Monday, December 12, 2011

Film Review: Philadelphia

Film Review – Philadelphia

            I chose to watch the movie, Philadelphia. This has always been one of my favorite movies. I was 14 years old when it came out and homosexuality and HIV/AIDS were taboo subjects. I remember having to sneak and watch it since my mother was completely against the movie. Philadelphia is very compelling story and honestly, I still cry at the end.
            I’m pleased that the writers tried to stay as close to the facts as possible. When Denzel Washington’s character, Joe Miller, went to his doctor with questions, he was told that the disease was transmitted through blood, semen and vaginal secretions. I’m also glad that they chose to incorporate a character within the story that contracted HIV/AIDS through a blood transfusion showing that it is not only gays that contract the virus. I remember the earlier years of learning about the virus and the fear and discrimination were about the same as in the movie, even in my small town.
            The bosses of Tom Hank’s character, Andrew Beckett, were showing the initial fears people had when they learned someone had HIV or AIDS. They panicked before educating themselves. They believed the early propaganda that the infection could be contracted by casual contact rather than educating themselves, as Joe Miller did, about the methods of contraction. The senior partners appeared to be more concerned with associating Beckett’s illness with past risky behaviors than seeing him as a human. The statement that one made on stand, that he felt sorry for those who contracted HIV/AIDS “through no fault of their own” was, for a lack of a better word, ignorant. HIV and AIDS is a de-habilitating disease that we should not want anyone to go through. People do make risky decisions, as Mr. Beckett testified to his own in the trial, and we should be helping educate people about the illness rather than continually bashing those that already have it.
            Joe Miller openly admitted that he was homophobic. He admitted he was scared of contracting AIDS/HIV through casual contact. I was pleased to see by the end of the movie, that he had faced his fear and was even able to touch Andrew Beckett’s face.
            One aspect of the movie that I was displeased about was the fact they portrayed Andrew Beckett’s family as all being supportive. This is not always the case. However, I suppose that for the purpose of not having too many deep and dramatic storylines that it was overlooked to focus on the main story of wrongful discrimination.
            I like that the movie mentioned, and for the most part explained, the Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is an important component in the fight against discrimination at work for not only people with HIV and AIDS but other people with disabilities.
            The story in this movie, in my opinion, proved what our text book said on page 398, “Fear is being transmitted by casual contact, not the virus.”


Stine, G. J. (2011). AIDS Update 2011. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2011, from Wikipedia:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Modern Views of Depression

Modern Views of Depression

            Sarah’s depression could be caused by several different reasons. There are five modern views of psychology. The neuroscience view says that there is a biological reason for Sarah’s depression. Her depression may be related to an abnormality in her brain structure. Another biological reason for depression may be heredity. The cognitive view says that Sarah is responding to something around her. She has viewed and understood something around her and as a reaction, took on the behaviors listed. The behavioral view states that something in Sarah’s observable behavior will explain why she is feeling this way. The humanistic view says that Sarah controls her feelings and she has chosen to feel this way (free-will). The psychodynamic view states that Sarah’s unconscious determines her depression. Sarah has no control over her feelings.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Anorexia Nervosa

        Anorexia Nervosa is defined as a psychiatric disorder characterized by abnormal eating behavior, severe self-induced weight loss and other psychiatric disorders. (Anorexia nervosa) According to the Web MD website, anorexia nervosa affects both the body and mind. (Anorexia Nervosa Health Center) People with anorexia suffer from a distorted body image. Anorexia usually affects females; with 85 – 95% of anorexics being female. (Anorexia Nervosa Fact Sheet) This is believed to be due to the fact that women are desired to be thin. Models and actresses set the example of how women think they should look.

            There are many possible causes of anorexia nervosa. These include biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors. (Anorexia Nervosa) Biological factors that can cause anorexia are genetics, neurotransmitters and brain structures. Some researchers say that if a person has a family member who had an eating disorder, they are at a higher risk for developing one. Twin studies also support this theory. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, is believed to influence anorexia. Low levels of dopamine are responsible for desire to consume more food; increased levels are responsible for a decrease in appetite. (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010) Some researchers have noticed an area on chromosome 1 that appears to be associated with anorexia. (Anorexia nervosa) There are numerous psychological factors. These include body image, fragile or low self-esteem, depression, and feelings of helplessness. Many who suffer from anorexia use food or weight as means of handling stress or anxiety. Along with anorexia, many patients suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), perfectionism and mood disorders. Individuals judge themselves on their eating, shape, weight or ability to control these. Some researchers believe that a person’s interpersonal interactions with parents or peers has an impact on anorexia. Socio – cultural factors are believed to have the most effect on anorexia. Physical appearance plays a major role. There is a high demand, especially in the western world, for thinness. In reality, only 5% of American women can achieve the size required for fashion models. (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010) Some people contend though, eating disorders existed centuries ago, therefore socio-cultural values cannot be solely responsible. (Anorexia nervosa)

