Paige Wilson's Archive

Blog Post #6

1 Commentby   |  04.23.13  |  Student Posts

Third-force psychology (AKA humanistic psychology) began to develop in the early 1960’s as a movement against psychoanalysis and behaviorism.  Third-force psychologists wanted to emphasize human uniqueness and positivity.  It assumes that humans are responsible for choosing their on existence, rather than genetics or early experience.  For me, this brings to mind the popular television show called The Biggest Loser.  This show makes weight loss into a competition.  Obese individuals are taught how to eat right and exercise.  The show runs on the basic premise that we can change our negative habits and replace them with positive ones by using our will.  Bad genes and a life of couch-sitting does not mean that an individual cannot change his or her body for the better.  The realization that we have the power to choose how our lives and bodies will be shaped empowers contestants on the show to work through emotional issues, while improving their physical health.

I generally have a more negative outlook on things; however, I have found that owning my choices not only forces me to face reality, but also reminds me that I have the power to change my reality.  This field may not have all the answers, but I do feel that it has something valuable to offer.

Blog #5 Psychoanalytical Thinking

2 Commentsby   |  04.11.13  |  Student Posts

One example of psychoanalytical thinking in everyday life can be found in the popular television show Criminal Minds.  This show follows a team of FBI profilers who travel from state to state in search of serial killers.  The team collects the details of each unique case.  After identifying the killer’s pattern, the team predicts what kind of life the individual is most likely living, with the hope that it will lead them to the killer more quickly.  Their search for the truth often leads them to investigate the dark pasts of suspects.  The show often links childhood trauma and abuse to the psychotic behavior of criminals.  Additionally, nearly every episode presents a criminal going through a stressor.  This stressor is the extra push that sends the criminal over the edge of reality.  In a way, the show is rationalizing the criminal behavior that takes place.  This is just one of the many reminders of psychoanalysis in modern society.


1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts


The National Geographic Channel airs a show starring Cesar Millan called “Dog Whisperer.” In the show, Millan enteres the homes of distraught dog owners.  In most cases these dogs are presenting with behavioral abnormalities that are dangerous to themselves or their owners.  Millan begins by listening to the dog owners explain their concerns and then silently observes the animals in the setting or situation that triggers their problem behaviors.

Millan then begins to work his magic.  The dog owners watch in amazement as Cesar is able to practically eradicate a behavior that has been ingrained in their pets for months or even years within a matter of a few minutes.  His influence has saved the lives of many precious pets and empowered countless pet owners.  So… how does he do it?  Is it magic? NO!

The answer can be found in the principles of behavioral psychology.  Think back to Ivan Pavlov’s experiments with dogs and salivation.  We all know that when a dog smells meat, he will begin to salivate.  This is known as an unconditioned response.  Pavlov found that the sight of the attendant, the sight of the food, and even the sound of the attendant’s footsteps were eventually enough to make the dogs salivate.  The sight and sound accompanying the attendant are known as the conditioned stimulus.  When the dog salivates in response to the conditioned stimulus, it is known as a conditioned response.

Dogs form certain associations in accordance to Pavlov’s findings, which can occasionally lead to less than desirable behaviors.  Millan builds off of this principle, using reinforcement.  He immediately and consistently provides consequences for negative behavior.  More importantly than training the animals he encounters, Millan trains their owners.  He forces them to see that they have the power to change any behavior IF they are consistent with consequences and rewards.

This training is fascinating and makes me wonder…  How effective would something similar be if it was applied to individuals with violent tendencies?  What about applying it to people with depression or personality disorders?  Could behaviorism be used more?  Is it dehumanizing because it is focused solely on the behavior?  One thing that cannot be questioned however, is its overwhelming effectiveness.

Blog Post #3 Evolutionary Psychology

1 Commentby   |  03.05.13  |  Student Posts

Evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain human behavior in terms of evolution. It may be true that we choose mates based on what our ancestors have deemed as desirable physical characteristics. Altruism may simply be a behavioral adaptation. Compassion may have evolved to encourage the protection and nurturing of our offspring.

But does the evolutionary source of our behavior matter?

Knowing the origins of our behaviors does not necessarily reveal a key to fixing behavioral abnormalities. Evolutionary psychology assumes that science is the only way of truly knowing. As a human with feelings, thoughts, values, and religious beliefs it is difficult for me to accept this.

