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When I first started training to become a nursing assistant in a nursing home, my mother confided in me that she did not believe it was the kind of work she saw me getting into. To her benefit, I was young, just out of high school, and lacked a sense of purpose. While I did have vague ideas of what I wanted to spend my life doing, none of them, at the time, seemed to have any connection to the work I would be doing in a nursing home. Honestly, it was just a job.
Shortly after completing the training process, however, my “job” developed into so much more. Less than one hour after I had helped an elderly patient with his evening cares, he peacefully passed away in his bed. Up until this point, I had had a very limited experience with death, and the feelings that surfaced inside of me were, quite simply, overwhelming. Initially, I remember slipping away to one of the hallway closets, most likely in an attempt to completely avoid the situation. After regrouping myself, however, I returned to the patient’s room, which was filled with family members and friends of the patient, as well as other nursing home staff. Seeing all of the different reactions from each individual in the room, in combination with my own personal reaction, affected me in a way that still feels difficult to put into words. It was as if it suddenly seemed painful to see others in pain.
I have continued to work as a nursing assistant in the nursing home, but what was once only considered as a “job” to me became so much more. I also enrolled at a nearby community college, and while I was still undecided as to what I specifically wanted to do, I knew the focus had to involve helping others in times of need. I began to overwhelmingly fill my semesters with psychology courses, and eventually obtained my Associate in Arts with an emphasis in Psychology. My interest in psychology did not end there, and I will be graduating shortly with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
In an effort to expand and explore my options, my plan for the remainder of the year is to focus on various volunteer opportunities and to return to graduate school next year. To some, the seemingly vagueness regarding my plans after graduation may appear to be a lack of focus on my part. To me, however, I know that whatever route I choose will, in one way or another, lead me towards my overall goal: to help others in times of need.
Pursing my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology via an online learning environment from Argosy University has proven to be a new, yet rewarding, experience for me. While I initially struggled with the differences between the virtual classrooms and the face-to-face classrooms I was previously used to, I feel that I quickly adjusted and continued to strive academically.
At the end of this academic journey, I have been able to thoroughly assess the immense progress I have made. I believe that the progress I have made regarding information literacy, written communication skills, and both my ethic and diversity understanding have been extensive. In addition to this, I also find that I have significantly progressed regarding my critical thinking, research skills, and interpersonal effectiveness, as well as being able to significantly display my acquired knowledge of both the foundations of psychology and applied psychology. One area, however, that appears to have been a weakness during my education regards my oral communication skills, which received only moderate consideration. As such, this is an area that I will have to continue working on.
Overall, I feel that I have substantially grown both academically and personally during the course of my education at Argosy University. From this experience, I feel that I am definitely prepared to continue on my course of education.
According to Butcher, Mineka, and Hooley (2010), the underlying principle of therapy is the belief that individuals experiencing psychological problems can change by learning “more adaptive ways of perceiving, evaluating, and behaving” (p. 568). In order to do this, trained therapists must thoroughly assess the required information, diagnose symptoms, and suggest treatment options available to the client. Furthermore, additional factors that affect the client’s case must also be considered. This entire process can be seen through the example of a six week course of therapy spent with a patient named Katherine.
Throughout the course of her therapy, there have been several diagnostic categories that have applied to Katherine’s case. The most pertinent categories appear to be anxiety disorders and mood disorders. The reason behind this is due to the fact that, through the information provided during therapy, Katherine met the criteria for panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depressive episode. In addition to this, diagnoses of panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder were also possibilities. Other areas that raised concern regarding Katherine’s condition included possible diagnoses of depersonalization disorder, which is classified as a somatoform disorder, brief psychotic disorder, which is classified as a psychotic disorder, dependent personality disorder, which is classified as a personality disorder, and hypoactive sexual desire disorder and female sexual arousal disorder, both of which are classified as sexual disorders. In addition to this, Katherine exhibited symptoms that could indicate a substance-related disorder and had past symptoms of anorexia nervosa, which is classified as an eating disorder.
Initially, the model chosen to understand Katherine’s case was the behavioral perspective. The behavioral perspective towards abnormal behavior emphasizes the importance of life experiences, especially those learned during childhood (Argosy University, 2011c). The decision to focus on this model in particular was due to the fact that Katherine had expressed a history of sexual abuse from her childhood. In this instance, it was very helpful, especially during her second session. It was also helpful during her fourth therapy session, which involved the issues of sexual abuse experienced during college and the bout of anorexia nervosa that followed.
There were, however, some instances in which the behavioral model was not adequate. In these instances, an integrative approach, which considers the possible interaction of genetic, biological, developmental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, and societal influences that can affect behavior, was more helpful (Argosy University, 2011b). For example, it was possible that Katherine may be suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which is a disorder that can arise from psychological and/or physiological factors (Butcher, Mineka, & Hooley, 2010).
Throughout the therapy sessions with Katherine, there have been several different treatment options selected. Overall, a recommendation to continue therapy and monitor symptoms has been the focus. A recommendation for cognitive-behavioral therapy was also made following the majority of the therapy sessions. Biological approaches were also suggested in the form of the possible use of medications, both in the form of antidepressants and antipsychotics, as was a physical assessment in order to rule out any biological reasons for several of her possible symptoms. In addition to this, personal, family, group, and social therapy has also been recommended during the course of Katherine’s therapy.