            There are many complications of having anorexia nervosa. These include brain problems, heart problems, kidney problems, psychological problems along with many others. It is important to get a person who is suffering from anorexia treatment immediately. There are many interventions available for those with anorexia. (Lock & Gowers, 2005) There are inpatient, day and residential programs. There is also the option of individual therapy and/or family therapy. Psychological interventions to help with self-esteem and interpersonal difficulties are very helpful. (Karatzias, Chouliara, Power, Collin, Yellowlees, & Grierson, 2010) Since most of the cases of anorexia are due to socio-cultural or psychological factors, this is where we need to start helping. Children need to grow up understanding the reasonable area for weight. Children need to be taught appropriate eating habits which will help them maintain a healthy weight. Adolescents and adults should be taught the warning signs and have a person to contact if they feel a friend has an eating disorder.

Works Cited

Anorexia nervosa. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2011, from University of Maryland Medical Center:

Anorexia Nervosa. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2011, from Mayo Clinic:

Anorexia Nervosa Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2011, from Women's Health:

Anorexia Nervosa Health Center. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2011, from Web MD:

Karatzias, T., Chouliara, Z., Power, K., Collin, P., Yellowlees, A., & Grierson, D. (2010). General Psychopathology in Anorexia Nervosa: The Role of Psychosocial Factors. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy , 519-527.

Lock, J., & Gowers, S. (2005). Effective Interventions for Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa. Journal of Mental Health , 599-610.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, S. (2010). Understanding Abnormal Behavior. Boston: Wadsworth.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Infants Learn and Remember

             Infants learn, and ultimately remember, in variety of ways. Our text refers to the methods of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, attention, imitation, and memory and concept formation. Each of these methods offers a different way for children to learn and for parents to enhance their children’s learning.

            Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, discovered classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus acquires the ability to produce a response originally produced by another stimulus. Our text relates several examples of this method. A way to relate this to parents and children is using a lullaby at bed time. A mother wants to get her child on a bedtime schedule. In an effort to do this, she begins to sing a lullaby to her child at bedtime. The infant learns that after the lullaby, his mother will lay him down. The child begins to associate bedtime with this lullaby and settles down right after the lullaby.

            B.F. Skinner introduced the concept of operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, the consequences of a behavior produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s occurrence. For example, a mother wants to condition her infant to help clean up their toys. Each time the infant helps clean their toys up, the mother positively rewards the infant with praise. After awhile, the infant will be “conditioned” to clean up their toys based on the positive praise.

            A third method is attention. Attention refers to the focusing of mental resources on select information. Attention includes the processes of habituation and dishabituation. Habituation is the decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations of the stimulus. Dishabituation is the increased responsiveness after a change in stimulation. Also included in attention is joint attention, where individuals focus on the same object or event. According to our text, infants’ attention is strongly governed by novelty and habituation. (Santrock, 2010) In an effort to teach their child about objects, a parent points to objects while naming them to get their child to focus on them.

            Imitation is where children imitate behaviors seen in their role models. Andrew Meltzoff concluded that infants do not blindly imitate everything they see and often make creative errors. (Santrock, 2010) Deferred imitation is imitation that occurs after a delay of hours or days. According to a study conducted in Germany, infants between the ages of 11 months and 12 months could imitate five actions they saw the researchers perform. (Goertz, Kolling, Frahsek, Stanisch, & Knopf, 2008) A parent can use imitation as a tool to teach their infants to help clean up. The parent picks up a toy and puts it away. The parent then claps to show that the behavior is acceptable. The infant can then imitate the behavior.

            Memory involves the retention of information over a period of time. There are two types of behavior, implicit and explicit. Implicit memory is memory without conscious recollection. It involves skills and routine procedures that are automatically performed. Explicit memory is conscious memory of facts and experiences. An infant remembers the positive reward from the operant conditioning example earlier. Therefore, the child will more than likely repeat the behavior again.

