Friday, June 23, 2023

Exposure Therapy

 When a patient has a phobia, one of the best ways to overcome it is through a type of treatment called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves patients being exposed to the thing or situation that they’re afraid of. By exposing them to it and making them face their fears, they slowly begin to be less afraid. This type of treatment can also be helpful with problems like anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. At the end of this course of treatment, most patients have little to no symptoms.

    Despite the intensity of its name, the process of exposure therapy happens very slowly. The pace is completely controlled by the patient and their comfort level. For example, if a patient has a phobia of spiders, they aren’t immediately given a spider to hold in their hands. The therapist would start out small. They may ask the patient to simply imagine a spider. Once they are comfortable with that activity, they might move on to looking at pictures of spiders. While all these different types of exposure therapy are happening, the therapist is also teaching them skills to help them cope with any symptoms that come up. Another example of a type of exposure therapy is when a patient uses virtual reality to conquer their fears. Exposure therapy through virtual reality combines real-time computer graphics, body tracking devices, visual displays, and other sensory input devices. This type of exposure therapy has been tested on patients with fears of flying, heights, and veterans with PTSD from combat and shown to have greatly reduced their symptoms. 

Rothbaum, B. O., Hodges, L., & Kooper, R. (1997). Virtual reality exposure therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice & Research, 6(3), 219–226.

Child Temperament from Emotion-Eliciting Behavioral Episodes

 Temperament traits are based on emotional or behavioral dimensions that develop during early childhood and later on form a basis for personality. Childhood temperament is assumed to reflect biological individuality. Temperament can be categorized as easy, difficult, or a little slower to warm up. These are different areas where children tend to fall into place In this study, they tested 408 different children all around the age of 4.5.

During home visits, a child's temperament was assessed using a Lab-Tab which is a home based temperament assessment that includes behavioral episodes. The children either showed fear, anger, sadness, shyness, etc during the testing. The study concluded that when a child was taken away from the room that had toys, they were sad when they returned to the room and realized that they were unable to touch the toys. When a child was in a negative environment, they had a negative behavior. When they were in a positive environment, they elicited a positive behavior. 

Gagne, J. R., Van Hulle, C. A., Aksan, N., Essex, M. J., & Goldsmith, H. H. (2011, June). Deriving childhood temperament measures from emotion-eliciting behavioral episodes: Scale Construction and initial validation. Psychological assessment.

Positive Reinforcement on Mini Pigs


Laboratory animals often have to endure a wide variety of environmental stressors, which in turn stresses out the animal and negatively affects animal psychology. Unfortunately, many major sources of stress involve experimental procedures which often include painful or fear-evoking events. But, training use positive reinforcement to have the animals participate in voluntary experimental procedures such as clinical examinations, will reduce the stress levels of the animal. 

Laboratory pigs are often used in experimental studies because they present important anatomical homologies that align with humans. Pigs are very emotionally complex and many laboratory facilities use habituation techniques to train the pigs. Ten pigs were tested. The CT group of pigs were trained to follow a stick that had a piece of apple as the primary reinforcer and a clicker was used as the conditioned reinforcer. The conditioning was observed by watching the pig's reaction to when the clicker was used behind the pig. The behavior using the stick was well observed because a curious pig will explore the target when presented by the trainer. The pigs were more hesitant when trained to touch the target using shaping. 

Overall, this study allowed the pig and human to create a bond. The pigs were never stressed out during the test, and they were very happy around humans. 

Jønholt, L., Bundgaard, C. J., Carlsen, M., & Sørensen, D. B. (2021, May 29). A case study on the behavioural effect of positive reinforcement training in a novel task participation test in Göttingen Mini Pigs. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI.

The Role of Avoidant Behavior on Social Anxiety


Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders in the United States. It emerges in early childhood, or early adulthood. Social anxiety involves the persistent fear of negative evaluation of social or performance situations. A person fears that they will begin to panic during the event and embarrass themselves in front of a crowd of people. This study shows the role of avoidance behavior using exposure based treatments to treat social anxiety. The study tested young women and most of the women revealed to struggle with public speaking, or speaking to people of authority.

The people in the study went through exposure based treatments to help them with their avoidance behavior. In the study they found that exposure based treatments helped a lot in regards to social anxiety. The results were extremely positive. Social anxiety is something that quite a few people struggle with. With exposure based treatment, people were able to be a bit better around social situations. 

