PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper 

Mr. Allen Whitcomb is a 47-year-old married man.  He and his wife, Mrs. Erin Whitcomb, have two children, who attend college.  Despite being healthy all of his life, Allen was on texting while driving, which leads him to a bad car accident, leaving him in chronic pain.  He takes over the counter medications to try and minimize his discomfort.  Allen works the night shift, but is frequently late or calling in sick.  Allen reports that he has a hard time at work because of his chronic pain.  Even though Allen has recently gained 20 pounds, Allen’s wife still says she loves him no matter what.  Whenever Allen hears the song that was playing on the radio when his accident occurred, he reports of having an accelerated heart rate.  Allen wife says that he has always been a loner, not having any close friends, but she encourages him to interact with the family, community, and society more.  Allen only wants to seek calm and quiet environments. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

In the article “Explaining High Rates of Depression in Chronic Pain: A Diathesis-Stress Framework,” by Sara M. Banks and Robert D. Kerns (Yale University and talks about the relationship between chronic pain and depression.  It’s argued that there is an increase in depression numbers when it involves chronic pain.  The term depression referred to as a mood, a symptom and a syndrome (Banks and Kerns, 1996).  When assessing depression within a patient experiencing chronic pain, makes it more complicated because it develops overlapping symptomologies.  “The Diagnostic assessment Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) includes several symptoms that attribute to chronic pain (e.g., sleep disturbance, loss of energy, motor retardation, and change in appetite and weight” (Banks and Kerns, 1996). PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

The article that I chose fits with my case study of Mr. Allen Whitcomb because he reports having chronic pain, has gained 20 pounds, and he believes that he can succeed at work if he can “get it together.”  Also, his therapist reports that because he has chronic pain, he had difficulty sleeping and said he feels sadness and fatigue regularly.  Allen’s work manager Mark Flowers says that since Allen has returned to work, he frequently gets confused at work.  All of the issues that Allen experiences ties altogether because of his chronic pain. 

Brain and Behavior

The limbic system of the brain consists of structures which include the amygdala and hippocampus, having their shaped structure as doughnuts (Feldman, 2013).  Allen’s wife reports of her husband having aggression after watching violent movies/shows. The limbic system collectively controls many a variety of essential functions corresponding to functions that are related to emotions and self-preservation, such as eating and aggression (Feldman, 2013).  Allen’s life changing accident caused damage to his amygdala.  Having injured his amygdala causes aggression. Allen’s life changing accident caused damage to his amygdala.  Having injured his amygdala causes aggression.  Allen can be known as having Intermittent Explosive Disorder.  Intermittent Explosive Disorder is identified as having repeated, sudden episodes of aggression, angry verbal outbursts.  Damage to the limbic system can harm one’s learning ability and memory.  Allen’s manager has reported that Allen gets frequently gets confused with the new filing system at work and that he has trouble remembering information for more than a few seconds. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

Sensation and Perception

“Sensation is the activation of the sense organs by a source of physical energy” (Feldman, 2013).  Allen is color blind. Therefore he cannot differentiate light stimuli.  Light stimuli activate the sense of sight for a person to see color.  Sound stimuli are the sense of hearing.  Psychophysics is the study of the relationship between the physical and psychological experiences of them (Feldman, 2013).  Allen had mentioned that his heart rate increases when he hears the song that was on the radio when he got in the accident; this also happens when any similar-sounding song plays.  The sound stimuli of hearing the song, or one that sounds similar to it, causes him to have anxiety. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

Depth perception is one’s ability to view the world with 3D dimensions and perceiving distance (Feldman, 2013).  Allen reported that the car that hit him appeared to be farther away and moving slower than it was.  A person’s brain combines two images into a composite view, but at the same time, it still recognizes the individual images to estimate a distance of an object from us.  The images difference between the right and left eye is known as Binocular Disparity (Feldman, 2013).

Learning and Memory

Allen works a job that requires him to work the night shift.  At his job, the filing system has changed, which keeps Allen confused regularly.  Observational learning is learning that is learned by watching other perform various tasks.  After going back to work with a new filing system, Allen needs to watch someone do the filing duties to understand.  You cannot verbally tell him the process because he has trouble remembering information for more than a few seconds.   He will need to observe continuously, then imitating repeatedly. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

Allen needs some type of behavior modification.  Behavior modification is a formalized technique for promoting a desired type of behavior and decreasing the type of behavior that is unwanted.  Behavior analysts use techniques that have an extensive list just as the list of processes of modification behaviors, which includes reinforcement scheduling, shaping, generalization training, discrimination training, and extinction.  

Motivation and Emotion

Allen’s manager is setting goals for his attendance at work.  His manager is trying to get him to earn a reward of lunch for his team. Incentive approaches to motivation are theories that motivation comes from the desire in order to obtain valued external goals, incentives (Feldman, 2013).  Knowing that his team can have lunch paid by Allen’s manager because he accomplished his work attendance goal, which should give Allen the motivation to complete more goals.  Extrinsic motivation causes people to do something for something concrete, such as money. The cognitive approach to motivation is referred to the motivation is the outcome of people’s thoughts, expectations, and goals (Feldman, 2013).  Allen believes he can succeed at work if he gets it together. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

Emotions is a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others (Hodge, n.d.). Allen feels as if people think of him as being disabled and treat him differently because he has an injury. The James-Lang Theory proposes that we experience emotions just as the psychological result changes and produces a specific sensation.  Allen’s wife says he watches television a lot since the accident and treated her unkindly after watching violent television shows.



