Psych in Your Life

  1. The Experimental Method
  2. The Sociocultural Perspective
  3. Insomnia and Ways to Treat It

The Experimental Method

In our everyday lives, we see the impact that experiments have. “Most psychologists agree that the preferred method for answering questions about cause and effect is the experimental method.” (Rathus, Maheu, Veenvilet, 2012, p. 16). Everything we do on a regular basis has been experimented and tested. From showers to AA meetings, everything needs to be tested if it works. We even use experiments in our everyday lives. For example, we use observations every day, all day long. We perceive things with our senses and observe our surroundings. When you walk to class early in the morning and notice that there is nobody out, you have used your eyes to see that nobody is outside. You used your ears to hear that nobody is making any noises outside. Observations are also made in the home. For example, when someone is making dinner and they are trying to figure out how much pasta to make for four people, they use visual observation to see if they are making too much. Visual observation is very important because we use it very often. “Observing, by the way, is something that you do on purpose, it’s not passive.” (Shelton, 2013). Observing is melded in to our very nature because it is linked to all our senses.

In our lives, we propose many hypotheses. Scientists use hypotheses to start the experimental method. They begin by observing a specific problem, and then they create a hypothesis about the problem. We make theories and assumptions about everything in our lives. For example, if someone is wondering whether the coffee they just bought from Tim Hortons is too hot, they won’t know until they take a sip and test it. The hypothesis proposed in this case is, “is the coffee hot or cold?”. Another example of hypotheses that we make is our goals and dreams. This could be a stretch, but hear me out: Have you ever had a thought that you could do something? Like playing professional basketball or be a high-class chef? The hypotheses in this example is, “can I be a professional basketball player?” and the only way to find out is if you conduct research and do the work. Humans tend to create assumptions about everything, until we conduct a type of research to get evidence. And this will lead us into the next step about the experimental method: performing experiments.

This step in the experimental method is another one we use all day every day. In the example of the hot coffee, instead of thinking whether the coffee is hot, this is the step where you take a sip and test the temperature. Humans experiment all the time. Another example could be if a person on a skateboard were trying to do a trick down a stair set, the hypothesis in their mind would be, “can I make it over the stairs?”, and the actual act of testing the experiment would be when they attempt to clear the stairs. Another way you can look at conducting experiments is that it is taking a risk. Scientists take risks all the time for their field, and so do we. We choose whether to cross the road without observing either side, we choose to be friends with a certain person, we hand out the job application to our dream job, we take a risk and in doing so conduct an experiment.

 

 

The Sociocultural Perspective

Every psychologist believes mental behaviour and processes can be understood. There are seven different perspectives, and all of them have a different view on how the human mind works. One specific example of a perspective is the sociocultural perspective. Basically, this perspective means that a psychologist believes that the roles of society, culture, gender, race, and status all have major factors in a person’s thought process and behaviour. Society plays a major key in a person’s decision making and thought process. For example, if someone were to go to another country and start eating the food there, they would notice that people are eating different types of food or eating it in a different way. Everything that a person does in public, they do this because they are following the rules and set etiquettes that years of culture and society have molded into a cultural and societal norm. If you see someone who is wearing a certain set of new shoes, there could have been societies influence on them buying those shoes. For example, how did they find out about these new shoes? Through an ad? Perhaps the ad said that they would be “cool” if they bought these new shoes in hopes of being so.

Society also plays a role on how we make choices. In society, lately, we have recently just finished the United States election. The media has been shedding light on this movement more recently, and the media is one of the biggest culture influencers on the planet. How someone makes choices in society can be influenced depending on what information is being fed to a person and how. People who follow certain TV channels or radio stations will be getting different opinions on information. This is how media influences us. We are bombarded with information from multiple sources with differing opinions, and based on our culture/social norms, we will make opinions and decisions based on the information. For example, if a person decides to buy a gun for their own safety, one could say society influenced them. We would have to ask a couple of questions: where do you live? How old are you? What TV channels, radio stations, and websites do you frequent? We need to know these things to find what plays a role in them making decisions. Society plays a major role in our lives because in some way we all want to fit in, and following social normality is the way to do so.

