Monday, July 12, 2010

Final Project Post: Overall Material & My Favorite Parts

This course taught me a lot about emotions and what motivates behavior. I learned the difference between correlational and experimental research and the history of motivation and emotion through the views of Aristotle, Democritus, Locke, Freud, Thorndike, and Darwin. I learned how individuals use facial expressions to convey emotion. The next chapter discussed choosing a mate, the good gene hypothesis, and fear as a universal motive. Then came the unit on drug use, addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal, and how they led to the opponent-process and incentive sensitization theories. I later learned that thirst comes from intracellular and extracellular fluid loss, and how body fat is set at a specific value (set point model). Later chapters covered the many types of arousal, anxiety and processing efficiency, music relating to arousal, and how stress relates to all aspects of life.

My favorite topic covered in this course was about addictions because I find it fascinating how just about anything can become mentally addicting, and of course some obvious things (drugs) are physically addicting too. This section focused on psychoactive drugs that alter mood and behavior. These aren't just the usual drugs like marijuana and cocaine, but also included is caffeine and nicotine. Individuals may use caffeine as a way to become more alert or energetic. On the other hand, people may use nicotine as a mood-enhancer and relaxer. What's more fascinating is what happens once individuals become addicted to such drugs. One may have feelings of craving the drug, and once the body becomes adjusted to having the drug, a tolerance forms so that the individual later needs to take higher doses than previously to gain the same wanted feelings. If an addicted person stops taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms will appear because the body is being deprived of a chemical it is used to being in supply of. I also think it's interesting how individuals may have a genetic disposition to drugs because their family members have had problems with drugs. Even one's impulsive personality may make them more prone over someone else to experiment with drugs. The following video shows a representation of what one's body goes through when taking drugs.

All of the aforementioned aspects of this course directly apply to real-life situations because humans show emotion on a minute-to-minute basis. Stress can factor into emotions and multiple motives can alter how a person acts or lives their life. The many types of psychoactive drugs will affect the body in different ways depending on which are taken, and addiction is a very real thing that can affect anyone. Therefore, it is clear how this course material relates to real-life because every aspect of emotion and behavior is mentioned, and this is what determines how we live our lives.

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