What Does Psychology Mean to Me?
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Published: Thu, 06 Jul 2017
Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mind. Prior to that point, the study of the mind, as psychology was widely known, was conducted by many philosophers and psychologists. Today’s definition of psychology is quite precise – it is not simply the study of the mind; rather, it is the scientific study of behaviour and mind. The emphasis on science, and particularly the scientific method, distinguishes psychology from the closely related field of philosophy (Nairne, 2006). By mind, psychologists mean the contents and processes of subjective experience; sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Behaviour and mind kept separate in the definition because only behaviour can be directly measured. Besides obvious actions such as moving about, talking, gesturing, and so on, the activities of cells within the brain and even internal thoughts and feelings can be considered types of “behaviour” – as long as they can be observed and measured in a systematic way (Nairne, 2006).
One of the greatest benefits of studying psychology or knowing some aspect of the subject is that you learn not only how the brain works in general, but also how to use it in particular situations – by thinking critically. Pscyhology helped me increase control over my life; even though it cannot solve all of my problems, it does offer helpful techniques for handling my emotions, improving my memory, eliminating unwanted habits as well as positively influencing and manipulating persons. It also fostered an attitude of objectivity that is useful for analyzing my behaviour and my relationships. Indirectly, psychology is what makes me who I am. The way people act towards other people is shaped by society so there is already psychology taking effect. From cognitive and educational psychology, it helps me to demonstrate motivation in my every day dealings with regards to my programme of study. In having group meetings and projects, it helps me improve my leadership skills by offering clear guidance of the subject matter, but also allowing group members to voice their opinions whilst focusing on stimulating ideas and be willing to reward creativity. Communication involves much more than how I speak or write. In becoming a good communicator, I must learn how to express myself nonverbally and to read the nonverbal cues of those around me by using good eye contact, by starting to notice nonverbal signals in others and to learn to use my tone of voice to reinforce my message or verbalize the correct message properly. Motivation theories as well as the stages had also caught my interest thus, understanding them, and to control the yearning geared towards attaining the wants and needs personally and those of my peers as well as the general public shall go a long way. Pyschology has also reeducated me on the importance of sleep and rest, the advantages and benefits of such as well as the knowledge attained during this course has helped me to improve my effeciency of my memory with respect to studying besides everyday living and achieving better grades, while promoting more accurate decisions and to make wiser financial decisions. Therefore, psychology and the education discovered forming this important part of everyday life does indeed play an important role in my life thus far and in the future.
Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2002). Invitation to Psychology, fourth edition. New Jersey: Pearson Educatiton Ltd.
Entry #2: “Personal Reflection / Psychology in My Life.”
Our personality traits come in opposites; we think of ourselves as optimistic or pessimistic, independent or dependent, emotional or unemotional, adventurous or cautious, leader or follower, aggressive or passive. Many of these are inborn temperament traits, but other characteristics, such as feeling either competent or inferior, appear to be learned, based on the challenges and support we receive in growing up. Mr. Erik Erikson felt the course of development is determined by the interaction of the body (genetic biological programming), mind (psychological), and cultural (ethos) influences. His developmental stages were based on his philosophy that: (1) the world gets bigger as we go along and (2) failure is cumulative (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2012).
He organized life into eight (8) stages that extend from birth to death. Then, since adulthood covers a span of years, Mr. Erikson divided the stages of adulthood into the experiences of young adults, middle aged adults and older adults. Erikson put a great deal of emphasis on the adolescent period, feeling it was a crucial stage for developing a person’s identity. Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order. Instead of focusing on sexual development, however, he was interested in how socialize and this affects their sense of self (McLeod, 2008).
Erikson’s psychological theory of development considers the impact of external factors, parents and society on personality development from childhood to adulthood. According to Erikson’s theory, every person must pass through a series of eight interrelated stages over the entire life cycle (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2012). These development stages are:
- Trust vs. Mistrust (birth- 1 year)
- Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2-3 years)
- Initiative vs. Guilt (3-5 years)
- Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority (6-12 years)
- Identity vs. Role Confusion (13-18 years)
- Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood)
- Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood)
- Ego Integrity vs. Despair (old age)
Growing up can occur with many different experiences. For me, my first real experience as a child of 6-12 yrs. relating to the Industry vs. Inferiority theory was one memory that clearly sticks out in my head, happened when I was about seven (7). A schema is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. At that tender age this schema of receiving a reward for getting good grades that term as one of the elite of my class of twenty-eight (28) at the time. However, unlike my four peers above myself who obtained noticeably wonderful praises and motivational presents from our elders, I received nothing, from neither my grade teacher nor either of my parents, as they seemed unsatisfied with my results. This result affected me deeply; stabbing hurt, scars of embarrassment, confusion and feelings of disownment, as if I was one of below standard intelligence and not warranting any emotional or scholastic commendation for my efforts at least has affected me from that day up until this point. Thus, having a strong impression on my competence and esteem over these past years, nonetheless, I have overcome some of the effects and seem to be outgrowing this burden as I heighten my self-esteem.
