Friday, August 7, 2020

Overeating

 



Americans and Europeans view food very differently. Generally the more food a person is given, the more food a person will eat. This is a major problem in the united states because as a society, we are always in a rush. This means, when we are given a large portion of food, we will not take our time eating it, we will scarf it down, not allowing time for our stomachs to even register how much food we have eaten and tell our brains that we are full. Therefore, we overeat. In Europe, food is seen as a more of a social occasion. It is not rushed. They eat to nourish their bodies. (These are general statements, I am not saying everyone is like this. You may be an exception.) Below are 5 eating habits Americans should adapt to improve health. 

  1. Take your time when preparing food 
  2. Eat smaller portions 
  3. Take more time to eat
  4. Eat with others and have fun
  5. Eat real food 


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Temporal Motivation Theory and The Urinal Can Conundrum

    The story of Endurance exhibits the tenacity of the human spirit through the most perilous obstacles. Throughout the story, the crew had to endure treacherous voyages against unforgiving seas, subzero temperatures, above all the challenge of sharing a makeshift urinal with 21 other men. During the stay on Elephant Island waiting for Shackleton to return with help, the men huddled into a jury-rigged hut made from stones and their two remaining boats to shield themselves from the glacial winds. To combat the need for each man to braise these conditions anytime nature calls, Wild fashioned a urinal out of a 2-gallon gasoline tank. The rule was that anyone who raised its level to 2 inches or less from the top had to go out a dump it. This created a sort of risk-reward system of whether to drain the main vein or not. The men judged how full the tank by the sound it made from the last guy to use it. The more full it sounded, the more likely they were going to be the unlucky one to have to go outside to empty. If this doesn’t instantly remind you of temporal motivation equation, I don’t know what does. The equation reads as follows:

Motivation= (Expectancy x Value)/(Impulsiveness x Delay)

·        Now to make this really make sense, "Value" which refers to how rewarding the outcome would be viewed in more of a negative light since the reward the lucky winner gets is going outside in the frigid cold. "Expectancy" is the likelihood that the next golden deposit will be the one to push it over the edge which was judged by ear. "Impulsiveness" can be looked at as bladder control (the less bladder control, the higher the value). "Delay" is quite simply how long until morning. Through this equation, the men’s motivation to hold it in until morning can be calculated with some practicing herculean levels of bladder control that makes me ever grateful for indoor plumbing and heating. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk involving the peeing habits of shipwrecked sailors.

Impulsivity and Horny Rats

            In 1953, James Olds conducted a series of experiments on rats that involved the implantation of electrodes into the hypothalamus of rats. These experiments discovered the pleasure center of the brain and lead to an interesting development into the nature of impulsivity. In one experiment, the rats were given the option between two switches: one supplied the box with food and water and the other stimulated the electrode. The rats almost always chose self-stimulation with some reportedly pressing the button as often as 2000 times for 24 hours. Whether they would have actually starved themselves to death is inconclusive since they were unhooked in fear that they would do so. Judging on this precaution, I’m going to say they probably would have. The rats showed a clear favoritism towards the quicker reward of stimulation rather than debatably more important of food. This favoritism is the central idea behind impulsive choices. It is possible that their value they assigned to their immediate hunger would eventually outweigh the value they placed in the pleasure button but not before reaping consequences for undereating. However, humans are arguably more forward thinking than rats. We can recognize the benefits of later reward that could be far greater than their short term alternative.

Taste Aversion and Fireball

 I feel like everyone has that one liquor that they avoid like the plague because of one really bad night. You know that one night where you took one to several shots too many. You wake up the next day to immediately pray to Jesus through the big porcelain telephone that you’ll never drink again only to double back like a week to a month later. That’s fireball for me. To this day, I cannot take a whiff of the cinnamon whiskey without being whisked away to the backseat of my dad’s jeep swearing I had a “stomach bug” as I intermittently shared last night’s dinner with a paper bag that was keeping it together just as well as I was (poorly). What I just colorfully described is an example of taste aversion, the dislike of food due to the association with nausea. Now this association extends beyond getting off your trolley. You may have gotten food poisoning from some bad shrimp, and now you swear off the delicious sea insects solely on the one bad experience. Maybe you caught a whiff of durian, a fruit I’ve never eaten and never will because it smells like a well-used jockstrap. Regardless, all these feelings can be described under the blanket term of taste aversion.

Post #3: Incentives

I really love the topic "Incentives" because they are used frequently and in every day life. Every action has an associating behavior which leads to a positive, negative or neutral consequence. Our choices on an individual level and the government/society on a worldwide level are driven by incentives. 

