Undergraduate Studies ePortfolio Vincent Kelly Psychology, 2011
Personal Statement Personal Statement Sigmund Freud once stated that, "Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures... There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensible to it." I have always been fascinated by this assumption as there are so many ways each member of society deals with issues, changes, and situations in their life that may cause misery or turmoil. As I reflect on my life as a child, it was never perfect, being raised by my grandparents I always wanted to understand why people chose the paths they chose. In my mothers case it was drug abuse and marriage to a man who was not receiving the father of the year award. I believe that I have always been a psychologist in some way. I have always took the time figure out individuals on a deeper than personal basis. It was never just who they were, but where they came from, their lifestyle, what led them to that lifestyle, their family background, their views on themselves, and their overall surrounding issues with life. I have always wanted to seek a greater understanding of the individuals mind. Coming from a small town I decided to go into restaurant management, which until graduation with a psychology degree, would be the best place cultivate my desire to be around a variety of people and further enhance my knowledge in the differences of each human mind. Not one of my employees is alike; they each come from their own background and own experiences. There are individuals with different backgrounds and their own experiences working in my restaurant, and they all come from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Each employee’s personality has to be considered in order to create a productive work environment that contains so many different personalities. Since I have been taking psychology classes, I have accomplished the ability to better understand each individual and have learned ways to help them adjust to stressful situations in the work place. I am very committed to my studies and to applying them to my personal situations that I encounter. My personal goals are to apply psychology to every aspect of my life, to make my life more suitable and accommodating in an ever changing home and job environment. A bachelor’s degree is only the beginning to having psychology as a part of my life. I am very satisfied with how I deal with my life, through the teachings I have learned in college.
My future professional goal is to not only further my education through a Masters degree, but to find a job that strictly accommodates psychology. Due in part to instances in my childhood, I have always been interested in the rehabilitation of substance abusers. Through my personal experiences of dealing with family members who had/have substance abuse issues and dealing with employees who possess this issue or similar ones, I know that I would be a huge asset to this area of society in providing help and assistance with rehabilitation. My passion for it is evident in the time I take with addressing serious issues like this with my own employees and my dedication to my current course work. To help total strangers would be an even more rewarding option that I am very intent on pursuing.
I am about to graduate in July and there is no end to my means. I am a very dedicated and passionate individual when it comes to coming to the aid of another who is in need. I will plan on furthering my degree as mentioned previously, and finding a job where I can further assist others in their own miseries they are facing and help them to overcome these circumstances. I believe there is always a light at the end of the tunnel; it is just getting other people to see it is there as well.
Reflection Reflection on Education Through the years I have been attending Argosy University to obtain my Bachelors Degree in Psychology, I have learned many things. I have learned dedication, focus, and hard work. I have learned a great deal about the field of psychology, its components, and how to apply it to my life. From my SSAL, I have learned that my strengths include being able to do research and collect the necessary information for an assignment that is due, I am able to evaluate written and oral presentation and evaluate the theories and perspectives in the presentation. I also able to put together and execute oral presentations effectively, develop and produce positive relationship skills through respect for others, appreciation of diversity and cultural differences, and awareness of the impact of both on communication. I think I could improve on my writing skills and find a more effective way to portray my thoughts on paper.
In the past two decades new technology has become more available to the average consumer. Consumers only have to wait a few short moments before new technology is on the shelf. Technologies today seem to appeal to every type of person, adults, children, seniors. Regardless of the age group or interest technology can be used by all. Video games have been popular since the 1980s and have seem to become more popular as time goes by. Their demand and price has made large profits for the companies that produce them. Xbox a video game console produced my Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony's Play Station are the three most successful and competitive video game companies in existence. Even though these three companies share the agenda of selling the most video games to consumers for a profit, their structure is different.
Degree of Success for each company.
