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Child Psychology


Child Psychology, often referred to as Child Development, examines the psychological aspects that occur during childhood (from birth to puberty). An incredible number of changes occur during childhood, especially during infancy, which lasts from birth to age two. In particular, there are massive advances in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development...all of which are key areas of study within child psychology.
At one time, many believed that children were simply "small adults" and not vastly different from adults. Today, however, most recognize that there are great qualitative differences that make children unique.
Developmental Psychologists study the physical, mental, and social changes that occur during the lifecycle. Thus, child psychologists focus on these changes that occur from birth to adolescence. Click here for a more in-depth definition of Developmental Psychology. In this section, we will not explore conception-to-birth, but will focus on birth to adolescence.

Key Figures & Theories
Arguably the most influential figure in child development is Jean Piaget and his theory of cognitive development. Piaget was a Swiss psychologist that believed children learn through hands on experience, have successes and failures, then use these successes and failures to form their own mental representation of the world. Piaget also believed that children learn in a reliable, staged manner (i.e., they go through different stages of development) and move from one stage to another once they achieve specific developmental milestones.
Piaget's called this theory the Theory of Cognitive Development, and included four stages: Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational.
• Sensorimotor Stage occurs from Birth - 2 years. During this stage children experience the world through their senses and actions such as touching, looking, etc. Once the child accomplishes the milestones of Object Permanence (i.e., the knowledge that an object exists even when hidden from view) and Stranger Anxiety they've successfully completed this stage and move to the next stage.
• Preoperational Stage occurs from 2 years - 6 years. During this stage, children are able to represent the world with words and images, but they're still not able to use true logical reasoning. Developmental milestones are pretending and egocentrism.
• Concrete Operational Stage occurs from 7 years - 11 years. During this stage, children learn Conservation: that the quantity of concrete materials (objects, liquids) remains constant even if the organization and/or shape changes (see video). For example, pouring liquid into glasses of different sizes does not change the amount of liquid. In other words, they learn that a change in shape does not mean there's a change in quantity or volume.
• Formal Operational Stage occurs from ~12 year through adulthood. During this stage, children learn to use abstract reasoning. This is a major step as reasoning now goes beyond the concrete (requiring actual experience) to abstract thinking that involves symbols and imagination. A milestone at this stage is the potential for moral reasoning.
Just like Piaget believed we pass through stages of cognitive development, Erik Erikson stated that children pass through stages of psychosocial development. Each stage of development has a specific conflict (the conflict is also the name of the stage) that the child has to overcome before moving to the next stage. If a child is unable to successfully overcome a particular conflict, the child will remain stuck at that stage until he or she is able to resolve that issue. The stages of Erikson's psychosocial development are as follows...
• Trust vs. Mistrust (this is the stage and the conflict) occurs from birth to 1 year. To resolve this conflict, the child must develop a sense of security
• Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt occurs from age 1 - 2. To resolve the conflict, the child must a achieve a sense of independence
• Initiative vs. Guilt occurs from age 3 - 5. To resolve this conflict, the child must find a balance between restraint and being spontaneous (can't just do everything want whenever they want)
• Industry vs. Inferiority occurs from age 6 through puberty. To resolve this conflict, the child must develop a sense of self-confidence
• Identity vs. Role Confusion occurs through adolescence. To resolve the conflict, the adolescent experiences a unified sense of self
• Intimacy vs. Isolation occurs from puberty to young adulthood . To resolve the conflict, the young adult must form close personal relationships with others
• Generativity vs. Stagnation occurs through middle adulthood. To resolve the conflict, the adult must learn to promote the well-being of others and not be focused completely on themselves
• Integrity vs. Despair occurs through late adulthood. At this stage, the adult enjoys a sense of satisfaction with themselves and life by reflecting on a well-lived life
Another important topic is Attachment, which can be defined as an emotional tie or bond between two people. Attachment can pertain to all people, regardless of age, but typically relates to the attachment between children and caregivers (usually the mother), and is a very powerful bond that is important for survival - it keeps infants close to their mothers which is important for getting food, staying away from danger, and getting comfort.
John Bowlby was a leader in the development of Attachment Theory. One of the critical elements of attachment theory is that young children need to develop secure relationships to a single, primary caregiver in order for "normal" social and emotional development to occur. Bowlby believed that obtaining attachment is stressful and that children become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive, and are a consistent primary caregiver to the child from 6 months to 2 years of age. As children go through this process and develop secure attachments, they are enabled to explore the world and then return without distress. When children do not form secure attachments, they exhibit stressful behaviors when separated, such as separation anxiety.
Mary Ainsworth followed Bowlby and made significant contributions to our understanding of attachment and secure attachment. Ainsworth used Bowlby's earlier work to conduct her own research observing infant-parent dyads in their own homes and later in the laboratory. What she discovered was that some children became "securely attached" while other children became "insecurely attached". A child with a secure attachment seeks contact with the mother, but then is willing to leave the mother and explore the surroundings, using the mother as a secure base to return to. Conversely, a child with an insecure attachment clings to her mother, protests strongly when the mother tries to leave, is less willing to explore, and then acts angrily or is unresponsive to the mother when she returns.
Ainsworth used Stranger Wariness, also Stranger Anxiety, to assess children for attachment styles. Stranger anxiety usually occurs in infants between 8-9 months of age. At this age, they begin to notice that some people are different than others and they show a preference to those who are more familiar or that they have an attachment to. Through observation, researchers discovered that children become the most distressed if a stranger comes into a familiar environment to the child rather than one that in unfamiliar. This may be a result of expectations. The child does not expect someone unfamiliar to come into their room whereas they might expect to see a stranger in a new environment. Either way, however, a child at this stage will show some amount of wariness or distress and desire the comfort of a caregiver. The degree of the child's distress is also partly dependent on the strength of their attachments to caregivers.
Another important psychologist, Harry Harlow, conducted experiments with monkeys that supported the attachment theories of Bowlby and Ainsworth. He noticed while experimenting with monkeys that they became very distressed when a cloth was removed from their cage to be replaced or cleaned. He theorized that the monkeys found comfort by nestling in the cloth as if they had formed a type of attachment with it. In order to investigate his observations further, he took infant monkeys and paired them with either a fake surrogate monkey constructed of wire or terry cloth.
In some experiments, Harlow attached a bottle of milk to the terry cloth monkey and in others he attached the bottle of milk to the wire monkey. Then he observed the infant monkey's reactions to ascertain which surrogate the monkey preferred. Harlow also wanted to see if the monkeys could be taught or conditioned to prefer one surrogate over the other if it was the only one that had an attached bottle of milk. He found that the monkeys always preferred the cloth surrogate mother over the wire surrogate whether it provided milk or not. In the cases where only the wire surrogate had the bottle, the monkey would temporarily feed from the wire mother and then immediately go back to the cloth mother.
Harlow also did similar trials with the monkeys by putting them in large rooms with objects for the monkeys to interact with. He also placed either the wire or cloth surrogate monkey in these rooms. In these experiments, the monkeys would show distress at the unfamiliar environment and cling to the cloth mother if available. After clinging to the cloth mother for awhile, the monkeys would let go and explore the room and objects. If the cloth mother was not in the room, however, the monkeys continually displayed distress and did not explore, even if the wire surrogate was present.
These experiments were important to developmental psychology because the findings supported that emotional comfort and physical touch through a secure attachment was extremely important for psychological and social health. No matter whether the monkeys in these experiments were fully or partially isolated, if there was no comfort or secure attachment, they all displayed psychological distress to a low or high degree. Similar effects were observed with the children in Romanian orphanages in the 1980s.
Recent studies in attachment have also discovered the impact of a chemical in the brain called oxytocin. Researchers found that higher levels of oxytocin were correlated with feelings of well-being and security in relationships. They also found that oxytocin was released in both an infant and mother's brain during closeness and cuddling. This oxytocin also strengthened the attachment of the mother and child. Therefore, scientists have hypothesized that this early imprinting of oxytocin in the reward centers of the brain could also lead to future attachment styles as an adult. Researchers found that those people who did not experience secure attachments as infants, had more difficulty with relationships as adults and also a less developed reward system in the brain.
In addition to physical and psychological development, moral development also has important roots in childhood. Two important theorists in the study of moral development were Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg.
Piaget believed moral development consisted of two stages. One based on consequences and the other based on motives. Consider the following two scenarios on the context of Piaget's moral stages:
A mother placed a cookie jar on a high shelf to stop Sam from getting any cookies. After she left, Sam broke a cup while trying to steal the cookies.
Tevis went into the kitchen to help his mother clean but accidentally broke 10 cups.
In stage 1 (0-10 years old) of Piaget's moral development theory, children see rules as absolute and unchangeable. Their judgments are based on consequences- wrong and right- punishment versus no punishment. If a child in this stage was asked "Who should be punished in the above scenarios? Sam or Tevis?" The child would respond, "Tevis, because he broke the most cups."
Children at stage 2 (11 years +) of Piaget's moral development base their judgments on intentions and motives. If they were asked the same question, "Who should be punished?" They would say, "Sam. Because he broke the cup while trying to steal cookies."
Lawrence Kohlberg expounded on Piaget's two moral stages. His theory in contrast consisted of 3 levels and 6 stages. These stages and levels are outlined below.
Stage 1 - Obedience and Punishment
In this stage, rules are absolute and the child obeys rules in order to avoid punishment. They see problems as black or white. Either a choice is against the rules or it isn't. There are no exceptions and people who break the rules should be punished.
Stage 2 - Individualism and Exchange
In the second stage, children recognize people have different individual needs. Therefore, a person should make a decision based on which outcome will best serve those individual needs.
Stage 3 - Interpersonal Relationships
At this stage, children focus on social expectations. It is also referred to as the "good girl- good boy" stage. They believe in conformity, being nice, and how these choices will affect social relationships.
Stage 4 - Maintaining Social Order
Stage four consists of the importance of following laws and rules that are set by society. This is different from stage 1 because it is not based solely on punishment, but on how obedience to laws helps society.
Stage 5 - Social Contract and Individual Rights
In stage 5, people take individual needs into account when making decisions. People believe that laws should meet the needs of the majority. It is a democratic view in that people in this stage believe the majority vote should be the deciding factor in the creation of laws and rules.
Stage 6 - Universal Principles
This final stage concerns ethics. At this stage, people believe that laws can be broken if they are unjust.
In order to determine what stage of moral development an individual was at, Kohlberg gave them a scenario and asked what the person in the scenario should do. Kohlberg was not interested in whether the individual said yes or no, but in the reasoning they had for saying yes or no.

Consciousness and Sleep


We're doing things a little different with this topic. Rather than having just one introduction section followed by key figures and concepts, we're giving you overview sections for numerous topics within Consciousness and Sleep, dive into topics such as altered states of consciousness and the different stages of sleep, then cover some of the key theorists. And of course, we have several videos that are interesting, educational, and fun.

