Applied Psychology In Everyday Life Writing Sample

There are two theories that I want to discuss: Cognitive theory and Behaviorism. Cognitive theory focuses on understanding how thinking processes impact our actions, attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions throughout our lives. J Piaget, a prominent figure in cognitive theory, proposed that thinking develops as individuals mature and face new experiences that challenge their existing beliefs (Griggs 3rd edition, 2013). In my view, we apply the fundamental principles of cognitive theory in various aspects of our lives including family dynamics, friendships, partnerships, and professional relationships. Personally speaking, I believe that without incorporating the core principles of cognitive theory into my life’s endeavors – whether as an individual or partner or student or future nurse – I would not be able to achieve success.

Based on my personal experience, I had to reconsider my previous assumptions about children with special needs. In the culture I grew up in, openly discussing or accepting them was considered taboo. Consequently, during my childhood encounters with these children, I couldn’t comprehend them and they showed no interest in playing with me or my friends. This led me to believe that kids with special needs were unintelligent, useless, and not deserving of my time.

Nevertheless, as I completed high school and pondered over future career options, I realized that I lacked the necessary education for a new job. Unsure which path to pursue, I ultimately decided to enroll in college as a nursing major. Throughout my studies there, I had numerous opportunities to interact with both adults and children who have special needs.

Despite being labeled as “special,” individuals with special needs are not unintelligent or a waste of time. As I got to know them and tried to understand their unique ways of thinking, I realized their intelligence. These individuals possess their own form of intelligence characterized by remarkable imagination and deep appreciation, despite facing diversity and challenges in their lives. Interacting with them taught me to become a better person and develop profound respect for them, challenging stigmas created by our ignorant cultures.

Additionally, I would like to discuss the theory of Behaviorism which focuses on observing human behavior and is commonly referred to as a learning theory explaining how knowledge is acquired. Behaviorism revolves around the concept of habit – once we learn a behavior, we tend to repeat it without conscious deliberation.

The two most famous proponents of behaviorism were John Watson and Ivan Pavlov. Watson believed that scientists should only study observable and measurable behaviors, while Pavlov focused on classical conditioning. In an experiment with a dog, Pavlov demonstrated the importance of repetition and practice in behaviorism. B.F. Skinner, another influential psychologist, advocated for operational conditioning, which states that consequences like punishment or reinforcement influence behavior. Personally, I have applied this theory to my 4th grade students who are curious and often push boundaries. Since physical punishment is prohibited in the learning environment, I have chosen to use reinforcement as a means of shaping their behavior.

I have created a chart in our classroom that lists tasks for my students based on their age, including both what they can and cannot do. Additionally, I have recorded tasks that I believe they are capable of completing. When a task is successfully accomplished, the students receive an “awesome” sticker. By collecting enough stickers, they can choose a gift from a basket of goodies. This approach has been very successful in my classroom over the past 9 years, helping to teach discipline and responsibility to the students as a teacher. They naturally compete with each other and enjoy the “goodie basket”, motivating them to complete all their tasks diligently and ahead of schedule. Misbehavior and tantrums come with consequences such as time-outs, which the students are aware of.

While growing up in a small town in East Africa, I was an incredibly determined girl during my childhood. My goal was to succeed in every task assigned to me, but this often resulted in getting into trouble both at home and school. Whether it was failing to complete homework or behaving badly in class, there were instances when disciplinary actions had to be taken. This particular experience led me to the third concept that significantly impacted my upbringing: Skinner’s theory of applying reinforcement or punishment after a behavior (Griggs 3rd edition, 2013).