Nintendo is seen an a company of innovation and it is true it does have some of the most innovative game products on the market but the company does not focus on technology as a way to win against its rivals. In fact both Microsoft and Sony have technologically superior systems when it comes to raw processing power. Nintendo's focus is on how can technology be used to improve player experience (business week, 2009). Nintendo has climbed in success since the 1980s and continues to stay in the running as the top three video game companies. Nintendo share similar products but do have a different approach in selling their product. Nintendo has always focused on other aspects of the gaming system besides the latest technology. A good example of Nintendo's mindset about player experience can be seen in their attention to simple things like battery life. Battery life on Nintendo hand-held systems is likely one of the main reasons for their success in the market. While other companies have gone for high power, Nintendo understands that no game is fun if it can't be played (business week, 2009). Sony's PlayStation decided to market their product from more of a technological angle. Sony’s PS3 is the most expensive at $500-600, because it includes a standard hard drive, a high definition Blu-ray optical drive, HD video output, Bluetooth wireless controllers, and–in the premium version–WiFi wireless networking (Dilger, 2010). Their success comes from their the market for high tech junkies that view the most advanced as the best. Xbox, created by Microsoft uses its companies expertise and market control to sell the gaming system. Rather than positioning the Xbox 360 as a standalone PC alternative, Microsoft pairs it with its plans for Windows Media Center, allowing the 360 to be used as a media extender to stream music and movies from a central Media Center PC. Microsoft has plans to offer HD movie playback both with an optional HD-DVD player in an external box, and over the web through its online Xbox Live video store. (Dilger, 2010).
In April of 2009 Nintendo's profits dropped 52% from it prior physical quarter. Recent data from research firm NPD showed that Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PS3 have begun to pick up market share. Microsoft and Sony have both made aggressive price cuts as the holidays approach and those cuts have already help improved sales in September (Wall Street, 2009). Game Pro a popular gaming website posted an article about Xbox and the trouble with the product. This information is important to Xbox because this website is read by many gamers who are the majority of the gaming market. According to consumers the Xbox gaming console is unreliable. Some consumers have joined a lawsuit against Microsoft because of its unreliability to perform duties. Gamers don't want to risk $300-400 at the chance to play games on 360, they want to make sure it can and will play games for years to come. Pile on the recent class-action lawsuits claiming that the machine scratches discs at random, and it becomes clear that the Xbox 360 isn't nearly as dependable as it could be (GamePro, 2007) In 2008 Sony's PlayStation ran into some problems that cost them money and customers. Sony officially unveiled their Home virtual world service the company has found itself knee-deep in problems. Primarily, it seems that the launch of Home has brought about numerous connectivity issues, which is leading to difficulty connecting to PSN or disconnections once you're actually in. Even further, some PS3 owners are finding that the software is not yet even available, even though it has already launched. Is the issue a lack of resources, with Sony's servers unable to handle to massive influx of users (TechSpot, 2008). All of the problems are different for each of the gaming giants but all seem to share a common thread, they are trying to mass produce new an innovative games faster than one another. The quick demand seems to leave room for much error in the production of the games.
New Products for the gaming giants.
To compete with the popular Nintendo Wii, a gaming system that uses wireless controllers that uses the gamers motion to control the screen Xbox has developed the Kinect. The Kinect is an attachment for the existing Xbox that allows players to play the games by eliminating the controller. It uses sensors to detect movement in the player and imitates it upon the screen. This product is successful due to the fact it is an attachment to the gaming system. It allows the gamer to have an entire new gaming experience without spending the money on a new console. According to a press release Kinect has topped sales of 2.5 million. PlayStation has come out with a similar to both the Kinect and the Wii system. The PlayStation Move is wireless like the Wii but is an attachment for the already popular PlayStation 3. PlayStation users can now use wireless sensors to enjoy their games as well.
Organizational Structure of the Gaming companies.
According to Sony.net, Sony's organization structure consist of two major groups that include Consumer, Professional and Devices Groups and Networked Products and Service groups. Each of these groups is responsible for even smaller subgroups consisting of Professional Solution Groups, SemiConductor Business Groups, Device Solution Groups, Personal Imaging and Sound Business Groups, Home Entertainment Groups, Sony Computer Entertainment, Mobile Groups, and Sony Network Entertainment. By dividing business projects among groups the company is organized and is responsible for one responsibility. This makes the company more successful to have groups divided in this manner it allows each group free from responsibility of another group. Microsoft the makers of the Xbox have a similar structure, it is split in to two main sub sections the business division and the sales and operations division. It has many executives that oversee many other operations besides the Xbox. Nintendo unlike Sony and Microsoft it is primary a company that produces games. Its structure consists of the President Satoru Iwata and several general managers all in charge of different aspects of producing and selling Nintendo games and consoles. From marketing to information development all of Nintendo's resources are used to the gaming business.
