Monday, March 26, 2012

History of Psychology

     Hermann Ebbinghaus once said, “Psychology has a long past, yet its real history is short” (Goodwin, 2008, p 28). Ebbinghaus was referring to the fact that the questions in psychology have been around as long as humans. Philosophers have been studying these questions just as long. Rene Descartes, John Locke, George Berkley, David Hume, David Hartley, and John Stuart Mill were early philosophers that attempted to study these questions of basic human nature. Philosophers were the earliest scientists that formed the discipline of psychology. Later in the nineteenth century, scientists such as Francois Magendie, Hermann von Helmholtz, Franz Josef Gall and Pierre Flourens furthered psychology as science with their research on the brain and its functions. 
Early Philosophers and the Beginnings of Psychology
     Rene Descartes was a scientist and philosopher and considered the father of modern psychology. Descartes was a realist and believed that the way to truth was through human reasoning (Goodwin, 2008). In 1637, Descartes wrote Discourse on Method, which explained his four basic rules to learn the truth of some things. Descartes was the best known dualist. In being a dualist, he believed that the mind and body were completely separate. He believed that the body was a “machine” and was combined with a mind that could reason. Descartes was also regarded as a machinist, meaning that he believed the body does operate as a complex machine (Goodwin, 2008). Descartes was considered an interactionist. Descartes believed that the mind can has an influence on the body and the body can have an influence on the mind.  Descartes created a model of nervous system activity in an effort to explain the interaction between mind and body (Goodwin, 2008). Descartes was also the first person to explain the reflex as a mind – body interaction. Descartes contributed many views to the early formation of psychology.
    John Locke was important to psychology because of concepts he expressed in two books. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding explained how humans learn and understand. Some Thoughts Concerning Education explains how this thinking can be applied to teaching a child. Locke was a pioneer for epistemology, or the study of human knowledge and how it’s acquired. Locke rejected the belief of innate ideas and instead believed that our knowledge came from our experiences in the world. Locke was a major pioneer in the field of education by using the concepts he learned about thinking and knowledge.
George Berkley rejected Locke’s ideas. Instead, Berkley believed in subjective idealism. Subjective idealism contends that minds and mental contents exist. Subjective idealism rejects the theories of both dualism and materialism. Where materialism states that physical things exist, subjective idealism states that physical things do not exist; only mental.  Berkley was a pioneer of the analysis of visual perception.
Major Philosophers' Contributions to Psychology
      David Hume believed that we can never be certain what causes an event, only that certain events occur together on a regular basis (Goodwin, 2008). Hume did not deny the existence of reality; he just believed one could not be certain of them. Hume tried to discover the mind’s basic elements. He concluded there were two basic elements: impressions and ideas. Impressions are the basic sensations one has. These sensations are raw data from experience (Goodwin, 2008). Ideas are not as vivid as sensations and are just faint copies of our impressions. Hume believed that one’s understanding is based upon his or her experiences. Hume also developed the rules of association: resemblance, contiguity and cause/effect.
David Hartley was a contemporary of Hume; however, was not influenced by Hume (Goodwin, 2008). Hartley proclaimed himself as a dualist, even by including “Man consists of two parts, body and mind” (Hartley, 1749, p. i) in the opening of his book. Hartley took the psychophysical parallelism approach to the mind – body issue. This meant that he believed that psychological and physical events were separate but often were in parallel to one another. Hartley was considered the founder of associationism. He theorized that association was contiguity and repetition (Goodwin, 2008). Hartley also developed a model of nervous system action. His model was based upon the Newtonian concept of vibrations.
John Stuart Mill strayed away from the previous view of the mechanical mind. Instead he saw the mind as more holistic. Mill viewed complex ideas as greater than their individual simple ideas (Goodwin, 2008). Mill was on the nurture side of the long standing nature – nurture debate. In 1842, Mill argued for psychology to be named as one of the known sciences (Cahan & White, 1992). Because of Mill’s argument, the final list included psychology.
 Nineteenth Century Developments in the Science of Psychology
      In the nineteenth century, scientific psychology evolved. Included in this evolvement were the philosophical questions of earlier researchers and research on the nervous system. Francois Magendie was famous for his research on the roots of the spinal cord. Through experiments, he concluded that the posterior roots controlled a being’s sensation and the anterior roots controlled the motor responses. This revelation furthered the study of the reflex. Hermann von Helmholtz was eulogized as being the builder of the “bridge between physiology and psychology…” (Goodwin, 2008, p 69). Helmholtz was the authority on visual and auditory systems during the nineteenth century. Franz Josef Gall was credited with developing the contralateral function. This function means that each side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Gall was also the founder of phrenology, which was rejected by the scientific community and labeled as a pseudoscience until the middle of the nineteenth century. Gall was the first to argue that the brain contained both the intellectual and emotional components of a person’s mind. Pierre Flourens set out to disprove phrenology. He used a procedure called ablation to conduct his experiments. Flourens discovered the relationship between the cerebral cortex and bodily function.
     Psychology can trace its roots back to early philosophy. Through research and experiments, philosophers and scientists advanced what many believed to be an act of paranormal to an official science. These philosophers related how a person comes to think by using their brains. The scientists showed how the brain works and functions to produce these thoughts. Together, these early pioneers of science created what is known as modern day psychology.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy

