Unit 9 project elizbeth hall

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Unit 9 project elizbeth hall

  1. 1. 1 Running Header: Psychology Final Investigation into Psychology: Essay Question Final Exam Elizabeth Hall Kaplan University SS124-02 Introduction to Psychology Stacy Daniels 10.26.10
  2. 2. Psychology Final 2 Investigation into Psychology: Essay Question Final Exam Introduction During the past eight weeks, we have been introduced to many aspects of psychology, from understanding the methods of studying function. We will synthesize that information in four- part paper involving specific scenarios to determine knowledge ability and understanding of psychological methods of data collection, research, terminology, and treatment methods. The specific areas of study discussed are, naturalistic observation, experimentation, negative and positive reinforcement, Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, and the anxiety disorder known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Because this paper discusses a wide variety of material, it is possible to measure our understanding of psychology, from the research, academic, and clinical standpoints. Psychological Research Study: The Relationship of Alcohol to Violence and Brain Function This study will involve two different methods of studying human behavior; naturalistic observation and experimentation. According to Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner (2009), naturalistic observation is a method of gathering scientific knowledge or data in the subject’s natural environment without their knowledge. The naturalistic observation phase provides background material to the experiment. The experimental method is a method for identifying causal relationships between two variables, notes Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner (2009). By studying both those who do not drink and those who do drink, and their brain reactions to witnessing violent media before the consumption of alcohol and after consuming alcohol or being in an environment around drinkers we can establish the effects of alcohol’s effects on violence. For the first phase of the experiment, bowling allies with and without bars will be selected and
  3. 3. Psychology Final 3 observers will study patrons during different times of the day and week to observe their behavior. One group collect data on people are drinking alcohol; exactly what they are drinking, what is the tone of the environment, and the time they were observed. Another group of observers will collect data on the people not consuming alcohol; the attitudes of all people in that establishment and the time they were observed. Using the data collected from the bowling alley observations, we may begin to select a population for our experiment. Since the law of large numbers applies to the accuracy of data (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009), the original population will be set at 1000, to ensure that random samples of population are possible. These candidates will take psychological screening tests such as the Global Assessment Test (GAT) and the Thematic Apperception Test in order to establish that we do not test anyone that is not mentally suitable for testing due to other psychological issues. This is for ethical issues (we would not want to cause more mental stress on those with obvious mental issues already) and for grouping of test subjects by potential for violence. They will also be required to fill out a questionnaire relating to occupation, background information, socioeconomic standing, whether they drink or not, and the current levels of stress they feel that they undergo on a regular basis. Then 1000 of the eligible applicants will be selected for the experiment. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) Applicants will be selected from all socioeconomic status classes to ensure that class does not play a role. Candidates, grouped by the potential for violence assessment rating, will be randomly selected with an equal number from the no potential for violence and potential for violence groups and drinkers and non-drinkers groups to ensure validity. We would then divide them in two groups (A and B); one that views violent media and one that does not view any media.
  4. 4. Psychology Final 4 Both groups would then have a control group (served non-alcoholic beverages) and an experimental group (served alcoholic beverages). Both groups would have an fMRI done of their brain activity before consuming their beverage or witnessing violent media. The only thing different between groups A and B would be witnessing the violent media or not. A record will be kept of which participant was served what drink, how much was drunk, and what (if any) violence occurred in both the experimental and control groups. Before the participants leave, Group A participants would view, violent media during an fMRI, and Group B would just have an fMRI. From the data collected during the naturalistic observation portion, we could tweak the violent media to reflect any violence observed to maximize results. Upon completion of the experiment, causal relationship can be established or debunked. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) Ethically in conducting a study involving alcohol and violence one must consider that every participant is over the age of 21, whether or not you have the means to subdue violent intoxicated subjects humanely, and that everyone got home safely without drinking and driving. A signed consent form that states that every participant is there of their own free will and that they understand the risks of the study must be obtained before the experiment began. Negative and Positive Reinforcement When considering operant conditioning, one of the methods of ensuring that a desired response is learned, we offer reinforcement after the response is given. Negative reinforcement refers to the removal of an undesired condition when the desired response is given, such as removing a chore from a child’s list when they keep their room clean. Positive reinforcement for a child keeping their room clean could be extra time outside, a toy, or even a treat as it refers to
  5. 5. Psychology Final 5 strengthening the desired response by presenting a positive stimulus after the response. Negative reinforcement teaches the response by withholding an undesired stimulus. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) An example of negative reinforcement that I experienced as a child would have been over my homework. I hated taking out the trash, so if I finished my homework in a timely manner, my mom would remove that from my duties that day. The response in this case is my homework, the negative stimulus is the trash, and the negative reinforcement would be the removal of trash duty for the day. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) An example of positive conditioning from my childhood involved dinnertime. The rules were that you had to have some of everything no matter what it was, don’t take more than you are going to eat, and you must clean your plate. For most meals, there was no problem, but we all know that not every kid likes something for some reason like carrots or broccoli. My things were squash, eggs, and sausage. When we would have one of these items that I did not like, if I ate my spoonful of the dreaded food, without complaining I got extra dessert. In this example, the response is eating the food without complaining, the positive stimulus is the extra dessert, and the positive reinforcement is receiving the extra dessert. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) Freud and the Psychoanalytical Theory- The School Of Thought That Fits My Thinking After careful consideration, I will have to pick the psychoanalytic theory that Sigmund Freud proposed as the theory that fits my thinking the most. This is because Freud was the pioneer in recognizing that behavior is reflected by inward and outer struggles of self and his psychosexual stage theory makes more sense than other theories. I have to admit that the picture is not complete in my thinking without adding other aspects of psychological theory. Eagleton