When considering the above mentioned possible diagnostic categories and treatment options relevant to Katherine’s case, it is important to also consider other factors that may be pertinent. Sources of difference among individuals can include many factors, such as race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, mental and physical ability, socioeconomic class, age, and religion (Robinson-Wood, 2009). All of these areas need to be factored into Katherine’s case. From the information provided by her, we know that Katherine is a 45 year-old African American female that has been steadily employed and involved in her church. Other areas that need to be assessed are the roles of sexuality and family as it presents itself in Katherine’s life. In addition to this, ensuring that Katherine receives therapeutic services that revolve around the “highest ethical and professional standards” is imperative (Butcher et al., 2010, p. 574).
Despite all of the issues that are revolving around Katherine, it is important to note the many strengths she has. To begin with, Katherine voluntarily came to therapy, which can be indicative of her desire to improve her situation. According to Butcher, Mineka, and Hooley (2010), a major contribution to therapy is the client’s motivation, which Katherine has shown during her therapy process. In addition to this, Katherine has also displayed an openness and willingness to understand her situation. In fact, during her fourth session, Katherine herself questioned the possible relatedness of past issues to the current ones she is experiencing regarding sexual problems with her husband. Lastly, Katherine has expressed her interest in continuing therapy. While this may be related to a possible personality disorder, it can also be considered indicative of her willingness to take the time needed to make a complete recovery. Therapy is not a one time cure; it takes time, and Katherine seems to understand this.
As stated earlier, the behavioral perspective was utilized towards the majority of Katherine’s case mainly due to the experiences she revealed about her childhood in her initial session. While several of her current symptoms and diagnoses may be linked to these experiences, it is still equally important to consider some of the possible disorders she may have been suffering from during her childhood, as well. Overall, it could be
suspected that Katherine suffered from a mood disorder and anxiety disorder as a child. According to Butcher, Minkea, and Hooley (2010), childhood depression and anxiety disorders are classified similarly between children and adults by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Since Katherine meets the criteria for these two diagnostic categories as an adult, it is possible that she was suffering from them as a child, as well. In addition to this, it has been acknowledged that a high percentage of sexually abused children experience intense psychological symptoms following the incident (Butcher et al., 2010), making it even more likely that Katherine was suffering similar symptoms as a child.
Along with the possible childhood disorders that Katherine may have been suffering with, there are several concerns regarding Katherine as she ages. Delirium and dementia are two of the cognitive disorders that could affect Katherine. In addition to this, the two psychological issues that could also be a problem for her are depression and anxiety related issues. Both depression and anxiety are common among the elderly (Argosy University, 2011a), and since Katherine is currently showing symptoms of each, it is very likely that these two areas could continue to be problems for her as she ages. Furthermore, during her third therapy session, Katherine expressed suicidal feelings. It has been shown that elderly individuals are more likely to commit suicide than younger individuals, and that their suicides are often related to symptoms of depression (Argosy University, 2011a), making this a concern as Katherine ages, as well.
In the end, the main recommendation that appears to be pertinent to Katherine’s case is that she continues with treatment at this time. As previously noted, during the course of Katherine’s therapy, there has been a large amount of different possible diagnoses applicable to her case. In order for Katherine to receive accurate diagnoses, it is imperative that more information is obtained and assessed, which can only be accomplished through more therapy. It is also recommended that Katherine be put in contact with local support groups, such as ones dealing with sexual abuse and suicide.
In conclusion, there is a multitude of factors that need to be considered in conjunction to create an adequate picture of Katherine and her case. Katherine’s overall therapeutic experience has produced several different diagnostic possibilities with accompanying treatment options. While there has been progress made during Katherine’s six therapy sessions, it is still imperative, at this time, for Katherine to continue with therapy in order for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to be implemented.
Over the years, many different psychological assessments have been developed to evaluate individuals regarding different aspects. One such assessment, which has proven to be quite popular and effective, is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. Simply stated, the MMPI is a personality test that is used to assess psychopathology. The many factors that surround the MMPI instruments are, however, not quite as simple.
The original MMPI, which was released in 1943, was written by S. R. Hathaway, PhD, and J. C. McKinley, PhD (Pearson Education, 2011). While its use strongly withstood the years following its release, it was decided that, due to several faults, it needed to be revised. Thus, in 1989, the MMPI-2, which is intended for individuals 18 years and older, was developed by J. N. Butcher, PhD, and E. I. Magaree, PhD, and revised again in 2001 (Pearson Education, 2011). In addition to this, several other versions of the MMPI have been released in the last two decades. The MMPI-A, which was developed for adolescents, was released in 1992 (Butcher & Pope, 2006), and the MMPI-2 RF, an improved version of the MMPI-2, was released in 2008, again for individuals 18 years and older (Pearson Education, 2011). Each of the MMPI instruments have been published by The University of Minnesota Press.
As previously stated, the MMPI is a personality test that is used to assess psychopathology. The MMPI is most commonly used by mental health professionals to assess and diagnose mental illness, but it has been known to be used for other causes, such as a screening instrument for certain professions, during legal cases, or to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs (Cherry, 2011). Overall, each of the MMPI instruments use a self-report format with a criterion-keyed approach. Specifically, this means that the assessment is completed independently by individuals. In addition to this, the test items found on the assessment are assigned to a particular scale that can be weighed against a criterion-based control group (Gregory, 2011).
Important factors regarding the MMPI instruments involve the administration, scoring, and interpretation of each assessment. There are several different forms in which the MMPI can be administered, such as a paper-and-pencil format, a CD recording, or a computerized format (Pearson Education, 2011). In addition to this, the MMPI-2 is available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and French for Canada, as well (Pearson Education, 2011). Scoring of the MMPI instruments can be accomplished through several different scales. This is mainly done with validity scales and standard clinical scales. In addition to these, several supplementary scales are also available that can provide additional information to assist in the interpretation of the validity and clinical scales (Gregory, 2011). Through these methods, interpretation of the assessment can be accomplished, with either a scale by scale, configural, or computerized approach. When done scale by scale, validity is determined through the four validity scales; when done configurally, classification occurs through code types from the ten clinical scales; and when done with a computerized approach, computer programs that have been designed to assess the results are used (Gregory, 2011).