Allen has been healthy all his life, but recently had a bad car accident and lost a leg.  He is in the middle adulthood stage, which is considered to start between 40 to 45 years old.    The aging process for this stage is subtler for men than women, because men don’t go through menopause. Allen has already begun his midlife transition.  He continuously thinks that his life will end at some point, causing him to increase influence in his thinking, questioning his past accomplishments (Feldman, 2013).  There are many physical changes that happen throughout the course of one’s life. One major and obvious change are ones affected by appearances (Feldman, 2013).  As some people age, they may notice a decline in their hearing and sight, along with slower reaction times and decreasing stamina.  Allen said that the car accident he was involved in, the car that hit him appeared to be farther away and moving slower.  Allen will experience changes in intellectual functioning in late adulthood.  He still will be able to learn things, but it will take him longer to figure out and understand. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

The genetic preprogramming theories of aging is the suggestion of the human cells having a built in time clock, that once hits a certain time point and cells stop dividing (Feldman, 2013).  On the other hand, the wear and tear theory suggests that as you get older, all the usage you have used your body for, it just simply breaks down, not working properly as it did many years ago in ones younger adulthood life.



An Australian physician by the name of Sigmund Freud, introduced psychoanalytic theory.  Psychoanalytic theory is Freud’s theory that unconscious forces act as determinant of personality (Feldman, 2013).  The part of the personality which contains the memories, knowledge, beliefs, feeling urges, drives, and instincts of which the individual is not aware is known as unconscious.  Allen’s id, the sole purpose to reduce tension created by his primitive drive related to his aggression and impulses, are not connected, not properly working.  Allen’s wife describes him as quiet, tense, anxious, and unfriendly. PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

Unconscious strategies, known as defense mechanisms, are used by people to reduce anxiety, concealing the source from others and themselves (Feldman, 2013).  Repression is the primary defense mechanism.  Repressions are unacceptable or unpleasant id impulses that are pushed back to the unconscious point.  Allen’s therapist is teaching him to control his heart rate and breathing when he feels stressed.  Recommending Allen take online classes his therapist thinks it will help Allen to develop his sense of self-worth and feelings of contributing to the greater good.  Allen tries to rationalize that if he “gets it together” that he will succeed at work.

The trait theory explains straightforward consistencies of an individuals’ behavior.  Traits are known as constant personality characteristics and behaviors in which are displayed in different situations (Feldman, 2013).  Trait theorist, Hans Eysenck, used factor analysis to identify patterns of traits, which personality can be broken down into three categories: extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism.  Extraversion is relating to sociability, Neurotic to emotional stability, and psychoticism being referred to reality being distorted.  Trait approaches provide clear, direct explanation of people’s behavioral consistencies (Feldman, 2013).PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper


Social Behavior

Allen knows that his wife loves him no matter what they may go through in their marriage and he believes that she can do no wrong.  Allen’s wife encourages him to remain active in contributing to his family, community, and society.  Allen is always trying to find quiet and calming environments.  Allen’s therapist constantly encourages him to smile more, possibly making his appearance more appealing for people to interact with him.  Social cognition is referred to the cognitive process in which people understand and make sense of others and themselves (Feldman, 2013).  Allen has never had many close friends, especially after the accident because he feels that people think of him as disabled and treat him differently because of his injury, which in return makes him more prone to staying to himself, letting no one in his circle.  Allen says that when he hears the song that was on the radio when he got in the accident, or when any similar-sounding song playing, triggering anxiety.  Allen’s anxiety trigger shows signs of him having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD is when a person has experienced an extremely stressful event that has brought out continuous effects which may include re-experiencing the event with a flashback or in a dream (Feldman, 2013).PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper


Throughout our lives as humans, we come across certain situations where we are trying to figure out someone’s reasons for their behavior.  It could stem from one’s childhood or a dramatic event such as the accident that Allan was involved in.  All of Allen’s interactions with his family and job have been affected negatively from the accident, but he is seeking the help of a professional therapist to help him find coping mechanisms to still have a continuous fulfilling life with ones that are close in contact, whether it be at home or at work. Ultimately bringing a more sociable Allen to society, positively interacting with more people around him.


Banks, Sara M., and Robert D. Kerns. “Explaining High Rates of Depression in Chronic Pain: A Diathesis-stress Framework.” Psychological Bulletin 119.1 (1996): 95-110. EBSCO. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, August 25). Intermittent explosive disorder. Retrieved from

Feldman, R.S. (2013) Psychology and Your Life. (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hodge, T. (n.d.). Emotions and Meaning. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from PSYC-1001 WK5 Assgn Paper

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