  6. 6. Psychology Final 6 (1983) explains Freud’s psychoanalytic theory as such: “The novelty of Freud’s approach is approach was in recognizing that neurotic behavior is not random or meaningless but goal- directed.” What he means is that our neurotic behaviors are a result of learning in the formative years, and that our dreams manifest our personal desires through symbolism. The psychoanalytic theory introduced by Freud is the first attempt to link behavior to brain functioning, and to the social contexts of society. (Eagleton, 1983) Freud asserts that all humans are born with basic instincts that allow us to provide for our five basic needs as humans, food, water, shelter, security, and sex. He believed that in satisfying these needs we are beginning to form our libidos. This process begins when an infant is suckling their mother’s breast satisfying their need for food. The autoeroticism process stays focused on the body of the child until the Oedipus complex emerges and engenders us. (Eagleton, 1983) This stage is the oral stage of sexual awareness, since it involves the mouth. The infant discovers this first erotogenic zone and begins sticking everything in their mouths. Dependence and addiction tendencies are developed here. Next, follows the anal stage when the child realizes the sexual gratification of actually feeling the release of the feces. The aspiration of retention and controlling aspects of our personalities forms in this stage. Next, is the phallic stage in which the child is transfixed on the genitalia. Discovering our own sexuality occurs during this stage along with our competiveness, and jealousy traits developing. (Eagleton, 1983) Beginning with the phallic stage, through the latent stage the Oedipus Complex - boy is infatuated with their mothers, and daughters are infatuated with their fathers- comes into focus as the child realizes that there are differences in genitalia. The male child with the phallic genitalia
  7. 7. Psychology Final 7 realizing the castration of the female abandons his desires for his mother for fear of being castrated by his father, and accepts the reality principal, thereby identifying with masculine roles. The girl however pivots from the mother to the father out of realization that the mother is just as castrated as she is, and attempts seduction. Failing, the girl invariably returns to the mother, identifying with female roles, but retains the desire to procreate with daddy. (Eagleton, 1983) The genital stage begins in adulthood, and affects how we will act in relationships and our success or failure at work (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009). I personally think that our personalities and neuroticisms are directly tied to our earliest experiences, however I cannot see being able to tie my beliefs down to one theory. This is because I cannot discount the theory of social learning as playing a huge part in understanding behavior. I also feel that depending on our individual life experiences and how we choose to react to them personalities can change. Clinical Standpoint- Diagnosis and Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I started my first day as a psychological clinician off with a patient who was also experiencing a first time visiting a psychologist. My receptionist followed her duties well, and gathered enough symptom information for me to suspect that my patient (Jane Doe) may be suffering from the severe anxiety disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) due to the anxiety and distress Jane feels if she does not follow the ritualistic behavior she feels compelled to perform. When Jane sits down for our session, exchanging pleasantries, she described her situation. The first thing I must do, is administer a Global Assessment of Functioning test which helps diagnose the degree of mental disorder by assessing how well a person functions in normal situations. Those scoring higher on the assessment scale function better than those who score
  8. 8. Psychology Final 8 lower. This will help me assess the severity and classification of their disorder. (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009) Jane scored a 45 on the scale, which denotes her rituals that she described. She could not do anything from eating to walking without separating things into threes, which hindered her ability to accomplish anything in a timely fashion, and another symptom was her utter inability to feel that anything including herself was clean. She spent most of her time cleaning her house and bathing repeatedly. She had been through four jobs in the last six months, and was running out of options. I explained to Jane that she was in fact suffering from OCD, which is defined as a disorder of the brain in which the level of stimulation of the caudate nucleus of the brain is heightened. This causes intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that are diminished by performing rituals (compulsions), and these processes tended to interfere with patients lives (Gilbert, Schacter, & Wegner 2009). We then begin to discuss how to treat the disorder. I told her that there are two main treatments for OCD, psychotherapy and medicine, and suggested that because her disorder is debilitating her life, we should try both since the medicine would alleviate some of the effects of the obsessions or at least make them less frequent. (Mayo Clinic, 2010) I cannot prescribe medication as a psychologist, so I gave her referral to a psychiatrist to obtain a prescription for Sertraline, and told her to make sure she understood what side effects the medication might have. I then, let her know that I would also be treating her with cognitive behavioral therapy to help her reeducate her thought processes and patterns with the goal that the compulsions would no longer be required for her to function. With proper psychotherapy, and
  9. 9. Psychology Final 9 treatment with medications, Jane may be able to return to a normal functioning human being. (Mayo Clinic, 2010) Conclusion: Because this paper discusses a wide variety of material, it is possible to measure our understanding of psychology, from the research, academic, and clinical standpoints. Through discussions of psychoanalytic theory, our understanding of the research process is clear. Discussions of negative and positive reinforcement satisfy the academic understanding of psychology, and the discussion of OCD covers the clinical aspects of psychology. The great thing about psychology or any science for that matter is that new techniques, measures, and technology advances keep the knowledge flowing, and there is always room to learn more.
  10. 10. Psychology Final 10 References: Eagleton, T. (1983). A Brief Outline of Psychoanalytic Theory. Freudian, Lacanian, and Object Relations Theory. Retrieved from: http://homepage.newschool.edu/~quigleyt/vcs/psychoanalysis-intro.pdf Gilbert, D. T., Schacter, D.L. & Wegner, D. M. (2009). Psychology. New York: Worth Publishing. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Obsessive –compulsive disorder (OCD): Treatment and Drugs. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obsessive-compulsive- disorder/DS00189/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

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