Saturday, July 27, 2013

Infancy and Early Childhood Development

          In the life of humans infancy and early childhood are the more advanced periods of development. During infancy and early childhood, development is beneficial to a productive life of a child as that child develops. Infancy and early childhood development are critical stages of development that form a foundation for the future learning and well-being of a child. Certain elements affect one during infancy and early childhood that can hinder of progress development. These elements include one’s family and parenting styles. Some parenting styles are more effective than others. Certain programs provide early childhood education and each program has a specific influence on cognitive development.
Effect of Families on Development
          The role of families affects development during infancy and early childhood. A child’s family has more influence on a child’s development through infancy and early childhood than any other period of life. Children develop better if families are more responsive, attentive, and sensitive. Families provide essential factors during infancy and early childhood, such as a reassuring touch, warmth, facial expressions, movement, and overheard conversation, which improves the speech of young children (Berger, 2011). Families are the first to teach infants and young children, which fosters development during infancy and early childhood. The relationship between young children and families determines how a young child develops. Berger (2011), “early relationships help infants develop a working model, a set of assumptions that become a frame of reference for later life” (p. 189).
Parenting Styles
          Developmental and clinical psychologist Diana Blumberg Baumrind’s study of 100 preschool children guided her to an interesting founding that parents differ on four important dimensions. These dimensions are expressions of warmth, strategies for discipline, communication, and expectations for maturity (Berger, 2011). Expressions of warmth is how parents display warmth and affectionate, although other parents are cold and critical toward their children (Berger, 2011). Strategies for discipline, refers to how parents vary in how and if each explains, criticizes, persuades, ignores, and punishes their children (Berger, 2010). Communication is how some parents demand silence, although other parents listen patiently to their children. Expectations for maturity, is how parents differ in degrees of self-control and responsibility they expected from their children (Berger, 2011). The need to discuss these four dimensions is important because these dimensions lead to Baumrind’s three styles of parenting.
Authoritarian Parenting
          An authoritarian parent’s word is the law and is not questionable. The misconduct of one’s child brings rather stringent punishment, which is normally physical but not as harsh as what one considers abusive (Berger, 2011). The rules set by authoritarian parents are clear, held to high standards, and children are not expected to offer their opinions about the rules. Usually these types of parents do not hold discussions about emotions with their children. Authoritarian parents consider themselves as the authority over their children. Berger (2011), “authoritarian parents love their children, but they seem aloof, rarely showing affection” (p. 273).
Permissive Parenting
          Those considered permissive parents rarely make demands and hide any impatience directed toward their children (Berger, 2011). These types of parent expectations of maturity are low and his or her discipline lacks strictness. Permissive parents are accepting, nurturing and are willing to listen to whatever their children say. The intention of permissive parents is to be helpful to their children and the shaping or development of one’s child is not a responsibility. Permissive parents consider themselves as a friend to his or her children.
Authoritative Parenting
          An authoritative parent will listen to the concerns of his or her children, but they will set limits and will enforce his or her rules (Berger, 2011). These types of parents encourage the maturity of their children and if a child falls short he or she usually do not punish and forgive his or her children. An authoritative parent does not consider him or herself as the authority over his or her children but as one who guides his or her children as a parent and not as a friend. Authoritative parenting is the most effective style of parenting. Authoritative parents seem strict but not to strict. They understand that setting rules and limitations are a necessity but also that forgiveness of a child’s mistakes is also a necessity. Children are capable of making mistakes just as anyone else is capable of making mistakes. Chastising a child for any and every mistake may hinder his or her development and cause further problems in that child’s future.   
Early Childhood Education and Cognitive Development
          Programs high in quality or educational value advance cognitive development during early childhood. This is especially true for children of low-income families who display continuing improvements in social and language skills (Berger, 2011). A child’s intelligence develops faster and cognition increases through attending early childhood education programs. Specific programs that provide early childhood education are child-centered programs, such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools, teacher-directed preschool programs, and intervention programs, such as Head Start (Berger, 2011). Each of these options or programs has a specific and individual influence on the cognitive development of children. Child-centered programs emphasize the development and growth of children as well as the need to follow self-interests instead of adult directions. Child-centered programs also emphasize the individual pride and achievement of children, and encourage artistic and creative expression (Berger, 2011).
          Teacher-directed programs stress academics, giving children praise, and reinforcements for good behavior; misbehavior is punishable with brief separation from particular activities (Berger, 2011). Teacher-directed programs set curricula that include learning numbers, the names of letters, colors, and shapes, which fosters one’s cognitive development. Intervention programs set the goal of maintaining and developing the health and cognition of children. Intervention programs help disadvantaged children of low-income families (Berger, 2011). Children benefit from early education programs through improved social skills, learning, language, and prospects for the future; each essential for cognitive development (Berger, 2011). Berger (2011), “child-centered, teacher-directed, and intervention programs can all nurture learning; the outcome depends on the skill and attention from teachers, as well as on the specifics of the curriculum” (p. 291).
          The development of infants and young children is dependent on one’s family, and the relationship between the infant or young child and family can either foster or hinder development. The three parenting styles developed by Baumrind that influence the development of a child are authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative parenting. Programs that provide early childhood education are child-centered programs, such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools, teacher-directed preschool programs, and intervention programs, such as Head Start. Each of these programs has a specific or individual influence on cognitive development.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What problems might be associated with parents requesting an IQ test be administered to their child? What advantages could there be to administering an IQ test? Explain