Industry versus inferiority is the fourth stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. The stage occurs during childhood between the ages of six and eleven. School and social interaction play an important role during this time of a child’s life. Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities. During the industry versus inferiority stage, children become capable of performing increasingly complex tasks. As a result, they strive to master new skills. Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful. According to Erikson, this stage is vital in the development of self-confidence. During school and other social activities, children receive praise and attention for performing various tasks such as reading, writing, drawing and solving problems. Children need to cope with new social and academic demands. Success leads to a sense of competence, while failure results in feelings of inferiority.
Learning Theories Knowledgebase. (2012, November). Retrieved November 30, 2012, from Erikson’s Stages of Development at Learning-Theories.com: http://www.learning-theories.com/eriksons-stages-of-development.html
McLeod, S. (2008). Erik Erikson, Psychosocial Stages. Retrieved from Simply Psychology: http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
Entry # 3: Psychology and Popular Music
A prejudice is an unreasonable negative feeling toward a category of people. Prejudice has psychological, social-cultural, and economic functions. Psychologically, it wards off feelings of anxiety and doubt, provides a simple explanation of complex problems, and bolsters self-esteem when a person feels threatened. But other causes of prejudice are social: People acquire prejudices through conformity and groupthink, parental lessons, and media images. Prejudice has the cultural purpose of bonding people to their social groups and nations. Prejudice also serves to justify a majority group’s economic interests and dominance and even to legitimize war. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgments (usually negative) about members of a group. During times of economic insecurity and competition for jobs, prejudice rises significantly (Wade & Tavris, 2002).
Prejudice can be based upon a number of factors including sex, race, age, sexual orientations, nationality, socioeconomic status and religion. Some of the most well-known types of prejudice include: Racism, Sexism, Classicism, Homophobia, Nationalism, Religious prejudice, and Ageism. When prejudice occurs, stereotyping and discrimination may also result. In many cases, prejudices are based upon stereotypes. A stereotype is a simplified assumption about a group based on prior assumptions. Stereotypes can be both positive (“women are warm and nurturing”) or negative (“teenagers are lazy”). Stereotypes can lead to faulty beliefs, but they can also result in both prejudice and discrimination.
According to psychologist Gordon Allport, prejudice and stereo types emerge in part as a result of normal human thinking. In order to make sense of the world around us, it is important to sort information into mental categories. “The human mind must think with the aid of categories,” Allport explained. “Once formed, categories are the basis for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process. Orderly living depends upon it.” This process of categorization applies to the social world as well, as we sort people into mental groups based on factors such as age, sex and race. However, researchers have found that while when it comes to categorizing information about people, we tend to minimize the differences between people within groups and exaggerate the differences between groups. In consideration of the lyrics in Etana’s – Wrong Address song and video, the chorus gives rise to the proof of this prejudice from the interviewer to the principal of the song: “We don’t want no trouble, We don’t want no trouble, no day; Cause lady where you come from, People die there every day, for our safety that’s where you should stay!” Prejudice is one example of schema that prevents people from seeing the world as it really is and inhibits them from taking in new information. By holding certain beliefs about a particular group of people, this existing schema may cause people to interpret situations incorrectly. When an event happens that challenges these existing beliefs, people may come up with alternative explanations that uphold and support their existing schema instead of adapting or changing their beliefs.
This therefore, speaks towards raw classism prejudice profiling giving from stereotyped concept from the address used by the primary, as such despite her high qualifications and attributes would still just be incapable of attaining employment as the secondary was unable to dismiss their existing categorical beliefs.
Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2002). Invitation to Psychology, fourth edition. New Jersey: Pearson Educatiton Ltd.
