Psychology & Understanding Human Behavior: the Individual

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Last Updated: 02 Apr 2020
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Psychology & Understanding Human Behavior: The Individual PSYC120-1203B-06 Introduction to Psychology IP5 Psychology & Understanding Human Behavior: The Individual President Barak Obama is who I have chosen to do my research and analysis on for this class as he is one of the most controversial people that I can think of today. With him being the President of the United States he is known all over the world. After being the President for almost four years a lot of what he has done in office has really upset a lot of people by him going against what the Presidents before him had worked so hard to establish.

This country was built on Christian principles by our founding fathers and it seems that this country in the last 4 years has strayed very far from where it was and should be. With that being said I chose him because I wanted to delve into his childhood and his upbringing to see what if anything may have caused him to become who is known to be today. Barack Hussein Obama, ll was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the older of two children. Barack is what you would consider bi-racial individual. His father’s name is Barack Obama, Sr. and he is African American. His mother’s name is Ann Dunham and she is from an English ancestry mixed with Scottish, German, Swiss, and Irish cultural backgrounds. His parents met when they were students at the University of Hawaii in 1960 in a Russian class. Barack’s father was a foreign student who was attending the college on a scholarship. His mother was originally from Wichita, Kansas. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor her father, Stanly enlisted in the service, and her mom got a job on the bomber assembly line.

When the war ended her parents bought a house through the Federal Housing Program and finally after many moves the family ended up living in Hawaii. His parents got married on February 2, 1961 however they separated when his father went to Harvard University on scholarship and eventually the couple divorced in 1964 (Main article: Early Life and Career of Barack Obama). His mom later remarried an Indonesian man name Lolo Soetoro who was attending college in Hawaii as well. From the age of six until the age of ten Barack lived in a city called Jakarta where his younger sister Maya Soetoro Ng was born.

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In 1971 after being scared for her son’s life on several occasions and wanting him to get a good education, Ann decided to send her son to Hawaii to stay with his grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham. He gained a scholarship under his grandparents’ guidance and attended a private preparatory school where he was one of three blacks. He started there in the fifth grade excelling in basketball. It was at that school when he became attentive to racism and what it meant being a black man. However, that did not keep him from graduating with honors in 1979.

His mother was there to see his progress until having to leave in 1977 to go back and work in Indonesia as an anthropological field worker. She did however return back to Hawaii in 1994, but in 1995 she passed away from ovarian cancer. He struggled though with the fact of his father being absent from his life who he saw only once after his parents divorced for a short visit. At the age of 22 he learned that his father who had lost his legs in a previous car accident had now lost his life due to a car accident in Nairobi.

After finishing high school, Obama took classes at Occidential College in Los Angeles for two years, and then later transferred to Columbia University in New York. Receiving his degree in 1983 from Columbia in political science and working in the business sector for two years, he moved to Chicago. He was involved in the communities, and started working on the South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens Community. He also during this time joined the Trinity United Church of Christ even though he admitted that he wasn’t raised in a religious home.

He also visited his relatives in Kenya as well as the graves of his father and paternal grandfather. Obama said that during his visits to these graves, "I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago—all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away. " (2012, Biography. com) Upon his return from Kenya he entered Harvard Law School in 1988. This would be the beginning of a great life for Barack.

The very next year, he met Michelle Robinson who was an associate at Sidley & Austin law firm in Chicago. She was assigned to be his adviser during a summer internship at the firm, soon after that they began dating. After he completed law school he decided to return back to Chicago where he joined the law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland as civil rights lawyer. He also during this time taught at the University of Chicago Law School, and he also help organize the voter registration drives form Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

On October 3, 1992 he married Michelle and they moved to Kenwood on Chicago’s South Side. In 1998 their first daughter Malia was born followed by another daughter Sasha who was born in 2001. Obama’s work as an advocate is what actually helped him propel his start in politics. He ran for the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat and won the election in 1996. During his time there he worked with both Democrats and Republicans in putting together a legislature on ethics, as well as expanding health care services and early childhood education for the poor. He also created the state earned-income tax for poor people.

In 2000 he had an unsuccessful run for Democratic seat of the U. S. House of Representatives. Though this failure did not stop him from putting together a campaign committee in 2002 to raise funds for the 2004 U. S Senate race which he won by 70% in November 2004. This was the largest electoral victory in Illinois history and made him only the third African American to be elected to the U. S. Senate since its reconstruction. February 2007 he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination which put him in competition with Hilary Clinton who was then the Senator for New York.

However, on June 3, 2008 he succeeded her and she gave her full support to his campaign. November 4, 2008 he defeated Republican candidate John McCain for the position of the U. S. President. On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to hold this office. The psychological perspective that I chose to discuss about Barack Obama was behavioristic. Reason being is because most people view behavioristic people as being controlled by their environment and think that they are the result of what they have learned from their environment.

With that being said, Obama had what some would call a strike against him being that he was multiracial. With his mother being white and his father was being African American he was teased about his race and it was hard for him to fit in at times. Though he was considered a black man, he stayed with his grandparents and mother whom were Caucasian to the eye. Though being teased, he did his research and used it in his advantage. Both parents were smart, so he pretty much inherited their brains. His mother and father attended college, as well as his step-father.

