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Benefits of Blogging

Within the course of emotion and motivation I found the use of blogs a useful assessment technique as it allowed us to write about topics that truly interested us. This worked as a way of increasing our intrinsic motivation for the module as we felt motivated to write about things we enjoyed reading about. Which in turn meant we were less extrinsically motivated by the grade we would receive, this could have occurred if instead of blogs we were given generic questions to answer. Research has shown that being intrinsically motivated can result in high-quality learning as well as enhancing personal growth (Deci, Vallerand, Pelleitier & Ryan 2011) therefore showing one of the benefits blogging has to offer. Research by Glogoff (2005) showed the benefits of comments on others blogs as his research suggested that peer given comments allows the individual to revisit the topic and gain feedback on their work. However he did suggest that critical comments should be done either over email or in face to face exchanges as the blog pages are public. As this is what happened in our module it matches with the current research, however feedback could have been so we could have known when doing our second and third blogs that we were on the right track. As well as the intrinsic benefits of blogging, it has been shown that by having small regular deadlines, such as regular blogging, comments and speeches levels of procrastination can decrease (Ariely & Werenbroch 2002).

Therefore this research is showing that blogging is a good assessment technique as it allows individuals to become more intrinsically motivated towards the topic of emotion and motivation. Meaning that students will retain more of the information blogged about as well as having an understanding on how the issue relates to a real word setting. Plus with the use of peer comments allows direct feedback as well as offering a different perspective on a topic which can lead to the author revisiting the topic to find out more.

Ariely, D., & Wertenbroch, K. (2002). Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: Self-control by precommitment. Psychological Science13(3), 219-224.

Deci, E. L., Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational psychologist,26(3-4), 325-346.

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate. Journal of Online Education1(5).


Aggression in Sports Fans

Most people enjoying watching their sports teams play either away or at their home club, however for a few this leads to violent anti-social acts after the game has taken place. In 2010 after the Birmingham versus Aston Villa game 5 people were arrested and 27 hurt after fans stormed the pitch (BBC News). This can be quite a common story in the newspapers around big sporting events and is the reason why this blog is focusing on what motivates aggressive sports fans. 

It was originally thought that all our behaviours are instinctual and it was proposed by Freud that all humans possess a ‘death instinct’ which must be released safely through catharsis or it will lead to aggressive acts towards the self or others. Lorenz (1966) believed that sporting events were opportune moments for this ‘death instinct’ to be released. However research has shown that this may not be the case and in fact the aggression could be purely biologically driven, as levels of testosterone are shown to change dependant on the outcome of the game (Bernhardt, Dabbs, Fielden & Lutter 1998). This research tested men watching a world cup football match against traditional international rivals and found that mean levels of testosterone increased in fans of the winning team while decreasing in fans of the losing team. Previous research has already shown that higher levels of testosterone have been linked to aggression and that testosterone promotes dominance behaviours (Bernhardt 1997). So potentially it is the higher levels of testosterone that will promote the aggressive behaviours as in the Birmingham versus Aston Villa example it was the winning teams fans that began to storm the pitch.

Alternative research has shown possible psychological explanations to account for aggressive behaviours that may occur after a match. Firstly the level in which an individual identifies with a certain team can act as a precursor for aggressive behaviour (Wann, Carlson & Schrader 1999). Prior to a college game 196 students were ask to measure their team identification and after the match were asked how aggressive they had been towards the opposition and officials. The results showed that as team identification was stronger there were more reports of instrumental verbal aggression and more hostility shown towards the opposition. However the results of this experiment did rely on self-report questionnaires to measure levels of aggression therefore participants may not have been completely truthful when answering due to social desirability. Nevertheless this can lead on to the in group bias whereby fans of a team are more likely to identify more positive evaluations to other in group members and find more differences for those in the out group. So the more they identify with a team the larger the gap is between in group and out group. Further research has shown that individuals who identify more with a team are likely to have feelings of anger after conceding a match and identify more differences with out-group members (Crisp, Heuston, Farr & Turner 2007).  This is in comparison to individuals who did not identify as highly with the team, who felt sad after losing a match.  This research may have some cultural issues as it only focused on English male football fans therefore there may be some cultural differences in when and where it is acceptable to express certain emotions.

Overall there is not one clear explanation to account for the aggression that can be shown after a football match. However there seems to be certain trends in the research, such as the level in which an individual identifies with their team and the differences they can identify with members of the out-group. In addition the biological factors that can take place during a game such as testosterone levels all stand to have a major impact.  