          An IQ test is a test devised to measure intellectual aptitude, or ability of an individual to learn in school (Berger, 2011). Several problems can arise when parents request an IQ test be administered to their children. If a child does not score well on an IQ test then that child's teacher or teachers may alter his or her teaching methods for that child, which may be noticed by other children. Once noticed by other children a child may be the subject of ridicule. Once ridicule occurs a child's self-esteem and self-worth can diminish. Once a child scores lowly one's parents may misconstrue this as meaning that his or her has problems learning, or may believe that his or her child is less intelligent than should be, or less intelligent then other children of the same age range. However, this is not exactly true because as one ages or develops his or her IQ test score can rise. A low IQ score also enables a parent to underestimate the full potential of his or her child. The advantages of administering an IQ test are numerous. However, the main goal of an IQ test should be to understand a child's intellectual aptitude. By doing so parents and teachers can determine if a child suffers from any developmental or psychological disorders, and if or if not one can design teaching styles to foster one's level of intelligence and learning style to help a child reach his or her full potential.  
Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Life Span Perspective

         The life span perspective of development provides intriguing information about the development of individuals through their lifespan, such as who individuals are, how individuals came to be who they are, and who those individuals will become. Psychoanalytic theories offer insight into life span development and explain the stages of development that individuals proceed through in their lifespan. The life span perspective of development also provides important information in regard to how the effects of heredity, and the environment may interact to produce individual differences in life span development.
Life Span Perspective of Development
          To study human development the life span perspective is necessary because it does not just take into account the development that occurs in childhood or adulthood but every phases of life (Berger, 2011). The life span perspective is a view of human development characterized by multicontextual, multicultural, multidisciplinary, multidirectional, and plastic characteristics Development is multicontextual, therefore the several contexts, such as economic constraints, family patterns, and historical conditions embed the lives of humans (Berger, 2011). Development is multicultural; therefore several cultures affect the development of individuals. Development is multidisciplinary; therefore psychology and other disciplines, such as biology, neuroscience, education, economics, anthropology, sociology, religion, history, genetics, and medicine provide insight into development (Berger, 2011).
          Development is multidirectional; therefore change occurs in every aspect of life and in every direction and not just in a straight line. Development is plastic; therefore any individual possess traits, which may be altered at any given time during life, and change that occurs is ongoing but not easy or random. The intention of the life span perspective is to understand the development that occurs throughout an individual’s lifespan and the nature of development and change throughout that individual’s lifespan.
Theories of Life Span Development
          Berger (2011), “inner drives, deep motives, and unconscious needs rooted in childhood are the foundation of psychoanalytic theory” (p. 36). Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and German-born American developmental theorist Erik Erikson developed theories of life span development to explain the occurrence of development through an individual’s life span, and both believed that development occurs in stages.  
Sigmund Freud's Psychosexual Theory
          The psychosexual theory developed by Sigmund Freud centered on the sexual drives of humans. Freud believed that development occurred in stages and that the first six years of development occurs in three stages characterized by sexual interest and pleasure centered on a certain part of the body (Berger, 2011). The oral stage occurs from birth to one year of age and in this stage the particular part of the body of focus is areas of the mouth, such as the tongue, lips, and gums. The anal stage occurs between the ages of one and three and the particular part of the body of focus is the anus. The phallic stage occurs between the ages of three and six and the particular part of the body of focus is the penis. In this stage genital stimulation is how pleasure derives. Latency occurs after the phallic stage. After latency the genital stage occurs at puberty and lasts throughout adulthood. Freud believed that earlier stages influenced adult habits and personalities, therefore new stages did occur in adult years.
Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Theory
            The psychosocial theory developed by Erik Erikson describes eight developmental stages characterized by a certain challenge or developmental crisis; however, he named two polarities at each crisis, and he acknowledged a broad range of outcomes between these opposites (Berger, 2011). The interaction between the social environment and the individual is beneficial to resolving all crises. For each crisis Erikson named two polarities and identified a wide range of outcomes between these opposites (Berger, 2011). The developmental stages of this psychosocial theory center on social needs. The eight stages are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs.  shame and doubt, initiative vs.  guilt, industry vs.  inferiority, identity vs.  role confusion, intimacy vs.  isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair (Berger, 2011).  These eight stages differ from Freud’s psychosexual theory stages because they do not emphasize sexual urges; however, what is of emphasis is every individual’s relationships to culture and family.
The Effects of Heredity and the Environment
            Heredity (nature) and the environment (nurture) both have an influence over the development of individuals. Whether nature or nurture has more of an influence over individual development is debatable. Heredity or nature refers to inherited traits and genes, and the environment (family, friends, or society) or nurture refers to extrinsic affects and both nature and nurture influence individuals an entire life span (Berger, 2011). The exchange between nature and nurture is dynamic and complex and both nature and nurture exert dynamic and continual influence on development. This exchange is indeterminable; however, often it is obvious that exerts more influences on development. However, the debate of nature vs. nurture continues.   
            The life span perspective provides dynamic information in relation to how and why individuals develop and who individuals will develop into. Psychoanalytic theories, such as Sigmund Freud's psychosexual theory and Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory provide insight into life span development. Heredity and the environment both have an effect on development but to what extent each more so influences development is still unknown.

What specific options/programs are available for early childhood education? What are the benefits to each program? Are early childhood education programs beneficial for later development?

      There are several specific options or programs available for early childhood education, such as child-centered programs (Montessori schools and Reggio Emilia schools) teacher-directed preschool programs, and intervention programs (head start). Each of these options or programs have several benefits. The benefits of Montessori schools are that they are child-centered, they emphasize individual achievement and pride, and they present work and tasks that children and perform. The benefits of Reggio Emilia schools are that they have a low child to teacher ratio, encourage children to be creative and fosters creativity and creative expression. The benefits of  teacher-directed preschool programs are that they stress academics, children are given praise and other reinforcements are given to children for good behavior; while misbehavior is punished with brief separation from certain activities (Berger, 2011). The benefits of head start are that health and cognition of children are the goals and it helps disadvantaged children (Berger, 2011). Yes early childhood education programs are beneficial for later development. Children benefit from early education programs through improved learning, language, social skills, and prospects for the future (Berger, 2011).
Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What are the two main Psychoanalytic theories? What contributions have these theories made to the study of life span development? What are the criticisms of psychoanalytic theories?

