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Self-doubt – Behavior Modification Project

Introduction

            Behavior modification is a relatively sophisticated procedure employed with the primary purpose of transforming human behavior over a specified period.  It involves making key alterations to the basic pattern of individual’s demeanor using a motivational framework amalgamating positive and negative reinforcement. The main objective of behavior transformation is to replace intolerable or displeasing demeanor with desirable ones capable of improving one’s life. Behavior modification has, therefore, proven effective in addressing various issues related to human demeanor such as irrational fears, mental illnesses, and substance abuse (Miltenberger, 2016). In essence, behavior modification simplifies the process of change with the hope that individuals will embrace this nascent transformation and stick to this new regimen for posterity.  Behavior modification is also informed by the idea that human beings transform their behavior in response to perceived consequences of their actions as described by B.F. Skinner. Positive consequences improve the probability of a given behavior being repeated while negative ones reduce such chances. This is generally referred to as the “principle of reinforcement” and forms the basis of human behavior.

Read also Origins and Development of Behavioral Psychology

Target behavior – Self-doubt

            For this project, I will be targeting self-doubt as a troubling behavior which I have grappled with during the course of my life. It has proven problematic, seemingly preventing me from taking on various important challenges in life. Self-doubt is essentially characterized by uncertainty in individual’s inherent abilities or competence within a given situation and detrimental to personal development.

Read also Conditioning in my life – Psychology Paper

Negative evaluations linked to self-doubt have recently been associated with an overall lowering of self-esteem among individuals plagued by this pattern of thinking, proving an insurmountable barrier to success. Individuals experiencing self-doubt are typically fearful of failure and strive to ensure they always avoid it at all costs in any given scenario (Miltenberger, 2011). Self-doubt is often problematic mainly due to the fact that it reduces the level of effort that one may have used, ultimately convincing many to settle for simplistic solutions. Similarly, overachievers may be gripped by the “imposter” feeling after attaining their goals as a direct result of self-doubt dominating they general psyche. Although literature on sports and exercise psychology (SEP) links self-doubt positive outcomes in sports, it is difficult to replicate the same results in other aspects of life such as academia and relationships.

            According to (Martin & Pear (2019), self-doubt is a reality plaguing a considerable section of the human population and linked to a number of major impactful factors in individual’s subjective experience. It may be the direct result of past experience which may have ended in catastrophic failure or sheer disappointment. They often upset the belief system, with the past constantly used as a reference point in the present moment. Self-doubt may also be a direct consequence of childhood upbringing especially since it plays a major role in the adoption of a belief system and personality. This causes individuals to internalize self-criticism of their abilities based on parent’s opinions and academic prowess in institutions of learning. It is further characterized by an unnatural comparison with others given the competitive nature of contemporary society. Self-doubt worsens in situations where individuals are confronted with new challenges where the fear of success and failure often takes center stage.

Iversen (2017) opines that self-doubt is directly responsible for individual’s failure to remain grounded and incessantly pursuing set objectives. Such individuals are constantly questioning their competence since negative voices permeate their though process; constantly preparing them for what may go wrong. Their inability to adopt counterarguments to these negative assessments often means that they remain oblivious to their abilities and fail to attain achievable goals. Lowered optimism eventually creates a situation where many feel stuck in their current circumstances and find it increasingly difficult to shift their attention to a positive mindset. They waste precious time feeling unsure about their abilities and lack a sense of motivation to drive them towards select aspirations.

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Treatment method

            Addressing self-doubt requires a structured approach linked to the basic tenets of behavior modification. Acknowledging the actual self-crippling nature of self-doubt is the most significant step in when seeking to implement an apt treatment method. It should then be followed by positive reinforcement where individuals are motivated to continue with a positive behavior one step away from self-doubt (Mruk, 2015). An appropriate treatment method should also combine positive punishment with the current approach to enable one to achieve set objectives. This should then be accompanied, in quick succession, by the extinction phase where self-doubt is summarily discontinued to curb its growing influence over persons with the condition. Eventually, individuals struggling with self-doubt no longer react to their initial obnoxious behavior and are now fully capable of discontinuing it for posterity. This behavior is then shaped to desensitize the said individual from the behavior, leading to fading, and the adoption of chaining to ensure full transformation.

            According to Braslow et al. (2012), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a viable option with regard to addressing self-doubt (p.471). CBT, essentially, approaches self-doubt as a psychological problem requiring a problem-focused approach if progress is to be made within the shortest amount possible. Its main focus is on the events occurring in the present moment rather than a collection of negative influences which may have occasioned it in the first place. The main objective of CBT in addressing self-doubt is the introduction of cognitive restructuring which will eventually enable such individuals to adopt positive thinking patterns and identify instances of archetypal of distorted thinking. Additionally, CBT also involves aspects of behavior activation where individuals become highly capable of transforming negative behavioral patterns by engaging in positive behavior.

            Assertive training is also considered among one of the most useful methods of addressing self-doubt in sufferers. Persons experiencing self-doubt find it difficult to make requests, or say no to activities detrimental to their well-being.  It is particularly instrumental as a useful approach in enabling persons experiencing self-doubt to attain their objectives by skillfully getting their way without being trapped in negative thought patterns (Meichenbaum, 2013). This can also be combined with problem-solving training where individuals with self-doubt are trained on to avoid feeling helpless in any given situation. It is particularly essential in enabling them to identify key problems, solutions, and the implementation of effective alternatives.

Conclusion

Behavior modification is a fundamental aspect of psychology that aspires to address challenges associated with destructive patterns in human behavior. Self-doubt is an example of one such trait capable of causing immense suffering to individuals. It introduces ideas of incompetence and uncertainty in abilities and skills, leading to stagnation and leading many to wallow in mediocrity. Nevertheless, CBT, behavior activation, assertive training, and problem-solving training are affective treatment methods which may very well serve an important role in addressing the aforementioned existential threat.

Canadian Solar Inc SWOT Analysis

Internal Environment Scan

The success of any business highly depends on its understanding of the internal environment. Analysis of the microenvironment allows a company to identify factors and forces that affect its growth and profitability. An internal environment scan entails the assessment of strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities and threats. According to Gürel and Tat (2017), understanding strengths and weaknesses helps an organization capitalize on opportunities while resolving the weaknesses to ensure an enhanced competitive edge. The SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, and strengths) analysis serves as the best-suited tool for Canadian Solar Inc. microenvironment scan.

Canadian Solar Inc SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Canadian Solar Inc. has strong, reliable management that ensures the corporation overcome cultural barriers in its international expansion endeavors. As a result, the company has a considerably high level of success in meeting its customers’ needs by delivering high-quality products at relatively low prices. Additionally, the organization has maintained a reputation of providing new innovative products to the consumer market that enhances its power production and supply (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings”, 2019). Consequently, this has helped Canadian Solar Inc. maintain robust brand reliability in the regions that it provides its services.

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Additionally, Canadian Solar Inc. has a well-established distribution and reach, whereby it has many outlets in almost every state in Canada. The outlets are supported by a robust distribution network that ensures that its products are readily available and accessible to many customers in a convenient manner. The corporation also has a strong relationship with its dealers who provide it with supplies and also promote the Canadian Solar Inc.’s products and services (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings”, 2019). The distribution reach, coupled with the dealer community, provides a competitive advantage for Canadian Solar Inc.