Rudaz, M., Ledermann, T., Margraf, J., Becker, E. S., & Craske, M. G. (2017, July 3). The moderating role of avoidance behavior on anxiety over time: Is there a difference between social anxiety disorder and specific phobia?. PloS one.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Psychological Effects of Negative Punishment at Children's Homes

Disciplining children is a complex and sensitive task that requires careful consideration of the long-term impact on their mental well-being. Negative punishment, a disciplinary technique involving the removal of desirable stimuli, is frequently employed in children's homes. However, it is crucial to critically analyze the potential psychiatric effects that this approach may have on children.

While negative punishment may be seen as an effective means of teaching children about consequences, it is essential to question its potential long-lasting psychiatric effects. Negative punishment often involves taking away privileges, isolating children, or subjecting them to time-outs as a response to their behavior. However, such measures can instill feelings of shame, worthlessness, and emotional distress in children. This constant exposure to negative experiences can negatively impact their self-esteem, leading to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and even rebellious behavior. Employing disciplinary techniques that focus solely on punishment fails to address the root causes of negative behavior and neglects opportunities for growth, learning, and positive emotional development.

Instead of relying solely on negative punishment, it is crucial to explore alternative disciplinary approaches that promote a nurturing and supportive environment for children. Positive reinforcement strategies, such as acknowledging and rewarding desired behaviors, can foster a sense of self-worth and confidence. By focusing on teaching children appropriate behaviors, problem-solving skills, and emotional regulation, caregivers can provide them with the tools necessary to navigate challenging situations successfully. Building a foundation of open communication, empathy, and understanding can create an environment that promotes healthy emotional development, resilience, and positive relationships between caregivers and children.

As we strive to create a better understanding of the psychiatric effects of negative punishment on children, it is important to seek additional resources for further insight. I recommend watching the following YouTube video by psychologist Dr. Laura Markham, who provides valuable insights on positive discipline techniques that prioritize children's mental well-being:

[YouTube Video Link: "How To Get Kids To Behave Without Discipline" by Dr. Laura Markham]

By critically examining our disciplinary approaches and prioritizing the emotional well-being of children, we can cultivate an environment that fosters their mental health, growth, and overall happiness. It is our responsibility as caregivers and society as a whole to ensure that children's homes are nurturing spaces that promote their psychological development in a positive and compassionate manner.

Anxiety's Effect on Children in School

Anxiety is something that affects people of all ages ranging from really young to really old.  We have seen that anxiety is becoming more prevalent in schools.  Some examples of anxiety seen in school-aged children are separation anxiety, social anxiety, selective mutism, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specialized phobias.  All of these examples can play overwhelming roles in the child's life which could end up being debilitating.  Most people would assume that a child who is squirming around in their seat has ADHD, but anxiety is something that can be the cause for this as well.  Not only can this be associated with anxiety, but so can disruptive behaviors.  Separation anxiety is something else that plays a huge factor in children's anxiety.  Some children will refuse to go back to school after they had days previously off of school.  Having separation anxiety can be debilitating in some cases and cause the child to keep checking in with their parents throughout the day. Children with anxiety need lots of reassurance because they want to make sure that things are perfect.  This could be why a student with anxiety is asking so many questions which sometimes could be repetitive.  

Another sign that a student may have anxiety is that they have trouble answering questions in class.  This may cause the student to freeze if they get called on and then they really won't be able to answer the question that they were asked.  Anxiety may cause physical illness as well which would lead the student to frequently be in the nurse's office.  Along with physical illness, students may be diagnosed with a learning disability on top of having anxiety.  In some cases, anxiety can be even mistaken for a learning disability.  Students know when they are tending to fall behind the other students which can cause them to have anxiety also.  Not being able to turn in homework is another factor that may be due to anxiety.  As I mentioned before, students with anxiety want things to be perfect and if they think that their homework is not good enough, they will not want to hand it in.  The last thing that is associated with students who have anxiety is avoiding socialization.  This means that students don't want to present or even eat in the cafeteria with their friends.


Ehmke, R. (2023, April 14). School Anxiety in the Classroom. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved June 22, 2023, from



Contagious Behavior and Everyday Life

 A topic that interested me and I wanted to touch more on is contagious behavior. Contagious behavior as defined in the textbook is a "more-or-less" instinctive or reflexive behavior tirgered by the occurence of the same behavior in another individual" (Powell et al, 2017).  What this means is that people will copy and mimic a contagous behavior like laughter, itching, yawning, etc.  