     Sigmund Freud's psychosexual theory and Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory are two main psychoanalytic theories. Freud's psychosexual theory centered around sexual drives. Freud believed that development occurred in stages. The first six years occur in three stages characterized by sexual interest and pleasure centered on a certain part of the body (Berger, 2011). The first stage or oral stage occurs in infancy and the particular part of the body is the mouth. The second stage or anal stage occurs in early childhood and the particular part of the body is the anus. The third stage or phallic stage occurs in the preschool years and the particular part of the body is the penis. Latency occurs after the phallic stage and then the genital stage occurs at puberty and lasts throughout adulthood. The contributions that Freud’s theory provided to the study of life span development was showing how individuals behave during different stages in life.
     Erikson described eight developmental stages in his psychosocial theory; characterized by a certain challenge or developmental crisis (Berger, 2011). Erikson's developmental stages centered around social needs. These stages are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair. For each crisis Erikson named two polarities and identified a wide range of outcomes between these opposites (Berger, 2011).  The contributions that Erikson’s theory provided to the study of life span development were emphasizing the importance of growth throughout an individual's lifespan, and provided a better understanding of human development.
     The criticisms of Freud's psychosexual theory were that his theories and observations were based on case studies and clinical cases, which made his findings difficult to generalize to a larger population, and overemphasized sex, aggression, the unconscious mind, and childhood experiences. The criticisms of Erikson's theory were that his work applied more to boys instead of girls and that more attention was paid to infancy and childhood more so than adult life.

Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.


          The definition of language is complex to explain but is necessary to understand how human animals communicate. The definition of cognitive psychology makes implications about language. Lexicon also plays a key role in language. Language has several features necessary for an individual to understand it. To understand the role of language processing in cognitive psychology an individual must analyze this role and needs an understanding of the definition of cognitive psychology.
Language and Lexicon
          Language is a complex process and a form of communication integrated with thoughts. The communication of thoughts is through the method of language. The definition of cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes, such as perceiving, thinking, believing, problem solving, remembering, speaking, decision making, learning, and reasoning implies that language influences cognitive processes. Therefore, what an individual or human animal learns and interprets through language and the ability of language is a cognitive process that separates human animals from nonhuman animals. Language is communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, and dynamic.
          A lexicon is a mental dictionary. A lexicon contains several representations of known words and those representations include spelling, part of speech for each word, and pronunciation. A lexicon aids individuals in a matching process of spoken words and those word’s meanings. Therefore, individuals recognize words through this matching process because spoken words are comparable with a lexicon (a mental dictionary). A lexicon is a key aspect important for an individual’s use of language.
Key Features of Language
          Language’s key features are the properties that make it communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, and dynamic. As for communicative, language simply allows individuals to communicate with each other. As for arbitrary, Willingham (2007), “the relationship between the elements in the language and their meaning is arbitrary” (p. 411). A key feature of symbols is arbitrariness. As for structure, the structure of language means that the pattern of symbols is not arbitrary. The structure of language shows exactly how complex it is. As for generative, an individual can build a limitless number of meanings from language’s (words) basic units. As for dynamic, language is constantly changing, therefore it is not static. Willingham, (2007), “it is changing constantly as new words are added and as the rules of grammar (slowly and subtly) change” (411). These features or properties are usually critical to language.
Other Features of Language
Developmentally Special
          Language is developmentally special for instance because children can learn it differently from learning any other skills (Willingham, 2007). Evidence points to the preparedness of human brains to learn language with comparatively little incitement. The evidence that supports this point of view is the worldwide consistency of language learning. Worldwide children proceeded through identical stages of language development, which is in agreement with the thought that the process of learning language is basically innate. Children also have a tendency to make the same errors in learning language, such as overextension and overregularization. Overextension is how children use known words for numerous referents when stating more than their limited vocabulary allows (Willingham, 2007). Overregularization refers to how children apply linguistic rules to exception words when that rule does not apply. Language is highly complex, but it has key features that make it unique, such as it is developmentally special.
Uniquely Human
          Another feature of language is that it is uniquely human. Language is communicative, structured, arbitrary, dynamic, and generative, and the majority of animal (nonhuman animals) communication systems are only communicative. Therefore, animals can communicate, but they cannot use language however certain animals possess the ability to understand language. Only humans (human animals) possess the ability to use language. Languages are uniquely human.
Influences Other Cognitive Processes
          One last feature of language is that it influences other cognitive processes; specifically language influences thought. Language influences thought, language determines thought, and a thought cannot be a thought without language. Language influences thoughts because uttered words that an individual may say leads to a different thought in his or her mind. Therefore, what an individual thinks affects what he or she says and what he or she says affects how he or she thinks. Language definitely influences thought; making the two intertwined.
Four Levels of Language Structure and Processing
          In spoken languages phonemes are the smallest units or sounds used by individuals to form words. Phonemes are individual speech sounds, which are roughly equivalent to the letters of the alphabet. Worldwide there are nearly 200 phonemes in use but roughly only 46 in use in English. Individuals can perceive phonemes very rapidly in accelerated speech; nearly 50 phonemes per second (Willingham, 2007). The perception of phonemes is difficult. One difficulty is that the production of phonemes is different for individual speakers. Another difficulty is phoneme production differs between speakers and for an individual speaker.
          Mechanisms, such as words help an individual’s perceptual system make logical sense of spoken phonemes. Willingham (2007), “the 46 English phonemes are combined in various ways to produce all of the approximately 600,000 words in the English language” (p. 414). Certain rules are in place concerning the combination of phonemes and concerning exactly where phonemes may appear in a word.
          A sentence is the arrangements of words, which allows an individual to construct thoughts when trying to write or speak or write. The context of a sentence assists an individual in deducing what missing phoneme is necessary (Willingham, 2007). To a certain extent the order of phonemes effects the correct construction of words and word order is important in grammatical sentence construction.
          A text or texts are groups of connected sentences that form a paragraph or paragraphs, which explain a certain subject. Those sentences have to be about the same subject. It is also necessary for texts to have a logical connection, therefore making sentences logically connected to each, which continues a certain idea. Phonemes, words, sentences, and texts are a necessity of language.
Analyzing the Role of Language Processing in Cognitive Psychology
          To analyze language processing and the role it plays in cognitive psychology an individual must first understand that cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes. These mental processes include perceiving, thinking, believing, problem solving, remembering, speaking, decision making, learning, and reasoning. With these mental processes an individual can understand language and understand the process of how language works. Without understanding how the structure of language works an individual cannot understand sounds such as the phonemes, words, sentences, and texts that make language possible. Without the proper understanding one cannot understand language’s semantics, therefore an individual cannot use language to communicate. The role of processing language in cognitive psychology determines the comprehension of sentences. What an individual learns and interprets through language and the ability of language ability is a cognitive process.
          Language is a cognitive process that separates human animals from other life forms, such as nonhuman animals. A lexicon contains representations of known words and not the meanings but do contain the spellings, pronunciations, and part of speech for each word. Language has several key features. Language is a complex process, which is communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, dynamic, and it is developmentally special, uniquely human, and language influences other cognitive processes. By understanding these key features of language an individual gains a better understanding of the effects and necessity of language. The levels of language’s structure and processing consist of phonemes, words, sentences, and texts. Understanding the definition of cognitive psychology is critical to analyzing the role of language processing. Language is a key aspect of cognitive psychology.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Personal Response on Sexual Identity