Canadian Solar Inc.’s cost structure and financial position also serve as a strength for the company. The organization has a massive asset base, which provides it with considerably better solvency. Moreover, the company’s strong financial position resulting from consecutive profits in the past five years and longstanding accumulated profit reserves complements the asset base as they can help finance future capital expenditure. Canadian Solar Inc. has also been significantly successful in generating positive returns on its capital expenditure on various projects (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings”, 2019). The strong financial position serves as a strong asset for the company’s marketing efforts.

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The corporation has automated various stages of its production, which allows for more efficient use of resources and also minimizes costs. Automation also facilitates consistency in the quality of products and enable the company to scale up and down as the consumer market demands. The automation is complemented with a skilled workforce, whereby the company has extensively invested in recruiting the best talents in its industry and also provides training and a favorable environment to ensure the labor force remains highly motivated (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Considering that human resource is the most resourceful asset of any organization, a highly skilled workforce and automated processes guarantee consistent efficiency. 

Lastly, Canadian Solar Inc. has a strong presence on social media platforms, whereby it has millions of followers on the three most famous platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). The organization also has a functioning and fairly interactive website that attracts large traffic that translates to increased sales (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). An online presence allows the company to market its wide range of products.

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Weaknesses

Although Canadian Solar Inc. spends a considerable amount of its funds on research and development (R&D), it is spending less than other market leaders. The expenditure constraint on R&D places it as a disadvantage in comparison with major competitors. In the three years, Canadian Solar Inc. has not conducted any research aimed to further the company’s understanding of the consumer market (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Research and development are crucial to ensuring an organization effectively meets consumer market demands and expectations.

Regarding integration, Canadian Solar Inc.’s current structure and culture have caused the corporation to fail in various merger efforts aimed to facilitate vertical integration. The company also has a constrained budget for the quality control department as compared to major competitors (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings”, 2019). This facilitates the possibility of a decline in quality for the firm’s products across its various outlets.

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Whereas Canadian Solar Inc. has established itself as a major player in its respective industry, only a few of its products have a large market share. Most of the company’s products have a relatively low market share (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings”, 2019). The reliance on a few products to maintain a competitive edge renders the corporation vulnerable to external threats. 

Canadian Solar Inc. has been experiencing high rates of employee turnover.  As a result, the company is spending large amounts of funds on recruiting and developing new employees. The constant leaving of qualified employees also translates to workforce shortages rendering the company incapable of sufficiently meeting its customers’ needs (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Notably, when employees face excess workloads, their morale decreases and, as such, are unable to meet clients’ demands and expectations effectively.

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Lastly, the decision-making process at Canadian Solar Inc. is highly centralized. Decisions by teams, including the marketing department, must be approved by top-level managerial officials (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Consequently, this reduces efficiency in organizational operations by rendering them relatively slower. Centralized decision-making also leads to reduced creativity and innovation since employees lack the autonomy to try new things.

Opportunities

            Over the years, the internet has attracted an enormous number of users from all over the world. This provides an opportunity for Canadian Solar Inc. to increase its online presence by utilizing the internet to interact with existing and potential customers. The internet also presents an opportunity for the corporation to venture into e-commerce. Furthermore, Canadian Solar Inc. should seek ways to increase the productivity of its social media platforms to ensure that it reaches a wider client base to promote its products and interact with the consumer market to gather data that can help it improve its products services.

Read also SWOT Analysis – Target Corporation

            Technological advancements also provide an opportunity for Canadian Solar Inc. to increase its customer reach. For instance, recent developments in the consumer market data analysis algorithms can help the corporation better understand the consumer market and, therefore, customize its marketing efforts to ensure enhanced efficiency. Considering that the company has the financial capacity to fund such investments as demonstrated in the strengths section of this SWOT analysis, then the company stands to benefit from technological developments.

 In recent years, the Canadian government has been emphasizing the use of green power sources to curb environmental pollution in its ‘green government drive initiative’ (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). This provides an opportunity for Canadian Solar Inc. to supply its product to federal and state government agencies. In fact, the government strives to provide tax rate reductions and subsidies on companies supplying environmentally friendly products (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Canadian Solar Inc. stands to benefit from these opportunities.

            Lastly, globalization also provides an opportunity for Canadian Solar Inc. to increase its reach by expanding operations into other countries. The corporation has expanded its operations to twenty-one countries across the globe (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). There is still room for improvement as it can expand its reach to serve most countries, especially during these times when governments are keen on promoting the use of green energy. Due to the increased globalization characterizing, the 21st-century trade barriers have significantly declined and made it relatively easier for Canada Solar Inc. to establish global reach.

Threats

            Whereas technological advancements provide an opportunity for Canadian Solar Inc., it also serves as a threat to the corporation, given that major competitors are largely investing in new technology. These technological improvements exert increased pressure on the company to constantly improve its products and marketing efforts to meet customers’ dynamic needs market (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). If Canadian Solar Inc. does not improve keep up to date with technological advancements, it risks losing its competitive advantage, stemming from technology use. 

Also, the stiff competition in Canada’s energy sector poses a significant threat to Canadian Solar Inc. since the continued increase of alternatives in the consumer market could induce a shift in customers’ buying behavior. As consumer tastes keep changing, organizations have to invest in understanding the patterns and meeting the new demands (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Therefore, the increased competition dictates that Canadian Solar Inc. improve its research and development efforts or stand to lose.  Laws and regulations could also pose a threat to the corporation due to new licenses and permit requirements importing and exporting products. Regulations on international trade keep changing, which necessitates that Canadian Solar Inc. must ensure compliance (“Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review”, 2018). Notably, compliance can prove costly to the company.

Small Training Exercise to Foster a Proactive Organizational Culture

Training and Development

You are required to develop a small training exercise. Review your needs assessment and previous observations conducted on your work environment to help identify one area for improvement that would benefit a part of your organization. This training exercise does not need to be implemented, but should include at least one deliverable that you could use during the training exercise. As you are reviewing your organization, consider employee engagement, systems, procedures, communication, and the culture within the organization. These are suggestions for possible areas that could benefit from a training exercise. The training must include the following:

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  • What goal is the organization trying to accomplish?
  • What processes or procedures will change after the training?
  • Describe the strategies or actions involved in the training exercise to meet established goals. What is the expected performance or applications after the training? How will the strategies drive successful business results and improve employee performance?
  • How will the organization provide support to the employees receiving training? To new employees? Does this support consider strengths and weaknesses within the organization?

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A Small Training Exercise to Foster a Proactive Organizational Culture

Brady and Sons is a leading audit firm based in Seattle, Washington with 12 chapters across several jurisdictions in the United States. The company’s Seattle nerve center is responsible for coordinating operations and liaising with associate branches to ensure the organization attains set objectives. A needs assessment of the Advisory Department conducted in this particular work environment reveals an urgent need for the creation of a suitable career development plan to foster advancement and the attainment of organizational objectives. It has been noted, and with great concern, that the firm has long overlooked the significance of preparing subordinate employees to take up positions left vacant by supervisors. This small training exercise, therefore, endeavors to foster a proactive organizational culture within the firm while making certain that departmental goals are always attained.