            Concept formation is the organization of information into categories. An infant is shown picture cards of birds and groups them together realizing they are the same. He then realizes that an airplane can be grouped with the birds as well because they all fly.
A parent can use concept formation to enhance their child’s learning.

Works Cited

Goertz, C., Kolling, T., Frahsek, S., Stanisch, A., & Knopf, M. (2008). Assessing declarative memory in 12-month-old infants: A test - retest reliability study of the deferred imitation task. European Journal Of Developmental Psychology , 492-506.

Santrock, J. W. (2010). Children. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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Preventing Teenage Pregnancy

          Teenage pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy involving a person aged 13-19 years old. Although the rate of teenage pregnancy is slowly declining, the numbers are still alarmingly high. In the United States, one million teenage girls become pregnant each year. (Teen Pregnancy) Each year, 13% of births in the United States are to teen mothers. Of those, 25% of teen mothers have another baby within two years. Children born to teenage mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition, health care, cognitive and social stimulation. They are more at an increased risk to be neglected or abused. Boys born to teen mothers are 13% more likely to become incarcerated and girls are 22% more likely to become teen mothers themselves. (Teen Pregnancy)

            The President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative was created to demonstrate the effectiveness of the innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates. (Responding to Teen Pregnancy, 2011) The goal is to reduce the teen birth rates by 10% in targeted communities and increase the amount of youth abstaining from intercourse. (Teen Pregnancy Prevention 2010-2015) Currently, many teens are uninformed about contraceptives, including the availability, efficiency and choices. Only 69% of United States schools teach sex education. Of those, 86% teach abstinence rather than safe methods. Sex education needs to be taught in all schools where teens attend. Many parents contend that it should be the parent’s responsibility to teach sex education to their children. However, there are many parents who do not teach their children about sex. It is these children that need someone to step in and teach them in order to help prevent teen pregnancy. This can be started as sex education in schools and lead into peer counseling groups. According to Josefina Card, a program called Adolescent compliance in the Use of Oral Contraceptives uses peer counselors to advise patients aged 14-19. (Card, 1999) A field study concluded that these teens were more than likely to use oral contraceptives correctly and continuously. This type of program may be beneficial to many communities dealing with high rates of teen pregnancy.

            Another program that may be beneficial to prevent teen pregnancy is a Teen to Teen mentoring type program. In this program, teens are partnered with current teen mothers to see how life changes. In order to prevent teen pregnancy, teens need to see the ups and downs. I was hoping when MTV created the 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom series that it would show teens about life as parents. Unfortunately, most teens now believe the glamorous, show business side of teen pregnancy.

            Although abstinence is the best way to prevent teen pregnancy, teaching only that principle is not going to work. Teens need to be taught how to protect themselves from diseases and pregnancy. The annual cost of teen pregnancy on the United States is $7 billion dollars. This makes teen pregnancy a national problem, not an individual problem. We, as a country, need to help prevent teen pregnancy.

Works Cited

Card, J. J. (1999). Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Do Any Programs Work? Annual Reviews , 257-285.
Responding to Teen Pregnancy. (2011). Curriculum Review , pp. 10-11.

Teen Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2011, from Health Communities:

Teen Pregnancy Prevention 2010-2015. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Psychological Effects of HIV and AIDS

        If you are diagnosed with HIV, your physical health is not the only issue you have to deal with. (Coping with HIV/AIDS: Mental Health) HIV also affects a person’s mental health. Mental health is defined as a state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life. A HIV diagnosis brings about a wide range of emotions. These emotions include fear, anger, helplessness, sad, anxiety, denial, fatigue, grief, shock, and confusion. The patient is often overwhelmed with the changes to be made in life. HIV and AIDS also can have a condition called AIDS Dementia Complex, or ADC. These emotions and ADC affect the patient’s mental health.

            The most natural and normal first reaction after a positive HIV test is denial. Many patients deny the test is true and often believe there is a mix-up in results. Denial can be dangerous if not dealt with. Patients in denial may fail to take safety precautions or reach out for help. The best way to deal with the denial emotion is to talk early with a doctor, therapist, or other support person.