          My personal response on sexual identity has changed, my knowledge has broadened, and now I understand and can discuss in detail why and how sexual identity affects one’s life and determines how one lives life. Sexual identity refers to how one perceives oneself. As well as I have a broader understanding and knowledge of other key aspects such as value systems, critical thinking, sexual orientation, gender identity, masculinity-femininity continuum, important aspects of attraction, styles of love, and communication. Value systems provide one a framework for judging the moral acceptability of sexual options (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Critical thinking means one has to be skeptical of things presented in print, uttered by authority figures or celebrities, or passed along by friends to determine what is fact or fiction, reliable or unreliable (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
The Effect of Environment and Historical Perspectives on Sexuality
          In one’s world, physical and social aspects along with historical and scientific perspectives might affect life as far as one’s sexual orientation. Gender identity is one’s conception of oneself as male or female, and one rarely sees oneself as both or neither. Masculinity-femininity continuum refers to how masculinity and femininity may be opposite but one may find oneself somewhere in between depending on certain traits that are associated to be either female or male. Relationships with others are determined by important aspects of attraction and are defined by styles of love. Communication requires skills that can enhance relationships and sexual relations with others (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Some of these aspects affect one’s view of self, while some of the other aspects affect life, relationships, and sexual relations with others.
Value Systems
          Value systems our one’s sexual standards that may be affected by several sources, such as parents, peers, religious training, ethnic subcultures, the larger culture, and one’s appraisal of all these influences (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Seven value systems exist, which are rationalism, situational ethics, asceticism, legalism, ethical relativism, hedonism, and utilitarianism. Before Psychology 265 – Psychology of Human Sexuality, as a teenager I knew nothing about value systems. Although, I had the influence of my father guiding me through life and decision making. Therefore, before Psychology 265, as a teenager, young adult, and adult the value system that I identified with as far as my sexual decision making was rationalism. Rationalism is one’s use of reason to determine a course of action toward sexual decision making (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Therefore, it is the rationalist’s belief that decisions should be based on intellect and reason rather than faith or emotions (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
         One that is a rationalist will assess all facts in any sexual situation and weighs any consequences of various courses of action toward making a decision (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). One who is a rationalist shares with the utilitarian, one who believes moral conduct brings about the greatest good for the greatest number, a belief that reasoning can lead to ethical behavior, but is not bound to the utilitarian code that makes choices on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
Critical Thinking
          To use critical thinking one has to scrutinize definitions of terms and to evaluate the premises of arguments and their logic (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Before Psychology 265, in different ages of my life I used critical thinking in sexual decision making, but as I aged I used critical thinking more often to the point where I only think critically before making sexual decisions. Although, I did not know or understand the principles of critical thinking which are be skeptical, examine definitions of terms, examine the assumptions or premises of arguments, be cautious in drawing conclusions from evidence, consider alternative interpretations of research evidence, consider the kinds of evidence on which conclusions are based, do not oversimplify, and do not overgeneralize (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
Completing Psychology 265 has not altered my value system related to sexuality, although, it has defined and reinforced my value system. Now I know what all my value system entails and how it specifically affects my sexual decision making. There has possible been a change in the role of critical thinking in my sexual decision making. Now I know and understand the principles of critical thinking, therefore I can fully achieve being a critical thinker as far as my sexual decision making. 
Sexual Orientation 
          Sexual orientation is the directionality of one’s sexual and romantic interests and erotic attractions toward members of the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). My sexual orientation is that I am heterosexual. My sexual and romantic interest and erotic attractions are toward those of the opposite sex. Physically, I was born with male sex organs and masculine traits, therefore I am a male. Socially, I am accepted as a male and treated as such, because I display masculine traits and have lived as a male my entire life. Therefore, socially my sexual orientation as a heterosexual is socially accepted and is a social norm. Although, I do not believe physical or social aspects have affected my sexual orientation. I was born with my sexual orientation. Historical and scientific perspectives can either provide or reflect positives and negatives on one’s sexual orientation. I do not believe that historical or scientific perspectives have affected my sexual orientation. My belief is that historical perspectives are biased, and they are not-based scientific evidence or logical, but scientific perspectives provide a better understanding of why I am heterosexual.
Gender Identity
          Gender identity is one’s psychological awareness or sense of being either a female or male, and it is the more important and obvious aspects of one’s self-concept (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). At birth my gender or sex assignment was a reflection of my anatomic sex. I was born male sexually. My awareness of my anatomic sex occurred near the age of 18 months, and at 36 months I had acquired a stable sense of my gender identity (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). My anatomic sex is that of a male, therefore, that is what determined why my father raised me as such. Physically my appearance resembles that of a male, seeing that I have male sex organs and masculine traits, but I am capable of situational feminine traits. Socially I was viewed as a male, and accepted and treated as such.
          As far as the masculinity-femininity continuum I consider myself psychologically androgynous. Therefore I do not assume that the more masculine one is, the less feminine one must be, or the more feminine one is, the less masculine one must be (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Being psychological androgyny, I have the ability to fit both the masculine and feminine gender-role stereotypes, and I am able to exhibit “masculine” assertiveness and instrumental skills and “feminine” nurturance and cooperation, and I am capable of meeting the demands of different situations to express my talents and desires (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
          In my life, my relationships have been characterized by different aspects of attraction that help me in choosing a potential mate, and certain styles of love have defined my relationships and will continue to do so. The aspects of attraction that have been important to me are physical appearance, intelligence, and attitude. In choosing a mate I first look at one’s physical appearance, because I look for certain features and aspects that spark my interest. As far as intelligence, a potential mate must be intelligent enough to understand life, succeed in life, and possess enough intelligence to be involved in a compassionate and empathic relationship. A potential mate’s attitude is a feature that must be similar or compatible too my attitude for a successful friendship as well as relationship.
Styles of Love   
          There are six styles of love, which are romantic love, game-playing love, friendship, logical love, possessive love, and selfless love. Of these six styles romantic love, friendship, and logical love have pervaded my romantic experiences. Romantic love is characterized by the combination of passion and intimacy, friendship love is based on liking and respect rather than sexual desire, and logical love is consider a lover’s potential in life before committing (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
          Communication is a means for potential and current couples to learn about each other’s desires and needs, but without communication or effective communication problems can arise when one misinterprets their partner; therefore, clear communication can take the guesswork out of relationships, avert misunderstandings, relieve resentments and frustrations, and increase sexual and general satisfaction with the relationship (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). In order for couples to communicate effectively and clearly communication skills are required. These skills include getting started in communicating, listening to one’s partner, and learning about one’s partner’s needs, providing information, making requests, delivering and receiving criticism, and coping with impasses. Without utilizing communication skills couples can become dissatisfied in their partner and in their relationship.
          Relationships may even end, but utilizing communication skills can maintain and even enhance relationships. I now know I must use these skills as well to maintain effective and clear communication in my future relationships. However, in previous relationships neither my partner nor me knew of these skills and sometimes failed at communicating effectively and clearly. I now stand by these communication skills and will use them effectively.
          Sexual identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and masculinity-femininity continuum are aspects that all play key roles in determining who one is and how one perceives oneself, as well as how others view one. Value systems, critical thinking, important aspects of attraction, styles of love, and communication affect one’s life and life with others, potential partners and current partners as far as relationships and sexual relations.