Consciousness & Sleep

States of consciousness are a subjective perceptual experience and therefore difficult to define. Some people define the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness by whether the person's eyes are open or shut. According to the Webster Dictionary, consciousness is defined as the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself. William James, a key figure in the study of consciousness, believed that consciousness consisted of a steady stream of thoughts, emotions, and perceptions.
consciousness can also be thought of as two separate factors, monitor and control. Monitoring refers to the ability to perceive one's environment, survey potential problems, identify goals and make decisions. Attention (or focusing one's awareness on any thought or outside event) is another word for monitoring.
In contrast, control is one's ability to organize thoughts and utilize behaviors to complete tasks. In other words, monitoring allows a person to survey the environment and make decisions. Control allows that person to act on those decisions.

Alternate States of Consciousness

If states of consciousness were on a continuum, with consciousness at one end and sleep at the other end, hypnosis and meditation would fall in the middle. Hypnosis is a state of consciousness, which is characterized by deep relaxation and high suggestibility. You've probably seen people get hypnotized and then act in bizarre ways such as clucking like a chicken - although this is certainly possible, it's not the purpose of hypnosis (at least not for us). Rather, hypnosis has real therapeutic value.
In therapeutic situations, hypnosis is utilized to help people quit smoking or even undergo surgery without anesthesia. In order to accomplish this, the therapist "suggests" to a hypnotized individual that they will be relaxed and numb throughout their body during a medical procedure. The therapist would have to repeat this process on more than one occasion to reinforce the suggestion. The more times a hypnotherapist reinforces a suggestion, the stronger it will be and the more likely it will work.
Hypnosis has been helpful for some people that have severe allergic reactions to anesthesia or other pain medications. It allows these people to undergo painful procedures without anesthetic and still not feel any pain. Hypnosis has also been used to help people lose weight and stop smoking.
In the media, hypnosis has usually been portrayed as a technique for unlocking unconscious memories of traumatic events. Many therapists have stopped this practice, however, because of the risk of false memory syndrome and the Misinformation Effect. As the name suggests, false memory syndrome refers to clients who have memories of childhood abuse but were never abused. It is thought that these false memories were implanted intentionally or unintentionally by therapists who were using hypnosis to uncover hidden memories.
Although hypnotherapists can make these "suggestions," it should also be noted that even individuals under hypnosis will not complete any task that is against their ethical or moral code. An example of this is hypnotizing someone and then suggesting to them that they go kill someone. This scenario may make a good movie, but in reality, it would not work.
Meditation is another alternate state of consciousness that consists of deep relaxation in which the individual focuses attention on a single thought, word, or image. A word or sound in hypnosis is called a mantra. Meditation also sometimes referred to as "mindfulness." This means that the individual is focusing his or her awareness on the "here and now," i.e. focusing on what is being experiences in the present moment. Meditation also involves concentration on breathing and is thought of as a uniquely spiritual experience for each individual. Unlike hypnosis, it does not include high suggestibility.


At the far end of the consciousness continuum are unconscious states such as sleep. Sleep, like other states of consciousness, is unique to each individual. The stages of sleep, however, follow a similar pattern. These stages (as well as other states of consciousness) are characterized by different brain waves: Beta; Alpha; Theta; and Delta. Beta waves typically occur during wakeful states. Alpha waves are correlated with forms of meditation, hypnosis, and light sleep, while both Theta and Delta waves occur in deep sleep states.

Stages of sleep (Stages 1 - 4 are NREM)

• STAGE 1: Person transitions from being awake to being asleep, has increased Theta waves and decreased Alpha and Beta waves. It typically takes the average person 30 minutes to move to stage 2 of sleep. It is easy to awaken from this stage.
• STAGE 2: Person begins to experience sleep spindles, K-complexes, Theta, and Delta waves. These are all waves that can be identified via Electroencephalogram (try saying that 3 times fast) also called an EEG. An EEG is a device that measures brain electrical activity in the form of brain waves mentioned above. During this stage, our heart rate and breathing slows, and our body temperature decreases.
• STAGE 3: Person has increased Delta waves and is now in a deep sleep.
• STAGE 4: This is a very deep sleep also characterized by increased delta waves.
• REM: Person enters REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During this stage, the eyes move rapidly back and forth under closed eyelids. It is thought that this REM movement aids the processing of information and experiences. This is also the stage in which dreaming occurs. In this stage, our heart rate and breathing quickens, our blood pressure rises and our body temperature fluctuates. Our brain activity is almost the same as when we are awake, however, there is a temporary paralysis to our body so we are unable to move until we move to a different stage of sleep. Current researchers are also beginning to discover that dreaming occurs in other sleep stages but these dreams are not as vivid as REM dreaming.

As a person sleeps, he or she alternates between stages. Whereas in the beginning of sleep, a person spends more time in the first 3 stages of sleep, by the end, he or she spends the most time in REM sleep. REM sleep generally begins after the first 90 minutes of sleep and then reoccurs throughout the night as we alternate between stages.

There are many theories about why we sleep, but the reality is we don't know with certainty. Here are some possible explanations of why we sleep.

• Restorative and Repair: sleep restores our body physiologically and REM restores us mentally. The body also increases cell division are repair while the body is at rest.
• Evolutionary theory: this is an adaptive theory that suggests we need to conserve energy, therefore, we sleep at night because earlier man would have been more vulnerable to predators if they were to sleep during the day.
• Information consolidation: this theory states that we use sleep to process experiences and information that we learned during the day. In this theory, sleep is also believed to help solidify the transfer of information to long term memory.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is characterized by irritability, exhaustion, impaired immunity, increased stress, and psychotic behaviors (e.g. hallucinations) after not sleeping for 3 days. REM appears particularly important. Scientists that monitored patients via EEG and deprived them of REM sleep (waking the individual once they entered REM sleep) found that REM deprived individuals entered REM stage sleep sooner and spent a greater percentage of time in REM sleep than non-REM deprived individuals. In some situations, however, such as depression, REM deprivation can be beneficial and actually alleviate depressive symptoms. REM deprivation is also correlated with the development of Parkinson's and related disorders.
The amount of sleep we need differs from person to person. On average, a adult needs between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. More specifically, the amount of sleep we need is calculated from 2 factors; basal sleep need, and sleep debt. Our basal sleep need is the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis. Our sleep debt is the amount of sleep we have lost due to various causes such as sickness, awakening in the middle of the night, sleep habits, etc.. If a person has an unresolved sleep debt, he or she will feel more sleepy during the day. This accounts for why a person will sleep longer after going 24 or more hours without sleep.

Relevant Tests Used In Sleep Studies

Electroencephalogram (EEG)
This device measures the electrical activity of the brain. Specialists use this device to determine which stage of sleep a person is in. The EEG measures the frequency of brain waves (i.e. how many times the wave occurs in a specific time period) and the amplitude of brain waves (i.e. the size of the wave.)
Electrooculagram (EOG)
This device measures eye activity. During different stages of sleep, our eyes move in distinct ways. For example, during slow wave sleep (SWS), we have slow, rolling eye movements, However, during REM sleep, our eye movements are much more rapid and occur in a sharp, back and forth way. The EOG is a vital tool for identifying REM sleep since the EEG in REM, wake and stage look so similar. But, when we combine the EEG and EOG it is easy to see the differences.
Electromyogram (EMG)
This device is used to measure the muscle activity that occurs during sleep, and is particularly helpful when attempting to identify REM sleep. During REM sleep, humans experience a type of temporary paralysis during which the EMG drops to almost nothing (close to a flat line).
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
The electrocardiogram is a measure of heart muscle contractions.

Sleep Disorders

A sleep disorder characterized by "sleep attacks," an immediate entry of a conscious individual into the REM stage of sleep. This disorder is very dangerous because these "sleep attacks" occur without warning and could occur during dangerous activities such as driving.
A sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. People with insomnia are also excessively tired during the day.
Night Terrors
This disorder is seen most frequently in children and consists of the child awakening in the night with intense panic or autonomic arousal. A child with this disorder may awaken screaming, but then falls back asleep. Upon awakening, he or she will have no memory of the event.
Nightmares are dreams characterized by extreme terror and panic. They are usually indicative of traumatic events in the individual's life.
Sleep Apnea
A person with sleep apnea stops breathing while they sleep due to obstruction to their airway. This causes their body to reflexively awaken in order to breathe again. The individual may or may not be aware of these awakenings which can occur hundreds of times each night.
Sleep Walking
This disorder is pretty self-explanatory.

Our discussion of conscious and unconscious states would not be complete without mentioning comas. A coma is a profound state of unconsciousness in which the person does not awaken or respond normally to pain, light or sound. There are many causes of comas such as brain damage, stroke, metabolic disorders, intoxication, and other problems with the parts of the brain responsible for sleep regulation. Individuals in a coma are at risk of asphyxiation because the muscles in the neck and airway become so relaxed that the airway closes. Medical doctors prevent this by inserting a tube to keep the airway open.
Comas usually last a few days to a few weeks. Doctors use certain assessments to determine whether the person has irreversible brain damage or is expected to recover. One of these assessments is called a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is a 3-15 point scale (15 being the best). People are rated according to 3 categories, e.g. eye response, verbal response, and motor response. A score of 13 is considered minor damage. A score of 9 is moderate damage. A score below 9 is severe damage.

Key Figures & Theories

Rene' Descartes
Rene' Descartes was a philosopher who attempted to explain the concept of consciousness through his statement "cogito ergo sum," which means, "I think, therefore, I am." He believed that anything that could think was "conscious." Therefore, he believed animals were not conscious because they could not think as humans can.
John Locke
John Locke was influential on the subject of consciousness for his theory of the "self." He expounded on Descartes belief that thinking was vital for consciousness and stated, "that conscious thinking thing, (whatever substance, made up of whether spiritual, or material, simple, or compounded, it matters not) which is sensible, or conscious of pleasure and pain, capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for itself, as far as that consciousness extends." Locke was also notable for his theory of tabula rasa or "blank slate." He believed that infants were blank slates and were shaped by their experiences in life. This idea that experiences were vital to the child's developing personality was central to the field of psychology.
Sigmund Freud
Freud's contributions to the study of sleep and consciousness involved the importance of dream analysis. Freud analyzed dreams according to manifest content (literal storyline) and latent content (what the dream meant symbolically). Freud believed that dreams reflected unconscious experiences, wishes and desires of the individual. Freud also wrote The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. In this book, Freud illustrated his theories of how and why he believed dreams were formed.
Carl Jung
Like Freud, Carl Jung also believed that dreams were a window to the unconscious mind and were filled with hidden meanings. He believed that dreams could be classified according to two categories, objective and subjective. Objective dreams were a picture of the individual's day-to-day life. Subjective dreams reflected the individual's inner life or unconscious world. Another important aspect of Jung's beliefs about dreams involved archetypes. Archetypes are like models, prototypes, or stereotypes that are used as a structural component to a developing personality. Jung stated that a person's archetypes were visible through their dreams. The archetypes that Jung described were the Self, Shadow, Anima (feminine characteristics), Animus (male characteristic), and Persona (the image an individual allows the external world to see.) Jung stated that the hidden meaning in dreams was an important part of psychoanalysis.
Rosalind Cartwright
Rosalind Cartwright, another dream expert, believes that dreams are the body's way of reviewing, revising, rehearsing, and repairing present and past experiences. One of her unique contributions to dream research considers how dreams are used to regulate moods. She stated that individuals who are in a bad mood when they go to sleep often wake up in the morning with a more positive attitude. She stated if people were not awaking refreshed and feeling better emotionally, their dreams would reveal issues that they were having difficulty processing. Cartwright also found that individuals in crisis who recovered quickly also dreamed longer and sooner in their sleep cycles than individuals who did not recover as rapidly.
David Chalmers
David Chalmers is noteworthy for his theories of consciousness. He believes that subjective experiences and feelings have not been explored adequately in theories of consciousness. Therefore, he proposes that there are two types of consciousness, the objective physical side and the subjective experiential side. He argues against physicalism, the belief that all things that exist are the result of physical processes. Chalmers is also known for his "philosophical zombie" argument. A philosophical zombie relies solely on the objective physical side of consciousness and cannot experience subjective experience. Chalmers stated "Zombies are probably not naturally possible: they probably cannot exist in our world, with its laws of nature." Despite his statement, however, he argues that zombies can logically exist. David Chalmers is currently the Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the University of Arizona. His notable works are "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" (1995), and "The Conscious Mind" (1996).
William Dement
William Dement is a well known sleep researcher who founded the American Sleep Disorders Association. Dement used the EEG to monitor individual sleep cycles throughout the night which led to Dement's discovery of the 5 sleep stages. He also developed the Multiple Latency Sleep Test which is a test used to measure daytime sleepiness. Today, he currently teaches at Stanford School of Medicine.
Bernard Baars
Bernard Baars believes that an important aspect of consciousness is the individual's ability to solve problems in new ways that are not yet habitual. An action or decision that is habitual is not conscious but performed by the unconscious mind. For example, learning to ride a bike is a task that requires the attention of our conscious mind. After we learn to ride a bike, however, we no longer need to focus attention or be conscious of the processes involved in riding a bike (e.g. balance, speed, etc.)
Baars is also notable for his 9 functions of consciousness.