As previously stated, the scoring procedures associated with the MMPI instruments are important aspects of the assessments, especially the validity and clinical scales. Specifically, the four validity scales are Cannot Say, or ?, L, F, and K. The Cannot Say score represents the total number of items that were either omitted or double-marked on the assessment; the L scale contains items scored in the false direction and are used to identify evasive test-taking attitudes; the F scale contains items that reflect a broad range of serious maladjustment; and the K scale contains items that are used to identify defensiveness (Gregory, 2007). Through each of the four validity scales, it is possible to assess the validity of the results. The ten standard clinical scales, on the other hand, are hypochondriasis (Hs), depression (D), hysteria (Hy), psychopathic deviate (Pd), masculinity-femininity (Mf), paranoia (Pa), psychasthenia (Pt), schizophrenia (Sc), hypomania (Ma), and social inversion (Si). In addition to the validity and clinical scales, there have been fifteen content scales that have proved to be quite useful as supplementary scales (Gregory, 2007).
As with any psychological assessment, the two most important characteristics of the MMPI instruments are its validity and reliability. The MMPI instruments, as evidenced through their continued use and relatively high level of validity, have proven to be a reliable assessment of psychopathology. Specifically, the average validity coefficient has been found to be approximately .46 (Gregory, 2007). Overall, there are several different methods used to assess the validity of an assessment. Content validity, for example, deals with whether or not the items of an assessment are representative of the behaviors that the test was designed to assess (Gregory, 2007). Since the MMPI instruments are designed to assess psychopathology, in order for it to have content validity, it would have to adequately be measuring the behaviors associated with it, which it does appear to do.
Another type of validity is face validity, which deals with whether or not an assessment appears to be measuring what it should be measuring (Argosy University, 2011). In terms of the MMPI instruments, which use series of statements that describe mood, behavior, and attitudes, they do appear to have high face validity (Ganellen, 1996). The advantage of high face validity is that test users tend to feel more confident and satisfied with the overall assessment when it appears relevant. Low face validity, on the other hand, can create the disadvantage of leading a test user to feel the complete opposite. It is important to note, however, that face validity, whether high or low, is not indicative of actual supportive validity (Argosy University, 2011).
While the MMPI instruments have endured over the years and succeeded in becoming an effective assessment tool, there remains some social, cultural, and ethical problems regarding them. Socially, the MMPI-2 has, in some circumstances, the potential to produce damaging effects. For example, when the MMPI instruments are used for purposes other than originally intended, such as candidate selection, mistakes can be made (Richmond, 2011). It is also important to acknowledge that the original sample used for the MMPI was considerably unrepresentative (Gregory, 2007). While the sample used for the MMPI-2
was improved, there are still areas of cultural concern, especially since the MMPI instruments were developed and standardized in English, which creates the potential for language barriers (Richmond, 2011). In addition to this, factors that can play a role in the results of the MMPI instruments, such as age, gender, education level, social class, religious background, place of residence, and other historical data, need to be acknowledged in the process (Karp & Karp, 2011). The importance of this reveals the possible ethical issues regarding the available computerized interpretation programs, which often ignore such relevant factors. Lastly, a final ethical concern regarding the MMPI instruments and their use is that professionals need to be skilled and competent when utilizing them. If they are not, mistakes can be made.
In conclusion, the MMPI instruments have proven to be very popular and effective methods in the process of assessing psychopathology. Over the years, several changes, revision, and versions have been made, but there are several underlying concepts, such as issues of reliability, validity, and possible social, cultural, and ethical problems, regarding all of the MMPI instruments that have remained. Regardless, it seems certain that the MMPI instruments will continue to be popular and effective in the assessment of psychopathology.
Psychology has always intrigued me. In fact, for most of my college education, I have focused mainly on courses related to the field of psychology. There is such an abundance of information in regards to the behavior of people, and while I have been careful to fully evaluate every theory or idea I have come across, there is one area of psychology that I have not questioned. This is in regards to the long-standing debate about whether psychology is even a science. There is a plentiful of people that would argue it is not, nor should it be placed in the same category as areas such as physics, chemistry, anatomy, or geology. So, is psychology really a science?
Psychology is most commonly known as the study of the human mind and behavior. It is a discipline that emerged slowly, with help from people such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Locke, and was later furthered by the work of early 19th century physiologists and physicists (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). The official beginning of psychology is often noted as when Wilhelm Wundt established a formal psychology lab in 1879 (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).
The problem of whether or not psychology is a true science has plagued the discipline for a long time. One of the major hurdles for psychology was that it dealt with matters of the mind, which many people associated with spiritualism and psychic phenomena, such as clairvoyance, telepathy, and communication with the dead (Shaughnessy et al., 2009). These were, however, not areas that many psychologists wanted linked to the discipline. In order to establish psychology as a science, psychologists have attempted to focus their discipline in a more scientific manner.
Psychology is not, like most other sciences, built around one single theory. Instead, it is divided into several different areas. Some of the most common theories of psychology are the behavioral, cognitive, developmental, humanist, personality, and social psychology theories (Cherry, 2010). Each of these different theories is then broken down into more theories. For example, the developmental theory branches out to include Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, the social learning theory, the attachment theory, and various parenting styles (Cherry, 2010). This alone shows that there is a difference between psychology and most other sciences.