Many people are positively and negatively reinforced each day without even recognizing it. Reinforcers increase the frequency of a behavior. For example, if you decide to take out the trash on a whim and you mother acknowledges your hard work around the house, you are more likely to increase this behavior; the compliment becomes desirable. This is a classic example of positive reinforcement, which gives us an incentive to continue our behavior. We are easily negatively reinforced as well. Ever took ibuprofen or Tylenol for a massive headache? That is a classic example of negative reinforcement as you are increasing the behavior of pill swallowing to TAKE AWAY the pounding, throbbing headache. 

Intrinsic and extrinsic behaviors play a great factor in the incentive world as well. You can be either intrinsically motivated to perform a task, which means that the motivation is drawn from your own inquisitiveness and willing to learn, or extrinsically motivated to do something, which typically involves primary or secondary gains such as food, water, stickers or prizes. However, this concept is not as straightforward as it might appear as many people are driven by both. For example, an adult is deciding on taking up a job offer. They might love their profession and be intrinsically motivated to work for their own purposes but the incentive involving a paycheck might be the extrinsic motivating factor that make or breaks the deal. While extrinsic incentives tend to decrease already intrinsic desires and interests, incentives can help maintain or increase performance as seen in the example above.

The video below takes a unique view on incentive's and how video games are the perfect example of this. It is extremely relatable and contains many side facts (such as an analogy regarding poverty) that brings the topic together. 


Book Report on The Influential Mind

The Influential Mind was an incredible exploration of human nature and how influence plays a vital role in all that we do. Tali Sharot, a neuroscientist, depicts the core elements that govern how our mind and brains functions. The book mapped out key factors such as emotion, incentives, agency, curiosity, and other peoples’ influence on how we think and behavior. Through our own language, expressions, and actions we directly influence others without even knowing it. Through the emotional storyline, Sharot depicted this information in a way that was easy to relate to, comprehend, and learn. Due to the great influence each of us has on one another, Sharot provides insight on how to influence other’s in a positive and more effective way. 

 

One of the solutions Sharot highlighted was that immediate rewards work better than threats for motivating people to act.As humans, we have circuits in our brain that choose reliability over unreliability and pleasure over pain. Motivating others with a reliable and pleasurable reward, is a more effective approach than threats. This correlates directly back to our course slides on reinforcers. When given a reward, people are more likely to be influenced and follow through with the desired behavior. Human nature is designed to choose pleasure over pain. Immediate pleasurable rewards are an impactful way on influencing others.


 Six Advantages of Hyperbolic Discounting...And What The Heck Is It ... 


Another tool Sharot suggested was to offer control to someone rather than giving them orders. Majority of people become anxious and stressed when control is removed from their lives. We can work with the human nature of control by providing people with the option of choice. When people have the ability to choose their own behavior and actions, they experience the sense of control, and therefore they are more open to being influenced. Effectance is a topic covered in class that talks about an individual’s need to actively control their environment. When I wake up and decide I am going to work out today, I made that decision on my own terms. This is much more effective than someone waking me up and ordering me to go workout.


Sense of Control Linked with Feeling Younger | The Oldish


In addition, Sharot stressed that humans will pay closer attention to something that highlights the possibility of progress, rather than disaster. Our human emotions lean towards hope rather than fear. Thus, if we highlight positive and hopeful messages, it is easier to influence others.  This could be related to selecting a mate. When individuals select a mate, they look at the possibility of progress. Men tend to select a partner based on good looks, indicating fertility, and an increase in chance of offspring. Women tend to select a partner based on financial prospects, ambitious, and security, which will increase their chance of survival. We pay closer attention to factors that increase the possibility of growth and prosperity, rather than doom and disaster.


Value rotation signals a rebound in global economic growth, not a ... 


One of my favorite parts of the book that Sharot presents is the power of emotions in humans. The easiest way to communicate with someone is through emotion. This process is instant and rather effortless. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have a tremendous impact on how others feel around you. 

 

For example, I am in a positive and euphoric mood. I just had a good adrenaline-rushing workout and a delicious and fulfilling meal. I am headed to the beach for the rest of the day with my close friend. When my friend arrives at my house, I instantaneously feel that something is wrong. Through his facial expressions and posture, I can easily identify that something is not right. As he greets me, his tone of voice and language illustrate a state of anger. My empathy towards all that I am perceiving cause my high spirits to decline. As he explains what has happened, I first begin to feel sorry and terrible about the situation and by the end of the story I am resentful for him about the situation. Before all of this my emotions were at a high, yet the power of my friends’ emotions on my own, influenced my entire state. Sharot explains, that our brains are designed in a way to transmit emotions quickly to one another. Emotions convey important information about around surrounding environment. If this example involved fear, I would become afraid because my brain detects possible danger. If the example involved excited, I would become excited due to the possibility of future rewards.  

