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Crystal Clear app kfm home.png This user is a participant in the Motivation and emotion unit, 2010.
See also: Textbook
Writer1.gif This page is an e-portfolio. Also see other participants' pages.

About Me[edit]

I'm an undergraduate psychology student, currently in my third year, hoping to go on to honours. I'm particularly interested in abnormal and criminal psychology, and my fascination with criminal psychology is the reason why I chose to do the motivation behind violence and violent crime as my textbook chapter.
I love horses and going horseriding, I've been horseriding for around 13 years of my life now and it's pretty much an addiction for me. If I had to list my top 5 favourite breeds of horses it'd probably look something like this.

  • 5. Thoroughbred (the picture is of the wonderful racehorse Northern Dancer who won 14 of his 18 races and has been said to be one of the most influential sires in Thoroughbred history!)
  • 4. Akhal Teke (renowned for their incredible colouring, some Akhal Teke horses have a distinctive metallic sheen over their coat, as such they are often referred to as "Golden horses")
  • 3. Arabian (known for their distinctive dished faces, Arabians are desert horses. Napoleon's famous war horse Marengo was an Arabian)
  • 2. Andalusian + Lusitano (though seperate breeds they are closely related and are physically similar in their beauty, their temperaments and what they are generally used for)
  • 1. Friesian (my absolute favourite breed of horse, everyone loves Friesians because of their impressive presence, intense black coat and remarkable mane, tail and featherings. Friesians are simply magnificient. They have been used in mulitple movies including Clash of the Titans, Ladyhawke, Zorro, Alexander, Sense & Sensibility and more. Type in 'Friesian stallion' in google images and bask in their splendour!)

My username comes from the video game Halo (only on xbox), the hero/main character from that game is called Master Chief, or Spartan 117. I actually bought an xbox specifically so I could play Halo I'd heard so much good stuff about it. I was certainly not disappointed. I love Halo, I love playing the games, I love reading the books, I love reading the comics, I love the Halo universe. I think this picture is the greatest thing I've seen all day.

Halo 3 ODST-firefight truck.jpg

I love music. I listen to a lot of rock and metal and their various subgenres. Some of my favourite bands are Enter Shikari, Deathstars, Parkway Drive, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, My Chemical Romance, As I Lay Dying, A.F.I., 30 Seconds To Mars, The 69 Eyes, Rammstein and H.I.M. I absolutely love Black Veil Brides and my favouritefavourite band is Escape The Fate ♥ When they came for Soundwave this year me and my best friend did their whole tour (5 Soundwaves and 3 sideshows). It was very expensive, very exhausting but the best thing I've ever done in my life and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. In fact we're already planning to do their whole tour again when they come back.
So, I'm thinking this wikiversity thing isn't as hard as I was dreading it being. Thank God for that!


Week one: Introduction[edit]


Lunch time!

Having been to the first lecture for Motivation and Emotion and read the first two chapters of the textbook, we touched on, and will be looking at in greater depth, how food/hunger is a motivating force for humans. My next class after the lecture was a tute for Nutrition, Health and Society where we looked at what motivates us to eat how, where and what we do. As food is usually viewed as a motivating force in psychology, I’d never stopped to think of it in reverse terms = what motivates us to eat what we do? Why do I like to dip my McDonald’s fries in McChicken sauce? Why do I like tomato sauce but not tomatoes? Why do I always order the sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub with cheese and lettuce at Subway? I think that food is associated with multiple psychological drives (socialising with friends, tradition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, religious practice, a means to assess a potential partner by going to dinner with them, relaxation, impressing someone by cooking them something tasty, celebrations, indulgence, etc) these same psychological drives are the reasons we eat what, how, where and when we do, thus creating a feedback loop – a psychological drive to eat arises, we eat and then associate certain foods with that psychological drive so the next time that same psychological drive pops up, we seek out the food we’ve associated with it. Sometimes we associate foods with certain activities/events that we’ve never experienced ourselves simply because it is continuously reinforced in our lives – how many romance movies plug the chocolate/ice-cream/cookie dough and soppy movies remedy for women going through a break-up? All birthdays must be accompanied by a birthday cake, we don’t know why this should be so but it’s been like that ever since we can remember and we feel disappointed if we don’t get a cake on our birthday. Caviar is a “rich” persons food, therefore if you ever get the chance to eat it you should feel like you’ve stepped up in the world. Steak is a manly food, salad is a womanly food, and men should eat more of everything. All these concepts and more motivate what, when, where and how we eat. Eating may be a biological drive but our taste in food is a psychological and sociological drive.

