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Seasonal Effective Disorder or Just Adaptation to Nature?

July 23rd, 2009 by zmorshed

   For the longest time, I have wondered why New Englanders have mostly all of the most elite universities as opposed to the southern part of the United States. Is it due to the lack of constant heat or sunlight in a year which leads most children in to forming habits such as reading or writing more? Why is it that northerner have a much accelerated speed of conversation than those from the south do? Does the lack of sunlight really change the way lifestyle is lived? The way minds are formed? The priorities people make with their lives? Due to lack of sunlight, do northerners seem to stay inside more and read or is that more of a genetic attribute?

   Why do people from Georgia or Florida have a glowing sweetness to their tones when speaking? Perhaps I am stereotyping a bit here, or overgeneralizing as well. But the curiosity really has striked me in to finding out whether this may be a seasonal effective disorder or just overall a differnt setting of priorities due to a different setting of environment. People from the south tend to be more outdoorsey and are immediately more attracted to the beach. Whereas people from far up north, tend to lean towards the intellectual side and focus more on elitism. (Again, I may be stereotyping).  What do you think?

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July 23rd, 2009 by umwpsych

Now that I realize it my own mother used token economy while raising my brother. Just before the weekend would arrive, my brother would be eager to play on his Playstation or go on the computer all day. My mother felt that he needed to earn his playing game time through his behavior and academic success at home and especially at school. Every child especially ones that are game crazy, like my brother think of the weekend as a time when you place your heart and soul into playing games either on a game system or computer all day and night. The computer was in my room and the game systems in his room, he would literary jump from one room to the next. Token economy is an operant conditioning procedure where people get rewarded by receiving a token or a wanting object for every desirable behavior. A token economy set some targets for my brother to meet positive behavioral and academic goals. My brother’s tokens were basically golden star stickers on a calendar because for every day that he did something on his own without being told to do so such as cleaning up his room, doing his homework, and maintaining a positive behavior at school and outside of school, he was good and receive a golden star. My mother is very strict and conservative especially when it comes to religion. She believes that religion should be our first and foremost priority because religion is a way of life and without it you will be led astray. Therefore, the number of golden stars for religion related activities were more valuable than anything else. At the end of the week he was suppose to have certain number of stars at the end of the week to buy something which was usually a game for one of his game systems. If he did not have enough stickers than he received a much smaller reward such as more TV time. He was actually appreciative of that since TV is not allowed to be watched on weekdays after 5pm. Anyways, my brother is always told to pray his five daily prayers and so through this token economy system, my mom thinks that he will be more willing to pray without being reminded every hour. The most important thing about the token economy system is that it should be used for positive and motivational purposes only. It should not be used in order to stop an activity. Another important element that my mom actually learned was that every time she gave my brother a sticker he felt that the sticker was worthy and that was important because only then he was interested to do things that my mom desired. As time passed and my brother was maturing, my mom stopped the token system and he started to do things as my mother desired without being told so. I mean even to this day my mom has to scream over the top of her lungs to remind him to pray, but she does not have to remind him for all five prayers.

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Sure, I am South Asian, But Don’t Stereotype Me, Please.

July 23rd, 2009 by zmorshed

    One vivid memory I have of being stereotyped is when I moved to a different high school. The very first day I entered my new homeroom class, I gave my course schedule to my teacher as I overheard a girl in the corner of the room say, “can she speak English?” I was taken aback for a second and with my gut reaction, I turned around and responded, “yes, I can speak English quite well.” I guess I never really let people’s stereotyping get to the best of me until the stereotyping crossed the line of being subtle or very offensive.

    Being a south Asian girl, I was called many different things, Indian, Brown, dork, ethnic, prude. Some days I didn’t care, other days, I couldn’t take it. What got to me most was when people, (even my own relatives!) asked me if I was going to become a doctor or an engineer. These stereotypes I ended up ridiculing and tried taking it lightly the more they came. As I am getting older, and I am encountering new people in college, I am often asked about marriage and whether or not I will have an arranged marriage or not, whether or not my parents will allow me to have a love marriage, or whether I even believe in on or the other. As much as some of the questions upset me, I thank those people who continuously ask them because it allows me to remind myself that I am not the one to fall under these stereotypes nor will I intentionally attempt to put someone else in that position as well.

   Being a woman of the Islamic religion, I am able to understand the stereotypes women who wear hijabs (head scarfs) recieve. In this video, you will see that not only was the girl listening to the guys demean women but stereotype the girl and place her in a prejudiced category just because she wore a head scarf. That guy’s friends practically described the girl as a possible terrorist. I am often asked whether I want to wear hijabs or not. That is a personal choice I may or may not make which I have not decided yet. Nonetheless,  just because I am a Muslim does not mean I may follow all traditional aspects of the religion.

