Monday, June 30, 2014

usage of animals

I just wanted to say I generally believe that the concept of using animals in experiments (without harm of course) is an overall amazing turnout. From teaching them other forms of communication, like sign language, as stated in chapter 13 to the research of their memories. Just the overall research and studies of the capabilities of different animals in congruence with our capabilities just goes to show how much we can learn from what the world has to offer. It's amazing to see similarities in the way tools can be used effectively upon ourselves and animals. The surprises we have seen from them excites me to wonder what else we can learn from animals. (I'm an animal freak so I just really enjoyed how much we can learn from them - in the hopes that for the most part some experiments are also beneficial to them as well)

Powell, R. A., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2013). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (4th ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Post #2 Non contingent schedules

The section on noncontingent schedules was very intriguing. When I first started reading I was thinking, "how could this manipulation of behavior result in any form of a conditioned response?!" Everything was so random so wouldn't the behavior be random? As I kept reading Skinners experiment with the pigeons caught my attention. While reading I actually laughed thinking to myself that these pigeons are ridiculous to think that spinning or swaying would result in the reinforcement! Then when I read about the professional athletes and card players my jaw dropped. I was so surprised by how humans could be susceptible to this CR.  But as I continued to think I remembered that I used to have a lucky bracelet, marble, and while taking a test I would need to sit in a certain area of the classroom.  I loved how they proved me wrong with thinking that this type of learning was irrelevant.

Post #1 OCD

I am very familiar with OCD and how it can affect a persons everyday life. I myself was in denial of having this disorder. I thought that OCD meant you had to hit something five times and if you didn't you would feel anxious and stressed, so I always assumed I didn't have it. I would say to myself, "I'm just very organized and picky about where things are." It wasn't until I noticed it affecting my family and friends that I had to stand back and really evaluate myself. This didn't start happening until after hurricane Sandy hit. It took a toll on my family and my stress level was higher than ever. I would freak out if someone folded the blanket wrong, or didn't put their shoes in the right order. The list of things that would make me anxious kept growing and soon almost everything had to be done my way or I would feel extremely uncomfortable. I could see and hear myself and I would hate my reactions to these "insignificant" things, but I couldn't stop the behavior. I was getting out of control, my friends were walking on eggshells around me. I finally sought help and I'm doing much better. There are days where my OCD "kicks-in" more than others but I've learned ways to control it and I can now live with my OCD. I can now say I control my OCD and it does not control me.

I found the one section on OCD very interesting because it was relatable. The one section that touched on control of thoughts and events really hit home for me.  My therapist and I worked on that the most because that was a big source of my anxiety and OCD.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

PTSD experience

Accidents are a horrific experience that could change a persons life and in my case it did. A couple of years ago I was involved in a horrible car accident while in Virginia on vacation with my family. My aunt who resides there just had her son, so we went down for a visit. As we were there my grandma decided she wanted to go to the outlets to go shopping. My aunt said, sure lets go and you can just follow me. I hopped in my grandma's car and was ready to go. As we were on the four lane highway we noticed that a dump truck kept swerving towards us, so my grandma sped up. Next thing I know I heard the tires screeching and I looked over to see if my grandma was alright and our car was hooked onto the front of the dump truck. Our car disconnected itself and was thrown all over the highway slamming into the median. Needless to say, everyone that was involved in the accident was fine but we suffered minor injuries.

Now that I'm old enough to drive, when I am on a highway I relive that experience and my whole body cringes. Honestly, I don't even have to be the one driving, but when I see a dump truck I also relive the experience and get scared. I have anxiety from the accident and PTSD. Anything that happens on any given day that happened during the accident makes me relive that horrible experience.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Activity Anorexia

As I read the chapters and information needed for quizzes (going back and checking my answers after first attempt) and what not, I noticed something that sounded familiar.  Anorexia Nervosa. Can seem weird knowing the medical term for anorexia, however my ex had suffered from bulimia, and it sparked me to learn a bit about eating disorders. I never heard of Activity Anorexia, probably because it exists in a control for rats. everything seemed to make sense and then it hit me. When I was in Iraq a fellow soldier had lost weight  (about 15 lbs) and as the medic I had taken notice and brought it up to him a few times. He however wasn't in my platoon so the other two medics and I took a chance by just telling his squad leader that he should stay behind for a few days as the patrols had become pretty monotonous. Same thing day in day out. They were gone for a few hours came back and rested went out again came back and rested and so on. This was normal for us, however usually we were out for certain amount of times to prevent patterns, which seemed different from the story of the rats.  I didn't think anything of it at the time because I wasn't knowledgeable beyond my own training and what the more experienced medics told me.  One of them mentioned that he could have an eating disorder or he wasn't getting enough sleep.  After a brief meeting with his superiors the other medic assigned to his platoon requested that not only did he stay behind but gave him some meds (basically tylenol pM) to help him sleep.  We did this for 4 days, which I NOW belief may have broken the pattern his body faced in only having a certain amount of time to eat and rest.  Subconsciously I would hypothesise that he suffered from activity anorexia.