BBC. (2010). BBC News UK. Retrieved 11/30, 2013, from  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-11896282

Bernhardt, P. C. (1997). Influences of Serotonin and Testostorone in Aggression and Dominance: Convergence with Social Psychology. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Vol 6, no 2. 44-48.

 Bernhardt, P. C., Dabbs Jr, J. M., Fielden, J. A. & Lutter, C. D. (1998). Testosterone Changes During Vicarious Experiences of Winning and Losing Among Fans at Sporting Events. Physiology & Behaviour. Vol 65, issue 1, 59-62. Doi: 10.1016/S0031-9384(98)00147-4

 Crisp, R. J., Heuston, S., Farr, M. J. & Turner, R. N. (2007). Seeing Red or Feeling Blue: Differentiated Intergroup Emotions and Ingroup Identification in Soccor Fans. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. Vol 10, no 1. 9- 26. Doi: 10.1177/1368430207071337

 Lorenz, K. (1966). On Aggression Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich. New York.

 Wann, D. L., Carlson, J. D., & Schrader, M. P. (1999). The Impact of Team Identification on the Hostile and Instrumental Verbal Aggression of Sports Spectators. Journal of Social Behaviour & Personality. Vol 14(2), 279-286


We have begun learning about what motivates us and how our body triggers certain responses as an adaptive way to enhance survival. This blog is interested in expanding this idea further and seeing how the general population orders these motivations in comparison to individuals who are serving life without parole (LWOP) in a prison. Due to the amount of research being conducted into the field of motivation the number of identified motives has risen. This led to the organization of these motives as a way of identifying the more important basic ones in comparison to the higher order ones which can only be achieved after all basic needs are met. One approach demonstrating this was Maslow and the hierarchy of needs (1942)(figure 1). This identified that physiological needs such as hunger, thirst and shelter were basic needs and therefore at the bottom of the hierarchy with safety, esteem and self-actualization reaching the top.maslow

The Hierarchy of needs has been criticised due to a lack of empirical evidence (Calyton 1969) with research only showing partial support for the actual model of the hierarchy (Wahba and Bridwell 1976).  But how does this model apply for prison inmates where really only the basic physiological needs are met. In the US 1 in every 35 prisoners are serving life without parole sentences (Appleton and Grover 2007) meaning that they are mostly likely going to spend the rest of their lives incarcerated. Since 1978 more than 2,500 inmates have been sentenced to LWOP in California and since that time not one has been granted a lessened sentence (Sundby 2005). For this reason I thought it would be interesting to see how motivations of inmates change the further into their sentence they are.

Evidence has shown how over time there is a motivational shift for LWOP inmates from socialising with other inmates to being more involved in work and other structural activities (Zamble 1992). This showing how LWOP inmates are able to establish their esteem needs before belongingness in the Maslow hierarchy. This longitudinal study of over 7 years did however show that as well as this motivational shift there was also a significant decrease in reported stress and stress related illnesses while levels of contact with people on the outside were maintained. This suggesting support for the hierarchy of needs as prisoners felt safer as levels of stress decreased but suggesting that belongingness was not essential within the prison.  As with most prison research this study can be criticised for not conducting idiographic research as it focused solely on male offenders. As well as relying on self-report measures for collecting information about feelings of stress.

Further evidence has explained the differences between new LWOP inmates in comparison to veteran LWOP inmates with regards to stress. Results showed that new LWOP inmates (individuals who have served less than half of their original sentence) had a higher prevalence of mental health disorders compared to veteran LWOP (Leigey 2010). They also reported to have increase subjective feelings of aggression and more contemplations of revenge. This showing that over time as safety needs become met and levels of stress decrease there is a motivational shift for fewer anti-social acts and less reports of mental health disorders. However again this research did rely on self-report questionnaires and as the topic of mental health is delicate some participants may have felt uncomfortable answering the questions even though they were ensured full confidentiality. As well as this other factors excluding stress should have been identified as having effects on mental health.

This research suggests that individuals serving sentences of LWOP do share similar motivational needs to individuals in the general population, however these needs are not ordered as strictly as Maslow suggested, instead these needs are ordered to fit with their environment.

