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Essay editing- value of psychology
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March 23, 2012
9:25 pm
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I was basically asked to write an essay relating to the value of psychology in these three topic: personality, relationships and behaviour in groups. I had to focus on one topic from each of these and relate it back to the value of psychology. 

I would like help with the style and structure of my essay, along with any Grammar and spelling errors. I am Australian so it is behaviour, colour etc 

 

The Value of Psychology

Psychology is the science of how we think, feel and act. A lot of value comes out of psychological studies. Psychology aims to answer questions such as what factors influence us to behave in certain ways and, why and how drugs alter our behaviour. Psychological studies help us understand the way people function in groups and why they do so. The way people function may be due to formations of attitudes and personality. Psychology can be applied to society as a whole, it helps us understand how people function and how an individuals behaviour is influenced by a number of factors including culture, attitudes and beliefs.

Psychology allows us to improve ourselves and our relationships with other people. It allows us to gain valuable insights and understandings into ourselves. Knowing more about yourself gives you a better idea about what jobs and activities will best suit you. Your personality plays a huge role in determining career choices as well as your relationships with other people. For example a person with a bubbly outgoing personality will more likely become an actor than someone who is quiet and introverted. Psychology allows us to make better choices.

The main focus points of this essay will be the value of psychology in personality relating to twins, the value of psychology in relation to conformity in groups and the value of psychology in relationships relating specifically to parent and child relationships.

Personality

Twins can either be identical or fraternal. In relation to the topic of personality identical twins will be the main focus. Identical twins can be definied as: Two people formed from a single zygote that are genetically identical. Both of the individuals will have identical genes and the same inherited material. Many case studies have been created to see if personality depends more heavily on genes or if it depends mostly on the environment as a child grows up in. It isn’t ethical or practical to split identical twins at birth in these modern times but history does provide us with some cases involving identical twins.

A case study developed by Dr Neubauer (1950-1965) involved the separation of twin girls Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein. After birth both of the girls were sent to the adoption agency Louise Wise in New York. A child psychologist at the agency Dr Viola Bernard believed twins should be separated to improve their psychological development. Both girls were sent to different families in New York and secretly monitored. The adoptive parents were told the girls were taking part in a study but were not told what the study was about. The study was later revealed to be: child development in twins rose in different homes. The findings were said to be harmful to participants and due to this they will not be released fully until 2066.

Bernstein and Schein are now 33 years old and are both writers. The twins found each other by chance in 2004. Berstein had contacted the adoption agency and was told she was the younger of two girls. The adoption agency arrange for the two girls to meet. The girls started to compare each other and found both similarities and differences in personality. It was found that they studied film at university, sucked the same pointer and middle fingers, edited their high school newspapers and took pride in their typing speed. After meeting her sister Berstein said “twins really do force us to question what it really is that makes us who we are. Since meeting Elyse it is undeniable that genetics play a huge role- probably about 50 per cent”. They both admitted they had very similar personalities and tastes in music but it goes beyond that. Both of them have lived different lives but yet they are so similar.

Many psychologists have been asking for years whether nature or nurture influence personality more. The above study shows that nature and nurture play part of the role in developing ones personality. Both of the girls found similarities between each other but also there might be a lot of differences. Through psychological studies it has been suggested that they both play a major role and there is also a claim that different people get influenced in a verity ways. For one person nature might play a bigger role in personality than nurture. While the previous study suggests that there is nearly an equal match between the two, some psychologists have suggested the relationship between personality and genetics is bigger than the relationship between personality and the environment.

Daniel Goldman (1986) has done a major study into personality and has found that traits are mostly inherited. In his study 350 twins were the participants. Of these 350, 44 pairs of identical twins and 21 pairs of fraternal twins were bought up in separate households. The twins that were raised separately were compared to those who were bought up together. This allowed researchers to determine the relative importance of heredity and of environment in the twin’s development. It was found that many twins tried to emphases their differences but in general identical twins are very much alike in personality. The study tried to find what accounts for this similarity and it was oddly concluded that the environment didn’t have a major effect on personality. The differences between twins that were bought up separately and those that were bought up together were on par with each other. Another psychologists (Jerome Kagan (1986)) commented on these findings. “If in fact twins reared apart are that similar, this study is extremely important for understanding how personality is shaped” “It implies that some aspects of personality are under a great degree of genetic control. Daniel Goldman’s study has created a lot of counter investigations with some disproving and some proving this claim. The argument between whether nature or nurture plays a bigger role in personality and development is still going on today.

Psychological studies are very important in helping us understand personality. We can gain an insight into our behaviours. A personality test may allow an individual to gain knowledge about their personality. If it wasn’t for psychological studies we wouldn’t be able to understand and determine our personality like we are able to in the modern day. Twins have made it possible along with psychology to understand personality. The huge similarity of twins allows psychologists to make valid conclusions on how personality is created. Psychology has allowed us to understand why we have similar personalities to our family and others that are constantly around us.