Notice when you go out in a crowd. You see someone yawn you immediately yawn as well. You are more inclined to laugh when you are in a group of people. Someone starts laughing and it immediately spreads to everyone else. 

     Take, for example, the movie "Forrest Gump". He started running by himself and it turned into more people running with him. People saw his movement as hope, though like he said " I don't know much about that". But people saw him as a sign of hope and good.  Contagious behavior can be applied to everyday life. I think if we produce more contagious behavior in work, school, and outdoor settings we can spa can spark change for a better world. 



Learned Helplessness and the Classroom

 Quick Video to Summarize

In this course, we learned about the phenomena of learned helplessness which is defined by our textbook as a decrement in learning ability that results from repeated exposure to uncontrollable aversive events. Created by Seligman and Maier the experiments "theorized that the dogs became helpless because they had learned during exposure to inescapable shock that any attempt to escape was useless" (Powell et al, 2017). So when these same dogs when confronted with shock in a new situation they felt helpless and gave up. 

In regards to children, teachers should be aware of potential learned helplessness in their students. Learned helplessness can look like a refusal to accept help, frustration leading to easily giving up, little self-worth, and lack of motivation. Students could have developed these from previous grades where their teachers refused to help them or made them feel isolated from the rest of the classroom. Or from their home environments where they don't receive much praise or where their parents are behind their backs showing them how to walk "on their tip toes". 

Educators should be conscious and aware of these signs mentioned above and help students move away from feeling helpless or unable to succeed in anything. Educators should normalize and celebrate failure, model an optimistic mindset, and work with students to achieve "bite-size" goals. 

Guiang-Myers, G. (2021, November 17). How to counter learned helplessness. Edutopia.

Family Dynamics

Looking at family dynamics, they play a huge role in a person's health.  With there being so many kinds of family dynamics, let's take a look at how each type of dynamic affects different kinds of people.  It has been shown that having close relations with your family can decrease the risks of depression and the rate at which someone gets diseases.  Some examples of different family dynamics include single-parent households, sibling relationships, only-child families, blended families, the families we choose, and family estrangement.  This leads us to the difference between a functional family versus a dysfunctional family.  A functional family fosters a safe space for all of the people who are living in that household.  A functional family puts rules in place but tries to avoid harsh punishments when possible.  In this kind of household, there are usually very positive attitudes which are usually contagious.  In a dysfunctional family, there are usually not many boundaries that are set up.  There is also conflict between many members of the house in a dysfunctional family.  

To better understand family dynamics, we should look at the different types of families and the relationships that are found within them.  As research has shown, growing up with siblings has a major effect on the other children in the household.  A sibling relationship is one that you have for your entire life, for the most part.  Another family relationship that can happen is a single-parent family.  This indicates that only one parent is raising the child due to some sort of circumstance whether it be the biological parent or someone in close relations in the immediate family.  Some research has shown that growing up with a single parent could be more beneficial than growing up in a household with married parents who constantly argue or are fighting all the time.  The next type of family dynamic that we are going to look at is the only-child family.  The only-child family seems to be growing more and more popular.  It is seen that only children do well in school if they have an involved parent reading to them every so often.  Subsequently, the blended family is the next type of family dynamic that we will be talking about.  A blended family is where there are children from previous marriages all living in the same household.  In a blended family, the children sometimes feel unseen or unheard.  Usually, children like to be set in a routine, and getting new family members is a hard adaptation to make.  Then there is the family that we choose.  The family that we choose does not have to be blood-related, but people who make you feel like you are at home and safe when you are with them.  The last family dynamic that should be brought up is family estrangement.  Family estrangement occurs when one of the family members distances themselves from the others.  This usually happens due to something negative that has happened between members of the family.  


Psychology Today. (n.d.). Understanding Family Dynamics. Psychology Today. Retrieved June 22, 2023, from



Intrinsic Reinforcement in the Classroom

About Intrinsic Motivation and 10 Evidence-Based Reasons to Build it in  Students | by Paul Thiebaut III | Medium 

   As a preservice teacher here at Stockton, I was curious how intrinsic reinforcement/motivation can be applied in my pedagogy and classrooms. As defined in our textbook,  intrinsic reinforcement is reinforcement provided by the mere act of performing the behavior. In an educational setting, intrinsic reinforcement for students can look like learning about a topic and performing well on an assessment just because they were interested in what they were learning about. I had a Professor once tell me that you want your students to master the content not to perform well. 