Week two: Assessment[edit]

Today’s lecture focussed on the assessment items and some of the “how to’s” surrounding them. Last week we took a preliminary look at the assessment items and were asked to begin thinking about what topic we’d like to cover in regards to our textbook chapter.

Ted Bundy. A notorious American serial killer.

About a week before university started back I read a book called The Anatomy of Motive, which was about the reasons behind why some people become spree murderers, mass murderers and serial killers, and how knowing the motives behind the crime can lead to catching the criminal. Criminal psychology, serial killers, and the reasons/theories/predispositions behind why some people commit violent or illegal acts are subjects that have fascinated me for a few years and have recently begun seriously considering it as a career path. So once we were instructed to begin reflecting about our textbook, my thoughts pretty much immediately turned to the motivation behind serial killers, or, more broadly, the motivation behind violent behaviour and law breaking. I was a little unsure about how much (academic) information I’d be able to gather, as one textbook chapter has to be around 3,500 words, or at least that’s what I’d be aiming for. Some of that can include stories of crimes, how the criminals were caught, and the motives behind their crimes (e.g. Charles Manson, Ed Gein, “Son of Sam”, the Unabomber), the portrayal of crimes and their motives in entertainment (movies, TV shows, books). But that can’t make up the bulk of the chapter, so I broadened my topic to violence, mainly violent crime, meaning I can cover theories of violence and their relationship to crime, and devote a good chunk to serial, mass and spree murderers. I had a research session on Monday and turned up a good amount of academic work in relation to violent crime and motivation, the next step is skimming it all and coming up with a template for my chapter based on what I’ve found.
Edit: 24.9.10 So I finished my Social Psych essay this week (go me!) and now I’m planning on concentrating on my textbook chapter for the rest of the semester. I skimmed through about half of my current articles and have come up with a basic plan for my chapter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this changes as I begin writing and turn up more information of certain things. I’m turning a few ideas over in my head for some supplementary/fun stuff to have in my chapter, I’m going to see if I can find a few psychopathy questionnaires to put up, maybe some fun “What serial killer would you be” quizzes, a list of movies that have had serial killers (real and fictional) as their main premise, a few short biographies of famous killers, that sort of thing. I’m actually pretty excited about doing it, I just hope I do it well.

Week three: Physiological Needs[edit]


Drinking water.

This week the lecture focused on physiological needs, mainly hunger, thirst and sex. We don’t usually think about these processes beyond deciding what food to eat when we’re hungry, where to get a drink when we’re thirsty, and who to … well … you know. After the lecture today I tried to pay more attention to my body’s biological need levels and how they fluctuated throughout the rest of the day. I have never thought about hunger in terms of the complex system of neurotransmitters and the balancing act that the body performs on a daily basis, I’d never even begun to think of how the brain maintains a homeostatic state for the body at all times that it is able, so I found this week’s topic very striking in terms of how it has made me reassess and really take notice of my bodily processes, and how my brain controls it all. The idea that the body has a set weight (set-point theory) that is biologically determined early in life truly fascinates me. I had come across this theory before in physiological psychology and it always intrigued me how even though someone may diet and exercise and lose weight, their body would always be looking to return to their ‘ideal weight’, even if that ‘ideal weight’ was heavier than the person desired. I can testify to this theory firsthand, my eating patterns vary throughout the year; I usually go through a stage of eating normally for a few months – snacking throughout the day, a decent lunch, a good-sized (usually) healthy dinner, and dessert, before (or perhaps I should say after?) going through a stage of eating minimally – a small lunch (if I eat lunch at all), little to no snacks, a smaller portioned dinner, and no dessert. It seems like my body regularly allows me to eat freely for a time but once it feels I’m going above my biologically determined set-point it restricts my hunger levels and brings me back to what would seem to be my body’s ideal weight. I also found it comforting when the textbook talked about thirst and how we don’t really need to drink the socially prescribed eight glasses of water a day since I barely drink one glass of water a day, let alone eight! I find it really interesting that there is no actual scientific evidence to say that drinking eight glasses of water a day is important, yet this recommendation is still largely adopted and advocated by a decent proportion of the population, I wonder where it originally came from? It’s also an interesting point looking at the differences between water consumption among individuals, why do some people drink more water than others? Why is water the preferred drink of some people and not others? Why do some people enjoy the (non) taste of water while others don’t? I’m one of the people who doesn’t particularly like the taste of water (yes, I know it tastes like nothing but that’s why I don’t really like it) so I don’t drink it that much, unless it’s mixed with cordial. Though I’ve got to say ice-cold water on a hot day or when quite thirsty is very satisfying. Or do I not drink a lot of water not because I don’t like the taste but because my brain knows that my body gains enough water through other means that I don’t need to drink that much plain water? Hmm …