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Goal of training exercise

             The primary aim of this training exercise is to create a concise framework for application within the Advisory Department of Brady and Sons to foster career advancement and development amongst subordinate employees. Brady and Sons currently adheres to a framework based on discussions between supervisors and junior employees to determine their trajectory in relation to career goals. This training exercise, thus, aims to simplify this process and guarantee smooth transition from their current positions to senior supervisory responsibilities. It is only through this process that the organization will be assured of accuracy in targeting interests of junior employees and nascent future needs for the Advisory Department.

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Career advancement at Brady and Sons is particularly essential for it is bound to boost levels of job satisfaction and higher rates of employee retention compared to close contemporaries. An enhanced level of engagement among employees also improves the quality of work done and services offered to clients, ultimately supporting the organizations development (Success Factors, 2019). This small training exercise seeks to serve as a conduit to the aforementioned objectives while encouraging junior employees to strive for advancement in their careers.  A concise succession plan reduces the probability of discontent and the festering of parochial feels among junior employees that may prove detrimental to the organization. 

Procedures bound to change after training

            The training program due to be implemented at Brady and Sons aspires to transform the current approach to career development and advancement within the organization.  The advancement of supervisors to managerial positions seems to occur arbitrarily, which is why it is imperative to implement a structured training strategy. Supervisors have been known to occasionally hold meetings with subordinate employees to determine their objectives at the workplace before making a decision regarding their suitability for a particular position. This procedure will change after the implementation of this training program to one centered on succession to take on supervisory roles. The random nature of the previous structure will be replaced by one where lateral positions are occupied by individuals with the appropriate skill set for new positions.  This will ultimately foster employee engagement within the Advisory Department since key positions will be occupied by capable persons with the appropriate training to discharge their duties as required.  Part of the objective of this particular training plan is to ensure career development plans become part and parcel of the organizational culture at Brady and Sons for posterity.

Strategies and implementation of the training exercise to meet established goals

            The application of the current training exercise at Brady and Sons will be largely dependent upon the organization’s liaison with the human resources (HR) department at the organization. It will particularly prove essential to the organizations goals through the creation of a dependable training program for capacity building and improving the skillsets of junior employees within the organization.  The primary intention of this particular objective is to make certain that junior employees are able to advance in their careers while still preparing for key management position. They will be required to eventually display a high level of mastery of the management of fellow employees and the hundreds of cases presented to the department on a continual basis. It is noteworthy to acknowledge that the primary focus of this training initiative is to foster fluidity at the workplace environment in a design that affords numerous opportunities for growth within the department. This process will begin with changes which will be made systematically affecting the exact manner in which career advancement is handled within the organization. Supervisors will now be tasked with broaching issues linked to career development to guide them through this complex process while arming them with apposite tools.

Read also Best Training Methods Within the Workplace Environment

Training Exercise

             Brady and Sons will drive successful business results enhance employee performance through a rigorous retraining of supervisors within the organization to boost career development within the organization. This process will involve frequent contact with subordinates to gauge their current level of preparedness to occupy new positions within the organization as required. Furthermore, the training program will also consist of elaborate lectures where class activities will be introduced in addition to regular discourses among participants. The following will ultimately be attained after successful completion of the exercise:

  • An inherent ability to pinpoint specific career goals for subordinate employees to determine specific areas to positioned with the Advisory Department.
    • A determination of resources which can be harnessed to enable subordinate employees in attaining short- and long-term goals.
    • The development of concise career development plans which will prove effective in guaranteeing success in this particular initiative.

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A major strength of Brady and Support in creating this particular initiative is its focus on consensus before making important decisions.  Holding lectures and related classes during the training exercise will be critical in making sure that subordinate employees gain full comprehension of the process and their role in the grand scheme of things.  It will also serve as an integral forum with regard to the sharing of constructive information especially since concerns will be aired and clarifications provided by instructors. Identifying departmental goals is central to any training exercise for it charts a clear path and ensuring the said career path is followed to the letter (Heathfield, 2012).

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Conclusion

Career development initiatives typically provide an inimitable avenue for organization to create a definite sense of direction among its employees. Brady and Sons seeks to apply a robust training exercise to prepare subordinate employees within the Advisory Department to take up future responsibilities as supervisors. The latter will play a central role in facilitating the training and the adoption of a new framework supported by the HR department as a useful training unit.  This will eventually ensure participants acquire skill sets central to their success at their current work stations and future postings.

Brady v. Maryland, Giglio v. United States, United States v. Agurs

Case Summaries

Issues emanating from full disclosure of evidence perceived as favorable to a defendant have long proved matters of contention in the American criminal justice system.  This relative significance was one of the primary reasons which prompted the United States Supreme Court to underscore this fact in a series of decisions arrived at from mid-1963. The following are detailed summaries of the main issues in key United States Court cases pivoting on this exclusive legal provision.

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Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) – Case Main Issues

            The main issue in the Brady v. Maryland case was whether the Maryland Court of Appeals was justified in its suppression of a secret confession made by one of the defendants regarding his role in a first-degree murder case. John Brady and Donald Boblit had initially been implicated in the murder of William Brooks, their long-time associate, in 1958 and later indicted on first-degree murder charges Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). (2017, June 4). They were subsequently found guilty of the said offence and sentenced to death by a Maryland jury. However, it soon became apparent that Boblit had earlier confessed to killing Brooks after a split second decision which he later claimed to have regretted. This crucial fact remained hidden to his co-defendant since both men were tried separately during court proceedings for the same crime. The case was later forwarded to the Maryland Court of Appeals where it was successively upheld, with the only matter up for debate being the severity of the punitive measures handed down. An appeal lodged by the defendant’s legal team was then presented to the Supreme Court where it was later determined that the actual suppression of Boblit’s confession was tantamount to a clear violation of due process. The presiding judge, William O. Douglas, reaffirmed the importance of holding fair criminal trials; directing the Maryland Court of Appeals to set up a retrial which resulted in a life imprisonment verdict for John Brady.

Read also Case Brief – Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361 (1989)

Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972) – Case Main Issues

The focal point and issue in the Giglio v. United States case was whether the prosecution’s action of withholding crucial information regarding the promise of immunity amounted to a miscarriage of justice warranting a re-trial. In mid-1966, John Giglio was connected to a fraud scheme at the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. where he liaised with Robert Taliento to cash fake money orders. Taliento took a plea-bargain deal with the then Assistant U.S Attorney, shielding him from prosecution on condition that he testified against his co-defendant. The case was later picked up by a different Assistant U.S Attorney who was oblivious to the previous plea deal, resulting in utter confusion regarding any agreement struck between the two main parties involved. The evidence presented to the court bolstered by Taliento’s confession satisfied the jury, culminating in a 5-year sentence for Giglio (“Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972),” 2015). However, the defense team soon discovered transcripts of Taliento’s covert discussions with the government and subsequently lodged an appeal for a new trial. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant, asserting that withholding such information was in direct violation of the due process clause outlined in the U.S constitution (Pollock, 2018).

