24
May 18

Attraction and Our Need for Companionship

We’ve all been attracted to someone, whether it was as a “puppy love” crush or a best friend from college. We don’t really know why we like these people, sometimes it just happens. More often, there are reasons why we select these “special” people over everyone else we come to meet. These people play a great role in our lives as social beings. So why do we choose them and why are they so important to us?

The truth is, most relationships begin and thrive on being physically close to one another. This explains why high school students in the same classes begin to date or co-workers become close friends. They spend so much of their time in close proximity to one another, and are able to pick up details about one another- such as style, humor, and interests. The proximity effect explains that this “tendency for physical and psychological nearness increases interpersonal liking.” (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012) The people we are around the most tend to be the people we find ourselves gravitating towards.

However, physical attractiveness is also an important component. This is where the primacy effect comes in. This is “the tendency to be especially influenced by information that is presented first.” In this case, before any other contact is made, a person judges another on their physical appearance. A person’s appearance serves as the first information given to those around them. And looks matter! According to research by Dion, Berscheid, and Walster, attractive people are deemed to have positive qualities such as sociableness and sexually responsiveness. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012) Our appearance gives a great first impression on who we are, and this can affect our relationships with new people.

These people that we so carefully select to be apart of our lives by attraction are important. Humans are social by nature, and it can give us both happiness and pain. Relationships with people have been used against people as punishment- prisoners being shipped away to new lands, social isolation, etc. This leaves a person feeling lonely and vulnerable without others to rely on. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012) But, this also shows our incredible need for relationships to survive. Social belongingness is essential to human life just as food, water, and shelter.

This article discusses how our survival is affected by social ties- https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/relationships-boost-survival/

We choose certain people to be apart of our lives, whether as a friend or as a romantic partner based on our attraction. We become attracted by their close proximity and their physical appearance.. and from there a relationship can blossom. The relationships in our lives allow us to feel safe, have resources to live, and give us the physical contact that we crave as human beings.

Without attraction and companionship, we would live our lives as empty shells of human beings.

 

References

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications


17
May 18

Setting Yourself Up for Failure

Every student has strengths and weaknesses in certain academic areas. Some breeze through math, while they can barely scrape up a C in English. While of course, students have better abilities in some subjects than others naturally, does their attitude play a role?

The answer? Mostly yes. While natural ability of course makes a difference, a student’s attitude toward a certain subject or course can affect their behavior and success.

A bad attitude toward science may seem like a normal response toward this subject, but it can do more harm than one would expect. Going into a science class with the expectation to perform poorly can be self-handicapping- “creating barriers to successful performance prior to an achievement task.” (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012) In a way, this negative approach toward a task that hasn’t even be worked on yet can essentially set one up for failure. This approach can lead to behavior that avoids the “dreaded” task at hand, such as socializing. Failure becomes almost inevitable at this point. Repeated use of self-handicapping can have detrimental effects on performance, responsibility, and achievement over time. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012)

Self-handicapping is a negative coping mechanism, and it’s use creates a vicious cycle. The more this coping is used, the more performance goes down. The more performance goes down, the more self-esteem goes down. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012)

Classrooms where ability is emphasized may be a place where self-handicapping can be encouraged. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012) With that being said, classrooms may also be the place where self-handicapping can be reduced. Classrooms that emphasized individual accomplishments, learning, and effort tend to have lower instances of self-handicapping occurring than in ability emphasized classrooms. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012)

Perhaps another huge responsibility lays in teachers hands. Teachers should help students set achievable goals, emphasize enjoyment of learning, and communicate that students should not be ashamed when they do not understand material. These strategies have shown effective- students were less likely to engage in self-handicapping behavior. (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012)

Education is such an important part of our lives as a society, and we should attempt to do the best that we can in all subjects and materials. Self-handicapping is a premature response to an expected failure, and it does no good except increase the odds of failure itself. It is important to try to nip this in the bud, and look to where we can fix this problem. With better confidence, students will rise and perform better than before.

A personal outlook:

College is hard, no one will disagree with that. But as college students, we’ve elected to be here. We’re paying money and spending valuable time choosing to further our education. There are classes we may dread, but it is important to remember to just try.

 

References

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications


01
May 18

How Much Does Your Spouse Affect Your Mood?