A collaboration between Crystal Swarmer, Stephanie Sexton, Elizabeth Lopez, and Daniel Scroggs.

      Psychologists define abnormal behavior as behavior that causes people to experience distress and prevents them from functioning in their daily lives (Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman, & Majors, 2011). There are more than two hundred disorders divided into seventeen categories listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision also known as the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Bi – polar disorder and depression are two of the disorders listed in the DSM-IV-TR. In psychology, there are many different schools of thought to explain where psychological disorders begin. Therefore, there are different therapies that psychologists use to treat these disorders based upon these schools: psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic. Within this paper, we will compare and contrast normal and abnormal psychology, discuss bipolar disorder and depression and explain the similarities and differences in therapies.
Normal and Abnormal Psychology
      "Abnormal psychology is a division of psychology that studies people who are 'abnormal' or 'atypical' compared to the member of a given society" (McLeod, 2008, Para. 1). The term normal is different in very society. In fact, normal is determined by societal rules and cultural rules. What may be normal in America may be considered abnormal in another culture. According to McLeod, "A person is considered abnormal if they are unable to cope with the demands of everyday life" (2008, Para. 12). A person may be considered abnormal if they are unable to properly care for themselves. For instance, if a person is unable to take a shower and change their clothing every day, they are considered abnormal. If a person is unable to get a job and keep that job, they are considered abnormal. In addition, if a person is unable to maintain a relationship or explain themselves to the point that other people understand them, then they are also considered abnormal. "Rosenhan & Seligman (1989) suggest ... characteristics that define failure to function adequately" (McLeod, 2008, Para. 12). These characteristics include personal suffering, danger to the self, and loss of control, unpredictably, irrationality, causing other people discomfort, and violating moral or social standards (McLeod, 2008). "Under this definition, rather than defining what is abnormal, we define what is normal/ideal and anything that deviates from this is regarded as abnormal" (McLeod, 2008, Para. 14). Normal is having a positive self view, along with being able to grow and develop. It also includes having independence and the perceiving reality properly. A normal person is able to maintain positive relationships, along with positive friendships. In addition, a normal person is able to carry out daily tasks and has no problem with changes each day brings. Normal is defined by a set of rules society has set up for people, and normal differs in each culture as does the term abnormal. Abnormal and normal are basically the opposite of one another. If you are able to meet certain requirements, you are considered normal; if you are not able to meet certain requirements then you a considered abnormal.
Bipolar Disorder and Depression
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder in which people switch back and forth between periods of a very happy or irritable mood and depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very quick, they can even happen in seconds. Bipolar disorder affects both males and females equally and normally begins to show up between the ages of 15-25. This mental disorder has been found to be hereditary.
            There are three types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I, Bipolar II and Cyclothymic Disorder. People with Bipolar I have had at least one manic episode along with periods of major depression, this has been known as manic depression (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010). People with Bipolar II have never experienced an occurrence of full mania. On the other hand, these patients struggle with periods with levels of high energy and impulsiveness that do not reach the magnitude of mania. This mellower version is called hypomania and they are interchanging with episodes of depression. There is another form of bipolar disorder called Cyclothymia. This is the mildest form of bipolar disorder and consists of less severe mood swings. People with this type of the disorder go back and forth between hypomania and mild depression.
            Many people with bipolar disorder have no clear reason or cause for the manic or depressive episodes. There are a number of instances that may trigger the manic episode such as: extreme life changes such as giving birth to a child, taking medications such as antidepressants or steroids, lack of sleep or sufficient rest, or the use of recreational drugs.