    It can be challenging at times to motivate students to do well in school and not push the importance of solely passing on to the students. As educators we want children to learn "for learning's sake".  Educators should look into applying these tactics in their classrooms:

    1.) create student centered classrooms

    2.)  provide learning goals

                                   3.) Promote a mastery goal, rather than a performance goal

    Creating student-centered classrooms allows students to be involved in their own learning. This is important if teachers want students to be intrinsically influenced to do schoolwork. Getting to know your students and asking questions can ignite an opportunity to change the way students think about learning. If students are aware of their learning goals they have more opportunity to be intrinsically reinforced to complete their goals. As mentioned before, teachers want students to master the content rather than just ace the chapter because of the certain grade they can receive at the end. 

Intrinsic reinforcers are methods to look into for teachers who want their students to learn for learning's sake.    

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Classroom. Notes on Teaching and Learning RSS. (2014, November 3).

Conditioned Rats are Defusing Landmines

     A non-profit organization in Belgium trains African giant pouched rats to sniff out landmines. The conditioned rats have sniffed out landmines in countries ranging from Cambodia to Zimbabwe. The intelligent rodents weigh about nine pounds when fully grown and can also be trained to sniff out blood samples that are positive for tuberculosis. At their full size of nine pounds, the rats are still too small to trigger the landmines, so their size, intelligence, sense of smell, and trainability make them perfect for the job of detecting landmines.

    The rats are trained using both classical and operant conditioning. At about ten weeks of age, classical conditioning begins and a handler offers the rats food while simultaneously activating a clicker. The rats associate the clicking with food then move on to the next phase of training. Next, the rats are exposed to tea infusers with a sample of TNT. When a rat touches one of the infusers, the trainer clicks and gives the rat food. At this point, the method has transitioned to operant conditioning. During the last stage of training, the rats are exposed to multiple tea infusers where some contain TNT and others do not. They always receive a reward for touching the tea infusers with TNT, but no reward is given for touching the infusers that do not contain TNT. Once fully trained, they alert their handlers to the presence of landmines by scratching at the ground.

    Overall, it's fascinating to me how rodents can be trained to do this. This shows the success of both classical and operant conditioning, and makes me question how this can further be used to train animals to complete tasks such as this one!


Hartley, D. (2023, March 3). How psychologically conditioned rats are defusing landmines. Psychology Today.

The effects of ADHD on Educational Outcomes

 ADHD is characterized by an inability to pay attention, hyperactivity or both. It is said that being diagnosed with ADHD has had numerous negative affects of students and their education. With many experiments it was found that children diagnosed with ADHD have a higher probability of grade repetition and being enrolled in special education. With that being said there are many ways school systems should change to help those suffering from ADHD. 

One of the first ways a school can change is to not base a students educational level based on a standardized test. Students with ADHD may have trouble sitting and paying attention to a packet or computer screen for long periods of times. This can impact the grade they get on these test and potentially hold them back a grade. By not having standardized testing be a factor of a students educational level, it would be a good start into changing they ways of the school system. What to Do When ADHD Struggles Emerge in School

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Psilocybin, PTSD, and Fear Extinction

     A recent study shows that psilocybin, the active component in "magic mushrooms", can help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other fear-based mental disorders. This discovery goes hand-in-hand with fear extinction.

    According to Eglė Krištopaitytė, author of "Psilocybin May Help to Treat PTSD", PTSD is characterized by the failure of fear extinction, the ability to extinguish fearful memories when threats are no longer present. Researchers hypothesized that psilocybin could restore fear extinction among patients with PTSD by increasing neuroplasticity in the brain, specifically the hippocampus. Researchers set up a study where they administered a single dose of psilocybin to fear-conditioned mice. The psilocybin-treated mice showed improved fear extinction compared to nontreated mice. Psilocybin further reversed the decline in proteins associated with fear extinction and neuroplasticity. 

    Research further suggests that psilocybin may treat depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol use disorder. Australia recently approved psilocybin as a medication for treatment-resistant depression. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also granted psilocybin a breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of major depressive disorder, and both Oregon and Colorado voted to allow psilocybin for therapeutic purposes.


Krištopaitytė, E. (2023, May 4). Psilocybin may help to treat PTSD. Healthnews.

Negative Punishment in the Classroom

    Negative punishment is a form of Operant Conditioning. By definition, it means taking away something that the person does like, in order them to change their behavior to be better. Within the classroom, the negative punishment has to be immediate to show how serious the situation is and how the new behavior should be. It also needs to be consistent, so you can't just let one student do a bad behavior, and then let another student get away with the same behavior without also giving them a negative punishment. Kids need guidance, correction, and encouragement to shape their behavior in line with the moral and social standards.