There are, however, many legitimate arguments that support psychology as a science. The most prevalent support lies in the fact that psychology utilizes the scientific method, which is widely accepted as the rule in all sciences. A second area of support deals with psychology’s roots in several well-established sciences. Finally, a third supporting argument for psychology as a science is maintains that psychology does follow the important guidelines used in other sciences when conducting research and reporting findings.
One of the main arguments in support of psychology being a science deals with the scientific method. The scientific method is a general approach to problems that involves making observations, finding patterns, formulating hypotheses, and testing through experiments (Brown, LeMay, Bursten, & Burdge, 2003). A very important characteristic, if not the most important, of the scientific method is empiricism. The empirical approach uses direct observation and experimentation as a way of answering questions (Shaughnessy et al., 2009). This overall method is central to science as a whole.
Through this approach, psychologists focus on evidence that can be directly observed, which makes psychology a science. An example of how psychology uses the scientific method with an empirical approach in regards to their field can be seen through Ivan Petrovich Pavlov’s research regarding animal behavior and learning (Hatton, Plouffe, & Alioto, 2010); his results were produced using controlled lab conditions. Another example can be seen through the behaviorist theory of operant conditioning, which measures only directly observable behavior as opposed to non-observable factors such as the unconscious (Debates, 2010).
Another argument that supports psychology as a science is shown through psychology’s roots in several well-established sciences. While the disciple of philosophy had a huge role in the beginning of psychology, psychology did not emerge solely from philosophy. Psychology actually emerged from a combination of philosophy and several other different scientific disciplines. For example, the foundation of experimental psychology came from ideas stemming from mechanistic physiology (Hatton et al., 2010). In addition, in 1860 Gustav Theodor Fechner was able to turn psychology into an exact science through mathematical studies while showing that psychological experimentation was possible (Hatton et al., 2010). A more recent example regards Robert Plomin’s study that compared the blood samples of highly intelligent subjects against subjects with average intelligence. His results showed that the highly intelligent subjects were more likely to have a certain gene than the subjects with average intelligence (Debates, 2010), which links genetics and psychology. Another notable link comes from Hermann von Helmholtz, who was able to develop reaction-time methods that could be used to understand nervous system transmissions (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).
A third argument supporting psychology as a science is the method in which each science reports their research and findings. When scientists report their findings, they aim to separate what they have observed from what they conclude (Shaughnessy et al., 2009). Scientific reporting must also refrain from drawing inferences, being biased, or unobjective (Shaughnessy et al., 2009). For example, a measure of interobserver agreement can usually be found in observational studies, which will decrease the likelihood of bias. Another important aspect is the producing publications for peer review. Allowing other professionals to review the research and findings of a study increases the level of scrutiny, which can prevent studies that include inferences, bias, and objectivity. For all of the sciences, including psychology, these are important guidelines to follow when conducting research and reporting findings.
While there are several reasonable arguments supporting psychology as a science, there are plenty of arguments that oppose it. Most of these arguments deal with what psychology is lacking. The first, and most popular argument, deals with psychology’s lack of a dominate paradigm or theory. The second opposing argument states that it is not possible for psychology to study the behavior of human beings in an objective and unbiased manner. Lastly, the third argument against psychology as a science deals with the lack of validity in psychological research.
The first argument opposing psychology as a science deals with psychology’s lack of a dominate paradigm or theory. It has been suggested, especially by Thomas Kuhn, that a major characteristic of science is that it must have just one primary paradigm (Robbins, 1999); for example, physics has the theory of relativity. Psychology contains numerous paradigms; behaviorism and the psychodynamic theory are just two of many. According to this argument, psychology can only be considered a pre-science, unless it can begin to follow one dominate paradigm, which seems very unlikely (Debates, 2010).
The problem with psychology’s lack of a main paradigm is straightforward; there are several different theories that each psychologist can follow. One psychological study on depression could focus on the behaviorism theory, while another similar study on depression could focus on the psychodynamic theory. This could lead to very different outcomes in regards to the research and findings of psychological studies.
Another argument against the case of psychology as a science maintains that it is not possible to study the behavior of human beings in an objective and unbiased manner (Debates, 2010). True science needs to be objective and value-free in order to produce accurate results, and even though both A.P.A.’s promote the objectiveness and value-free nature of psychology (Greenberg, 1997), it is difficult to ensure in such a field. For example, two psychologists could approach depression in two entirely different viewpoints, and both could find entirely different results to support their different hypotheses.
At the same time, while many scientific publications review various interpretations of the research, they usually only communicate one of the interpretations to the public (Eliott, 2009). Since there can be several different interpretations of a study, psychological scientists run the chance of bringing their own personal ideologies into the study (Debates, 2010). When they do this, it can lead to them disregarding evidence that goes against their theory while selecting evidence that supports it.
The third, and final, argument opposing psychology as a science deals with its lack of validity. The validity of a experiment is the extent to which the test measures what it is suppose to measure, and helps to ensure that a test is useful and meaningful (Gladding, 2006). It can be viewed as either external, which is being able to generalize the results to other populations, settings, and conditions, or internal, which is being able to say the independent variable caused the difference measured by the dependent variable (Shaughnessy et al., 2009).
Validity is a very important aspect of scientific experimentation. Many argue that most psychological experimentation involves human beings studying other human beings in a social setting (Debates, 2010), which limits that amount of both external and internal validity. For example, Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist, stated that psychology should not strive to be considered more scientific, since subjective and non-scientific methods would be able to produce higher validity.
So, how does one answer the question, “Is psychology really a science?” The support and opposition for this debate could go on and on, and the evidence that I found for both sides only shows part of it. In addition, both sides put up a good argument. As far as I can tell, the debate over whether or not psychology is a science or not might simply be a matter of opinion. There is no right or wrong answer, making it a debate that will most likely not end anytime soon. However, being able to examine both sides is helpful when trying to form one’s own opinion about the subject.