Stereotypes and Prejudices … I wish more people were like the guy and the girl.

(I recommend this film, it is called Paris Je taime.)

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Psychological Therapies

July 23rd, 2009 by cprobst

Their is a TV show that I watch in reruns called Monk. Its about a guy who is a very good detective, because of all the psychological disorders he has. He has tons of phobias, heights,snakes, germs, bugs,ect. and with these phobias he has a lot of anxiety. He also has OCD, I would say is two main obsessions are with germs, dirt, toxins and symmetry, order, exactness. He has all the compulsions that come with these obsessions, like excessive hand washing and grooming, repeating rituals, every thing must be on an even number. The type of therapy he uses seems to be a form humanistic therapy called client-centered therapy, with his therapist using a lot of active  listening. Monk did try drug therapy once but the side effects of the drug was to great. As far as I can see the therapy does seem to help him somewhat.

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You don’t know me!

July 23rd, 2009 by alange

I can almost guarantee that anyone who has not seen me outside of class has made a fundamental attribution error about my personality. As I said in my first blog post, I am terrified of speaking in class, so people in my classes think I am extremely shy and probably afraid of social settings. This really isn’t true at all. I am usually a very confident person and I’m not really all that shy either.

It’s interesting that we all make errors like this one. I’ll admit; I had a roommate last year who I determined was a cold, hateful person, because she was always yelling at me and my other roommate in the middle of the night. Looking back I really doubt that she’s the horrible person I thought she was at the time. In fact her yelling probably had a lot less to do with her bad attitude than the fact that my other roommate likes to scream all of her words when she’s intoxicated. (This was almost a daily occurrence, and it says a lot about my other roommate. God bless her poor drunken little heart.)

We recognize when people incorrectly judge our personalities based on isolated instances. Many of us even have a good understanding of the social-cognitive perspective of personality without ever having read about it. We change our personalities because of and/ or to manipulate our environment. For example, I am a lot more carefree around my fiance than I am when I’m talking to my boss, so why are we so quick to judge a person based on an interaction in one environment or in one instance? I’m sensing an epic battle between what we know to be true logically and what we believe to be true with our gut. Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and realize that other people are probably very similar to us. We have dynamic responses to different environments, so logically, other people are probably the same way. Snap judgments might make us feel like we know someone, but really we’ve only seen a snapshot of their life. You would have to know someone very well to be able to attribute a certain behavior to someone’s personality. (Disclaimer: Just because I know this does not mean I won’t still make this mistake. I’m human like that.)

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My Little Nephew

July 23rd, 2009 by zmorshed

     My first nephew was eight months old when I first took him in my lap. He immediately let out a loud wave of crying when my cousin let me handle him for a few minutes. No luck, he continued to cry and scream as I felt really bad and gave him back to his mother so he would be relieved of the stranger anxiety. As a few weeks passed by, I visited him often to see how he was doing. Each time I went, I brought him a new present. One day my nephew and I played peek-a-boo with just my hands. He didn’t seem to have much of a change in his facial expressions every time my face reappeared after hiding it. Sometimes I would hide my keys behind my leg so he’d come looking for it.. no luck there. Gradually, my nephew encountered the sensory motor stage where our peek-a-boo game was working due to his object permanence!

A couple of years passed as my nephew learned how to crawl, and eventually walk on his own.  He would listen to my cousins speak both Bangla and English as he would pick both languages up, more so Bangla. One day I came over and my nephew asked me ” I want bhaat.” Bhaat in Banlga stood for rice; his developing language put a smile to my face as I fed him dinner. Some times he would play as a pilot on a jetplane as I was his passenger, or we would play house together.

My most favorite memory of my nephew when he was five years old was on my birthday. He brought me his favorite toy truck and gifted it to me with a kiss. I admired the innocence in my nephew so much. His egocentrism was ideal.