Appleton, C & Grover, B. (2007). The Pros and Cons of Life Without Parole. The British Journal of Criminology. Vol 47, Issue 4, 598 – 615

Clayton, A. P. (1969). An Empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Needs. Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance. Vol 4, Issue 2, 142 – 175

Leigey, M. E. (2010). For the Longest Time: The Adjustment of Inmates to a Sentence of Life Without Parole. The Prison Journal. Vol 90, no 3. 247 – 268.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, Vol 50, no. 4, 370 – 396

Sundby, S. E. (2005). A Life and Death Decision: A Jury Weighs the Death Penalty. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wahba, M. A. & Bridwell, L. G. (1976). Maslow Reconsidered: A Review of Research on the Need Hierarchy Theory. Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance. Vol 15, Issue 2, 212 – 240

Zamble, E. (1992). Behaviour and Adaption in Long- Term Prison Inmates. Criminal Justice and Behaviour. Vol 19, no 4. 409-425

Anxiety EFT-Tapping-Points-LabelledorGeneralised Anxiety Disorder affects 1 in 20 adults in Britain (National Health Service, 2013), most commonly found in 20 year olds, with a slight increase in prevalence in the female population. There are many psychological treatments for anxiety which help the individual to identify and manage the things in their life which contribute to their anxiety. The most common form of treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is popularised due to its high success rate, however this favouritism has led to a knock on effect of long waiting lists at medical centres. It is for this reason why this blog post aims to discuss the effectiveness of an alternative psychological treatment.

Emotion freedom techniques (EFT) was developing in 1995 by Gary Craig and have been used as a way of treating anxiety along with many other ailments and disorders. It is based on acupuncture however the realignment points used in acupuncture have been simplified to ones which just include tapping gently on key meridian points on the head, torso and hands (figure 1.) When the individual is feeling anxious they are asked to rate their anxiety on a Likert type scale with 0 being no anxiety and 10 being highly anxious and then while repeating “even though I am nervous because……., I fully and completely accept myself.” They gently tap the locations shown on figure one roughly 7 times each. After this they then reassess their feelings on the Likert scale and can repeat the tapping cycle if necessary.

EFT has been used as an effective way to treat specific phobias as well as general anxiety (Wells, Polglase, Andrews, Carrington and Baker 2003). As when randomly allocated to a treatment group and under laboratory conditions EFT can significantly decrease specific phobias of small animals. An ANOVA showed that compared to diaphragmatic breathing EFT produced significantly greater improvements on three self-report scales. This shows good support for EFT but there were fears of demand characteristics from the participants. As when asked to rate their fear level after the initial tapping, they may have expected or hoped it would decrease, so they might have assumed it had. There are few ways of avoiding this flaw as it is essential that the individual learns to gage their own anxiety level therefore researchers should inform the participant to record everything as truthfully as possible. This paper also only focuses on specific phobias therefore it is hard to generalise the results to other areas of anxiety which are not so precise.

One of the most common forms of anxiety experienced is exam anxiety and EFT has been shown to help individuals cope with moderate to severe levels of test anxiety (Benor, Ledger, Toussaint, Hett, and Zaccaro 2009). This study also reported that two sessions of EFT can produce the same benefits as five sessions dedicated to CBT and that the individuals learning EFT are more likely to transfer information to other areas of their life to help reduce stress.  However this was a pilot study meaning that there are areas for improvement such as participants were not randomly allocated to each of the treatment groups and overall there was a small number of participants (N=15) which in turn will affect the power of the statistical tests.

EFT has been shown to have lasting effects with longitudinal studies showing how the behaviour is maintained after 90 days of the treatment (Church, Geronilla, Dinter 2009). This study addressed the effectiveness of EFT as a treatment for 7 war veterans and found that symptoms severity decreased by 40% and levels of anxiety decreased by 46%. Even though the sample size was small the effect produced by EFT was large enough to have statistical significance. However it would be useful for a replica study to run with a larger sample size to see if the results would be maintained.

It is for these reasons why EFT should be promoted as a treatment for anxiety. As in a world with so many pharmaceuticals being used for treatments, something as simple as EFT which has been shown to have positive outcomes similar to CBT and lasting effects should be utilised.

For more information on EFT: http://clayhuthealing.com/docs/eft-presskit.pdf

Benor, D. J., Ledger, K., Toussaint, L., Hett. G., & Zaccaro, D. (2009). PilPilot Study of Emotional Freedom Techniques, Wholistic Hybrid Derived From Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Emotional Freedom Technique, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treatment of Test Anxiety in University Students. The Journal of Science and Healing. Vol 5, Issue 6, 338-340. doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2009.08.001

Church, D., Geronilla, L., & Dinter, I. (2009). Psychological Symptom Change in Veterans After Six Sessions of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): An Observational Study. Wholistic Healing Publications. Vol 9, no 1.

National Health Service. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Wells, S., Polglase, K., Andrews, H. B., Carrington, P., & Baker, A. H. (2003). Evaluation of Meridian-Based Intervention, Emotion Freedom Techniques (EFT), for Reducing Specific Phobias of Small Animals. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Vol 59, issue 9

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