Young happy couple in love holding red paper heart.

 

Growing up, I’ve heard several married men declare that a happy wife means a  happy life. Although the happy life those men were referring to meant less nagging and attitudes, there is some real evidence to back up their claim. Emotional contagion is the idea that individuals take on or mimic the emotions of those around them. Romantic relationships can greatly be affected by emotional contagion due to the many social interactions and close proximity. Recall the last time your partner had great news to tell you. As they are standing in front of you excited and smiling from ear to ear, you cant help but also smile. This is a basic example of emotional contagion.

Researchers have also dug deeper in how emotions can be influenced by romantic partners. One aspect being studied, the partner-expected affect, believes how a person currently feels can be predicted by how their partner thought they previously felt. A study completed by Sels L1Ceulemans E1Kuppens P examined this among 50 couples. All the participants were heterosexual and over the age of 18. However the age, length of relationship, and living status varied in order to properly represent the population. Methods and procedures were thoroughly explained to all individuals. Using a grid, they were instructed to mark the position that best corresponded to their current emotion state. A separate grid, they were told to mark how the believed their partner also felt at that exact moment. The study lasted for 7 consecutive days and couples competed the assessment a total of ten times. A signal was sent to each partner notifying them it was time to complete an assessment. It was also documented rather or not the partners had been in contact with each between receiving the signal and starting the assessment.

The results of this study support the idea of partner- expected affect. Both men and women participants self-reported pleasurable feelings more often when their partners also did. Furthermore,  how pleasant people felt was positively predicted by how pleasant their partner thought they were feeling before.  Emotions are contangious. All forms of relationships must keep this in mind to maintain positive connections.

Sources

Partner-expected affect: How you feel now is predicted by how your partner thought you felt before
Sels, Laura; Ceulemans, Eva; Kuppens, Peter. Emotion Vol. 17, Iss. 7, (Oct 2017): 1066-1077.

photo cred: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/young-happy-couple-love-holding-red-520141351?src=3y1ergOe-pSSNyEdINHACw-1-2

25
Apr 18

Careful Your Children Are Watching: Observational Learning

As adults, we’ve all slipped up and said a bad word in front of child. A car cuts us off during traffic, we forget something at home or we simply drop something and out comes the explicit language. Unfortunately for some, the next day the child also drops something and out comes the F- bomb! This is a basic example of observational learning. Children may not only repeat bad language, but can also learn other negative behaviors, such as aggression, from watching adults.

American psychologist, Albert Bandura, chose to focus on the how these aggressive behaviors are learned. During the 1960’s he completed several studies, collectively known as the Bobo Doll Experiments. (Bandura 1977) Bandura established 3 groups of children ages 3 to 6 years old. The groups were distinct in which model they were to be shown, aggressive, non-aggressive, or no model (control group). Each group was placed in a room that contained several toys including the BoBo doll. The aggressive model hit, kicked & shouted at the doll. The non-aggressive model did not engage with doll at all. The control group was not exposed to a model at all. Bandura’s experiment also measured aggression arousal and delayed imitation.

Image result for bobo doll experiment(photo: https://thedirtpsychology.org/bobo-doll-experiments/)

As predicted, the children who had been shown the aggressive model also acted aggressively towards the Bobo doll when left alone to play. The experiment supported Bandura’s social learning theory. That is that children learn through watching the behaviors of others. (McLeod 2014)

So before you lose your cool in front of a child, remember you serve as a teacher. Children are constantly watching and learning behaviors, both positive and negative, from adults.

Sources

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

McLeod, S. A. (2014). Bobo doll experiment. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html

 


25
Apr 18

Law Enforcement and Coping Strategies

Recently law enforcement has been on the news often for various situations. Many people are questioning the law enforcement and the way their behaviors. However having a position in law enforcement can better very stressful. Therefore I was interested in the coping strategies of law enforcement officers.

An article from the American Journal of Criminal Justice examined the coping strategies of officers after the deadly police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016. It was determined that there were three most commonly used coping strategies(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). These included support networks, self-help, and self-medication(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). The study also examined the impact of coping strategies on motivation(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). It was determined that officers using support networks,self-help, and self-medication had a decrease in motivation over the 6 months after the police shootings(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).  Self-help and self-medication were expected to decrease motivation but support networks were not(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). Using self-help and self-medication are not effective ways of coping and can lead to stress disorders and high rates of alcohol use(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).

Overall it appears that law enforcement officers need to implement a program to help with coping strategies. This may be difficult because of the tough persona that officers may feel they have to act on. Helping officers with their stress may lead to more motivated officers and less mistakes on the job(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).

 

References

Clifton, S., Torres, J., & Hawdon, J. (2018). Whatever Gets you Through the Night: Officer Coping Strategies after the High-Profile Line of Duty Deaths in Dallas and Baton Rouge. American Journal of Criminal Justice. doi:10.1007/s12103-018-9437-7


25
Apr 18

Is Bottled Water Actual Better?

For the past decade, the use of bottled water has sky rocketed. It has become the fastest growing segment of non-alcoholic beverages, pulling in an estimated $22 billion. (Ferrier 2001) The reasons consumers choose bottled water over tap water vary from country to country and can be influenced by several factors. However, a study completed in 1993 showed nearly half of U.S citizens prefer bottled water due to perceived health benefits/risks. (Ferrier 2001) Many Americans simply believe bottled water is healthier than tap. With a society obsessed with health and weight loss, people are willing to pay up to ten thousand times more for bottled water. (Olsen 1999)

However, 40-60% of bottled water produced globally is simple packaged tap water. (Canadean 2004) In countries with less strict water standards, the advantages of bottled water may be clear. This is not the case in America. The increase usage in bottle water is actually harming our environment. Nearly 85% of all bottles are not recycled and end up in a landfill.

Image result for drinking water

As society pushes the benefits of drinking more water, it is important to understand that bottled water is typically no better/worse for the body than tap water. Americans concerned with the safety of their water can purchase a filter for added protection. So save your dollars and drink tap water. Cheers!

 

Sources

Canadean 2004 Global Bottled Water (Packaged Water) Report
2003. Canadean, Hants.

Olson, E. 1999 Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype? Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC), New York.

Ferrier, C. 2001 Bottled Water: Understanding a Social
Phenomenon. Report commissioned by the World Wide Fund
for Nature (WWF).

Photo Cred: http://www.emmasdiary.co.uk/pregnancy-and-birth/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/food-exercise-and-care/drinking-water-while-you-are-pregnant

 


24
Apr 18

Social media and GPA

It seems like social media is everywhere now and people spend a substantial amount of time using it. However we are still understanding the impact that social media can have on our lives and mental health. One area that it may have an impact on is school and grades. Many students use technology for their studies but it can also be distracting. A study was conducted by the University of Trento in Italy to examine the impact social media has on students’ grades.

This study was unique for it used an app on the participants phones to record data. The data that was collected was time and the apps that were used(Giunchiglia, Zeni, Gobbi, Bignotti, & Bison, 2018). The study lasted two weeks and included 72 students(). The student’s GPAs were provided by the University (Giunchiglia, Zeni, Gobbi, Bignotti, & Bison, 2018). It was determined that using social media does has a negative impact on GPA(Giunchiglia, Zeni, Gobbi, Bignotti, & Bison, 2018).

In conclusion it appears that using social media can be a distraction, and can have negative consequences on a students GPA(Giunchiglia, Zeni, Gobbi, Bignotti, & Bison, 2018). Students can turn off their phones or use apps to help them focus on studying without any distractions from there social media accounts.

References

Giunchiglia, F., Zeni, M., Gobbi, E., Bignotti, E., & Bison, I. (2018). Mobile social media usage and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 82. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.041

 


24
Apr 18

Depression and Social Media

Depression is a mental illness that can affect the way one feels,acts and thinks(“What Is Depression?,” n.d.). Depression can cause sadness and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable(“What Is Depression?,” n.d.). Depression has factors that may play role in the disorder(“What Is Depression?,” n.d.). These risk factors include biochemistry, genetics, personality and environmental factors(“What Is Depression?,” n.d.). After learning about depression I was interested to learn if social media may be a risk factor(“What Is Depression?,” n.d.).