• Definition and contexts
• Adaptation and learning
• Editing, flagging, and debugging
• Recruiting and control function
• Prioritizing and access control
• Decision making and executive function
• Analogy-forming function
• Metacognitive of self-forming function
• Auto-programming and self-maintenance



If you ask someone to describe what an emotion is, they might say it is a feeling, sentiment, reaction, passion, excitement, or sensation. Another definition of emotion is it is a spontaneous feeling arising from a person, thing, or experience. Emotions are unique to each individual, are perception based, and subjective experiences. It could be argued that emotions are the sole reason for therapeutic interventions.
People go to counselors because they do not like how they feel. In other words, their emotions are too strong and upsetting or the individual does not appear to have emotions at all. Some people have too much of one emotion versus how they want to feel, e.g. depressed individuals are mostly sad and desire to feel happy again. Therefore, every psychological theory, even cognitive behaviorism, has a goal to ultimately alter the person's emotional state in a positive way.
There is an infinite number or ways to describe emotion. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Amusement Disgust Helplessness Satisfaction
Anger Doubt Hope Seren
Annoyance Elation Hurt Shame
Anxiety Embarrassment Interest Shock
Boredom Empathy Irritation Stress
Calm Envy Joy Surprise
Contempt Excitement Pleasure Tension
Content Fear Powerlessness Trusting
Courage Friendly Pride Worry
Delight Frustration Relaxed
Despair Guilt Relieved
Disappointment Happiness Sadness

Primary versus Secondary Emotion
Primary emotions are the first emotions a person feel consequent to an event. These emotions are often then masked by secondary emotions. Secondary emotions are ones that are felt the most. They can also make it difficult to discover the deeper problem at hand. Robert Plutchik believed there were also tertiary emotions that augmented the first and secondary emotions.
Here is a table of emotions as devised by Plutchik:

Primary Emotion Secondary Emotion Tertiary Emotion
Love Affection Adoration, affection, love, fondness, liking, attraction, caring, tenderness, compassion, sentimentality
Lust Arousal, desire, lust, passion, infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement, bliss, cheerfulness, gaiety, glee, jolliness, joviality, joy, delight, enjoyment, gladness, happiness, jubilation, elation, satisfaction, ecstasy, euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm, zeal, zest, excitement, thrill, exhiliration
Contentment Contentment, pleasure
Pride Pride, triumph
Optimism Eagerness, hope, optimism
Enthrallment Enthrallment, rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement, surprise, astonishment
Anger Irritation Aggravation, irritation, agitation, annoyance, grouchiness, grumpiness
Exasperation Exasperation, frustration
Rage Anger, rage, outrage, fury, wrath, hostility, ferocity, bitterness, hate, scorn, spite, vengefulness, dislike, resentment
Disgust Disgust, revulsion, contempt, loathing
Envy Envy, jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony, suffering, hurt, anguish
Sadness Depression, despair, hopelessness, gloom, glumness, sadness, unhappiness, grief, sorrow, woe, misery, melancholy
Disappoinment Dismay, disappointment, displeasure
Shame Guilt, shame, regret, remorse
Neglect Alienation, isolation, neglect, loneliness, rejection, homesickness, defeat, dejection, insecurity, embarrassment, humiliation, insult
Sympathy Pity, sympathy
Fear Horror Alarm, shock, fear, fright, horror, terror, panic, hysteria, mortification
Nervousness Anxiety, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread

Key Figures & Theories

Theories of Emotion
Most theories of emotion are based on physiology, thought, and the actual emotion. The basic questions are:
• In what order do these occur?
• Do we think a certain way because of the emotions we feel, or do we feel emotions because of how we think?
• In terms of physiology, do we feel emotions because of the perception of our body reactions, (e.g. my heart is beating fast, my blood pressure has risen, I'm breathing faster- therefore I am scared or anxious) or do we have a physical reaction because of the emotions we are feeling?
Each of the following psychological theorists has their own answers to these questions.
Key People & Their Theories (with "Bear" examples)
Walter B. Cannon
Walter B. Cannon was an American Physiologist who coined the phrase "fight or flight" and the word homeostasis. "Fight or flight" refers to the response that animals and people have to a threatening situation. Homeostasis is the tendency of a system to remain in a stable state. If there is a change in the system, the system will somehow compensate to regain that homeostasis.
Walter Cannon and Philip Bard worked together to develop the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion. They believed emotions come first and physical reactions come second. For example, a person sees a bear and is afraid. Then the person has the physiological changes of rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweating, and adrenaline that prepares a person for "fight or flight."
Bear (Event) => Fear (Emotion) => "Fight or Flight" response (physical)
James-Lange theory
The James-Lange theory of emotion, proposed by William James and Carl Lange, is the opposite of the Cannon-Bard theory. This theory states that an individual has a physiological response to a stimulus first, and then experiences an emotion based on his or her perception of the physiological response. Therefore, using the same example as the above paragraph, a person sees a bear and starts trembling, breathing faster, and sweating.
The person interprets these physical symptoms as resulting from the emotion "fear," so he or she consequently feels afraid. James and Lange stated that the perception was an important piece of this puzzle. Not everyone has the same emotions for a given stimulus even if they experience the same physical responses, e.g. sweating could mean nervousness, anxiety, fear, or even passion depending on the perception of the individual.
Bear (Event ) => "Fight or Flight" response (physical) => Emotion (Fear)
Ronald de Sousa
Ronald de Sousa is a philosopher who believes emotions are subject to the norms and perceptions of society and the individual. They are neither true nor false. Emotions define experiences and experiences define emotions. (Philosophy always gives me a headache). So in respect to the bear scenario, Sousa would say "I am scared of the bear so it must be dangerous," or "The bear is dangerous so I must be scared."
Bear (Event) => Philosophize why the earth is round and bears are dangerous => Run
Jesse Prinz Jesse Prinz is another philosopher who proposed an amendment to the James-Lange theory called the "embodied appraisal theory." Recall that the James-Lange theory stated that a person has a physiological response to an event or thing and then the emotion. This is based on the interpretation the person has to their physiology. I'm sweating- therefore I am scared. Prinz, however, proposed that it is not just a simple equation of physiology and perception, but the appraisal the individual has based on the context of the event. Prinz used the following example: a man asks a woman on a date.
This woman's emotional response will be influenced by her perception of the event. If she thinks the man is stalking her, she will be scared. If she thinks the man is joking or mocking her, she will be angry. If the woman thinks the invitation is genuine and she likes him, she could be elated. Therefore, Prinz believes that theories of emotion should not overlook the influence of thoughts and perceptions.
Bear (Event) => that is a cute bear, I think its safe => regular heartbeat + happiness ... OR...
Bear (Event) => that bear looks dangerous => "fight or flight" + fear ... OR ...
Bear (Event) => I've never seen a bear before => slightly elevated heartbeat + curiosity
Joseph E. LeDoux
Joseph LeDoux is a neuroscientist who believes there is an emotional brain that is separate from the conscious feeling of emotions. For example, he states the automatic physiological responses to danger are hard-wired in the brain and conscious feelings are irrelevant to these physical responses to threats. Conscious emotions, however, are learned through experience and are not innate or hard-wired. LeDoux explains that his model accounts for the emotional malfunctions involved in phobias and posttraumatic stress.
People are not born having irrational symptoms of fear. These emotional problems are learned through experience.
Bear (Event) => innate response of "fight or flight" (hard-wired) => my scout leader told me bears are scary creatures => fear
Richard Lazarus (lazarus theory)
Richard Lazarus developed the Lazarus theory of emotion. His model basically states that a thought must occur before an emotion or physiological response can take place. Therefore, a person sees a bear (event), the person thinks "I am going to be shredded into tiny little pieces" (thought), and the person simultaneously feels fear and prepares for "fight or flight."
Bear (Event) => "I am going to die" => fear (Emotion) + "Fight or Flight" (Physical)
Singer-Schachter theory
The Singer-Schachter theory was developed by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer. Their theory is also referred to as the "Two-Factor Theory." Their theory states that a person has a physiological response, thinks or reasons about it, and then has the emotion. I see a bear (event), my heart starts racing and I breath faster (physical response), I think "hmmm... that bear looks upset that I pushed its bear cub around. I probably should have not done that. I might want to consider retreating before I'm fed to the cub for dinner" (thought), and I feel terrified.
Bear (Event) => "Fight or Flight" (Physical) => Bears are protective parents (Reasoning) => Fear (Emotion)
Key People & Their Theories (withOUT "Bear" examples)
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud believed that mental illness came from repressed emotions in the unconscious mind. Freud believed that release and acceptance of these denied or repressed emotions and memories were vital for mental health. If this emotional energy was not released, Freud noted that it led to physiological symptoms and illnesses. He termed these physiological manifestations of emotions "psychosomatic." Severe psychosomatic cases of repressed memories of trauma led to a diagnosis of "hysteria."
Melanie Klein
Melanie Klein was a British psychoanalyst who worked with children. She believed that children and infants had the emotions of love and hate which further developed into other emotions based on attachments to care givers. Once an infant could distinguish love and hate towards a caregiver, then fear of losing the caregiver arose. Thus an infant's spectrum of emotions develops through attachment.
Klein started the object-relations theory of development. This theory states that infants attach to self-objects (people or other objects) and that these early attachments continue to replay throughout life. In other words, if early attachments were unhealthy and damaging, the individual will continue to make similar attachments throughout development in an attempt to resolve the conflict.

