Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Drug Epidemic

As an individual who has had the majority of deaths in their family be related to drug abuse, drugs do make my “blood boil” more than the average person, but at the same time I have more of an understanding than most people do for drug addicts and their addictionsIn all of the cases of family members who have passed away in my family, their addiction started off with alcohol being part of their life since they were little. However, out of all of my father’s siblings, there are 3 out of 8, that have not succumb to the life of addiction, alcohol and opioids. Many opioid addictions start with chronic pain, surgeries, or some type of an issue that is prescribed medication to relieve pain. Every day, approximately 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. These overdoses could be from prescription pain relievers, heroin or even synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Unfortunately for many circumstances, the addiction starts with prescription pain pills, moves onto heroin when their prescription runs out. Even in more horrible cases, fentanyl is laced in with many party type drugs or even heroin which can instantly kill an individual. The drug epidemic in America is a huge issue, and continues to become more out of control. 

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Self Motivation

When looking into self-control, this made me evaluate my own self-control in several situations, as well as my self-motivation. Everyone has motivation; however, motivation varies from person to person and each situation. After reading an article by Dr. Stevens from the University of California, I thoroughly liked how he described motivation as a gap. This “gap” is the difference between what you actually have/ need and what your ideal is. Motivation is working on trying to minimize that gap as much as possible. Self-control goes hand and hand with self-motivation. It is working towards whatever goal is necessary to you by motivating yourself in a situation that may not appear possible. When you are able to have self-control, you can work more quickly, or harder towards the specific goal or ideal situation. There is an inner drive that forces you to work harder. 
http://web.csulb.edu/~tstevens/self-motivation.htm

Tonic Immobility

The freeze response is an opportunity to assess the threat, scan the environment, and prepare for whatever you need to do to survive. It’s different than the flight or fight response, which is a sympathetically driven stress response that results in an increase in heart rate, respiration, and pupil dilation. Freezing, on the other hand, is associated with the slowing of the heart rate and a reduction in body sway. It’s a strange combination of tense muscles and slowing down. 

Tonic immobility occurs when an animal “perceives little chance of escaping or winning a fight”. Tonic immobility is like paralysis. It’s when the freeze response lasts longer than is necessary to benefit the situation, or could be thought of as missed opportunity to fight or flee. It’s when the gunman is across the store, distracted by the noise happening far away and you are right next to the door and could get out, but you can’t because you are frozen, unable to change position. Tonic immobility can have long lasting effects, including anxiety and dissociation.

Check out this article about tonic immobility regarding victims of sexual assault:




Incentives

When people are motivated to do something it is either extrinsic motivation or intrinsic motivation. Incentives such as money is an extrinsic motivator to work for. A person may work for money because they believe that the money will give them the opportunity to buy something that the want. The worker will believe that putting in the work now will be worth it in the end when they get paid. Research states that as incentive values increase so does the motivation to attain the incentive. However research on intrinsic motivation proves that over time extrinsic motivation will be much harder to sustain rather than intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when a person is motivated to do something even when external rewards are not guaranteed or offered. This type of motivation is discussed by many athletes as being crucial in sustaining long term success. This is because athletes get paid millions of dollars and it can be very easy to lose motivation if you have everything you want externally. The best athletes have intrinsic motivation to be the best, which is what keeps them going.

Image result for extrinsic motivation vs intrinsic

Performance

There are many factors that may influence a persons performance in a given task. Some of these factors include fitness, anxiety, arousal control, situational awareness and self talk. A concept in sport psychology known as zones of optimal functioning help performers understand their own U curve. This is achieved by understanding their zones of optimal arousal to a certain point before anxiety and fear take over. The U curve is a concept by Psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson known as the Yerkes-Dodson curve. The Yerkes-Dodson law dictates that performance in a given task increases as mental and physiological states are aroused but only to a certain point. The optimal level of arousal is also known as flow state. Flow state is the most optimal mental state a human can be in. Research by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi shows that for flow state to be achieved the task at hand must be not to easy and not to difficult. Mihaly also states that when a performer is in flow state time seems distorted (speeds up or slows down), the performer has no thoughts on their mind other than the task at hand, and focus seems almost effortless. 