Barack excelled in school; he was a teacher, and a leader. Even though his environment was a tough one growing up Obama became a successful man who has accomplished more than most people in his 51 years. The Humanistic Psychology has its strengths and weaknesses. One of the strengths is that it shifts the focus of the behavior to the individual or whole person rather than the unconscious mind, genes and observable behavior etc. It also satisfied most people’s idea of what being human means because it values personal ideals and self-fulfillment (McLeod, S. A. 2007). Carl Rogers believed that people have one basic motive, and that is the tendency to self-actualization. He believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization that they must be in a state of congruence. In other words he felt that when a person feels that they have become who they want to become and it is congruent with their actual behavior then they have achieved self-actualization (McLeod, S. A. , 2007). Maslow on the other hand felt that most people would never achieve this level which was his 5th level on his hierarchy of needs pyramid.

He felt that in order for people to progress from level to level certain things needed to be met. In order to reach that 5th level you would need to fulfill the 1st through the 4th. These levels are the biological and psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love need with the 4th level being the esteem needs (McLeod, S. A. , 2007). This theory’s weakness would be that with the basic concept behind the theory of being free will, it is difficult to both develop a treatment technique and study the effectiveness of this technique.

While this theory may work for a simple issue, you wouldn’t use this approach to treat someone for something like schizophrenia. In conclusion what I have learned from psychology is that everyone is unique and we all tend to have our quirks. Will we ever understand everyone completely? Most likely not because being the humans that we are we change constantly. Our environment and the people we associate with play a tremendous part in who we are and in whom we become. Just like in the workplace, people come from all various walks of life working together in a small office like I do may or may not always get along.

Can we use psychology to try an understand them? Sure, I believe that is possible, but you can only learn why an individual acts the way they do by being able study them from the beginning of their life to now. To be honest I find psychology a little stressful so for me to actually want to pursue it outside of this class and maybe do it at my workplace is kind of out of the question at this present moment. For me I will leave it up to the professionals who have decided that they want to spend their time dissecting people and their strange minds.

One thing that psychology has taught me is that never to make a snap judgment on the way someone is behaving because there is always an underlying cause for their behavior. This is one thing that I will do my best not to do anymore at my workplace or life in general. You never know what one has been through or may be going through, so until you have that understanding never make an assumption and categorize them. The following statement, “you can’t understand others unless you understand yourself” to me does carry a lot of truth.

The feedback that I have received from both my peers and my professor in this class has caused me to take a deeper look inside myself as a person. To see what others think of me by what I say or write has definitely been an eye opener. To see myself through another person’s eyes is what all of us should try to do on a daily basis with the people we are surrounded by. I was always told, “you don’t need to worry about what other people think of you” but sometimes you just can’t help but wonder what goes through someone’s mind when you walk into a room or say something to them.

Psychology in itself does allow you to put on different lenses to see things about yourself and others in a different light. It is just like putting on different lenses on camera allows you to adjust how far away or how close you see things, psychology does just the same. One man named Same Gosling states in his article Mixed Signals on psychologytoday. com, “we think we know ourselves better than others do but yet we are biased when it comes to seeing ourselves in a good light that we become strangers to ourselves. In other words we need to take the time to listen to people when they do give us feedback on ourselves as it will help us in the long run and not just take it as jealous criticism. Honestly, I will never again allow myself to think that someone is criticizing me because they are jealous. Instead I will take what they say and allow myself to re-examine what I have said or done to cause them to think that way about me. We are all human and none of us regardless of what we think are perfect. We make mistakes just like everyone else. We say and do things to cause harm to others just as they do to us.

However, if we just take a minute to see our behavior through their eyes then we might can understand ourselves better and in turn understand them as well. There are all kinds of psychology resources that we can utilize to help understand ourselves and the world around us if we will just take the time to search them out. There are numerous self-help books in bookstores today, and there are plenty of resources on the web such as articles, personality tests, and more. We should do all we can to explore these resources to get a better understanding of our world.

If you take a look at the world today there are a lot of hurt, angry, and confused people out there who no one seems to notice or care about. We have become a society that is so driven on a me, me, me attitude that the rest of the world seems to have faded away from our view. If we use what psychology has taught us to explore why people are hurt, angry, confused and acting the way they are then we might be able to help them get to the root of their issues and deal with them. Psychology to me is all about getting to the heart of the matter, finding the root cause and dealing with it.

I say let’s stop medicating people, or covering things up and pretending it is all okay when it isn’t. Let’s use what psychology has taught us to try to understand people and why they act the way they do. In order to do that though, we have to start with ourselves in this process because how can we effectively help anyone if we can’t even help ourselves? References 1. Edwards, Roberta (2008). Barack Obama: United States President 2. Gosling, Sam (2009). Mixed Signals Retrieved from http://www. psychologytoday. com/articles/200908/mixed-signals 3. McLeod, S. A. (2007).

Simple Psychology; Carl Rogers Retrieved from http://www. simplepsychology. org/carl-rogers. html 4. McLeod, S. A. (2007). Simple Psychology; Maslow | Hierarchy of Needs Retrieved from http://www. simplepsychology. org/maslow. html 5. McLeod, S. A. (2007). Simple Psychology; Humanism Retrieved from http://www. simplepsychology. org/humanistic. html 6. Mendell, David (2002). Obama: From Promise to Power. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-085820-6 7. Obama, Barack. (2012). Biography. com. Retrieved 10:44, May 23, 20122 from http://biograpgy. com/people/baracl-obama-12782369

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