I am a woman so I will be stressed and get sick. NOT!

Having to think back and recall the last few times I was sick actually took a great deal of effort to tap into my memory. Why? I do not get sick very often. I know that in the last few years I have not been sick at all but thinking back to times that I have been sick, though the memories are not extremely vivid, I am sure that I can say that I was stressed out at the time of coming down with something. Although I may not be able to pinpoint or remember what exactly it was that may have been stressing me out, I spent a lot of my time “back then” stressed out due to my job. At the time I was active duty military as a Security Forces member (the Air Force’s version of military police) and the hours were long, the job was demanding both physically and emotionally, and the people were often frustrating to deal with. I would say that I would get sick about three times a year with anything from the common cold to other things like strep throat and bronchitis. Now, I will say that because I interacted with the public a lot I was exposed to a lot more of the germs that cause sickness but the stress of my job most defifnitely attributed to it and this is why – A normal process of stress response starts with a rapid response to a stressor with the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which releases epinephrine and norepinephrine, it also triggers the HPA axis to release CRH, ACTH, and AVP hormones which all work together to adapt to the original stressor. (Klein and Corwin, 2002) However, if the stressor does not go away or there is repeated activation to this system – the system will essentially wear out and begin to have negative effects on an individual thus making them more likely to have a weakened immune system which makes a person more likely to become sick. Not only does disregulation of these hormones and responses contribute to a higher chance of becoming sick but it can also increase the risk of developing other disorders like anxiety, depression, concentration issues, and sleeping difficulties – to name a few (Klein and Corwin, 2002). Another reason that I believe that stress played a role in my health when I was in the military is due to the fact that I have been a civilian for a little over three years now; since getting out, I have worked in a job that still requires me to interact a great deal with the public but this job does not come with nearly the same level of stress as my previous job and magically I have not been sick since getting out of the service (if I have, I truly do not remember it). Although I served eight years, for my health’s sake, it was probably best that I separated because prolonged negative emotions, stress being one of them, have the potential to cause illness, prolong infection and healing, and increase chemical production that will weaken the immune system and increase the change of other disease like cardiovascular disease (Kiecolt-Glaser, et al. 2002).

Now, studies have shown time and time again, that because I am a female I am more likely to have negative reactions to stress and deal with them a little harder than a man would. There are studies that have shown that even as early as the age of six, girls are more likely than boys to have some kind of anxiety disorder (McLean and Anderson, 2008). However, I will say that I do not quite fit into that mold. Of all my female friends and sisters, I tend to be the one that is the most relaxed in nearly any situation and seem to be the one that keeps the level head and the voice of reason. Females normally tend to have emotional-based coping skills when it comes to stress but I would say that I normally tend to lean more towards problem-coping strategies (McLean and Anderson, 2008). If a stressful situation comes about, I look at the bigger picture, take in all aspects of the problem, figure out what will fix the situation and execute. Whereas, someone like my sister becomes a complete crazy-head, jumping to conclusions and thinking herself into an even bigger emotional mess (please don’t get me wrong…I love my sister dearly). In highly stressful situations I tend to have a more fight-or-flight stress response but on a day-to-day basis I still have the tend-befriend response too – ya know, the “girly” response. Because I am a women, according to studies my stress response should normally run along the lines of tending and befriending which promote activities that are safe and nonstressful and encourage more social relationships. These types of activities also create higher levels of oxytocin which studies have shown correlates with lower stress levels (McLean and Anderson, 2008). These increased level of oxytocin promote, what can be catergorized as, womanly behaviors like trying to keep the harmony amongst others, maternal bonding, and manogomy (Klein & Corwin, 2002). Due to this tend and befriend stress response, women are more likely than men to have several relationships with members of the same sex, and as long as these relationships are positive they can help promote a normal immune system – which we all know, assists in fighting off any sickness. As far as I am go – I definitely do follow what “they’” say and nine times out of ten will go to my girl friends when I need to vent about a stressful event (World Campus, Unit 2: Stress Response).