Week four: Psychological and Social Needs[edit]


Two friends walking together.

I went in to renew my learner’s permit today and had to retake the Road Ready Knowledge test again, which was a little bit nerve-wracking even though I knew most of the questions were mainly commonsense questions whose answers could be quite easily deduced. After I took the test (and passed!) I felt so motivated to come home and continue work on my textbook chapter; it’s amazing how a confidence booster (even a small one) can really stimulate a person to enthusiastically tackle other challenges such as an assignment, a difficult book chapter, a work-related activity or some other learning challenge. But onto the textbook chapter! This week we’re looking at psychological needs, relating to autonomy, competence and relatedness, and social needs, which are connected to achievement, affiliation and intimacy and power. Flow is a concept I’ve come across in psychology before, I think in cognitive psychology last semester, and has always intrigued me because I’ve actually experienced flow myself. The textbook defines flow as “a state of concentration that involves a holistic absorption and deep involvement in an activity”. Flow usually occurs when a person comes up against a challenge that is well matched with their skill level – they concentrate entirely on the task at hand, immerse themselves fully in it, and once it’s complete feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. I go horseriding as one of my hobbies, I’ve been riding for at least 13 years and it’s one of my greatest passions. At my riding school there are levels of competence (S1 denoting beginner and S7 being the highest level a rider can go to at the riding school) and once each rider acquires the appropriate skills they are allowed to move on to the next stage. The higher up the levels you go, the more difficult and challenging horses are available to be ridden, as well as more complex skills being taught. I’m currently at S6, so the second highest level, and often request to be put on the more demanding and unruly horses because they provide more of a challenge and test my riding and handling abilities more so then some of the better trained but more placid horses. This is an example of me actively seeking out a task level that matches my skill level well, and thus the major prerequisite for flow is in place. Riding a horse properly and asking it to work correctly involves a high degree of concentration and effort (the first main component of flow) and most riders will engage themselves fully in riding their horse and asking it to complete whatever task they have set themselves, or have had set for them, for the lesson (the second main component of flow). I’ve experienced flow a number of times while riding, but only once I started riding in the higher lesson levels (towards the end of S5 but mainly once I reached S6) when my skill set had grown to a sufficient level and the more highly trained and capricious horses were open to me to ride. I only ever realise I’ve experienced flow after the actual event, because you’re too busy concentrating at the time to think about anything else, but once I’ve finished my lesson and been party to flow, I always feel like I’ve really achieved something and learned/practiced something important, the sense of enjoyment I get from it will usually last me the rest of the day and whenever I reflect back upon it during the week it always makes me happy, even thinking about good lessons months later will still feel me with a sense of pride and fulfilment. Horseriding is really a subject I can go on about for a very long time, so I better stop this post here, otherwise I’ll get completely off track and just start talking about the horses I’m riding at the moment and their particular quirks and methods of working.

Week five: Intrinsic-Extrinsic Motivation and Goal-Setting[edit]


Goal setting!

