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PSYC 1310 Reflective Overview

Date: December 1, 2015


To: Dr. Dreznick
From: Alyssa Speeg
Subject: Reflective Overview
Introduction
My performance in this class has definitely exceeded my previous performances
in college classes. I came to Our Lady of the Lake after spending two years at LSU,
where my participation in class was not encouraged and many professors were unable to
put forward any effort in helping me to succeed. I was anxious to take another
psychology course at a different school after being discouraged because of my previous
low grades. However, this course has proven to me how capable I am of doing well in
school. Before quizzes, I did more than simply making notes on the study guide that was
provided. I prepared by reading through each chapter in order to get a better
understanding of what we were asked to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed learning every area
of psychology because it provided the framework for living a happy and healthy life,
starting with an individuals thoughts and actions.
In Psychology 1310, the tests require much more than memorization of the
content that we were given. When I received my first test grade, I was very disappointed
that I had not received the A I was hoping for. However, when I saw how difficult it was
for the rest of the class as well, I was a little more hopeful about future tests. I was very
determined to do well in the class after this first test and began not only reading through
the textbook, but going over the Power Points provided on Moodle as well. I also wrote

notecards and created my own study guide to commit the information to my memory
even more. By changing these study habits, my grade changed from a 78% to an 80% for
the next test. I was still disappointed, however, since my goal was to receive an A in the
course. However, during midterms my grade shot up to a 95% and I realized that I was
doing much better than I thought in the class. I am extremely proud of the work I have
done in Psychology 1310. Im always willing to participate in the group work in class and
Ive only missed one class during Thanksgiving break for vacation. Psychology has really
been helpful to me in certain life lessons, such as dealing with stress and learning about
the importance of ones mental health. After taking this course, I have even considered
minoring in psychology and maybe even going into a field of psychology in the future.

Student Learning Outcomes

Identify psychologys links with other disciplines [e.g. nursing, medicine, philosophy,
sociology].

In Chapter 1 of the textbook, it describes Psychology as the Science of All


Human Behavior. This stuck out to me because I came into this class thinking we would
be discussing only the mind and not our actions when considering Psychology. Because
Psychology is behind this wide spectrum of behavior, it can be assumed that there are
several connections with other different areas. Chapter 1 also provides examples of
careers that include the study of psychology in their work.

Psychologists can work in school settings, private practices, and even clinical
practices. In school settings, especially colleges, psychologists can provide advice on
coping with stress, teaching, or even researching about areas they are most interested in.
In our assignment regarding the subfields of psychology, I learned that several different
psychologists might be required to solve one specific problem. One example of this
occurs when teachers need help to maintain appropriate environments for students in
school. An environmental psychologist can help create a safe place where students will be
able to learn without interruption or fear within the classroom. A School and Educational
Psychologist can also help teach children that need extra services such as speech therapy.
A Community Psychologist would help by providing insight on occurrences outside of
school. If students are not provided with necessities for surviving, such as food and safety
at home, it is necessary to receive help from this type of psychologist before students can
thrive in their education.
Psychologists in the medical field often emphasize the importance of the nervous
system. Neuroscience is often the biological approach to studying psychology. When
discussing our Chapter 1 Power Point, we learned that the brain contains the physical
processes of all thoughts and emotions. These thoughts and emotions then lead to our
study of behavior. Studying human behavior brought us to the discussion of the
Biopsychosocial approach to Psychology. We learned that our behavior could be
influenced by three factors, including biological, psychological, or social-cultural
influences. All of these disciplines link together to provide an explanation of the way
humans behave.

Social-cultural influences lead to behaviors because we are inclined to act a


certain way based on the company we keep. There are several expectations and rules that
differ between each country or even between families. Another social-cultural influence
that affects todays population is the media, such as TV and radio. Biological influences
are based on genetics that each person has no control over. Natural selection also plays a
role in Biological influences. Psychological influences can occur on an individual level
when looking at specific events that can cause fear or produce other emotions that elicit a
certain behavior. Individual thought processes are another example of Psychological
influences.

Demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of human behavior.