Similarities among the three companies.
Each gaming company has seem to made it a point to compete with each other to gain the market for gamers. Each year one of the companies develops, markets, and sales new products. Sony and Microsoft market on the fact their graphics get better each year and their games seem more realistic. Nintendo on the other hand markets to the enjoyment of its players. They have all developed a wireless control that senses movement to control the game. It is difficult to decide who is winning the race of the most popular game. Each year it seem to change. These companies use our culture to gain consumers. Our culture wants the newest, best, and fastest and these gaming companies seem to produce each year.
Throughout the past several decades we have seen a rise in teens committing violent acts. Questions have risen to why these acts have occurred and why they continue to grow in number. Many speculate that the exposure to violent movies, video games, and other violent influences are the main cause of violence among our teens in America. By the time an American teen reaches the age of eighteen he or she has seen 200,000 dramatized acts of violence, and 40,000 dramatized murders (Clinton, 1999). The exposure to such things may be linked to our rise in violent criminal acts among teens. We all remember in 1998 when two boys ages eleven and thirteen were convicted of murder when they opened fire on a schoolyard killing five and injuring ten others, just a year later the most infamous school shooting in Columbine, Colorado shook our nation and got the attention of most. After these tragedies, researchers begin to search for causes of the rise in crimes such as theses. Why did Americans not see this coming? Why did our nation wait until it was too late to prevent these devastating actions to occur? Martin Neimoller was a pastor at a German confessing church during the time of Nazi Germany. In his address to the United States Congress in 1968, he spoke his famous quote “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out-- because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out-- because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out-- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me-- and there was no one left to speak out for me.” In today’s society, one that is filled with troubled teens there is no one to speak out for them. In the media, we hear what psychologists, parents, and the press have to say about how detrimental video games have become to our youth, but no one is listening to what teenagers have to say, the individuals who are actually playing the games themselves. In order to find a solution to a problem, you first must begin at the core. In order to determine whether or not there is a correlation between teen violence and video games, we must start researching teen violence itself from the beginning. Teen violence went off like a gun shot throughout the twentieth century. The role of a parent to control what a child saw on television, played on video games, and watched on television was a way, they thought, could curb teen violence. As early as the 1950’s, when rebellion in teens started making headway, parents had two main reasons for controlling what their kids were exposed to; one to keep a Christian uniformity amongst all the teens and two, to prevent wrongful influences on their teens. In today’s society it is virtually impossible to filter a teenager from what may be considered a bad influence. Over the last 15 years America has seen the brute force of teenage violence through school shootings.
Video games arrived in America in the early 1980s, over the past two decades the graphics, story lines, and variety of these games have grown to become one of the most profitable industries in the country. Among these changes the video games objective has seemed to get more violent as the time progresses. Even in early video games the objective is to kill a force that is preventing you from “winning” the game. We have seen game maker become more creative in making the same objective, in order to sell more games. The violence factor become such an important demand, game makers begin to take out the story line and base its game solely on fighting and killing. In the early 1990s some popular games included Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat where the main objective was to kill your opponent with violent force. Games seemed to only get more violent, with more vivid graphics to catch the players attention. The most consistent of these changes is violence, this common link between most video games seem to be a selling point for video game companies. There was also a parallel peak in violence in the real world as well. As these video game became more violent some people became concerned that the exposure to such violence would influence people to act in violence. In 1993 Time Magazine ran a cover story titled “Attack of the Video games.” Americans, could now blame violence in video games for the rise in violence among teens. The media capitalized on the fear of teen violence and made each case a cover story. According to the United States Crime Rates, the number of murders rose in the mid 1980s, but declined consistently after 1995, one year after the Entertainment Software Board made it mandatory to begin printing a rating on the cover of video games. Was this a victory, or just a temporary solution to a serious problem.
According to Katherine Newman, author of Rampage: The Social Root of School Shootings, during her research of school shootings she found that most of the teens that were involved in school shootings were considered outcast, they all suffered from depression, and often made threats of the massacre that were mostly ignored. Newman's theory included that their were warning signs that could have prevented these shootings. Newman feels factors other than video games were to blame. Instead of taking away video games Newman suggest taking an interest in the students that fall into this risk category. Still video games are a topic of conversation when it comes to influencing violence among its player. In researching this topic I would conduct my research at a juvenile correctional facility, and conduct research on teen males that were charged and convicted of a violent crime.