The section on discrepancy in chapter 8 on Goal Setting and Goal Striving got me thinking about discrepancy between the present state and the ideal state and how this could be one of the causes of depression. In the theory of discrepancy, a person assess their present state against their ideal state and the amount of discrepancy between the two motivates the individual to change their present state so that it resembles their ideal state more closely. This is how discrepancy is supposed to work, but what about instead of someone who is motivated by the discrepancy, someone who feels powerless to do anything about the discrepancy and responds more in line with learned helplessness theory. For instance, a person has an ideal state of achieving a UAI of 80 to get into their desired course at uni, they are in their last semester of college and need to attain at least high-level B’s in all their classes for that semester to get their desired GPA. A person who is motivated by this discrepancy would be expected to display work oriented behaviour, they would work hard towards their goal of getting all B’s by completing their assignments on time to a high-standard, studying for their exams, and actively participating in their classes. Another person might be intimidated instead of motivated by this goal, they may feel that getting all B’s is too far out of their depth for them to realistically achieve. So instead of engaging in their classes and still attempting their goal, they may not even bother with their assignments, feeling they will fail anyway, or with class participation, thinking that they will be ridiculed because of their opinion or lack of knowledge on a subject. I have a friend who suffers from depression and they display this sort of behaviour. Depression is marked by a feeling of hopelessness and futility, that you should not even bother doing something because it’s more than likely that you’ll fail or do it wrong, or sometimes you may even lack the motivation to try. My friend enrolled in a uni course in the last semester of last year and the first semester of this year, but both times failed to complete the course. They would get to about week 5, when assignments start to become due, and begin to be overwhelmed and start experiencing a crippling doubt in regards to their academic abilities. Instead of attempting to push these doubts to the back of their mind and endeavouring to complete the assignments to the best of their ability anyway (which probably would have gotten them quite high marks since they’re an intelligent person), they dropped out, preferring to face certain self-induced failure than possible failure due to their perceived lack of skill and knowledge. This, to me, looks like discrepancy theory, but a negative version of it – instead of becoming motivated and trying to correct the discrepancy, the person instead mentally withdraws him or herself and avoids the discrepancy creating task altogether, thus nullifying the discrepancy.

Week six: Control Beliefs and The Self[edit]

This week I really enjoyed the chapter on ‘The Self and Its Strivings’. Our self-concept of who we are and how we think we relate to the world is possibly one of the most important pieces of knowledge that we hold throughout our life. Our self-concept, also known more generally as our identity, is what informs and directs our interactions with our family, our friends, our classmates, our work colleagues, strangers on the street, other individuals in our community, the society at large. However, we do not just hold one identity but multiple ones, although we may have an over-arching identity that feeds into and influences all our actions, no matter what situation we’re in or who we’re with. This got me thinking about all the different identities I might have, and so I brainstormed and came up with a list of some of the different identities I think I have.

A man riding a horse. This horse actually looks similar to a hunter I ride called Persia.

  • Australian
  • University student
  • Psychology student
  • Member of the metal/goth/alternative scene
  • Horse rider
  • Daughter/cousin/niece/granddaughter
  • Best friend
  • Female

These ones are the major ones that I always carry with me and that constantly influence me, so I guess traits from each of these probably combine and help make up my general identity of “Annelise”.
The next part of the chapter talks about personal strivings, which are what each person tries to achieve on a day-to-day basis and throughout their life. I completed the exercise on page 288 myself, to see what I could come up with for my own personal strivings.

  1. Be accepted into 4th year psychology.
  2. Get my P’s.
  3. Attempt more things outside my comfort zone.
  4. Travel to L.A. at the end of next year with my best friend.
  5. Become a criminal psychologist.
  6. Begin competing in horse shows/events.
  7. Learn to better accept things outside of my control.
  8. Save more money.
  9. Start going to the gym at the end of the semester.
  10. Own my own horse (Friesian).
  11. Become more self-confident.
  12. Never forget the importance of HAVING FUN!