   

Image result for yerkes dodson law of arousal

Book Report

Edward Beck
The Influential Mind
August 7th


General Overview

The Influential Mind, by Tali Sharot, is a riveting book that curtails the ins and outs of social psychology. Each Chapter provides insight on different t types of interaction and how much our beliefs control our minds. For example, in the first chapter she speaks to counter-arguing with someone who holds an opposing belief/view and how we remain steadfast, regardless of the evidence opposing our viewpoint that we’re provided. A perfect example of that would be conversations you see online regarding gun control, climate change, or vaccines. Sharot says providing any type of opposing information will only drive the differing sides apart. She believes building a common ground is what’s necessary to influence others.

In the next chapter she touches on the power of positive reinforcement. The general consensus of that chapter was rewards work better than punishment. I’m going to test that theory wholeheartedly with my daughter!  That leads us to control, which is what she touched on in the next chapter. This hit home, and I think a lot of us can relate. Fear always appears when we have to surrender control. Personally, I feel that control is an illusion. If you think about it, what are we truly in control of? But control motivates people, so its existence is paramount.

I wonder where the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” came from. We are all fundamentally curious. We seek knowledge, which is probably one of the reasons social media and the internet became so big. It satisfies our appetite for knowledge. We’re plugged into to each other’s lives and any type of information is accessible 24/7.

Overall, Sharot feels that our emotions have great power over our decisions. The feeling of control plays a huge part in our happiness. The brain is hardwired to gravitate towards a reward, rather than pain or punishment. And we are influenced by others, yet at the same time, our actions influence others. 


Favorite part:

My favorite part was the information about the neuroscientist who wanted to test direct transmission from one human brain to another. It’s unfortunate he lived in present times. I feel as if he lived in the times of Milgram, he would’ve had the opportunity to test/try his theory. I feel like there’s a medical breakthrough waiting to be unlocked there. 


Extension:

I feel that, The Influential Mind, is a book about how we interact and affect each other. However, rather than simply speak to or about the connection, Sharot throws science behind it. It’s hard to imagine just being positive would have such a great effect on others, but the science is right there to support it. I think Carl Rogers would love Tali Sharot. 

Check out this small video on Persuasion: 

https://youtu.be/cFdCzN7RYbw  

Addiction

Addiction is an intensive craving that comes over your body and it needs what it searching for.  This can be for candy, foods, drinks, alcohol, nicotine, and so on.  The users get an addition to the feeling fro his or her drug choice.  For example when someone is addicted to heroin, the don't crave it to stick  needle in their arm or because they like doing that, they crave the euphoric and relaxing feelings that come with it.  An example of how bad addiction can get is Bassist from Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx.  Nikki overdosed one day at a party from heroin and died the ambulance picked him up and Emt's gave him two injections Narcan where he was revived.  Mr. Sixx was released from the hospital and upon returning home he shot up again.  So to rewind, Nikki died from heroin, hours later he shot up again after already dying.  You cannot  control addictions, you can only control trying something for the first time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8AHODc6phg
Image result for addiction picture

Nicotine

Nicotine has been a widely used drug since tobacco smoking began.  Nicotine is the psychoactive drug in tobacco and releases a brief feeling of relaxation.  Nicotine enhances short term memory, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.  However the short short list of positives come with many many negatives.  Depending on how you consume nicotine, many inhalants for nicotine come with severe chemicals and cancer two examples are, cigarettes, and vapes.  There is also other ways to use nicotine, another popular use is chewing tobacco, also known as dip.  Cigarettes have become less of an issue while vapors have skyrocketed.  These vapes have a large amount of nicotine in them making them very unsafe.

Caffeine

A drug commonly overlooked when you hear the word "drugs" is caffeine.  Caffeine is one of the most consumed drugs on a  day to day basis.  I myself have two to three cups of coffee a day.  There are days where I only have one, and I will get a slight headache.  If i go more than two days without coffee I get moody, sever headaches, and feel extremely groggy.  I do not stand alone either, according to a study 92% of my fellow colleagues use caffeine in any form daily.  Caffeine releases dopamine upon intake making you feel more "awake" and happy which is important for people doing tedious tasks so they can stay sharp and focused.     https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561418301341 


The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg

Angela Signore
Motivation
Professor Berg
5 August 2019

General Overview
This book by Charles Duhigg is separated into three parts, each containing specific subheadings within. The first part focuses on individual habits, the second part focuses on habits that are developed within large companies and organizations, and the final part, part three, focuses on habits that are found within a society and how they affect certain people within certain societies. Within the first part, Duhigg expresses how once individual habits are developed and formed fully, they become routine. In order for this routine to surface, the brain and the individual must engage in the habit loop. The habit loop encompasses cravings, cues, routines, and rewards. Using all of these interchangeably will result in developing long lasting habits. The second part focuses on how large corporations need habits to reach goals, fix crisis and understand the habits of consumers. Duhigg explains that in order for all of this is be obtained, these companies need to use keystone habits, if changed will have an affect on old habits, and "small wins," which helps reach long term goals by conquering smaller goals along the way. The final part, Duhigg focuses on large societal changes that have happened in history such as the Rosa Park incident and the expansion of the Saddleback Church. He explains how without the combination of strong and weak ties, movement such as the Civil rights movement would not have been possible because there would not have been different social classes together. "The Power of Habit" was informative and brings on new thoughts and understandings to its readers.