So, as far as my childhood and the parts about it that could have played a role in how I deal with stress today goes, I have a lot of positive things going for me. Although I was raised by a single mom and spent a lot of time in daycare, after school programs, and with relatives, my mother and I had then and still to this day a very close relationship. She always let me know that she loved me and reassured me that she cared and studies have shown that it is more likely that adults will develop effective coping skills to deal with stress if they received normal amounts of affection ad care as children (Higgins, 2008). I can also attribute my developed resiliency and coping to the fact that my mom raised me with autonomy-granting control. She also encouraged my independence and thinking to solve problems and it has been shown that mothers that were less controlling produced daughters that were normally less anxious than girls whose mothers were very much involved with situational resolution (Mclean and Anderson, 2008).

So, in wrapping everything up, it has been years since I am gotten sick and lack of stress being a contributing factor to my immune system holding strong. And although, because I am a female, there are a ton of factors that say that I am more likely to deal with stress negatively and I am at a higher risk for developing different types of anxiety disorders, I feel that I can safely say that I am really not that stressed out nor do I worry that I will develop any type of anxiety disorder. My childhood and the way my mom raised me definitely contributes to my abilities to deal with stress and bounce back from negative situations quickly thus keeping my stress levels low and in turn keeping me as healthy as a horse (or a man).

Works Cited

Higgins, E. S. (2008). The New Genetics of Mental Illness. Scientific American Mind, 19(3), 40-47.

Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., McGuire, L., Robles, T. F., & Glaser, R. (2002). EMOTIONS, MORBIDITY, AND MORTALITY: New Perspectives from Psychoneuroimmunology. Annual Review Of Psychology, 53(1), 83.

Klein, L.C. & Corwin, E.J. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2002) 4: 441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-002-0072-z

Unit 2: Stress Response. (n.d.). Reading presented at PSYCH 475 Psychology of Fear and Stress in Penn State World Campus . Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses

McLean, C. P., & Anderson, E. R. (2009). Brave men and timid women? A review of the gender differences in fear and anxiety. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(6), 496-505.

Between the Dogs and the Kid

     It has been said the kids can bring the greatest joy to our lives, and although this seems to be true, it seems they also bring a great amount of stress too. After having to actually record what it is about my day that stresses me out or has the potential of stressing me out, my 3-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, was at the top of that list just about daily. The other top contender being my two dogs. Surprisingly not many things from work made the list, but that is also due to the fact that it is what we would call the “off season” for us in my office.
     Kayleigh has recently made the transition from the toddler room at daycare into the Pre-Kindergarten room and guess what does not happen in that room that happened in the other room. Naps. This results in me having a very grumpy girl when we get home at the end of the day and a bit of a cranky one in the morning as well. I did have some stress related to her switching classrooms because I wanted it to go smoothly for her, but that is not what triggered my thought of stressful situations most of the days. It was the very cranky, tired, grumpy, did not want to listen, little girl that I had been battling with all day that would make me wonder how well getting ready to go to school or how our bedtime routine would be.  Complete meltdowns over sock colors, the dog looked at her funny, she wanted to go play with the neighbor and I said no… you get the point. One thing that has become very effective in managing some meltdowns and refusal to participate in the things that I ask of her, the good old counting to three method. The punishment for me actually getting to three either consists of a spanking or getting something turned off/taken away. This past week when having to resort to this method, frequently, I could not help but think about the study of the rats that were given electrical shock to create a stressful event for them (Weiss, 1972). By counting to three, starting with one,it gives my daughter a warning that something unpleasant is going to happen if she does not change her behavior. This is similar to the part of the study with the rats that would receive a warning that they were going to receive a shock but could react by jumping up on the platform to avoid the unpleasant experience. So by my daughter changing her behavior and doing what I ask, she does not receive any type of punishment and it makes the whole morning or night a lot less stressful for both of us. Since it has been studied that increased stress could cause low self esteem and the inability to control cortisol levels (McEwen, 2013), I try to keep her stress levels down as much as possible, even if mine are slowly going up because although she made it to the top of my stressor list, she does bring me all the greatest joy in the world too.
     That brings me to my next biggest stressor from the week, my dogs. I just adopted a five-year-old lab mix about two weeks ago and brought her into my home with a nine-year-old lab mix. It is always a little stressful introducing dogs to each other and that was something that was in my thoughts pretty much every day; about whether or not things would continue to go well and then one night it did not. The dogs got into a fight and my resident dog ended up with some injuries that required immediate vet attention. When the fight occurred though, it definitely triggered my sympathetic nervous system (Sapolsky, 1994) to kick in and I also entered Selye’s first stage, alarm stage, of General Adaptation Syndrome (PSYCH 475, Lesson 1). It was an immediate moment of panic as I watched my new dog completely over power my other dog – heart about to beat right out of my chest as I yelled at them both, waiting for my opportunity to be able to reach in to get them separated without getting hurt myself. Thankfully she let go of him on her own and I immediately put her in her crate so that I could examine the damage to my other dog. My heart was going crazy, I was shaking so bad that I could barely hold him still to look at his injuries. He had a puncture wound just millimeters from his eye that was rather deep and bleeding – I cried. Joseph LeDoux said that “fear is terribly basic” because we are afraid to lose what makes us happy (Dobbs, 2006) and that could not have been more true in this situation. Although I never entered Selye’s resistance stage, it did take a little while for my parasympathetic nervous system to take over and for me to achieve homeostasis again. Part of this was probably attributed to the fact that I was adding to my stress and fear by becoming anxious about what could have happened and simply telling myself to calm down was not enough to settle down quickly (Dobbs, 2006). Although it was a very frightening experience, my resident dog was ultimately okay and will make a full recovery and the more time that goes on and they continue to get along I will not be as worried about them being together because I will have replaced the negative memories of them being together with positive ones (Dobbs, 2006).
    All in all, my life is not overly stressful. There are not a lot of things that trigger psychological or physiological changes to my body that assist me in dealing with the stress of the situation. I could be mistaken though because a lot of what happens with the amygdala and HPA axis cannot be seen when it is triggered, there may be more things through out my day-to-day that I do not even realize are triggering these reactions to take place. I would say that my brain does a pretty good job at keeping everything under control – now I just have to help keep the dogs and kiddo under control and all will be right in the world.