Robert Plutchik
Robert Plutchik was a psychologist who studied emotions, suicide and aggression. He believed that there were 8 basic categories of emotions- anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, acceptance, and joy. Plutchik stated that all other emotions evolved from these 8 basic emotions and he illustrated the relationships of one emotion to another in a wheel diagram. From this diagram, you can see the shades of colors change with respect to the various emotions felt.
Plutchik included this in his wheel because he stated emotions are felt in different intensities, the most intense being rage, ecstasy, vigilance, admiration, terror, amazement, grief, and loathing. Plutchik also stated that "fight or flight" plays an important role in feeling emotions. Both animals and people experience emotions due to survival needs. Some examples of this are threats to safety, attacks, or even seeing a mate.
Plutchik believed that the purpose of emotions was to create an interaction between the individual and the stimulus (an event or person) in such a way that the emotion could be resolved to bring the person back to equilibrium. Therefore, a person sees a bear. They are afraid. The fear serves to protect the individual and prompt action such as running from the bear. The purpose of the fear is to get the person to act so he or she can reach safety and thus return to a calm state.

Paul Ekman
Paul Ekman is a psychologist who has studied the relationship between emotions, facial expressions and overall body language. Ekman stated that emotions were universal and felt by people of all different cultures. Although there are some difference in expression of emotions across cultures, Ekman believed that there were basic similarities that could be classified. Ekman devised the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to categorize every type of facial expression. His research has been vital to lie detection.
Klaus Scherer Klaus Scherer is also a physiologist who specializes in the study of emotion. His theory, The Component Process Model (CPM), consists of 5 sub-systems of an emotion. These subsystems are cognitive appraisal, physiological arousal, motoric system (including facial expression), subjective feeling, and motivational system. The functions of these systems according to Scherer are outlined as follows:
• Cognitive appraisal: process and evaluate objects and events that occur inside and outside the 'Self.' This process consists of using the 5 senses, evaluating the consequences of actions, and deciding the relevance of how it applies to the individual.
• Physiological arousal: regulates and manages functions of the body such as preparing for "fight or flight."
• Motoric component: the process of communicating reactions, feelings, and intentions of behaviors by facial gestures and other non-verbal body language.
• Motivational component: the will to take action on a decision or not do an action.
• Subjective feeling: emotions that are felt by the individual are based on perception and are individual to each person.
Scherer stated that these subsystems did not work independently of each other but were part of a collective-collaborative process. Subjective feelings influenced and were influenced by other subsystems such as physiological arousal and so forth. Scherer did not believe the process of feeling an emotion was a straight-forward as other theorists stated but believed it was a complex process unique to experiences, subjective feelings, expressions, etc.
Paul Broca
Paul Broca was a French physiologist who is best known for his work on aphasia, i.e. the inability to produce or understand speech from a brain injury. Broca discovered this by examining skulls and brains of people that had mental disabilities. Broca found that the brains of people, who had aphasia, all had brain damage in a specific location in the frontal lobe. This area was also referred to a Broca's area.
Broca was the first physician to document proof of locality of brain functions, that is, different places in the brain were responsible for various functions such as sight, memory, and movement. Broca also identified the limbic system part of the brain. Later, scientists discovered that the limbic system was the part of the brain responsible for emotions as well as other functions. Therefore, Broca's research was an indirect influence into the neurological theories of emotion. Once researchers could identify the part of the brain responsible for emotions, they could discover the chemical and physical processes involved.
Richard Davidson
Richard Davidson is a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson believes that emotions are like learned skills. A person can learn to be anxious just as that person can learn to be happy. Like other skills, Davidson states that it takes patience and practice. Since the brain learns from experience and can adapt and change from experience, the brain can be trained to have certain emotions such as happiness.
Bud Craig
Bud Craig states that there are two classes of emotions, classical and homeostatic. According to Craig, classical emotions (lust, anger, and fear) are the result of external stimuli. These emotions prepare an individual to copulate, fight, or flee and are basic survival emotions. The remaining emotions, homeostatic emotions, are the result of internal processes and occur to change behavior. These emotions are a signal that something is amiss and a change is needed to bring things back into balance. For example, if a person feels pain, the person is alerted to change something to stop the pain.
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Arlie Hochschild is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkely. Her theory of emotion concerns 3 new terms; emotional labor, feeling rules, and time bind. Hochschild agrees with the idea that emotions are learned through experience and are based on social norms and expectations. She defines emotional labor as the attempt to feel the correct emotion at the right time, and elicit the right emotion from others.
Feeling rules are social rules for feeling emotions. For example, its not appropriate to laugh hysterically at a funeral. Time bind refers to the contradictory pull of family values and work ethics on a person's time. While many working people state that family is the most important aspect of their lives, they also spend the majority of their time at work. Hochschild states that in order to cope with this contradictory pull, people use one of three specific defenses:
• ignore personal needs
• meet personal needs and hire someone to help with others
• develop a fantasy imaginary clone of oneself and fantasize how he or she would be if there was only more time.


From the moment we're born, we're learning. Learning, however, would be useless if we didn't have a way to store all the information we're learning and then access it later. Fortunately, memory takes care of that - memory allows us to process information, store information, and then access it later when we need it.
This may sound very simple, but it's actually quite complex. But have no fear, we'll break it down for you so it's not too tough.
You can think of human memory like a library. The purpose of a library is to store books, magazines, music, and other material. A library has a system of filing and categorizing the materials so they can be retrieved later. If books wear out from excessive use or get lost, they need to be replaced. Libraries obtain new books and materials every year that also need to be filed and categorized. If certain books are rarely used or never retrieved, they are removed to make room for new ones.
We don't know exactly how this process works or where memory is stored, however, researchers believe the parts of the brain that are used in this process are the hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala. People who have damage to one or all of these areas are not able to store or retrieve information efficiently or even at all.
The hippocampus is in the temporal lobe of the brain, which is located just above the ears. One of its functions involves spatial memory, i.e. a person's ability to move about in the environment and know where he or she is located. It allows us to travel around in familiar cities or places we live and remember where things are. The hippocampus is also believed to be vital for long term memory. When there is damage done to the hippocampus, the ability to store new information is lost, however, the person can still remember things from before the damage took place.
The thalamus is located above the brain stem which is near the center of the brain. It is like a relay station that receives signals from our senses and then passes the signals to its corresponding area in the cerebral cortex. The thalamus receives signals from all our senses except smell. The thalamus also is responsible for motor control and states of consciousness such as alertness and sleep. The thalamus is important for the retrieval of memory, like the "librarian" of the brain. Not only does it send signals to the right areas of the brain, it is also the relay station to retrieve information later.
The amygdala is also located in the temporal lobe. It is responsible for our emotional perceptions of events. This is important to memory because it associates cues with consequences. When we remember how we felt when something in the past happened, the amygdala is at work. It is also used for the consolidation of long term memory. Researchers have found that the level of emotional arousal a person has when learning something affects its strength in long term memory. The more emotional arousal a person has, the stronger the memory will be.
Short Term Memory
Short term memory allows a person to recall something after a short period of time without practicing or rehearsing. George Miller wrote a paper on short term memory called "The magical number 7±2." He concluded from his experiments that we could retain 5 to 9 items with our short term memory without rehearsal. The amount can be increased if items are "chunked" together. Most people remember phone numbers in three chunked sets, the area code, the first three numbers, and the last four numbers. After a short period of time, this information degrades and becomes lost unless it is repeated or rehearsed.
Long Term Memory
Long term memory refers to retention of information over the long term from days to years. There are 2 types of long term memory, declarative and procedural. Declarative memory concerns historical events and knowledge of the external world. Procedural memory concerns remembering how to use objects and moving our body. For example, riding a bike would be considered a procedural memory. Remembering something that happened as a child would be declarative memory. Another difference between these two types of long term memory is procedural memory does not require conscious recall, while declarative memory does.
Long term memory is stored in many different places in the brain. Some theorists even believe some memories are stored elsewhere in the body such as the heart. When memory is stored, it tends to cluster together like the librarian in our example categorizes books. Information is connected together to related subjects that are meaningful and relevant to each other. The ways information becomes connected is unique to each person and the experiences they have had. For instance, coconuts remind me of my family. These two subjects may seem unrelated so let's track my thoughts to see how they are connected. If I think about coconuts, I see what the coconut looks like on the outside and inside, I know where it is grown, and I remember what it tastes like. As I remember this information, I think of coconut crθme pie. Coconut crθme pie is my favorite. Then I remember eating it on my birthday with my family because I don't like cake. This memory in turn brings up other information about my family, and so on.
There is no limit to how much information a person can store in long term memory although various brain disorders and damage can prevent or slow the process. Many techniques can aid and increase the likelihood that information will be retained long term. The next section will illustrate different ways to memorize and strengthen retention of information as well as describe some reasons why we may forget things.
Memory Techniques
The most important factor determining the transfer from short to long term memory is rehearsal. Consider the phrase, "Practice makes perfect." This phrase basically means that our ability is enhanced based on the amount of rehearsal we put in. People use this statement as though practice always results in a positive improvement. However, if we rehearse something incorrectly, we will get better.... at doing it incorrectly! Therefore, taking things slow and learning things correctly the first time is an important technique. It is harder to change inaccurate information and or behaviors once they have been stored in long term memory, e.g. habits.
Another important factor to consider when looking at practice is the time frame in which the practice occurs. Smaller increments of practice over time are stronger than "cramming" in one night. Anyone who has tried this method for test taking has learned that the hard way.
As stated before, emotions connected with memories also strengthen retention. Memories of trauma are very strong because of the emotions attached to them. This does not mean these memories are always completely accurate representations of what happened, however, because perceptions and other factors influence our memory and they can slowly change over time. Have you ever heard of someone catching a fish and the fish somehow gets bigger every time the story is told?
Other techniques for enhancing memory consist of using more than one of our senses to rehearse information. For example, reading a vocabulary list out loud will strengthen retention more than reading the list on the paper. Putting information together in meaningful ways such as poems, clusters, music or even rhythms also improve retention as well as retrieval of the information later. This explains why memorizing a list of nonsensical words is more difficult than remembering words that have meanings.
Memory is also strengthened by making connections and associations between new information and previously learned information. The more associations are made, the easier the information is to remember and access. Going back to our library analogy, books are easier to find when they are connected to more than one category. Therefore, if we learn a concept and then connect it will similar things we already know and distinguish it from opposites, we will be able to remember it better.
Don't forget about forgetting
When we forget things, it is often a problem of encoding. Perhaps we were distracted while trying to learn information or while we were doing something. For instance, how many times you have lost your keys or misplaced the remote control? Perhaps you were thinking about something else when you put your keys down. Distraction reduces encoding efficiency while memory requires conscious attention. Thus, distraction explains why you put your keys in the refrigerator and threw the remote control in the garbage can.
Perhaps you weren't distracted but also didn't make enough associations to strengthen the memory of where you put your keys. This leads to an inability to retrieve the memory of where you left them. You may be able to imagine several possible places they could be but can't quite remember which. A common solution to this is to "retrace your steps." In essence, "retracing your steps" goes through all the associated locations in your mind until you find the correct one that is connected to the keys' location.
Disorders that affect memory
Alzheimer's: Alzheimer's is a disease of the elderly (usually seen in patients aged 65 or older) in which the brain slowly degenerates. The symptoms are confusion, memory loss, problems with verbal expression, emotional liability (means they switch moods frequently), and a progressive loss of bodily control that leads to death. In the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, patients are unable to recognize significant others, they may wander off aimlessly, and they are not able to care for themselves.
Dementia: Dementia is defined as the loss of previous cognitive ability and function. It is a name of a symptom rather than an actual disorder. For instance, Alzheimer's is a disease that includes dementia as a symptom. People with dementia may have damage to long term memory, short term memory, or both.
Huntington's Disease: Huntington's is a degenerative disease that affects muscle coordination as well as cognitive impairment. It is usually diagnosed in between 35 and 44 years of age. The symptoms are jerky movements or abnormal posturing, personality changes, dementia, general physical instability, sleeping problems, and seizures.
Parkinson's Disease: Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system (the system responsible for coordination of movement). The symptoms are stiffness, tremor, and slowing of movement. Patients may or may not experience loss of cognitive abilities such as memory. Many people experience a slowing of cognitive function and others progress into dementia.
Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a disease most known for symptoms of visual and auditory hallucinations, however, it also involves many other cognitive deficits. Some of these symptoms are delusions, inability to experience pleasure, problems with memory, language, and problem solving to name a few. People suffering from schizophrenia believe in their delusions and or hallucinations so strongly because they are unable to distinguish true memories and reality from their symptoms of unreality. If you have ever had someone try to tell you something you remembered didn't really happen, you are a little closer to understanding how schizophrenia feels.
Key Figures & Theories