    Some examples of negative punishment in the classroom can include:
  • If a student is using their phone in class, taking it away
  • Taking away and good-behavior tokens they have earned, possibly lowering a grade
  • Not allowing the student to participate in an activity, like recess because they were misbehaving
    Unfortunately, these should be used in combination of multiple other approaches, like including positive reinforcements as well. A combination is what is going to work best, and show much-improved behavior in a classroom setting, so you would also need to reward good behavior with maybe extra recess or something like that.
    When I was in school, I definitely benefitted from positive reinforcement, but I would try and be on my best behavior in fear of the negative punishments because I was terrified of getting my phone taken away or losing privileges so I definitely think that having the combination of both would benefit students into wanting to be better behaved.


Dimochkino. (2023, March 31). What is Negative Punishment? Theory, Practice & Examples. HIGH5 Strengths Test.

Exposure and Response Therapy Among Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

     Because Exposure and Response therapy (ERP) exposes an individual to their uncomfortable thoughts, images, situations, and/or feelings, it's easy to understand why some individuals may be reluctant to try it. So who should try ERP therapy? What are the success rates? Is it more effective than other therapies?

    According to Keara Valentine, author of "Does ERP Therapy Work for Everyone?", ERP is a gold standard for treating individuals that have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Research shows that a combination of ERP and medication are the most beneficial treatments for individuals with OCD: seventy percent of people benefit from one or both. Overall, ERP alone has a success rate of 65% to 80% in children, adolescents, and adults with OCD. Most people undergoing treatment see a decrease in their symptoms within eight to sixteen weeks, with some experiencing no symptoms at all after treatment. However, because of the nature of ERP and being exposed to discomfort, it's normal that OCD symptoms increase directly after starting treatment. This means that it's important for people who are considering ERP to stick with it if they decide to try it out. 

    What about other therapies though? Unlike regular talk therapy, ERP focuses on individuals submitting to their compulsions. Traditional talk therapy helps people gain insight into their problems whereas ERP helps people challenge their OCD and confront their anxiety. Talk therapy could even be potentially detrimental to individuals with OCD as patients may dwell on their distressing thoughts. ERP offers a way for patients to overcome their fears rather than dwell on them. Overall, ERP seems to be a highly successful treatment, if not the best option, for individuals with OCD.

Valentine, K. (2023, June 12). Does ERP therapy work for everyone?. NOCD.


Project Nim

    Nim Chimsky is a chimpanzee that would be taught sign language. He was put into a household setting with a family of humans that would be the ones to teach him sign language. He had human siblings, and he lived in New York. By the age of 2, they moved Nim from an apartment in New York to a Mansion at Columbia University because he was getting too reckless. By that point, he already knew about 125 signs. The people studying Nim realized that he mirrored the teachers signs, but he never actually did a sign on his own. In 1977, the experiment had ended and they put Nim Chimsky into an enclosure with other chimpanzees. At that point, they believed that Nim was just an ordinary chimpanzee. 

    Once he was in the cage with other chimpanzees, a worker that was with the chimpanzees noticed that Nim interacted with humans differently than every other chimpanzee. He seemed to understand humans better. He may not have been able to communicate with humans, but he definitely was different around them than other chimpanzees. Funding for the experiment had ended and the chimps were going to be sent off to other testing, but at the time Nim was well known, so people were able to save him. He even appeared on Sesame Street. He lived out the rest of his days on a ranch, and he died in 2000. 

    I think this experiment is incredibly interesting. It's outdated at this point, since quite a lot has happened since the 70's, but it's still crazy to think that they took this chimpanzee from birth, but him with a family in New York to try and simulate the same way a baby would be living. There are pictures of Nim doing dishes, they were trying to raise him as authentically as possible. If this study were to be done today, they would still try and keep it as authentic as possible, but maybe a more controlled setting to not let the chimpanzee get out of hand. The fact that Nim got so much attention for dealing with humans so well that he was on TV multiple times says a lot for how chimpanzees are a lot with nature and nurture. It was a lot of observational learning for this chimpanzee and that can impact a lot growing up. 


Adler, M., & Hess, E. (2008, May 28). The Chimp that Learned Sign Language. NPR.