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July 22nd, 2009 by zmorshed

Pills- The Perishers

I have encountered a very dear friend undergo depression. Almost every night he would come to my room with aching thoughts and memories on his mind. He was rarely attentive in class and never ate nor slept at normal hours. He wanted to forget his past but every day he would recollect thoughts that would allow him to feel more depressed all over again. As a friend, I felt lucky (I know that sounds odd) but it’s true. I felt lucky to have been able to be trusted that much as to where someone would tell me their most personal stories and that I could help them when in need (a bit benevolent, hmm?) He would never look at life ina positive aspect. Every day he would see negative outcomes to everything, which lead to his cognitive triad. He would get by with his days by calling himself a failure to his family, more so to himself. He was clinically diagnosed three years ago and has been taking pills to keep up his serotonin and sleeping pills. Some nights he wouldn’t even take the pills because he didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

This song by the Perishers was haunting to both my friend and I because this was exactly how he felt. Seeing someone undergo such a disorder was heartbreaking. Fortunately, he is doing better now. He has gone back to being the passionate marathon runner, the intelligent English substitute teacher, the comical best friend, and the avid reader. Hopefully he will not have to revisit the pathway to depression again.

Depression can be recovered by the natural ways of someones love and comfort. Pills just temporarily trigger the mind and body to change the way a depressed patient feels.

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Token Economies

July 22nd, 2009 by cprobst

In first grade my teacher set up a token economy. Every student had a cloths pin, and their was twenty slots till the end of the board. Every time a student did something right such clean their desk, line up quietly ect. would the cloths pin be moved one notch. At the beginning of the school year, at the end of every day if the pin had been moved at all than that student got a piece of candy. That progressed to only when a student moved ten slots did they get a piece of candy and that progressed to only when a student moved all twenty slots did they get a piece of candy. In this situation token economies seem helpful because it is rewarding the student with external rewards, for doing that the teacher wanted done. Ideally this token economy would be done until the student learned how to reward itself with internal rewards. But their is a down side to the token economy and that is the overjustification effect. Lets say in the example above a student already did everything the teacher wanted done and rewarded itself with internal rewards. Well than the student participated in the token economy and got rewarded externally and internally, the student was getting rewarded to much and the student came to expect being over rewarded. When the token economy ends the student will get less rewards and will not receive the external reward. So the student no longer tries to do what it is supposed to do because the internal reward is no longer enough. The good about token economies is that it teaches people how to reward themselves internally, the bad is that it can lead to the overjustification effect.  Token economies are used in psychological therapies most successfully with disturbed children, people with schizophrenia, and mental disabilities. It is also successfully used in homes, classrooms,hospitals, and institutions for the delinquent.

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I think my bootstraps are broken : /

July 22nd, 2009 by alange

How many times have you heard the saying “pull yourself up by your bootstraps?” I am someone who has an internal locus of control. I believe that I control my own destiny, and that if I don’t accomplish something, the only one I can blame is myself. I used to think that people with an external locus of control, people who believe that outside forces control their destiny, were just looking for someone else to blame for their failings.

After reading the section of the book on prejudice, I’m beginning to wonder if many people with an external locus of control have a point. What if their lives really are out of their hands?

Ugly confession time: I have been guilty of prejudice against the poor. I won’t lie. (It’s sad and I’m ashamed, but there it is.) I have looked at a homeless person on more than one occasion and felt sickened that they were standing on the street trying to take my hard earned money instead of just getting a job. (Ugh…That felt icky to write.) See, the thing is, I don’t know this person. I don’t know their story. For all I know, this person could have had a wonderful job at a great company when they had to quit to take care of their dying spouse, and when they returned to the job market they were unable to find work and ended up on the street. It’s a perfectly plausible story, but do I consider that when I see an unwashed person standing on the corner with a cardboard sign? No.

The worst part is that even if this person did have a good job in the past it would be extremely difficult for them to get a new  job at the same level. I can only imagine an employer looking over someone’s resume, asking why they were unemployed for so many years, finding out the answer, and promptly ending the interview. I mean, who wants to hire someone who was so irresponsible that they became homeless? (Just-World Phenomenon) We must have worked harder or wanted a better life more, right? (Us and Them)

Is this person really in control of their own destiny anymore? Can they have the America dream if they just really, really want it? I wonder…

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Attitudes affecting Action Sometimes

July 22nd, 2009 by cprobst

I hate sweet tea, mostly because I don’t really like sugar. So I try to never drink sweet tea which is hard because a lot of people in Virginia drink it (probably a stereotype). Well I was out training a horse, and the owner of the horse offered me some sweet tea, and because he had made it and I did not want to offend him by not excepting it, I drank the sweet tea. This is a case were the external situation affected the attitude-behavior connection. In a normal situation I would not have (drank sweet tea)Behavior, because (I don’t like) attitude, but because the situation was different (I did not want to offend the owner of the horse )different situation, I drank it. In a normal situation because I am aware of my attitude towards sweet tea my attitude affect my behavior.

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