Observational learning is a relatively permanent change in an organism’s behavior due to watching others. People will model, or replicate certain behaviors if the model receives a positive reward. Modeling of antisocial behavior, behavior that is negative and detrimental to society is commonplace such as from TV. People learn that violent crimes, suicide, or school shootings will gain them publicity, a positive reward.
However, if a model is rewarded for prosocial behavior, behavior that is positive and beneficial, others will demonstrate that behavior. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a model in the civil rights movement in using nonviolent protest to gain social change. Albert Brandura conducted an experiment to test observational learning in preschool age children (Bandura & others, 1961). A frustrated child, after watching an adult beat a Bobo doll, imitated the adult’s actions through modeling, the process of observing and replicating a certain behavior. In this case, the modeled behavior is violence. Therefore abusive parents may have raised aggressive children, and men who beat their spouses could be mimicking their own fathers’ actions (Stith & Others, 2000).
Eight days after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, all the U. S. states (except Vermont) reported threats from people who had modeled the antisocial (negative) TV publicity (Cooper, 1999). Bandura believes that imitation is determined by rewards or punishments given to the model. Publicity of school shootings on TV had become a reward. However, prosocial behavior was evident when Christians, whose models were parents with strong moral values, saved Jews from the Nazis in WWII. (London, 1970; Oliner & Oliner, 1988).
Lieutenant Colonel Grossman believes that antisocial models in violent TV and video games are a significant cause of violent crimes. When children are supposed to be modeling their prosocial teachers and parents, they are spending significantly more time in front of the TV, which glorifies murderers by publicizing their pictures. In the Jonesboro murders, children modeled school shootings based in TV reporting. Additionally, people learn by observation in video games, which may lead them to commit brutal crimes in real life. This creates an antisocial society that glorifies violence.
Works Cited Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582 Cooper, K. J. (1999, May 1). This time, copycat wave is broader. Washington Post (www. washingtonpost. com). London, P. (1970). The rescuers: Motivational hypotheses about Christians who saved Jews from the Nazis. In J. Macaulay & L. Berkowitz (Eds. ), Altruism and helping behavior. New York: Academic Press. Oliner, S. P. , & Oliner, P. M. (1988). The altruistic personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe.
New York: Free Press. Stith, S. M. , Rosen, K. H. , Middleton, K. A. , Busch, A. L. , Lundergerg, K. , & Carlton, R. P. (2000). The intergenerational transmission of spouse abuse: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 640-654. Over the years, psychologists have become interested in the relationship between facial attractiveness and skin condition, particularly texture, color, and symmetry of the face. The purpose of this study was to survey a random sample of male participants and ask them to rate the attractiveness of many computergenerated images of women’s faces.
The ratings assigned by these men were to be evaluated after the procedure to determine the relationship between skin appearance and perceived beauty. Based on studies of the past, psychologists hypothesized that females with a fair, smooth complexion would be considered more attractive than those with darker, uneven skintones. They also expected to find that symmetry would be positively correlated with attractiveness. Scientists tested a group of fifty four Caucasian male volunteers from the University of Vienna in Austria.
Half of the men viewed and rated images of twenty Caucasian women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five which were altered by a computer to display a distortion of the normal face, while the other group rated nearly identical images that were not altered by graphic editing software. Participants were not informed of the purpose of the study, but were asked to rate each image on a scale ranging from one to seven in ten different categories, only one of which was used in the collection of data because it asked about the attractiveness of the photographed individual.
Some images given to the experimental group were altered in hue, to test whether a rosier complexion was considered more attractive than a green or blue tinted complexion. Also, some images were altered pixel by pixel to give a slight appearance of an uneven or unhealthy skin complexion. Finally, some images were digitally altered to determine if symmetry of facial features was indeed positively correlated with attractiveness. The results of this experiment agreed with some parts of the hypothesis, but were not able to provide significant data to prove all propositions of the research team.
For example, psychologists discovered a positive correlation between a homogenous complexion and attractiveness. Facial images which appeared to have unhealthy skin or facial hair were rated low by the panel in attractiveness. It is suggested by researchers that healthy skin can be equated with a healthy immune system, which may lead males to unknowingly be more attracted to purportedly healthy females when looking for a mate. Although complexion proved to play a role in facial attractiveness, symmetry of facial features did not have a significant impact.