Favorite Part
My favorite part of this read was when Duhigg was explaining the case study of Eugene Pauly. Eugene was suffering and being treated for a rare case of viral encephalitis. In his case he was was suffering from memory loss and damage to the brain tissue. At that point the doctors knew there was nothing that could be done, so they were treating him with antiviral drugs. After many days in a coma, Eugene woke up unexpectedly and began recovering although his brain scans showed severe damage in the brain tissue. After some time, he returned home but his wife did not find the way he was acting to be normal so she brought him to a memory loss specialist who was Dr. Larry Squire. It just so happened that Dr. Squire had worked on a case similar to this thirty years prior when he was in graduate school. He found that Eugene was able to have conversations about life events that he had expertise in and thats where Dr. Squire began to ask questions about how habits may have influenced him and his ability to have these conversations. In a similar way, Eugene's wife would take him on a walk every day always on the same path. One day Eugene went on this walk on his own and she was afraid that he would not find his way back, but he did. After research Dr. Squire knew that it was not memory that was triggering these actions, but it was the center of the brain called the basil ganglia which is responsible for automatic responses. A habit loop is needed to let the brain know that it is okay for the basil ganglia to do the work. Duhigg explained that this loop has three parts, a cue, a routine, and a reward. He found that this too is how all habits are formed, changed, and understood.

Related
After going back through what we learned in class throughout this semester and trying to link it to this book, I decided that the best topic to link it with is both self- control and reinforcements. Both are needed to form habits and accomplish the habit loop. Being able to have self- control helps keep yourself on task along with being able to understand the cues when they come. Alongside self- control comes the reinforcers. Having reinforcers, such as positive reinforcement are similar to the rewards received at the end of the habit loop. The positive reinforcement it what keeps a person coming back for more, even when they feel they want to break the habit. They remember how good the reward, or reinforcement feels, that they continue on with their habit.


I found this video on the habit loop to be extremely informative and helpful with understanding how it works and how to put it into play into my own life. As a person who struggles with forming habits and sticking by them, I found this video full of information that can help me change my ways. I also included a quick visual to help understand the habit loop before watching the video.


Image result for habit loop


Extension
Reading this book was a new and refreshing way to understand the way that habits work on all different levels. Personally, I never thought of habits on any other level then a personal level, nor did I know all of the psychology around habits until reading this book. I have always had a problem with forming habits and keeping them, especially when it comes to healthy eating and fitness. Learning about the habit loop can help me and also encourage me to help others reach their goals by forming good habits of their own.
















Drugs

This summer with fourty hours of work a week and three classes I have turned to coffee to keep me going through out my long days. In the past I have enjoyed coffee here and there, but it has never been a regualr thing for me. After six weeks of consecutive use, I am nearing the end of my summer courses, and i feel a difference on my tolerance levels and craving for coffee. It is frightening to think I have fallen into the caffine addiction group, but the withdrawl symptoms are very real. If i do not get coffee by late afternoon, I feel a strong headache come on and begin to feel disressed. My recent addiction to coffee could be seen as a positive addiciton, since it allows me to function better while not affecting me negatively. The positive reinforcer associated with my behavior is the hightened mood and energy level when I consume coffee.

Book Report

I chose to read Against Empathy for the book report which ended up being a wonderful book that I very much enjoyed. The novel, written by Paul Bloom, discusses a higher need for moral judgment and less need for empathy. Bloom expresses the irrational behavior associated with using empathy to conceptualize situations or shape behavior. I agree with his perception of balance and the need to construct logical deliberation and rational thought to respond to various situations. I loved all the extremely interesting data and examples that he included in his literature that tied everything together so well. Below I included my vlog post that discusses my favorite part, a summary of the book, related information from class, and an extension of the topic relating to U.S. Border Patrol.