Every time I forgot my homework or misbehaved in class, I would see my teacher with a wooden stick in their hands, indicating the punishment that awaited me. This same pattern occurred at home, where my disruptive behavior continued, often resulting in a letter from my teacher who used the wooden stick more frequently than necessary. Despite these experiences of operant conditioning at school, I didn’t learn my lesson and would sometimes come home to find my father reaching for his belt. I would hide for hours, knowing the consequences that awaited me. Skinner’s components of operant conditioning were consistently reinforced whenever I made a mistake. Gradually, I learned that engaging in negative behavior led to negative consequences, while exhibiting good behavior yielded positive results. This realization prompted a rapid change in my behavior as I understood that I would be rewarded as long as I displayed positive conduct.

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate as the youngest and only girl among my two older brothers. One particular memory that stands out is when my mother would prepare our favorite milkshakes and serve them in glasses of equal size. Despite her repeated insistence that all three glasses were identical in size, I always held onto the belief that mine was larger. My brothers frequently complained about how I received preferential treatment and had access to better things. They firmly believed that my mother poured more into my glass, even though she consistently distributed the milkshake equally among all of us. This illustrates an instance of perceptual constancy (Notespacket, Ochman 2013). If asked to choose a theory that resonates with me most, I would select all of them. In my opinion, each theory complements one another and psychologists should utilize key principles from each theory to address problems because every theory possesses its own strengths and weaknesses.

In regard to different psychological theories, I appreciate behaviorism for its emphasis on observable behavior. However, I do have a disagreement with behaviorists’ disregard for thoughts within the mind. On the other hand, cognitive theory, which studies the thinking process and its influence on our assumptions, beliefs, actions, and attitudes, is something I personally favor. Despite its importance, cognitive theory falls short in addressing genetic predisposition. Another significant theory is psychoanalytic theory, which focuses on past experiences, particularly childhood experiences that shape adult personality and behavior. Nevertheless, Freud’s belief that human behavior is primarily motivated by unconscious conflicts of a sexual or aggressive nature is something I disagree with. (Griggs 3rd edition, 2013)

Sociocultural theory emphasizes the impact of culture and social factors on human development. However, it has limitations as it disregards other factors that shape and impact our development throughout life. On the other hand, epigenetic theory focuses on genes and their predisposition, which is crucial as genes always play a role in our development. Nonetheless, this theory overlooks the influence of nurture. Personally, I would integrate concepts from both theories to analyze a problem and ultimately discover a solution.

Educational Inclusion

It is a common misconception that including people with special needs in general education classrooms inhibits proper instruction and does not meet the needs of the students involved. However, the opposite has proven to be true. Inclusion of people with special needs within schools causes students and teachers to grow and change in ways only possible through inclusion. And it is a direct result of these reasons that inclusion is beneficial to everyone involved. When general education students are put into a classroom with people that do have special needs, they grow in social awareness and develop a greater understanding and acceptance of students with special needs and diversity in general. Students learn the meaning of equal individual worth and equal rights.

When general education classrooms include people with special educational needs, students without special needs become more accepting and understanding of differences within their classroom (Nilholm 437).Inclusive schooling causes students learn to be aware, understanding, and accepting of differences. It teaches them that everyone has different levels of abilities and that they need to work together to survive and be happy. Most students tend to learn better in inclusive settings. In the past, separate classrooms and programs were thought to be the best way to provide for each student as an individual. However recently, in properly implemented inclusive settings, which provide appropriate instruction and support, students tend to learn more than they do in segregated classrooms.

When proper inclusion was implemented, students showed over 30% increase in standardized test scores over two years than in a separate classroom (Baker 33). A study, comparing the academic performance of included and segregated students with special needs, concluded that the mean academic growth of the integrated group was in the 80th percentile, while academic growth of the segregated students was in the 50th percentile (Dawson 531).Inclusive classrooms also benefit students without special needs. Within an integrated classroom, the math scores of students without special needs increased by 34% in contrast to students within a regular classroom (Baker 34).

All students benefit academically from inclusive classroom. Inclusion promotes the growth of self-esteem. No person, much less a student, wants to be singled out or identified as “different” or less worthy to be part of normal society. When schools separate students with special needs, the school promotes this idea of inequality. It makes the students with special needs feel left out and “different” and it give normal students the idea that they are worth more than students with special needs (Lipsky). By including all students, the negative effects which segregated classrooms create, are eliminated.