Behaviour in Groups

Another area of psychology that is very valuable is behaviour in groups. Many people act differently when they are around different types of people. People often change their behaviour in response to group pressure. This is known as conformity. Psychologists have done many studies into conformity in groups. Due to many of these studies we have been able to discover many valuable pieces of information relating to conformity. Such as: why do people conform? And are there certain types of people that conform more often than others? For this section the main focus will be on Solomon’s Asch’s study into conformity.

Solomon Asch set up a simple visual judgement task. He arranged the participants in groups of eight to ten. They were seated around a table and shown two cards. One of the cards had three lines on it (labelled a,b,c) and the other card had one single line. One by one the participants were asked which line they thought was the same length as the line presented on the card with the single line. However there was only one real participant and the others were actors. There were eighteen trials in the experiment. For the first few trials everyone would agree on the obviously right answer. On the final twelve trials all participant actors would agree on an answer that was incorrect. On many occasions the real participant would follow the rest of the group. Asch found that 75% of his participants agreed with the stooges for at least one trial and 50% agreed on six or more trials. Only a few people answered the questions using their own senses 100% of the time.

There are many reasons to why people conform when they are in groups. One of them is normative social influence. This is when we conform to group standards because we want to be accepted by the group. Most people hate standing out in a crowd. If the participants in Asch’s study choose an answer different from the one the stooges choose then the participant would stand out amongst the group. Psychological studies have allowed us to see that most people hate being the centre of attention or being seen as different in a social environment. Another answer to why we conform is informational social influence. This type of social influence occurs when we are in strange situations. The participants in the study would have been with people they didn’t know and the situation was likely to be new to them. Many of these participants wouldn’t be used to hearing other people’s answers when taking a test. They would have thought it to be a strange situation. People act differently in these situations than they would for situations that are common to them. People are known to feel scared and vulnerable in situations they are not used to.

This is one example of many experiments that have tested and proven many observations previously made. It shows that psychology can find us valuable answers to questions that people have been thinking about for many years. People have been noticing their change in behaviour around different types of people for centuries. Only resent studies have allowed us to see why we act in these ways that who alters a person’s behaviour. Also psychology allows us to gain a lot of important knowledge about behaviour in groups. Through psychological studies we are able to see how we and others behave in different situations. Through these studies we are able to find out how the mind and body of an individual works when they are in a group compared to when the person is alone. By working with individuals we are able predict the reasons why people act differently in groups. When relating this to the above study an individual of “normal” intelligence is likely to answer the questions about line length correctly when they are alone because there is no social influences from others and they only have their own knowledge to work with. Many studies have allowed us to understand why and how this happens and that is why psychology is very valuable in understanding group behaviour.

Relationships

There has always been a misunderstanding between parents and children as far back as humans came into existence. Ray Bradbury(2001) is a psychologist who has done some investigating into why this misunderstanding occurs. The main issue he found was communication. Parents want to know what is going on in their child’s life but children often don’t want to talk to them. This may be due to a number of reasons such as embarrassment and misunderstandings. This is all to do with the generation gap. In different generations we have different methods or altered methods about sorting our problems. Communication has also changed over the last few decades. We now have the internet and mobile phones to communicate with other people. In the past people had more direct conversations. This includes person to person or over the phone. More misunderstandings come from new forms of communication and much of this can lead to tension between a child and a parent.

Parents are really bothered by tension. As a child becomes older the amount of tension greatens. Older children want to do stuff for themselves but parents want to take control and make sure they are not doing anything dangerous. Kira Birditt (2003) created an investigation into psychology and aging. She believed that “the parent-child relationships is one of the longest lasting social ties human beings establish”” this tie is often highly positive and supportive but it also commonly includes feelings of irritation, tension and ambivalence”.

Kira Birditt and colleagues at Purdure and Pennsylvania State Universities analysed data on 474 parents who had adult children who were at least 22 years old. All of the adult children lived within driving distance of their parents. African Americans made up a third of the sample and the other two thirds were European Americans. The researcher asked the participants questions relating to tension. Some examples are lifestyles, housekeeping habits and past relationship problems. The parents and children who were in the same family had different perceptions of tension intensity .Parents reported more intense tensions with children than the children reported with their parents. This is due to tensions being more upsetting to parents. The main reason for this is because parents have invested more in the relationship. In other words they have given the children more than what the children have given them. They have worked so hard and do not want to fail.

Both mothers and fathers reported more tension in their relationships with their daughters than with their sons. This is because daughters generally have closer relationships with their parents. This means more contact is involved in a relationship which provides more chance for tension. Girls are usually more open about their problems to their parents than boys and this is all to do with the traditional stereotypes of men and women. Birditt (2004) suggests being more open about your problems can cause less tension but it can also cause more tension and stress( depending on what is told and how it is told). It was also reported that sons and daughters found more tension between them and their mothers than between their fathers. This is because mothers want to be close to their children and it is a part of their traditional role. Psychology tells us that part of being a mother is protecting their children and doing everything that is possible to keep them safe. Fathers however want to make their children strong and independent.