            Another common and natural reaction is anger. Some patients are angry about how they got HIV or that they didn’t know they had it. A person experiencing anger may feel frustration or loss of control. Anger can sometimes lead to depression. Ways to deal with anger are to talk about feelings, exercise to ease tension, and avoid other situations that cause anger. It is also important not to drink alcohol or use drugs. These behaviors can cause the patient to participate in actions that can intensify the anger or place others at risk for infection.

            Sadness and depression are also common among HIV and AIDS patients. Grief can also factor into these. Some patients feel a diagnosis is a big loss of life. Some patients feel hopeless, alone, tired, or uninterested in life. The patient should talk to a doctor, support group or supportive friend or family member if they have these feelings. Anti-depressants can also be prescribed.

            Fear and anxiety for a HIV/AIDS patient may be caused by a variety of factors. They may be caused by not knowing what to expect with the illness. The patient may be afraid of telling others and afraid of how others will treat them. The patient may fear being rejected by their peers and communities. The patient is sometimes uncertain about their health and future. They may feel uncertain about the medications given to help them or about the whole experience. One of the best ways to deal with the feelings of fear and anxiety are to learn as much as possible about HIV. Asking the doctor any and all questions about treatments, medications or about HIV and AIDS in general may help reduce some of the anxiety. Talking to supportive friends and family is a good way to handle the fear and anxiety. There are also support groups a patient can join that will help them as well as let them help others also living with HIV or AIDS.

            Fatigue affects 33% - 88% of HIV patients. (Fatigue remains common in people with HIV, and often connected with social factors and mental health issues) Fatigue has been defined as “a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a feeling of tiredness that is not reduced by a good night’s sleep.”  Fatigue can be either physical or psychological or even both. Anxiety and fear are usually the causes of psychological fatigue. While medication can help the patient, success has also been found using cognitive behavioral therapy.

            An AIDS patient also feels guilt when diagnosed and sometimes throughout the illness. They feel guilty about how they could have put themselves at risk. They also feel that their diagnosis is punishment for some sort of bad behavior such as drug use or sexual promiscuity. As the illness progresses, the patient feels guilty about depending on others. An important part of working through the guilt is to understand one’s self-worth. Therapy can help the patient with this.

            AIDS Dementia Complex, or ADC, occurs in approximately 70% of those infected by HIV. (Stine, 2011) ADC may be the first sign of AIDS. Symptoms of ADC vary from person to person. ADC is considered a progressive brain disorder and causes a decline in cognitive functions such as memory, reasoning, judgment, concentration, and problem solving. Symptoms of ADC include confusion, memory loss, difficulty thinking and speaking, and balance problems. Changes also occur in personality and behavior. ADC causes severe changes in four areas. These are cognition, behavior, motor coordination and mood. There are several theories for the development of ADC. One such theory is that the HIV virus reaches the brain when it becomes active therefore affecting the mental and physical processes of the brain. (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010) Another theory is that because AIDS affects the immune system, AIDS related infections causes infected cells to release toxic substances. (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010) These toxins cause changes in psychological processes. A third theory is that the cortex, or outer layer of the brain, gradually thins as the disease attacks the immune system. (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011) In almost all HIV patients with dementia, there is some level of cerebral atrophy. Cerebral atrophy is defined as a wasting away or diminution in the size of cells or tissue structures of the brain.      
            AIDS Dementia Complex usually occurs when the CD4+ count falls to less than 200 cells per micro liter. (Dementia Due to HIV Infection) ADC is caused by the HIV virus itself and not by an opportunistic infection. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has prevented or improved the symptoms of ADC symptoms. ART has also delayed the onset of ADC. The frequency of ADC has declined to about 20% of all HIV infected persons since the use of ART. Some methods of treatment for ADC include education and information, psychotherapy, self-help groups, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

            The HIV virus and AIDS causes physical and emotional health problems. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said it best, “The HIV virus, like terrorism, kills indiscriminately and without mercy. As cruel as any tyrant, the virus will crush the human spirit…” (2003)

 Works Cited

Coping with HIV/AIDS: Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2011, from HIV InSite:

Dementia Due to HIV Infection. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2011, from E Medicine Health:

Emotional Effects of HIV and AIDS. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2011, from Livestrong:

Fatigue remains common in people with HIV, and often connected with social factors and mental health issues. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2011, from AIDS Map:

Stine, G. J. (2011). AIDS Update 2011. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, S. (2010). Understanding Abnormal Behavior. Boston: Wadsworth.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The World of Psychology. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beating the Clock

How do you deal with the stress of life's demands? What solutions work best for you and why? Does your significant other or family use the same technique?

