Oct 18

Job Satisfaction has an effect on the Economy

Job satisfaction is good for the economy. There is evidence that employers putting an emphasis on the happiness of their employees is good not only for workers but for corporations and has even shown signs of having a positive influence on the economy.  


In the corporate sense, job satisfaction not only minimizes attrition but can also encourage a highly effective workforce. If a company has a reputation for high job satisfaction amongst its employees than this allows the company to be selective about the kind of people that they hire. Being able to hire the best people, most likely, means that the ability of the company will remain competitive


High job satisfaction is also related to a high GDP. In a study conducted by Christoph Augner, PhD, of University Clinics of the Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria it was found that GDP was one of the strongest indicators of job satisfaction. GDP was the top predictor even when compared to workers’ career advancement perspectives and depressive symptom scores.  


So how important is it for employers to consider the satisfaction of their employees. According to Augner it is so important that when doing so employers should consider the macroeconomic effects. Employees with high job satisfaction equate to a healthier economy for us all.


Christoph Augner. Job Satisfaction in the European Union. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2015; 57 (3): 241 DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000398


Apr 18

Classifying Ourselves into Seclusion

Social Categorization, a mechanism that all humans have, is a built in file cabinet deep within the social cognitive process of the brain. Social categorization allows humans the ability to understand relationships and make sense of other people and the world we live in. This social cognitive mechanism allows our brains to classify people into groups (PSUWC, Lesson 6). This natural process helps our brains to identify what is safe and what is a threat to our survival. What is survival? The Oxford Dictionary defines survival as “the continued existence of organisms, which are best adapted to their environment, with the extinction of others…”(Survival. n.d.). It is also defined in the Oxford dictionary as, “the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”(Survival. n.d.). For this purpose, I am going to incorporate Darwins’ Theory of Evolution as defined as, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.”(Than. 2018) As you can see the Oxford definition of “Survival” and Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” go hand in hand and are very similar. It is safe to state that in order to survive; One’s brain must adapt social cognitive mechanisms, by processing the every change world in to processes to survive. This social cognitive categorization not only affects people physically, but also cognitive processes. By experiences, people are subjected to help define their social identity and social dominance to survive. Social Identity Theory incorporates both personal identity and social identity. Personal identity can be a combination of objective biosocial personal markers and subjective personal experiences (PSUWC. Lesson 6.). Social identity comes from self-concept. What defines self-concept? Well self-concept come from self-categorization based on the knowledge, acceptance, connection and commitment to a group (PSUWC, Lesson 6). Humans have built a file cabinet that defines who they are, which can influence survival. If a person has high self-concept and feel apart of a group then the possibility of mental illness also lowers. Leaving less deaths to things such as suicide. I hope your still following me, I know I am touch on these topics, but it all relevant. For example, in Today’s society it is acceptable to have what we classify as appropriate groups and not appropriate groups. Everyone’s perception of this differs in certain ways. Children is the easiest way to see this. If you look a one class, you have students that are skinny, short, pudgy, tall, athletic, smarter than others…ect. These are all categories, that are socially acceptable.