Is this an effective method for understanding our bodies?

Undoubtedly the answer is yes. Science is paramount in explaining our capacity to reason and hold various principles and beliefs. In my opinion, science and evolutionary theory cannot explain these principles and beliefs themselves. Francisco J. Ayala states that, “science has nothing decisive to say about values… nothing to say about the meaning of life and its purpose; and nothing to say about religious beliefs.” In other words, science is not the only way of knowing and learning. For example, science cannot explain the origin of the physical laws of the universe. These laws were not man made or evolved, they simply exist.

The evolution of the human race is an important piece of the puzzle to examine and attempt to understand, but it is important not to stop there. I believe that, in the field of psychology, focusing on human behavior in relationship with modern society would be more useful.

Blog Post #2

1 Commentby   |  01.31.13  |  Student Posts

Scholasticism is one school of thought that has influenced contemporary thinking, which resulted from an attempt at synthesizing Aristotle’s philosophy with Christian theology.
Peter Abelard was a prominent proponent of this movement. Abelard believed that because God undeniably existed, all methods of inquiry would prove just that; therefore, Christians should not fear reason, logic, or scientific study of any kind. In his book, Sic et Non, Abelard presented a dialectic method. He penned many theological questions and included a variety of contradicting answers to these questions from well-known Christian theologians. Although this method was controversial for obvious reasons, he firmly believed it was a reliable way to arrive at truth. Abelard exposed inconsistencies within the Christian church, presuming that the Bible would consistently prevail.
His work paved the way for dialectic behavior therapy, which is a psychotherapy commonly used today to treat individuals with borderline personality disorders. His willingness to search for truth without fear of questioning the authority of the time can be seen today from universities to various social movements. Today the value of holding the experts accountable is easily understood. Additionally, Abelard helped to bridge the gap between realism and nominalism with his theory of conceptualism. He believed that universal essences did not exist. Instead, we form concepts of things such a beauty and pain that may summarize specific experiences, but exist apart from those experiences.
His scandalous sexual relationship with his 17 year old Heloise is a reminder that even the most rational of men are not above their own physical and emotional desires. This type of behavior continues more often than not on a daily basis. I do not believe that it makes his faith in God or his work in philosophy any less valid. It simply proves that he was human. We have made significant advancements in medicine, science, and technology; however, human lust and passion remain a constant in all societies today.

Blog Post #1 “The Good Life”

3 Commentsby   |  01.18.13  |  Student Posts

The question of “the good life” is nothing new. Philosophers, scientists, theologians and countless others have devoted their lives to the search for an answer. I do not believe that “the good life” can be defined in universal terms. It seems to me that it depends primarily on the individual’s understanding of what is “good.” Humans throughout different cultures and times will inevitably value and define these concepts differently.

In my opinion, which is heavily influenced by my Christian upbringing, I believe that a “good” life should be focused on creating and nurturing fulfilling human relationships. These relationships help us not only to understand a variety of different perspectives on life, but also to help us better understand ourselves. To live in a society in which public service is freely and joyfully given would be my ideal. Individuals would care for the community before the self, supporting one another in every phase of life. Government would not have to bear the burden of caring for the poor, sick, and homeless because the community would provide the best care for its members. Sharing resources because they wanted to, and spending time together out of love for one another.

While this is my ideal, I do not believe that this could ever work in the world we live in today. I believe that humans are essentially selfish, not out of pure disregard for others, but simply for survival purposes. We cannot escape our wants and needs. Everything we do is done for some type of personal gain, whether it is spiritual or material. Therefore, in this life, I believe that showing love and compassion to others when they have only rejected and abused you is the way to live a “good” life. In my opinion, a true state of selflessness is one of the most beautiful things that a human can achieve.

Paige Wilson's Comment Archive

  1. I like the point that you brought up a lot. I have not had any experience with home schooling, but my parents constantly pushed me to “be the best I could be.” In my opinion, it is also important for children to experience social learning to develop interpersonal skills. When children are exposed to people who have grown up differently than they have, they begin to have a broader perspective of the world around them.