Wrong Address by Etana
Entry #4: Psychology in my Profession
Motivation refers to an indirect process with a person or animal that causes that organism to move toward a goal – to satisfy a biological need or achieve a psychological ambition – or away from an unpleasant situation. Motivation may be intrinsic, for the innate pleasure of an activity, or extrinsic, for external rewards (Wade & Tavris, 2002). “Motivation is based on your emotions and achievement-related goals. Achievement motivation is based on reaching success and achieving all of our aspirations in life,” reports the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). People’s needs and desires visibly influence their behavior. People with a high achievement need prefer work with a moderate probability (around 50%) of success. For these people, low-risk situations do not provide enough challenge, and high-risk situations are too chancy.
A new model for achievement motivation combines the two most prominent theories: the achievement motive approach and the achievement goal approach. Achievement motives are the need to achieve and the fear of failure; these direct us toward positive or negative behaviors. The three types of achievement goals are performance-approach goals, performance-avoidance goals and mastery goals. The performance-approach goal is when a person improves to be better at something than others are. Performance avoidance is improving to not look inept in front of others. A mastery goal is when a person improves simply for the sake of getting better regardless of outside social influences.
Although, my current place of employment is in the field of Business Administration, I am currently in my fourth and final year in the Faculty of the Built Environment where my area of study in Construction Engineering specifically, Structural Engineering. Structural engineers analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems to achieve design goals and ensure the safety and comfort of users or occupants while withstanding stresses and pressures, such as weather and human use. Our work takes account mainly of safety, technical, economic and environmental concerns, but they may also consider aesthetic and social factors. We specifically help to design most structures including houses, theatres, sports venues, hospitals, office blocks, bridges, oil rigs, space satellites, ships and aircraft as we work in close partnership with architects and clients especially.
Structural engineers have to choose appropriate materials, such as bricks, concrete, wood and metal, to meet design specifications. When construction has begun, we can be called upon or seen inspecting the work and advising contractors, as well as examining existing buildings and other structures to test if they are structurally sound and still fit for purpose. Structural engineers have to make efficient use of funds and materials in order to achieve structural goals. My career goal is to be a graduate in my field of study successful, then in the not too distant future be a registered engineering, practicing the above attributes while becoming a prominent business man or entrepreneur on my island, as well as regionally contributing to the growth of the Caribbean in general doing all I can possible and doing so to the best of my ability.
Now, Motivational Achievement goals affect achievement-related behaviors. Two types of achievement-related attitudes are task involvement and ego involvement. Task involvement is when the main goal is to learn skills or understanding. People with ego involvement want to demonstrate superior abilities. According to RIT, “Studies confirm that task-involvement activity more often results in challenging attributions and increasing effort than in an ego-involvement activity.” Self-motivation (intrinsic) is more prominent in task-involved activities. Ego-involved individuals consider success as outperforming others. Society tends to label these people as “high achievers” because their achievements are for public view.
People achieve more when they have specific, focused goals; when they set high but achievable goals for themselves; and when they have approach goals (seeking a positive outcome) rather than avoidance goals (avoiding an unpleasant outcome). The incentive to achieve depends not only on ability, but also on whether people set mastery (learning) goals, in which the focus is on learning the task well, or performance goals, in which the focus is on performing well for others. Mastery goals lead to persistence in the face of failures and setbacks; performance goals often lead to giving up. People’s expectations can create self-fulfilling prophecies of success or failure. These expectations stem in part from one’s level of self-efficacy (Wade & Tavris, 2002).
Work motivation also depends on circumstances of the job itself. Working conditions that promote motivation and satisfaction are those that provide workers with a sense of meaningfulness, control, variation in tasks, clear rules, supportive relationships, feedback, and opportunities for advancement and learning. Incentive pay is more effective than predictable raises in elevating work motivation. One factor in the motivation to enter a career is its gender ratio yet more so in the above motivational achievement example given which depends on the person’s having the opportunity to be promoted and working in the fashion of expectancy to be rewarded with such (Wade & Tavris, 2002).
So it can be said then that generally, achievement motivation is considered as an essential driving force of human behavior, especially in academic and professional areas or fields. Thus, in my case I can be related Mastery goals motivation while having an achievement-related attitude of task involvement. The road may not be easy but with my knowledge attained over time, working experience summed, wisdom collected and prayers I am confident that I will succeed over time and quality involvement in the key areas needed to ensure such personally, socially and psychologically to say the least. In combination with not only the achievement concepts and types or the apprehension of this but usage of the other key theories of Motivation will be utilized to peers and employees also.
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