One day you are eating lunch with your child and another child from the classroom has an outburst. The staff try to console them, in your mind you are trying to make sense of why this child all of a sudden had an outburst. Some may think they are not disciplined, that they must have problems at home, that they have anger issues ect… This is how our brains are processing the unexpected action of another child. Then your child mentions that this child is different and it happens all the time, so now your brain, put this child into a special needs category and your concerned for the safety of children. This example is pretty short and sweet. However it does happen. That child is what is categorized as autistic. The outburst was from a heighten sensory issue due to the noise of the lunchroom. This child will most likely not eat for the rest of the day, much less function a productive scale. You have no knowledge or experience with autistic children, you may advise your child to stay away from this child for fear of being different or safety of your child. What this does is start a vicious process to exclude this child for acting typical to their needs. If you have a headache, you go to a quiet space. Sensory processing issues are heighten typical issues that the brain can not process. The end of this situation is that Social categorization happened and started the process of seclusion, because their reaction is not what society deems typical. However, what is not well known that in the past ten years people identified with autism has increased 119% (Autism Society. 2015.). Darwin’s theory states evolution is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.”(Than.2018) This rise in people being identified with autism could be a natural change in evolution. Based on the Oxford Dictionary is child survives,  based on the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”(Survival. n.d.) However, because this child is categorized by society and is excluded from social groups, they suffer from lack of self-concept. They are seen as the less dominate within their peer groups. What society doesn’t know about these children is they are the pros at categorizing information, they can synthesis greater concepts beyond our understanding. They are just missing their voice, their self-concept. Unfortunately, in Today’s society we have adults that are excluded based on “disability”. A Categorization for society to make sense of the world. However, our dated evolution has everything in our lives categorized, to the extent of seclusion that is influencing survival.



Autism Society.Facts and Statistics. (2015, August 26). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/

PSU World Campus. (2018). PSYCH 424:Social Psychology. Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity. https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1924488/assignments/9628601?module_item_id=23682597

Survival | Definition of survival in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/survival

Than, K. (2018, February 26). What is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.livescience.com/474-controversy-evolution-works.html

Feb 18

Juvenile Justice System

There is this perception in our society that those under 18 are under some type of legal protection or exemption. I used to think that if a teenager was tried as an adult then they would be susceptible to an unfair trial and that being sentenced as a juvenile was far better. I certainly do not agree with many ways that our U.S. justice system operates. I strongly believe that young people’s age should be a factor in understanding their motivation and capabilities. Therefore, charging a 16-year-old as an adult seems to be incredibly unjust. However still, juveniles are not awarded many of the same rights as adults and therefore may be getting a fairer trial but certainly not a fairer sentence. It is incredibly unreasonable to hold children to adult expectations; therefore, the juvenile justice system needs to be structured in a way that considers their age, allows them a fair trial and sentence. While also providing consistent and rehabilitative discipline that allows them to succeed as an adult.

Juvenile hearings are quite different than adult hearings, the Juvenile Law Center notes that “juvenile court hearings are often closed to members of the public and records are often confidential…however, despite what many people believe, juvenile records in most jurisdictions are not automatically sealed or expunged” (Juvenile Law Center, 2018). A juvenile record may follow an individual around throughout their life, making it difficult to be successful as an adult. Juveniles are not given the same rights as adults, thus having less protection when being accused or convicted and highly susceptible to manipulation. Furthermore, children are sentenced and tried by a judge, not a jury, which makes them highly vulnerable to discrimination. While also being subject to the judge’s personal opinions of the significance of the crime.

Remember the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania a few years back? This is a prime example of how the juvenile justice system is vulnerable to manipulation. Judges were found guilty of receiving a monetary commission for sentencing minors to juvenile detention centers (NPR, 2014). Judge Ciavarella took advantage of a system that allowed him to benefit from selling kid’s lives to juvenile detention centers for a profit (NPR, 2014). The juvenile system should not have space for Judge’s to have so much influence in one person’s life. Some of the children in the juvenile justice system lose years from their life based from one person’s sentence. This is different than the Adult justice system where adults are tried in front of a jury.

The article, Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Consequences discusses how federal law is reviving the “tough on crime approach” with juveniles (Steiner, 2017). This requires juveniles to be automatically tried as adults for certain crimes, therefore giving them an adult sentence. Therefore many have spent most, if not all their lives in jail for crimes they committed as teenagers. Steiner notes that a situation where Washington teens faced up to 45 years for stealing candy and cell phones while having a firearm on them (Steiner, 2017). Crimes committed by juveniles certainly need to be addressed and some situations may have more severe consequences on society. However, children should not be held to the same expectations as adults, because they are not mentally mature enough to understand the full consequences of their actions.