One study set out to examine the relationship between social networking sites addiction and depression(Wang et al., 2018). The sample size was 365 Chinese adolescents, and they were tested on self-esteem,depression, rumination, and SNS addiction(Wang et al., 2018). It was determined that there was a positive association between SNS and depression(Wang et al., 2018). An adolescents self-esteem appeared to be the intermediary between rumination and depression(Wang et al., 2018). The effect of rumination and depression was higher in adolescents that had lower self esteem(Wang et al., 2018).

Overall it appears that social media can have an impact on an adolescents depression. It is important to regulate time spent on social media for the mental health. Especially for adolescents with low self-esteem for time on social media may lead to depression(Wang et al., 2018).

References

What Is Depression? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

Wang, P., Wang, X., Wu, Y., Xie, X., Wang, X., Zhao, F., … Lei, L. (2018). Social networking sites addiction and adolescent depression: A moderated mediation model of rumination and self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 127. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.02.008


23
Apr 18

Influence of Motivation on Behavior

Lesson 10: Educational Blog: Theory of Planned Behavior

Motivation is one of the most powerful and detrimental internal processes that affect the decision making process, and over all mental health. Although motivation is not a direct observation, it is the driving force behind any one individuals’ ability to make decisions that provides a reason for the persons’ action or behavior. These driving forces happen from birth to well in adulthood. Individuals are taught the differences between good behavior and bad behavior, rules and expectations from parents, caregivers, and teachers; everyone individuals interact with can affect motivation through self-concept. Hence the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Although there are many aspects to self-concept, I will focus on social psychologist, Baumeister (1999) definition:

“The individual’s belief about himself or herself,

including person’s attributes and who and what the self is.”

This is especially critical when an individual starts school; they develop an academic self-concept. Academic self-concept is the “feelings, attitudes, and perceptions that a student holds about their academic ability.” (Schnieder. p.194). When a student is performing not as expected, it is up to the community to help get the student back on track. However, this can be tricky if the student learns coping mechanisms such as self-serving strategies and self-handicapping and it has gone unidentified. The individual will carry these methods of coping with negative behaviors well into adulthood in college life and the employment field. There will always be a performance area of struggle with the individual until the behavior is changed.  In order to change the behavior one must have the knowledge of concept of motivation, in order identify and understand the “why” behind the behavior. By utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior to seek the “Why” behind the behavior and it will bring the individual’s attention to the unwanted behavior. This will allow professors and teachers to use Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory to hold the individual accountable. Under the self-determination theory an individual is autonomous in the degree in which they feel they have a choice in their actions and behaviors (Schnieder. p.198). If an individual feels they can see they are the driving force behind their choices then the person is motivated to do what is needed.


18
Apr 18

Does optimism change as we age and can this impact our mental health?

An interesting topic in social psychology is optimism and pessimism. After reading this section I thought about how these can change over time considering that optimism is future thinking. Optimism can be described as being mindful of future events or goals. Does optimism change as we age and can this impact our mental health?

A study that examined data from the Berlin Aging study, the purpose was to look at changes in older adults and their future perception. It was found that men had more positive future perceptions than women (Kotter-Grühn & Smith, 2011).Also having high cognitive functioning and good health helped to contribute to a more positive outlook in old age(Kotter-Grühn & Smith, 2011).

A second study examined the association between optimism and cognitive impairment in the elderly.(Gawronski, Kim, Langa, & Kubzansky, 2016)This study was unique to other geriatric optimism studies as it examined cognitive impairment over a four year period. This study had a great sample size at 4624 participants. The results were “Inverse associations between optimism and likelihood of becoming cognitively impaired were evident across all five models” meaning that there was an association between optimism and a decreased likelihood of cognitive impairment(Gawronski, Kim, Langa, & Kubzansky, 2016). A variable in this study was depression and anxiety symptoms, these were adjusted and the association remained the same.

Overall it appears that optimism can have an impact on cognitive functioning.Also having good health can contribute to optimism is old age. Optimism does still occur in the elderly however there are factors like gender and health that may have an impact.

 

References
Gawronski, K. A., Kim, E. S., Langa, K. M., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2016). Dispositional Optimism and Incidence of Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78(7), 819-828. doi:10.1097/psy.0000000000000345

Kotter-Grühn, D., & Smith, J. (2011). When time is running out: Changes in positive future perception and their relationships to changes in well-being in old age. Psychology and Aging, 26(2), 381-387. doi:10.1037/a0022223


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