Please if anyone has input feel free.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Altruistic Behavior

Altruism is basically the belief in or the practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others. I do not believe that someone can have a true altruistic behavior, I feel like there is always a reason for someone doing an action even if it is internal. If someone was on the side of the road and I was skeptical about stopping, the only reason I would stop is to feel better about myself or to hope that someone would stop for me if I was the one stuck. Both of these reasons are not selfless therefor they are not true altruistic behaviors. It is hard for someone to knowingly do good for someone else and not get anything out of it because even if you turn down money from someone you helped you will still get a better sense of pride among other feelings. If you pay for a strangers groceries because you are in a rush and need to be somewhere and she is in front of you, although it may seem that you are only doing it for yourself I'm sure you will get a sense of relief knowing she can eat tonight because you helped her. Therefor I do not think that it is possible for someone to knowingly help someone and have it be a true altruistic behavior.


One concept that is hard for me to fully comprehend is flooding. The idea that a behavioral treatment for phobias that involves prolonged exposure to a feared stimulus, thereby providing the maximal amount of opportunity for the conditioned fear response to extinguish. I feel very uncomfortable with this type of therapy. Granted it's not for everyone, I just keep thinking of the worst possible outcome. What happens to a patient who lets say was in the military and has PTSD from being over seas and they were not being honest in therapy. His or her therapist will most likely know when they are lying or hiding something, but if they don't catch it and offer flooding is there more of a risk? What happens if they cannot handle the amount of anxiety and they go out of control? For some reason this just makes me anxious and it is not something that I am sure if the outcomes are worth it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Recently I have been reading a new book I got which has been interesting in a refreshing way given that it is a psychology book. The title of this book is called "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs". I know what some of you are thinking and no it's not really about any of that. It is actually a book written by Chuck Klosterman who shares stories of his past as well as his friends stories. The way he writes it is as though he is sitting up and writing emails to you directly and you are just passing the time with memories of the past. However in the first chapter he writes something that I found to be very interesting to think about "The mass media causes sexual misdirection: It prompts us to need something deeper than what we want". This statement is actually about relationships in general and this post might be more directed toward the women out there reading this.

Lets use the Notebook as an example because everyone male or female if they have not seen it knows it is the latest romance movie that everyone fell in love with. How many people out there were made to believe that they wanted a relationship like this. Automatically you started comparing yours to the movie even if it was unconsciously done. It was being compared to something that was made up, a relationship that was put together by a bunch of writers to make people want to have this "perfect relationship". Even when online now and looking at engagement pictures you would be amazed how many people actually take notebook themed photo shoots. The media has made you want this perfect relationship. Even when you watch Friends, you are stuck with this notion that maybe you and your friend of the opposite sex are meant to be together because they know you so well and because well if it worked for them it could work for you. I had never really looked at it this way before as if the media was selling you the dream of the perfect relationship but it makes you think about what you personally want and what society thinks you should have to be happy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Animals using tools

I thought animals using tools was very interesting. For example, this video shows rooks raising water levels that they could not reach with their beak using stones or nuts to raise the water level. Birds also use sticks as tools to reach insects from logs, trees, and other hard-to-reach areas. Bowerbirds use intricate designs and "decorations" such as glass, plastic, beads, rocks, and other colorful items, such as clothes pins, bottle caps, etc. to make beautiful nests to attract mates.  It is truly fascinating how animals can use various tools to adapt to specific challenges or adversity or to make their daily tasks easier.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Experience with PTSD

For this post, I would like to discuss my own personal experience with PTSD. On October 21, 2012, I was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident while I was on vacation in Atlanta, Georgia for a friend's wedding. I was 19 at the time. The accident resulted in a severe spinal injury and the doctors expected me to be paralyzed permanently. After an emergency spinal fusion surgery to reconstruct the part of my spine that shattered, the neurosurgeon was able to remove spinal fragments that were pressing on my spinal cord. My hospitalization resulted in a lot of complications and unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy was also occurring while I was in the hospital which added to the stressful time. Thankfully, while I still am recovering from the surgery and dealing with the chronic pain from my injury, I am able to walk and move with limitations.