Works Cited:

Weiss, J. M. (1972). Psychological Factors in Stress and Disease. Scientific American, Inc, 104-113.

Sapolsky, R. M. (2004). Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers (3rd ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Lesson 1: Foundations. (n.d.). Reading presented at PSYCH 475 Psychology of Fear and Stress in Penn State World Campus . Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses

McEwen, B. S. (2013). The Brain on Stress: Toward an Integrative Approach to Brain, Body, and Behavior. Perspectives on Psychological Scence, 8(6), 673-675. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu

Dobbs, D. (2006) Mastery of Emotions, Scientific American Mind,17(1), 44-49

Acrophobia be Damned

Over the past several years I have had the unpleasant experience of acrophobia (fear of heights). My first experience occurred during a much-anticipated trip to Italy. I was walking up the circular steps of the Duomo Climb to the Top of Florence’s Duomo to the cupola when all the sudden an intense fear overcame me. My excitement in viewing the frescoes and Florence were overcome with a sense of doom and panic. This intense fear filled me with angst, as the only way to exit was to walk around the entire circular cupola to reach the exit on the other side. The large crowds propelled me forward as I held onto the wall for support. Eventually, I did make it to the other side and began the quick descent down the stairs. It has been two years since this episode and I have experienced quite a few similar incidents that has altered my lifestyle. However, recently I learned of a possible cure for my acrophobia through a technique called observational learning.

Observational learning is a concept Bandura (1986) observed from his Social Cognitive Theory of learning. This theory believes learning is achieved through observations and processes to stimuli and responses (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). More specifically, Bandura’s (1986) observational technique focusses on four processes that coincide with learning: attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. Attention is the ability to learn the observed behavior as its occurring. Retention is the ability to remember the learned behavior that you witnessed. Problems with attention and retention have been demonstrated to take a longer time to cure phobias (Yarwood, 2017). Reproduction is being able to perform the learned behavior. However, one must have the motivation required to engage in the learned behavior. To be cured of this phobia, I will have to focus on all four of these processes and perform the same behaviors exhibited by someone modeling the desired behaviors. However, before I can perform these behaviors I need to have self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is the belief that one has the confidence to exhibit control over a desired behavior (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Obviously, I lack self-efficacy because I am extremely fearful of heights and do not have to skill set to overcome this phobia. My hope is that with the observational technique, I will overcome this fear and once again be able to explore all the wonderful landscapes of my environment.

