Monday, June 27, 2016


As each year of school starts back up, I promise myself that I will no longer procrastinate on my work, I will study more often, and I will be organized through the entire semester. And at first, I do all of these things, but as the semester ends I find myself struggling to study for finals, and looking back remembering all the long nights of homework and writing papers because I was too busy watching T.V. and being unproductive during the day. I have realized and understood that procrastination is only a punishment, and that I constantly am putting off my work because I become overwhelmed by the assignment itself, that I fear even beginning it. What I did not realize, however, is that is it proven that a person will be more productive by doing a little bit of work each day instead of cramming the work into one, or a few, day(s). Boice studied work habits of professors, which showed that those who worked a little bit each week were more productive than those who worked intensely for only a few days. I think that one of the parts that overwhelms me about assignments is feeling the need to complete it once I start it, but now understanding that it is even better to work slowly to be more productive, I hope to become less of a procrastinator.


Before taking this course, I would have told you that I greatly lack self-control and don’t have any willpower. If I crave a specific food, it won’t take very long for me to buy and eat it because I have no control getting rid of my craving or the willpower to ignore it. However, as stated in Chapter 10, willpower doesn’t give reason to why someone has self-control. It does not explain with action or reason how or why a person is able to crave a specific food, but not actually consume the food.

Skinner discusses some controlling responses that provide the reasoning behind a person’s self-control. However, these few controlling responses that Skinner discussed all have a lot to do with self-control and without self-control, it is difficult to use these approaches. In order to leave the money at home, you need to want to do so; in order to successfully deprive yourself of something, you need to control yourself to continue with deprivation as long as necessary. Each of these responses seems to me to be apart of the self-reinforcement and self-punishment category, of which requires a certain level of self-control and self-discipline to successfully reinforce or punish oneself, which is where I tend to lose. I will try to use the self-reinforcement process for writing a paper. Write a page, and then check social media. But while writing that page, the only thing I seem to think about is getting my hands on my phone, and eventually cave in before completing the page. I do believe that both the self-reinforcement and self-punishment processes have the ability to be very successful when a person already has self-control, but when they completely lack that control, these processes are likely to fail.


The topic of self-awareness and differentiating oneself from others greatly intrigues me to learn about. In Developmental Psychology, this was a prominent topic along with object permanence for children. I am constantly around children, especially young babies and watching them grow and learn is fascinating to me, which is why I was most interested in this part of the Developmental Psychology course. While I have never personally done or seen a video of the mark and mirror task, my professor showed us multiple videos of her daughter performing object permanence tests at different ages, showing her growth of learning and understanding. The videos consisted of the child sitting on the floor with a toy lying on the ground in front of her. Then, the toy would be covered by a towel, with the child watching, however the child did not look under the towel for the toy and easily seemed to forget the toy was even there until a certain age at which she learned that the toy did not just disappear, but it was underneath the towel. Being able to see this growth so clearly through video proves many theories within developmental psychology.

Extinction of Bedtime Tantrums in Young Children

Bedtime tantrums are a common occurrence faced by many parents who are training their children to go to bed at night. I was surprised to find that parents are actually reinforcing this behavior. Reinforcement happens when a child throws a tantrum and gets out of bed, the parents now have to pay attention to this child. My first thought would be to leave the child in their room, not paying any attention at all to their tantrum, and eventually they will fall asleep. This would be using the process of extinction. And research has shown that this is a highly effective procedure, "results revealed that children who underwent the extinction procedure experienced considerably greater improvement in their sleep patterns than the children in the other two conditions" (321). Extinction, however, suffers drawback because many parents find it impossible to ignore their children's pleas for attention. To help ease parents into this procedure, steps have been created. For example, waiting a set amount of time before going in to check on the child, and then to only comfort the child for about 15 seconds. This method has been very effective in helping both parents and children get a good night's sleep.

Powell, Russel, P. Lynne Honey, and Diane Symbaluk. Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.