Approximately fifteen million people in the United States suffer from major depression (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010).  Depression is a mental disorder that is due to many things. Some of these reasons are: unexpressed rage and a deficiency in the processing of aggression in a person, a disturbance of self-esteem because of failed relationships, the loss of someone close to you which is called the attachment theory, and the failure to be able to self sooth in an overwhelming situation. Depression is also apparent in those individuals that feel they have no control over their bad experiences, this is called learned helplessness. The list goes on and on. There is a vast list of the different types of depression. Those that are willing to admit to their depression can seek help in the form of medication or therapy. Many people however, never seek or never find the help that they need.
Similarities among Therapies
The variety of psychotherapies is astounding, at least four hundred different types, and the treatments people receive generally depends less on the nature of the disorder, than on the theoretical perspective of the therapist. The main contemporary forms of psychodynamic treatment are psychoanalysis, which is intensive and long term and psychodynamic psychotherapy, which relies on the same principles but is more conversational (Kowalski & Westin, 2011). Researchers have found that all psychotherapies are relatively effective, although some treatments are superior for some disorders. Most therapies recommend individual sessions, and some group sessions to help clients work towards their goals. The biggest similarity of treatments for psychological disorders is the relationship between the therapist, and the client, and the client’s acceptance that there is something that needs to be fixed.
Differences among Therapies
Just as the schools of thought in psychology have differences in their ideology; the therapies associated with each school do also. According to Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman and Majors (2011), there are four major approaches to therapy for psychological disorders. Psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic approaches each have their own characteristics in relation to therapy. Psychodynamic therapists share the belief that a patient’s psychological disorder is the result of the person’s unconscious. Therefore, psychodynamic therapists assist the patient in exploring and understanding his or her unconscious. Behavioral therapists have a different take on psychological disorders. These therapists do not include a patient’s past or psyche in regards to treatment. The goal in behavioral therapy is to change the patient’s behavior. Several different methods are used in behavioral therapy. These include aversive conditioning, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, systematic desensitization and exposure. Cognitive therapists believe that illogical thoughts and beliefs are the reason for psychological disorders (Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman, & Majors, 2011). Cognitive therapy involves helping the patient change his or her illogical thoughts about the self or the world. Humanistic therapists believe that the patient has control of his or her behavior. Humanistic therapy involves helping the patient understand themselves and assist them in making decisions based on his or her ideal for them. Person – centered therapy is important in humanistic therapy in order to aid the patient in achieve self – actualization. While each type of therapy exists to help the patient, at the same time, each type has a different belief as to the cause and the treatment.
Abnormal psychology attempts to study, explain, predict and control the strange and unusual behaviors in people (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2010). The DSM-IV-TR defines abnormal behavior as a syndrome where the person has distress, such as pain or disability, such as loss of normal functioning. There are hundreds of psychological disorders that can afflict a person. However, the difference between normal and abnormal differs from person to person. One person may handle situations such as death of a loved one with ease. However, another person may become deeply depressed when a loved one dies. Depression and bipolar are two such disorders that can afflict a person. Depression is more common with various degrees from low to major. When a person suffers from a disorder, they may elect to see a professional and seek treatment. There are numerous types of therapies available based on the schools of thought in psychology. However, they all have one similarity: each type of therapy’s purpose is to help the patient.