When students with special needs are included with people their own age, they gain better self-image and self-confidence. An inclusive classroom offers students supportive and positive interactions with others and promotes social understanding. Children want to make friends and including everyone in a safe classroom setting makes this much easier. Including children with special needs within the general education classrooms causes teachers to become much more aware and effective teachers. They become more sensitive to the diverse needs of the children and families they serve. When given a classroom of students of varying ability levels, teachers are faced with a whole new challenge. Through inclusion teachers teach at a more age appropriate level and have more realistic expectations.

They are also forced to implement a wide variety of different teaching methods to better serve the individual needs of their students, in turn becoming more effective teachers (Thomas 2). In inclusive classrooms teachers implement safer and less abusive methods of student management as well. In segregated special education classrooms, teachers are quick to use dangerous and abusive methods such as restraints and seclusion but these practices can physically and mentally harm a student. In inclusive settings teachers use more appropriate and safer forms of behavior management which makes the environment safer for students with and without special need and the teachers (Turnbull 8). Teachers grow as teachers and as people when they are teaching in an inclusive classroom.

They become more aware and accepting on students with special needs. In many schools today, students with special needs are considered pariahs and teachers are a major reason as to why this happens. If teachers are put in an inclusive classroom, they will learn to be more understand and loving towards students with special needs. When teachers have inclusive classrooms, they become better teachers and that benefits them and the students they educate. Inclusion of children with special needs in general education classrooms benefits everyone. It makes teachers better at their job. It helps students with and without special needs to learn more effectively. It promotes friendships between students that are different from each other. It promotes the idea of equality and acceptance. Most importantly it makes education and school a better place. Educational inclusion benefits everyone who encounters it.

Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service Analysis

Starbucks, the world leader coffee store came to realize that they were not properly using the data, which they had been collecting over the past years. After carefully reviewing it they came to the conclusion that even though they were growing at a very good pace and generating a lot of revenues, their customer satisfaction was not what they expected. Starbucks had their customers divided into three types: unsatisfied (42%), satisfied (37%) and very satisfied (21%). It is hard to believe that the customer satisfaction would be low when they were obtaining great results worldwide. Such a high number of unsatisfied clients also meant a shift on the average type of customer for Starbucks.

Their new average profile is a younger, lower income, and less educated person compared to the older, higher income, and better educated one in the past. The main concern is that this could lead to a big decrease in revenues in the long run. We are going to propose a yearly investment of 40 million dollars in order to improve the speed of service and therefore the customer satisfaction. We will do so by adding 20 more labour hours per week in each of the 4500 stores in North America. We strongly believe that customer satisfaction will increase and we will have many more satisfied and highly satisfied customers, which are the ones that bring the most profit to the company.

Problem Statement

Despite of Starbucks overwhelming presence, customer’s expectations have recently not been satisfied. Customers believe that the brand has been focusing primarily on making money and neglecting the speed-of-service, hence diminishing the customers “Starbucks experience”.

Situation Analysis

Strengths

Following a multi-pronged approach, Starbucks has become one of the world leading successful coffee brands, with stores located worldwide their market share by maximising customer satisfaction. Starbucks is trying to achieve this goal by differentiating themselves from their competitors. By providing high quality coffee and delivering great customer service Starbucks has earned itself a strong global brand awareness.

Weakness

Starbucks targets a variety of segments, with a main focus on well-educated customers between the ages of 24 and 44. However, recently their customer base is shifting to a younger less educated, lower income consumer. Since most of Starbucks products are focused towards the high-end customers they are getting less repeating and satisfied customers. Another problem that Starbucks is facing is that some stores currently have long queue times, which affect the customer satisfaction rating. As a consequence Starbucks are losing potential customers.