There are certainly issues with the juvenile justice system that we could discuss endlessly. The adult justice system in America is certainly no model to strive for. Though, suggesting that juveniles be treated to the same extent and with the same expectations as adults is unreasonable. Duplicating the adult justice system with juveniles, while also giving them less rights and protections is also highly problematic. I am simply suggesting that the juvenile justice system enact changes that truly reflect the child’s needs and ensure fair and ethical discipline. Instead of trying to transfer kids to the adult system or disregard their rights to fair trials and appropriate sentencing.


Juvenile Law Center (2018). Youth in the Justice System: An Overview. Retrieved from: http://jlc.org/news-room/media-resources/youth-justice-system-overview

NPR Staff (2014). ‘Kids For Cash’ Captures A Juvenile Justice Scandal From Two Sides. NPR. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/2014/03/08/287286626/kids-for-cash-captures-a-juvenile-justice-scandal-from-two-sides

Steiner, Emily (2017). Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Consequences. Juvenile Law Center. Retrieved from: http://jlc.org/blog/mandatory-minimums-maximum-consequences

Feb 18

Colleges and Intergroup relations

So, how do colleges address and encourage natural experiences and dialogue? Some colleges are attempting to address discrimination through offering intergroup dialogue classes, sessions, and even entire majors devoted to intergroup relations. Some goals of intergroup relations programs are to foster spaces for students to interact. Intergroup dialogues are intended to be spaces to connect students through broadening their understanding of those who they perceive to fit into some different groups. This strategy is consistent with Allport’s Contact Hypothesis which emphasizes the value of positive contact in decreasing negative stereotypes (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2013).

The University of Michigan offers several intergroup dialogue classes for students to participate in. Once students are approved to participate in a 3-credit class, they are placed into a specific “topic placement such as race, ethnicity, SES, Gender, etc.” (Michigan State, 2018). The dialogues are facilitated by trained students who encourage dialogue and discussion in response to reading materials (Michigan State, 2018). A goal of these dialogues is to encourage and foster a culturally diverse community where students are treated respectfully and equally. This program focuses on rich and meaningful conversations with intentionally diverse groups.

Villanova University offers something a little different to Michigan state, as they offer up to three, 1-credit intergroup relation courses to their students as free electives. Noting that “One credit IGR courses are designed to prepare students to create dialogues in situations where understanding and listening are needed” (Villanova, 2018). A goal of this initiative is to encourage and equip students for authentic and respectful interactions. This program defines intergroup relations as an “educational experience about issues of social justice” (Villanova, 2018). These classes are structured to better understand differences among group members through dialogue, exercises, and readings. Each class focuses on a specific topic such as gender, racial identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status and students are encouraged to take more than one course.

Intergroup relations groups encourage participation and thoughtful responses to topics related to various stereotypes and biases. They aim to address issues within society, colleges, and even personally. Colleges are addressing conflict resolution through contact hypothesis by providing spaces for students to find commonalities by interacting with one another (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2013).  Consistent with Allport’s hypothesis, intergroup relations aim to address perceived inequalities and foster a space for understanding where all participants are treated equally (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2013). Through providing opportunities for students to positively interact with one another equally and respectfully, colleges are aiming to encourage a stronger community.

Colleges are taking a variety of approaches to address inequality, discrimination, and diversity. In my opinion, colleges have a responsibility to give their students opportunities to learn from one another. I am not certain what approach is the best to take and I would assume that people have different experiences and perspectives of what approach is most appropriate to encourage a healthy and diverse community. However, it is extremely important that educational settings make connecting people and breaking down barriers a priority. Colleges must address discrimination directly and offer learning opportunities for students while also ensuring a safe and healthy community for all students.