 

Our emotion nature can relate back to all the course modules in one way or another. When looking at intrinsically motivated behavior, we base this one the three different sources of curiosity, effectance, and flow. Curiosity, as a source of intrinsic motivations, enables one in exploring and learning about their environment. A major way individuals explore and learn about their environment is through studying and interpreting the emotions of others. Effectance refers to an individual’s need to actively control their environment. We control our environment largely through emotion. Lastly, flow refers to a pleasurable state that stems from being involved. Our emotions change based on the surroundings of our environment. We tend to be attracted to those people or things that give us pleasure, and we avoid people and things that bring us pain. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-rRgpPbR5w (Why You Feel What You Feel--Power of Emotion)


Overall, the book does an incredible job at depicting human nature and our wants and needs. The Influential Mindgives you great insight on how we influence others and how we are influenced by others and Sharot provides numerous solutions on how we can more effectively influence our surroundings. The Sharot believes, once we all have a deeper comprehension of the workings of the brain and mind, it can therefore help us in creating impact and avoiding errors when trying to change others.

 

Post #2: Drugs

Substance/alcohol dependency has become a huge issue in society as many individuals get addicted to certain types of psychoactive drugs such as cannabis (marijuana), nicotine, cocaine, opiates and more. In the DSM-5 substance and alcohol use and induced disorders are classified under Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders as the problem is prevalent in society, especially among the younger generations in which an adolescent or young adult's brain is not fully developed. This lack of development in the prefrontal cortex (frontal lobe) has lead to some seemingly foolish and impulsive behaviors such as engaging in substance or alcohol use. In the PowerPoint labeled "drugs", each slide covers a different type of drug and the consequence from taking said drug. A pattern I noticed is that many people reported elevated moods and a sense of serenity and relaxation or extreme excitement when partaking in drugs. 

People in society tend to treat drug users horribly and punish them because of their misdeeds but in reality, they are undergoing symptoms of addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal that are simply difficult to control. Addiction refers to "an intense craving, seeking out, and use of a particular drug". Many people become addicted to things such as food, drinks or cigarettes as a coping mechanism or a way to avoid societal or personal problems. However, more serious addictions such as psychedelics, opioids, or heroin stem from simplistic habits or what some refer to as "gateway drugs." Many times, when people attempt to stop using, they feel a sense of an overpowering urge, also known as craving. They might experience withdrawal symptoms as an attempt to quit a drug abruptly or diminish its use after a long dependency on it. These symptoms make it very difficult to stop smoking, binge drinking, injecting shots, etc., but with the right support and motivation, a change in behavior can be made.

The following video explains in 2 minutes why it is so hard to quit taking drugs and how our chemicals in our brain affect our pleasure centers and addictions. It is a self-explanatory video that explains the basic concept behind addiction very well, especially for middle and high school students!


Reproduction


The Hunt for a mate hasn’t changed much throughout our evolution, humans still look for a partner who will bear children and or protect us. However, the process in sexual selection and the traits that signal a person is a good match have changed. Women and men now look for a mate with a bigger income because money is power and power is protection. Being financially stable is a big part of being able to successfully raise children, and keep a secure household. Men and women both select their mates to produce offspring which makes me curious as to those like myself who want a partnership but don’t wish to have children. It can be argued that if a woman doesn’t have children she is a biological failure, but I can’t help thinking there is more to life and relationships then reproduction value. So does the motivation to seek a partner change when you don’t want children? I’d say most likely it doesn’t because the traits we search for are innate, and when seeking a mate you are still coveting protection due to natural instinct.


Here are a few videos about woman not wanting children I found interesting and helpful


https://youtu.be/3MimFjd6tDY


https://youtu.be/9baT5xQri2o


https://youtu.be/QOcrqxvweMk

Food and motivation


The motivation to eat food is normal, but it has to be for the right reasons. Eating food is a coping mechanism for some people, so when they feel stressed, food relaxes people, compelling them to keep eating. Part of the reason this happens is because back when people were hunter gatherers they could only eat when it was safe, therefore, we feel safe while we're eating, and as humanity evolved this became a natural occurrence. In this lesson we learn about food neophobia, which is another natural instinct but has the opposite effect where individuals learn to avoid foods that make us sick. It’s fascinating how most of our food preferences and eating habits come from our natural instincts and heavily depend on where we grew up.