     I hear daily that my life must be stressful. I also hear that I must be superwoman because I just smile and move through life. I have no free time. As a matter of fact, I have been with at least one of my kids all day, every day since fall of 2008. While I would love a break, it’s just not plausible at this time. My life IS stressful. I am a full time college student. I am a mom of 7, with 5 under the age of 6. I do home school my 4 oldest. My husband does work long hours (and sometimes, like now, we are miles apart. 350 to be exact).

     To deal with life’s stress and demands, I do many things. Each day, I make lists of what needs to be done. I have a list for “must-do” and a list for “do if I have time”. I remember to tell myself that life does not always go to plan. I remind myself to work around life’s “curveballs”. My biggest thing is to stay flexible each day.

     Sometimes things happen that tend to stress me out – an argument, kids misbehaving, finances. I usually tend to mentally stress myself out over them. Everything tends to work out in the end, for the most part.

     My husband’s technique to handle stress is to work. I’m not sure how this works for him, but it’s what he chooses to do. He even says he doesn’t stress about much because he knows I’m stressing enough for the both of us.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Having Children

What do you think about people who choose not to have children?
Honestly, this depends on the day. When my children have been giving me a tough time, I think people who choose not to have children are smart. But, on the more common occasions of having special moments with my children, I wonder why some people choose to miss out on parenthood. In all seriousness, I feel the decision to have children is a personal and private decision. It should not be society’s decision, but the individual’s decision. In no way should a person be judged for their decision on children.

What is your choice? What do you say to people who ask about it?
I knew that I always wanted children. I said my limit was 4, but I ended up with 7. I always get the questions of “Why so many?”, “Don’t you know what causes that?”, and “What did you do? Keep trying until you got that boy?” (I had 6 girls before my only son). At first I would answer these questions with detailed answers. However, now I am tired of them and answer very shortly, “My decision to have children and how many is my business.” I still get the question, “Are you done now?” To which I answer, “And if I’m not?” It normally ends the children conversation.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Inaccuracy of Eyewitness Testimony

       Eyewitness testimony is used every day in court cases across the country. But, how reliable is eyewitness testimony when it comes to the aspects of a person’s memory? Quoting Elizabeth Loftus, “Memories are not fixed.” This means that memories can be changed, lost and created. Eyewitnesses tend to remember major details, but memory of minor details is low. Eyewitnesses who perceive themselves as objective have more confidence in their testimony. However, confidence is not the same as accuracy.

Many factors can account for a person’s eyewitness testimony to be inaccurate. One such example is when a weapon is used in the crime being committed. Some studies show that a witness’ attention may be more on the weapon rather than the details of the crime and the perpetrator. A witness may be less likely to recall the events accurately. Another factor concerns how a police line – up is conducted. Some research suggests first having the witness describe the perpetrator and then look through photos matching that description rather than looking through photos first. Some also believe that errors are less likely if members of a line – up are viewed one after another rather than all together. However, although the “show – up” method (seeing one suspect at a time) results in fewer misidentifications, it is less likely to make a positive identification. A third factor that can affect eyewitness testimony is how a witness is questioned. Specific wording by police officers or attorneys can affect how a witness recalls information. Some researchers suggest that neutral questions be asked. Suggestive techniques can result to mistaken memories. These mistaken memories can even be detailed if the techniques are suggestive enough. Another study reports that race could even play a role in inaccurate eyewitness testimony. This study reported that it is 15% more likely that a witness identify the wrong person if the perpetrator’s race was different than their own.
       Witnesses can have false memories. There are several reasons this can happen. One reason was talked about previously - suggestive techniques. Another reason is the misinformation effect. This occurs when misleading information is supplied after the event and results in false recollections of the actual event. Also, each time a witness recounts testimony, they become more likely to change their testimony in response to misinformation. Some “recovered memories”, which are most likely to be false memories, are usually uncovered by hypnosis or guided imagery. Hypnosis does not improve accuracy of memory. Having a witness, or victim, imagine an experience as if it happened, can lead them to believe it did happen.  An eyewitness can also pick up information from other sources, such as the media or idle gossip. They can use what they hear to create false memories of an event. Children as witnesses can also contribute to the false memory scenario. Children’s memories can be highly affected by others especially when the event is highly stressful or emotional. Witnesses talking to one another before police can jumble up memories as well.