Schneider, F. W. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

University of Michigan. (2018). Intergroup Dialogues. Retrieved from The Program of Intergroup Relations: https://igr.umich.edu/article/intergroup-dialogues

Villanova University. (2018). Office of the Provost. Retrieved from Villanova.edu: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/provost/diversity/igr.html

Feb 18

Stress, Appraisal, Coping, and Physiological Responses

“Health psychology is the science of understanding psychological and social influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill or injured, and how they respond to illness, injury, and treatment” (class commentary). It is through health psychology that we will take a look at stress and how it has affected me in my life.

As far as stressful events in life is concerned I happen to experience quite a few different stressors than the average person. This is because I am a quadriplegic and have no choice but to depend on others in order to accomplish different objectives throughout my day, as well as having a slew of medical issues that I may or may not face on a day-to-day basis that most others do not have to worry about or stress over. For instance, one of my home health aides had needed a day off and someone new was expected to fill in for them. I expected this to be stressful because when working with new home health aides I have to break down my care plan step-by-step and sometimes there might be a language barrier or someone just might not be able to follow simple instructions, sometimes people are just simply not qualified to provide the care that I need, and sometimes people do not show up at all. Health psychology assumes that the mind and body are one inseparable system.

It is often “events that are unpredictable and/or out of our control that seem to be the most stressful when compared to predictable and controllable situations” (Schneider et al. 2012). In the situation where my home health aide needed a day off and someone new was set to replace her, that person called off at the last minute leaving the home healthcare agency that I work with scrambling to find a replacement. During this time, I began to experience an elevated heart rate along with other physiological symptoms such as an elevated blood pressure and dilated pupils. I also found myself angry and upset that someone would wait till the very last minute to call off, knowing that the person they are supposed to work with is in need of their help. In this situation I used emotion focused coping, which involves “people trying to regulate their emotions so that they can minimize the distress caused by the situation” (Schneider et al. 2012). This is when I then tried to calm myself with positive thinking by telling myself “the agency will find someone soon and everything will be just fine.” Once I was informed that there was a call off and knew that there was a possibility no one would show up, my autonomic nervous system (ANS) or more specifically my sympathetic nervous system (which is a branch of the ANS) kicked into high gear. It has been said that “whatever happens in the brain (or mind) can affect physiological processes elsewhere in the body” (class commentary) and that was exactly the case for this perceived stressful event.

It is through Canon’s observation that our body reacts to threats or a perceived threat by secreting hormonal discharges within the nervous system that we can begin to understand how our stress response system works. These hormonal discharges consist of physiological changes such as, elevated blood pressure, increased respiration, dilated pupils, perspiration, as well as hormones that elevated heart rate such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and the steroid cortisol (Siegel, 2005). It is through our adrenal glands (that is located just above our kidneys) that we secrete epinephrine. “Norepinephrine is secreted by all other sympathetic nerve endings throughout the body“ (Sapolsky, 2004). Our ANS consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems which act like a counterweight to each other in order to sustain allostasis, which Sterling and Eyer defined as achieving stability through change. They had coined this term in order to reflect the process in which different organisms need to adapt or be able to change one or more levels of a defensive mechanisms that help to regulate different parameters as needed in order to adjust to new or changing environments (Ramsey & Woods, 2014). Our body is a fascinating mechanism that allows us to help adjust biological functions not only through the absence of stress, but through that activation of different behavioral actions as well. In this case I was able to achieve homeostasis which is a product of our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) through the powers of positive thinking which includes replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It is with this behavioral action that I was able to help my body achieve homeostasis, which is a persistent maintenance and defense mechanism of vital physiological changes that allow for the decrease in my heart rate, blood flow, and regulation of my pupil dilation (Ramsey & Woods, 2014).





