Optional Research Presentation

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Topic: Racism

Introduce the topic and explain how psychology can help minimize disparities on the issue. You need to include at least 3 psychological concepts in your presentation.

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  • Jameson Danning



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    This study focuses on finding the connection between ocytocin and prosocial behaviors such as generosity. They believe that the chemical ocytocin is responsible for the empathy we have. Others studies have shown that oxytocin controls and promotes our prosocial behavior, but it has yet to be proven that empathy is a result from that as well. This study uses something called the ultimatum game that tests generosity to a stranger. This test has been proven to increase empathy levels.this study involved 145 college students from UCLA, 52% being girls. This study was an experiment, they had a hypothesis and were able to test it and achieve resultsThere were three groups to which the students were randomly assigned to. First group watched an emotion video and played the ulitmatum game(UG), second group watched control video and UG, third group just watched an emotional video. The ultimatum game is played where one decision maker is given money and told to split it with another person. the second person can accept the offer and take the money, or decline it and neither people get money. after this blood was drawn by the researchers and the plasma and serum were extracted.the results of the people watching the emotional video experienced no change in their oxytocin levels, however the people watching the control had their levels drop. In the UG only two people denied the offer, and the results were consistent with the hypothesis involving higher empathy.It was found that there was a positive relationship between the changes in empathy and oxytocin, and this change was even stronger in women. People that watched the emotional video made more generous offers in the game. Ultimately the study found oxytocin relates to empathy and influences generosity. This study is helpful in finding what makes us experience these emotions and what influences our prosocial behavior. In the future, these tests results could be used to find ways to promote those prosocial behaviors.Barraza, J. K., Zak, P. J. (2009) Empathy toward Strangers Triggers Oxytocin
    Release and Subsequent Generosity. Values, Empathy, and Fairness across Social Barriers: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. (1167): 182–189

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    Cindy Merida

    Cindy Merida



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    The ability to experience empathy for the plight of others is one the fundamental skills for human social behavior. This requires one to comprehend other thoughts and resonate effectively with their emotions. The ability to navigate our world is also an integral part of empathy. The central features of empathy remain entirely absent from neuro scientific research. Furthermore, by measuring prosocial behavior towards others the neural empathy amounts to helping behavior. Most neural scientific studies reveal that several regions within ourselves are activated when we observe others in pain. The empathy is also attributed to promoting altruistic helping (Mathew & Sylvia 2011). However, a recent study revealed that helping an in-group member was initiated by the force of watching that person in pain. The information was acquired from 32 graduates who were healthy and right-handed, sixteen men and women with a mean age of 19.9 years. The research involved daily experience survey, fMRI task, fMRI acquisition and data analysis. The participants were administered through the empathy quotient to measure the cognitive and effective aspects of empathy (Mathew & Sylvia 2011). The participants completed 14 consecutive days surveys. Participants were then taken to fMRI sessions which explains live events extracted from journals. In order to understand how life affects others participants took each other perceptive and imagined how they felt about the certain situation. Finally, scanning was conducted on samples acquired after the fMRI task. The empathy quotient scores ranged 23 to 70 with of 46.78. During daily surveys, an estimate of thirteen diaries and fourteen entries were completed by all participants who expressed compliance at a high level. There was 84% accuracy on all load blocks and in memory tests. The most empathetic individuals performed better compared to low empathy ones. That is, the variability in trait empathy reflects differences in emphatic tendencies among the two groups. During the whole brain analysis, when activities of empathy were stronger, greater activities were observed (Mathew & Sylvia 2011). In the daily helping, the help offered to strangers and friends differ in nature. Critique of the study is based on the fact that, there was a relatively small number of trials for the blocks. Therefore, it is possible that the activities in the certain region were not observed due to lack of sufficient powers to detect some effects. The MPFC was highly associated with empathy experiences and those behavioral correlates, across ROI analysis. However, Dacc and AI were rarely observed which is quite surprising though our stimuli did not involve pain. The relatively consistent set of regions were associated with emphatic activities. The empathy is not automatic for all people based on empathetic experience and empathy-related neural emphasis (Mathew & Sylvia 2011). The study revealed that variability in trait empathy is a function of habitual tendency. Therefore, this study implies that our understanding of nature and behaviors is primarily linked to empathy-related neural activities. This research is crucial in the development of psychology in many evident ways. This research provides a brain-behavior link within the neuro scientific research which is one of the crucial attempts of social psychology (Mathew & Sylvia 2011). Additionally, it explains whether empathy-related neural activity is positively or negatively associated with behaviors. Although, there are no clear strides whether these regions of the brains are activated for sadness or due to other synonymous reasons. Therefore, this research reveals how the emphatic emotions are processed in the brain which will aid in psychology associated studies. References Mathew Lieberman, Sylvia A. Morelli (2011) The Neural Correlates Of Empathy: Experience, Automaticity, And Prosocial Behavior. Journal of cognitive neuroscience.

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