One of the most interesting concepts I gained from the chapter was of differentiation and integration (pg. 282), which are processes related to agency that direct a person’s development and enthusiasm in certain areas. It is through differentiation that an individual focuses and hones their talents and interests in a few specific areas. The whole section on differentiation and integration rung so true for me because I have definitely experienced differentiation in several areas of my life where I have actively pursued knowledge and experience of an area to understand the unique elements and be able to differentiate the finer aspects. For instance, there are a couple of areas in my life where I know I have actively sought out information to better my understanding of that area with purely intrinsic motives. One area is horseriding. I ride every week to gain more experience and techniques; I also ride different horses regularly, I read books to expand my knowledge not just on riding but on horses as well – the different breeds and their characteristics, famous horses and their stories, famous riders and their riding methods, I watch documentaries and movies on horses and pick up bits of information from there, I am constantly looking to expand my knowledge on and experience with horses so I can become a better rider. Another area is my music taste. I attend concerts of bands I like, I buy merchandise, I constantly buy CDs (it can get pretty ridiculous sometimes!), I keep track of bands I like online, me and my best friend are practically veritable experts on our favourite band Escape The Fate. From a humble beginning I have cultivated and built upon my music taste until it has become what it is today by actively seeking out new bands to listen to, reading information on the genres of music I like, keeping up with news on bands I like and experiencing live shows, all through intrinsic motivation and love for the music.
I’m looking forward to starting the emotion section of this course in the second part of the semester! The chapters for it look really interesting. You could say I’m pretty motivated to read them.

Week nine: Nature of Emotion[edit]

This week we started the section on emotion for this semester. The textbook chapter for this week starts off by presenting and discussing five perennial in relation to the study and understanding of emotions:

Someone's pretty happy!

  1. What is an emotion?
  2. What causes an emotion?
  3. How many emotions are there?
  4. What good are the emotions?
  5. What is the difference between emotion and mood?

During the lecture James then offered another five questions that had had in regards to emotions:

  1. How can emotion be measured?
  2. What are the consequences of emotions?
  3. How can emotion be changed?
  4. How and why did emotions evolve?
  5. How do emotions of animals vary?

James then asked what five questions we might have in relation to emotion. So here are the five questions about emotion that I would like answered:

  1. We all know the saying that there’s a thin line between love and hate. I myself know that sometimes when you love a person it’s very easy to go from loving them to hating them and even back again. This may have something to do with the intensity of the emotions involved with love – love is a very powerful and passionate feeling, at times all-consuming – as is hate. And we only ever truly love or truly hate those people that we know well, we may say that we ‘hate’ someone we’ve never met but I believe it is near impossible to properly hate a person unless you know them and know their personality and their traits, their attitudes and their behaviours. The same goes for love. So my question is – how similar are love and hate when biological, physiological, neurological, psychological and social measures are taken. Is there a similar bodily reaction behind them? Are they located in the same or related parts of the brain? Are there similarities in the ways they are socially constructed and learned? Why does love turn so easily into hate? Though I think that last question is one more for philosophers than anything else.
  2. Are there differences between the intensity of emotions felt between cultures? Italians are often stereotyped as very emotional and passionate people, Japanese are often seen to be very controlled and minimalist in their emotional displays, Australians are thought to be more relaxed in their emotions, whereas Americans are seen to be more neurotic with their emotions. It has already been shown that there are a core number of emotions that are present in every culture in the world, no matter what their name. We also know that emotions are seen and taught differently in each culture. What I wonder is if emotions are experienced differently between cultures, if they are in fact more intensely felt in Mediterranean cultures compared to Asian cultures, if cultural teachings have actually shaped not only the way emotions are expressed but actually how powerfully they are produced in the brain.
  3. What would happen if emotions were like moods? Emotions are deep but transient states of feeling, moods are much longer lasting but also much more low key in comparison. How would our behaviour and way of thinking change if we were to experience emotions as we experience moods – lasting for hours or days at a time? Would we even be able to handle it? Emotions have obviously evolved the way they have for some very good reasons; changes to the emotional makeup of an individual usually results in them being labelled with a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar. It’s an interesting thought though, to imagine what humanity would be like if emotions lasted as long as moods.
  4. Are serial killers emotionally different compared to everyone else? Serial killers are a fascinating subject and there have been many studies done looking at the differences in brain patterns, intelligence, personality, head shape, body type, genetic makeup, family background, education, socioeconomic status, and many, many more factors but I’d like to know if serial killers are emotionally different to ‘normal people’. Do they feel emotions differently? Do they express emotions differently? Do they attribute emotions to objects/situations differently? How is that the majority of individuals feel revulsion or horror or fear at the thought of killing another person, but this select group of people feel satisfaction or joyousness or pride or positive anticipation at the thought of killing another person? How did this major difference in emotion come about? Can it be undone? Or is it hardwired into a person’s brain?
  5. Can colours elicit an emotional response? Certain colours are associated with certain emotions: pink = love, red = anger, blue = sad, etc. I wonder if changing the colour of an object or a person’s surroundings or something like that would have a noticeable effect on a person’s emotions during an event/situation.