Ramsay, D. S., & Woods, S. C. (2014). Clarifying the Roles of Homeostasis and Allostasis in Physiological Regulation. Psychological Review121(2), 225–247. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0035942

Sapolsky, R. M. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers: an updated guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 18

Art and Neuroscience

Have you ever been curious about why some people are perfectly content being a “starving artist?” Maybe, it’s because their core job of creating art is stress relieving and relaxing. I must admit that when I first heard of art therapy several years ago, I was skeptical. I, like many others, thought that the purpose of art therapy was primarily for children or simply an outlet of expression. This is likely because I perceived art and neuroscience to be complete opposites. Though, the benefits of creativity and artwork is commonly underestimated, and research has suggested that participating in different forms of art can have several beneficial effects on one’s brain.

How do two seemingly opposite fields such as freely driven art and the scientific study of the brain work together? Curiously, art therapy has the potential to be much more than this, as it offers a different approach from the traditional talk therapy. Konopka suggests in their journal article, that there are significant connections between art therapy and healing the brain. Konopka notes that “Art therapy has gained popularity because it combines free artistic expression with the potential for significant therapeutic intervention” (Konopka, 2014). Konopka also discusses that even further research is necessary to fully understand the potential of art therapy and its relationship to cognitive functioning.

Many people have experienced the positive effects of art therapy, and some claim that it has even contributed to changing their life. Some brain injury survivors attending art therapy, share their stories on a local PBS news station. One participant, Jennifer, shares that she is now able to “Reconnect with her cognitive functions and mobility that she lost from her [brain] injury” (PBS, 2016). This program also discussed how “recreational therapy such as Art and music can help heal the brain at faster and more complete rates” (PBS, 2016). Martin, who is an art therapist also shares how art therapy contributed to understanding and centering a young man who was threatening homicide (American Therapy Association, 2018).

Perhaps you do not have a traumatic brain injury, and this whole concept seems very specific and non-relatable. Perhaps, the idea of attempting to create something visually appealing may be intimidating. Regardless of your ability or need, art therapy may still have beneficial effects on the brain. Konopka notes that “for years, we recognized that art-making allowed one to re-frame experiences, reorganize thoughts, and gain personal insight that often enhances one’s quality of life” (Konopka, 2014).  Writer, Priscilla Frank discusses in their article various findings supporting the notion that just 45 minutes of artwork can reduce cortisol levels (Frank, 2016). In Frank’s article, they discuss how the act of engaging in an artful activity relieves the very common experience of stress (Frank, 2016). Frank suggests that if you are feeling the burden of stress, you will likely find relief in some old-fashioned arts and crafts.

From relieving stress to rewiring one’s brain after a traumatic brain injury, participating in art is beneficial. It is important to also note that there is certainly a difference between art therapy and personal participation in art. Art therapists are trained at the Master level and “work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth” (American Art Therapy Association, 2018). However, regardless of your needs, engaging in forms of artistic participation can have widespread beneficial effects on your brain. So the next time your feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to engage in some creative expression.



American Art Therapy Association. (2017). About Art Therapy. Retrieved from Arttherapy.org: arttherapy.org/about-art-therapy/

American Art Therapy Association. (2017). Story Library. Retrieved from Arttherapy.org: arttherapy.org/story-library/

Frank, P. (2016, June 16). Study says making art reduces stress, even if you kind of suck at it. Retrieved from Huffingtonpost.com: huffingtonpost.com/entry/study-says-making-art-reduces-stress_us_576183ece4b09c926cfdccac

Konopka, L. M. (2014). Where art meets neuroscience: a new horizon of art therapy. U.S. National Library of Medicine. DOI: 10.3325/cmj.2014.55.73

PBS (Director). (2016). Art therapy helps patients with traumatic brain injury. Retrieved from PBS.org: pbs.org/video/njtvnews-art-therapy-helps-patients-traumatic-brain-injury/.