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Social Influences on Behavior

     “One of the most basic topics in social psychology is the way one agent influences the behavior of another.” (Hepburn & Potter, 2011, p 99) This is the basis for the definition of social influence. There are three types of social pressure: conformity, compliance, and obedience (Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman, & Majors, 2011). Any one of these influences can pressure a person into behaving in a manner he or she normally would not. Aggression and prejudice are two behaviors that may be socially influenced. This paper will discuss aggression and prejudice in relation to social influence.
     Aggression is the intentional injury or harm to another person. In social psychology, aggression is defined in terms of the purpose behind the behavior (Renner, et al, 2011). Sigmund Freud was one of the first researchers to suggest that aggression was primarily inborn, or instinctual. Other researchers suggest that aggression is caused by frustration, or the reaction to what is blocking one’s goals. Another approach to aggression is observational learning, or the theory that aggression is a learned behavior. This theory focuses on the rewards of the person as well as the model for the behavior. Each of these theories could be applied to a person who exhibits aggression.
      Let us look at an example of aggression influenced by social influences. In pre – school, Student B hits Student A because the student will not submit to his demands. When speaking with Student B, counselors learn that his or her father is aggressive when one does not submit to his demands. Therefore, it can be concluded that Student B learned aggressive behavior from his or her father. Student B’s aggressive behavior may further be reinforced if he or she sees the father seems rewarded after displaying aggression. Another example that supports the observational learning theory is the playing of video games. The person who plays a violent video game and rewarded for the violence within the game may become aggressive to gain the same reinforcement outside of the game. In both of these examples, the aggressor learned his or her behavior from an external model.
     “Individual performance can be either helped or hindered by the physical presence of others”, (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011, p 549). Social facilitation is the effect on performance affected by the presence of others. This presence can be as either an audience or cohorts. In terms of aggression, social facilitation is seen in bullying. When a group bullies another person, the group sometimes feeds off of each other. The aggressive acts are intensified (or sometimes lessoned depending on the situation) based upon how all members of the group react to each other.
     Anger is a common and natural emotion. However, inappropriate expression is a reason for concern (Feindler & Engel, 2011). The cognitive-behavioral theory focuses on how one view the world around him or her and reacts to them. Cognitive – behavioral therapy can be helpful in changing a person’s view of why he or she views aggression as positive as well as help him or her change the behavior. Anger should be exhibited in positive ways and not in ways that hurt another person. A person who has a problem with aggression, especially major aggression, should reach out to someone for help. 
     Stereotypes are generalized beliefs and expectations about a certain group of people. Stereotypes can be negative or positive. All stereotypes have one thing in common: people use them to view others as a group rather than as unique individuals. Stereotypes can lead to positive or negative prejudice. Prejudice is the evaluation of a group of people. Positive prejudice is as simple as saying, “I love Italians.” However, prejudice is mainly seen as negative such as saying, “I hate Mexicans.” Social psychologists have focused mainly on understanding negative prejudice (Renner, et al, 2011). While prejudice is the view of a group of people, discrimination is the behavior towards a group.
     The oldest explanation of prejudice is the realistic conflict theory. This theory states that as a competition increases among people, so do prejudice and discrimination (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). Another explanation for prejudice is in – groups and out – groups. These groups are the result of people dividing the world into categories. In – groups are social groups from which others are excluded. Out – groups are social groups comprised of the people excluded from the in – groups. Ethnocentrism can also lead to prejudice. Ethnocentrism is the viewing of situations from one’s own cultural perspective.
     Groups of people who share negative prejudice thoughts are thought to have conformed to groupthink. Groupthink is where all members of a group think the same with no regard to individual feelings. These groups do not accept differing views. The members no longer think as individuals, but as a consistent group.
“According to the social – cognitive theory, people learn attitudes of prejudice and hatred the same way they learn other attitudes.”  (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011, p 562) Social – cognitive therapy would benefit the person with negative prejudice thoughts. By definition, cognitive treatment approaches teach people more adaptive ways to view the world. Social – cognitive therapists can assist the person with extreme prejudice on how to view people as individuals rather than as a group.
     Social psychology studies how people’s thoughts, feelings and actions are affected by others. Aggression and prejudice can both be affected by social influences. Both behaviors can produce negative consequences for all people involved. With the proper treatment, people can work past these behaviors and produce positive results.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Lifespan Development and Personality: Marilyn Monroe