Motivation and operant conditioning


Motivation and operant conditioning go hand in hand. Positive and negative reinforcers determine the behavior of the subjects to perform the action required, and the incentive is the motivation. Motivation is what compels us to complete goals and meet our needs, it has to be sustained as well so that those needs can be met. Unfortunately motivation can be used towards a goal even if it is detrimental to your health like taking drugs. It all depends on the incentive and the desired destination. Using operant conditioning you can manipulate yourself and others motivations, and therefore achieve your goals. For example if you want someone to study more you can give them candy every time they pass a benchmark for a positive reinforcer. An example of a negative reinforcer could be if you want someone to stay out of your room you can spray them with water when they try to enter.


https://youtu.be/LhI5h5JZi-U

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Endurance

It was amazing to read about Shackleton’s journey. We complain when we are sick and not feeling well but they didn't have that luxury. They suffered frostbite and slept in drenched sleeping bags seeking warmth from the brutally cold weather conditions. They sacrificed their dogs in order to have enough supplies for them to eat. They were faced with endless challenges that would have broken them mentally and physically but they continued to push forward because they wanted to live. Their will to live was unmatched as each new day continued to give them little hope for their survival. They lived off the land and what little they could hunt and find while quickly adjusting to their new way of life which consisted of being wet and dirty all day long. Crew members quickly became family and each played a huge role in the day to day mission to survive and rescue the other crew members. The fact that they got to live to tell the story is amazing. I don't think I would have been able to make it through such tough times. 




Reproduction

Finding a mate is very important especially for those of us who were brought up in a religious upbringing because there are expectations of what they should be like. As humans, we are made up in a way that our mind and body respond to certain stimulants. We are attracted to certain people based on specific characteristics that stimulant our mind responses. Some of us see people based on their personality and looks are not really an issue. For others, looks come first and if they like what they see then maybe a potential relationship could be established in the future.  Cultural influences also play a huge role in determining your mate. In some cultures a woman must marry a man with money and her role is solely to raise children and become a homemaker. It is fascinating the way mates are chosen based on many different factors that seem beneficial but are not always the ideal way to find a partner. 



Addictions

Addiction is a chronic disorder with biological, mental, social, and ecological components impacting its development and maintenance. Habit can be blamed on genetics as genes influence the level of remuneration that people experience when at first utilizing a substance or participating in specific behaviors. It is also responsible for how the body processes alcohol and drugs. The urge to re-experience use of the substance or demonstrate specific behavior can be caused by psychological issues such as stress, history of trauma, and abuse, which can lead to regular or chronic use which causes changes in the brain. (Addictions, 2020)

This topic is very crucial to me since I have experience working in the field and lost two brothers to the disease. It is a neverending cycle and those who survive it and really change for the better are walking miracles. Addiction should be talked about often since it comes in many different forms and we should recognize the signs in order to spot it within our own family and circle of friends. 

https://youtu.be/TELOqUlSpQM




The Willpower Instinct Book Report Post


    When is comes to achieving something we need the willpower to overcome that. In this book Kelly McGonigal , who is a health psychologist , explains willpower and talks about her students throughout the book. She talks about how she taught a ten week course on this and how her students tried to change for the better.  Kelly goes in depth about willpower and even has "Under the Microscope " and " Willpower Experiments" where the reader can practice their willpower and motivation. She makes the reader pick one area that they might want to change and use that when doing these activities throughout the book. This book can help organize one's thoughts by explaining biological functions, the mental traps we get ourselves into, and our social life that can influence us on a daily basis
    For me I decided I wanted to try and handle my anxiety without lashing out at people when I'm overwhelmed. I have a HORRIBLE habit of doing that and always felt so bad after. I thought this would be a good idea because it can help me with my physical and mental health overall. Towards the beginning of the book , there was a section where Kelly explains how its important to state what behavior you're exactly trying to overcome and the reason you do it. She also mentions to take your time when trying to achieve willpower, considering she squeezed ten weeks of information in one book. 
    Organizing my thoughts on it , I was able to list what exactly triggers my anxiety and why I feel that way during the moment when I give people attitude. That let alone helped a lot , and it also reminded me of one of our lecture notes on impulsive behavior and willpower. There were questions about impulsive choice like "When do we behave this way?" , "Why does it happen?" , " when do we behave this way?" and " Does it always happen?". This even put more of my challenge in depth so I can have a better understanding of why I react a certain way in certain situations. 
    