In conclusion, there is a long-standing debate over whether or not psychology should be considered a science, and there are arguments both supporting and opposing it. I have always considered psychology a science, but it was merely an uneducated opinion. Through researching the differing research and opinions on the topic of psychology as a science, I have been able to thoroughly examine both sides of the argument. In the end, I still consider psychology a science, but I have a better understanding of how it differs from other sciences.
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Cherry, K. (2010). Psychology theories: Key theories in psychology . Retrieved February 28, 2010 from http://psychology.about.com/od/psychology101/u/psychology-theories.htm
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Shaughnessy, J. J., Zechmeister, E. B., & Zechmeister, J. S. (2009). Research methods in psychology (8th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Feist and Feist (2008) define personality as a “pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior” (p. 4). As such, it is apparent that, in order to better understand the personality of someone that is not well known, it is necessary to learn about their particular traits and characteristics. One way this can be accomplished is through an interview, which was the method I utilized towards learning about the personality of Dan E.
Dan E., my participant for the interview, is a twenty-eight year-old White male that is currently residing in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. Presently, Dan is single with no children and is employed at a concrete company. By assigning traits, it is possible to sum up the characteristics displayed by an individual, which can serve as the foundation of learning about their personality (Argosy University, 2010b). Generally, Dan presents himself as an active and friendly person that enjoys socializing with others.
When an individual is asked to describe their own personality, there are different aspects that they may choose to emphasize, such as appearance, intellect, the roles they play, or personal attributes (Argosy University, 2010b). For Dan, he tended to focus mainly on his personal attributes. For example, when asked to describe himself in one word, he stated “competitive”. Upon further inquiry, Dan revealed that he regularly participates on several different competitive leagues, such as bowling, baseball, and darts. In addition, Dan declared that playing baseball with his family in the back yard were the most important memories of his childhood, which he freely admits to as one of the main contributors to his competitive drive.
The perception that an individual has about themselves can be entirely different than how they are perceived by others. It is also common for individual to be completely unaware of this difference, as well. This was the one aspect of the interview that Dan had the most difficulty with. Initially, when asked about how he would be described by people that know him the best, Dan stated that he didn’t know. He went on to say that he was not sure if there was anyone that really knew him the best, but that he thought his mother would describe him as a hardworking and caring person.
Most theorists believe that humans possess some reason to want to improve their lives (Argosy University, 2010b). In Dan’s case, his source of motivation does not appear to come from changing his past. For example, when asked about what one thing he would like to do over again in his life, he stated “nothing”, and went on to explain that he has no regrets about anything he has done since it has made him who he is today. His source of motivation seems to be based more so on the decisions he makes in the present moment. As expected, when asked about whether he believes he has the ability to change his own behavior based on personal choices, he simply stated “yes, definitely”.
In conclusion, it can be difficult to measure aspects of the personality of an individual that is not well-known, specifically because assessing personality can be a complex undertaking (Argosy University, 2010a). However, interviews can provide a wonderful starting point, as was the case for my assessment of Dan’s personality. While I still do not know everything there is to know about Dan and his personality, I do feel as though I now know him a little better than before.
Everyday, individuals are presented with arguments that attempt to convince them to do things. Some of these arguments are compelling and require a certain amount of deliberation, while others appear simpler, and can often be made without much thought. Generally, the argument posed by fast food restaurants to eat at their establishments appears to be one of the simpler decisions faced by individuals. It is, however, not until the depth of the fast food restaurant’s argument is analyzed that a level of validity can be accurately determined regarding their claims.
According to a recent study, the fast food industry spent approximately $4.2 billion dollars on advertising in 2009 (Wartman, 2010). With a figure like this, it is undeniable that there is a massive attempt being made to persuade individuals to eat at their establishments. What is less obvious is the actual levels of validity behind the marketing techniques being employed through such advertising. For example, McDonald’s homepage claims that “choosing the McDonald’s dollar menu makes you smart” (McDonald’s, 2011, p. 1). The overall idea behind this argument is that since it is inexpensive, you will save money, which, as a result, makes you smart. Such a statement may appear convincing on some level, but it still remains an overly invalid argument.
In order to completely assess the validity of such a claim, it is important to understand the different types of validity. Face validity, for example, deals with whether or not the assessment appears to be measuring what it should be measuring (Argosy University, 2011a). McDonald’s claim does, on some level, appear to have face validity, which is likely the reasoning behind its use. For example, individuals are prone to the idea that saving money is a smart move. At the same time, however, this type of validity is not indicative of actual supportive validity (Argosy University, 2011a).
Another type of validity is construct validity, which deals with whether or not an assessment accurately measures the concept being referred to (Argosy University, 2011a). In McDonald’s claim, the construct trait being used would be that of intelligence, while the behavior used to infer intelligence is that of buying items from the dollar menu. In order for this argument to possess construct validity, it would have to be shown through evidence that this is, in fact, an appropriate way to measure intelligence (Gregory, 2007). Since this is not the case, McDonald’s claim does not appear to have construct validity.
The third type of validity is that of criterion validity, which deals with whether or not an assessment produces criterion and is effective at estimating it (Gregory, 2007). The two types of criterion validity are concurrent validity, which maintains how well an assessment can produce results similar to that of other comparable assessments, and predictive validity, which maintains how well an assessment can predict similar results in the future (Gregory, 2007). McDonald’s claim is not likely to have either concurrent validity or predictive validity, making it appear to lack criterion validity, as well.