Unbeknownst to my family members, I tried to incorporate this technique while on a hike near an overlook. I watched as my family members climbed rocks on an overlook and it proved to be a challenging task. My children and husband have no fears of heights and I tried to just watch as they sat on the rocks of the overlook and marveled at the canyon down below. This proved ineffective because my attention was not focusing on their behaviors. I would close or cover my eyes as I watched them get closer and closer to the edge of the canyon. Obviously, this exercise proved to be a challenging task and I will be seeking professional help in the hopes of curing my acrophobia.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Schneider, F., Gruman, J., and Coutts, L. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. (2ed). Washington D.C., Sage Publications.

Yarwood, M. (n.d.). Psych 424 Module Lesson 5: Health and Clinical/Counseling – Part 2. PSU World Campus. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1867078/modules/items/22915541


Family Problem Solving

Have you ever thought of how you cognitively solve a problem? Most of us don’t really think about the background fundamentals of cognitive functioning to solving a problem. Problems are defined as “an obstacle between where we currently are and a goal.” (PSU World Campus, 2013, L 13).  Everything we set to accomplish in a day, can be seen as a problem. Cognitively we go through a series of processes to accomplish every task at hand. Depending on the type of problem, the way our minds process the situation, and the obstacles in the way of solving the problems; will determine the type of strategies used to solve the problem at hand. To help illustrate this process let’s start by defining a problem I have on an everyday basis; family scheduling.

I define family scheduling the way I arrange for everyone to meet week to week obligations. Every week I have to set a schedule for the entire family to make sure everyone gets their commitments. There is definitely more than one way this ill-defined problem is solved. There are 3 people, 2 of them are children residing in my home and everyone has an obligation each week that I have to ensure they meet. The obligations I have to make sure everyone meets weekly is one of the children is school aged and has a certain time they must meet the bus to arrive to school and a certain time I must be available to pick them up from the bus stop. This person also have extracurricular activities and functions that are a part of their life. My other child is special needs and has eight therapies in a 5 day period and a rigorous feeding schedule, as well as just being a child. I also have at least one doctor’s appointment, household duties and four college classes I am committed too. So as you can imagine some creative thinking or innovative thinking is needed to manage all these duties with one vehicle (PSU World Campus, 2016, L8). If I become fixated on all the tasks that needed to be done every week it could possibly divert me from achieving a solution and getting overwhelmed. So I lay everything out from mandatory tasks to minor tasks and schedule accordingly. Since some of the tasks are dependent on others. I must first find the problematic areas, then set the expectation that everything needs to be spread out of the week, as I go through this process I evaluate as each task is assigned to a slot to see if any revisions need to be made. I think out loud and take notes on paper to restructure tasks on paper until the final revisions are sought. I may have to reorganize the structure several times until it all fits.



Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Wadsworth, Inc. ISBN: 978-0840033499.

PSU World Campus. (2016). Problem Solving, Lesson 13. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1804143/modules/items/21169401

Blog Post #3

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is one of the many problem solving strategies used to draw conclusions about the things people perceive. Deductive reasoning seeks to understand problems by focusing on specific facts.  It relies on general ideas to draw conclusions by utilizing top bottom processing.  Deductive reasoning is an imperative mental process.

Deductive reasoning requires logic and reason to draw conclusions. According to Goldstein, deductive reasoning is a technique created by Aristotle.  “The father of deductive reasoning is Aristotle, who introduced the basic form of deductive reasoning called the syllogism. A syllogism consists of two premises followed by a third statement called the conclusion. We will first consider categorical syllogisms, in which the premises and conclusion are statements that begin with All, No, or Some. An example of a categorical syllogism is the following:
Syllogism 1
Premise 1: All birds are animals. (All A are B)
Premise 2: All animals eat food. (All B are C)
Conclusion: Therefore, all birds eat food. (All A are C)” (Goldstein, 2015) Syllogisms exemplify the logic behind deductive reasoning.  The ability to draw a conclusion based on two related premises is an ability people utilize daily.