Threats

As Coffee is a substitute product, Starbucks has to focus on keeping their customers loyal by fulfilling their expectations. Starbucks biggest threat are their competitors such as McDonalds (Mc Café), Dunkin Donuts, and other low-cost coffee stores who are aggressively expanding and entering into the coffee market by offering good value coffee at a cheap price. Another disadvantage Starbucks has to face is that the price of coffee beans

fluctuates depending on harvesting conditions.

. Their goal is to keep increasing

Kotler, P., Keller, K., Brady, M., Goodman, M. and T. Hansen (2009), Marketing Management: European Edition, 1st

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Edition, Pearson Education Limited.

Opportunities

Starbucks aim is to get their high-end customers back and increase their loyalty towards the brand by offering them a faster service, hence a better “Starbucks experience”.

Alternatives

After analyzing what needed to be the next step to be taken by Starbucks, we came to the conclusion that they need to improve customer satisfaction. We truly believe that by improving the way customers see Starbucks, we will be able to make the current customers more loyal as well as bringing new customers in. We have evaluated several approaches that could be taken towards the pursue of Starbuck´s goal:

1) We thought about developing a very strong advertising plan to change the perspective that customers have at this moment. On the one hand advertising could have a positive impact for Starbucks, but on the other hand they have never done advertising before. If advertising is suddenly brought into the company, consumers will perceive a weakness which could therefore have a negative effect on the company in the long run.

2) Another option was not to spend any money on improving Starbucks service. Looking at the financial statements, Starbucks keeps growing each year at a very consistent rate. There is no reason to change something when the company is obtaining good results and risk money that will also risk the value of the shares. If nothing is done the company might keep growing in the short term but we will keep losing the kind of costumers that we desire as well as the most loyal ones. Therefore in order to keep growing in the long run, improving the costumers´satisfaction is a key factor for Starbucks and action needs to be taken from the company.

3) Finally we considered an investment of 40 million dollars2 speed of service at our stores. After doing some research we came to the conclusion that we only need 5.99 more orders per day with an average price of $4.04 at each store in order to make a profit with the initial investment. With this measure we are trying to capture more new clients that were not willing to wait such a long time for coffee before as well as create more loyal clients that are our most profitable ones.

Recommendations

Our main recommendation for Starbucks is for them to add more labor hours per store, by adding additional employees. We recommend Starbucks to take a course of action in order to achieve a higher overall satisfied customer rating, by lowering overall waiting time. This solution will bring in more repeating customers and raise profit per store. By adding more labor hours and additional workers to certain stores this should help bring the average wait time closer to the three minute mark. This will then increase the overall satisfied customers.

However we think that this solution will benefit some stores more than others. We decided that the best way to implement this plan was to add the labor hours based on the stores rush hour. Since the change in rush hours is going to greatest affect the overall customer satisfaction. Also some locations are just generally busier overall than others; we have decided to focus on these stores that are bringing the average waiting time up.

Implementation Plan

The plan that we would recommend to Starbucks would be to invest $40million3 dollars on increasing workers with 20 hours/week for each store. We would first focus on the stores with the highest average wait time and try to cut those done by analyzing the rush to improve essentially the 2 John Quelch, Youngme Moon. Starbuck:Delivering Customer Service. Case Study. Boston: Harvard Business School, 2006. Print. 3 IBID hours per store and seeing where the 20 hours would best be used. We also saw that the average daily customers count per store being 5704 that the average weekly store volume being 15,4005 income would be around $3603million.

Also with the current expenditures per satisfied customer being $4.066 customers with 4,5008 year. So in order for there to be an increase in profit per store there is going to need to be on average 6 new orders a day at an average price of $4.04. Given our proposal to increase work labor we are hoping to increase the overall satisfaction of customers which will lead to both new customers and more purchases per month by old customers. We found that the average volume a visit, Based on the given numbers like say that there are 9,852,2157 stores. This gives us a number around 2,189 customers per store and