            The inaccuracy of eyewitness testimony can have some implications on our society. Wrong testimony can lead to the wrong person being convicted of a crime. This means an innocent person could spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. The other part of this implication is that while an innocent person is jailed, the true guilty person is still free. He could then commit crimes again. This is also an implication, as our tax dollars are paying for an innocent person to be jailed. There could also be lawsuits to be paid if it is revealed that the person was innocent and jailed. Also, inaccurate testimony could let a guilty person go free. More state money could be spent trying to convict the person in some other way. These are all severe implications for our society.

 After conducting my research, my conclusion is that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate and can in many times be wrong. I personally feel that a court case should not rest solely on eyewitness testimony but should also be based on forensic evidence.

Renner, T., Morrissey, J., Mae, L., Feldman, R.S. & Majors, M. (2011) Psychsmart. New            
    York, NY: The McGraw – Hill Companies, Inc. (pp. 150 – 153)

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011) The World of Psychology (7th ed.).       Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. (pp. 200 – 202)

University of Washington Faculty. (2003) Our changeable Memories: legal and practical
    Implications. Loftus, E. retrieved from

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Operant Conditioning As Observed At Chuck E. Cheese

For two hours, I observed parents and children in a “natural” setting – a child themed restaurant including pizza, games, toys and play area. I set out to observe families to see how they offered reinforcement and/or punishment to their children and what brought caused the parents to offer the reinforcement or punishment. I chose Chuck E. Cheese because I thought it would be a great place to observe children and their parents. The one chose was a large building with lots of space, games and play areas.

Place of Observation:
Chuck E. Cheese
6637 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21060

Date and Time:
Saturday, October 8, 2011
4:00 – 6:00 pm

Number of Families Studied:
(8 adults, 7 children)

Family #1
Family #1 consisted of two parents and two children. This family was African – American. The parents appeared to be in their mid 30’s. The two children were both girls and appeared to be between 8 and 10 years of age. This family appeared to be close. The parents were observed actively playing with the children. I learned that this trip to Chuck E. Cheese was a reward for the girls behaving at the dentist office the day before. This is an example of positive reinforcement. The desired behavior {girls behaving at dentist} was met with a reward {trip to Chuck E. Cheese}.

Family #2
Family #2 consisted of two parents and one child. The family was Asian – American. The parents appeared to be in their early 30’s. The one child, a boy, appeared to be around 6 years old. The parents seemed more involved in their own conversation than in their son’s behavior. The boy ran around for several minutes hitting other children in the establishment before the parents took action. The father grabbed the boy by the arm, yelled at him sternly to behave and then sat the boy in the booth for 6 minutes before allowing him to play again. The little boy appeared to have learned his lesson for the moment as he behaved the rest of the time they were there. This is an example of negative punishment. There was a removal of something pleasant {playing} as a result of undesired behavior {hitting children}.

Family #3
Family #3 consisted of two parents and three children. The family was Caucasian. The parents appeared to be in their early – mid 30’s. There were two boys, appearing to be around 4 and 10. The third child was a girl, around age 6. This family also appeared close. They were talking during dinner and laughing and smiling. After eating, the kids were given their tokens to go play games. The youngest boy snatched some tokens out of his sister’s cup. The father immediately popped the boy’s hand, firmly but not hard. He explained to the boy that taking the tokens from someone was wrong. He instructed the boy to give the tokens back to his sister as well as a couple from his own cup as punishment.
I think this situation resembled both positive punishment and negative punishment. I think it is positive punishment as an unpleasant stimulus {having hand popped} was added due to an undesired behavior {taking tokens}. I think it is negative punishment because there was a removal of something pleasant {the boy’s tokens} due to an undesired behavior {taking tokens}.

Family #4
Family #4 consisted of two parents and one child. The family was bi – racial. The parents appeared to be in their mid 20’s. The little girl appeared to be around 3 - 4 years old. The little girl was well – behaved until the Chuck E. Cheese character made an appearance. The little girl got scared of it and hit it out of fear. The father became angry and popped the little girl’s butt. The family then left the establishment.
I also think these actions resembled positive punishment and negative punishment. The undesired behavior {hitting the mouse mascot} was met with an unpleasant stimulus {spanked}. Also, the undesired behavior {hitting the mouse} was met with the removal of something pleasant {leaving the establishment}.

