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.


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


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).



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

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!



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


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.


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


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).


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

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.

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.


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

Apr 18

Evolution and social changes

Evolution has been such a great gift to mankind. Evolution guarantees social change. The social changes experienced by each generation makes the different from generation to generation. The more knowledge we seem to have about the world around us, the more radical the changes become in our society. Based on the social changes I have experienced in my generation, I believe that this generation is one of the most freeing generation to date. In saying that I mean that we have a lot more freedom and acceptance to do, say, and act as we please. Of course there are judgments but that rarely stops the social change that has taken place.

“Human culture is information transmitted from person to person via teaching and imitation, much as genes are information transmitted from person to person in the course of reproduction. Like genes, sociocultural evolution has a pattern of descent with modification. Of course, the evolution of culture and social institutions differs in many ways from the evolution of genes. Perhaps most important, culture is a system for the inheritance of acquired variation. What individuals learn for themselves by hard effort others often imitate, typically at much less cost (Evolution).”

If you speak to an older person, they tend to recall a very different society than the one we have now. In most cases they recall a more conservative society, people were not as open. The changes over the years are astonishing, it is fun to look back and compare our social changes to that of the past!

“Evolution. Figure 2f from: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic Revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7720. Https://Doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.4.e7720.” doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Apr 18

The Bystander Effect and Sexual Assault

The Bystander effect is when a crowd of people view an emergency situation but do not intervene (Schnieder, 2012.) The bystander effect became well known after an incident occured in New York City. In 1964 a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death while many bystanders did not help her or call the police(“Psychology Today”). Unfortunately this still occurs over 50 years later. College campuses are creating programs to inform students of the bystander effect in sexual assault situations. Also researchers are discovering the best ways to inform students of this information.

Sexual assault is one of the many incidents that can have a bystander effect. Sexual assault continues to be a problem on college campuses. The statistics of sexual assault on college campuses is shocking, “ as many as 88% of women report at least one incident of sexual or physical victimization by the time they graduate” (DeMaria et al., 2015).College campuses are making an effort to help combat these incidents. Penn State has implemented workshops, videos,and many other activities to make the campus aware of sexual assault. These resources can be found at the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. The website is http://titleix.psu.edu/prevention/ and the 24 hour hotline is 1-800-560-1637.

A study conducted in 2015 evaluated a way to design a bystander intervention campaign directed at sexual assault(DeMaria et al., 2015). The study consisted of 69 men and women between the ages of 18 and 24. Six themes were found from this study, “ (a) female participants’ experiences of sexism and misogyny, (b) the myth that rape is falsely reported, (c complex understanding of consent and entitlement, (d) the reluctance to stop some from having a ‘good time’, (e) the role of alcohol as a moderating factor in sexual misconduct and bystander intervention and (f) preference for direct and impactful messaging”(DeMaria et al., 2015).Gathering this data from participants has helped researchers create a campaign that is based on the perceptions and experiences of college students. Furthermore this type of study can be used in multiple areas to help create an awareness of the bystander effect.


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

Bystander Effect. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bystander-effect

Prevention. (2017, October 11). Retrieved from http://titleix.psu.edu/prevention/

DeMaria, A. L., Sundstrom, B., Grzejdziak, M., Booth, K., Adams, H., Gabel, C., & Cabot, J. (2015). It’s Not My Place: Formative Evaluation Research to Design a Bystander Intervention Campaign. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(3), 468-490. doi:10.1177/0886260515608804

Apr 18

The impact of stigma on mental health care seeking behavior

One topic of discussion that has become salient recently is mental health. Whether it is in the discussion of the opiod crisis or the plague of mass shootings we, as a country, have faced – many politicians bring up the culprit of poor mental health. Many citizens agree that the mental health of our country is suffering. So, if so many are in agreement with this issue why are more people not seeking mental health care?

In a word – stigma. Generally speaking when we think therapy we think crazy, nuts, off our rocker and unstable. We look at people who we deem mentally ill as unreliable, immoral in the case of addiction and in some extreme cases as just bad people. These prejudices are just as oppressive as any others such as racism. We see someone in treatment and we would not want to hire them, rent them an apartment or give them the same opportunities that we would offer to someone we view as “normal”. As a society we see these prejudices and stigmas and we internalize them when considering mental health care. For fear of being found out, we choose not to seek treatment for what could be a debilitating mental issue. We do not equate depression to a broken leg due to the physicality but both are just as incapacitating.

In the work of Corrigan and his team, they set out to find a solution to the issue of stigma toward mental health. They found that three key elements are crucial to individuals seeking care and maintaining it. These are culture, knowledge and network. Knowledge is a key factor in changing minds on a variety of topics. The more a person knows about the topic, the greater their understanding is of those suffering. This in turn builds the encouragement and acceptance that is needed for individuals to seek treatment. Culture and community are another big factor. For some, their family can be an obstacle in seeking mental health and they would turn to other leaders in their community such as pastors, teachers and community leaders. Depending on the culture in their area, they may face the same stigma. Changing this could mean the difference between seeking mental health care or not. This also ties into networks. Networks can be friends, family or community members one is close with. Shaping the minds of those who are not seeking mental health care can indirectly but significantly impact the minds of those who are seeking treatment.


One potential solution brought up by many is forced, or coercive treatment. While this might seem like the best way, especially in criminal situations, it can drastically undermine the therapeutic process and create reactivity during treatment. The most effective way to implement change in regard to stigma and mental health is to educate and provide compassion for those who need to seek care.


Corrigan, P. W., Druss, B. G., & Perlick, D. A. (2014). The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest,15(2), 37-70.

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