-disciplined, responsible
emotional stability
5.      (T) or F A newer line of research has suggested, however, that individual differences in E, or positive affectivity, may be linked to a behavioral approach system (BAS) in the brain

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. 
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Arousal, Behavior, Stress, and Affect Worksheet

1.         What are the differences between physiological and psychological needs? Provide examples of each in your response.
          Maslow’s hierarchy of needs claims that the organized needs of an individual are in an ascending order or structure, therefore organized as physiological needs, needs of safety, need of belonging, need of esteem, and the need of self-actualization (Deckers, 2010). One must address lower needs first than attend to higher needs (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), “physiological needs refer to deficits that exist in the material body or brain” (p. 184). Hence, there is a possibility to specify a deficit in a physiological state, which is important to an individual’s physical well-being (Deckers, 2010). Physiological needs create internal motives that occur as psychological drives or as internal pushes, which move an individual into action (Deckers, 2010). Some examples of physiological needs are the homeostatic balance of water and food, sleep, breathing, shelter, clothing, and sexual reproduction.
          Psychological needs are psychological or mental, and do not have any material existence or identifiable body or brain correlates (Deckers, 2010).  Deckers (2010), “the validity of psychological needs is based on the mental impressions they make on individuals” (p. 199). Psychological needs push the behaviors of an individual toward satisfying incentives or activities. Psychological needs in some instances are assumed to emerge into an individual’s consciousness from physiological needs (Deckers, 2010). Psychological needs include autonomy, self-esteem, competence, and relatedness, which have implications as related to motivation, such as internal motivation’s main source and the amount of satisfaction and pleasure gained from fulfilling needs depends on the intensity of the need (Deckers, 2010). These psychological needs also provide unique feelings of satisfaction when fulfilled (Deckers, 2010).
2.         What is the relationship between arousal and behavior? Does this relationship impact performance and affect?
          The relationship between arousal and behavior is that arousal stimulates an individual to into action or to take action, or to behave in a particular way. This relationship depends on the nature of the task performed (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), “arousal refers to the mobilization or activation of energy that occurs in preparation or during actual behavior” (p. 128). The energy is a byproduct of an individual’s drive for satisfying intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that manifests through psychological and physiological arousal (Deckers, 2010). Behavior is the actions or reactions in response to internal or external stimuli. Deckers (2010), "psychological arousal refers to how subjectively aroused an individual feels" (p. 128). Psychological arousal includes an individual’s feelings of tension, anxiety, and fearfulness. Physiological arousal entails changes, such as sweaty palms, increased heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension.
          Another form of arousal is brain arousal, which is the stages of sleep, awake, and alertness within the brain (Deckers, 2010). Arousal affects an individual’s performance within a relationship that is an inverted-U (Deckers, 2010). Arousal can enhance an individual’s performance to a certain point, therefore maximum performance on difficult tasks is a product of low arousal and maximum performance on simple tasks is a product of high arousal. However, if arousal is to high performance decreases. Arousal has sources that include stimuli, collative variables, and tasks. Stimuli are a product in the environment that causes the occurrence of behavior (Deckers, 2010). Collative variables refer to the stimulus with characteristics of novelty, complexity, and incongruity (Deckers, 2010).  Tasks are activities that stimulate arousal (Deckers, 2010). Arousal increases an individual’s focus and attention, therefore stimulates that individual’s behavior.
3.         Assess the long-term and short-term effects of stress on the body, brain, and behavior.
          Individuals move into action because of stress, and stress motivates one to manipulate stressors to alter the impact of those stressors (Deckers, 2010). Baum and Posluszny (1999), “and it also motivates people to support behavior aimed at diminishing or removing stressors” (as cited in Deckers, 2010, p. 153). Stress and stressors brought on by either internal or external stimuli manifest as short-term or long-term reactions when an individual cannot cope accordingly. Short-term and long-term reactions to stress and stressors manifest as physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, and maladaptive behaviors when an individual cannot cope accordingly. Examples of some physical symptoms are allergies, colds, diarrhea, the flu, headaches, inability to slow down or relax, and indigestion. Examples of some psychological symptoms are anxiety, boredom, and depression, beliefs of helpless, beliefs of hopeless, forgetfulness, and irritableness.
          Examples of some maladaptive behaviors are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, coffee or soda, using illegal drugs, unhealthy eating, unhealthy sleeping habits, and filling time passively, such as watching too much TV (Deckers, 2010). Stress impedes the body and brain and causes deterioration in both but can also improve body and brain functioning. Stress can also impede the body’s natural capacity to heal, therefore leaving one susceptible to everything from the common cold to certain diseases. Stress can also causes chronic and acute changes in certain areas of the brain. The short and long-term effects of stress can impede and deteriorate the natural functions of the body and brain, and adversely affect and modify behavior. However, some kinds of acute stress are beneficial for the body and brain.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Explain the event-appraisal-emotion sequence. Discuss how it might be used to regulate ongoing expression.

          The event-appraisal-emotion sequence begins with the occurrence of an emotion-inducing stimulus and ends with the unfolding of the various components of emotion (Deckers, 2010). There are four common assumptions derived by Roseman and Smith as related to the appraisal of emotion-inducing events. The first assumption is that different appraisals of the same event produce different emotions (Deckers, 2010). The second assumption is that the same appraisal of different events produces the same emotion (Deckers, 2010). The third assumption is that the outcome of the appraisal process elicits the involuntary unfolding of emotion (Deckers, 2010). The last assumption is that appraisal can occur above and below the cognitive awareness of an individual (Deckers, 2010). Therefore, appraisal occurs in steps. First, emotion-inducing situations create stimulus for emotion. Then the pre-aware appraisal determines the positive and negative valence of the stimulus. Then the appraisal process comes into an individual's awareness, and then it undergoes cortical evaluation that conforms the perception of the stimulus to the personal attitudes, schemas, personality, goals, and needs of an individual (Deckers, 2010). Emotion also unfolds in an forms of behavior, affect, expression, and physiological response (Deckers, 2010). The event-appraisal-emotion sequence might be used to regulate ongoing expression  by displaying the process of how events influence which emotion an individual has, when he or she has them, and how he or she experiences and expresses emotion. 

Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Explain the different methods that are used to reveal and analyze basic emotions. Then select an emotion, and compare and contrast how each method would be used to uncover that emotion.

          Concerning revealing and analyzing basic emotions, there are three different methods used which are category analysis of emotion words, evolution theory, and facial expressions. Category analysis of emotion words makes the assumption that words developed to describe the emotional experiences of individuals (Deckers, 2010). Therefore, certain words label a distinctly unique feeling in certain situations (Deckers, 2010). Evolution theory is based on an idea of emotions aiding in the survival of a species (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), "a crucial event evokes a subjective emotional experience, which in turn increases the likelihood of a class of behaviors that promotes survival" (p. 318). Facial expressions is the method based on basic emotions having corresponding facial expression (Deckers, 2010). However, when there is no distinctive facial expression the corresponding subjective state should not considered an emotion (Deckers, 2010).
          Category analysis of emotion words, evolution theory, and facial expressions can be used to uncover the emotion of happiness. Category analysis of emotion words uncovers words, such as sadness by making the assumption that it is used to describe the sad or unpleasant state of an individual. Evolution theory uncovers sadness of an individual by how he or she reacts to a situation that triggers one to feel sad. The facial expressions of sadness would show just how sad an individual is through unhappy facial expressions.

Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.