George Armitage Miller
George Armitage Miller is noted for writing the famous paper, "The magic number 7 plus or minus 2." In his paper, Miller proposed that people can hold from 5-9 items in short term memory without rehearsal. Miller coined the term "chunking," a technique used to keep more information in short term memory by clustering pieces of information together in a meaningful way. For instance, it is easier to remember three chunks of numbers 362, 109, and 597 than it is to remember each number individually, e.g. 3, 6, 2, 1, 0, 9, 5, 9, 7.
Miller also helped create wordnet. Wordnet is a database for the English language that groups words into sets of synonyms. How these words are grouped is more complicated than will be explained here, but the purpose of the wordnet was to devise a model for how we store, process, and access language or semantics in the brain.
Atkinson and Shiffrin
Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin were psychologists who collaborated to formulate their own model of memory. Their theory (the Atkinson-Shiffrin model) proposed that memory consisted of 3 stages; sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory. They believed that first, we take in information through our senses (sensory memory). The information is retained for a matter of seconds before it degrades and disappears. If, however, this information is rehearsed or repeated, it is transferred to short term memory. The length of time information can remain in short term memory varies from person to person. If the information is repeated, it will stay in short term memory longer before it degrades and disappears. If the information is rehearsed enough times, it is transferred to long term memory.
Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch
Baddeley and Hitch collaborated to propose a memory theory called the model of working memory. They described the concept of working memory as having 4 parts; central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad, and episodic buffer. The phonological loop, also called an articulation loop, consists of auditory memory traces that degrade quickly. In simpler words, if we hear something, we will forget it quickly unless we rehearse or repeat what we have heard. Rehearsing refreshes the memory traces before it disappears.
The visuo-spatial sketchpad is like the phonological loop except it concerns things we see. The episodic buffer connects spatial, visual, and verbal information in chronological order. This allows us to remember pieces of a storyline in the correct order. The central executive controls all these components. It allows us to change from storing information to retrieving information or switching between tasks. It binds information together in meaningful ways, allows selective attention, and inhibits other thoughts or behaviors when needed. Another way of thinking about working memory is that we use working memory to manipulate information while we learn and complete tasks. The retention of working memory is longer than short term memory and through working memory, we decide what information needs to be transferred to long term memory.
Elizabeth Loftus
Elizabeth Loftus studies and research concern the validity of eye witness testimony and "False Memory Syndrome," the idea being that therapists convince clients that they have repressed memories of childhood abuse when in reality, they do not. Loftus also did research on the accuracy of eye witness accounts of events. In her experiment, she had people watch a video of an automobile accident. Afterwards, she asked them how fast the cars were traveling when they collided? She asked this question in different ways by replacing the verb "collided" with other verbs "smashed," "hit," "contacted," etc. Loftus found that the verb used influenced how the people in the study responded.
In a similar study, Loftus hypothesized that eye witnesses could be manipulated to remember things that were inaccurate if they were asked leading questions. In this experiment, she showed a video of an accident and then asked if the person saw any broken glass? Several people reported they had seen broken glass in the video even though there wasn't any. Therefore, Loftus concluded that eye witness testimony was not reliable.



Motivation is defined as the desire and action towards goal-directed behavior. This is an important concept in psychology as well as in business, schools, and other areas. For example, we want our children to behave and do their homework. Businesses want to get the population to buy their products. Adults may want to change the behaviors of romantic others. All of these situations are examples of times that we may want to motivate someone else to do what we want them to do. Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic.
Intrinsic Motivation: A person is intrinsically motivated if the desire for change comes from within the individual. The person may want to learn something because he or she is interested. Another person may want to accomplish a goal or task because it is something he or she feels competent at and enjoys doing.
Extrinsic: On the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes from outside the person. They are bribed to do something or they earn a prize or reward. Paychecks are extrinsic motivators. Fear of punishment and coercion are also extrinsic motivators.
Key Figures & Theories

Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who believed people were motivated by survival and other needs. The needs he identified were physiological, security, needs of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
• Physical needs: food, water, sleep
• Security/safety: shelter, safe environment
• Belongingness and love: friends, family, and intimacy
• Esteem: Respect, self-esteem, recognition
• Self-actualization: achieving an individual's full potential
He organized these needs into a triangle he called the hierarchy of needs. Maslow believed all people had an innate desire or drive to become self-actualized; however, people met their needs according to a particular order or hierarchy. The most important needs for life are those that are physically sustaining such as food, water, and shelter. Maslow stated that people had to fulfill these basic needs before other needs such as esteem and belonging could be met.

Frederick Herzberg
Frederick Herzberg proposed a two-factor theory of motivation based on his research with job satisfaction. His theory is also referred to as the motivation-hygiene theory. The motivation piece of his theory states that people are motivated towards behaviors that offer growth and personal satisfaction. Hygiene refers to physical and emotional comforts. Herzberg believed that people are motivated to avoid deprivation. For example, people work to avoid being fired or losing pay. You may notice that his two-factor theory sounds familiar to the intrinsic versus extrinsic model. Motivation would be considered intrinsic while hygiene corresponds to extrinsic motivation.
Another important piece of this theory is that motivation can give positive satisfaction but if not met, it won't necessarily create dissatisfaction. On the other hand, hygiene factors won't motivate a person to action but if they aren't met, they will cause dissatisfaction. In other words, people who get great benefits at their job won't necessarily be motivated to work harder. If they don't have any benefits, however, they will be unhappy or dissatisfied. In terms of motivation, people may have higher satisfaction at their jobs if they feel competent and are given appropriately challenging tasks. If they aren't given growth opportunities, it doesn't mean they will have a decrease in job satisfaction.
Clayton Alderfer
Clayton Alderfer expanded on Maslow's theory and categorized needs into 3 categories; existence, relatedness, and growth (ERG). Alderfer's existence need refers to physical needs such as food, water, shelter, etc. Relatedness needs are the need to have relationships with other people. Growth needs refer to the need to develop to one's full potential. You will see that these are very similar to the needs in Maslow's hierarchy. Contrary to Maslow's theory, however, Alderfer believed that needs are not met in any order but simultaneously to different degrees. Some people place more priority on "higher needs" than "lower needs," e.g. someone spends more time studying and meeting their growth needs than they spend eating or sleeping.
A final point on the ERG theory is the idea of frustration-regression. If a higher order need such as growth is not being met, an individual will regress to an easier need and focus more energy on meeting that need. Alderfer's model also accounts for how people's needs change over time based on their environment and perceptions of experience.
Douglas McGregor
Douglas McGregor proposed "Theory X" and "Theory Y" to explain motivation in the workplace. His Theory X was that people avoid work because they don't like it. (is that profound or what?) People who meet the criteria for theory x are not ambitious, they want to do the minimum of work required, and they only complete tasks for job security. On the other hand, "Theory Y" refers to people who are creative and want responsibility. These people are usually ambitious and gain satisfaction from work.
McGregor believed that if the motives behind work were understood, managers could meet workers on their level and use the correct strategies to motivate each type. For example, if you are a theory x worker, then you won't be motivated to try harder if the reward was a promotion. To you, a promotion would mean more responsibility and more work that you didn't want to do. Therefore, I would need to use tactics such as performance reviews that you would need to score highly on to keep your job.
David McClelland
David McClelland proposed the theory that people not only have needs, but they develop more needs as they mature. His theory, the acquired needs theory, consisted of 3 specific needs; achievement, affiliation, and power. Achievement is the need to master tasks and be successful. Affiliation is the need to form positive relationships. And lastly, power is the need to be in control or have authority over others.
McClelland hypothesized that our experiences, particularly our early experiences as children, determined which of these three needs would develop and to what degree. Therefore, I as an adult have a need to control others (power) then power and control were things that were reinforced as a child or something happened that made me want to control others.
Victor Vroom
Victor Vroom was responsible for the expectancy theory. This theory states that if an individual believes he or she can do something then he or she is more likely to accomplish it. Thoughts and effort are vital to this theory because if someone does not think they are able to do a task, he or she is not likely to put forth much effort. Therefore, motivation is decreased. Failure does not motivate a person to try harder. Successes, even if they are small, motivate people to improve.
Stacy Adams
Stacy Adams' theory, equity theory, is based on comparisons and equality. She believed that people were motivated if they felt they were receiving compensation that was equal to what others received. A common plot of high school depictions on television is the situation in which one student is discriminated to the point that he or she always receives low scores no matter what homework is turned in. In this plot, no one believes the student so he or she switches homework with a fellow classmate known for getting high grades. In the end, the student still gets a low grade and the A student does well despite the fact that they switched homework.
This is an example of how inequality would result in a decrease of motivation for both students. The "A" student would not feel validated for his or her effort and the other student would possibly quit. According to Stacy's theory, if there is inequality or "inequity" then individuals will increase or decrease their effort, they may contest the inequality and request fairness, or they may even quit entirely.
B. F. Skinner
Skinner believed that people are motivated by rewards. Skinner's theory, operant conditioning, concerns reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement is a stimulus that is given immediately after a behavior that will increase the likelihood that the target behavior will be repeated. Punishment is a stimulus that is given immediately after a behavior that will decrease the likelihood that the target behavior will be repeated. Reinforcement and Punishment are also further divided into 2 types, positive and negative. Positive is something that is added while negative means something has been taken away. These types are outlined in the following table:

Reinforcement Punishment
Positive Something is added to increase the likelihood a behavior will occur Something is added to decrease the likelihood a behavior will occur
Negative Something (usually unpleasant) is taken away to increase the likelihood a behavior will occur Something (usually pleasant) us taken away to decrease the likelihood a behavior will occur
An example of a powerful negative reinforcer is a screaming child. The sound is so annoying that many adults will give the child anything he or she wants in order to get the screaming to stop. The child will stop screaming (take away the piercing sound) when the adult gives him or her candy (increase likelihood that behavior occurs.) Therefore, the child used negative reinforcement to motivate the adult to action, e.g. giving candy. Unfortunately, the parent used positive reinforcement by giving in to the child which will motivate the child will have more tantrums in the future!
Steven Reiss
Steven Reiss believed that motivation was dependant on an individual's desires. Reiss identified 16 desires that he believed affected behavior, power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility.
Like Clayton Alderfer, Reiss stated these desires are very individualized. People have these desires in different combinations and in different amounts, i.e. people place a higher priority on some desires versus other desires. Reiss believed that motivation problems resulted from not taking these individualized desires into account.
Michael Apter
Michael Apter developed the reversal theory of motivation. The reversal theory is separated into 4 domains:
• Means/Ends: a person may be either motivated because he or she wants to achieve a goal or because he or she enjoys doing the activity.
• Conforming/Rebellious: this domain concerns rules. Either a person is motivated to follow the rules, or he or she wants to be free of any restrictions.
• Mastery/Sympathy: In this domain, the person is motivated by power and control or through compassion.
• Autic/Alloic (Self/Other): This means a person is motivated in self-interests or by the interest of others.
An interesting point of Apter's theory is that motivation changes and fluctuates. A person may go through a "rebellious stage" and then switch to being motivated to follow the rules. Another example is a person who is sometimes compassionate towards a pan handler and sometimes very rude towards a pan handler.
Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura coined the term "self-efficacy" to describe motivation. Self-efficacy is a person's belief in his or her ability and capability to solve a problem in any future situation. For example, if a person believes he is a brilliant scientist and can complete any scientific experiment, he has a high self-efficacy in science because he believes in his competency to perform a future experiment. Whether it is true that he is brilliant in science or not doesn't really matter, it only matters what he believes.
Bandura stated that self-efficacy influenced motivation of a person's goals, actions, and successes (or failures) in life. For example, if your self-efficacy in an area is much lower than your ability, you will not be motivated to challenge yourself or improve. If your self-efficacy in an area is much higher than your ability, you may be motivated at first but then will set goals that are too high and fail which also leads to a decrease in motivation. The ideal self-efficacy is slightly above a person's ability: high enough to be challenging while still being realistic.
Another important contribution from Bandura is his theory of social learning. He stated that people will repeat behaviors that they see others do if they also see a reward given. Thus, people are motivated to copy others actions because they believe they will be rewarded also.
Motivational-Interviewing is a therapeutic technique developed by William Miller and Steven Rollnick. Their theory of motivation is that people are motivated to change when there is a discrepancy from where they are at the present moment to where they want to be. Part of motivational-interviewing is to emphasize this discrepancy without confrontation. In motivational-interviewing, confrontation is viewed as counter-productive because it elicits defensiveness or resistance to change. The idea is to get the person to identify their own discrepancy and desire to change rather than the therapist telling them what to do. Consider the following scenario.
A man comes to therapy involuntarily because he is court ordered from receiving a DUI. The man does not want to be there so one goal of therapy is to get him to change his attitude while another goal is for him to realize the effects of drinking alcohol on his behavior. In regards to the man's DUI, the therapist may ask him what he likes about drinking alcohol. Then the therapist would ask if there are any things he doesn't like about drinking alcohol. This leads the man to identify the pros and cons of his own behavior and hopefully the costs (or discrepancy) will motivate him to want to decrease or quit drinking alcohol.


Personality is defined as a person's unique behavioral and cognitive patterns; OR, a person's unique consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. In describing personality, theorists attempt to answer the following questions.
• Freedom versus Determinism:
Are our behaviors determined by forces we cannot control or are we free to control our own behaviors?
• Heredity versus Environment:
Is our personality shaped solely by genetics, the environment we grow up in, or both?
• Uniqueness versus Universality:
Are people unique or similar in comparison with one another?
• Active versus Reactive:
Do we choose behavior on our own volition or do people simply react to their environment?
• Optimistic versus Pessimistic:
Can people change their personalities or do they have to accept themselves the way they are and remain the same?
Key Figures & Theories

Gordon Allport
Gordon Allport was an American psychologist who focused on individuals personalities. Allport is sometimes referred to as the founder of personality psychology. He believed that the study of personality could be characterized in 2 ways. The first, nomothetic, refers to traits and rules of personality that can be generalized to large amounts and types of people. The second, idiographic psychology, states that there are characteristics that are unique to the individual. Thus, Allport attempted to explain personality be answering the question of uniqueness versus universality.
Allport developed the trait theory of personality. He did this by looking through a dictionary and writing down any terms that described a person's personality. He then divided these terms into 3 types of traits; cardinal, central and secondary.

• Cardinal trait - This refers to a trait that dominates the individual's life, personality and behaviors. This type of trait is uncommon because people usually have more than 1 trait that shapes their lives.
• Central trait - These are traits that everyone has to one degree or another.
• Secondary trait - These characteristics are unique to the individual.
Allport also coined the words genotype and phenotype. Genotype is a trait that a person has within themselves that determines their behaviors with others. Phenotypes are observable aspects of how the individual relates to the world. For example, genotypes can be values, likes or dislikes. A phenotype for someone with a personality disorder is a pattern of disturbed or inappropriate relationships with others.
Carl Jung
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist who was most notable for dream analysis, but he also illustrated a theory of personality. Like Allport, Jung also answers the question of uniqueness versus universality in his theory.
Jung believed that everyone had particular unlearned yearnings or archetypes. For example, the mother archetype has a yearning or need to nurture others. In other words, an archetype is a model, prototype, or stereotype that is used as a structural component to a developing personality. Some examples of Jung's archetypes were:
• The Mother: feeding, soothing and nurturing.
• The Self: spiritual connection to the universe
• The Shadow: dark, unknown and mysterious part
• The Persona: public mask
• The Child: birth and beginnings
• The Trickster: deceiving
• The Scarecrow: outcast
• The Sage: knowledge and guidance
• The Hero: rescuer, champion

Sigmund Freud
Freud developed the model of the psyche or personality composed of the Id, Ego, and Superego. The Id works on the pleasure principle - it seeks to avoid pain and increase pleasure at any cost. It drives us to search for food when hungry, rest when tired, and other basic impulses that ensure our survival.
The Superego acts as the moral police, and demands that we act in a moral and socially appropriate manner, no matter the circumstance. It works in direct contradiction to the Id. The Ego works as the executive of the psyche, striving to find a balance between the Id's hedonism and the Superego's moralism.
Freud also believed that personalities were influenced by material held in the unconscious. His treatment consisted of helping individuals make the unconscious-conscious to understand their motives behind their emotions and behaviors. His expectation was that once people were truly aware of themselves, they could make changes to improve their functioning.
Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler was an Austrian psychologist who believed personality was not only developed due to internal processes but external processes. One of the external processes Adler believed had a significant impact on a developing personality was birth order. For example, the oldest child may have leadership capabilities, the youngest child is often overindulged and the middle child may feel squeezed-out or ignored.
Adler proposed a model of personality that defined particular patterns of behaviors. These patterns were named getting / leaning, avoiding, ruling / dominant, and socially useful. The getting / leaning type are selfish personalities who take but never or rarely give back. The avoiding type of personality does not take risks and does not enjoy much social interaction. The ruling / dominant personality will do anything to get their way and can be very manipulative. Finally, the socially useful personality is outgoing and wants to do things for the good of others.
Robert Cloninger
Robert Cloninger characterized personality by three dimensions of temperament and three types of traits. He also developed the tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ) to measure these dimensions in individuals.
The dimensions of temperament are:
• Harm Avoidance: anxious, pessimistic vs. outgoing, optimistic
• Novelty Seeking: impulsive, quick-tempered vs. rigid, slow-tempered
• Reward Dependence: warm, approval-seeking vs. cold, aloof
• Persistence, which is persevering, ambitious vs. easily discouraged (NOTE: this 4th dimension was added later)
The three types of traits are:
• Self-Directedness: reliable, purposeful vs. blaming, aimless
• Cooperativeness: tolerant, helpful vs. prejudiced, revengeful
• Self-Transcendence: self-forgetful, spiritual vs. self-conscious, materialistic
Hans Eysenck
Hans Eysenck was a British psychologist who studied intelligence and personality. His model of personality included two dimensions, extraversion (E) and neuroticism (N). He used these two dimensions on a graph to classify personality. With these two factors, the possibilities of personality can be classified into 4 types.

• High N and High E = Choleric type
• High N and Low E = Melancholic type
• Low N and High E = Sanguine type
• Low N and Low E = Phlegmatic type

Later, a third dimension of psychoticism was added.
Eysenck proposed that introverts were move internally stimulated than extroverts. Therefore extroverts seek out more external stimulation than introverts to balance their system whereas introverts try to stay away from additional stimulation so they will not become overloaded.
Raymond Cattell
Raymond Cattell was a British and American psychologist who proposed a 16 factor theory of personality. These 16 factors are outlined in the following table.
Descriptors of Low Range Primary Factor Descriptors of High Range
Impersonal, distant, cool, reserved, detached, formal, aloof (Schizothymia)
(A) Warm, outgoing, attentive to others, kindly, easy-going, participating, likes people (Affectothymia)
Concrete thinking, lower general mental capacity, less intelligent, unable to handle abstract problems (Lower Scholastic Mental Capacity) Reasoning
(B) Abstract-thinking, more intelligent, bright, higher general mental capacity, fast learner (Higher Scholastic Mental Capacity)
Reactive emotionally, changeable, affected by feelings, emotionally less stable, easily upset (Lower Ego Strength) Emotional Stability
(C) Emotionally stable, adaptive, mature, faces reality calmly (Higher Ego Strength)
Deferential, cooperative, avoids conflict, submissive, humble, obedient, easily led, docile, accommodating (Submissiveness) Dominance
(E) Dominant, forceful, assertive, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, bossy (Dominance)
Serious, restrained, prudent, taciturn, introspective, silent (Desurgency) Liveliness
(F) Lively, animated, spontaneous, enthusiastic, happy go lucky, cheerful, expressive, impulsive (Surgency)