The topic of self-control caused me to think very deeply about my thought process when I am making decisions about my future. Immediate gratification, such as indulging in junk food or completing an easy task feels satisfying since you are getting rewarded without a delay in time. Noah Rasheta created a podcast with guest speaker Ellen Leanse, discussing the key to true happiness. I learned that happiness and self-control actually go hand in hand. The instant gratification most people go for, versus long term goal setting and achievement, releases two different chemicals in the brain. The instant gratification releases serotonin, which definitely boosts mood although it is not as strong as the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is released when you work hard for something, and as a result of your efforts have a finished product and euphoric feeling associated with your achievements. It is much easier to go for the easier task and not maintain stable self-control, but the outcome will be very different in the chemicals released and emotions felt. Just like Radio Lab mentioned in their section called You vs. You, you need to understand your weaknesses to overcome your limitations and succeed in your goals and aspirations. Everyone has weaknesses, but there is strength in understanding them well enough; this concept is similar to the story with Ulysses and the Sirens. Ulysses prepared himself and his troops for the weakness he may experience when the Sirens began to sing and seduce him. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg

Airah Pineda
Book Report - The Power of Habit

General Overview:
This book was a very interesting read and very beneficial as well. “The Power of Habit” talks about how people form their own unique habits. Such habits are intertwined with factors such as cues. A habit is a behavior or activity that has been involuntary applied by an individual. In other words, when people form their habits, they are usually not aware or such activities. Furthermore, this book also talks about how habits work, how are new habits created, which habits are more important than others, etc. 

In addition, the book also presents different real-life scenarios and experiences that people in real life do encounter, especially when trying to break out of a bad habit. Habits such as quitting smoking, not going to the gym as much as they really should be, binge-eating etc. In addition, this book also talks about how bad habits can be substituted by better ones and how such habits can have very positive, long-term effects. 

Favorite part: 
My favorite part is the scientific explanation behind how habits are actually produced. According to experts, the emergence of habits is due to several factors: habit loops, cues, routines, and then eventually the rewards. This discussion was my favorite part because it intricately explains how the formation of habits is a system. In other words, habits don’t just occur on their own. Habits need stimulation in order for them to emerge. In relation to a topic in class about rewards, rewards motivate people and depending what the reward is, they can then decide if they would like to continue the same activity/ behavior or not. This was my favorite part all due to the fact that it was scientifically explained and how the brain implicates this mechanism. 

Related image

Relation:
Within the "Reinforcers" class slides, it is stressed how important rewards are. Peoples' behavior are motivated by rewards. Rewards inspire people to continue old habits or not. In other words, is it really worth keeping the same habit if there is not a reward at the end. For example, will a 10-year old willingly make it a habit to clean the house every single day if he is not being rewarded for it? To simply put it, other than cues, habits are also stimulated by rewards. Depending on the reward, an individual can then decide if he or she would like to keep and continue the same habits. 

Extension:
As mentioned previously, I found this book extremely beneficial. It made me realize that there are many factors that contribute to the formation of habits. In addition, there is a thin line between bad habits and good habits. With this being said, it’s never too late to break out of old habits, especially if they are bad ones. Overall, this book served as an instructional guide. In other words, it further explains in detail what are habits as a whole and which habits are more significant than others. Personally speaking, I, myself definitely do have a few bad habits than I need to dispose of. This applies to most of us in the real world. It is all a matter or recognition as to which habits are toxic and which aren’t. 



Here is a link that further explains how Habits Loop works and how to create habits that stick: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9rjMXvVQkw

Drugs

There are several types of psychoactive chemicals (drugs), some legal and some illegal or controlled. The legal drugs include nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. Illegal drugs include amphetamines, opiates, cannabis, and cocaine. Caffeine is the most common and frequently used drug in the world. Psychoactive chemicals can be very addictive. Opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, and nicotine are highly addictive. Cannabis, caffeine, and alcohol are also addictive but not as severely. Those who are addicted to drugs feel as though they need the drugs to survive, even if they really do not. This feeling of need is called craving. People build up a tolerance to drugs, meaning they need to use more to feel the same effects. They also feel withdrawal, a feeling of severe sickness, if they stop taking them. Some people are genetically disposed to addiction. These people should be very careful when consuming psychoactive chemicals.