"Reflexes are the most basic form of elicited behavior. A reflex is a relatively simple, automatic response to a stimulus" (96). I like to think my reflexes are up to par, especially my startle response! A startle response is a defensive reaction to a sudden, unexpected stimulus. I found this interesting because I am startled very easily. I was once taking out bread to make a sandwich, when I noticed mold started to appear on the bread. Just seeing the mold startled me, I guess because I was not expecting to see it! Reflexes are tied to survival, one example is food consumption. A chain of reflexes, including, salivation, peristalsis, and secretions of digestive juices, all take part in our consumption of food. Vomiting is an example of a protective reflex, helping to expel any potentially poisonous substances from our digestive system. The flexion response is also a protective reflex, in which we automatically move our hand away from a hot or sharp object that we may have contacted. We come equipped with many simple reflexes that are activated through a reflex arc, which is a neutral structure that underlies many reflexes and consists of a sensory neuron, an interneuron, and a motor neuron.

Powell, Russel, P. Lynne Honey, and Diane Symbaluk. Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print. 

Use of Animals in Behavioral Research

"Animal research has greatly contributed to our understanding and treatment of serious diseases and illnesses, as well as to our understanding of basic physiological processes" (84). The textbook discusses advantaged and disadvantages to why animals are used in research, when our ultimate goal is usually to discover principles that are applicable to humans. Two of the advantages the textbook uses is that by using animals for research the ability to control the genetic makeup of the animal, and the ability to control their learning history. One example is rats, they can be bred so that entire batches are genetically identical. Identical twins can provide the same identical makeup needed for research, but generally the number of people that can be obtained is quite limited. The animals can also have identical upbringings, and therefore their learning history is usually very limited and identical. The third advantage the book offers is that by using animals researchers are able to strictly control the experimental environment. and in behavioral research this is very important. The fourth advantage is that some research can not be ethically conducted on humans, which is the case with experimental manipulations that can be harmful. Many people argue that testing animals for human processes just won't work, and that it is morally wrong because animals have similar rights to humans.

Powell, Russel, P. Lynne Honey, and Diane Symbaluk. Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Language & Communication

Communication for human beings is based largely in our unique use of language.  In the text is actually says the “language has often been used as the defining feature of human beings”   it is what “makes out species unique” (Powell, p.536).  Though language is how we think of communication the most basic definition of communication is “the process of sending and receiving signals of some sort” So in its most basic form communication can be looking at someone a certain way and them responding to that in a way they find appropriate. But as humans we rely on the complexity of language to convey the exact feeling and thoughts we are having to completely communicate with someone.  
The amount of language we process on a day to day basis makes us not always realize how complex language as a form of communication really is.  When you stop to think about it although language is the way to exactly portray wants and emotion many people use it much more abstractly so it must be interpreted much like body language must be interpreted.  Language is used not only as our unique form of communication but it is also used as humans unique form of manipulation.  In both politics and media language is used to communicate with the public but it is also to manipulate the public to think or believe the things that are being said.  
Language can be clarity in communication but it can also be something to hide behind if used in an abstract way and can complicate communication.  Langue is an amazingly unique feature that we as human being use constantly with out ever really stoping to think about how or why we are using it the way we are. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G., (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


Acquisition through observational learning is something that as a dance teacher I see and use when I teach in the text acquisition is broken down into factors that lead to actual learning though acquisition.  The factors are paying attention to a model’s behavior as well as the consequences of the observed behavior.  As a teacher (I teach dance) I see children do this often they not only observe mine and my coworkers behaviors but they also observe each others behaviors and the consequences that may come with those behaviors.  If one child does some thing and is then praised by a teacher for it other children very often will follow suit and behave like the child who was being praised. 
Another factor mentioned in the book is “whether the observer receives reinforcement for  the behavior of attending to a model” (Powell, 2013) the text mentions that this is used often by teachers not only do teachers draw attention to what ever they are hoping for students to be observing but also they reinforce when students do pay attention with praise helping the students to continue the behaviors they are observing and leaning about.  As a dance teacher observation is a very big tool for me because most of my teaching is done though physical observation so I often use both prompting and physical demonstration which are mentioned in the test when I am teaching a group of students a dance. 
Another factor brought up in the book on whether or not one will attend to a model and learn from it is whether or not the observer has the skill level to make it beneficial for them to observe a models behavior and believe they can learn from it. If I started off a dance class with a routine that was very complex but exciting to watch the students instead of believing they can then learn from observing it if they only have limited dance skills may turn them off from wanting to learn a dance where as if I teach a dance broken down in to small sections and easier steps that the students can observe and pickup quickly they will want to continue leaning dances. 
  The last thing brought up in the chapter is the personal characteristics of the model and how they influence an observer in whetter or not they will attend the models behavior.  generally people model behaviors of their peers or of people they look up to and respect.  This section of acquisition struck me more as someone who continues to learn dances from choreographers and how when I work with a choreographer who I know has be a performer on Broadway I am much more likely to give more of my attention to them then to a choreographer who really is a director who has stepped in as a choreographer. 
It’s amazing how observational learning translates into behaviors for almost everyone.  we are continuously observing others and learning behaviors from them. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G., (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Contagious Behavior