     Humans develop throughout their entire lifespan, essentially from womb to tomb. Developmental psychologists named this the lifespan perspective (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011) . Within these developments, one’s personality is formed. A person’s personality is made up of behaviors that combined together make an individual unique (Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman,  & Majors, 2011). According to Feist (2006), there are numerous influences in one’s home environment that have effects on a child. Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Baker, was born into a broken home and her family had a history of mental illness. Marilyn longed for a sense of belonging. Marilyn dreamed of attracting attention and having people look at her (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). Although Marilyn’s charisma and looks captivated America, internally she could not escape her feelings of abandonment and family mental illness history.
Heredity versus Environment
      Marilyn Monroe lived in a childhood filled with poverty. According to Monroe (2007), she lived with approximately nine foster families before she was sixteen years old. She was treated as nothing more than a servant girl by these families. In her book, she recounts having been sexually molested by a boarder of one of these families (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). When young Marilyn tried to tell others about the abuse, she was silenced. These events affected Monroe in her early childhood and into adulthood. In her autobiography, Monroe (2007) spoke of her childhood self, Norma Jeane, by saying “I never lived, I was never loved” (p. 70).
     Monroe very possibly may have inherited mental illness from her family. Both her grandfather and great-grandmother were institutionalized in, and died in, mental hospitals. Monroe‘s uncle committed suicide. As a child, Monroe witnessed her mother have mental episodes and be institutionalized. Even Monroe suffered from depression and lived her final days as a recluse (Britannica, 2011) under the care of a psychiatrist.
In regards to the heredity versus environment discussion, psychologists believe both influences a person’s behavior and personality (Renner, et al, 2011). In accordance with these beliefs, psychologists could deduce that Marilyn’s personality was shaped by a combination of heredity as well as environment.
Family Issues and Support Systems
     Marilyn never knew her birth father. Her birth certificate listed one man while her mother claimed another was the father (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). Marilyn did not know her older siblings until she was eighteen years old (Johnson, 1994). A young Marilyn was passed around to foster families that needed the five dollars a week she came with. Marilyn became close to her mother’s best friend, who she called Aunt Grace. It was Grace that told Marilyn that she would grow up to be a beautiful girl (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). This simple compliment made a young Marilyn happy.
     When Marilyn was sixteen years old, just two years away from adulthood, she was to become a ward of the state again. Rather than entering the foster care system again, Marilyn married a neighborhood boy. In her autobiography, Monroe called her marriage simply a friendship with marital privileges. The marriage lasted four years.
     In one of Monroe’s relationships, she came to the conclusion that she was not smart enough for the world. She decided to enroll at the University of Southern California and take art courses. After a few weeks, she decided to study Freud and other psychologists (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). Eventually, school combined with training for her acting career became too much for Marilyn. She quit college but intended to return at a later time.
     In 1954, Marilyn married her second husband, Joe DiMaggio. Although their marriage lasted barely a year, Marilyn depended on DiMaggio for some time before her death. DiMaggio, Aunt Grace and former agent Johnny Hyde were her greatest support systems. Each of the three helped Marilyn the best they could.
Cognitive Social Theory versus Biological Theory
     Cognitive social theory relies on the environment to explain a person’s behavior whereas biological theory states personality traits are inherited. Cognitive social theory ignores the internal processes to explain behavior. Cognitive social theory focuses on a person’s thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values as well as their observations of other’s behavior. Cognitive social theory stresses determinism, or the view that behavior is directed and caused by factors that one has no control over (Renner, et al, 2011). Marilyn centered her behavior around incidents that happened in her life. When Marilyn felt unloved as a young child, she decided one day attention would be on her (Monroe & Hecht, 2007). When she felt intellectually inferior, she enrolled in college. Marilyn did things to fit the mold of her environment, not the mold of herself internally.
     Alternately, biological theory suggests that a person’s inherited genes determine personality. Like cognitive social theory, biological theory also focuses on determinism. Biological theory emphasizes stability in personality traits whereas cognitive social theory emphasizes flexible personality traits (Renner, et al, 2011). Both theories ignore the conscious and unconscious of a person.
 Cognitive Social Theory and Monroe
     The cognitive social theory best describes Monroe’s behavior because it involves environment including thoughts, feelings, expectations, values and observations. Cognitive social theory involves self – efficacy and self – esteem. Self – efficacy is the belief in one’s personal capabilities (Renner, et al, 2011). Monroe found faults in herself; however she believed that she was capable of being better. Researchers say that those with high self – efficacy have higher aspirations and persistence than those with low self – efficacy (Renner, et al, 2011). Self – esteem is how one sees them self. Self – esteem can be positive or negative. Monroe had both positive and negative self – esteem. She used this to succeed in her career, in which she had positive self – esteem. However, in her personal relationships, it seems she had negative self – esteem.
     Personality psychology has several different theories (Renner, et al, 2011). Each theory brings a different meaning to one’s personality, such as heredity in the biological perspective and the response to environment in the cognitive social perspective. Each theory alone may not explain a person’s personality. However, these theories together may help in understanding a person. In order to understand lifespan development, one must examine all components that contribute to the personality.