Drugs

There are seven kinds of psychoactive drugs with only three of them being legal. These drugs include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (all legal), amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, and opiates. I learned that caffeine is the most used psychoactive drug used in the world. After reading this statement and thinking back, I know many people who must be addicted to caffeine due to the fact that they are unable to be spoken to or get horrible headaches when they have not drank their coffee for the day. Another widely used drug today is alcohol. This kind of drug gives a feeling of euphoria when consumed keeping people always going back for more. Nicotine, a drug that is found in tobacco, is used to relax or enhance mood. Many people who become addicted to nicotine says it makes them calm and they also like the way that it makes them feel. Now a days, nicotine is so widely used especially by teenagers and young adults in high school and college. All of the people I have a close relationship are addicted to nicotine from one of the various types of cigarettes that are made today. Although you must be twenty-one to buy tobacco in the state of New Jersey now, young people still find a way to get it in their possession. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxz0vbyWpJc Commercials such as the one in the link are flooding the internet and television now, but unfortunately this addiction has become an epidemic.
Image result for vaping addiction

Drugs

A section that I found interesting was the drug lecture. In this lecture many of the drugs a extremely   addictive and when people are addicted to drugs they always have impulsive feelings that they need to take the drug. When someone is addicted to a drug they are always craving it. They only care about what it is going to do for them right then and there. They are only thinking about the drug effects and not the drug consequences. When people are craving something it is hard to have any self control at that moment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWyZDoqbCCY

Food

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what they eat. These preferences are either innate or learned. Innate food preferences are with a person since birth and may be influenced by the diet of their pregnant mother or by their genetics. If a mother drinks a lot of carrot juice during her pregnancy, her baby is more likely to enjoy eating carrots or drinking carrot juice when they are born and grow up. Learned food preferences are not inherited. They are gained from experiences eating food. If a person tries fish for the first time, they might  not like it. However, if that person tries fish several more times, they may learn to like it. That would be a learned food preference. Everyone, whether vegan or carnivorous, has their own set of food preferences which they either inherited at birth or learned later in life.

The Willpower Instinct


Quinton Battle
The Willpower Instinct Book Report
                                    The Willpower Instinct By Kelly McGonigal
General Review:
            The Willpower Instinct gives insights into willpower from different fields, such as psychology, neuroscience, economics and medicine. In the book McGonigal says willpower consist of three forces: “I will”, “I won’t”, and “I want”. This book also gives a neuroscience by gonging over how the prefrontal cortex of the brain comes in with willpower and decision making. McGonigal goes over ways humans can exercise our prefrontal cortex to have more willpower. It also gives advice to over come bad habits, avoid procrastination, stay focused and have less stress, though exercise, sleep and nutrition. In the beginning of the book McGonigal suggest the reader choose a willpower challenge and gives us   experiments to do as we are reading to see if we can get to our goal. Some examples of the experiments are meditating at least once a day, getting exercise, changing sleep schedule, etc.
Favorite Part and Relation:  
            The part I liked most about the book is the neuroscience section. This section was interesting to learn how the brain works with willpower. Willpower is the in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, this is where the “I will”, “I won’t”, and “I want” forces are. The “I will” power is in the upper left prefrontal cortex; this is the power to do what you dislike or is unpleasant. Next is the “I won’t” power which is located on the right-side prefrontal cortex. This power is the ability to say no even when every feeling is saying yes. Last, is the “I want” power and is in the middle of the prefrontal cortex, this force keeps track of your goals and desires. Without the prefrontal cortex it will alter our moral judgement, social emotions, and the way people respond to moral problems. Also, we would not be able to achieve future goals we sent for ourselves without the prefrontal cortex. This relates to the class because this is where people can fight impulsive choices. For example, we will think about what they really want and make a good decision. The prefrontal cortex sends messages throughout the body that can lower blood pressure and heat rate that can help people make better choices. If the decision is bad for a goal the prefrontal will send a message and it will feel like a punch in the gut, this will help us have self-control and make the better decision. This relates to the self-control section of the lectures. McGonigal goes over ways to improve our decision making and self-control.  
Creative:
            This is a motivation video that I really like because in the video the guy mentions a lot of things that are gone the book, and how they can make us better people, and achieve goals we set.  
Extension:
            I really like this book, it taught me a lot of new things. After reading this book I am always thinking about what I really want, and if the choice I am about to make is going to make my goal harder or not. I need to have a little self-control to reach my goal. All the consequences start to come to mind and I can ignore the impulsive choices. Also, some of the experiments that are mention in the book I find myself doing each day. The main one that I use is the meditating. When there is a tough decision, I close my eyes and control my breathing. This helps me realize what I need to do.           

The Power of Habit: Book Report

The Power of Habit