 This book honestly makes you think about your actions and how to just do better. When we were assigned a book report , I was so nervous I would have to read a book I wouldn't enjoy. I actually loved it and it ended up being a quick read! I wasn't able to do all the experiments in the book, but I'm looking forward to trying them. So many of her students changed their daily habits for the better. This can give someone motivation and willpower for themselves. I think this kind of mindset Kelly explains can definitely help someone change for the better and have a healthier life style.

Food Neophobia

Food Neophobia

    Food Neophobia is honestly something I have never heard of which is why I chose to write my last post about this. Food Neophobia is the tendency to avoid novel foods and to prefer familiar foods. This means that you will most likely avoid a food that you have never heard of before or tried, and instead go after a food that you have heard of and have eaten before. For example, I personally do that. If it is something I have never heard of or eaten before it is a very big chance that I will not eat it because I'm scared I won't like it or it will make me sick. I currently work at LightBridge Academy in the classroom with toddler who are between the age of 2 and 2 and a half. I have seen so many parents send in a new piece of food that the child has never seen or eaten before and they will refuse to eat it. 

Food Neophobia: Fear of Food - DIET YUMM

Temporal Motivation Theory & Reinforcement by Rewards

The Temporal Motivation Theory is a very logical way to explain motivation or procrastination. It states that motivation= expectancy x value / impulsiveness x delay. This is formula answers part of the main reason I decided to take this class. I have very little motivation when it comes to doing almost anything that isn’t fun, and I am a major procrastinator. I try to and want to start things early, so that I am not stressed, but I never seen to be able to bring myself to do it.  

The factor, value, is explained as how rewarding the outcome is, and I realized, though I value the things I do, I do not find them very rewarding. I was going to ask the class what they would suggest doing to make actions more rewarding, so if anyone wants to answer that, it might help someone with their levels of motivation. But unfortunately, it will not help me become more motivated. I realized my lack of motivation is due to a medical condition in which my body does not produce enough endogenous opioids. Endogenous opioids regulate reward and motivation. So, though I may find the things I do to be very valuable, I do not feel very rewarded by accomplishing them. Therefore, my actions are not well reinforced. 


Below is a figure that lists the physiological functions of the opioid system. 

 

 

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Influential Minds Book Report


Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation: My Personal Experience

I really enjoyed the lecture slides on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in humans. As stated in the slides, extrinsic motivation is behavior coerced by external sources, while intrinsic motivation is behavior not coerced by external sources. I could highly relate to these two types of motivation. My personal experience with these two types of motivation are found in my relatively new lifestyle. Over two years ago, I was trashing my body with drugs and alcohol. Today, I have over two years sober and have a beautiful life that I would not change. For the initial stages of my recovery, I was not doing it for myself. I was getting sober for other people and for other reasons. I had a motivation to make the change, that intrinsic motivation, but the change was more focused on extrinsic outcomes. After a couple of months, that initial intrinsic motivation grew incredibly and two years later I can say that that extrinsic motivation grew entirely into intrinsic motivation. Today, I am sober because I am truly satisfied with what I have become. In addition, I can relate these two types of motivation with my healthy eating habits and workout routine. I work out every day, whether it is a good cardio session or a weightlifting routine. Combined with that, I maintain a very healthy eating routine, full of protein packed foods, whole grains, and lots of veggies! At the beginning, I was extrinsically motivated to start this healthy routine by searching for the approval of others, compliments, and even attaining the ‘revenge’ body to get back at the ex’s. Yet by the time I accomplished all those external praises, I found that I know valued the outcomes of a healthy lifestyle from within. I found improvement and growth as an incredible opportunity. I developed passion and enjoyment from living this lifestyle, and over all my self-expression.  These are concepts that I never reflected on before, until I was presented with this new knowledge. In both these experiences, it was external motivation that catalyzed the change, yet it is the internal desire that keeps the continuous growth.

 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Performances




Performances

 Performance is the ability to increase focus and attention for an objective. The objective can be working out or studying for a test which both consist of how well the performances are. A person could increase performances by changing body chemistry also known as arousal. In the performance perspective, arousal is the ability to use chemicals and hormones in the body to increase the focus or attention of the performances. Some people do this by studying and eating candy, conditioning the body to become arouse with a reward system to retain more information efficiently. 

 The way I increase my performances at the gym is by listening to music that triggers an arousal state of mind, increasing my focus and attention in my objective for the day at the gym. The more arousal I give to my body, then the better is my performance. This is a psychological to physiological strategy use by many people for other objectives. Would you want to increase your performance? Then give what the body wants, condition the behavior, and you will see outstanding results.