Physiological Psychology As A Branch Of Psychology Sample Assignment

Introduction

Psychology is relatively one of the oldest disciplines that have ever been studied by mankind. It strives to understand the behavior patterns exhibited by human beings and their relationships with various mental processes (Wundt, 2005).

Due to the broadness of the subject, it has been subdivided into numerous branches with narrower areas of interest.

Physiological psychology, as a branch of psychology, refers to the study of the human’s biological, physical makeup and how it relates to behavior orientation and experiences (Wagner & Silber, 2004).

The research paper focuses on some of the contributors to the field of physiological psychology, the relationship between the human nervous system and behavior, as well as two of the research approaches used by physiological psychologists.

Contributors

Some of the prominent contributors to the field of physiological psychology include Avicenna, William James, Charles Bell, Bernard Claude, Pavlov, and Wilhelm Wundt.

William had a sound background in physiological training and conducted numerous experiments using living organisms with the aim of understanding how psychological processes are related to human behavior (Wagner & Silber, 2004).

Wundt, on the other hand, was a popular medical doctor, psychologist, physiologist, and professor. He is widely recognized as a significant contributor to the development of psychology as an independent science (Wagner & Silber, 2004).

His interest was in understanding how various factors like personal beliefs and mental processes influence human behavior.

In 1858, he started writing the “Contributions to the Theory of Sense Perception,” and in 1874, he wrote the famous “Principles of Physiological Psychology.” These works contributed directly to the development of physiological psychology.

The Human Nervous System and Behavior

Several researchers have made attempts to investigate and explain the relationship between the human nervous system and behavior.

Classical researchers in this field made significant contributions towards convincing the larger scientific community to believe in the reliability of data collected from other living organisms (Wundt, 2005).

It is generally believed that the structural orientation of the human nervous system and the chemical reactions in the body can significantly influence our behavior (Wagner & Silber, 2004).

The question that has been lingering for a long time among interested psychological researchers is the degree to which biological factors affect behavior.

According to some of the physiological researchers who hold the reductionist approach, human behavior, as well as experiences, can be understood by analyzing the structure of the brain and chemicals in the nervous system.

This approach has been used to understand and explain the effect of drugs on mood variations and overt behavior.

The role of the nervous system (NS) in influencing behavior is due to its role in exchanging numerous signals which are triggered by feelings, emotions, thought processes, as well as the actions of every moment.

Researchers who advocate for the acknowledgment of the nervous system in influencing behavior argue that sensual receptors send signals to the brain which in turn command a reaction from the body which is manifested as behavior.

The roles of the nervous system have divided into three main sections (Wagner & Silber, 2004). First, is to sense particular information from the external about the internal environment.

Second, the NS integrates the received information which results in understanding and interpreting the information.

The third function is to issue appropriate commands to the muscles and glands resulting in behavior. These functions have been used by physiologists to argue their case in explaining human behavior.

Wundt was interested in understanding the relationship between instant experiences of consciousness, feelings, emotional dynamics, preferences and ideas, and human behavior (Wundt, 2005).

According to him, the distinction of vital processes into physical (physiological) and psychical (mental) is quite important in understanding scientific challenges.

However, Wundt emphasizes the fact that human life is complex yet unitary where the various consciousness processes and physical manifestations are closely interrelated.

Research Approaches

Physiological psychologists use several research approaches to understand human behavior. One of the approaches involves the manipulation (lesions) of the brain structures of other organisms under highly controlled experiments (Wundt, 2005).

The findings are used in the development of general theories that form the basis for explaining the relationship between the nervous system and behavior.

The study of the function of the hippocampus when it comes to understanding the relationship between learning and memory is widely used by physiological psychologists as a research approach.

Physiological researchers employ the reduction approach where complex phenomena are explained using simpler experiences by human beings.

However, physiological psychologists go beyond reductionist’s perspective and try to factor in a “psychological” approach to understand and explain human behavior (Wagner & Silber, 2004).

Hence, physiological psychologists use both the reduction and generalization approaches to research.

Conclusion

Understanding human behavior has remained a highly debated issue especially from the different perspectives advocated by various disciplines.