Expedient, nonconforming, disregards rules, self indulgent (Low Super Ego Strength) Rule-Consciousness
(G) Rule-conscious, dutiful, conscientious, conforming, moralistic, staid, rule bound (High Super Ego Strength)
Shy, threat-sensitive, timid, hesitant, intimidated (Threctia) Social Boldness
(H) Socially bold, venturesome, thick skinned, uninhibited (Parmia)
Utilitarian, objective, unsentimental, tough minded, self-reliant, no-nonsense, rough (Harria) Sensitivity
(I) Sensitive, aesthetic, sentimental, tender minded, intuitive, refined (Premsia)
Trusting, unsuspecting, accepting, unconditional, easy (Alaxia) Vigilance
(L) Vigilant, suspicious, skeptical, distrustful, oppositional (Protension)
Grounded, practical, prosaic, solution oriented, steady, conventional (Praxernia) Abstractedness
(M) Abstract, imaginative, absent minded, impractical, absorbed in ideas (Autia)
Forthright, genuine, artless, open, guileless, naive, unpretentious, involved (Artlessness) Privateness
(N) Private, discreet, nondisclosing, shrewd, polished, worldly, astute, diplomatic (Shrewdness)
Self-Assured, unworried, complacent, secure, free of guilt, confident, self satisfied (Untroubled) Apprehension
(O) Apprehensive, self doubting, worried, guilt prone, insecure, worrying, self blaming (Guilt Proneness)
Traditional, attached to familiar, conservative, respecting traditional ideas (Conservatism) Openness to Change
(Q1) Open to change, experimental, liberal, analytical, critical, free thinking, flexibility (Radicalism)
Group-oriented, affiliative, a joiner and follower dependent (Group Adherence) Self-Reliance
(Q2) Self-reliant, solitary, resourceful, individualistic, self sufficient (Self-Sufficiency)
Tolerates disorder, unexacting, flexible, undisciplined, lax, self-conflict, impulsive, careless of social rules, uncontrolled (Low Integration) Perfectionism
(Q3) Perfectionistic, organized, compulsive, self-disciplined, socially precise, exacting will power, control, self-sentimental (High Self-Concept Control)
Relaxed, placid, tranquil, torpid, patient, composed low drive (Low Ergic Tension) Tension
(Q4) Tense, high energy, impatient, driven, frustrated, over wrought, time driven. (High Ergic Tension)
Primary Factors and Descriptors in Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model (Adapted From Conn & Rieke, 1994).

Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who developed the theory of classical conditioning to describe behavior. His theory endorses a behavioral approach to personality and states that people simply respond to their given environments and do not consciously choose any given behavior. His theory is concerned with the question of activity versus reactivity.
Pavlov was actually a physician who was studying gastric functioning in dogs by examining their saliva in various feeding conditions. During some of his experiments, Pavlov observed that the dogs began to salivate before they were even given any food. Upon further investigation, Pavlov discovered that the dogs salivated in response to hearing a sound from the mechanism that delivered the food. Pavlov realized something 'unusual' was occurring because he knew that dogs don't instinctively salivate in response to a sound.
After further investigation, Pavlov realized that the dogs "learned" that every time they heard that sound, they were about to be fed. This "pairing" of a stimulus that naturally caused a biological response with another stimulus that did not reflexively cause a response is the essence of classical conditioning. The vital part is the pairing of the two stimuli that precedes the conditioning of a reflexive response to the neutral stimulus.
Conditioned responses are not permanent however. Upon further investigation, Pavlov discovered that after several times of ringing the bell without giving dogs food that the dogs would re-learn that the bell was no longer associated with being fed. This process is called extinction. If the conditioned response is never paired again with the neutral stimulus then the conditioned response will fade and then disappear.
B.F. Skinner
B.F. Skinner was also a behaviorist, however, unlike Pavlov, who believed behaviors were involuntary reactions to the environment, Skinner believed behaviors were voluntary. Skinner illustrated this concept through his operant conditioning theory. This theory states that people perform behaviors because they are reinforced or punished to do so.
Reinforcement is something that increases the likelihood that a behavior will continue. Punishment is something that decreases the likelihood that a behavior will continue. Both Reinforcement and punishment have two types, positive and negative. Normally when we hear the word "negative," we think it is something bad. In this case however, negative simply means that something has been taken away. Positive means that something has been added. The following table illustrates this relationship.

Reinforcement Punishment
Positive Something is added to increase the likelihood a behavior will occur Something is added to decrease the likelihood a behavior will occur
Negative Something is taken away to increase the likelihood a behavior will occur Something is taken away to decrease the likelihood a behavior will occur
An example of a powerful negative reinforcer is a screaming child. The sound is so annoying that many adults will give the child anything he or she wants in order to get the screaming to stop. The child will stop screaming (take away the piercing sound) when the adult gives him or her candy (increase likelihood that behavior occurs). Children use this technique with adults every day. It doesn't take a psychologist to understand how to change behavior!
Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura was a psychologist most noted for this theory of social learning. The main idea of the social learning theory is that people learn by watching what other people do and then copy that behavior. This is called modeling. Bandura can also be thought of as a "nurture" oriented theorist. In response to the question of whether our personalities are the result or genetics or our environment, he would say we act the ways we do because we are nurtured to act in those ways.

John Holland
John Holland developed a model of 6 personality types that is mostly used in career counseling. These 6 personality types are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
• Realistic: likes to work with animals, tools, machines, and is practical and realistic.
• Investigative: likes math, science, is precise and intellectual.
• Artistic: likes creative activities, is very artistic, expressive, and avoids repetition.
• Social: likes to help and be around people. Is trustworthy, friendly, and likes to solve social problems.
• Enterprising: likes to sell things, engage in politics and other leadership positions but does not enjoy analytic activities.
• Conventional: enjoys working with numbers and structured activities.

Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow was a Humanistic Psychologist who believed personality was based on meeting survival and other needs. His theory answers the question of uniqueness versus universality because the needs he identified are universal to all people. The needs he identified were physiological, security, needs of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
• Physical needs: food, water, sleep
• Security/safety: shelter, safe environment
• Belongingness and love: friends, family, and intimacy
• Esteem: Respect, self-esteem, recognition
• Self-actualization: achieving an individual's full potential
He organized these needs into a triangle he called the Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed all people had an innate desire or drive to become self-actualized; however, people met their needs according to a particular order or hierarchy. The most important needs for life are those that are physically sustaining such as food, water, and shelter.
Maslow stated that people had to fulfill these basic needs before other needs such as esteem and belonging could be met. Therefore, personality could be characterized partly by understanding where on the chart of needs an individual was located. For example, if a person is spending the majority of his or her time meeting physical needs, their personality will not reflect needs or values of intimate relationships because that need is located higher on the triangle.
Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers also focused on the question of uniqueness versus universality. Unlike Maslow who endorsed universality, Rogers endorsed the individual's uniqueness. His technique is called "client-centered" because of this focus on the individual. Rogers believed that clients were the experts of their own lives and had the answers they needed to solve their own problems but just needed support in realizing this fact.
Rogers believed that all a therapist needed to do was provide unconditional positive regard, i.e. accepted the client's feelings without reservation or judgment, and the client would be able to rely on his or her own inner strengths and personality to solve problems.
Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman
Friedman and Rosenman coined the terms Type A and Type B personality. A Type A personality is a set of behavioral features favoring achievement, competition, time urgency, impatience and hostility. Researchers have found that Type A characteristics are correlated with a higher risk of heart disease in these individuals. In contrast, individuals with Type B personality are relaxed, patient and easy-going.


There are several different assessments that psychologists use to assess personality. Here are a few of the more popular personality inventories.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): This test consists of a series of cards with different pictures. The object is for the person to tell a story about what he or she thinks is occurring in the picture. The assumption is that the person will "project" which is that he or she will use the picture to talk about what has happened or is significant to them.
Rorschach: This assessment consists of a series of ambiguous ink blots and the psychologist asks the patient what he or she sees in the ink blots. This is similar to looking at clouds in the sky and talking about what the clouds look like. Similar to the TAT, the assumption is that the individual will "project" their issues, struggles or delusions onto the picture.
MMPI II: The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a long test consisting of over 500 statements such as "I hear things that other people cannot hear." Each question can be answered either true or false. Results are shown according to 10 scales. These scales are outlined in the following table:
Number Abbreviation Description What is Measured No. of Items
1 Hs Hypochondriasis
Concern with bodily symptoms 32
2 D Depression
Depressive Symptoms 57
3 Hy Hysteria
Awareness of problems and vulnerabilities 60
4 Pd Psychopathic Deviate
Conflict, struggle, anger, respect for society's rules 50
5 MF Masculinity/Femininity
Stereotypical masculine or feminine interests/behaviors 56
6 Pa Paranoia
Level of trust, suspiciousness, sensitivity 40
7 Pt Psychasthenia
Worry, Anxiety, tension, doubts, obsessiveness 48
8 Sc Schizophrenia
Odd thinking and social alienation 78
9 Ma Hypomania
Level of excitability 46
0 Si Social Introversion
People orientation 69
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: this assessment is also used in career counseling and is another personality inventory that measures personality according to 4 dichotomies. These are introversion (I) vs extroversion (E), sensing (S) vs intuition (N), thinking (T) vs feeling (F), and judgment (J) vs perception (P). There are 16 possible combinations using these dichotomies. David Kiersey named these possible personality types in the following table:





Personality Disorders

The following disorders are unhealthy patterns of behaviors that require treatment. Usually these disorders are not "cured" per se, however, individuals suffering from personality disorders can be taught coping skills to help them cope with their symptoms. Personality disorders are classified into 3 clusters of symptoms; A, B, and C.
Cluster A: these disorders consists of odd, eccentric thinking or behaviors
• Paranoid personality disorder
• Schizoid personality disorder
• Schizotypal personality disorder
Cluster B: these disorders consist of dramatic, overly emotional thinking or behavior.
• Antisocial personality disorder
• Borderline personality disorder
• Histrionic personality disorder
• Narcissistic personality disorder
Cluster C: these disorders consist of anxious, fearful thinking or behavior.
• Avoidant personality disorder
• Dependent personality disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Sensation and Perception

Sensation and perception are vital parts of how we make contact with the outside world. Sensations can be defined as the passive process of bringing information from the outside world into the body and to the brain. The process is passive in the sense that we do not have to be consciously engaging in a "sensing" process.
In addition, when discussing Sensation, we're really referring to the 5 physical senses; taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell.
Some theorists have also added a 6th sense (and no, it's not the ability to see dead people) called intuition. Intuition is similar to instinct and is defined as an ability to be able to perceive something without having to discover it or perceive it. For example, sometimes we are able to sense danger without really knowing all the reasons why.
Perception can be defined as the active process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting the information brought to the brain by the senses. Perception varies from one individual to the next and is largely based on past experiences.
As you can imagine, Sensation and Perception work together - one isn't much good without the other. Let's look at how they function together:
Sensation occurs in the following way:
• sensory organs absorb energy from a physical stimulus in the environment.
• sensory receptors convert this energy into neural impulses and send them to the brain.
Perception occurs in the following way:
• the brain organizes the information and translates it into something meaningful.
In order to understand how they work together, we need to determine the meaning of "meaningful". How do we know what information is important and should be focused on?
Selective Attention - process of discriminating between what is important & is irrelevant (Seems redundant: selective-attention?), and is influenced by motivation. For example - students in class should focus on what the teachers are saying and the overheads being presented. Students walking by the classroom may focus on people in the room, who is the teacher, etc., and not the same thing the students in the class.
Perceptual Expectancy - how we perceive the world is a function of our past experiences, culture, and biological makeup. For example, as an American, when I look at a highway, I expect to see cars, trucks, etc, NOT boats. But someone from a different country with different experiences and history may not have any idea what to expect and thus be surprised when they see cars go driving by.
Sensation and Perception together can be referred to as Psychophysics, which can be defined as, the study of how physical stimuli are translated into psychological experience. For a more thorough explanation of psychophysics,
The Five Senses

This section is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of how we are able to sense things, but it is meant to be a very basic summary. These processes will be explained as a series of steps in each section.
There are many parts of an eye but the basic ones are the cornea, iris, retina, optic nerve and pupil.

