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.

Apr 17

Is Jealousy Healthy or Problematic in the Nature of Relationships?

         Allport (1985) conceptualizes social cognition as, “the process of thinking about ourselves and other people to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.”  Interpersonal magnetism is fueled by a strong desire for tête-à-tête.  Anticipation of favorable experiences sparks excitement while enduring relations with your significant other.  All of a sudden, partner infidelity may come on as a surprise during your relationship.  In other words, deep feelings for your companion may stimulate a strong emotional response that many of us are familiar with.  Jealousy can be experienced at different intensities depending on the situation.  In fact, desirous feelings could promote relationship quality.  For instance, one of the partners may respond to jealousy as being a direct threat to the relationship in which they value their relationship enough to protect it.  Except that is not always the case in most relationships affected by jealous emotions.  Many similar instances are influenced by misunderstanding a situation or failing to emphasize the importance of communication between partners.

        Most relationships experience three distinct types of jealousy including – reactive, anxious, and possessive (Pfeiffer & Wong, 2007).   These forms are distinguished between whether they reside with emotional, cognitive, or behavioral attributions.  John Wiley (2007) explored relations between different types of jealousy, as well as self and partner perceptions of relationship quality.  He defined Reactive Jealousy as, “the degree to which individuals experience negative emotions, such as anger and upset, when their mate is or has been emotionally or sexually unfaithful (Wiley, J., 2007).”  Furthermore, Anxious Jealousy is when a partner creates false perceptions and images in their head in which they begin feeling distrustful or worried.  Finally, Possessive Jealousy involves an individual taking excessive measures in order to prevent their partner from socializing with anyone of the opposite sex, and forbidding them to socialize with others.  According to Buunk’s typology, reactive jealousy relies on emotional  aspects, anxious jealousy consists of cognitive elements, and possessive jealousy is attributed to behavioral components (Buunk & Dijkstra, 2006).  Relatively, Andersen et al. (1995) discovered that cognitive jealousy negatively impacts relational satisfaction.  Whereas, Pfeiffer and Wong (1989) specified emotional jealousy to be positively associated to love.  Determining relationship quality should always take into consideration both partners’ feelings toward how they feel, and how their partner feels, engaging in their interpersonal connection.

          Relationship quality is determined by interaction between two partners.  Communication between each other is a key component for maintaining an open and sound relationship.  Many people are too invested in wanting to just express how they perceive a situation, and will disregard how their partner feels.  In a relationship, one of the best things I have learned is that there are always three sides to a story – their side, your side, and the real side.  Also, do not try to discuss a tense topic unless you are both rational enough to respectfully listen to each other.  Relatively, jealousy affects the content of the communication (what they communicate), as well as the type of communication they engage in (how they communicate) (Wiley, J., 2007).

         High levels of intimacy and affection is associated with how well you and your partner respects the others’ feelings, understand each other, refrain from negative sources of jealousy, and be a companion to your significant other.  Do not try to compete or evoke feelings of jealousy in your partner to cover your own insecurities.  Take into account that you are your partner are a team and are in this together.  If you both want to keep your commitment, then refrain from problematic experiences, and rather enhance your relationship quality.

        Do you ever experience jealousy in your relationship?  What are some ways that you strive to improve the quality of your relationship?  If you are not in a relationship, what are some things you would want to try for relationship satisfaction?

Thanks for reading!

Barelds, D. P. H., Barelds-Dijkstra, P. (2007). Relations between different types of jealousy and self and partner perceptions of relationship quality. Clinical Psychology and Psychopharmacology. Retrieved April 8, 2017 from


Lesson 12 Commentary (n.d.). Relationships/Everyday Life. Retrieved April 8, 2017 fromhttps://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834710/modules/items/21736698

Mar 17

Racism is Learned at an Early Age

Racism Learned

“New research suggests prejudices may form at a much earlier age, but also offers hope that biases can be unlearned (Boston Globe, 2012).”

            Discriminatory and racial behavior may be learned in children as young as three years old, according to Mahzarin Banaji (a psychologist, brain researcher, and racism and physical prejudice expert from Harvard University).  Children are quick to demonstrate racist behavior and form connectivity between negative biases following exposure to episodes of discrimination.

Banaji performed a study which analyzed these perceptions in which scientists revealed how kids and adults reacted to indistinctive faces.  The pictures of faces ranged in skin tone from very light to brown, in which the kids indicated whether they were happy or angry.  There were 263 subjects classified as children (ages 3 to 14).  Consequentially, the faces that could be presumed as white or black were shown to the young subjects.  As a result, the children indicated that the faces that seemed “black” or “Asian” seemed angry, compared to the faces that they considered to be “white” were happy (unveiling the white children held a pro-white bias).  Furthermore, a group of black children did not present any bias toward white or black facial expressions.