Besides being aware of the previously mentioned types of validity, there are several other skills that can assist when defending against invalid arguments. To begin with, the concept of Quo Bono, or who
benefits, can be extremely beneficial (Argosy University, 2011b). This concept can reveal vested interests, such as McDonald’s desire for sales, which, in effect, shows the lack of validity in their original claim. Another skill needed when analyzing invalid arguments is the ability to overcome emotions. Often, arguments are emotionally aimed, such as McDonald’s claim of what makes someone smart. However, when the argument is dealt with on an intellectual level instead of an emotional level, invalid arguments can be reasonably identified and dealt with (Argosy University, 2011b).
Validity is also closely related to the topics of psychological testing, statistics, and reliability. First and foremost, the overall value of psychological tests are often determined by their reliability and validity (Gregory, 2007). Statistically, both the reliability coefficient and validity coefficient play an important role in this. With the two very important attributes of psychological assessments being reliability and validity, the relationship between the two needs to be acknowledged. Measures can be valid and reliable, which is optimal, but they can also be valid but not reliable, reliable but not valid, or neither valid or reliable (Argosy University, 2011b). Overall, McDonald’s claim of being smart when choosing items from their dollar menu appears to be a neither valid or reliable measure of intelligence.
In conclusion, when eating at McDonald’s, ordering off of the dollar menu has the potential to save an individual money, making their original claim possess some level of face validity. It does not, however, entail that their claim has construct or criterion validity. This example proves the importance of thoroughly analyzing the overall validity of arguments that are thrown at us daily. While the initial decision may seem simple, it is not until the argument is reasonably assessed that an accurate and valid choice can be made.
Sexuality is a part of human nature. For this reason, the ethics committee of the Fifth World Congress of Sexology developed the Sexual Rights document to maintain that the sexual rights of every person are recognized and upheld. As a whole, I agree with the summarized content of this document; however, I feel that there are some areas of concern, as well as a need for a more in depth description for several of the rights.
While I do not completely disagree with any of the rights, I do have some reservations. Specifically, it is with the right that mentions the disabled and elderly, and includes that they have a right to pursue a “satisfying consensual sociosexual life free from political, legal, or religious interference” (Argosy University, 2010). Initially, this seems appropriate; however, circumstances in each individual case need to be examined before this right is given to every mentally disabled or elderly person.
As someone who has worked with both mentally disabled and elderly people, it has become very apparent that the level of mental capacity varies among these two populations. It can be hard to determine who is competent and who is not. In cases such as these, it is imperative that the families and/or caregivers of the mental disabled and elderly effectively address these issues and respond appropriately and in the best interest of the person.
For mentally disabled people, the degree of mental impairment determines whether they are able to give consent to sexual activity. At the same time, even if they are able to give consent, they still may not function at a high enough level to consistently or correctly use birth control (Case, 2010). Likewise, elderly people may lack the mental capacity to make appropriate decisions regarding sexual relations. When diagnosed with dementia, it can become unclear whether the person has the ability to consent to sexual activity (Alzheimer’s Society, 2010).
While the Sexual Rights does appear to be all inclusive, it does not seem to specifically address such complications associated with the mentally disabled and elderly, making it something that I think should be modified. Likewise, the document does not appear to specifically state the right to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight, and that this decision should be free from prejudice and discrimination. I believe that this would be a beneficial right to include, especially when taking into account the hardships experienced by many gays and lesbians.
In conclusion, sexuality is a part of life, and, being so, the Sexual Rights document was created to recognize and protect the sexual rights of every person. While the document does a very good job, it does not appear to be very specific or address the issues of the mentally disabled or elderly people diagnosed with dementia, and contains no mention of the different sexual orientations. Despite this, the Sexual Rights document is still a valuable asset for sexual rights.
It is a common assumption that every baby born will have genitalia that appears to be either male or female. There is, however, a small percentage of babies that are born with ambiguous genitals, meaning that they are not clearly male or female (Hock, 2010). People born with this combination of male and female features are referred to as intersexuals. There is much controversy surrounding these individuals, and their parents and doctors, as to how the situation should be handled.
One of the main areas concerning intersex individuals deals with determining who has the right to determine the gender and treatment of the these babies. The concealment-centered model of treatment developed in the 1950’s maintains that doctors should decide which sex the baby is based on medical tests and follow through with “normalizing” procedures as soon as possible (Dreger, 2008). More recently, the shift has been towards the patient-centered model, which allows the intersexual individuals to make the decision, with the aid of their parents and doctor, when they are able to give informed consent.
In my opinion, the treatment of intersex individuals should follow the patient-centered model, allowing the child to make the decisions regarding their body. The main reason I believe this is the best option is due to the fact that, as pointed out by the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), many of the “normalizing” surgeries and hormone treatments are irreversible (Dreger, 2008). Every human being has rights concerning their own body, and medical decisions that are not life threatening should be made when the individual can be fully aware of their options regarding treatment.
One of the best ways to fully understand the difference between the concealment-centered model and patient-centered model would be imagine if you yourself were born intersexual. As an adult, finding out that you had been lied to about your own body and had undergone irreversible surgery would definitely have huge ramifications for the individual. Personally, if I had discovered this, I can imagine that I would be feeling a multitude of emotions, such as confusion, mistrust, and pressure to conform to my selected gender. In addition, the side effects of the surgery, like being unable to have an orgasm, would further the feelings of violation, since there was no choice given to me regarding it.