Psychological Disorder Analysis

          Psychological disorders (mental disorders) are health conditions characterized by alterations in one’s behavior, or mood, and thinking, or a combination thereof. Which can be associated with the distress and impairment of one’s daily functioning, therefore, affecting one’s daily life. Psychological disorders can be debilitating for one who suffers from them. In the United States, surveys suggest that almost 1 of every 5 adults receives treatment for psychological disorders in the course of a year (Comer, 2011).
Marla, a 42-year-old Hispanic female who is an accountant, came into the mental health clinic, seems to exhibit symptoms that she suffers from an anxiety disorder. Marla has complaints of sleeping problems, experiencing a jumpy feeling all of the time, an inability to concentrate, and her symptoms are causing problems with her job performance, which, all points to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). To determine if Marla does indeed suffer from an anxiety disorder or type of anxiety disorder, a clinical assessment needs to be performed, and the given information from the clinical assessment needs to be compared to the criteria set in the DSM-IV.
Clinical Assessments
          Clinical assessments are used be clinicians in determining why and how one behaves abnormally and are a means for how one might seek help (Comer, 2011). Clinicians use clinical assessments also in evaluating one’s progress after one has been in treatment for a while and to decide whether the treatment should be changed (Comer, 2011). The developed techniques and tools of clinical assessments fall into three categories, which are clinical interviews, tests, and observations (Comer, 2011). The purpose of clinical interviews is to collect detailed information about the one’s problems and feelings, lifestyle and relationships, other personal history, and to ask about the one’s expectations of therapy and the motives one has for seeking therapy (Comer, 2011).
Clinical Tests
          Clinical tests are used as a means of gathering informational aspects of one’s psychological functioning, therefore, broader information can be inferred (Comer, 2011). Personality and response inventories, projective, psychophysiological, neurological, neuropsychological, and intelligence tests are the six test commonly used by clinicians. Clinical observations are used by clinicians to systematically observe a patient’s behavior (Comer, 2011). Three types of technique are used in observing patient, which are naturalistic observation, analog observation, and self-monitoring. For accuracy and usefulness clinical interviews, tests, and observations have to be standardized, as well as have clear reliability and validity (Comer, 2011). To standardize a technique it has to be to set in a way where similar steps can be followed whenever it is administered, reliability refers to the consistency of assessment measures, and validity refers to how a technique must accurately measure what it is supposed to measure (Comer, 2011).
During intake it is explained to Marla that the symptoms she is experiencing require further analysis, because her symptoms are apparent in the criteria of several psychological disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress disorders, and anxiety disorders. Therefore, to reach the proper diagnosis Marla needs to participate in a clinical assessment. In this assessment, Marla will participate in a clinical interview, will be tested, and observed to determine the proper diagnoses. Once the proper diagnoses is determine there will be an effective treatment plan established. 
The Diagnosis of Marla  
          The first step in diagnosis of Marla is a clinical interview. Depending on how Marla answers the questions reflects directly on the persistent issues that are affecting her daily life. Therefore Marla’s answers assist in the analysis and diagnosis of her issues. In conducting the clinical interview with Marla I considered asking the following questions:
                                 ·            Why are you seeking therapy and do you think it can be a means of help for you?
                                 ·            What do you think you want or need from therapy and what are your expectations regarding therapy?
                                 ·            What type of person do you think you are as far as your behaviors, traits, and personality?
                                 ·            What was your childhood like and what was your home environment like?
                                 ·            What is your life like now and what is your home and work environment like?
                                 ·            Do you have a relationship with a significant other, and if so how is the relationship going?
                                 ·            What are your interactions like others, such as family and friends, and coworkers?
                                 ·            Do you suffer from any mental illness and have you experienced any feelings of depression, anxiousness, or thoughts of suicide? If so, how long have you been experiencing these feelings?
                                 ·            As far as you know is there a history of mental illness, depression, or anxiety in your family?
                                 ·            Are you currently taking any medications, if so which ones, and do you drink alcohol, or use any recreational drugs?
          Through the given information of Marla’s clinical assessment, where she participated in clinical interviews, tests, and observations and following the given information provided by the DSM-IV’s criteria, Marla likely is suffering from an anxiety disorder, the specific type of is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
In the United States anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, and in any given year around 18 percent of the adult population suffer from one or another of the six anxiety disorders identified by DSM-IV-TR, while close to 29 percent of all people develop one of the disorders at some point in their lives (Comer, 2011). Anxiety by itself is not a disorder, although it does become a disorder when one experiences chronic symptoms that interfere with one’s daily life and ability to function. Anxiety disorders fall into a set of separate diagnoses, depending upon the symptoms and severity of the anxiety the person experiences, therefore Marla’s symptoms point to generalized anxiety disorder (Hauser, 2005). 
