Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nature versus Nurture


I believe that genetics has little to do with behavior and mental processes.  Out of 100, I believe genetics has about 10% effect.  This is because almost all of genetics can be worked around through conscious acts.  Those with learning disabilities can study and work harder.  People can change their personality to reach certain goals.  Michael Jackson even changed his skin color.  Genetics may provide the basis for which mental processes come from, but in no way control it.  The biggest proof of this is that people change. Environment can cause one person to become something completely different.  For example, a relatively nice person could undergo trauma that causes them to behave cruelly.   Genetics may code for physical traits like eye color.  They may even have an effect on mental processes through the creation of the brain.  However, they have no where near the impact that environment has.  I believe that the basis of personality comes from the early years of development.  This personality creates behavior.  From a cognitive view, I believe that people can consciously choose how to behave based on their goals and feelings.  From a behavioral view, people may be embedded with uncontrollable mental processes but these could have been created through behavioral conditioning and not innate.  Also, from a social-cultural point of view, behavior may be based the current environment of a person.  And if people chase behavior for different parts of their life, then there is not a strong genetic connection.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ethics, Animal Use, and Torture

I believe that there exists a balance between ethics and the pursuit of science.  In addition, I believe there are humane ways of doing almost all experiments.  For example, any experiments that need a person near death can be performed on the terminally ill with their consent of course.  I believe that if a person agrees to the specific pain and trauma of an experiment then they can be experimented on.  If an experiment needs to shock torture people, then people can be made aware of the voltage and be paid to participate. Consent is the most important thing needed to perform experiments. This said, certain experiments need to withhold certain information. The experimenter needs to inform the participant of any harmful effects.  Lies should not cover up physically harmful acts.  For animals, I believe the ends justified the means.  If an animal needs to be tortured or kill there better be a good reason for it.  In addition, all steps should be taken to comfort and take care of the animal that do not interfere with the experiment and are financially viable.  Those who use animals should just use common sense and even though something is legal does not be it should be done.  For example, if five rats are killed while trying to show how people react to watching animals dying, then that is not moral.  Videos of animals dying would work if this experiment is really worth it.  However, if five rats die in order to cure Alzheimer's then it is worth it.  It should also be noted that experiments should be well planned out.  That way the least damage possible is done. Obviously more dangerous experiments can be on animals. However, the plus about humans is they can consent.  Animals cannot consent so experiments should be done with precision and accuracy.  With humans more extraneous experiments can be done.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alex Goebel
A Psychological Approach to Obesity

I believe that the biological and evolutionary approach is the most concrete approach.  Like all animals, humans need to survive to past on their traits to their offspring.  Before modern technology, it was important for humans to eat when they can and out on weight so they could survive a period of famine.  Since the genes that code for this behavior were past down from surviving humans, today's humans also have the same genes.  Hence it is hardwired into our brains to eat as much as possible and store fat.  Some psychologists may say that behaviorism explains why people to eat as much as they can.  Barbara J. Walls conducted experiments that showed that adults eat more when presented with more food.  She hypothesized that this is because kids are taught to clear their plate.  I disagree.  Like a lion or a bear, humans have evolved to eat all the food that is available in case that is their last meal for awhile.  I think it would beneficial to perform a similar experiment on kids who were never taught how to eat and were isolated from society.

I believe that the psycho-dynamic approach should be taken regarding obesity.  People may have underlying forces in their brain that drives them to eat.  Through the subliminal messaging of food in our society, people are pushed by hidden forces to eat.  I find myself eating at times when I am not hungry or when the situation calls for food.  I hypothesize that I eat at certain times due to unconscious anxiety.  There may even a link to certain unknown stimuli in my life and eating.  In addition, psycho-dynamic approaches like hypnosis have been known to cure obesity.  Also, food is an important theme in early childhood especially when it comes breast feeding.  Psycho-dynamic problems could be form the change in such eating behaviors.  A child's mind could subconsciously connect eating with a mother figure.  People eat what they subconsciously think.