• Our eye is stimulated by various wavelengths of light. The different wavelengths are responsible for the diversity of colors we see. There are many other types of waves that our eye cannot detect.
• The light passes through the cornea, a clear protective covering of the eye.
• The light passes through a hole in the iris (the colored part). This hole is also called the pupil. The size of the pupil changes depending upon how bright the environment is. In the daytime, it will be smaller to prevent the eye from receiving too much light. At night, or in the dark, the pupil widens to allow as much light as possible into the eye.
• The light passes through the lens which is located right behind the pupil. The lens of the eye is similar to the lens on a camera, however, it is much more efficient. It accommodates quickly depending upon whether the image is close or far away, similar to how a person needs to focus the lens of a camera.
• The image finally reaches the retina. The retina is located towards the back of the eye and it consists of 2 types of cells; rods and cones. Rods differentiate black and white and grays. Cones are the cells responsible for differentiating color.
The main parts of the ear are the pinna, auditory canal, eardrum, hammer, anvil, stirrup, cochlea, vestibular system and auditory nerve. (see below)

• Sounds are actually series of vibrations that are picked up and interpreted by our ears and brain. In the first step, the vibrations are picked up by our outer ear or pinna and are then passed through the auditory canal to the tympanic membrane (ear drum).
• Our ear drum vibrates according to the intensity of the sound. Lower sounds cause more and bigger vibrations than softer sounds. Then these vibrations are passed to the middle ear which is made up of three bones, the anvil, hammer, and stirrup.
• These three bones transfer the vibrations to the inner ear which consists of the cochlea and semicircular canals. The inner ear is responsible for translating the vibrations into information that can be processed by the brain via the auditory nerve. This explanation is overly simplified of course when the process is actually very complex.
• Another vital function of the ear concerns our sense of balance. This process involves tiny crystals called otoliths in the semicircular canals. They are motion sensitive and move as our head and body shifts from side to side. This explains why when an individual has a severe ear infection, their sense of balance is affected.
Smell and Taste
Smell and Taste are somewhat related. Have you ever noticed that when your nose is stuffy things taste differently? This is because we use our sense of smell when we taste things. Lets overview our sense of smell first.
Here is an illustration of what the nose looks like on the inside. Our nose is covered with thousands of olfactory cells in the nasal cavity. Groups of these olfactory cells are sensitive to particular odors that help us differentiate between various smells. The responses of these cells are then transmitted and processed in the corresponding part of the brain responsible for smell.

An additional interesting fact about the sense of smell is that we have a very good memory of smells. As far as memory is concerned, a scent is the strongest association we have for recall of particular memories. Just think of the smells of Christmas time or other holiday smells and how they bring back strong memories of past experiences.
Our sense of smell and taste are also important survival mechanisms. For example, it prevents us from eating rotten food that could make us sick. If you have ever gotten food poisoning from something, even if it is prepared correctly in the future, it would be hard to eat it again because the memory of being sick from it is so strong.
Our sense of taste is sensitive to 4 basic tastes; bitter, salty, sweet, and sour. Some theorists have added a fifth taste, savory, to that list. We have over 10,000 taste receptor cells on our tongue and they wear out and are replaced approx. every ten days. The specific taste receptors for the basic tastes of bitter, salty, sweet and sour are located in certain places on our tongue. (see figure below.) Some people have more sensitive taste receptors than others. As explained previously, our sense of smell and taste combine when we eat something and this information is processed in the brain and identified as a particular taste.

Our sense of touch takes into account 4 different pieces of information; pressure, temperature, touch or texture, and pain. Each of these factors is vital for the combined sense of touch. For example, if you cannot sense pressure, you would not be able to hold a glass because you would either hold it so loosely that you would drop it, or so tightly that it would shatter. Our sense of temperature keeps us from holding items that are too hot and could cause burns, or too cold that would cause frost bite. Our sense of pain is also vital because it alerts us that there is a problem or infection that needs treatment.

Key Theories & People

A gestalt is defined as an object, idea, or experience as being more than the sum of its parts. The theorists of gestalt perceptional laws were Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kφhler, and Kurt Koffka. The art of M.C. Escher and Bev Doolittle are good examples of gestalt paintings.
The following are several terms used in our perception of gestalts, i.e. the world around us.
• Proximity: we group things that are close together instead of keeping them separate.
• Closure: we ignore gaps and complete or fill them in based on our experiences to define an object.
• Similarity: we tend to group items that are similar.
• Simplicity: we see figures as simplistically as possible.
• Continuation: we see lines or shapes as continuing through other forms instead of stopping.
• Figure and Ground: we tend to separate items as foreground, ground, or background.
• Context: we process information or stimuli based on the context they occur in. For example, if the A and the L seen below were seen in a different scenario without the other letters, we might not process them as even being letters at all.
The following picture demonstrates some Gestalt concepts.

Because of these gestalt principles, we can be tricked into perceiving things are real or possible when they are not. These are called optical illusions. Here are some examples:


Every living thing on the earth encounters stress in one degree or another. Stress is defined as emotional, mental or physical strain in response to a stressor (event, person, situation, thing). Stress manifests with particular symptoms such as anxiety, worry, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Stress can also result in physical symptoms such as increased adrenaline, muscular tension, stomach pain, and exhaustion. Stress over a long period of time has also been correlated with increased risk for heart disease and cancer.
Like the donkey in this picture, too much stress disables even resilient individuals. The difficulty is not in the individual per se, but the stress overloads the individual's ability to cope. In the case of the donkey, some things are just too heavy.
However, it's important to keep in mind that not all stress is bad. In fact, there's a type of stress that's actually good for us. It's true! We'll cover this a bit later.
There are three types of coping with stress: emotion-focused, problem-focused and avoidance. Emotion-focused is a coping style in which the individual tries to diminish his or her negative emotions resulting from stress. Problem-focused is a coping style in which the individual faces the problem head on, i.e. the person actively takes action to fix or resolve the problem. Avoidance coping is avoiding emotions and solutions to problems in hopes that they will both disappear on their own.
To illustrate these styles, consider the following scenario:
Tony works in the bakery in a local grocery store. Tony was baking a big batch of cookies for a fundraiser but he mistook salt for sugar and put 5 cups of salt in the recipe. Tony experiences stress because he doesn't have very much time left to complete the order. Now, let's look at this scenario using the three different styles...
• Emotion-focused: Tony sits down and takes several cleansing breaths to calm down. Tony also turns on some music to distract himself from his anxiety.
• Problem-focused: Tony quickly empties the mixer and starts over. Tony also places a phone call to the customer and apologizes because he is 15 minutes behind schedule.
• Avoidant: Tony keeps following the recipe, adds extra Stieva and hopes no one will notice.

Traumatic Stress

The worst form of stress results from traumatic events. Acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are both disorders resulting from trauma. Posttraumatic stress disorder has also been referred to as "shell shock" (a traumatic disorder from engaging in war combat.) Other traumatic events may include: car or other similar accidents, rape or assault, witnessing a violent crime, bank robbery or other hostage situations, kidnapping, any form of child abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters, unexpected death of a significant person, learning of a physical illness, and other highly traumatic events not mentioned.
The symptoms of traumatic stress disorders are nightmares, flashbacks (intense remembering of the event), attempts to avoid the memory, denial, high anxiety, depression, depersonalization or derealization (the feeling that one is in a dream or watching themselves from outside their body), etc.
Not everyone that experiences a traumatic event will develop a stress disorder. Certain factors increase the risk that a personal will develop a stress disorder. These factors are: low resistance, no social or family support, recurrent trauma over a long period of time, age, unhealthy coping skills, and no treatment. The faster treatment is available to people who have experienced trauma, the lower the risk is for developing stress disorders. In contrast, the longer people are in denial about their traumatic experience, the more likely they are to develop a stress disorder and the more difficult treatment becomes.
It should also be noted, however, that everyone who experiences trauma will have resulting reactions and emotions such as shock and or denial in the first 24 hours to a few days. This is a normal reaction to trauma and does not mean one is weak or flawed. Referring again back to the donkey in the picture, some things are just too heavy.
Key Figures & Theories

Hans Selye
Hans Selye was an endocrinologist, a type of specialist who treats disorders connected with glands and hormones in the body. Selye coined the word "stress" to refer to inappropriate physical reactions to any demand. He further divided this term into 2 types of stress, eustress and distress. Eustress is good stress, i.e. stress that motivates and improves function. Distress is overwhelming stress that results in anxiety, depression, and the other symptoms mentioned above.
Selye also developed the general adaptation syndrome. This consists of three stages. In the alarm stage, the individual has a "flight or fight" response and his or her ability to cope with the stressor increases. This ability continues to increase in the resistance stage until the individual starts to tire, wear down and become exhausted (exhaustion stage.)
Original picture: Teaching Today's Health Chapter 6: Mental Health and Stress Reduction
Richard Lazarus
Richard Lazarus argued that stress is unique to each individual and is dependant on appraisal (perception of stress). Lazarus believed that an individual appraises a situation and if it is stressful, the person starts using coping skills. He described two types of coping styles. The first one, problem solving, consists of managing the problem. The second, emotion-focused coping, is used to manage the negative emotions resulting from the stress.
Walter Cannon
Walter B. Cannon was an American Physiologist who coined the phrase "fight or flight" and the word homeostasis. "Fight or flight" refers to the response that animals and people have to a threatening situation. During "fight or flight" people are able to exert a great deal of energy in a short period of time due to increased blood flow, oxygen, and glucose stores. This response can cause damage to the body, however, it is a survival mechanism that can save the person's life. This explains why prolonged stress causes such a wide variety of physical symptoms.

Cox and MacKay
Cox and MacKay devised a model of stress that reflected the eustress of Hans Selye. Their model differed from the general adaptation model in that it illustrated the level of stress affects on performance. Cox and MacKay stated that too little stress resulted in boredom and low performance. Too high stress results in exhaustion and low performance. Optimum performance is a balance where stress is neither to high or too low.

Bruce McEwin
Bruce McEwin described stress effects on the body by a term he called allostatic load. An allostatic load is a reflection of how stress hormones such as cortisol are affecting the immune system. When the body experiences stress, it secretes a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol raises the body's blood sugar in preparation for "fight or flight." Chronically high cortisol levels alter the immune system so that the body cannot fight disease effectively.
This chronically high level of cortisol and lowered immune function in response to stress is defined as a high allostatic load. High levels of cortisol can also damage cells in the brain that regulate the cortisol levels resulting in a lowered resistance to stress.
Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman
Friedman and Rosenman identified a high risk personality for stress induced illnesses called the Type A personality. A Type A personality is a set of behavioral features favoring achievement, competition, time urgency, impatience and hostility. Researchers have found that Type A characteristics are correlated with a higher risk of heart disease in these individuals.
Sarfraz Mayo
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