Classical Conditioning

    The famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov is known for his work studying the effects of classical conditioning. In Chapter 4, we learn in great detail about how classical conditioning works and the different aspects that come into play. Classical conditioning is when a physiological stimulus is paired with a neutral stimulus. When conditioned this way, someone has a naturally occurring reflex or a learned response to something. When we think of classical conditioning, our minds may automatically go to Pavlov’s experiment involving dog food and a bell. However, there are many examples of classical conditioning that happen in our everyday lives. 

    When something like a traumatic event happens to us, it can create a phobia of that thing. It can also create a conditioned response. For example, if a boy were to get stung by a bee, he would now have negative feelings toward it.  Every time he saw a bee from that point forward, he would be afraid of it. To everyone else, bees are neutral stimuli. It doesn't always have to be negative. Another example is when realtors bake cookies for an open house, we walk in and it smells like home. The atmosphere is familiar even though we’ve never been there before. Lastly, when we pick up our keys and head to the door, our dogs often think they’re accompanying us. They have this reflex from all of the times their owner takes them on walks. Classical conditioning can be negative as well as positive. In conclusion, we are conditioned throughout our lives by our experiences and associations with things. 

Walters, S. (2020). 6.1 Learning by Association: Classical Conditioning. Psychology-1st Canadian Edition.

The Topic of Self Control and Gambling Addiction

 For another class I’m taking this summer semester, we learned about gambling addiction so I figured I’d tie that to our class’ topic of self control. Problem gamblers have a tendency to have very low impulse control, which leads them to keep chasing due to their high levels of sensation seeking. 35% of those with a gambling addiction also qualify for a diagnosis of an impulse control disorder. Aristotle's belief that people behave in ways that they know are counterproductive applies to problem gambling. The individual gambles profusely until the point where they may be facing bankruptcy, and are left feeling immediate shame and guilt, but continue this action due to the low impulse control. 

A way to exhibit self control in this instance is to save gambling for a weekend trip to Atlantic City after a work week, instead of internet gambling throughout the week on top of gambling in a casino. It doesn’t mean the problem gambler won’t continue chasing and sensation seeking, but it will control the addictive behavior in a much more contained way. This is also an example of negative reinforcement. Internet gambling is very attainable and that’s where a lot of problem gambling will begin in the first place. Take that away and save it for a fun time in the casino, and the behavior will take a much lesser toll on the problem gambler’s mental health. 

Treating Phobias: Exposure Therapy

 12.5% of U.S. Adults experience specific phobias at some point in their lives. With that being said Exposure Therapy is one of the most common ways to help people get over these phobias. Exposure therapy is a mental health treatment used to help people confront their fears. During the sessions of exposure therapy, you are slowly introduced to whatever it is your fear. Psychologist create a safe environment for you to be exposed to the things you fear and then they coach you through the process. 

    Even though Exposure therapy is widely known to help phobias there are multiple other conditions this therapy can help. Those being panic disorders, Social anxiety disorders, obsessive- compulsive disorders, and PTSD. With the different types of disorders exposure therapy treats there is also different versions of exposure therapy. 

One of the first types of Exposure Therapy is In vivo exposure. This therapy involves confronting the feared object or situation. The next type of exposure therapy is is applied muscle tension, this treatment is very similar to In vivo exposure but it also involves muscle tension exercises. Virtual reality exposure uses computer programing to stimulate the phobic situation. This is three of many types of exposure therapy that help people live a better life. 

Exposure Therapy: Definition, Types, & Techniques | Sandstone Care

Positive Reinforcement In Class Rooms

 We always hear about negative reinforcements and consequences when it comes to classroom behavior, but what is not talked about more is the positive reinforcements of good behavior and how it affects a student. 

6 Best Positive Reinforcement Tips For Teachers & Parents

Positive reinforcement means presenting or providing a stimulus immediately following a behavior that increases the occurrence of that behavior in the future. The basics of this principle helps suggest that a positive behavior will occur more frequently. When it comes to using positive reinforcement there are many benefits of using it in the classroom settings. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Minimal lost instructional time due to behavioral concerns
  • Increased student engagement
  • Improved student confidence
  • Positive classroom environment
  • Increased motivation
When it comes to positive reinforcement some people tend to mix up the principle of positive reinforcement and the principle of bribing. In order to receive positive reinforcement a student must complete a positive behavior first. Now if you try to convince the student into doing a positive behavior by telling them they will get something after, that is considered bribing. Knowing the difference between the two can help with more benefits in the classroom. 

Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?  Applied Behavior Analysis is a form of science that helps us understand behavior.  This form of therapy is often times used for people who have autism.  Applied Behavior Analysis' focus is to help us see how behavior works and how the learning process takes place.  This type of therapy helps improve communication skills as well as tries to reduce unwanted behaviors.  To do this, positive reinforcement is one method that has seemed to be pretty effective to increase behaviors that the therapist wants their client to keep doing.  When the client associates the behavior that is good with getting a reward, they tend to want to do this behavior more because they know that there is a reward to follow.  Another tactic that Applied Behavior Analysts use is the ABC method.  The ABC method stands for antecedent, behavior, and consequence.  The antecedent is the event that occurs before the behavior that the analyst is looking at.  The behavior is what happens due to the antecedent.  The consequence is what happens in response to the behavior.  

The goal of Applied Behavior Analysis is to help students with autism become as independent as possible.  This way, one day in the future, the student will be able to communicate on their own with the assistance of a device that helps them talk.  Not all Applied Behavior Analysis plans are the same, they have to be customized to the student's needs.  Some of these needs may be the communication and language that they are familiar with, social skills, as well as academic skills that the student has.  It has been shown that Applied Behavior Analysis can be beneficial for people of all needs and all ages.  Applied Behavior Analysis is an evidence-based treatment plan which includes many different techniques.  Applied Behavior Analysts often times break down the plan into simple, concrete steps so that their client truly understands what they have to do.


Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Autism Speaks. Retrieved June 21, 2023, from

The Role of Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Alcohol Abuse

 I was curious about the difference between positive and negative reinforcement in regards to alcohol abuse, so I pulled up a research article discussing the differences to the onset of a potential disorder to the substance. The researchers discussed how positive reinforcement involves the social enhancement provided by alcohol usage, in which an individual engages to not necessarily run from anything in particular, but seek out the pleasant feelings that come from drinking. Negative reinforcement in this case, however, involves using alcohol to run from stress, depression, or anxiety. 

The researchers used a review from another study to talk about how positive reinforcement with alcohol abuse is associated with binge drinking in singular social settings, but doesn’t have to mean there is a dependence on alcohol in every case. In the means of negative reinforcement, there is a much greater prevalence of alcohol dependency amongst adolescents and young adults. Both positive and negative reinforcement tie similarly in the patterns of the early stages of addiction, but negative reinforcement shows itself to have a much higher onset.


Cho, S. B., Su, J., Kuo, S. I.-C., Bucholz, K. K., Chan, G., Edenberg, H. J., McCutcheon, V. V., Schuckit, M. A., Kramer, J. R., & Dick, D. M. (2019). Positive and negative reinforcement are differentially associated with alcohol consumption as a function of alcohol dependence. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(1), 58–68. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and its misconceptions

Many view OCD solely made up of repetitive behaviors that trigger severe anxiety if not acted upon. When in reality, it’s far more complex. A lot of individuals with OCD report having intrusive thoughts, similar to bipolar disorder (which are often misdiagnosed for one another). The video attached to our class lecture of the young girl named Elizabeth who struggles with OCD in a sense where she is hyper fixated on washing her hands and avoiding door handles due to a fear of contamination is just one example of how OCD manifests itself. Her sister made a comment about how Elizabeth constantly says how she wants to die, and this proves my point further that OCD isn’t solely phobias and compulsions, but also a whirlwind of overwhelming dysregulated emotions.

In regards to treating OCD, exposure and prevention response is used for treatment which is basically a combination of flooding and systematic desensitization techniques. These techniques teach the individual how to practice mindfulness in an anxiety inducing moment to relax their mind and body during which could feel like a crisis to them. The exposure aspect of it can feel very overwhelming but is very necessary for treatment, depending on the case. Another excellent way to treat OCD is through CBT and DBT. It teaches the individual the proper skills to cope ahead and also power through their triggers.

What are Phobias?

    Phobias are an uncontrollable, irrational and lasting fear of a certain object or situation. This fear causes an overwhelming emotion and often time causes anxiety and panic attacks. Even when there is no danger presented, people with phobias feel as if they are in a life or death situation. More than 19 million people in America experience phobias from the mild to severe range.

    Phobias happen in early childhood but aren't seen until ages 15 and 20. They affect both men and women but men are normally who reach out for treatment. Phobias are caused by both genetics and environmental factors. Certain phobias can be linked to events prior that caused a fear in the person. Mental health doctors don't know yet if it was the first encounter but they know that it can be caused by prior experience. Overall, Phobias still need to be learned more about and we are finding things out everyday.