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United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976) – Case Main Issues      

The main issue of interest in the United States v. Agurs case was whether the prosecution was legally obligated to provide the defense team with a criminal record of the alleged victim. The defendant, Agurs, had been charged with second-degree murder by a circuit court in the District of Columbia (“United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976),” 2017). The defense soon stumbled upon the victim’s criminal records, initially withheld by the prosecution for fear of influencing the jury’s decision.  This information was crucial to the defense team since Agurs could now back the claim that he acted solely in self-defense and not the aggressor. Although the new evidence seemed admissible in court, it was thrown out by the District Court for not being sufficiently material. An appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia later overturned the ruling, claiming that due process was not followed since the defendant a right to a fair federal criminal trial. The Bible is also categorical regarding justice and fairness. Leviticus 19:15 warns against the perversion of justice and calls for parity in judicial matters as an edict from God to authority figure (New International Version, 2011).

Water Pollution Annotated Bibliography

Abel, P. D. (2014). Water pollution in biology. CRC Press.

The author of this scholarly work looks into several consideration as far as water pollution is concerned. The scholar gives an in-depth articulation concerning the contamination of water bodies including lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans. The work is excellent towards developing the paper since it does not only look into the prevention of water pollution but also some of the causes and effects of this menace. Abel considers diseases, ecosystems’ destruction, and adverse impact on the food chain, and eutrophication as the significant negative impacts associable with water pollution. On the prevention of water pollution, Abel articulates better treatment of sewage and the use of products that are environmentally friendly as the significant approaches that individuals can utilize to curb the challenges.

Dunlap, R. E., & Jorgenson, A. K. (2012). Environmental problems. The Wiley‐Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization.

The two scholars look into the aspects evident over the last few decades considering the globalization of environmental problems. Besides, the scholarly work considers the socioeconomic factors associable with various environmental issues such as water, air, and wind pollution. Arguably, Dunlap and Jorgenson note the fact that human beings in contemporary society evidence increasing push against some of the environmental pressures affecting many states globally. Furthermore, the scholars analyze the political or economic aspects which are associable with the generation and exacerbation of environmental degradation.

McCarty, P. L., Bae, J., & Kim, J. (2011). Domestic wastewater treatment as a net energy producer–can this be achieved?.

The scholarly work looks into the advances made by academicians and scholars towards realizing greater sustainability in managing water resources. Arguably, many nations globally consider various factors that can increase water storage and address problems resulting from drought and famine. The scholars reveal that states consider wastewater as a useful resource that can be utilized to provide energy and plant nutrients. As such, wastewater is used to produce fertilizer which helps to increase food production and curb chances of severe shortages. According to their articulation, treatment of water to provide energy is among the encouraging advancements characterizing the contemporary society. In summing up their scholarly work, the authors note that poor treatment of such water when recycling can lead to environmental and water pollution especially when released back to water bodies.

Sharma, S. K., & Sanghi, R. (Eds.). (2012). Advances in water treatment and pollution prevention. Springer Science & Business Media.

Through an analysis of the most recent developments as far as water pollution and treatment, the scholars give an insight into some of the concerns worth consideration to enable individuals to understand the subject matter. Sharma and Shanghi look into the causes and the many adverse effects associable with the threatening phenomenon. The scholars give right to some of the fatality associable with water pollution and its contribution towards hindering normalcy under various nations globally. Sharma and Shanghi provide an insight into the practical approaches that can be utilized to address the problem of water pollution globally effectively. According to scholars, the use of greener water treatments can faultlessly respond to the challenge of water pollution. They reveal water pollution as a global menace calling for immediate counter response considering its impacts on the ecosystem, the well-being of the human race, and adverse effects to economies.

Vesilind, P. A., Peirce, J. J., & Weiner, R. F. (2013). Environmental pollution and control. Elsevier. The book looks into the broad topic of environmental pollution evidencing why it is one of the significant challenges affecting many nations globally. The book covers aspects of ecological engineering with prioritization given to the considerations of water pollution, treatment of sludge, and legislation on water pollution. Initially, the scholars look into environmental and water pollution. Besides, they analyze aspects associable with water quality. Water treatment and supply form one of the considerable articulations at the fundamental parts of this scholarly work. In their articulation, disinfection, utilization of filtration, settling, flocculation, and coagulation realizes profound coverage. Furthermore, collection and storage of water are at the centre of this book. Here, the scholars analyze some of the technologies applicable to facilitate the treatment of water to avoid some of the adverse effects associable with the catastrophe.

Why are we Obliged to Endure?

Carson is part of a community of writers in the 20th century who attempt to address the environmental problems affecting humanity, wildlife and vegetation on a global scale and is considered as the initiator of the environmental movement in America. Some of her earlier works include; Under the sea wind (1941), The sea around us” (1951), The Edge of the Sea (1955), and Silent spring (1962) from which our excerpt; The obligation to endure has been taken. This excerpt is based on the fact deadly pesticides are being developed much faster than the natural process of adaption has the capacity to endure. In my discussion, I will attempt to highlight the reasons I believe Carson would be of this opinion and it is from these reasons that I am prompted to support her argument in the excerpt. To arrive at these suppositions, the questions; “Why are we obliged to endure?”, “What does it mean to endure?”, “What is our obligation to the environment?” must first be answered.

          According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an obligation is defined as something that directs an individual in a particular cause of action and to endure is to continue tolerating a situation, idea or person despite the negative implications of doing so. Carson, in the context of the excerpt, is attempting to draw insight into the worrying state of the environment and our obligation to do something in order to protect the welfare of future generations. She describes the present state of contamination in air, rivers and oceans as worrying to an alarming degree and that the presence of these contaminants is directly correlated with human activity with his pursuit of wealth through agriculture being the direct cause of deforestation and ultimately global warming and his desire to maximize production leading to the lethal doses of chemicals present in our water bodies. These chemicals have contributed to the decline in marine life and the extinction of some of the world’s most exotic sea creatures. Carson’s demonstration of the assaults of men upon the environment may be understood as an effort to bring us from a state of endurance to that of obligation, an obligation to change societal norms that foster this kind of behaviour.   

As men continue with their assaults upon the planet, its inhabitants that lack the capacity to reason gifted upon man, continue to suffer. Carson posits in this excerpt, that there is a possibility of extinction of some species of plants and animals as potentially harmful substance enter their tissues, penetrate into their germ cells which are the precursors of life. These substances may lead the alteration of the genetic material that will be expressed by these germ cells leading to defective offspring that may not survive to maturity or not have the capacity to reproduce further (Carson, 1962).

Man is depicted as the sole destructive agent of his environment and his destructive capability does not end at environmental exploits, he destroys his fellow man as Jared Diamond points out in this excerpt. It is surprising to note, from this excerpt, that the highest levels of toxic industrial chemicals recorded are from Siberia’s Inuit people (Eskimos) who live in the most remote areas of the world and are expected to be free from the effects of industrial contaminants.  Their blood mercury levels are consistent with findings in acute mercury poisoning and the typical Inuit mother’s breast milk has toxins in her breast milk enough to classify her milk as hazardous waste with significant implications on the physical and mental development of the children that must receive their early source of nutrition from it. This prompts the question; how did man manage to penetrate this seemingly safe haven, and cause such utter devastation in the lives of these simple people? (Jared 10).