The research paper has defined physiological psychology as a branch of psychology which refers to the study of the human’s biological, physical makeup and it is related to behavior.

The research paper has also discussed some of the contributors to the field of physiological psychology as well as the relationship between the human nervous system and behavior.

Some of the research approaches used by physiological psychologists have been highlighted. It can be concluded that the nervous system plays a significant role in understanding and interpreting human behavior.

References

Wagner, H. L. & Silber, K. (2004). Understanding physiological psychology. Garland Science

Wundt, W. (2005). Principles of Psychological Psychology. McGraw Hill Plc.

Sexual Education’s Lack And Its Impact On Sexual Choices

According to our class readings for the topic “Sex and Moral Values” in our class book “21st Century Ethical Toolbox” the act of sex or making love does not always have to come from a physical standpoint. It may also come in the form of intellectual stimulation of one another, or even, a type of spiritual awakening.

However, we are hindered as human beings from fully understanding the various types of sexual choices available to us due to the prudish stand of some religions and the curtailing of sexual freedom by our government. All of their positions on sexual choices seem valid and morally correct until you come to analyze these views and discover that these are all uninformed or misinformed decisions that they are forcing upon the public.

One might notice though that none of them advocate going out there and learning more about the act of sex and how to achieve satisfaction for one to be able to say that they have a clear idea of sexual choices and how to use it to achieve the pinnacle of sexual desire.

Let’s look at the reality of the matter. Even with all the technological and social advancements we have had in the 21st century, we all still live in a sexually repressed society. We may have sex education in our schools, but the topics being discussed do not reflect anything that will help the students to make the correct sexual choices later on in their lives.

Instead, the cautionary tales and information being disseminated produce a more confused and sexually experimental generation each time. Sex education needs to not only share knowledge but encourage the development of the skill about use in daily life. Not everything about sex is physical, and that is something that sex education sorely misses.

That sexual satisfaction can be achieved by a physical and spiritual level. Such is the sexual belief that father Kieth Clark tries to explain in his book ” Being Sexual… and Celibate”. To quote: Part of the reason celibacy seems so irrelevant to most people…is that the connection between celibacy and sexuality is completely ignored.

The lack of correct information in our sex education curricula also provides undue pressure upon the person. Keep in mind that young people are sometimes having sex for all the wrong reasons these days. Mostly because the classes do not fully explain the reasons people have sex, nor does it explain that sex requires a lot of emotional involvement and that it teaches one to be more sensitive of the feeling, body, and decision of their sexual partners.

The young people of today need to be given the straightforward version of what to expect when having sex and what their options are. The sexual landscape they face is already confusing as it is and vague information will not help ease the confusion and pressure they already feel.

If everyone can have access to the correct information regarding sexual choices and the benefits and drawbacks of such decisions, we will find ourselves better equipped to deal with the sexual roadblocks that come our way as we go through life. And we will be confident in the fact that we will have made the choice that we know will be the right one for us.

References

“Facts About Sex Education”. Hubpages. n.d. Web. 17 April 2011.

“Factors Affecting Sexual Self-Esteem Among Young Women In Long-Term Heterosexual Relationships”. The Free Library. 2009. Web. 17 April 2011

The Concept Of Change And The Change Strategies

Unplanned Change vis-a-vis Planned Change

Expound upon the concept of change, delineating distinctions between change that is unanticipated, crisis-oriented and reactive and change that is planned, intentional and proactive. Planned changes are those that are made intentionally in organizations or groups. Planned changes are purposeful and serve specific and discussed needs within an organization or group.

Generally, planned changes are geared towards the alteration of the status quo in an organization or group among others. On the other hand, unanticipated change is one that occurs due to uncertainties that are encountered in operation. These are caused by the external forces of operation or external business environment factors.

Businesses, organizations or groups have no influence on external business environment factors, and it might force them to introduce new things or ideas, which may lead to unanticipated change (Thames & Webster, 2009). Change can also be intentional based on the needs of an organization.

As a director of a child care center, intentional change may arise in case there is a need to enhance the quality of services provided due to demand by the administration to attract more clients. This may lead to increasing the number of staff and or introducing new services in the center, which is intentional (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Prerequisite Change Agentry Skills and Competencies

Indicate the skills, competencies, and attitudes that human services practitioners and researchers must cultivate to effectively respond to and address both planned and unplanned change. There are specific skills, attitudes, and competencies that human services must possess to respond to planned changes in an organization. Human services must be focused and disciplined.

