PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

Allen Whitcomb is a 47 year old man who is married to Erin Whitcomb.  Together, they have two children who are in college. Recently, Allen was texting while driving and this caused him to crash.  He lost a leg from The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb

the accident.  Ever since the accident, he has gain 20 pounds and is having troubles coping with life.  He is often late to work, has issues at work due to the pain and thinks all the managers at work are unfair and overly directive.  The manager says that Allen does better work when working in groups besides being alone. Allen has been seeing a therapist, Dawn Taylor, since the accident.  She reports he has been having problems sleeping and has feelings of sadness and fatigue. She feels his anxiety stems from the thought that his mother never thought he was good enough.  Allen seems to always be uneasy according to his wife.PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

In this essay, I will show youhow Allen’s behaviors and issues can be explained by different subjects and conjectures pertaining to psychology. These will be related to social behavior, sensation and perception, learning and memory, development, motivation and emotion, and personality.


Brain and Behavior

The brain is where anything psychological comes from.  It determines how we act and who we are.  Allen often feels stressed so his therapist is teaching him how to control his heart rate and breathing.  Parasympathetic division is what his therapist, Dawn, is teaching him to control. This division is what makes the body calm after it feels some type of crisis within the body (Feldman, 2012, p. 58).PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

Since the accident, Allen has shown aggression and violence towards his wife, Erin, after watching many violent television shows. The limbic system is a part of the brain that controls this aggression (Feldman, 2012, p. 68).  It includes the amygdala and hippocampus. It would appear the amygdale was injured from the accident causing Allen’s aggression to spike.  This is also related to mirror neurons, which are specialized neurons that fire not only when a person enacts a particular behavior, but also when a person simply observes someone else carrying out the same behavior (Feldman, 2012, p. 50).

Allen has reported that he feels sad and fatigue quite often.  He is not very active and has gained 20 pounds since the accident. Erin constantly encourages him to be active as well.  If Allen exercises, this will release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that can help with mental illness (Feldman, 2012, p.54).

Sensation and Perception

Allen complains of chronic pain since the accident.  He takes over-the-counter medications to ease the pain.  Gate-control theory of pain is a theory that certain nerve receptors in the spinal cord lead to precise areas of the brain related to pain (Feldman, 2012, p. 107).

There are different pain management options for Allen.  Biofeedback and relaxation techniques would be one of the first options best for Allen to try.  This technique would teach him how to control his unintentional function such as his anxiety, aggression, and heart racing when he hears the song or similar songs that was playing when the accident occurred. PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

In Allen’s case, nerve and brain stimulation may also help.  This is where a low-voltage electric current is passed through the specific part of the body that is in pain (Feldman, 2012, p. 107).  If it is as severe as Allen says, they could even surgically implant electrodes into the brain. They can also use a TENS unit which is a small battery pack that can stimulate nerve cells to provide direct relief (Feldman, 2012, p. 107).

Depth perception is defined as the ability to view the world in three dimensions and to perceive distance (Feldman, 2012, p.114).  This perception allows you to determine far and close things are away from us.  Allen states that the vehicle he was involved in the accident with appeared to have been farther away and moving slower than it actually was. This would result in visual illusions, which is the physical stimuli that produce errors in perception (Feldman, 2012, p.116).

Learning and Memory

Allen remembers the song that was on when the accident occurred but he doesn’t exactly recall what happened in the accident.  He states that when he hears the song or a similar sounding song come on, his heart rate seems to increase.  This would be considered an unconditioned stimulus and is defined as a stimulus that naturally brings about a specific response without having learned (Feldman, 2012, p. 169). PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

Short-term memory is memory that only holds information for 15 to 25 seconds (Feldman, 2012, p. 207).  Allen has been having trouble remembering information for more than a few seconds. The filing system at work has changed since he has returned to work and this causes him to get confused quite often.  He tends to perform when he works with a team.  This would fall under procedural memory which is memory for skills and habits (Feldman, 2012, p. 210).  Allen does still remember how to drive a car which also relates to procedural memory because it is considered a skill and a habit.Since Allen does not remember what exactly happened in the accident, this would relate to his episodic memory which is memory for events that occurred in a specific place and time (Feldman, 2012, p. 210).

There are different ways Allen can improve his memory.  The first one best for him to try would be to practice and rehearse (Feldman, 2012, p. 223).  The more repetitious he is at working on the new filing system is the best way for him to get the hang of it.  He should try to do this for a few hours a day.


Feldman, R. (2012). Psychology and Your Life (2nd ed. pp. 50-223). New York, NY:  McGraw-

Hill Education.PSYC 1001:The Psychological Case of Allen Whitcomb wk 3 Assgn

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