Last Updated 28 May 2020

Black, White, and Color

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Who am I? That is the hardest question to answer for a college freshman. In a sense my life has just begun. I am finally on my own trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. Does anyone find out who they are as a person at the age of eighteen? This is the age where a major transition is made from teen to a legal adult. I am going from being a child to being on my own making my own decisions. When I look at myself I see so many different things, some are things I learned in the past and I carry with me and others are things I hope to achieve or become.

In Core 110 this year I learned that I could connect myself into what we were learning through studying psychology and science. At the beginning of the year I didn’t understand why we were learning psychology and science together but now I understand they go together. Without science there would be no psychological evidence and without psychology scientist would not be able to test certain theories. Because of Core 110 I can look deeper into myself by the insight I gained by studying psychology and science.

In the book Forty Studies That Changed Psychology, by Roger Hock, he discusses Julian Rotter’s Locus of control theory of how individuals place the responsibility for what happens to them. Rotter explains that there are two types of people: internal locus of control and external locus of control (Hock 192). “When people interpret the consequences of their behavior to be controlled by luck, fate, or powerful others, this indicates a belief in what Rotter called an external locus of control.

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Conversely, he maintained that if people interpret their own choices and personality as responsible for their behavioral consequences, they believe in internal locus of control” (Hock 192). This is basically saying do you believe that your destiny is controlled by yourself or by external forces? Rotter believed that if a person’s likelihood to view events from an internal, versus an external, locus of control is fundamental to who we are and can be explained from a social learning theory perspective (Hock 192).

In his view, as a person develops from infancy through childhood, behaviors in a given situation are learned because they are followed by some form or reward, or reinforcement” (192 Hock). From the rewards and reinforcements you learn from as a child follow you throughout life and make you develop an external or internal interpretation of the consequences of your behavior. Rotter wanted to demonstrate two points; first, make a test to measure how individuals posses an internal or an external locus of control orientation towards life.

Second, is to show how internals and externals display differences in their interpretations of the causes of reinforcements in the same situations (Hock 193). Rotter came up with a test called the I-E Scale, which measured the extent to which a person possesses the personality characteristics of internal or external locus of control. He did this by asking certain questions that internal people would only answer a certain way and vice versa for the external people (Hock 193). In Rotter’s theory of locus of control I believe I have an internal locus of control because I control my own fate and destiny.

My parent were very strict and always made sure I knew from right and wrong or else I would be punished. I grew up realizing I wouldn’t win the lottery and I had to work hard to become successful. My locus of control is very grounded and I don’t believe in luck. My portrait shows me on the playground looking towards the city in the background. It shows my goals and what I want to achieve but I am still in black and white; I’m not there yet. Being at college has only given me a taste of what it means to be an adult and be independent.

I will one day achieve all my goals, but until then I’m still a kid stuck on the playground until one day I can reach the exciting city life. Another example from Roger Hock’s book is the study done by Langer and Rodin who look at the effects of choice and how it affects people. Everyday a person makes a choice or decision, “When your sense of control is threatened, you experience negative feelings (anger, outrage, indignation) and will rebel by behaving in ways that will restore your perception of personal freedom” (Hock 150).

It’s like what kids do when they are told to do something or forbidden to do something, they either refuse to do it or do the exact opposite. Hock states, “What it all boils down to is that we are happier and more effective people when we have the power to choose” (Hock 151). This is a problem for both teens and elderly people, the only exception is that elderly people lose their rights where teens just aren’t old enough to get them yet. Elderly people lose their rights and control when they enter a nursing home.

Langer and Rodin thought, “If the loss of personal responsibility for one’s life causes a person to be less happy and healthy, then increasing control and power should have the opposite effect” (Hock 151). They wanted to test this by directly enhancing personal power and choice for a group of nursing home residents. They predicted that the patients who were given the control should demonstrate improvements in mental alertness, activity level, satisfaction with life, and other positive measures of behavior and attitude (Hock 153).

Langer and Rodin compared two floors of a nursing home, one given privileges the other stayed the same. The floors were given questionnaires about how they were treated by the end of the three weeks. The results showed (on chart 20-1 on page 154) that the differences in the two groups were extreme, which proved Langer and Rodin’s theory correct about the positive effects of choice and personal power (Hock 153). Langer and Rodin pointed out that their study, combined with other previous research, demonstrated that peoples’ lives improve when they are given a greater sense of personal responsibility (Hock 153).