Bobo Doll Experiment

 The Bobo Doll Experiment was an experiment done by Albert Bandura. He wanted to test his social learning theory. He studied children behavior after watching an adult model act aggressively towards the Bobo doll. The experiment was made up of 72 children from the Stanford University. All children was between 37 and 69 months. A third of the children were exposed to an aggressive model and one third of the children were exposed to a nonaggressive model. The last third of the participants formed the control group. 

The group that was exposed to the aggressive model showed aggression towards the doll. Those who were exposed to the nonaggressive model was less likely to show aggression. There was also a sex factor to how the children reacted. The children that were exposed to the same-sex models had more influence over the children. 

Little Albert Experiment

 The little Albert Experiment was a study done to help Psychologist understand Classical Conditioning in humans. This study is known for their advances in stimulus generalization. During this study, Watson observed that children had a fear to loud noises. This was an unconditioned response and Watson wanted to figure out why exactly children reacted this way. He used the children's unconditioned response of fear to see how he could alter that experience. The aim was to test children emotional stability. For the study they used a nine-month-old infant from the hospital. This child was called Albert and they used the same experience Ivan Pavlov used with his dogs. Albert was given a baseline emotional test. Albert was exposed to a white rat, a rabbit, a dog, a monkey, masks, and all other kinds of stimuli. Albert showed no fear to these items. 

During the experiment, Albert was placed on a mattress and a white rat. While playing with the rat, Watson and Rayner made a loud sound behind alberts back. Albert responded with fear and started crying. After a few rounds of this behavior, Albert was presented with the rat again. When seeing the rat, Albert was distressed. Albert associated the rat with the loud noise and began to fear the rat. This became a conditioned stimulus with an emotional response. After this experience, Albert had shown fear to multiple things thats were furry. This behavior overall became long lasting and made him scared of everyday things.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Social Learning, Media Violence and its Effects on Kids

 One topic that was extremely interesting was about social learning, media violence and its effects on kids. For years there has been a debate on whether or not violent media has an effect kids, making them more aggressive and violent, with many studies having been done on the topic. The first aspect that ties in with media violence is Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory. In 1961 Bandura conducted a Bobo Doll experiment, where 72 children were split into 3 different groups and watched the same video where an adult performed aggressive acts on a bobo doll. Afterwards each group saw something different, one group saw the adult rewarded for the aggressive behavior, the other saw the adult punished, and the final group saw nothing happen to the adult (no reward or punishment). The next step in the experiment was having each child go into a room with a bobo doll, and have an opportunity to interact with it. Bandura found that the children in the group who saw the adult rewarded for their aggression, were equally if not more aggressive with the bobo doll when it was their turn. The group that saw the adult punished displayed the least amount of aggressive acts towards the bobo doll. From this experiment Bandura formed the Social Learning Theory which states that people learn through observing, modeling, and imitating the behaviors, attitudes, and actions of the people around them. This theory is part of the explanation on why watching/being exposed to violent media can make kids more aggressive. 

In 1982 the National Institute of Mental Health published a report stating that there were three major effects of seeing violence in media, "first people, specifically children may become less sensitive to the pain of others, the second is that children may be more fearful of the world around them, and third that children may be more likely to become aggressive or harmful towards others"(American Psychological Association, 2013). A study done in the 1980s found that children who watched lots of violent media, specifically television, tended to display higher levels of aggression when they became teenagers. A review of evidence in 2010 by several psychologists have concluded that exposure to violent media, in particular video games can increase a child's aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and decrease their empathy. However there have been studies and reviews done stating that there are other, influential factors (like mental health, family life, etc.) that lead to a child becoming more aggressive and less empathetic that is not due to exposure to violent media.

To conclude, I found this topic extremely interesting to learn more about, and research. There is still more research that can and should be done looking further into the effects violent media, in particular the effects violent tv shows and video games have on children, with researchers accounting for other factors as well. It will be interesting to see what more research says as it comes out, and what changes that research may bring to our society, how society looks at media, and how society treats those that are aggressive. 



American Psychological Association. (2013). Violence in the media: Psychologists study potential harmful effects.; American Psychological Association.

McLeod, S. (2023, May 18). Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Simply Psychology.

Mcleod, S. (2014, February 5). Bobo Doll Experiment. Simply Psychology; Simply Psychology.