While the physical aspects of my injury are improving in some aspects, another difficult aspect of my accident is PTSD. With PTSD, I experience a lot of flashbacks, particularly when I am in a car. Random things trigger flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. I have great difficulty sleeping and often have nightmares. I avoid going out because of my anxiety. I get very embarrassed because I usually get very bad panic attacks while in the car and if something triggers me, I feel an overwhelming sense of panic and anxiety to the point that I might start screaming or hyperventilating. If I don't have an anxiety attack, I am still very on edge and nervous. People don't always understand that I can't help it and it upsets me that I react that way because I am normally very composed and in control of my behavior and how I express my emotions. I went from being a very social and busy person as a full time student, working 20-40 hours a week, and spending my free time with friends to not being able to work, unable to commute to school, and having to depend on others to drive me places or physically help me due to my injury. I have taken all online courses since my accident because I have trouble sitting for long periods of time and online courses allow me the freedom to get up and obviously, I also am unable to commute because of my PTSD. I have only really driven by myself a few times in the past couple of months and if I do go somewhere alone, it is within a five mile radius from my house. Even though I am close to my home, I still get really nervous and usually have to pull over because I feel overwhelmed. Even writing this discussion post or talking about my accident or driving makes me emotional and anxious.

I try not to allow my PTSD and physical handicaps to control every aspect of my life, but honestly, at this point in my recovery, they do affect me in many ways. Other than the obvious pain, physical limitations, anxiety, nightmares, and PTSD episodes, my life is affected socially, physically, emotionally, educationally, and the lives of my families and loved ones have also had to adapt to some of my needs. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Joey the Pug and His Fear of Swimming

Here is a picture of Joey, for those interested.
My brother and his girlfriend recently adopted a pug. He is about ten months old and mostly well behaved. They want to take him swimming but every time he gets near the water, he begins walking backwards and whining to avoid it. I discussed with them to provide the puppy with treats as they get closer to the water and maybe stand in the water themselves as they give him treats. This method can work with his favorite toy as well. Gradually introducing him closer to the water while providing him with stimulus that he enjoys or relaxes him will hopefully get Joey comfortable enough to swim.

As discussed in the text, Mary Cover Jones used systematic desensitization to treat a two year old boy named Peter who had an extreme fear of rabbits. Jones's treatments involved giving Peter cookies while presenting a rabbit in front of him. Over the next few months, numerous sessions resulted in the rabbit gradually getting closer to Peter as he ate cookies. Eventually, Peter would eat cookies with the rabbit on his lap. The gradual conditioning procedure eliminated Peter's fear of rabbits through systematic desensitization. 

 Powell, R. A., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior (4th ed.). Belmont ,
Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bandura's experiment with a BoBo doll involved children observing a person acting aggressive to a blow up BoBo doll. When it was the children's turn to "play" with the BoBo doll, the children imitated the same movements toward the same targets and also said the same angry statements that they observed. The aggression was stronger if the child observed reinforcement of the actor's violent behavior while the children who observed the actor being "punished" for being violent were less likely to show aggression.  
            In the text Introduction to Learning and Behavior, Powell and colleagues (2013) describe how Bandura's experiment showed that people learn socially through observation. Observations can be direct through actions of their families or within their communities, but also through television and video games.
            Children's exposure to violence has drastically changed since television and other technology has become accessible. Children are exposed to more and more types of violence at younger ages. Television and video games have also become more and more graphic. For example, Powell et al. (2013) describe how in the 1980's, Pac-Man concerned parents because the video game involved eating other characters where as recent video games, such as Grand Theft Auto, depict murder, rape, and theft and other violent criminal behaviors in detail. Even games involving warfare are incredible detailed with weapons and injuries.
            In my opinion, I feel young children need to be censored from such graphic violence, since young children have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality and are more observant and imitating in their behaviors. Just as a child might imitate and observe the good qualities of their environment, such as "I want to be a firefighter just like daddy" or "I love to read like mommy," etc., children also observe and imitate the poor behaviors they observe. For example, my friend's niece would screamed "JERSEY SHORE, B*TCHES" because she observed an episode of the MTV show with a cast member saying that phrase. The same can be said about violence. As people age, they develop the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. People are able to think critically and have started to develop a stronger sense on ethics and morals. For example, most children think in terms of punishment and consequences instead of the intentions or what is morally "right." In the same breath, I feel violence can be attributed to many other factors other than just media. There are children who are exposed to violence, whether in their family or media, who do not grow up to become violent people or exhibit aggressive behaviors as a child.


Powell, R. A., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Australia: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Negative and Positive Punishment

When I read the section about positive and negative punishment I was very confused by the difference of positive and negative punishment so I did some researching. I learn best and understand things when given examples. After some searching I found this video that some psych students put together and this website to give me a better understanding of the difference. If you guys had any confusion on this topic I hope that these websites help you!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The other day I was watching the Dog Whisper. There was a dog that was scared of the treadmill due to the sound. They lived in the city so the dog didn't get much exercise, therefore the owner wanted him to walk on the treadmill. At first the dog was scared, running away, jumping back wards. The Dog Whisper used treats and his favorite toy to get him closer to the treadmill. All the way until the dog was on the treadmill than he turned it on and because now the dog associated the treadmill with his favorite toys and treats he had no problem being around it, or even walking on it. I thought it was interesting because you know that even when your scared of something its difficult to overcome, but with the right tools you can!