          Certainly, the man of the past by lack of knowledge also destroyed the environment for his agriculture by deforestation, but today we have several means or knowledge to impede the destruction of the environment. However, developed and developing countries, continue to impact negatively on the environment. It is this negative impact that we export to third world countries through the process of globalization. Globalization is not restricted to the benefits third world countries enjoy such as the export of carbonated drinks and the inclusion in digital platforms, it also encompasses the devastation that we bring them due to the irresponsible way in which we handle the environment. We must assume the responsibility of protecting our fellow man before we lead to our own downfall. We cannot afford to remain inactive, it is our obligation as the powerful forces that we are to foster change and reduce the amount of devastation those without the capacity to initiate this change has to endure (Jared, 5). Jared draws his ideas from his visit to the Netherlands where he witnessed a tremendous pulling of resources by the Dutch people. All the farmland in the Netherlands lies beneath sea level as well as a fifth of the total surface area occupied by the Netherlands. The citizens have reclaimed the land previously under the sea by the use of dykes that surrounded the area and gradually pumped out the water. The reclaimed land is called a Polder and took almost a thousand years to achieve the utility it has today. Unfortunately, sea water continually seeps into the land and the people have to keep pumping out the water using wind-generated energy. The pumping starts from the areas furthest into the sea and continues until the last pump drains it out into the ocean. The collective responsibility involved in maintaining this polder system is achieved through the relations among the citizens who have tremendous respect for each other since it is not uncommon to find that your next door neighbour is operating the pump in your polder. The people of Netherland understand that the difference between life and death in an environmental crisis does not arise on one’s economic capacity or lack thereof, it is determined by avoiding a clash of interest as both the rich and poor share a common goal, to stay afloat. It is this thinking that informed their response to the inland storm of 1953 where thousands of people, rich and poor drowned into the ocean. This event contributed to the environmentally aware state of the Netherland population, they understand that the increasing polar ice melting due to global warming will result in a world at sea level and this will have severe consequences for the Netherland people (Berwyn, 2019). This sort of collective responsibility should inform our efforts to save the environment. We must maintain a deep respect for the welfare of other people and not engage in actions that devastate their lives since this harmful behaviour could trickle back down to us and indeed, it has (Cameron & Archer, 2018).

Aftermath of Totalitarianism in Germany

The intent of this paper is to gain an insider’s perspective of the aftermath of totalitarianism in Germany through the examination of the literary works of Thomas Bernhard ‘Correction’ and Paul Celan’s poems such as; ‘Aspen tree’, ‘Nearness of graves’, ‘Fugue of death’ and ‘There was earth’.

Insider’s Perspective of the Aftermath of Totalitarianism in Germany

Upon examining Thomas Bernhard’s ‘correction’, one is drawn to a supposition that its central theme of ‘correction’, is symbolic of the deconstruction of Austria’s history so as to negate its sympathetic association with the Nazi regime, and its participation in the Nazi war, and transform it into a ‘victim’ of Nazism. The reason for this supposition is clearly seen when the main character, Roithamer, hangs himself after his sister’s dies suddenly. She dies from shock and the incestuous implications of her brother, Roithamer building a cone shaped house for her. After her death, Roithamer, inconsolable, consequently hangs himself and leaves his legacy to the narrator of the novel. Upon arrival at Hoeller’s home to collect the papers that had been willed to him by Roithamer, the narrator discovers the manuscript containing Roithamer’s legacy. The original manuscript has been corrected several times by Roithamer and has been reduced to a completely different version in its retelling of events. The narrator is quick to recognize the manuscript as a masterpiece in its entirety but he admits that it cannot be published in the state that Roithamer had left it in before his demise. The third part of the novel takes an absurd and dramatic turn as the narrator appears to get lost in attempt to make the manuscript whole again. His second person voice is completely dissolved and integrated in to Roithamer’s text as it becomes apparent that the manuscript is being ‘corrected’ once again. What follows is an obsessive recounting of the construction of the cone shaped house and an eventual rationalization of suicide.

The correction of the manuscript is symbolic of the correction of Austrian history after the fall of totalitarian rule in Germany. The Austrian government, upon realizing the extent of the wrongs committed by the tyranny of Adolf Hitler during the Nazi regime, sought to deny and silence facts about their involvement with this regime in an attempt to consolidate the Austrian society and heal the wounds of the past. They rewrote the Austrian origin and claimed that although they shared a common language with the Germans, they were not German genetically, that they had different religious beliefs and a comparatively dissimilar ancestry. The anti-Semitism of Leopold Kunshak as well as Remer’s insincere praise of Hitler were quickly rendered inconsequential in the new Austria. The Austrian Nazi criminals such as Adolf Eichmann, Odilo Globocnik and Ernst Kaltenbrunner were quickly labelled ‘German occupiers’.

This ‘correction’ of the Austrian heritage was perhaps the reason that the story line of Bernhard’s work seems so mad and absurd, it seems to draw attention to this kind of ‘correction’ that does not imply any sort of improvement but merely serves to rationalize and silence the guilt of participating in the propagation of an ideology that had such fatal and devastating consequences. As a tool to examine the aftermath of totalitarianism, Bernhard’s novel is draws the reader from the effects in Germany and takes us across the border to Austria where the aspects of their history that were regarded as insignificant in historical texts were now of vital importance in their quest to distance themselves from Germany, from totalitarianism and from facing the consequences of their sympathy towards Hitler and his ideology. The absurd nature of this ‘correction’, comes out in the obsessive way in which the narrator retells the death of Roithamer’s sister, the intent behind the construction of the cone shaped house and the reason for Roithamer’s suicide and the rationality behind it. One would think that it would have been better to admit to the folly of all the absurdities committed by Roithamer but quite to the contrary, the narrator goes to great lengths to sanitize the character of Roithamer, make him a rational and innocent victim of circumstances. This sanitation is what seems to have occurred in the rewriting of Austrian history as an aftermath of the totalitarian rule in Germany, and it is this rewritten history that created the loopholes that will haunt generations of Austrians for eternity.

Paul Celan’s on the other hand, is the embodiment of the trauma caused by totalitarian rule. In his works ‘Aspen tree’, ‘Nearness of graves’ and ‘Fugue of death, a tale of the survivor aspect of totalitarianism emerges as he is continuously haunted by a residual survivor’s guilt arising from his inability to save his parents from being assassinated by the Nazis and the guilt from his own survival, which he considers an injustice. In ‘Aspen tree’, Celan calls to the elements of nature and tries to embody them in to the image of his mother albeit in vain. The psychological torture experienced by survivors of the totalitarian regime comes out clearly in these lines,

“My mother’s heart was ripped by lead.

Oaken door, who lifted you off your hinges?

My gentle mother cannot return.”

It is clear that Celan is in a constant state of grieving for his mother and is constantly seeking to communicate with her in order to relieve himself of the guilt he suffers from letting her die so painfully when in ‘Nearness of graves’ he writes;

            “Can none of the aspens and none of the willows,

            Allow you their solace, remove all your sorrows.”