This was actually much harder than I thought it would be, coming up with 5 questions was difficult because I had no idea if any of them have been answered already or not. I might go see what I can find!

Week ten: Aspects of Emotion[edit]


People have long liked to scare themselves via stories and movies.

I went to see Paranormal Activity 2 on Friday with two friends (on a side note, the first one is amazing, if you haven’t seen it yet and like suspenseful and creepy movies I would definitely recommend it, though I wouldn’t suggest watching it alone in your house or at night!) and we were joined in the cinema by several groups of high-school age children. Before the movie begun I told my friends to expect lots of screams and squeals throughout the movie during the scary/jumpy parts, followed by (nervous) laughter, something I’ve come to call “the horror movie laugh”. It usually happens right after a climax in the tension or a scary part in any movie, though you will most commonly hear it during a horror movie, when the audience has been given a fright or has been shocked by something on the screen that has caused them to jump or scream or cry out with fear. After this culmination of terror, a person (and at times an entire audience) then usually laughs to try to cover up their fear or break any leftover tension or because they are embarrassed by their show of fright. As I had predicted, we heard many instances of the “horror movie laugh” throughout the movie, in some cases even before a scary part happened, when there was a high level of tension and a feeling that there was about to be a frightening bit. You may be thinking what does this have to do with emotion and psychology? As I was reading the chapter for this week yesterday, I came across a section that talked about neural activation and its role in emotion (pg. 334) and it instantly made me think of the “horror movie laugh”, as it explains why it happens. When neural firing slightly increases a person experiences interest, when neural firing moderately increases a person experiences fear, and when neural firing decreases a person experiences relief/joy. So, sitting in a movie theatre and engaging in a movie with an original, appealing and/or exciting plot would slightly increase a person’s neural firing. A sudden, unexpected fright can increase neural firing at least moderately, and, probably for a few seconds, increase it quite highly. The passing of this shock and a lessening of the tension can then lead to a decrease in neural firing and a feeling of relief comes over the person, in some cases resulting in them letting out a nervous laughter. I thought it was interesting seeing how an understanding of psychology really can relate to and explain normal, everyday events.

Week eleven: Personality and Emotion[edit]


Personality facets.

Personality as a motivational factor is something that I looked at as part of my textbook chapter. There have been a lot of studies done on which personality factors might affect or influence the motivations behind criminal and violent behaviour. Personality disorders, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, have been shown to be linked to violent criminal behaviour, Antisocial Personality Disorder especially as some of the characteristics of the disorder relate to criminal activity and thought processes. The other terms for Antisocial Personality Disorder – sociopathy and psychopathy, are synonymous with criminality, an individual who has committed particularly heinous and violent crimes is often called a psychopath – serial killers are nearly always called psychopaths. The chapter on personality characteristics goes on to talk about sensation seeking, which is another factor correlated with criminal behaviour. This could be because people who engage in criminal behaviour have high sensation seeking levels, they need more stimulation to maintain their arousal levels and are happy to take physical, legal, social and financial risks to obtain the sensation levels needed. By participating in criminal behaviour such as burglary, assault, robbery, fraud, rape and murder their arousal levels are increased to their desired levels, if only for a short while, and the pleasure and gratification they gain from this arousal can mean that they will perform this action again and again to relive the high they get from enacting the behaviour. Serial criminals, such as serial rapists and serial killers, seemingly become addicted to the crimes they perform, in fact, many serial killers have spoken of the addictive nature of their violent behaviour. This just goes to show how psychology is an essential part of understanding the motivations behind criminal behaviour and how all aspects of psychology are related to the study of criminality and can help in the recognition and comprehension of criminal behaviour as well as the attempts to prevent it from happening.

Week twelve: Unconscious Motivation[edit]


The Grim Reaper is a symbol of death.