  2. I really like the connection you made with Guy Code. I feel that now, more than ever, society is attempting to become more open and accepting of all individuals, no matter how different they may be. When attempting to place greater emphasis on accepting the individual, I feel that we begin to focus more and more on experience. We are almost obsessed with it. We want to experience God, life, and love – whatever that may mean. And we want to hear about the experiences of others in order to learn something or maybe even just to get a good laugh. This may help account for the rise in popularity of shows like Guy Code and Real Housewives, as well as the popularity of blogs.

  3. This is so interesting! I have not heard of anything like this until reading your post. I would absolutely purchase this app to see if it works. I have wished I could control my dreams… to think I could for $.99 is crazy!

  4. This is an interesting point. I believe that the basis for art therapy is along these lines. I don’t know much about art by any means but it is very interesting to think that the subconscious could express itself creatively through art.

  5. Paige Wilson on Blog 4: Behaviorism
    5:18 pm, 04.03.13

    This is a great example of behaviorist principles! This makes me think about using this type of conditioning when working with children with autism. Therapists frequently use similar techniques when teaching children on the autism spectrum to use alternate forms of communication, such as sentence strips, to request. Very interesting and effective stuff!

  6. Paige Wilson on Behaviorism
    5:13 pm, 04.03.13

    I think that the behaviorist’s idea that we can control our impulses and actions is empowering. We are not at the mercy of our ambiguous subconscious or our past experiences. Behavioral therapy is straight forward and largely effective. I agree that more research should be done on these techniques.

  7. Paige Wilson on Blog 3
    7:52 pm, 03.05.13

    I like your emphasis on the reductionist tendencies of evolutionary psychology. If all of our thoughts and beliefs stem solely from biological processes there is no free will. No free thought. Humans are nothing more than animals that have learned to talk to each other about nonsense. Love is relatively meaningless and faith in anything is pointless. Why not create a super race through genetic alterations and extermination of undesirables?

    I believe this is where humanistic criticism becomes very important. I refuse to live a life without hope. I also refuse to evaluate people by their biology only. In my opinion the human experience is about relationship and personal growth, which cannot ever be explained by science alone.

  8. Paige Wilson on Blog Post #3
    7:42 pm, 03.05.13

    I thought your post was very interesting. I especially liked the second point that you made. Today every individual places different value on physical and emotional characteristics. Some people tend to find themselves in abusive relationships. Obviously they are attracted to individuals with certain characteristics that many would classify as negative. What is the evolutionary explanation for this? Additionally, different cultures have different ideas of what is physically beautiful.

    You also bring up the issue of the desire for a “super race.” In evolutionary terms this would only be natural; however, as a human being I cannot accept this as good for a number of reasons. All of these things are very important to consider and engage.

  9. Paige Wilson on Blog Post 2
    2:38 pm, 02.01.13

    Concepts like double aspectism and the Holy Trinity will always be difficult, if not impossible, to fully understand or explain. It is hard enough for me to think about the separation between my mind and my spirit. How many of my thoughts, feelings, and actions result from chemical reactions in my brain or my conditioning? Where does the soul play into this? It cannot be seen or studied, but this certainly does not mean that it does not exist. If I struggle with this, you can only imagine how much more confusing it is to think about God as one in three parts. Thanks for sharing your discipline’s perspective. I think it is definitely something worth thinking more about.

  10. Paige Wilson on Blog post 2
    2:25 pm, 02.01.13

    I think that the point that you are highlighting is a very interesting one. It is not something that I have taken the time to think about before. Undeniably, the Greeks have paved the way for the philosophical schools of thought that we take for granted today.

    Perhaps they began asking these deep questions primarily because they had the luxury to do so. Before their time, the peoples of the earth were primarily focused on physical survival and therefore did not generally spend their free time in deep thought about existence and the divine. This being said, I do believe that humans naturally search for something greater. Ancient peoples may not have written extensively about philosophy, but they did worship various deities. Although man has progressed significantly since the time of the Greeks, we continue to ask similar questions in search of some kind of meaning for our lives.

    I would never deny the fact that in the world today, people generally believe what they are told by their educators or by their parents. However, I also think that every man will come to a certain point in his life in which he questions his God, faith, and values. We are curious beings, fascinated by what we cannot know and fearful of what we cannot see.