Celan also brings to light another consequence of totalitarianism especially for the surviving Jewish scholars. He is constantly facing a dilemma within himself on whether to subjugate to his mother’s assassins by continuing his use of German for his work or to embrace this language due to the fact that it was his mother’s language. This state of dilemma is apparent in ‘Nearness of graves’ when Celan writes,

            “Can you bear, Mother, as once on a time

            The gentle, the German, the pain laden rhyme?”

Celan, in his obsession with the German language, attempts to purge the German language of the evil and darkness it had acquired when the Nazi regime had made it an accomplice to the Nazi ideology by utilizing it in the formulation of Nazi slogans and slurs. He does thus by infusing it with the Hebrew language, the language of the people that the totalitarian regime had attempted to exterminate. Despite these attempts to make sense of his traumatic past, Celan repeatedly relives his experiences in his poems such as; ‘Fugue of death’, in which, the central themes of the torturous labor and dehumanization suffered by the Jews in concentration camps comes to life and this, shows the reader the effects of psychological distress as an aftermath of totalitarianism. In this work, Celan repeatedly references ‘black milk’ which is symbolic of the torture that the Jews underwent in the hands of the Nazi guards in concentration camps who were ruthless, brutal and cruel to the point of being cynical. He describes his experience at the concentration camp by writing about how the Nazi guards would whistle the Jews out the same way he would whistle out the dogs, command them and make them dance as they witness the execution of one of their fellow prisoners.

The dehumanization, implied by the Nazi ideology, comes across clearer in the poem ‘There was earth’, where Celan points how the Jews were denied subjectivity to the point of being left without names and with no other occupation than to dig mechanically. This kind of torturous labor haunts Celan even after the fall of totalitarianism, he repeatedly references the labor, the dehumanization and the death of his parents in an attempt to cleanse his tortured soul from the damage that an oppressive regime had left on it. Celan, wrote from a position that can best be described as the paradigm of human existence in the aftermath of the totalitarian regime in Germany. He embodied the recurring trauma experienced by Jews during their exile, dislocation, dehumanization, torture and the accompanying state of mourning in this new phase in their lives. Poets such as Celan, attempted through their poetry, to take refuge in the solace provided for by writing and benefit from the catharsis that can arise from this form of self-expression.

From his poetry, one can see that Celan suffered an overwhelming degree of obsessive paranoia and depression that became worse as he progressed in age. He was constantly grieving, sad and stuck at the moment in time where he had returned to his house and found his parents gone, when he had received the news that his mother had been killed at a concentration camp and when he himself had been subject to the inimitable vehemence of Nazi cruelty. Despite his attempt to relive his experiences through his poetry in order to offer some clarity to his situation, he fails to make sense of his trauma and its implications and eventually succumbs to it by drowning himself in the Seine at the young age of 49. His work ‘A turn of breath’, is testament of the struggle with the psychological trauma caused by the aftermath holocaust and the need to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of this trauma through reuniting with lost loved ones through death as he writes;

“With the persecuted in late,

            But unconcealed

            And radiant

            Alliance.”

Conclusion

From the works of Thomas Bernhard and Paul Celan, one is able to grasp, albeit slightly, at an insider’s perspective of the effects of a totalitarian rule. Bernhard’s criticism of Austria’s decision to victimize itself after the fall of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is exemplary when he incorporates in his work a storyline that seems almost too ridiculous to believe in order to draw attention to the folly that was being committed by Austrian authorities at the time. Erasing a piece of history from literary works does not erase it from history and lies do not facilitate the healing of emotional wounds but only serve to exacerbate and prolong this process, and provides an atmosphere where these wounds reopen unexpectedly and result in a crisis within the nation. Paul Celan’s inability to escape his horrible past even through his poetry, is testament of the burden bestowed upon the survivor of a totalitarian regime and the fatal consequences of being unable to bear this heavy burden.

Anatomical Aspects of the Olfactory System

Introduction

This aim of this paper is to; examine the anatomical aspects of the olfactory system and how they interact with the systems that influence memory and emotion, postulate how odors trigger memory, explain the relationship between smell, memory and intimacy, highlight the intimate nature of the memories evoked by odor cues and how they differ from those evoked by visual, verbal and auditory cues by drawing information from a variety of peer review journals as well as provide the perspective of the author to prove the thesis that; scent is the most intimate form of remembering.

Read also Brain, Nervous System, and Sensory Systems Basic Functions Presentation

Anatomical Aspects of the Olfactory System

On an anatomical basis, the intimate nature of the memories evoked by smell can be explained by observing the intimate neural connectivity displayed between the olfactory system and the limbic system. The limbic system houses; the hippocampus which plays a significant role in learning and memory as well as the the amygdala, which plays a significant role in understanding and processing emotional aspects of sensory stimuli (Herz & Cupchik, 1995). It is this emotional aspect of a memory that renders it intimate and personal to individuals. The perception of odors activates these specific areas within the limbic system, via limited activation strategies that contribute to the suddenness of memories induced by olfactory stimuli, these memories then perform the secondary function of activating the specific emotions associated with these smells. Olfactory nerves project directly to the amygdala complex and this contributes to the highly intimate nature of memories that are evoked by smell (Zald & Pardo, 1997). Moreover, brain areas involved in producing visual vividness such as the occipital gyrus are also activated by odor stimulus resulting in memories that are more pronounced and have the capacity to transport the individual to the specific moment in their lives when the memory was created. This vividness as well as the emotional nature of the memories evoked by olfactory stimulus leads to the intimate nature of the memories that can be evoked by smell (Dolan et al, 2002)

How Odor Triggers Memory

Sensory memory acts as a form of storage to our experiences, our personalities and the perceptions we have acquired throughout our lives. The capacity to remember these depends on the presence of sensory reawakening that is facilitated by the presence of the same exact stimulus at a later time in our lives. Therefore, the occurrence of vivid recollections of past events through olfactory stimulation can only precipitated by exposure to the specific smell associated with the original experience (Schab, 2002) Memories invoked by olfactory stimulus tend to be sudden and have the capacity to move us to actions sometimes without our own realization. Odor stimuli can even illicit involuntary responses such as elevated heart rate, hyperventilation and increased perspiration, changes in mood and overall disposition depending on the kind of memory that is retrieved upon exposure to this stimulus. This is because the olfactory system is the most sensitive of all the sensory systems and stimuli from this system does not have to go through the thalamus which houses the brain’s relay system.

Read also Short Term Memory, Long Term Memory and Sensory Memory Process

Olfactory stimuli goes directly to the behavior centers of the brain and have very little subjectivity to self-control and aspects of human rationality. The sense of smell triggers memories, these memories then act as messengers of one’s past experiences and evoke the emotional responses associated with these experiences. These responses contribute to the effectiveness of olfactory cues as a means to aid recollection of intimate experiences. In a study conducted by Cann & Ross (2011), 63 male college students were subjected to fifty images of college female students in the presence of a pleasant or unpleasant odor and later asked to identify the images in the slides after a forty eight hour delay in a visual recognition test. The results of the study showed that there was a striking improvement in visual recognition test results by incorporating the presence of the same odor at both sessions and the removal of this variable caused a decrease in the capacity of the students to identify the female students in the slides.