The brain uses top-down processing to comprehend information in the order in which it is perceived. When using deductive reasoning, the brain perceives the first two premises and draws a conclusion.  A general idea is presented (all birds are animals), compared to another idea (all animals eat food) and based on these two ideas, an observation is created (therefore, all birds eat food).  From there, people may seek further evidence to prove their observation as truthful and valid.

For example, deductive reasoning might lead someone to draw conclusions that are not actually truthful. The arguments may be valid, but not sound. “Validity is about whether the conclusion logically follows from the premises. If it does, and the premises are true, as in Syllogism 1, then the conclusion will be true as well. But if one or both of the premises are not true, the conclusion may not be true, even though the syllogism’s reasoning is valid.” (Goldstein, 2015) Thus, validity does not equate to truthfulness.    Deductive reasoning can therefore yield inaccurate conclusions.

Deductive reasoning is used often in life, such as to solve mathematical equations, draw conclusions about the people around us and to solve day to day issues. The use of top down processing is also often subconsciously used.  To get the most out of deductive reasoning, it is best to prove the drawn conclusion.    Doing so will strengthen arguments and build credibility, making the observer a more reliable source of information.


Works Cited

Goldstein, E. B. Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 4th Edition. Cengage Learning, 2015. [CengageBrain Bookshelf].


Blog Post #2

Episodic Memories

Memories are something all people experience. Some memories are good and some memories are bad.  Some memories are declarative, such as episodic memories.  Episodic memories are often biographical, influenced by strong emotion or memories of important events.

Episodic memories are a type of long-term declarative memory. Declarative memories are memories one can readily recall.  Episodic memories are often remembered in the order they happened.  For example, autobiographical memories are often episodic memories.  As explained by the American Psychological Association, episodic memories help people recall memorable life events.  “Episodic memory is used to recall past events, such as a movie you saw last week, the dinner you ate last night, the name of the book your friend recommended, or a birthday party you attended” (May) Without episodic memories, people would not be able to recall their past birthdays, first kisses or any other important life event.

In an article published by Tony W. Buchanan, the relationship between strong emotions and episodic memories is explained. “Memories of our experiences are likely characterized by representations in the form of neuronal activity. Activity among a network of neurons represents a code for the experience of, say, a birthday party. When this network is activated by some cue that triggers a reexperience of that event, we are said to have recollected the birthday party. Emotional events are often remembered with greater accuracy and vividness (though these two characteristics do not always go together) than events lacking an emotional component (Reisberg & Hertel, 2005).” (Buchanan) Strong emotions influence a person’s ability to recall and retain details of memories and experiences themselves.   Episodic memories are easier to remember if they are emotional in nature.

My experiences prove this to be true. One of my favorite and emotional memories is the memory of how I rescued my cat.  I remember every detail of her journey.  I found her on a rainy night in March just outside of my friend’s place of employment.  She was frail and sick, yet still so friendly and loving.  She had a raspy meow and trouble breathing.  A friend of mine helped me get her to the veterinarian, where I would visit her every week, twice a week for an entire month.  I would stay for as long as they would let me, sometimes for hours.  Every day that I saw her there is a memory I can recall from start to finish.  I once took her a blanket that I had bought from Sears.  She was afraid of it at first.  After attacking it and chewing on it, she realized it was not a threat and fell asleep on it for hours.  I finally got to take her home on April 17th, 2015.  She meowed the entire way home.  She would hide under the bed and only come out for me.  I remember the first toy she loved, the first meal I found her, administering her medications and watching her heal.    It is also a memory I am likely to remember in detail for years to come.  The emotions I experienced during the course of saving her make this memory easier to recall.  I was nervous about getting attached to her, worried that she would not make it, anxious to leave her at the veterinarian and joyous when I realized she was finally able to come home.  This is an episodic memory because it was a life altering event.  The details of the memory are vivid, and easily and readily recalled.