Tension and misunderstandings between children are a part of living in a family. There will always be disagreements and psychological studies are helping us understand why there are these tensions. Relationships between family members are very important but the most important relationships are between a child and their parents. These relationships must be relatively stable because they are very important long lasting relationships. By doing investigations into these relationships it helps the parent and the child understand each other better. Both sides will be able to understand and communicate with each other better.

In conclusion psychological studies have allowed us to understand the importance of relationships. One of the most important things in life is to gain an understanding of others so we can improve our social relationships. With using the above example of child and parent relationships we are able to see the difference it would make in the relationship if both the child and the parent understood each other. Psychological studies allow us to see how to communicate effectively with others. Through the many studies that psychologists have carried out we have been able to conclude that communication is the key for a stable relationship. Such pieces of information are very valuable to the human population

Conclusion:

All three of these topics tie in with each other. When discovering answers to one you are also answering the others or accumulating new questions. Behaviour and personality can be combined. When we are in a group we often alter our personalities to fit in with the group. Relationships exist within groups, for example: parent child relationships in a family group. It depends on our personality and the relationships with have with people in the group that determines how we behave within a group. If we are in a group with people we know very well, we are less likely to conform because we fill more comfortable around these people. Many psychological studies allow us to evaluate ourselves and give us the chance and knowledge about how to change unwanted behaviours and personality traits etc.

Psychology is valued and is important because it explains every single action a person does. Everything a person does can be explained by psychology. We are able to gain self-knowledge. We are not able to fully understand ourselves through self-reflection. Many people can’t understand why they behave in certain ways; by learning about psychological studies we are able to get a better understanding of what causes our behaviour. In addition to learning about ourselves psychology can also allow us to learn about others. It is important to gain understanding of others to improve our social relationships. Psychological studies give us information about how to build rapport and communicate more effectively. Finally and most importantly psychology allows us to solve important problems (e.g. cause of mental illnesses). We are able to gain insight into new ways of solving these problems. Many mental illnesses have been found to be due to psychological defects. Many people don’t understand the value of psychology in everyday life but many problems that were existent in the past would be still around today if it wasn’t for psychological studies.

March 23, 2012
10:55 pm
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Hi Yoshirama

I'm a little out of my depth here, not having a background in psychology, and not being used to looking at longer papers. Generally the essays here are about 250-350 words and are written by English learners who are going to take the IELTS or TOEFL exams or write short argument and opinion essays for exams or school.

Anyway, I'll make a few comments. I ran the essay through the word count and readability links at the top of the page (see "Useful Links"). The essay comes in at 2893 words, with an average sentence length of 16, which is good for ease of reading, but perhaps in an academic or content paper might be higher. The paper scores well on various readability indexes. The second link (http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp) identifies 'problem' sentences -  these could be because of being overlong, having subject-verb errors, pronoun reference errors or errors in structure, such as run-on sentences and comma splices. Have a look at them - it does pretty good job of finding sentences that need work.

Overall, I'd say it could be a thousand words shorter. I'm still not clear why I'm reading it - do we need to defend psychology? Some of the statements (particularly in the conclusion) are unsubstantiated (what problems have been cured by psychology? We need examples!), and there is a good deal of repetition. What is the main point of the essay? Is it the argument between nature and nurture or genetics over environment, or is it about relationships? Is the example of twins added to make us think about the importance of genetics? There is a focus on some relationships within families - why not between adults, or between siblings? It's a bit of a ragbag.  

There is also the problem of audience and tone. If you are writing for a teenage audience, then it's ok to say 'a lot of' and 'stuff' and  'this is all to do with' and similar phrases. If you are writing for a magazine or a newspaper, you have to decide on a tone and stick to it. 

Far better to have one good reason for writing and to stick to that: it helps the reader to know why he or she is reading and to form an opinion for or against. Having three separate parts is very jarring. The examples (Asch, Neubauer, etc) are generally interesting (the Birditt quote about parent-child relationships being long-lasting is underwhelming, to say the least)  but the example paragraphs feel separate from the rest of the essay. It's not enough to say that psychology is important or even to say "this shows why psychology is important,' and repeating it just makes the essay sound plaintive. 

I'd go back to whoever asked you to write it and beg for a single topic. And fewer words -  this could easily be written in 2000 words, and 1700 would even be better.

Have a look at the sentences identified in the second link (copy and paste the essay) and see if you can find an error in most of them. If in doubt, remove commas, shorten, join to the previous sentence, and prune ruthlessly.

Good luck! 

 

March 24, 2012
8:46 am
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The topic are meant to be separate because that's what my teacher wanted (originally I had them together) I didn't like the idea of separating them myself. and the reason I focused on one topic for each section is because that was what we were asked to do. One type of relationship, one aspect of behavior in groups and one aspect of personality and yes it is meant for a teenage audience. 

 

Thanks for the comments though 🙂 i will try and cut it down. 

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