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). 
          Excessive worry is the key feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). According to the DSM checklist one with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) will experience excessive or ongoing anxiety and worry, for at least six months, about numerous events or activities, has difficulty controlling the worry, and at least three of the following symptoms, which are restlessness, easy fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance (Comer, 2011). One also suffers from significant distress or impairment. When one experiences excessive anxiety in most circumstances and worries about almost anything, it is described as free-floating anxiety (Comer, 2011). Free-floating anxiety describes anxiety that does not have an association with a particular event or object, or situation; therefore it is brought on without a specific trigger (DeepDiveAdmin, 2011). 
          In the United States more than 6 million people suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and 60 percent are women while 40 percent are men, and it is estimated that 8 to 9 percent of the population will develop generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) during the course of one’s life, and over 10 percent of the diagnosed will seek treatment in a mental-health clinic (DeepDiveAdmin, 2011). Through the biological model, generalized anxiety disorder’s origin can be explained. Proponents of the biological model believe that a full understanding of one’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior must therefore include an understanding of one’s biological basis (Comer, 2011). Therefore, biological treatments are the more effective. Biological theorists view abnormal behavior as an illness, such as generalized anxiety disorder, which is brought on by malfunctioning parts of the organism (Comer, 2011). Malfunctioning parts of the organism are usually considered the brain anatomy or brain chemistry, therefore their malfunctioning is the cause of abnormal behavior. Through research clinicians have discovered connections between certain psychological disorders such as generalized anxiety disorders, and problems in specific areas of the brain (Comer, 2011).  
          The specific areas of the brain, such as neurons in the cerebrum, which includes brain structures such as the basal ganglia, hippocampus, amygdala, corpus callosum, and cerebral cortex are where abnormal functioning takes place and psychological disorders can be traced (Comer, 2011). Researchers and studies point toward psychological disorders in relation to problems in the transmission of messages from one neuron to another neuron, therefore abnormal activity by certain neurotransmitters can lead to specific mental disorders (Comer, 2011). Abnormal chemical activity in the body’s endocrine system also can be related to mental disorders as well (Comer, 2011). Biological abnormalities that are the cause of or are related to psychological disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder may be the end result of genetics, evolution, and viral infections.
          Potential treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) through the biological model are biologically based. The leading biological treatments used for psychological disorders are drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery, and a combination thereof. Drug therapy consists of the use of psychotropic medications, which impact the central nervous system. Psychotropic medications have four major psychotropic drug groups. The four psychotropic drug groups are antianxiety, antidepressant, antibipolar, and antipsychotic drugs. Antianxiety drugs (minor tranquilizers or anxiolytics) are prescribed to reduce anxiety and tension. Antidepressant drugs are prescribed to improve one’s mood who is depressed. Antibipolar drugs (mood stabilizers) are prescribed to steady the mood of one that suffers from a bipolar disorder. Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed to reduce the confusion, hallucinations, and delusions of psychotic disorders, disorders (such as schizophrenia) marked by a loss of contact with reality (Comer, 2011).
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
          Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is primarily used for one who suffers from depression. This biological treatment, consist of attaching two electrodes to one’s forehead, then an electrical current of 65 to 140 volts is passed briefly through the brain, therefore causing a brain seizure that lasts up to a few minutes (Comer, 2011).  Once seven to nine Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) sessions are completed, which are spaced two or three days apart, one may feel considerably less depressed (Comer, 2011). Comer, (2011) “the treatment is used on tens of thousands of depressed persons annually, particularly those whose depression fails to respond to other treatments” (p. 36). Psychosurgery (neurosurgery) is brain surgery for mental disorders, which is considered experimental and is only used when certain severe disorders continue for years without responding to any other form of treatment (Comer, 2011).
Case Studies
          Case studies are an in-depth study of one, such as Marla. Case studies are used to analyze almost all aspect of the one's history and life in order to find causes and patterns for certain behaviors. Case studies are subjective, therefore clinical assessments are used to delve deeper into what causes one’s behavior and which psychological disorder is responsible for those behaviors. Once a psychological disorder is diagnosis one should refer to the models of abnormality. Through the models of abnormality one can find the origins of psychological disorders and treatments. Marla’s case study pointed toward generalized anxiety disorder, and with a clinical assessment that was confirmed. Through the biological model, the origin of Marla’s psychological disorder of generalized anxiety disorder is explained and treatments are found.   
Hauser, J. (2005). PsychCentral. Retrieved from