Read also Knowledge Acquisition and Memory Development

Relationship between Smell, Memory and Intimacy

Odors have a very high specificity to the emotions that they can aid in recollecting. This could be due to the intimate nature of these experiences. Since olfactory stimulus is the most easily perceived, the odors associated with these experiences are integrated almost instantaneously in to the experience and are less subject to eventual degradation. Emotion plays a significant role in memory retrieval, emotional experiences tend to occupy very intimate positions in an individual’s mind and the memory for these experiences is much more enhanced as compared to the memory for experiences that do not have an emotional/intimate aspect to them (Dolan et al, 2002). The capacity for odor stimulus to facilitate the recollection of these intimate memories is inimitable by any other sensory stimulus making it the most effective channel of acquiring an intimate perspective to an individual’s past experiences and encounters.

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Intimate Nature of Olfactory Invoked Memory

This effectiveness can be demonstrated by the kind of memories that are typically generated by olfactory stimulus. In a study by Low (2013), narrative interviews were used to show that smell plays an important role in remembering the events of our childhood, past intimate relationships as well as difficult times and moments of hardship. The study revealed that, smells from our childhood presented to us during adulthood, had a nostalgic element to them as well as invoking feelings of solace and comfort. These old memories served as a basis for continuous reconnection with the past self and facilitated self-reconstruction (Willander & Larson, 2006). Odor stimulus also aided in remembering past intimate relationships, with the smells associated with loved ones serving as a constant reminder of the emotions associated with having these people in participant’s lives. As mentioned earlier, the senses act as a form of storage for our encounters. Therefore, the perceptions smells associated with these relationships, will trigger the memories and emotions associated with the particular loved one and may even alter the mood of an individual. For instance, receiving an odor stimulus relating to a grandparent who just happens to have passed away, along with triggering feeling of nostalgia, may also lead to sadness and trigger the grieving process. The events of our childhood are more clearly recollected from odor cues due to the fairly new encounters made during the first ten years of life. Another kind of memory typically evoked by smell is a memory of a difficult time or a place of hardship. Olfactory stimulus may serve to remind a person of their emotional state during a difficult time or a moment of hardship. These cues may seem inconsequential to an observer but their significance to the individual can sometimes lead to debilitating symptoms that can sometimes border on post-traumatic stress disorder due to the emotional effect these experiences may have had on the individual. Odor typically invokes memories that are vivid, more emotional, older and is most effective while retrieving autobiographic memories (Schab, 1990).

Olfactory Stimulus VS Visual, Verbal and Auditory Stimuli

The capacity for smell to facilitate the recollection of these types of intimate memories is unmatched by any other sensory stimulus with verbal cues typically undergoing multiple strategic nerve activations before they can achieve their objective of invoking a particular memory, auditory and visual stimuli and their responses being subject to the relay system in the thalamus as well as human rationality and self-control. Other senses are also unable to activate the emotional aspect of the memories associated with olfactory stimulus as well as activate the areas of the brain that provide the vividness witnessed in the recollection of memories evoked by odor stimulus(Willander & Larson, 2006).

Read also Distinction between Sensation and Perception

Moreover, visual and auditory memories have a higher rate of degradation than memories of particular smells. The prolonged presence of the memory of this smell ensures that all the experiences associated with it are also easily retrievable upon sensory reawakening. The anatomic positioning of the olfactory system also plays a role in the intimate nature of the memories that can be invoked by smell, this intimate proximity to the limbic system ensures that it has the capacity to stimulate the areas within the limbic system that are concerned with memory and emotion (Zald & Pardo, 1997). It is this capacity that leads to the intimacy of the memories stored through this system and enables them to be stored for longer periods of time and renders them easily retrievable.

Opportunities for Utilization

In the quest to gather information in support of this particular thesis, several opportunities to utilize scents and the intimate nature of the memories evoked by them presented themselves to me. Of notable significance, was the capacity to enable capturing and storing smells associated with loved ones in end of life technologies in order to facilitate positive reminiscence and aid the grieving process. There is also a possibility that this ability to capture and store smells can aid in the sharing of enriching personal experience and the vivid nature of the memories evoked by olfactory stimulus enable a more effective approach to the treatment of patients who are experiencing the memory loss associated with diseases such as dementia. The intimate nature of memory associated with scent, as well as its capacity to alter emotional state and lead to changes in mood, can also aid in the treatment of people with psychological disorders by providing a fresh perspectives on causality. To illustrate, a study by Masaoka et al (2012) demonstrated that people with high anxiety experience a stronger sense of vividness when recollecting events after being exposed to odor stimulus. This kind of guided research can enable the development of more effective strategies to manage anxiety disorders.

Conclusion

The olfactory system’s success in being the most intimate form of memory is in part due to its proximity to the limbic system which leads to its interaction with the amygdala and the hippocampus which are the regions of the brain that influence the understanding and processing of emotions and odor guided learning and memory respectively. Odor triggers memory by providing sensory reawakening upon exposure to the specific scent associated with the particular experience or encounter. Smell memory and intimacy are related by the provision, by odor, of an emotional aspect to memory that creates the intimacy associated with the memories that are typically invoked by odor stimulus. These memories are summarized as autobiographical memories that are characterized by being; older and emotionally charged. These kind of memories may include remembering personalities encountered during childhood, times of hardship and difficulty as well as relationships with loved ones. These memories differ from those invokes by visual and auditory cues by their prolonged capacity to evade degradation in the brain, their reduced subjectivity to self-control and rationalization by the mind. It is the discussion of these aspects of odor and its resultant stimulus that offer conclusive evidence to support the thesis of this paper that memories associated with scent are intimate, more profound, take a deeper look at the effect that our experiences have had on those personal intimate parts of our lives, enable us to relive those moments that shaped our characters, made us proud, joyful or sad and are held in utmost importance in our minds such that they can remain for years and years and cannot be forgotten easily

Asian, African American and Gender Stereotyping in the Movie The Rush Hour 3

The movie Rush hour 3 has been selected for the purpose of discussing the stereotypical representations of race, gender and sexuality in this film as well as the portrayal of women and minorities in film. Stereotypes are regarded as cliché representations of the people of a particular cultural background that can be found in the media and social environment. Based on this definition, several racial and gender stereotypes emerge as on watches the third Rush hour movie.

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The leads in the movie, Carter and Lee, are both from a racial minority group with Carter being African American and Lee being Asian. These main roles serve to perpetuate African American and Asian stereotypes by portraying the character of Carter as that of an ignorant, violent, incompetent man who is quick to anger and reacts irrationally. His character contrasts sharply with that of Lee who is depicted as a hardworking, responsible and honorable man who seems to be very serious. Asian characters are also stereotyped as unable to speak English properly even in the bloopers after the movie where Jackie Chan (Lee), constantly stumbles over words or mispronounces them. The choice of music is stereotypical of African American music preference. The ever frequent summation, by Carter, that all Asian look alike and live in Beijing is also an Asian stereotype present in the movie and a stereotypical representation of the African American as ignorant.

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 Moreover, several gender stereotypes also emerge as one watches the movie; the male characters are the main cast, the heroes in the movie, while the female characters are very few and often take the role of the damsel in distress in need of saving from the powerful male. Some characters such as that of Soo Yung have the knowledge of martial arts and have the capacity to defend themselves, but these abilities are not fully explored in the action sequences that are ever present within the film.