I found the chapter on unconscious motivation to be really interesting, as I’d only ever read about or known unconscious motivation in relation to Sigmund Freud’s conception of it – the psychodynamic approach. Freud is now usually known only for his psychosexual stages of development and his theory of the id, ego and super ego, but he had many other theories to do with the unconscious and how it expressed itself through an individual’s behaviour, dreams, emotions and speech. Though many of his theories are no longer seen as plausible, at least not in their entirety, they are the basis of many other theories and studies and the catalyst for the creation of different psychological disciplines, such as behaviourism. The concept of Thanatos – the death instinct, is an intriguing one; I believe there is some truth to it. I’m sure everyone has experienced being so angry during a situation that they haven’t cared about the consequences of their aggression, be it verbal or physical, and this is the death instinct. The death instinct is aggression towards the self and aggression towards others, when you are aggressive towards others though you don’t care if you get hurt yourself and that to me is more of a portrayal of the death instinct I think than the simple display of aggression. The idea of unconscious motivation is a fascinating one as well; the notion that we are influenced by mental processes in our unconscious is both strange and amazing, and also scary in a way. How do these things motivate us when we’re not even aware of them? What unconscious processes are influencing me? I’m sure we’ve all performed some behaviour where we’ve thought afterwards “why did I do that?” or “what an earth possessed me to do that?!” I guess that’s when unconscious motivations come into play. I can’t recall any recent times when I’ve had that happen to me (or maybe I’m just repressing them, hah) but I know that I’ve had it happen to me before. Of all the things I’ve learnt about in psychology, I think the unconscious and how it can motivate us in some circumstances is definitely top three material for the most interesting things I’ve discovered in psychology – so far!

Week thirteen: Growth and Positive Psychology[edit]


Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

So, I’ve made it to week 14! I survived the textbook chapter! I’m really happy with the way it turned out. From going from having no idea where to start with writing it, to reassessing the content I wanted to include and taking out a large chunk I’d written to cut down on length and make the content more refined, to finishing it after close to 10 weeks working on it, was quite an effort but a rewarding one. My textbook chapter ended up being 7,720 words long, at the start I was worried about getting to the word limit but after getting about half-way through the writing process I realised that I would actually end up with too much content and had to cut down on what I had planned to write. I was originally going to include sections on homicide, aggravated assault and forcible rape but completely cut out my section on rape and focused solely on homicide and serial homicide. Even after I had finished writing the chapter, I still felt I had a daunting task ahead of me – the formatting of my chapter on wikiversity. I had never really done much formatting before but I actually found that I quickly got the hang of it, and it wasn’t as hard as I first imagined! It was quite fun in fact! I ended up adding in lots of little colourful boxes and pictures and put a fair amount of work into the presentation of my chapter, which really made it come together I think. I’m pretty proud of it now that it’s all done, I think it’s some of the best work I’ve done, and certainly one of the assignments I put the most work into it! I really love how James allowed us to choose our own topic, it made it much easier to write, at least for me, as I picked a topic that I knew quite a bit about it already and I knew there would be a good amount of research on it. Our last subject for the semester was positive psychology and growth motivation. I must admit, I still have not read the entire chapter yet. Once it got to about week 11 I focused all of my energy on finishing off my textbook chapter, to the detriment of the rest of my assignments and my readings, so I’m still catching up I that regard. But I did attend the lecture. We revisited Maslow’s hierarchy, which has always interested me; as I believe each of the levels accurately represent the things that we strive for in everyday life, though perhaps not always in the way or order that Maslow theorised we did. The first level of the hierarchy is physiological needs, followed by safety and security needs, then love and belongingness needs, esteem needs and, lastly, self-actualisation needs. Each person can be at a different level on the hierarchy, and each person can fluctuate between the levels on a daily basis. In general, I think I’m up to the esteem level, my physiological and safety/security needs are satisfied on a daily basis, and I am lucky to have two best friends who I am very close to and close relationships with all my immediate family. One can argue that participating in university study is a move towards self-actualisation, by attempting to better oneself through education, especially in an area that is of a personal interest to the individual. I wonder, when does a person know that they have self-actualised? Or begun to? Does a person ever really know? Maybe a person just has an epiphany at a moment in their life. I don’t know, maybe I shall find out for myself one day.