I’m assuming (based on observation) that this technique is used frequently with Family #1. The girls seem well – behaved and respect their parents. I think that Family #2 should have been paying more attention to their son and punished him sooner. To me, Family #3’s techniques did not seem too drastic. I was most surprised by Family #4’s actions. The little girl was terrified of the mouse and I feel she hit it out of fear and instinct. I hope that the parents explain to her how to handle fear more appropriately.

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Schedules of Reinforcement

Continuous Reinforcement Schedule
Example: Giving my daughter money for each correct math problem on her test
Advantages: My daughter will strive to do well in math.
Disadvantages: She may come to expect money for each correct answer in everything.

Fixed Interval Schedule
Example: Receiving salary pay at a job rather than hourly pay
Advantages: I will know how much I will receive on each pay day and I can budget around it.
Disadvantages: There is no incentive for me to work harder because I will be receiving the same pay no matter how many hours I work.

Fixed Ratio Schedule
Example: I receive a $25 bonus for every 10th sale I make as a salesperson.
Advantages: I have an incentive to sell more and push sales.
Disadvantages: Disappointment if I do not achieve enough sales.

Variable Ratio Schedule
Example: Winning money from a slot machine.
Advantages: I will be winning money.
Disadvantages: I will spend more money playing the slots because I will not know which time I will win.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making Love Work

Do you think that the qualities described in the reading are the most important ones in a love relationship? Please reference specific qualities from the text.  If not then what is?
            I think all the qualities described in this article are very important in a love relationship. It would be very difficult for me to name one that is more important than the others. I feel the “You Can Accept Others as They Are” quality is important. The article states “sometimes people fall in love with an image, not the reality, and spend their relationships resenting that their partners cannot be what they never were.” I think this happens a lot. I think in the beginning of a relationship people are “in love” with a vision of how they want their partner to be. Then as the relationship progresses and they realize reality is different than the image, they don’t know how to cope. I also think some people spend their time looking for the “perfect” partner, sometimes to the point of not realizing they have their “as close to perfect as you can get” partner all along.
            I also find “You Are Willing to Forgive” as an important quality. If you cannot forgive a partner for a past mistake, then how can you truly move forward? Love relationships should be made stronger, not torn down by revenge.
            I feel each of the 10 qualities discussed bring about communication. Communication is vital to a strong, healthy relationship.

Are there any aspects of your own relationship that need work, and do you talk to your partner about it?
            I really enjoyed this reading. In all honesty, I see points in each of the qualities that need work in my marriage. This reading has shown me ways to approach my concerns that are not as blunt as the way I usually come off. This reading has also shown me that the points I feel need work, on both our parts, are valid. One that I feel I struggle with is “Your Love Is Selfless”. I don’t struggle with it in the sense of his interests; feelings, etc. are below mine. Quite opposite, in fact I always put his needs ahead of my own.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nature Vs Nurture

       The debate of nature and nurture on behavior has been debated since classical Greek times. Anne Anastasi (1958) believed that the proper question for this debate should not have been which of the two causes behavior or how much of each affects behavior. Instead, she believed that the question asked should have been “How do nature and nurture interact to produce development.” (Miller, 2002)

            Developmental psychologists have been split on this debate for decades. Some psychologists believe that genetic factors provide the potential for some behaviors. Other psychologists believe it is environmental factors that play a large role in enable people’s behavior. The newest stance of psychologists is an “interactionist position”, meaning it is a combination of heredity and environmental factors that contribute to a person’s behavior. It is believed that the two factors, heredity and environment, are “inextricably intertwined” and they are both fully involved in development (Miller, 2002)

            There are several developmental theories. Some say basic psychological principles of learning and stress on those are the biggest factor to our development. Others believe it is the role of the environment that most influences our development. Then, there is a third group that believes our physiological makeup is the biggest influence.