Read also Is It Possible To Speak Of Ethnic Groups In America In Terms Other Than Stereotypes?

Apart from the Asian and African American stereotypes, French stereotypes present with the French taxi driver being portrayed as overly judgmental, unwelcoming to Americans, neurotic and highly impressionable. Arab stereotypes such as the assumption by Carter that the Arabs were terrorists when in fact, they were scientists. Hispanic name stereotypes present when Carter claims that a Hispanic woman, in the movie, knows a man named Pedro Morales Megonzales Morotto Malonso Megusto. White characters are also portrayed as overly cruel, mean, greedy and evil through the character of Commissaire Revi who is always trying to take credit for the success of others in their assignments.

There is an absence of women in leading roles throughout the movie with the few supportive roles played by women portraying them as helpless, passive and sometimes very irrational. For instance, the character of Genevieve is merely a tool, and her body just serves as a canvass upon which the names of the triad members are tattooed as per tradition. Female characters such as that of Genevieve and Soo yung often end up kidnapped and in need of rescue from Carter and Chan while those that do not end up kidnapped and are not part of developing the plot such as; the nun and George’s wife are depicted as incredibly passive and very irrational respectively.

Minority representations are achieved by the presence of two minority leads in the movie. These roles portray Asians as indifferent, aloof, and asexual with amazing intellect but no social ability while African Americans are portrayed as trouble makers, violators of social norms, incredibly ignorant through the presence of syntax errors in their speech as well as having an incredible lack of information about other cultures. Although there is an overwhelming presence of negative stereotypical cultural and gender representations in the movie, it manages to mask the implications of these racist tones by the incorporation of humor. Although some critics have argued that the humor only serves to validate racist stereotyping and encourages its presence in the media, it is my view that the movie seeks to draw attention to some of these preformed suppositions we have about the culture of other people and inform us on how mistaken and ignorant we have been. This is seen clearly when Carter just assumes that an Asian man he had been torturing to reveal information about the triad must speak Chinese but instead finds out that he is French, when Carter assumes that the Arabs were terrorists but learns that they were scientists and when he assumes that Lee would definitely have many relatives living in China town, since all Asians look the same, but this is not the case.

The movie intends to inform the audience that it is possible to move past these stereotypical ideas and view people as individuals with inimitable characteristics. That these unique characteristics make them capable of achieving their own form of self-identity which need not conform to a pre-existing one. This intent to inform is most discernible when Carter enjoys Chinese take-out while watching the Asian boy in the film Indiana jones while Lee enjoys eating fried chicken while watching an African documentary.

Integumentary System Overview and Burns Classifications

This research paper will address the integumentary system by describing the layers and the cells that are in each layer. The integumentary system is defined as the skin along with all its derivatives (hair, nails, glands) which cover the exterior body surface. The integumentary system has the functions of; protection from external biologic and chemical assailants, waterproofing the skin, hormone production, immunity, excretion, absorption, sensation, and thermoregulation and is continous with the mucous membranes lining all the body surfaces (Kanitakis,2002). The integumentary system is composed of four types of tissues that are arranged into several layers. This paper will also cover how burns are classified, and provide a description of three dermatologic diseases associated with the skin.

Read also Integumentary and Skeletal Systems

Integumentary System Layers

The integumentary system is the biological term for skin and the structures derived from it. The skin is a complex arrangement of structures with a range of different, but important functions. The skin is made up of three main layers being epidermis, dermis and the subcutaneous layer. The thickness of the layers is determined by the location in the body with the epidermis having the highest degree of thickness in the soles and palms and the dermis being particulary thick in the back where it is 20-40 times the thickness of the dermis.The epidermis is composed of keratinized stratified squamous epithelium made up of keratinocytes, which contain keratin, a protein component of skin that makes it tough. Keratinocytes continuously differentiate as new cells move closer to the surface and replace older ones. These zones of differentiation are the; stratum germinativum which is the site of mitosis that facilitates the formulation of the cells of the outer layers, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum which consists of flattened cells are responsible for the synthesis and modification of the proteins involved in keratinization, stratum corneum, stratum malpighii and rete malpighii. The two later layers are the living layers of the epidermis.

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 There are different types of cells associated with the epidermis; keratinocytes which are involved in the production of keratin, a protein that makes the skin tough, melanocytes are the pigment-producing cells that make a dark pigment known as melanin that adds a protective factor in response to UV light, Merkel cells which provide sensitivity to touch and clear dendritic cells known as Langerhans cells that help fight infection. Some cells that do not make up the layers of the dermis include the living connective tissue made of odontoblasts that makes up the teeth, the keratinized cells that make up the nails, the cells that make up the structure of the accessory structures of the skin such as salivarly glands, hair follicles, apocrine glands, sweat glands and lacrimal glands.

The dermis layer is made up of connective tissue containing fibroblasts, macrophages, a few white blood cells mast cells, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerves, and the integumentary derivatives like hair, nails, and glands. The dermis layer is composed of two connective tissue structures; papillary layer, and reticular layer. The papillary layer is loose areolar connective tissue, which engages with epidermal ridges to interlock the dermis and epidermis. Now the reticular layer is a dense irregular connective tissue that pretty much provides strength.

The subcutaneous tissue consists of fat cells that are separated from the overlying dermis by thick fibrous septa made up of large blood vessels and collagen tissue. This layer of skin provides buoyancy to the body and its lipocytes undergo stimulation by the hypothalamus to produce the hormone leptin which regulates body weight (James et al, 2006).

Burns Classifications     

There are three major types of burns, classified on the basis of the agent involved in causality. Chemical burns comprise acid and alkali burns. Alkali burns cause liquefication necrosis which is much more severe as compared to the coagulation necrosis caused by acid burns. Most chemical burns have a good prognosis except in the event the burn resulted from ingesting or inhaling these chemicals. In this case, the prognosis is poor and often results in long term morbidity and or mortality. Electrical burns typically present with small external damage but the possibility of extensive internal organ damage should not be excluded as this may prolong recovery. Thermal burns are by far the most common type of burn, they are mostly superficial but can vary in degree of severity (Eyvas et al, 2015).

First Degree burns are small burns that have damaged the epidermis of the skin. The typical example for First Degree burns is a sunburn, the redness is a sign called erythema that results from inflammation of sun-damaged tissue. Second Degree burns are classified when both the epidermal and upper dermis have been damaged leading to the appearance of blisters. The accessory structures such as hair follicles and glands are generally not affected. The healing for a second-degree burn typically takes 1 to 2 weeks with the possibility of forming scar tissue. The grey shaded areas in these burns represent the depth of the damaged skin. A third-degree burn presents when the entire thickness of skin gets damaged, which means both the epidermis and dermis are destroyed and this damage has extended to the subcutaneous layer. Despite the presence of swelling caused by these burns, there is little to no pain because the innervation of the skin is destroyed as well.

The third degree is the most severe type of burn and often necessitates invasive medical interventions such as skin grafts are because it is not possible for the skin to repair itself due to the inability to form Granulation tissue and consequently, epithelial cells are unable to cover the injury. The typical treatments for burns include: removal of damaged skin, antibiotics, temporary covering, and skin grafts.