Humans act certain ways because society tells them to do so. For example, praying is a very religious act that many people do, but in some societies, they do not pray at all. Everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief. The sociocultural perspective says that society influences whether someone prays or not. One could imagine that the people in the Vatican City pray more often than the average Canadian because of where they live. With the pope in the city, it is more common and more of a social norm to pray often there. There are also certain rules and laws that people need to follow in certain countries and those impact decisions people make every day. For example, in some states in America, someone is allowed to marry their own cousin. People in other cultures may see this as odd or not right, but it is their decision because it is how society brought them up.

 

Insomnia and Ways to Treat It

Insomnia is a very serious sleep disorder. It is one that affects every moment, movement, thought process, and decision in a person’s life. Insomnia is defined as the “inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.” (dictionary.com).  Insomnia is when someone stays up hours on end with no urge or ability to sleep, and sleep in a human necessity. So, when someone is not able to achieve their needed sleep it will impact their cognition and their motor skills immensely. A person may also become very short and irritated while suffering insomnia. But there are ways to treat this disorder. The first thing you should do is bring it up with a professional doctor so they can guide you through the steps of getting better, like advice on how to have a healthier sleep habits (Treatment, 2016). They may give advice on exercising on a regular basis or eating at certain times. Sometimes depression is linked to the insomnia as well, and seeing a therapist may help with both. Many people fall into a rhythm where instead of trying to sleep, they try to keep busy which only tires them out more. When trying to counter insomnia, set times must be set for rest in hopes that during this time sleep will occur.

There are many other ways of fighting this disorder, like prescription and non-prescription sleeping aids. A doctor must give the prescription drugs, but as for non-prescription, you can find those in any local drug store. There are also many different natural ways of dealing with insomnia like exercise, different kinds of food, and natural supplements. Melatonin is a very popular natural sleep inducer. Our brain (more specifically, our penial gland) creates melatonin which helps control our sleep cycle, and when there is not enough melatonin being produced, then sleep is disrupted. You can get melatonin supplements at some grocery stores and local health food stores. Melatonin is also in many fruits and vegetables, so if someone isn’t eating properly, then they are at higher risk of insomnia than others. Cherries and bananas are good because they contain a chemical named tryptophan which eventually turns into melatonin in the body (Goodall, 2016). Another good “sleep food” is chamomile or sleepy-time tea. “Chamomile has long been a reliable remedy for helping people doze off. It relaxes your muscles, and is thought that, potentially, a substance called apigenin can bind to GABA receptors which affect the central nervous system and sleepiness.” (Goodall, 2016). Melatonin is needed in the body to sleep, so be sure to be eating foods and consuming drinks that will help with sleep.

Insomnia is a major problem among teens. Staying up all night to work on projects or partying. Young adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to function at full capacity, and many students just aren’t getting the rest they need. They may believe that staying up all night is helping them get work done, but they are only hurting their bodies. Insomnia can’t be forced out of someone’s life, it needs to be worked on. Insomnia is not specifically a mental illness, but it often comes hand in hand with many different ones. Seeing a therapist to talk to while suffering from insomnia may help. Being able to calm the nerves by talking to another person is an old but effective tactic. Some therapists may give out sleeping pills to start a process called “cognitive behavioral therapy” which is basically taking pills at certain times to help with the production of melatonin and keep your circadian rhythm on track. Insomnia is a very big problem in our society. Some people do not understand that sleep, like food, is a human necessity. Sleep is needed so we can function on a day to day basis.

 

Bibliography:

Using the Scientific Method in Everyday Life – Chris Shelton – Critical Thinker at Large, 2013

@sheltondesigner – http://mncriticalthinking.com/2013/12/18/using-the-scientific-method-in-everyday-life/

insomnia. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved November 25, 2016 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/insomnia

Treatment. (2016). Retrieved November 25, 2016, from https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/treatment

Goodall, C. (2016). 18 Natural Sleep Aids to Get Better Sleep | Everyday Roots. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from http://everydayroots.com/sleep-remedies

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