            A study was conducted in 1991 by Bailey and Pillard to determine the link between homosexuality, genetics, and environment. In this study, they studied homosexual males with monozygotic co-twins, dizygotic co-twins or adoptive brothers (Bailey & Pillard, 1991, Dec; 48(12)) Their results revealed that 52% of the monozygotic twins, 22% of dizygotic twins and 11% of adoptive brothers were homosexuals. Another 1991 study, this one conducted by LeVay, studied the volume of 4 cell groups in the anterior hypothalamus of the brain in three categories of people in the postmortem – women, presumed heterosexual males and homosexual males. The results from this study suggested that sexual orientation had a biological influence.  (Levay, 1991 Aug 30;253(5023)

            No one person grows up free of environmental influences. No one develops without being affected by their genetic composition. Perhaps Canadian psychologist Donald O. Webb said it best – behavior is determined 100% by heredity AND 100% by environment.

Works Cited

Bailey, J., & Pillard, R. (1991, Dec; 48(12)). A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation. Journal of General Psychiatry , 10890- 96.

Levay, S. (1991 Aug 30;253(5023). A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual Men. Science , 1034-7.

Miller, P. (2002). Theories of Developmental Psychology (4th ed). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Renner, T., Morrissey, J., Mae, L., Feldman, R., & Majors, M. (2011). Psychsmart. New York, NY: The McGraw - Hill Companies, Inc.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Article Review: Thirty Years of HIV and AIDS: Future Challenges and Opportunities

Thirty Years of HIV and AIDS: Future Challenges and Opportunities

Summarize the article for us.
            This article is from the June 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. This article discusses the future challenges and opportunities in HIV and AIDS research. It also gave brief information about HIV and AIDS from the last 30 years.
            Experts say that 60 million people have been infected in the last 30 years, with 25 million people having died from the infection. An estimated 33 million are currently living with HIV or AIDS. Progress in basic and clinical research and prevention methods has been successful. This is in part due to the fact that researchers now understand HIV and its pathogenesis. Advancements include being able to rapidly and specifically diagnose infection, suppress HIV replication with antiretroviral therapy (ART), having nearly eliminated mother – child transmission in many parts of the developed world and reduced incidence of HIV infection in some developing – world settings.
            There are 3 essential research and implementation goals in HIV/AIDS research. The first is to provide currently available treatments quicker. The most important treatment is ART. The second goal is to explore approaches to eliminate HIV and to aggressively pursue a cure. The third goal is to develop new prevention tools that can be used with or enhance current approaches.
            Prior to ART, survival was measured in weeks and months. Patient care was diagnosis and treatment of the opportunistic infections and AIDS related cancers. Since 1987, 5 classes of antiretroviral drugs have become available. Combinations of these drugs suppress HIV replication in the body. Now, if a 20 year old is diagnosed and begins ART, they may live another 50 years.
            ART has limitations. In order to be successful, there must be daily dosing for the remainder of the patients life. Health care delivery systems must manage HIV treatment different than others.
            The US agenda for AIDS research includes cost – effective ways to increase HIV testing, maximize services, and increase adherence to treatments. This includes fully implementing the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on HIV testing. The agenda also includes establishing incentives for organizations that conduct testing.
            By September 2010, The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) alone provided ART to more than 3 million HIV-infected people, provided antiretroviral mother-child transmission prophylaxis to more than 600,000 and care to an estimated 11 million people, including orphans of AIDS patients.
            Approximately 2.5 million people are infected each year. This means for every 2 patients who begin ART, another 5 are infected. Approximately 1/3 of all HIV-infected patients needing ART are actually receiving it.
            There have been no documented cases of a true cure induced by ART. There has been 1 claim that an HIV – infected person was cured after receiving a stem cell transplant for leukemia. This claim does not present a practical approach for treatment but it does prove that under certain circumstances HIV can be controlled without ART.
            When discussing a cure for HIV, the important goals are developing a true cure with complete eradication of the virus and a functional cure (permanent suppression of the virus). The goals of HIV prevention are improving current methods; ART based prevention methods, and a HIV vaccine. There have been numerous attempts to create a vaccine.
            In the 30 years of known HIV/AIDS existence, there have been successes in research. However, there are many more advances to be researched and developed.

Were you aware about anything in this article?
          I was aware of ART and its success. I was also aware of the goal and trials of a cure for AIDS/HIV. I have heard of attempts at a HIV vaccine.

What are your comments about it i.e. was it interesting? Surprising? Shocking? Etc.
          I really enjoyed the article. It was interesting to read about the advancements made in 30 years. It was also interesting to read about the goals in research. I got a little lost when it came to the medical talk (cells, etc), but overall I understood the main ideas. 

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