Monroe, Marilyn. (2011). Britannica Biographies, 1.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Sensation, Perception, and Attention

A paper written in collaboration of Daniel Scroggs, Crystal Swarmer, Elizabeth Lopez, and Stephanie Sexton.

Sensation, Perception, and Attention Paper
Sensation, perception, and attention are important in order to effectively understand and learn in any aspect of life. It is especially important when working in an online team. In order to develop a better understanding of how sensation, perception, and attention affect the team, we spoke about our individual threshold for auditory stimuli, dichotic listening, and dividing our attention when working on assignments. In addition, we spoke about different problems that may hinder our team while communicating, along with problems that may affect work in our individual environments. In order to avoid developing problems within the team, we have developed a set a guidelines that will allow the team to work effectively. Learning the differences of sensation, perception, attention each team member holds will allow the entire team to construct assignments with ease, along with developing a better sense of each team member. 
Individual Environmental Preference
The type of environment that allows each team member to work with ease on assignments depends on the team member preference. During our discussion, we spoke about each team members preferred working environment. Stephanie, Crystal, and Elizabeth prefer to work in an environment with very little auditory stimuli. They tend to become distracted easily. However, Dan prefers to work with low levels of auditory stimuli. Low levels of auditory stimuli in Dan’s  working environment allow him to work and collaborate with team members effectively. The different auditory stimuli each team member prefers may be a result of the environments that are most comforting to them. For instance, if Stephanie, Crystal, and Elizabeth are normally in a quite setting, studying or collaborating with team members would be more successful in a quite setting. If Dan is more comfortable with a low level of auditory stimuli, then incorporating low levels of auditory stimuli into his working environment would be beneficial. Each team member prefers to work with different factors present in their working environment. In fact, Dan suggests background noises in his home; while he is working because it has been his norm for so long, it is somewhat necessary to his daily functioning. In order to allow the team to create assignments easily and appropriately, each team member should create their preferred working environment when meeting with team members, and while working on assignments.
Individual Threshold For Auditory Stimuli
Each team member has a different threshold for auditory stimuli. Stephanie and Dan are able to hear small noises in a quiet room. For example, if the faucet were dripping down the hall, Stephanie and Dan would be tortured by the noise until they turned the faucet off. Crystal’s threshold for auditory stimuli is different. She can only hear certain decibels of sound. If someone talks to her below that level, she will not be able to hear what they are saying. Elizabeth also has a high threshold for auditory stimuli. Understanding each team member’s threshold for auditory stimuli allows the team member to create an environment at home the will benefit the team.  
Dichotic Listening
The discovery of the dichotic listening test was the result of “Broadbent want[ing] to see how people were able to focus their attention (selectively attend), and to do this he deliberately overloaded them with stimuli - they had too many signals, too much information to process at the same time” (McLeod, 2008). During dichotic listening, a person is able to focus their attention on one person as they are talking and drowned out the conversations of the people surrounding them.  This theory led to the development of the dichotic listening task. “Results from this research led Broadbent to produce his 'filter' model of how selective attention operates” (McLeod, 2008). In this model, Broadbent points out that all input is filtered “based on physical characteristics” (McLeod, 2008).  Therefore, if a person is listening to a conversation they are interested in or required to listen to, their brains will focus on that particular information and drowned out other pieces of information. Stephanie and Dan are able to perform this task. However, Crystal and Elizabeth are unable to perform this task.