Episodic memories are important as they help us to recall our most important memories. Without episodic memories, life would be far less meaningful. We would not be able to remember our favorite holiday celebrations, or family vacations.  These memories give life meaning.

Works Cited

Buchanan, Tony W. “Retrieval of Emotional Memories.” Psychological Bulletin. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 6 Mar. 2008. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

May, Cynthia P., and Gilles O. Einstein. “Memory: A Five-Day Unit Lesson Plan for High School Psychology Teachers.” Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS), Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.


Blog Post #1

The Placebo Effect

Doctors, including psychologists, seek to help patients and assist them in healing their ailments. One way they do this is through the use of placebos.  Placebos are often sugar pills or other harmless substances that are presented to patients.  The patient is not usually aware they are taking a placebo.  In many cases, placebos still help patients.  The patient believes the pill will help them and because of this perception, it usually does.

Placebos can take many forms. Some doctors use vitamins and others may use sugar pills.  Placebos do not contain any active ingredients.  During clinical trials, placebos may be administered to best ascertain the efficacy of the medications administered.  This helps doctors better determine potential side effects of trial medications, in addition to understanding if they work or not.  Studies have confirmed that administering a placebo can influence the symptoms experienced by patients.

For example, in an article published by Harvard Magazine, Ted Kaptchuk conducted a randomized trial and examined the results.   Some patients were administered pills and others were administered acupuncture treatments. He found that many patients exhibited the side effect symptoms they were warned they may experience from taking the drug.  Regardless of what treatment they received, both groups reported they felt side effects.   Others reported they felt relief.  “In one part of the study, half the subjects received pain-reducing pills; the others were offered acupuncture treatments. And in both cases, people began to call in, saying they couldn’t get out of bed. The pills were making them sluggish, the needles caused swelling and redness; some patients’ pain ballooned to nightmarish levels. “The side effects were simply amazing,” Kaptchuk explains; curiously, they were exactly what patients had been warned their treatment might produce. But even more astounding, most of the other patients reported real relief, and those who received acupuncture felt even better than those on the anti-pain pill. These were exceptional findings: no one had ever proven that acupuncture worked better than painkillers. But Kaptchuk study didn’t prove it, either. The pills his team had given patients were actually made of cornstarch; the “acupuncture” needles were retractable shams that never pierced the skin. The study wasn’t aimed at comparing two treatments. It was designed to compare two fakes.” (Feinberg, 2013)  It is likely that the patients experienced ill side effects because they were previously briefed on the possibility that they may occur.  Those who felt better may have believed they would be getting better.

In the text book Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience by E. Bruce Goldstein, the concept of perception is explained. The placebo effect is used to illustrate the effects of an individual’s perception.  “This decrease in pain from a substance that has no pharmacological effect is called the placebo effect. The key to the placebo effect is that the patient believes that the substance is an effective therapy. This belief leads the patient to expect a reduction in pain, and this reduction does, in fact, occur. Although many different mechanisms have been proposed to explain the placebo effect, expectation is one of the more powerful determinants (Col- loca & Benedetti, 2005).”  This exemplifies how an individual’s expectations or perception of what may occur influences their reality.   The placebo effect is a powerful phenomenon that proves the relationship between what people think and believe in relation to their mind and body.

Overall, placebo and the placebo effect continue to perplex and hold the interest of medical professionals. Placebos are helpful in understanding medications, diseases and ailments and the psychological effects of perception.


Works Cited

Feinberg, Cara. “The Placebo Phenomenon.” Harvard Magazine. N.p., Jan.-Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.

Goldstein, E. B. Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 4th Edition. Cengage Learning, 2015. [CengageBrain Bookshelf].

By George, I think you’ve got it!

It may just me… But I truly enjoy those proud moments when I finally get to “OH!” or “AHA!” Those eureka moments definitely come with a little boost to the self-esteem and confidence. But getting there can be a long and strategic road of problem-solving to get across that threshold of uncertainty.

Gestalt theories to get to an “Aha!” moment it boils downs to a two-step process. To start, you must “represent” the problem in the mind. Then reorganize the representation you first created. This can involve, mentally forming and reforming different representations of a problem until the right form is chosen. Adding these mental pieces deciphering out the parts of the problem is the Gestalt process to problem solves the most reasonable way to you. Once this method is finally figured out it becomes an “AHA!” moment.