Will prejudice behaviors that children learn at a young age stick with them in future adulthood?   The biggest influence of this factor is how a child analyzes in-group and out-group biases, in which “in-group members tend to evaluate and relate to the in-group favorably and to the out-group less favorably (Schneider, 2011).”  The key component that is necessary for children to understand diversity is to observe different groups interrelating in a balanced and positive nature.  Exposure to diversity throughout their lifespan will express that there are more important qualities that define someone other than the color of their skin, physical features, expressions, ethnicity, or gender (Boston Globe, 2012).

Learned racism is the outcome of how often an individual is personally exposed to how dissimilar cultures and races of people interact with one another.  The development of negative intergroup attitudes allows us to identify the causal effect of role structure and self-identity of oneself to other groups.  In conclusion, improved relations and withheld judgments may occur if a child observes positive interactions and attitudes among diverse groups.





James H. Burnett III Globe Staff. (2012, June 10). Harvard researcher says children learn racism quickly – The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2012/06/09/harvard-researcher-says-children-learn-racism-quickly/gWuN1ZG3M40WihER2kAfdK/story.html


Schneider, Frank W., Gruman, Jamie A.,Coutts, Larry. M. (2011). Applied Social Psychology: Intervention And Evaluation (Second Edition., PP. 7).




Mar 17

Social Media and Todays’ Youth

As we have advanced in technology and ways to communicate, when it comes to social media and todays youth, we are not in a place that we want to be. There are some major issues with social media and how it is negatively effecting younger people’s lives. There are several different types of social media websites out there in the cyber world. Websites such as Facebook, twitter and My Space are very popular amongst younger people and even adults. What are the issues that exists when it comes to younger people and social media? How can having a Facebook or a Twitter account can be harmful to virtually anyone? What are some ways that parents can protect their children from the issues that arise from social media and harmful websites? These are some questions that are very real and need to be addressed.

We need to know exactly why social media has so much power and influence on today’s youth. Social media has greatly affected the way todays youth spend their leisure time. However, with the rise in social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, more and more people are logging in everyday just to interact and share information with friends and followers. Moreover, social media has also changed the way people socialize and interact with each other. Unfortunately, youth who spend a lot of time on social media are at higher risk for depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders and more prone to feeling isolated and disconnected (McGillivray N., 2015).

There are websites that can affect a young person’s health but glamorizing a certain behavior that will have a negative consequence on a young person’s mental and physical health. Websites such as pro anorexia emerged as a new form of thin ideal exposure. These types of websites put a positive twist on the negative truth that anorexia is not an illness but in fact a lifestyle choice (Bardone-Cone & Cass, 2007). This is a very good example on how often teens and even some adults are being misled by media through its context.

However, there are ways that we can decrease undesirable social media effects in our lives and young people’s lives. One way to decrease undesirable social media effects is by doing research and looking at different sources to see if what we are being told on one website, if in fact it’s true or not. Parents can educate their children by informing them to be very hesitant and careful on what they see on social media. Using technologies can reinforce new social behaviors and ways of thinking, including both desirable and undesirable behavior (Nelson A., 2017). Parents can also limit the amount of time their children spend on the internet and control what sites can be visible to their kids through setting parental control.

Even though social media can be a scary place for younger people, it can also be beneficial. There are countless educational websites that youth can take advantage of and use to get the help that they need in their academics. There is no doubt that the internet can either have a positive or negative effect in our lives and the lives of our children. People, especially the young, are often too open and public with personal information when online and that can have a negative effect in our lives (McGillivray N., 2015). We need to teach the youth to always limit the amount of information that they’re making available publicly. Our safety and the safety of our children on social media are mostly in our hands and we can always take precautions when posting comments, opinions and personal values online. There is always a safer and better way to socialize online, and we need to teach our youth how to stay safe and private when doing so.


Bardone-Cone, Anna M. and Kamila M. Cass. What does viewing a pro-anorexia websites do? An experimental examination of websites exposure and moderating effects. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 40(6). 2007. Pp. 537-548.

 McGillivray N., Turbo Future., (2015, October 12). What Are the Effects of Social Media on Youth. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from www.turbofuture.com

 Nelson, A. (2017). Lesson 9. Applied Social Psychology: Media/Communications Technology. Presented on the PSYCH 424 Course Content Site Lecture at The Pennsylvania State University.

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