Some may rationalize that “normalizing” surgery would prevent the intersexual from becoming homosexual. This is clearly not the case. For example, individuals born with ambiguous genitals may self-identify as “more male”, “more female”, “neither male nor female”, or “both male and female” (Argosy University, 2010). That being said, assigning a baby to a particular sex will not ensure that they will conform to it as they mature. Gender orientation is diverse, regardless of the sex of an individual, and intersexuals may become heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual (Argosy University, 2010).
Another issue involved with intersexual individuals deals with being refused the right to marry when their self-chosen gender and gender orientation is seen as being gay or lesbian. Gay marriage is a huge topic of controversy, with both supporters and critics. In my opinion, not only intersexuals, but gays and lesbians, as well, should be allowed to marry whomever they chose.
With all of the controversy surrounding intersex individuals, it would seem that there would be an abundance of information available to expecting parents dealing with it, but that is not the case. Sadly, the possibility of having an intersexual child is often ignored. In fact, the frequency range of its occurrence has to be estimated, due to the secrecy and deception surrounding it (Intersex Initiative, 2008). To prepare for an intersex child, it is important that the parents become well informed about the condition, and choose a doctor that is open-minded and willing to discuss all possible options. Counseling for the parents and intersexual child, when old enough to participate, should be done by a qualified mental health professional (Intersex Society of North America, 1994). In addition to professional counseling, peer counseling should also be made available for the parents and child.
In conclusion, sometimes babies are born with ambiguous genitals, making them intersexuals. While this condition and its different approaches to treatment are very controversial, it hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves, especially in regards to expecting parents. Through advances in the patient-centered model, however, the chances of supporting parents and children through this condition are improving. Hopefully, through awareness and education, the focus on the long-term quality of life for intersexual individuals and their families will continue.
The many different approaches available towards the development of personality are numerous. In addition to this, the number of different theorists that contributed to each of these approaches is, likewise, plentiful. At the same time, however, within each of these approaches, while there may be some similarities maintained by these theorists, there are also differences. This is best exemplified through the humanistic theory and the concept of self-actualization, which was applied by both Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.
The humanistic approach, when applied towards the development of personality, emphasizes the values, interests, and welfare of individuals (Gladding, 2006). Two major contributors to this approach were Maslow and Rogers, both of which utilized the concept of self-actualization in their own personal approach. Self-actualization, according to Gladding (2006), refers to a constant striving, or need, to grow and obtain one’s full potential.
There are several areas in which these two theorist’s approaches to the concept of self-actualization were similar. To begin with, it was assumed by both Maslow and Rogers that all individuals have an intrinsic potential for self-actualization (Chang, 1991). At the same time, however, they both acknowledged that this potential was not always achieved in every individual. In addition, while the terminology used was dissimilar, they also both agreed on the need of basic necessities. Rogers, for example, included the need for maintenance in the quest for self-actualization. Likewise, Maslow ranked physiological and safety needs as the first two fundamental requirements needing to be achieved by individuals. In this respect, both Maslow and Rogers agreed that individuals needed basic things, such as food, air, and safety (Feist & Feist, 2008).
While there may have been some similarities between Maslow’s and Rogers’ approach to the concept of self-actualization, there were, however, several differences, as well. As previously stated, Maslow and Rogers both agreed on basic needs. The main difference from this standpoint was the order in which they were obtained. Specifically, Maslow alleged that lower needs, such as physiological and safety needs, must be satisfied before being able to move onto higher needs, such as love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and, finally, self-actualization needs (Argosy University, 2010). Rogers, on the other hand, maintained that such basic needs were actually included within all needs, known as the actualizing tendency, instead of simply being the beginning point. In this respect, Rogers and Maslow differed, in that Rogers implied that the motivation towards self-actualization included every aspect of the whole person concurrently, while Maslow maintained that that this motivation is focused through the steps of the hierarchy of needs (Feist & Feist, 2008).
Another difference becomes evident upon further examination of these concepts. One of the basic assumptions of Rogers’ person-centered theory is the actualizing tendency, which refers to the tendency to move towards the fulfillment of potential (Feist & Feist, 2008). According to Rogers, this is the only motivation people have and includes all the needs of a whole person. In addition, in order to achieve
self-actualization, it is necessary for experiences of the individual to match the perceived self (Feist & Feist, 2008). Malsow, on the other hand, took a slightly different approach. He arranged needs on a hierarchy, which assumes that lower level needs must be satisfied before motivation can address the higher level needs (Feist & Feist, 2008). In addition, Maslow maintained that self-fulfillment is needed to achieve self-actualization (Feist & Feist, 2008).
In conclusion, while there is some similarity between Maslow’s and Rogers’ approach within the humanistic theory, there is, nonetheless, some differences. This is well noticed through the two theorists’ use of the concept of self-actualization. Regardless of these differences, both Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers have profoundly influenced the humanistic approach to personality (Chang, 1991), and will likely continue to do so.
It is widely known that there are concerns revolving around children and popular media (Chandler, 2004). This is especially true of television programming, which broadcasts numerous programs that demonstrate not only violent behavior, but also reinforcement for it. Considering the pervasive qualities of the media and the susceptibility of children, it is easy to detect the problems that can occur as a result (Josephson, 1995). Albert Bandura’s work on the social cognitive theory, and, more specifically, observational learning, plays a very important role in the topic of television violence and the effect it has on children.
In order to personally assess the behaviors, particularly aggressive and violent, portrayed in the media, I viewed fifteen minute segments of four different television programs. The first segment was Criminal Minds, a crime related television program that is typically shown during prime time hours. In this segment, two FBI agents, Hodge and Morgan, were attempting to apprehend a serial killer that was targeting a town’s local police officers. The behaviors portrayed in the beginning of the segment revolved around describing the characteristics of the suspect. Towards the end, when the killer attempted to attack Hodge in a parking lot, Morgan came up from behind him and aggressively grabbed his wrist and twisted his arm around his back while Hodge held his gun at his head.