Feb 18

How a Philadelphia prison reduces food waste through composting

One major challenge facing densely populated areas is waste disposal. Therefore, many programs are emerging to dispose of trash in an environmentally conscious manner. Philadelphia Mayor Kenney is an optimist, with his ambitious plan to “reduce the amount of waste the ends up in landfills and incinerators 90 percent by 2035” (Jaramillo, 2017). Therefore, in 17 years, the city must build programs and initiatives to make the plan possible. What makes this plan so ambitious is that Philadelphia currently does not have any facilities to manage the city’s composting. Furthermore, there are only a handful of small organizations that regularly collect compost from residences. There are endless steps to be discussed regarding a major city reducing its waste by 90%, though we will focus on one major factor, composting.

Of course, composting is certainly not the only solution to the earth potentially approaching it’s carrying capacity (PSU WC, 2018). It is instead a feasible way for humans to reduce their impact on the environment. Composting is a natural way of turning food scraps, yard trimmings, and various other waste materials into nutrient rich soil. This soil is reinvested into the earth and contributes to the growth of food and cleaner environments. Composting also directly contributes to a reduction of trash that gets transported to landfills, thus reducing energy use and the loss of natural resources.

For some cities, the barriers to composting may feel too large to tackle. Currently, Philadelphia cannot physically support such a large initiative due to lack of facilities and programs. However, the Philadelphia prison system presents an excellent example of how how turn food scraps into a sustainable, educational, fruitful practice. The city of Philadelphia’s website discusses how some inmates are graduating with a vocational certificate in Organic Agriculture from Temple University (Chatterjee, 2017). Incarcerated students learn through working on a large and extensive farm and composting program within the Philadelphia prison system, composting hundreds of pounds of food waste daily (Chatterjee, 2017). Chatterjee also notes: “The program helped them make connections between food, agriculture, and adverse impacts of the food system on climate change” (Chatterjee, 2017).

According to Applied Social Psychology: “Sometimes, social change is accomplished by empowering the social group or facilitating its members’ social action in some way” (Schneider, 2013). This is what Sustainability Manager, Laura Cassidy initiated within the prison system. A program began that allowed the inmates to work on a program that took their food scraps and turned them into soil and thus produced a farm. This created a cycle of sustainability, while also providing job training, educational certificates, and influencing the culture to one that in conscious of food and how it influences the environment.

Programs such as this are extremely valuable, as they reduce to amount of energy wasted on trash disposal, while also providing jobs, educational opportunities, and fresh healthy food. This saves money and reduces the negative impact on the environment. Other organizations can use this as an example to reduce their negative impact by increasing sustainable and highly-beneficial composting programs. Finally, programs such as this are a way to influence social change, through the inmates participating and directly experiencing the positive influence of such a program.


Chatterjee, H. (2017, May 16). Outside the walls. Retrieved from City of Philadelphia: https://beta.phila.gov/posts/office-of-sustainability/2017-07-13-a-new-cohort-of-graduates-in-organic-agriculture/

Jaramillo, C. (2017, February 6). Composting in Philadelphia: Where we are and where we are going. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from Plan Philly: a project of WHYY: http://planphilly.com/articles/2017/02/06/composting-in-philadelphia-where-we-are-and-where-we-are-going

Pennsylvania State University, World Campus. (2018). PSYCH 424: Lesson 4: The Environment. Retrieved from CANVAS: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1924488/modules

Schneider, F. W. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Apr 17

Social Change and Urban Rebellion

Social change and urban rebellion

What is social change research and what are the different forms of social change research? How can we use social change research in our and others daily lives to make improvements? One of the topics that I found very interesting is the effect of social change research in the “Ghetto”. What does the word ghetto means? How can we use social change research to help individuals, mainly youths who reside in the ghetto to have better lives and a possible better future?

Social change research comes in several different forms, but the general idea is that the researchers are actively changing something in a social situation that they are a part of. There is Participatory research which is when the researchers are a part of the community and they get involved to learn things about the community that they live in. A good example of such research would be an individual who lives in the ghetto and is constantly tries to bring changes in the ghetto to better the lives of its residents. The second kind of social change research would be Activist research which goes beyond participatory research. The researcher is not only vested in the outcome of the research, but may be pushing a certain value set through their research (Nelson A., 2017).