It is easy to work with focused and disciplined human services in the implementation of planned changes. Disciplined human services respond to plans as expected without delay. Specialization is also an important attribute that human services required to respond effectively to planned changes (Thames & Webster, 2009).

On the other hand, there are certain skills, attitudes, and competencies that human services must portray to respond to unplanned changes adequately. Unplanned changes arise due to changes in the external factors, which an organization has no direct influence over. Human services must be flexible, adventurous, specialized and creative to respond to unplanned changes.

Flexible human services will adjust to any changes in the organization and continue with normal operations. Furthermore, adventurous human services will work towards solving circumstances that contribute to unplanned changes and address them accordingly. Specialized human services can effectively address unplanned changes such as diet change in the child care center among others (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Concept of Change and Systems Thinking

Further discuss change processes by incorporating systems concepts such as open systems, morphogenesis, requisite variety, et cetera. Change is a process, which must be effectively coordinated to ensure that its goals and objectives are achieved. There are several stages or phases of the change process that an agent of change must undergo before approval of dismissal by relevant parties or authorities in an organization.

The phases of change are freezing, unfreezing and moving (Thames & Webster, 2009). Unfreezing is the first phase of change whereby individuals or employees are assisting to slowly abandon the previous ways of operation. This phase is crucial because it involves informing individuals of the weaknesses of the old system or ways, which should be convincing.

This phase requires support, and individuals who might be affected by the change must be involved to avoid resistance to the change in future before full realization. This phase can be referred to as an open system because all affected parties are involved (Thames & Webster, 2009).

The second phase of change is moving. This stage involves working with individuals on the proposed change. There are several aspects involved in this process, which include, working with individuals towards the planning and implementation of the proposed change. It also involves educating individuals on the concepts of the new change. This phase may be referred to as requisite variety or capacity building (Thames & Webster, 2009).

The last phase in the change process is refreezing. This involves establishing an equilibrium that is temporary. The new or proposed change is evaluated and tested at this stage. In case the change is advantageous and efficient to the operation of the organization as proposed it is adopted as proposed, but in case there are certain hitches, they are adjusted before fully adopting the new system (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Planned Change Strategic Planning Parallels and Overlaps

Indicate to what extent there are parallels between aspects of planned change and aspects of strategic planning. Strategic planning is the careful planning for uncertainties in the future. Generally, strategic planning is geared towards addressing factors that can affect the operation of an organization negatively. Strategic planning is an aspect of strategic management.

Planned change is also geared towards addressing the future needs of an organization and enhancing efficiency in operation. A planned change and strategic planning are aspects of strategic management, which are aimed at enhancing efficiency in operation (Thames & Webster, 2009).

There are certain parallels between planned change and strategic planning. Generally, both are aspects of management. They are mainly carried out by the top management of an organization. Secondly, Strategic planning and planned change are geared towards enhancing efficiency, which may also lead to gaining competitive advantage in the business environment.

Furthermore, planned change is part of strategic planning. Strategic planning involves planning for the future. Similarly, planned changes are geared towards addressing future operations (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Characteristics and Phenomenon of Resistance

Delineate the various characteristics of resistance as posited by Zaltman and Duncan. There are different resistances that can be encountered in the event of introducing change in an organization. The resistances have different characteristics based on nature and the factors that influence the respective resistance. Zaltman and Duncan discuss four resistances that may be faced and their characteristics.

The resistance discussed by Zaltman and Duncan is cultural, psychological, organizational, and social resistance. Cultural resistance in an organization may arise in case a proposed change affects the norms, traditions and social arrangements among others in an organization or group.

Secondly, social resistance is characterized by protection of group identification, which may lead to resistance in case individuals view the change agent as an outsider. Furthermore, organizational resistance is characterized by protection of the dynamics of an organization. Finally, psychological resistance is characterized by retention, and in most cases selective perception (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Change Strategies and the Continuum of Resistance

Define and elaborate upon the four change strategies set forth by Zaltman and Duncan, and match and relate each strategy to the appropriate level or type of resistance, using the continuum of resistance as outlined in class lecture notes. Implementation of change in an organization is not easy because it’s prone to resistance.