The next fifteen minute segment I viewed was from the children’s movie Toy Story 3, which is rated for general audiences. In it, Woody and his friends are trying to escape from a daycare that is run by an evil stuffed bear called Lotso. After Woody’s attempts at rationalizing with Lotso fail, Lotso’s sidekick Big Baby decides to help Woody and his friends, which makes Lotso even angrier. As a result, Big Baby picks up Lotso and throws him into a dumpster, allowing Woody and his friends to leave the daycare.
The last two fifteen segments I viewed included numerous aggressive and violent behaviors. The first includes the Calgary versus Minnesota hockey game. During this segment, the behavior being portrayed revolved around playing hockey, which relied heavily on aggressive and violent tendencies. For example, there were endless examples of the players pushing and shoving each other, even to the point of knocking each other down. Likewise, the fifteen minute segment of the WWE Smackdown wrestling program that I viewed revolved entirely around aggressive and violent behaviors. In it, both wrestlers relied endlessly on hitting, kicking, and pulling hair, among other things.
Each of these fifteen minute segments provided some type of reinforcement for the accompanied aggressive and violent behavior. According to Bandura, reinforcement is not necessary for observational learning to occur; however, it is more effective when learners are motivated to imitate the modeled behavior (Feist & Feist, 2008). If the displayed violence is seen as an advantage for the aggressor, it promotes to the child that it is more acceptable. This is the case in many crime related programs, in which the police are typically displayed as being successful when relying on verbally and physically aggressive tactics towards suspects. Likewise, this is the idea behind the aggressive and violent behaviors displayed during
many professional sporting events. In addition, many violent television programs reinforce certain values about the use of violence (Chandler, 2004). For example, violence is frequently used to settle disputes, which reinforces the value that aggressive behavior is acceptable. In Toy Story 3, Big Baby’s behavior reflects this value. This is also the case for the wrestling program, which typically begins each match with the two wrestlers verbally arguing over something.
In conclusion, more often than not, violence in the media is thought of as being portrayed only by so-called evil individuals and characters. However, this is not always the case, which was evident through the fifteen minute segments I viewed from four different programs. All provided ample amounts of aggressive and violent behaviors, and all displayed various types of reinforcement that could prompt a child to become aggressive or violent. Due to this, it is imperative that violence in the media is addressed, especially when it is being portrayed as acceptable to children.
An important aspect of our metacognitive knowledge includes being able to see information in new and flexible ways, thereby opening the mind to different possibilities (Argosy University, 2010). Without this, individuals can fall victim to the conjunction fallacy, which can lead to erroneous judgments, even prejudiced discrimination. This can especially be the case for shift supervisors that are responsible for hiring new staff within a company.
The conjunction fallacy maintains that individuals tend to think that a combination of two characteristics is more likely than having just one of the characteristics (Francis & Neath, 2007). While selecting candidates for the interviewing process, individuals may tend to choose candidates that have both prior experience in the fast-food industry and that state they “love working in a team atmosphere.” Initially, this seems like a very plausible strategy; however, due to the conjunction fallacy, this method can also lead to erroneous judgments. In fact, from a probabilistic viewpoint, such a judgment is odd (Ashcraft & Radvansky, 2010). Realistically, the chances of finding candidates that possess both characteristics are considerably less that the probability finding candidates that possess either single characteristic. Furthermore, it is common for individuals to assume that there is a causal relationship between an individual’s personality and career choice (Ashcraft & Radvansky, 2010).
Being at risk of a conjunction fallacy is not prevalent only for individuals in the hiring process; it can occur in many different outlets of society. Examples of conjunction fallacies can be readily found in the medical field and many of the statements it produces. For instance, according to Ashcraft and Radvansky (2010), it has been found that “people who use sunscreen are more likely to develop skin cancer than those who do not” (p. 453), a finding that contradicts what many would believe. A more common occurrence of a conjunction fallacy that occurs in society deals with prejudicial discrimination. For example, individuals that possess certain characteristics may be perceived to possess other characteristics associated with it, which may or may not be the case, resulting in how that individual is treated in certain circumstances. In addition, many false general views created about particular races and ethnicities, such as “all Mexican Americans are lazy”, are well-known, and create erroneous judgments (Jonsson, 2010).
While many of the conjunction fallacies that are common in society are continuously perpetuated, it is possible to correct these erroneous judgments, mainly through obtaining additional information. For instance, the previously mentioned example regarding sunscreen and skin cancer can be better understood when it is clarified that most people that do not use sunscreen are simply not in the sun as much to begin with, resulting in a lower chance of skin cancer (Ashcraft & Radvansky, 2010). As for the numerous erroneous judgments revolving around racial prejudice and discrimination, such judgments are based on more on societal biases than actual facts.
In conclusion, many times, a lack of knowledge and previous biases inhibits our ability to see information in new and flexible ways (Argosy University, 2010), and erroneous judgments can be made, sometimes even to the extent of prejudiced discrimination. Such conjunction fallacies are relevant not only for shift supervisors responsible for hiring within a company, but also for society as a whole. Regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative that individuals focus on obtaining as much information as possible, as well as increasing awareness, in order to avoid conjunction fallacies.
My reflection on being a lifelong learner can be summed up by one statement: education is life. For me, being a lifelong learner implies that I am not done with my learning journey. Just because I will soon be obtaining a degree from Argosy University, it does not, by any means, suggest that I am done learning. In addition, this understanding has developed my openness to new ideas, behaviors, skills, and decisions. Everyday offers the opportunity to learn; the process has no endings.
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