Author Archives: Donyel D Gaymon

Divided Attention

The average person in today’s society tend to never simply focus on one task a time. A person mind is always clouded with a bunch of stuff that surrounds there life which leads to them possibly forgetting to do things on their “To do lists”, or just simply forgetting something in the house as they may be rushing off to work or school. With the average person today having so much to handle it’s liable for them to forget which leads them to simply doing one or more things at a time. We call this multitasking, but it’s more than just multitasking it is that our attention is divided. Divided attention is what leads us involving ourselves among two or more task at a time (Goldstein pp.91). It is how much we pay attention to one or tasks at a time. Divided attention is broken down into two processes automatic and controlled processing (Goldstein pp. 92-93). Automatic processing is a part of divided attention where a person does something without the intention of doing so; it just happens automatically without the person tending to do it (Goldstein pp. 92). Controlled processing is when a person must pay close attention on a task that is hard and requires much focus to complete. For instance, talking on your phone while driving your car is an example of controlled processing in divided attention, the lack of focus you have while driving is split between paying attention what the person on the phone is talking about and still driving the car but you lose focus on putting your full attention to the task at hand which should be driving because you have to make sure you are pay attention to the road, signs, speed, etc, to avoid an accident. In my everyday my attention is heavily divided between raising my kids, school work and my full-time job. My supervisor gave me a write-up saying that while I am at work my focus should be paying close attention to the clients I must care for because while I am studying and reading for my homework my attention is diverted between caring for the clients and reading for classes. She stated that while I am reading I am not paying attention to the needs of the clients, they might be having a seizure, may be hungry or might be at fall risks and I wouldn’t know because I am focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time. Another example of how divided attention affects my life is that I always tend to forget things. Every day I leave work I always forget something and once I left and be on my way to pick up my kids from school I remember and then have to return all the way back to my job to retrieve it. This is what is called automatic processing because my intentions weren’t to forget anything at work but it just happened. Divided Attention is something we all go through on a regular basis, we just have to be mindful on how we divide attention because it could cause risk to our lives or make us forgetful.


Goldstein, E. B. (2011, 2008). Cognitive Psychology Connecting Mind, Research, And Everyday Experience. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning .

Operant Conditioning and How it to Applies to Parenting

Many parents struggle with disciplining their children. Some have the hardest time just trying to toilet train them. The thought alone of teaching a child how to act or perform is an everyday struggle. Especially when it comes to dealing with behaviors. However, there are several techniques that derive from psychological experiments, which can help parents with disciplining. For instance, behaviorists B.F. Skinner came up with Operant Conditioning. Operant Conditioning is when behavior is strengthened or weakened by positive or negative reinforcements (Goldstein p. 10). As a parent I deal with my children’s bad behaviors, as well as their good behaviors. Operant Conditioning shows how behavior is influenced by three different types of responses or operant that affects behavior—positive, negative reinforcements, and punishment (McLeod 2007).

While chastising my children I never knew that I was practicing what Skinner referred to as Operant Conditioning. For example, when my daughter gets a bad report from school stating she was very disruptive during class, once she gets home the daily routine of hanging out with friends is taken away–she has to stay in the house without television, phone, computer or tablet. Say the next day she has a good report about her behavior in class, once she comes home I allow her to play outside, I return all electronics, and take her to McDonalds as a reward. This here is an example of how my child’s behavior was weakened from the punishment but when she no longer displayed this form of behavior she knew that she would be rewarded each time.

Another example, of how Operant Conditioning can be applied to my everyday life is when I had to toilet train my 2 year old. Every time she would go pee in the toilet I would give her a piece of candy. Each time she knew that if she had to go pee in the toilet she would be rewarded with a piece of candy. My 7 year old doesn’t like reading, I told her for each book she reads at night I would make her an ice cream cone for desert and each night she faithfully read a book to go with her homework. Both my kids continued to repeat the same behaviors because the positive reinforcement (reward) strengthened there behaviors to read and go to the toilet.

An example of a negative reinforcement of Operant Conditioning as applied to my everyday life as a parent would be when my daughter has tantrums each time she falls out and rolls around on the floor she has to get up and stand in the corner on one leg, for each time she decides that she is going to act up and have a tantrum she knows to go stand in the corner on one leg. From her having to perform this act she no longer displays the same behavior of the tantrums, the negative reinforcement of having to be in the corner on one leg strengthened her behavior by stopping the tantrums.

In conclusion, Operant Conditioning is a method that people use on a daily basis to help change to outcome of ones behaviors. Parents are key components for utilizing this method for trying to strengthen their child or children’s behavior or weaken there behaviors depending on the circumstances. But I can say as a parent I utilize Operant Conditioning in my parenting skills to discipline my children.


Goldstein, E. B. (2011, 2008). Cognitive Psychology Connecting Mind, Research, And Everyday Experience. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning .

McLeod, S. (2007). Skinner-Operant Conditioning . Retrieved from Simply Psyhology: