Medical and Recreational Marijuana

Medical and recreational marijuana should be legal since everyone just does it anyways. That shouldn’t be the only reason but when people say that making marijuana legal would majorly affect anything, that really wouldn’t be true since just about every person out there has a least tried marijuana and many partake in it several times even though it is illegal. There are several medical uses for marijuana such as calming anxiety, nausea after chemotherapy, seizure disorder, etc, however, if medical marijuana would legal but recreational marijuana was not, there would be just as many people illegally using marijuana for recreation and it would be much harder to regulate it. According to studies performed in Colorado since they legalized marijuana has shown that there is not an increase in usage, crime, car accidents, or negative effects on education and health outcomes, this may be due to the fact that, as I stated above, everyone already uses marijuana (Miron). There are concerns that people have with legalizing marijuana because of addiction and the thought that usage would skyrocket. According to CNBC, marijuana is the leading cause of substance dependence other than alcohol, however, alcohol is legal so that argument dose not make complete sense. There are concerns with marijuana being available to youth and a disruption in health and education for people of all ages, there are also concerns that the overall usage would go way up but youth are already getting marijuana and making it illegal will not stop that. I also do not think health or education is in danger with the legalization or use in general of marijuana but I do not know if there are studies that show otherwise. Whatever people decide, marijuana use will still continue as it has, legal or not.

Both sources, while they are opinion pieces, come from news sources which we have to assume are semi-trustworthy. Both arguments make sense and are common among other Americans.

Miron, Jeffrey. “Why Congress Should Legalize Pot.” CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.

“Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana.” CNBC. N.p., 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.

Why do we sleep?

The most convincing theory to me was that we sleep in order for our brain to consolidate  memories, problem solve and “clean itself up,” although I definitely agree with Russell Foster when he says that there are most likely many different reasons we sleep. I found an article online titled Sleep and Learning that begins by talking about the widely known fact that people who are well rested perform much better in a multitude of tasks than those who are sleep deprived. It then illustrates that sleep not only helps you while you’re learning something new, but also locks the information in afterwards by turning it into a long term memory. This transfer of short term memory to long term, the article explains, could even be the cause of the ever so mysterious sleep spindles that are present in the second stage of sleep. We then learn from the article that the first two stages of sleep are important for brain plasticity for learning new material which could explain why taking a nap during the day can assist you in remembering  what you have learned. Sleep also plays a hand in learning abstract concepts and deep sleep assists with episodic declarative memory consolidation which is more useful for school. Because older people spend less time in deep sleep, or really sleep at all, the article says that this is why it’s harder for older people to learn new things. REM sleep is important for the assimilation of new memories with older ones, the article mentions that REM updates our comprehension of the world with the information from our most recent memories. The article concludes by briefly mentioning sleep disorders in people with learning abilities and how they are treated. I think this article is a decent source, but may not be the greatest. It is on a .org website, but I could not find who the author is. So while I believe that it is okay to use for this post, I would prefer to use a more scholarly for something like a research paper.

Week 8 Blog Prompts – Consciousness

Hand writing on a notebook


Option 1 (please use the Tag “Drugs” on your post):

Recently, several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana. This has lead to both celebration and condemnation depending on who you ask. Medicinal use of marijuana is still controversial as well. In your blog post, take a position on both medical and recreational use of marijuana. Should they be legal or not? Find a source to support your arguments and a source that summarizes the opposite position and discuss both in your post. Make sure to critique how trustworthy each of the sources are.

Option 2 (please use the Tag “Sleep” on your post):

In this TED talk, Russell Foster outlines 3 prominent theories about why we sleep. Watch the talk and argue for the theory you find the most convincing. Include a link to another source that provides more information about the theory you choose, summarize the information from that source, and discuss how trustworthy you find the source.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator


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Violence in Video Games?


According to the first article Psychologists conducted a decade of studies and concluded that exposure to violent video games was a risk factor for increased aggression. But, on the other hand games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto have not led to any sufficient evidence that those games lead to increased aggressions. The findings these psychologists found have prompted a call for more parental control over over violent scenes in video games from the American Psychological Association. The research the psychologists found was a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression. No single influence led a person to act aggressively or violently, rather an accumulation of many risk factors resulted in these behaviors. The research reviewed demonstrates that violent video game use is a huge risk factor.”Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence” said Dr Mark Appelbaum. This source is a UK news source. Its trustworthy enough.

On the other hand, a study was published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture undermining this claim, suggesting that violent video games do not increase violent behavior. Instead, the researchers argued that duration of play is what mattered. Researchers interviewed about 200 10 and 11 year old kids about their video game playing habits. They also asked the children’s teachers about the classroom behavior, problem solving skills, and academic engagement. Children who played video games for less than an hour each day showed lower rates of aggression than children who did not play at all. Children who played longer than 3 hours a day had high levels of aggression and low levels of academic engagement.. Studies that authors argue is that daily video game is not linked to increased aggressions, but prolonged play may increase, though the study never really explained or defined why. Even though both of these studies were not really conducted well they are still reliable studies. I would personally conduct them differently with kids from all ages and a survey of how long they play a day and which games they play. I would finalize my results from a study similar to that.




Evil Video Games

The argument today is whether parents should be concerned for their children because the threat that violent video games supposedly serve. They have been criticized to increase children’s aggressive behavior. What follows are two articles, one will be agree to that statement while the other will be opposed to it. The first article discusses why parents should. It begins by stating that children who play violent games will “inappropriately resolve anxiety by externalizing it” instead of a more positive less harmful way of getting rid of anxiety such as calming oneself down or talking to another person about it. The article continues to state further negative effects on children like the less likely of peer interaction within a child as well as a lesser ability to control their anger. These statements are then supported by studies. Near the end, the article gives advice and tips for parents to effectively lessen the likeliness of their child or children ascending their aggressive behavior. The next article is an actual research study conducted on UK children ages five through seven. In this article they thoroughly explain how the experiment will take place. After the data is collected, a conclusion is given as well as an explanation of the data. A brief statement given is that when there was no significant correlation found between aggressive behavior of a child and video games, however one was found when a correlation was made between TV and a child aggressive behavior. The only consistently negative effect found in the study about violent video games were the peer interaction which decreased. To conclude the article it gave its limitations. After reading the limitations a lot of doubt rises on how correct the study actually represented the relation of children’s aggressive behavior and violent video games. While the first article repeatedly points out a negative effect, not once did it state that violent video games should not be allowed or permanently banned. Moreover if I trusted the second article it would only bolster my opinion. In all, I do not think violent video games should be banned or should not be allowed.


Free will can be defined as the ability of an individual to make decisions based on his/her discretion. In psychology, however, it is difficult to find a commonplace between free will and the workings of the human mind.Skinner’s approach to radical behaviorism makes it clear that he did not believe in the idea of an individual obtaining free will. Skinner believed that an individual’s actions and behavior are based on the sequences of prior physical events, which is a direct contradiction to the definition of free will which states that the past, present, and future are distinct aspects of life, and the individual has the ability to make a decision based on current feelings despite of what happened in the past.

According to Psychology Today, no matter who you study in Psychology, free will is always considered a false theory. Freud discussed about unconscious conflicts which caused behavior, while Skinner discussed about the environment and prior sequences of events which caused behavior. Despite which view was chosen, the answer never proved that an individual could use free will to produce a behavior. Moreover, geneticists have been discovering that the works of the brain are not “free”, and that our behavior is linked to neurobiology, biology, our environment, or both.

Based on the scientific studies that have been conducted behind this topic, and the results many of these studies show, it is very useful in understanding how the human brain works and how it impacts the decisions we make. Many believe that the brain is able to any decision that it wants to without being affected by anything, but according to the research, that is far from the truth. Both the article, and the article by Psychology Today on free will/radical behaviorism can be used as credible sources for the understanding of how free will cannot be supported because of extensive research done behind the study of the brain, and how the environment shapes our behaviors.They also support their arguments by backing them up with external credible sources, which allows the reader to truly understand whether the research was reliable.



Schwartz, S. (2013, November 19). Do We Have Free Will? Retrieved from


Video Game Voilence

You can find kids these days sitting on the couch playing the latest “Call of Duty” video game for hours each day. Eventually, does all this time staring at the screen and shooting people actually take a toll on the kids? Does it affect them in any way? People today are saying kids who play violent video games have an increase in aggression and can lead to violence. There are also other people stating how that simply isn’t true. I was not able to find two articles that each explained one side to the debate, however I did encounter two articles that contained both sides of the argument.

U.S. News Health wrote an article called, “To Play or Not To Play: The Great Debate about Video Games”  which discusses two studies about whether or not video games are bad for kids. They started by discussing the recent case of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, explaining how the gunman was an avid video game player. With that being said, researchers evaluated 5,000 males and female teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 for four years and found those who “played violent video games were more rebellious and eager to take risks. The effect was greatest among those who played the most as well as those who played games with antisocial main characters.” There was another study right after that that discovered children who play video games “for less than an hour a day were better adjusted than children who either played no video games or played for three or more hours a day. These children were found to have fewer emotional problems and less hyperactivity, and they were more sociable overall.” In the end of the article, it discusses pros and cons of video games such as:

  • No negative consequences for bad behavior, players are rewarded for violence.
  • Time spent playing video games is not spent doing activities like reading, playing outside, or engaging with friends
  • Improves in hand-eye coordination, faster reaction time, improved visuospatial skills, and peripheral awareness


The other article I read was on HealthlineNews, which focused on the research done by the American Psychological Association (APA). “Scientists have looked into the use of violent video games for more than 20 years, but task force chairman Mark Applebaum, Ph.D., said, ‘There is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence” The APA report says that “no single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently, but rather it is an accumulation of risk factors that leads to the aggressive or violent behavior. Violent video game use is one such risk factor.” APA is stressing how video games should have increased parental control over the amount of violence video games contain. They end this article by stating that it is impossible to do a scientific study on linking first-person shooter video games and mass murderers, but they still are probably not healthy for children.

I personally do care about whether or not video games lead to violence later on in children’s lives, because my little brother plays violent video games, however fortunately I do not see any changes in his behavior. I think both of these articles are trustworthy  enough to believe, because both articles are unbiased towards the debate between video game violence. I agree with the U.S Health News article on how video games should be monitored by the parents, because they are the ones who can put a stop to the kids playing the video games.




Video Games

With many adults having concern on wether or not violent video games have an effect on their child, many researchers have given the pros and cons on how they view this controversial topic. Many youngsters play video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, and many more others, but parents are worried that it may make the young child violent. Some people view them as not violent and others do. With the help of research we got the pros and cons of video games.

For the pros:

  • Playing violent video games causes more aggression, bullying, and fighting.
  • There is broad consensus among medical associations, pediatricians, parents, and researchers that violent video games increase aggressive behavior.
  • Simulating violence such as shooting guns and hand-to-hand combat in video games can cause real-life violent behavior.
  • Many perpetrators of mass shootings played violent video games.
  • Violent video games desensitize players to real-life violence.
  • By inhabiting violent characters in video games, children are more likely to imitate the behaviors of those characters and have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy.
  • Exposure to violent video games is linked to lower empathy and decreased kindness.
  • Video games that portray violence against women lead to more harmful attitudes and sexually violent actions towards women.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) lists violent video games as a risk factor for aggressive behavior.
  • Video games encourage and reward violent behavior.
  • The US military uses violent video games to train soldiers to kill.

For the cons:

  • Sales of violent video games have significantly increased while violent juvenile crime rates have significantly decreased.
  • Studies claiming a causal link between video game violence and real life violence are flawed.
  • The US Supreme Court ruled that violent video games do not cause youth to act aggressively.
  • Playing violent video games does not cause kids to commit mass shootings.
  • Violent video games allow players to release their stress and anger (catharsis) in the game, leading to less real world aggression.
  • Violent video game players know the difference between virtual violence in the context of a game and appropriate behavior in the real world.
  • Studies have shown that violent video games can have a positive effect on kindness, civic engagement, and “prosocial” behaviors.
  • Nearly all young men play video games, so the fact that some people who commit violent acts also played games should not be surprising, nor does it imply a causal relationship.
  • Many risk factors are associated with youth violence, but video games are not among them.
  • Violent video games provide opportunities for children to explore virtually the consequences of violent actions and to develop their moral compasses.
  • Violent video games may decrease crime because people are busy playing the games instead of committing violent acts.
  • Gun violence is less prevalent in countries with high video game use.
  • The competitive nature of a video game is what arouses aggression, not the level of violent content.
  • Older generations often unfairly disparage new things that youth like, such as video games.

Now that we have seen the pros and cons, it now leads us to know a little bit more information that we didn’t know in the past. As for a parents it’s their decision to let their child play the game, but if they do, it relies some what on them for purchasing and approving their child to play it. As I view this article I believe it was a good article with some eye opening facts. I honestly don’t think that the violent video games should be banned due to it all depends on the player if he/she wants to become violent or do bad things.

“Violent Video Games –” ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Video Game Violence

Benedict Carey of the New York Times looked into the effects of playing video games because of an open fire at Columbine High School and at a movie theater in Colorado. The two shooters both were active video game players. Researchers used three categories to guide their research: short-term, long-term, and correlation studies. They took various measures of arousal, “both physical and psychological”. They found, compared with others who played a nonviolent video game, those who had played “Mortal Kombat” were tested more aggressive. Of course there are several factors that would influence a shooter, but video game violence could very well be one of the contributing factors.

On the other hand, Rick Nauert wrote about a study that shows video game violence does not influence real-life aggression. Surprisingly, they found playing violent video games can actually calm the mood of players. The researchers could not relate the findings to circumstances such as mass homicides, but to smaller acts of aggression.

I found the first article to be more reliable than the second. The study was explained and clarified much better than the second. The second article did not talk about the process or experiment as much as it just stated what the results were. I am more to believe the first article that says violent video games do have affect on aggression because the information provided is more trustworthy than the other side.

I do believe video games can have an affect on acts of aggression, but not to the point video games should be banned entirely.


In New Study, Video Games Not Tied to Violence in High-Risk Youth

Videogame Violence

There has always been a debate on violent video games filled with worrying parents and angst-filled teenagers. I personally have never thought violent video games would have much of an effect on teens and their attitudes. I was never an avid gamer but I would occasionally play and was usually surrounded by a fair number of gamers. From what I’ve observed and played, violent video games may have great graphics and blood and guts but the feel of it is not realistic enough to trick someone into thinking shooting people is ok. lists some reasons that people are for and against violent video games and the way each side is presented seem quite fair and unbiased.

Some of the pros that prove video games contribute to teen violence is that they can cause aggression and fighting and it desensitizes people to violence. These are the common arguments that I’ve heard and while it may seem to make sense from the outside that those results would occur, I do not think that they have a direct link. There may be some people who take video games too seriously or think they can copy what they’re playing in the game but I do not think that the vast majority of gamers have that thought process. The de-sensitivity of youth to violence may come from video games but that also comes from the news, movies and television shows so video games cannot be held solely responsible for that.

Some of the points made that claim video games do not cause teen violence are that the US Supreme Court ruled that violent video games do not cause violence and video games can be an outlet for stress and anger. The US Supreme Court ruling cannot really be argued with since the ruling was 7-2, we can assume they did their homework on the studies involved and had a reason to believe that video games do not cause violence. The belief that video games can be an outlet for stress and anger is a view many gamers I know take and that can be compared to a lot of other people’s hobbies.

This website seems credible because it lays out all of the options, all of which are backed up and appear reasonable to the average reader. The lack of bias also adds to the credibility of the website.

“Violent Video Games- Pros and Cons.” ProConorg Headlines. ProCon, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.