The Division of Attention
Dividing attention facilitates our learning experience as a whole.  Dividing the assignments has worked well for several reasons. More material can be covered in less time, which will free up some people to help other team members that may need help. In addition,  if each team member concentrates on one thing, the team is able to stay focused and get the assignment finished by the due date. The leadership role may change depending on the assignment. Each team member is able to contribute different, yet creative information. Therefore, if we are studying a topic that one team member may understand a little better, that team member is able to lead the other members to create the assignment.  Because some members need to wait until the kids go to bed, and some team members prefer to work on assignments during the week, dividing assignments evenly amongst the team aids in the success of the team. Being on  a team is all about team work, and more success  is found within  teams that divide and conquer. For instance, if members are able to perform the tasks that are given to them, the team as whole will be successful.  
Problems in Environmental Settings
Problems include any distractions, while at home working on assignments or collaborating with team members, or misunderstanding any conversations being posting online. For instance, Stephanie, Crystal, and Elizabeth are unable to work on assignments or collaborate with team members if there is too much noise in a room. However, Dan prefers to have auditory stimuli while he is working. Other problems may result from misunderstanding information or not communicating information properly. For instance, the use of all caps should not be used because this action could be misunderstood and perceived as disrespectful. In order to avoid problems, team members should study and communicate with other team members in their preferred working environments. In addition, team members should double check the information they are posting in order to make sure their post will not be read the wrong way. In addition, paying attention to time management will ensure the success of the team. Following these basic guidelines will allow the team to work effectively on assignments and create creative papers to submit to the instructor. 
Being in an online team requires each member to accommodate other members of the team. Understanding individual environmental preferences allows each team member to create this environment while communicating and studying in order to produce the perfect assignment. In addition, understanding each team member’s threshold for auditory stimuli allows the team to create the proper learning environment for our team. Understanding each member ability to perform dichotic listening also helps create the proper learning environment for our team. Collaborating with team member has led to the discovery of distributing assignments to individual team member in order to cover more information in a short period. Because we were able to discuss our different preferences in learning environments, the team has developed guidelines in order to accommodate each members needs. These guidelines consist of creating the prefer learning environment at home, being respectful, double checking information before submitting it, and paying close attention to time management. If we are able to follow these guidelines, the team will be successful.


Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

McLeod, S. A. (2008). Simply Psychology; Retrieved: March 5, 2012, from

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Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Impact on Personal Success