Chapter 3 in our textbook describes the main source of human behavior. The brain
is this main source, where every single thought and behavior occurs first. If a person were
to damage their brain, the physical process of thoughts and behaviors would occur
differently than when their brain was intact. Through the nervous system, our brain is
able to send neural impulses to the rest of our body so we are able to act upon our
thoughts. These neural impulses can be triggered to fire or remain inactive by several
different drugs. When these neural impulses are affected, our behavior can change for
better or worse.
Our Chapter 6 Group Assignment required that students offer explanations of
different types of learning and how they affect behavior. We were given an example of a
child who was learning how to study more effectively. One type of learning we discussed

was classical conditioning, where a stimulus was provided that would trigger a behavior
to produce a more focused child. Our suggestion was to create a workspace where the
child would go to do homework every time, so the stimulus would become conditioned.
We also discussed the effects of positive and negative reinforcement. Positive
reinforcements provided rewards that would be received when the child successfully
studied or did their homework. Negative reinforcements provided unwelcomed results,
such as the parents nagging so the child would do their homework.
Shaping was another type of learning that would affect the outcome of the childs
behavior. Shaping occurs when there is a reward in successive amounts when a desired
behavior occurs. By using shaping, a desired behavior is easily achieved because the
subject does not have to wait long to be rewarded. They know that each time the behavior
occurs, they will be rewarded for doing what they are expected to do. Positive and
negative punishments are two more ways that a subject may learn. However, punishment
introduces a negative way of teaching and will often produce fear. The last type of
learning is observational learning, which requires that the subject observe another
example of the desired behavior being done. This often results in the other person
receiving rewards to show the subject the outcome of behaving appropriately.

Identify the basic assumptions of the major schools of psychology [e.g.


psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic].
In chapter 1 of our textbook, there are seven different approaches that can provide
different views on a single behavior. These approaches include biological, behavioral,
psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive, evolutionary, and the sociocultural approach.

The biological approach focuses on the body and how the brain and nervous system
work together to produce behavior. This is part of physiological psychology and gets its
main information from the field of neuroscience. In our neurotransmitters and the brain
group assignment, we were able to see how neurotransmitters can affect production in the
brain and how different amounts of each would change a persons behavior and thoughts.
One example of this is the affect of too little norepinephrine, which may cause depression
or lack of energy and focus. The behavioral approach emphasizes observable interactions.
B.F. Skinner, who believes psychology should emphasize what people do and not the
thoughts behind their actions, supports this approach.
Another approach is the psychodynamic approach, which is based on unconscious
drives against societys demands. The psychodynamic approach includes the affects of
parent-child relationships in early development. The humanistic approach suggests that a
persons positive qualities and control over their lives are important, not just the
biological drives discussed in the psychodynamic approach. The cognitive approach
begins to discuss the mental processes involved in behavior. It supports the idea that
internal environmental forces back behavior. The evolutionary approach discusses the
ideas of adaptation, reproduction, and natural selection to explain behavior. The seventh
approach, the sociocultural approach, describes how different cultures, or families, have
different expectations that will affect behavior of its individuals.

Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and its application to


psychological phenomena.

In chapter 2, the steps of the scientific method are given and explained in great
detail. By using the scientific method, scientists are able to describe, explain, and predict
observations of the events that occur in life. In step one, scientists must question a certain
occurrence and want to know the how and why of the event. Then, a scientist must make
a prediction that will be tested in the future to prove if its true. The third step is to collect
data and analyze the results. Each variable measured must have an operational definition,
which gives an exact way of measuring each variable. An example of why an operational
definition could be helpful is when scientists have different views of how to measure
happiness. Some may think that observing a smile from an individual shows happiness,
however, some scientists would say that a few individuals could easily fake a smile to
hide their true feelings. By providing an operational definition, researchers can be on the
same page when measuring the definition of happiness.
Drawing conclusions from the research conducted is the fourth step in the
scientific method. After data is collected, the researcher can now decide whether or not
their prediction is true. This is also the step where psychologists will write articles that
describe the research they conducted. The last step of this process is evaluating the
theory. The psychologist must continue to duplicate the finding in order for the research
to be proved dependable. The psychologist may perform a meta-analysis, a large
accumulation of studies done on one topic, so variables can be compared in each study.
When conducting scientific research, it is most important to be sure that the steps
taken are ethical. In order to understand ethical research in class, we were given an
assignment that included reading through examples of studies and provided our own
reasoning for whether or not we believed the research to be ethical. In the Tuskegee

syphilis project, the participants were deceived into believing that they would all receive
treatment for syphilis. They were not aware that only certain chosen participants would
receive the real treatment and the rest were given medicine that the researchers were
aware would not treat them in any way in order to get appropriate scientific results. To
add to the unethical research, the researchers did not discontinue the experiment when a
treatment was found so the men could be cured.