DeepDiveAdmin. (2011). Retrieved from


1.                  What has been the trend in suicide rates over the past few years?
The trend has been a decline in US suicide rates.

2.                  What part of the U.S. has the highest suicide rate?
In the U.S. the West has the highest suicide rate.

3.                  List three risk factors for suicide.
Three risk factors for suicide are previous diagnosis of major depression, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse.

4.                  Many researchers worry that suicide rates for adolescents and older adults continue to increase. What does the research data show about these age groups?
The research data shows that both groups actually were the most likely to have higher increase in suicide rates, however both groups have shown a steady decrease in suicides since the 1980’s.

5.                  In the U.S., what demographic has the highest rate of suicide?
Older White men are the demographic with the highest rate of suicide.
6.                  List four possible reasons for the observed decrease in suicide rates.
Four possible reasons for the observed decrease in suicide rates are economic prosperity of the 1990s, the increase in healthy life expectancy, decline in substance abuse, and the decline in homicide rates from 1960 to 1999 (McKeown, Cuffe, and Schulz, 2006).  

7.                  Recent media reports have suggested that medications may provoke suicidal behavior, particularly in adolescents. As a precautionary step, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning doctors to watch patients closely for worsening depression when medication is first prescribed. What does the data show about the effects of medication and suicide?
The data has shown a 1.5- to 2-fold increase in suicide-related behavior among children who were given SSRIs compared with children who were given a placebo (McKeown, Cuffe, and Schulz, 2006).
8.         Once a patient begins medication for depression, when is that patient at the highest risk for suicidal ideation and behavior?
A patient is at the highest risk for suicidal ideation and behavior during early treatment.

9.         Based on the readings, what is your opinion on the use of medication to help control depression and reduce the risk of suicide?
In my opinion the use of medications is a positive if the medications are prescribed correctly and those on said medications are monitored or report any adverse side effects. By reporting the adverse side effects the medications can be altered or change. 

McKeown, R., Cuffe, S., & Schulz, R. (2006). Framing health matters. US suicide rates by age group, 1970-2002: an examination of recent trends. American Journal Of Public Health, 96(10), 1744-1751. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2005.066951

Substance Abuse

Sociocultural Views          
           In sociocultural views, one is under stressful socioeconomic conditions and becomes addicted or develops dependencies for different substances like drugs and alcohol. Therefore, under stressful socioeconomic conditions one may turn to alcohol as a means of coping. Then later develops a dependency for alcohol. Psychological problems that emerge in this view should be treated in a social context. There are three sociocultural approaches for therapy in this view, which are self-help programs, culture and gender-sensitive programs, and community prevention programs. Self-help and residential treatment programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a positive therapy that allows those that are under the influence of alcohol to seek help and advice from fellow and former alcoholics.
Biological Views
           In biological views, one who is a substance abuser may be genetically predisposed to become dependent on substances or there may be biochemical factors. If one’s father or mother was or were alcoholics then one may have a genetic predisposition, which may be the same genetic predisposition their mother or father had. Therefore, one may inquire about the taste of alcohol because they see their parent or friends drinking, but unknowing has a genetic predisposition and becomes an alcoholic as well. Biological treatments are detoxification, antagonist drugs, and drug maintenance therapy. As far as detoxification, one may be placed in a detoxification program and have their alcohol consumption reduced gradually while in the program until the they are completely no longer drinking, along with attending group therapy.
Psychodynamic Views
          In psychodynamic views, it is the belief that one who abuses substances has powerful dependency needs that can be traced to their early years (Comer, 2011). Therefore, an adult who was placed in a group home or in foster care as a child could have developed a substance-abuse personality, because of the lack of their parents. Therefore, one turns to substance abuse as a means of coping with their dependency problems. Psychodynamic therapies are used by therapist to guide one through uncovering and working through the underlying needs and conflicts that they believe have led to the disorder, and try changing one’s substance-related styles of living (Comer, 2011).      