          Contagious behavior is an amazingly interesting concept that we as humans are all susceptible to.  From yawning to laughing to rudeness contagious behaviors are something we all have witnessed and most likely experienced.  I think most people have seen a yawn spread through a room after one person yawns or have gotten caught up in contagious laughter with out even know what was funny to begin with. The text defines contagious behavior as “more or less instinctive or reflexive behavior triggered by the occurrence of the same behavior in another individual” (Powell, p. 436).  So seeing a behavior in one person can trigger the same behavior on others. 
         One of the most interesting cases of contagious behavior was the one that took place in a Tennessee high school in the 90’s where a teacher complained of smiling gas and feeling ill because of it this one behavior displayed by one person lead to 100 people ending up in the hospital complaining of the same symptoms as the teacher due.  After investigated it was found that the entire epidemic was based purely on the behavior shown by that one teacher.  It’s amazing how susceptible we are to contagious behaviors like this. 
         I was amazed to find out how many things are considered socially contagious behaviors.  things like rudeness, aggressiveness and bullying things you would think are choices being made by the person participating in the behavior but could be a behavior they have picked up because someone else is presenting the same behavior.  Contagious behaviors like these have been know to spread rapidly in social groups causing social problems for the whole group. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G., (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Activity Anorexia - Dying to be Thin

Activity anorexia is when someone has limited access to food, say an hour or two once a day, and unlimited access to exercise. The less they eat the more they want to exercise. Inversely, the more they exercise the less they want to eat leading to a nasty cycle of weight loss.  This problem is magnified in the world of ballet. Then it is reinforced by people telling these women how beautiful they are and how thin they are while the ballerinas put in hours and hours of work in each day. Nova, a PBS show has an episode “Dying to be Thin” which takes a good look into this world. It is a really good show to see how the individuals handle these situations, what their treatment can look like and how the psychology of treating the disorder works.

self-control, self-immolation

If I had more self-control, and did not consistently reach for the short term gratification that summer bombards me with, I would have written this post weeks ago. However, as the long term goal is approaching my interest is anewed to make sure I study and get the good grade I seek to earn. As I have learned more about self-control and the short vs long term goals and rewards associated with each my eyes have opened. It never fails that my long term goal is better for me and has a greater pay out, such as getting a good grade and earning my degree, but my friends invite me out for a night or I replace the harder/less enjoyable goal with another that I enjoy more such as going to the gym which has long term rewards but is much more gratifying at the moment for me.

I cannot think of anyone who has had greater self-control than the monk that burned himself to death as a protest. There have been other self-immolations since then, but it puts life in perspective, if he could burn alive then any of us can sit down and study for our grades. Each goal may be challenging but humans are able to weigh out the rewards and can choose to hunker down and make it happen.

Heroin in NJ

Addiction to drugs first starts as a psychological addiction then becomes to a physical one. No one ever wakes up one day and says that their goal today is to become a heroin addict. As our text indicates, it is part of a two process cycle. Someone does A and then the opposite process of B follows for the body to balance back out. Maybe the addiction started as a way to relief some stress from someone’s life, then as the relaxing sensation wears off an anxious feeling could replace it leading to more use of the drug and it snow balls from there. The escape is only temporary and tends to become more magnified when the high wears off.

New Jersey is seeing an increasingly alarming rate of heroin use. Maybe we should start looking to find out what so many, particularly young people, are turning towards heroin to escape from.

Please note the heroin treatment rates map 

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Everyone gets confused what obsessive compulsive disorder is.  Many people I know just think it means to just being a neat freak and wanting everything organized, which is not the case.  What I learned in my past classes is that OCD is obsessions are thoughts and compulsions are the repetitive behaviors.  These behaviors are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing a dreaded event.  People think that I have OCD because I am neat, but I don't have repetitive behaviors or obsessions about it.  OCD is a disorder where it can become serious and have a major impact on a person's life who has it.


