Psychology on the Horizon: Looking Towards the Future
Psychology has been a key component in everyone’s lives since our day of birth. From learning to crawl, transitioning into adolescence and entering adulthood, psychology is there with a psychologist to explain a person’s way of operating the way they do. During the past eight weeks I have been studying different theories psychologists have poured numerous hours into and put into thoughts on how I would be able to apply what I have learned into my future life. By applying my newfound knowledge of psychology to my future, I will have a better focus on key aspects for remembering important events, apply these findings to the nursing career I plan on pursuing and help me to become a better parent to my children.
With everything going on in today's society, we are focusing heavily on encoding what has happened into our long-term memory to share with future generations. I will be able to apply an element of the encoding process to my future career. The element of this process I can apply to my career is attention, and namely executive attention. “Executive attention involves action planning, allocating attention to goals, error detection and compensation, monitoring progress on tasks, and dealing with novel or difficult circumstances” (King, 2019, p.203). Nurses constantly evaluate their patients to develop a plan of action to help them heal. Through this psychology class I have become more aware about how our brains perceive memories and how they are stored. With our reading in chapter six, I learned more specifically about chunking and rehearsal to improve short-term memory. I have applied this to my learning for classes for this semester; however, I can also use these techniques in my future career. Another type of memory process I can use towards my future self would be procedural memory. While pursuing for my nursing career, procedural memory will be heavily relied on. “Procedural memory is a type of implicit memory process that involves memory for skills” (King, 2019, p. 215). Procedural memory will come into play heavily during nursing classes as this career is heavily based on repeating a variety of skills. From psychology I can apply episodic memory to remembering special events that happen during my children’s lives. In using episodic memory for recollecting milestones of my children, this can in turn help me to be a better parent to my three boys.
In agreement with Anne Frank, “parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands” (Josephson, 2012). As a parent, I have tried multiple practices to teach my children, so they become better learners. Through this psychology course, I was able to gain more in-depth knowledge about different types of learning styles. With researching the types of learning described in our book I will be able to gather ideas and study my children to see what learning style suits each of them individually. Operant conditioning appears to be what learning style would stand out most for a child making their way in the world. The psychologist B. F. Skinner claimed “an operant behavior occurs spontaneously, and the consequences that follow such a behavior determine whether it will be repeated (King, 2019, p. 177) which best describes the learning style of toddlers. From the reading in chapter five, I was able to identify the differences more clearly in positive or negative reinforcement and positive or negative punishment. Establishing the differences in punishment and reinforcement will be a useful tool when it comes to parenting. During childhood, children are basically learning the cause of the effect of their actions and behaviors. With establishing to react to their behavior as punishment or reinforcement, can determine their mindset for their future behavior. An example of applying positive reinforcement regarding my children would be in the crucial period of potty training. Each time my child successfully uses the potty I would reinforce that behavior with a sticker or a special prize for so many times using the potty. Punishment will come along most in their adolescent years; however, it can be applied while they are still in their childhood. “Time-out is a form of negative punishment in which a child is removed from a positive reinforcer, such as his or her toys” (King, 2019, p. 184). Applying a negative punishment in their adolescence would include “getting grounded…as it involves taking a teenager away from the fun things in his life” (King, 2019, p. 184). When applying classical conditioning to parenting the first process which comes to my mind is counterconditioning. “Counterconditioning is a classical conditioning procedure for changing the relationship between a conditioned stimulus and its conditioned response” (King, 2019, p. 171). I could apply counterconditioning for breaking bad habits in my boys. One bad habit counterconditioning could be used to break would be my youngest’s use of a pacifier. Applying various learning styles to aid in the personal growth of my children can also benefit my future career.
The importance of psychology in the medical field, specifically nursing, can never be toned down. I feel as though psychology and nursing go hand in hand. When in a nursing career, regardless of the setting of your work, you will be introduced to psychological disorders in every stage. Using what was learned in my psychology class and focusing that on my future, it can help me to determine psychological disorders a patient of mine could be diagnosed with. If my nursing career tends to take me into the field of working with children, some of whom were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, from the research done in this class I will have a better understanding of how to interact with such individuals. ASD has become an increasing diagnosis in children. Researchers estimate ASD affects 1in 68 8-year olds (King, 2019, p. 446). Much research is still being done for an earlier diagnosis for a better outlook for the patient. Not only would I be caring for children but also adults who could have an anxiety disorder. By applying my knowledge from psychology, I can be more empathetic towards patients diagnosed with such disorders.
I can apply my knowledge in psychology personally to how it has changed me. The best way to describe psychology affecting me is by using the humanistic perspective. The “humanistic perspective stress a person’s capacity for personal growth and positive human qualities. Humanistic psychologists believe that we all have the ability to control lives and to achieve what we desire” (King, 2019, p. 373). I use the humanistic perspective to describe my place in life currently. Instead of continuing in the steps of my parents and working in a factory job for the rest of my life, I decided I wanted better for myself and my family. In being dormant and ultimately letting the environment I grew up in control my future life, I was not happy with the road I was heading down. Even though the study of this class only lasted eight weeks, it will forever have an academic impact on my life.
While I have applied psychology to change myself, I have applied it to help change my perspective of certain social situations. I am more aware of using person perception when meeting new people at my current job. I have been able to set aside the stereotype of the “typical” factory worker as being no good and get to know work acquaintances on a deeper level. By removing co-workers from the stereotype given to factory workers, I have been able to gain lifelong friendships which never would have unfolded had I stuck to my first impression of them.
Whether we understand we are applying it in our day-to-day life or not, psychology has been a factor of our lives since birth. In childhood when depicting learning styles, adolescence while we are trying to gain our footing and establish social connections, and into adulthood when the hormonal stress theory becomes less of a fairytale and more of a reality. In the words of Todd Kashdan, a Positive Psychologist, “…. for the future, it remains unwritten. Anything can happen, and often we are wrong. The best we can do with the future is to prepare and savor the possibilities of what can be done in the present” (Roy, 2015).
Josephson, M. (2012, January). Living a life that matters. What Will Matter. https://whatwillmatter.com/2012/01/quote-how-true-daddys-words-were-when-he-said-all-children-must-look-after-their-own-upbringing-parents-can-only-give-good-advice-or-put-them-on-the-right-paths-but-the-final-forming-of-a-person/.
King, L. (2019). Experience psychology. McGraw-Hill Education.
Roy, S. (2015, March). The 50 best quotes you could find in positive psychology. Happiness India Project. https://happyproject.in/50-quotes/.