Social research is a critical foundation for programs that seek to engage communities in change and in the development of more sustainable societies. Without appropriate research, programs aimed at change are likely to be based on implicit or assumed problem identification and or inferred community needs and wishes. I Personally don’t like to use the word ghetto. The term “ghetto” dates to describing the neighborhoods to which Jewish Europeans were confined. More recently, it’s been used in the U.S. to describe urban neighborhoods where minority groups live out of economic pressures (Izadi E., 2011).

To bring change in the less fortunate areas of the city, the residents of that community need to act and figure out what can they do to better their lives and the lives of the people in their community. This would be a perfect example of participatory research. For example, the leaders of the said communities can with the help of parents, educate the youth and provide them with options to do volunteer work after school. Living in a ghetto gives its inhabitants a certain community feeling, a certain sense of comfort and familiarity that they would find hard to get anywhere. Personal sense of comfort, community and normalcy matter much more to an individual when they do not possess economic comfort (Bandyopadhyay K., 2015).

I believe the best social change research method that would be effective in the said areas, would be the participatory research which is research conducted by the residence of that community. The researcher would understand the issues within that community better than anyone else and would be able to design and implement a plan to bring change within that community. Moving from a ghetto is not as easy as just packing up and moving out. People often get caught in the cycle of poverty. Therefore, getting the education and other life skills to move them out of that cycle can be very difficult, however it is possible with the help of the leaders of the community and by providing opportunities to those in need.


Bandyopadhyay K., Quora, (2015, May 9). Why do People Stay in the Ghetto When They Can Move Elsewhere? Retrieved April 15, 2017, from www.quora.com

Izadi E., DCentric, (2011, May 11). Ghetto: Five Reasons to Rethink the Word. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from www.dcentric.wamu.org

Nelson, A. (2017). Lesson 13. Applied social psychology: Social Change / Participatory Research. Presented on the PSYCH 424 course content site lecture at the Pennsylvania State University.

Apr 17

The Kinder & Braver World Project

The Kinder & Braver World Project portray participatory action research as, “a process through which people investigate meaningful social topics, participate in research to understand the root causes of problems that directly impact them, and then take action to influence policies through dissemination of their findings to policymakers and stakeholders (Powers & Allaman, 2012).”  The goal of the research is to expand their social movement into youth communities and encourage leadership.  Schneider describes social action as, “by organizing you can stimulate collective action in the community that generates power to create change (Schneider, 2012).”  Various programs have been designed to add value and promote positive change within communities.

Everyone has their own perspective on how they feel about a particular problem.  Relatively, it is necessary to customize programs that define unique qualities among young people and adults.  After engaging with individualized concerns, a plan for social change may be created.  The plan should clearly define a purpose and identify goals for addressing change.  By involving youthful communities in the developing a plan for social change, young individuals will learn how to address diverse communal issues.  They will learn how to relate to others from various backgrounds, cultures, and opinions.  Youth engagement models are effective for improving issues surrounding a common goal, as well as promoting relations that will motivate involvement.

Youth United for Change (YUC) is a veteran-based organization established in Philadelphia.  The group aims to meet the wishes and needs of young individuals within the community.  Generally, group activities and meetings take place in schools in order to reach out to the youth population.  Organizers promote relationships and address any ideas or worries that the young community may have regarding the world around them.  YUC wants to make sure that juveniles feel like their heard, and their needs are important.  Additionally, the process positively impacts leadership skills and relationships.  Conclusively, the program is an effective way for children to voice their opinion and propose any questions about social reform.