There are many problems with punishment today.  Why?  Because punishment is not always the answer.  Punishment does not help good behavior.  By punishing a toddler, do you really think that punishing them will enforce their good behavior?  Absolutely not.  Which leads to the child avoiding the punisher because they simply do not care.  Punishment is used thinking it will benefit everyone in the end, but most of the time it does not.  I babysit kids from the ages 1-3.  Especially with the 3 year old, enforcing punishment on him results in him becoming aggressive.

Contagious Behavior

I came across an interesting post about contagious behavior: being sick. The author said that this is a known phenomenon called mass psychogenic illness.  This means that symptoms are passed for one person to the next amongst people who are visible to each other.  In the article, mass psychogenic illness is an example (extreme example) of contagious behavior-the unconscious communication of actions or emotions from person to the next. Many behaviors are contagious as well, like sleepiness, sadness, etc.

Two-Process Theory of Avoidance

According to the book the two process theory of avoidance, two processes are involved in learning an avoided response. The first process is classical conditioning of a fear response to a CS. In accordance to this theory my cat Maui, will avoid any child that comes into my house. When I had first adopted Maui I use to babysit my god daughter often, and she loved Maui, although Maui didn't enjoy her company so much. She would toss him around like he was a rag doll, and Maui being the passive kitty he is allowed it but now, no matter what child comes to my house he runs away from them. Even though some of the kids are scared of him for whatever reason he still runs, and hides under my bed where he knows he can't be reached. Like the example given in the book of the dogs jumping over a barrier to avoid a shock every time, even after the shock was turned off. The kids are the shock in Maui's case, and he will run away from them, every single time. This is Maui:

Contagious Behavior

According to our text Contagious Behavior "is more-or-less instinctive or reflexive behavior triggered by the occurrence of the same behavior in another individual." The text gives examples such as yawning, and looking away to test this certain behavior when talking to people. But what the book didn't quit mention was the fact of how ALL behaviors are contagious both good and bad. When I came across this video on youtube it immediately reminded me of the text and this contagious behavior it explained, although this wasn't based on a yawn, a gaze, or contagious smile rather rudeness and how rudeness is contagious. It made me realize how aware we must be of our thoughts in order to not redirect anything negative we may have come across in our day. For example being conscious of what you say to people after you just dealt with an angry costumer at work to avoid anymore negative distribution. Always think happy thoughts ! :)


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental illness that is developed from experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms may include having flashbacks or nightmares of the tragic event. Common experiences that trigger PTSD include rape, war, natural disaster, or injury. PTSD is very common in war veterans. Anxiety and depression are also linked with PTSD. In my psychology class we watched a movie called Joe's War. It was about a young man who came home from war and struggled with PTSD. This movie really opened my eyes to just how serious PTSD is for war veterans. The character, Joe, couldn't get through a day without having a flashback of his time in war and he wasn't himself anymore. These flashbacks included images of his dead friends. Joe would cope with his PTSD by binge drinking and he ended up committing suicide at the end of the movie. I definitely think we should have more programs and work opportunities for our veterans, it is a serious problem. I would highly recommend watching this movie to get a better understanding of PTSD. 
I have attached the trailer for the movie. 

Vicarious Emotional Conditioning

Vicarious emotional responses, are classically conditioned emotional responses that result from seeing those emotional responses exhibited by others. In the book the example for this is given of the NS being Jelly fish, US the look of fear in others, and UR fear in oneself. This then leading to CS Jelly fish, directly to CR fear in one self. This topic stood out to me because it was extremely relatable in my case when my sister was younger she suffered from asthma, and because of this she developed a needle trauma. Approximately 17 years have passed and she still struggles to get blood drawn. Now I, being the younger sister and experiencing this growing up alongside of her, have developed the "fear" of getting blood drawn as well. Although, I have no reason to feel this way toward needles as I was not the one that in any form should have suffered trauma, but from seeing the way she reacted to them I developed the same fear. She'll poke fun of me here and there, but it makes complete sense that I acquired this fear by learning it from her, she does not even allow people to touch her in that area of her arm as it causes her to cry. Although, I don't go as far as crying when someone touches that particular area of my arm I do not enjoy it one bit. It amazes me how children soak everything in, and develop phobias, or fears they ultimately could possibly carry for the rest of their lives.