Goldstein, E. B. (2015). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 4th Edition. [CengageBrain Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://cengagebrain.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305176997/

False Memories and Crime

False memories and interrogation strategies have become an ethical debate in our courtrooms. There have been many instances of innocent people pleading guilty to a crime they haven’t committed. This has led researchers to conduct experiments that will hopefully change the way detectives question suspects.

In one study 30 students with a clear criminal background volunteered to be apart of a psychological experiment. The researchers started by gathering information from the students families. Then the researchers told the students individually a story containing one fact and one piece of false information about the students past. For half of the students the false information was a crime they committed. For the other half the false information was an emotional event. The researchers then asked the students to explain the event in detail. By the end of the experiment the researchers were surprised to find that 71% of the students whose false event was crime had created a false memory of committing that crime.(Guy,2015) Of the students who were told an emotional event 77% had created a false memory.(Guy, 2015)

These statistics are very scary, it shows how easy it is to implant false memories. These studies were believing that they committed crimes within a few hours. These students did were not threatened or did not have any scare tactics used on them. It is not uncommon for detectives to use tactics similar to this experiment. Officers have tactics that involve true facts and false information about evidence.

In one situation a 17 year old man woke up to find his mother stabbed to death and his father unconscious. When the police arrived the man was in shock, the officers found it suspicious that he was the only family unharmed.  He was put through a 5 hour interrogation were detectives made suggestions about the crime. So of which included telling the man that his father saw him murder his mother. After the interrogation the man began to question himself and not to long after confessed to the crime. He spent 17 years in prison until the real criminal was found.

In conclusion false memory tactics are very complex and using these techniques should be used with caution. Law enforcement should have regulations on these types of tactics. Possibly if a trained mental health worker is present in the interrogation. Moreover there have been so many occurrences that there are now organizations created to help victims of wrongful conviction. some of these organizations include The Innocence Project, AIDWYC, and Center for Wrongful Convictions.

Association In Defense of the Wrongfully Accused. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.seekingjusticefortheinnocent.com/index.php/resources/resources-list/resources-non-profit-organizations/182-385930078

Guy, F. (2015, October 15). Implanting False Memories Of Crime | Crime Traveller. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.crimetraveller.org/2015/10/implanting-false-memories-of-crime/


Verbal Fluency

Since epilepsy is the thing that I have been writing about this semester, I figure I will stick with it. I know I have already addressed some of the adverse effects of the medications used to treat the disorder, but now I am going to delve deeper into the side effects poly (multiple) therapy versus momo (single) therapy. Specifically, how they differ in the side effects. For example, often times the more medications a person takes the greater number or more severe side effects.
Witt, Elger, and Helmstaedter (2015) conducted a retrospective study on the effects of the number of medications patients take as treatment. The cognitive assessment used by all of the studies that they looked at used EpiTrack, which “assesses response inhibition, visuo-motor speed, mental flexibility, visual motor planning, verbal fluency and working memory” (p. 1955). Through the assessment of the data collected from the other studies, it was determined that the number of medication a person takes does tend to increase side effects. The dosage of the medications also have an impact.
My experience with this just happens to be with verbal fluency. As I may have mentioned earlier, I have issues with keeping what I want to type in my mind long enough for me to type it. I also have a great amount of difficulty conversing with people. In my opinion, it is the most frustrating side effect that I have experienced thus far. Actually, just today I told my husband something that he told me that I had already told him yesterday! As Witt, Elger, and Helmstaedter (2015) state, “With regard to the cognitive side effects of antiepileptic pharmacotherapy, the presented data indicate that each additional drug matters” (p. 1959). If I failed to mention this earlier this semester, I am currently on four antiepileptic medications. On a final note, one of the medications was just recently increased, so I am still adjusting to it. I am just hoping I can tolerate it.

Witt, J., Elger, C. E., & Helmstaedter, C. (2015). Adverse effects of antiepileptic pharmacotherapy: Each additional drug matters. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, 1954-1959.