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Impact on Personal Success
            Does a person have a single intelligence or various intelligences? This was the question psychologist Howard Gardner wanted to answer. Prior to Gardner, intelligence tests only measured intellectual abilities in reference to learning. Gardner wanted to know why people were smart rather than how smart he or she was. Gardner viewed intelligence as ability or abilities used to solve problems in a particular culture (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). The result of his research was the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
The Eight Intelligences
            Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences included a list of eight intelligences. Gardner believed that every person had each of these intelligences in some degree. Because of this, we each learn in different ways (Santrock, 2010). The first of these was linguistic, or the ability to use language in thinking and communication. The logical/mathematical intelligence included skills in problem solving and scientific thinking. The spatial intelligence included skills with spatial configuration. Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence includes the ability to learn and perform physical movements. The musical intelligence includes sensitivity and understanding of aspects of music including pitch and rhythm. Interpersonal intelligence includes skills in relating to others whereas intrapersonal intelligence involves understanding the self. Naturalistic intelligence involves understanding nature and the environment. While all eight have an impact on personal success, this paper will focus on only three of the intelligences: spatial, intrapersonal and interpersonal.
 Three Ingredients to Personal Success
Spatial Intelligence
            Gardner’s spatial intelligence involved the ability to think three-dimensionally (Santrock, 2010). Also key to spatial intelligence is transforming mental images into a three – dimensional image (Grow, 1990). This intelligence goes beyond being just visual. It includes abstract and analytical abilities. For example, when an architect is designing a building they are able to see it as the finished product not as the lines we see on the paper. Some professions with high spatial intelligence are architects, artists, contractors, carpenters, engineers, and designers.
            Spatial intelligence can help with personal success, especially if one is in one of the above listed professions. Spatial intelligence helps a person see things as images instead of just a one – dimensional or two – dimensional object. When reading a map, a person with high spatial intelligence sees the roads, buildings, and other objects noted on the map as they truly are. People with low spatial intelligence see it just as it’s drawn – lines and symbols.
Interpersonal Intelligence
            Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others (Santrock, 2010). People with high interpersonal intelligence are able to perceive and understand the moods, characteristics, intentions, temperaments, motivations, and feelings of other people. Occupations that usually have high interpersonal intelligence are teachers, mental health professionals such as therapists and counselors, political leaders and religious leaders. These occupations have one thing in common: these occupations usually want to help others and/or lead. This involves having good relations with others.
            High levels of interpersonal intelligence can result in a person’s personal success. Communication is vital in many occupations. Persons with high interpersonal intelligence will thrive in these occupations as they have great communication skills. Since, a person with interpersonal intelligence can easily understand others, it is easy for him or her to embrace the problems and offer help. Those with interpersonal intelligence are able to help others with consideration to their distinctions in mind. These people can go on to become successful leaders, politicians, and counselors.
Intrapersonal Intelligence
            Interpersonal intelligence is closely related to intrapersonal intelligence. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself (Santrock, 2010). In fact, some researchers believe that a person must be able to understand others in order to understand the self and vice versa (Nolene, 2003). People with intrapersonal intelligence are imaginative, original, patient, disciplined, and motivated. These people usually have a high self – respect. This intelligence is usually derived from internal resources. Occupations that thrive with this intelligence are theologians and psychologists.
            Intrapersonal intelligence involves having an understanding of one’s own dreams, goals, strengths, limitations, moods, anxieties, desires, and motivations. People with intrapersonal intelligence make decisions based on what is best for them and they have a strong sense of identity. People with intrapersonal intelligence usually want answers to deeper questions that relate to meaning and purpose. They can help others by understanding one’s self.
            In the beginning, psychologists could not define the word intelligence (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Psychologists have researched and refined intelligence as it relates to the world. Before Gardner, intelligence referred to specifically how smart a person was in academics. Gardner helped to increase the understanding of intelligence by developing his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. With his theory, he proved that people are intelligent in many different areas, not just academically. Gardner was one of the psychologists that began to prove that intelligence was multifaceted, functional and culturally defined (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Intelligence is multifaceted meaning that it can be expressed in many different areas. Intelligence is functional, as it directed towards a goal. Intelligence is culturally defined as its definition varies from one culture to the next. Intelligence can now be defined as the application of cognitive skills and knowledge to learn, solve problems, and reach results based on the individual and culture (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is multifaceted, functional and cultural. The intelligences help people reach their goals; ultimately allowing him or her to obtain personal success.

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Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Nolene, J. L. (2003). MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES IN THE CLASSROOM. Education, 124(1) , 115-119.

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

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