Guidelines for the Journal Assignment
The study of psychology is based on the observation of human behavior, mental processes, and growth and development. Because this is a study of human beings, rather than an abstract science like some aspects of mathematics or quantum physics, it should be possible for the student to apply the knowledge gained from psychology to real events in their lives: to themselves and other people they come in contact with. These journals provide the student the opportunity to apply the material studied to themselves in a practical and useful way which is intended to help the student gain insight in a manner that is helpful to them in an applied, meaningful way.
Each student will write a minimum of five journals applying the material from the text to aspects of their life as they see fit. The journal will be typed, double spaced in a 12 pt. font. The paper should be two pages in length. Further explanations of this assignment will be provided in class.
Example of a Journal
Fixations and conditioning in my family.
Of all the areas in psychology, the one that interests me the most is the one that discussed the different theories of personality. Even though I am only beginning to understand the different theories, even in my own family I can observe some of the aspects of behavior the theorists talked about. To understand my complex family, I am going to start with my grandmother. Her name is L. and if Dr. Freud treated her, he might say she was fixated in the phallic stage. She was a very spoiled child especially by her father and she was always kind of jealous of her mother, whom still she does not maintain a relationship with. She married my grandfather when she was only fifteen years of age. This is not so bad if I look at it from a romantic/love point of view, except for the fact that my grandfather was thirty-one years of age, in my opinion she was looking for a father of her own. She had five girls; my mother was the fourth one. I have always been under the impression that my grandmother is kind of jealous or perceives her children as rivals especially when is about looks. My grandfather was not a very loving kind of person, he supported my mother in every way, but he was just not very affectionate. As a consequence my mother grow up with lack of emotional love especially from a father figure. However despite how much she disliked the coldness and seriousness of my grandfather she married my father, who is a mathematician/engineer just like my grandfather and who sometimes behaves just like my grandfather used to. In my opinion my mother is also fixated.
On the other hand my father grew up in a house with very caring and loving parents. However they had economical difficulties. My grandfather was a painter and kind of a bohemian. Therefore my father grew up surrounded by financial instability. If I use Maslow’s pyramid as an example I could conclude that my father never fulfilled the sense of security. Therefore, even if he is very successful in his work and we have enough money he sometimes acts as if we would not have any.
In my own household I have a dog-named Sony. Like every dog he likes to go out and run. When he was a little puppy we could take him out and let him run without a shackle. As he got older he needed to use the shackle, but he cried the moment we put it on him. However as the time passed he began to associate the shackle with going out. The shackle became what Pavlov would call a conditioned stimulus. Since then everytime he sees the shackle he gets all exited and goes towards the door.
Maybe my whole family is conditioned to some kind of stimulus, well everyone in this world is. It is really amazing to notice some of the characteristics described by some of the theorist’s in my own household and how these can help explain some of their common behaviors. All I have to say for myself is that I am orally fixated, for I bite my finger constantly. This is easy explainable by the fact that my mother breast-fed me until I was three, maybe in a attempt to look for love in her life.