Powers, C.B., Allaman, E. (2012, December 17). How Participatory Action Research Can Promote Social Change and Help Youth Development – The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Retrieved April 14, 2017 from http://cyber.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.harvard.edu/files/KBWParticipatoryActionResearch2012.pdf

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381


Apr 17

Applied Social Psychology in Our Daily Lives

Social psychologists agree that the research findings in the field can be very helpful when they are applied to our own lives (Nelson A., 2017). Social psychology can be used in different areas of our lives such as, our way of thinking, relationships (personal and professional), physical and mental health etc. At the center of all these, it’s human social cognitive system interacting with everyday situations. What are some ways that we can use applied social psychology to better our everyday lives? I am sure that we all can work on ourselves and improve different areas of our lives. Some of us have relationship issues, whether personal or professional and we can always use findings from applied social psychology research to improve the said relationships. I had mentioned Social cognitive system initially and how it interacts with our everyday real situations which brings me to the question of what is Social Cognition?

Social cognition means the process of thinking about ourselves and other people. According to Allport (1985) social cognition is a major idea in social psychology attempting to understand how our thoughts, personal feelings and behavior of individuals are all influenced by the actual, imagined and or implied presence of others (Nelson A., 2017). Our minds are designed for hot action-oriented cognition rather than cold. What that means is that, it’s better to think less and act quickly in an emergency rather than analyzing the situation and risk the consequences of not responding swiftly. The “hot and “cold” action-oriented cognition is another example of a basic characteristic of human cognition that I personally find very interesting. It has been proven that applied social psychology can be used to better our relationships with others. Some of us have issues with our personal relationships, whether it be with our significant others, siblings or our boss and associates at work.

Given how critical our personal relationships are to our happiness, how we can improve the quality of all our relationships? Based on research evidence five practices can be used to nurture our personal relationship with our significant others. According to research listening to our partner we validate their importance to us and increasing the relationship bond with him or her. Compliment is also very important in our relationships, and it increases the closeness of our relationship with our partner. It is very important to notice our spouse and telling her or him what we have noticed shows our interest and can enhance our relationship bond. One thing that we want to steer clear of is social comparison. Social comparison can be very toxic to our happiness, so when we see someone excelling at work for example, we would want to celebrate and congratulate them on their achievements. Lastly, we need to unplug and spend more time with our partner. According to research we spend average of 53 hours a week plugged in to some sort of device (Holder M., 2017).

According to social psychology jealousy is a major issue in our personal relationships and one thing that causes jealousy is attraction. While we have learned that opposites attract, that is only true in short term relationships. In long term relationships, we tend to look for a partner that is like ourselves. In social psychology that is explained as similar-to-me-effect. An example of this effect can be seen not only in our personal lives but it is evident that it also exists in our workplace as well. The “Similar to Me” effect refers to a well-researched tendency of interviewers and supervisors to favor those individuals who are similar to them. Put simply, people are attracted to candidates with similar senses of humor, similar conversational styles, even similar physical appearances (Cliff H., 2011).

In conclusion, it is safe to say that applied social psychology is used in our everyday lives. According to Social Cognition our thoughts and personal feelings and behavior of individuals are all influenced by the actual, imagined and or implied presence of others. Moreover, we tend to use social psychology to better our personal relationships in our personal and professional lives. For example, the evidence of similar-to-me-effect can be seen almost everywhere from workplaces to our personal individual lives. when people must think about how to communicate with another person it becomes a cognitive drain or overload that makes the relationship more work than it is possibly worth. It is more common than not to see those with knowledge of applied social psychology use what they’ve learned from research and studies to better their personal and professional lives.


Allport, A. (1985). The historical background of social psychology. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.). Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, 3rd ed., pp. 1-46). New York: Random House.

Cliff H., Weddedness, (2011, October 7). Similar to Me. Retrieved April 8, 2017, from www.weddedness.com

Holder M., Psychology Today, (2017, February 5). Five Simple Steps to Better Relationships. Retrieved April 8, 2017, from www.psychologytoday.com

Nelson, A. (2017). Lesson 12. Applied social psychology: Relationships / Everyday life. Presented on the PSYCH 424 course content site lecture at the Pennsylvania State University.

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