Skin color and hue alteration provided surprising results. The research team found that green and blue were negatively correlated with attractiveness, and red was positively correlated with facial beauty. However, darker skin was preferred to lighter-skinned facial images, which disagreed with the findings of Van den Berghe and Frost in the 1980’s. I think this article had some interesting points, and the experiment was well-designed to eliminate the chance of inaccurate results.
I was surprised that darker skin was preferred to lighter skin by the panel, disproving earlier hypotheses. Reading the results of this study made me aware that people unconsciously form opinions about other people by appearance. I think we should strive to be conscious of our biases and not allow them to control our judgment of the populace. PTSD affects around 15. 2% of those exposed to trauma; symptoms include anhedonia, emotional numbing, hypervigilance, passivity, inability to function socially, and somatic complaints like lower-back pain.
A biomedical approach to treatment of PTSD is to prescribe antidepressants, as a reduction in depression helps PTSD patients (Browner (1994)); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), pioneered by Aaron Beck (1976), seeks to change thinking patterns and teach clients meta-awareness. Upon a review of the similarities and differences between the two approaches, the best approach becomes an eclectic approach, or combination of CBT and antidepressants. Similarities between the two treatments nevertheless do not create redundancies, and still allow for an eclectic approach.
The first similarity between the two is that neither antidepressants such as SSRIs, noradrenalin-reducers, or GABA promoters, nor CBT, claim to be the answer to PTSD, as a) there is no one cause, but instead a combination of etiological factors, and b) every individual is unique and requires personalized solutions. Thus, at the outset both approaches acknowledge the possibility of an eclectic approach. Another similarity is that both face Eysenck’s criticism in 1961 of spontaneous remission-that is, how does one measure whether treatment is effective?
As such, both treatments are weighed against placebos, and both are judged by outcome studies (which assume that individuals start at the same level of PTSD, which may or may not be the case). Furthermore, both CBT and drugs attempt to change the brain’s biology. Research has shown that stimulating the noradrenalin system of PTSD patients induces panic attacks in 70% and flashbacks in 40% (Geracioti (2001)), whereas 0% of control group patients experienced such effects. Clearly, CBT can’t ignore these biological bases for PTSD; and clearly, psychologists prescribing antidepressants don’t ignore possible cognitive effects.
Instead, both approach the problem with similar goals in mind: CBT hopes to reduce biological effects through therapy, while antidepressants are hoped to resolve cognitive issues through attacking their biomedical roots. They both acknowledge variegated etiology while assuming that their method is the best approach to combating that etiology. Thus, both approaches by no means negate the validity of the alternative approaches. Nevertheless, there are more differences than similarities between the two, suggesting that an eclectic approach will attack the problem better than each method could have hoped to do alone.
First, antidepressants or pain pills attack PTSD’s symptoms, whereas CBT attacks its roots. As most PTSD patients seek relief of somatic symptoms, a biomedical approach presenting GABA might be used initially, followed by CBT to eliminate the cause. Furthermore, Hollon & Beck (1994) found that unless continued long-term, antidepressants have a higher relapse rate than CBT. Rush et al. (1977) suggested that this is because biomedically treated patients don’t gain long-term coping skills to help them combat recurrence of the disorder.
These studies again suggest that antidepressants are more short-term and symptom oriented while CBT is more long-term and cause oriented. This distinction reappears in yet another instance: CBT re-exposes patients to the trauma, whereas antidepressants do not. Boa (1986) attempted to make patients revisit the trauma, showing them that the memory can’t hurt them and that it fades over time. Similarly, Albert Rizzo of USC used flooding-reimmersion in traumatic scenes-to help habituate Iraq veterans to violence and make the pain less acute.
By contrast, antidepressants shift focus to symptoms, and probably reinforce the notion that the trauma can just be tucked away and avoided. Of course, Albert Rizzo’s treatment is somewhat unethical and counterproductive, for it desensitizes PTSD patients to violence instead of helping them authentically face the traumatic experiences. Thus, biomedical treatments are more short-term oriented, and CBT is more long-term (for example, Aaron Beck’s cognitive restructuring and modification of prevailing schema is more long-term). The two approaches are best used in conjunction with one another.
Klerman et al. (1994) found that a combination of the two approaches is than either alone. Furthermore, Smith et al. (1980)’s metaanalytic review of 475 studies found that all treatments are effective, but vary in efficacy for specific disorders. Thus, nonspecific factors such as knowing that one is being treated could create a placebo effect. Furthermore, Bennum & Schindler (1994) found that those who like the therapist more have higher rates of recovery. Thus, it is important to combine biomedical approaches and CBT in treatment of PTSD.