Individuals may oppose the change in an organization in case it affects their operation directly or indirectly, and they are not well versed with the effects of the new change. Although the change may be resisted in an organization, the level of resistance differs depending on the effects of the respective change on individuals within an organization.

However, there are strategies that can be used to address the respective resistance to ensure that change is implemented effectively. There are different strategies that are applied in a change to ensure a smooth transition in case of resistance. The individual strategies apply to different resistances. The strategies that are commonly used are facilitative, power, re-educative and persuasive strategies.

On the other hand, the most common resistances encountered are very low, very high, moderately high and moderate low resistances (Thames & Webster, 2009). Facilitative strategy: This is one of the change strategies that can be used in organizations for successful implementation. The facilitative strategy is applied in situations when resistance is very low.

This strategy involves lubrication and implementation of a proposed change, which is a requirement in the case of very low resistance to change (Thames & Webster, 2009). Re-educative strategy: This strategy is applicable in case there is moderate resistance experienced. The strategy can be implemented effectively in case individuals need change but require elevation to fully accept the proposed change.

Re-education strategy involves the provision of education and re-education on proposed changes for universal or majority acceptance in an organization (Thames & Webster, 2009). Persuasive strategy: This is a strategy that can be used to successfully aid the implementation of change in an organization in case a moderately high resistance is faced.

This strategy involves the use of bias messages to implement change. This strategy is aimed at using any means, biased information inclusive, to convince individuals to accept change in an organization (Thames & Webster, 2009). Coercion or Power strategy: This is a strategy that can be successfully applied to enable change implementation in case very high resistance is experienced (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Force Field Analysis

Define and discuss force-field analysis as a concept and as a tool for analyzing and promoting change within human services organizations and communities. Relate force-field analysis of the phase of change, which are unfreezing, moving and refreezing. Force Field analysis can be used to influence situations.

Force Field analysis is a concept and can be used as a change tool in implementing and promoting change. This concept can be useful in promoting and analyzing change through the analysis of resistance that may be encountered before introducing change. It can also be used in the determination of the most appropriate strategy to use (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Graphic Depiction of Force

Based upon the project that you planned and implemented in Competency unit four, prepare a force-field analysis chart graphically illustrating the salient driving and restraining forces.

Graphic Depiction of Force

Retrieved from Chapter Four

The graph indicates that the restraining and driving forces are at equilibrium, which reflects efficiency (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Innovation and Diffusion

Define and expound upon the concept of innovation and diffusion as espoused by Everett M. Rodgers and his associates. Everett and his associates have adequately discussed innovation and diffusion. According to their work, innovation is a new idea that is intended to be applied in an organization to aid the introduction of change.

Innovation is only new to individuals within an organization that has not used or applied the perceived idea in the past. On the other hand, diffusion is the process that is taken by an organization to spread the new proposed change in an organization. It is the process of even spreading of innovation within a system (Thames & Webster, 2009).

An innovation must undergo five stages in the adoption of effective use and application in an organization. Awareness of the innovation must be created between individuals or components within a system. Secondly, an innovation must undergo the interest stage. In the interest stage, individuals must be educated on the solutions to gain interest in the innovation for better application.

Furthermore, it must undergo an evaluation stage where it is determined whether the innovation is worth trying or not. Trial stage: This is the stage where the innovation is tried, tested and implemented for use. Finally, adoption; this is the stage where a decision on the use of the innovation is made by the top organ of an organization (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Innovation and Diffusion Planned Change

Compare and contrast the concept of innovation and diffusion with the concept of planned change, drawing upon relevant systems theories. The concept of innovation and diffusion involves the introduction of new ideas and effectively introducing them into a system. Innovation must be tested before adoption. Similarly, planned change involves discussion of a change and forecasting on its effectiveness on a system. However, innovation and diffusion might not be accepted, while planned change must be implemented (Thames & Webster, 2009).

Reference

Thames, R. C., & Webster, D. W. (2009). Chasing Change: Building Organizational Capacity in a Turbulent Environment. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

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