Fifty inmates that are between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, that are currently incarcerated at a juvenile correctional facility. These inmates will be male and that have been charged an convicted of violent crimes. I would classify violent as inmates that were charged and convicted for causing physical harm to another person. Parents of the inmates who will be participating in the research. I would also include child psychologists who work within the juvenile correctional facility. I would also conduct surveys with the teachers of the fifty student. Physicians to help monitor the inmates during game play.
A standard survey given to all of the inmates. A standard survey given to all of the parents. A standard survey given to the teachers and the psychologists. I would use a quiet conference room to conduct the survey to the inmates. An EKG machine to monitor the heart rate of the inmates during game play. Two video games, one rated M for Mature, and one rated E for everyone.
All of the inmates will be selected only if they were convicted of crimes of violence. I will conduct a survey to the fifty male juvenile inmates. The survey will ask questions that pertain to feelings of violence. When they express violent behavior, and why do they think they do. I will then survey the parent or parents of the inmates asking questions of the inmates violent tendencies. When they began expressing acts of rage or violence. I would conduct a third survey with the teachers and psychologist. This survey will act as a non bias research on juvenile violent tendencies. I will take each of the fifty inmates and have them connected to a EKG machine to monitor their heart rate. I will have them each play 1 hour of each game, one violent and one non violent. I will record the heart rate of the inmates in accordance to which game they are playing. I will use this quantitative number to help prove or disprove that violent video games have physiological effect on the teens.
Incarceration is considered rehabilitation, I may slow down or stop what progress the juveniles have made by making them subject to this research. I would also get a medical clearance from each inmates physician. I would also get signed consent from each inmates parent or guardian as not to break any privacy laws. Having them play the video games that may have the juvenile inmate act in aggression or violence. Speaking to the psychologist of the juvenile correctional facility, I would be careful as not to breach any privacy rules they must follow.
During my research I found that teen violence did rise more than 5% from the 80s to the 90s but dropped in the mid 90s. I also researched other suspected variables that may have contributed to this. The production of violent movies have also risen since the 1980s. Divorce rate, poverty, education, and other the pressure of being accepted also may be involved in violence among teens. My most common link between teens and major violence such as school shootings is segregation with in teen groups. Teens that are considered “unpopular” with their peers are more likely to engage in extreme violence against their peers. Some threats to internal and external validity may be present in this research. External threats include the length of the research. When researching twenty years ago and comparing the results of today's findings there are many factors that may not be be included in my research. There are a vast amount of variables that may effect the rise in teen violence that have not been discovered by any researcher. History would be an internal validity threat to my research, because of most interviews and surveys found were conducted after a traumatic experience involving teen violence. Another internal threat would be instruments and methods to measure teen violence may have changed and advance of the last thirty years that may alter previous results. I reviewed several articles on this topic and came to the conclusion that our nation's teens are in trouble. They are victims by our ever changing culture of violence, violence on television, movies, and video games. I can also say I do not believe that video games create violence, but I do believe they fuel it. Most of these teens that were involved in violent crimes had many other factors that may have caused such rage that turned into violence. Americans ignore warning signs of a troubled teen and look for a boogy man to blame. If violent video games were not available to these teens, the violence would not go away, look around it is everywhere.
Finley, Laura L. 2007. Encyclopedia of Juvenile Violence
Zimring, Franklin E. 1998. American Youth Violence. Studies in Crime and Public Policy.
Newman, Katherine S. 2004. Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings.
Moltenbrey, Karen. 2009. Computer Graphics World. Video Game violence: How much is too much?
Wolfe, David A.; Jaffe, Peter G.; Crooks, Claire V. 2006. Teens Experiment and Strategies to Keep Them Safe New Haven Yale University Press,.Current Perspectives in Psychology.
2010. United States Crime Rates. http:// www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm . Retrieved on October 25, 2010.
My Future in Learning As a lifelong learner, I plan on continuing my education by pursuing a Masters Degree in an area of psychology and by searching for a career in this field. I plan on using the tools I have acquired while studying this field in my everyday life.
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