Psychological and Psychophysiological Stress Disorders

          1.      Stress can be the root cause of psychological disorders. Name four symptoms shared by acute and posttraumatic stress disorders.
Four symptoms shared by posttraumatic and acute stress disorders are reexperiencing the traumatic event, avoidance, reduced responsiveness, and increased arousal, anxiety, and guilt.

2.      What life events are most likely to trigger a stress disorder?
A traumatic event in one’s life can trigger a stress disorder. The more common events are victimization, combat, disasters, and abuse.

3.      Traumatic events do not always result in a diagnosable psychological disorder. What factors determine how a person may be affected by one such event?
Biological, genetic, personality, childhood experiences, social support, and multicultural factors as well as severity of the trauma can determine how one might be affected by traumatic events.

4.      What are the four stages in meeting the psychological needs of disaster victims?
In the first stage one is guided in describing the trauma. In the second stage one is allowed to vent and relive the emotions provoked at the time of the event, and to express one’s feelings at the given point and time. In the third stage clarification is given to the victims so they know that their reactions are perfectly normal responses to a terrible event (Comer, 2011). In the fourth stage one is offered stress management tips and referral is given to the victims to meet with professionals for long-term counseling (Comer, 2011).

5.      What is the link between personality styles and heart disease?
One who possesses a Type A personality has an increased likelihood of heart disease. Therefore Type A personality is the link. One with this personality style is said to always be angry, impatient, cynical, driven, impatient, ambitious and competitive. One’s interactions with the world produces continual state of stress, which may often leads to coronary heart disease (Comer, 2011).

6.      List and briefly describe four psychological treatments for physical disorders.
The four psychological treatments for physical disorders are relaxation training, biofeedback, meditation, and hypnosis. Relaxation training is how one is taught to relax their muscles at any given point and time. One can experience a reduction in feelings of anxiety (Comer, 2011). Biofeedback is where one is connected to machinery that gives them continuous readings about their involuntary body activities (Comer, 2011). Meditation is a technique where one’s concentration is turned inward, therefore achieving a slightly changed state of consciousness, and temporarily ignoring all stressors (Comer, 2011). As for hypnosis, one undergoes it through a hypnotist and one is placed into a sleeplike, suggestible state. During this sleeplike state one can be directed to act in unusual ways, experience unusual sensations, remember seemingly forgotten events, or forget remembered events (Comer, 2011).

Research Methods

List the advantages and disadvantages of the following research methods:

Research Method
Case Study
It is a source of new ideas about behavior and can “open the way for discoveries” and tentative support for a theory (Comer, 2011). It can also serve to challenge a theory’s assumptions, shows the value of new therapeutic techniques or unique applications of existing techniques, and offers opportunities to study unusual problems that do not happen enough to allow large number of observations (Comer, 2011). Provides individual information.
Reporters of case studies are biased observers, and are relied on subjective evidence, and provide barely any basis for generalization. (Comer, 2011). Does not provide general or casual information, statistical analysis is not possible, and it is not replicable.
Correlational Method
Determines and describes the co-relationship between variables and can answer if there is a correlation between the amount of stress in people’s lives and the degree of depression they experience (Comer, 2011). Correlational studies are easily repeated using new groups of participants to check the results of earlier studies (Comer, 2011). Provides general information, statistical analysis is possible, and it is replicable. Helps investigators draw broad conclusions about abnormality in the population at large (Comer, 2011). Features allow clinical investigators to gain general insights (Comer, 2011).
Has a negative instead of positive correlation (Comer, 2011).  Does not explain the relationship between two variables. Does not provide individual or casual information. Does not offer the rich details like case studies (Comer, 2011).
Experimental Method
Provides general and casual information, statistical analysis is possible, and it is replicable. Sometimes can only use single-subject experimental design (Comer, 2011). Helps investigators draw broad conclusions about abnormality in the population at large (Comer, 2011). Features allow clinical investigators to gain general insights (Comer, 2011).
Does not provide individual information. Does not offer the rich details like case studies (Comer, 2011).

Models of Abnormality

Psychologists use several different models to explain abnormal behavior. These different models have created shifts in values and beliefs as well as improvements in clinical research. These differences in ideas mean that the different models are sometimes in conflict with one another. People who follow one model often point out where another model fails in its interpretations, investigations, and treatment methods.

Read the brief profile of Willard and follow the directions to complete the chart:

Willard is an angry man. He often gets his way by bullying and berating others.

The following is a list of proposed causes for Willard's behavior. Each cause was presented by a psychologist with a different theoretical perspective. Match the psychologist to the cause he or she is likely to present and to the treatment he or she is most likely to recommend.

Psychologists:             Dr. Smith, Biologist
                                    Dr. Mullen, Psychoanalyst
                                    Dr. James, Behaviorist
                                    Dr. Allen, Cognitivist
                                    Dr. Bates, Humanist
                                    Dr. Frank, Socioculturist

Treatments:                 Medication
                                    Community treatment
                                    Client-centered therapy
                                    Challenging dysfunctional thoughts
                                    Operant conditioning
                                    Free association and catharsis
Proposed Cause
Willard has been rewarded for his bullying behavior.
Dr. James, Behaviorist
Operant conditioning
Willard is genetically predisposed to bullying others.
Dr. Smith, Biologist
Willard's toilet training was harsh.
Dr. Mullen, Psychoanalyst
Free association and catharsis
Willard is influenced by the commonly held view that men must be aggressive in order to succeed.
Dr. Bates, Humanist
Client-centered therapy
Willard assumes that if he does not assert himself first, he will appear to be a failure to others.
Dr. Allen, Cognitivist
Challenging dysfunctional thoughts

Willard has a low sense of self-worth, probably stemming from conditional love in childhood.
Dr. Frank, Socioculturist
Community treatment