Being in control is a big thing for everyone. When I turned eighteen last year nothing changed for me except I was one year older and I could vote. My parents still treated me the same and I still had the same curfew. In their eye I was still a child. However, everything changed when I went to college. I became in control of almost everything except I still had to go to school. Being in control is such a powerful thing. I couldn’t imagine losing all my control like the elderly do. When I went home for Thanksgiving I lost most of my control to my parents and it upset me.

I felt like the elderly people. My picture shows a divided line between black and white side and the color side showing I can’t get to what I want to be until I completely grow up and my parents treat me like a true adult. I’m stuck on the dark side wanting control, wanting color. In the book Accidental Mind, by David J. Linden, he discusses how perception is tied to emotion. Linden states, “Clearly, the perception/emotion distinction cuts deep into the way we think about the brain and the ways we deal with its dysfunctions” (Linden 98).

He is basically saying that the time we realize or are aware of a sensation, emotions are already engaged. Two examples are Capgras Syndrome and people who have been blinded by damage to the primary visual cortex. Capgras syndrome is when someone can still visually identify objects and human faces, but they don’t evoke any emotional feeling. People who are blinded by damage to the primary visual cortex can accurately locate an object in their visual field even though they have no conscious awareness of seeing anything (Linden 99). The important point here is that visual information is rapidly fed into emotional centers in the brain, which make it impossible to separate emotion from perception in experience” (Linden 100). Linden concludes that the examples may only use vision, the principle still applies broadly to all of the sense, “emotions is integral to sensation and the two are not easily separated” (Linden 100). In my self-portrait everything is pastel to show that where I am in my life is distorted yet connected and flows.

I’m transitioning from being a teen to almost an adult. I see and experience things that are fair and also unfair. The color is so close to me yet I still have to wait for it. I am stuck on the playground trying to amuse myself until I am allowed to enter the real world. The playground and city are tied together because I will one day play on both. Another example from Linden’s book is the study on identical twins. Linden states that in certain cases some mental and behavioral traits come from genes.

In the experiment they used identical twins (monozygotic twins) who were separated after birth and raised by different families and monozygotic twins who were raised together to compare with (Linden 53). “For example, identical twins given psychological tests to pin-point personality traits, such as extroversion or conscientiousness or openness, showed that identical twins have tended to share many of these traits whether or not the twins were raised together” (Linden 53).

The point was to see if twins in the same environment and twins in separate environments were tested on being similar. Lindens conclusion was that, “in children and young adults from middle class or affluent families, in studies that have used a combination of twins, identical and nonidentical, raised together and apart, about 50 percent of “general intelligence” can attribute to genes, with the remainder determined by environmental factors” (Linden 54). Basically, genes influence general intelligence but to a lesser degree than they influence personality (Linden 54).

When dealing with general intelligence, “both genes and environment contribute, but in the extreme case of environment deprivation seen in the poorest household, the effects of environment become much greater and largely overcome the effects of genes” (Linden 54). In the end the tests concluded that, “identical twins raised apart are significantly more alike in measures of personality than nonidentical twins raised apart” (Linden 54). This can conclude that there is some contribution due to genes.

The main point of the twin experiment was to show that twins who grew up in separate environments were surprisingly more similar then expected. No matter what environment I am in I am still the same person. I can be on the playground playing or in the city working but no matter what I am still me. I grew up on the playground and learned many lessons that I will carry with me when I leave there. No matter how old I become or how aged I become I will still have the same personality and drive to achieve all my goals and dreams.

Anything can happen if I set my mind to it and be patient. Eventually I’ll be in color like Mickey Mouse. My self-portrait shows the growth a person going from a child to a young adult. In humanity it is normal for a child to continually get frustrated about their age. A twelve-year-old is almost a teen, eighteen-year-old is a legal adult but not a true adult, and a twenty-year-old is so close to being twenty-one. Being a teen at any age is rough but every year is a year closer to something different. I may be stuck as a legal adult thriving to be ndependent from my parents but in reality I’m not even close to being able to be on my own. I’m stuck, like most of the other eighteen-year-olds in the world, trying to figure out who they are. I am just one of millions who feel this way, yet in reality what would I even do with all my independence and freedom? I am a freshman in college who really doesn’t know what I want to do with my life. I wont know until I figure out who I am as a person. This is why my self-portrait is in transition because before I can do anything with my life I have to answer the question: who am I?

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