Nature Vs Nurture, a Gender Stereotyping Debate?

This week’s topic surprisingly leaves me with an indecisive conclusion towards how gender is designated. As we know normal gender differentiation is selected within the embryonic environment, where chromosomes (XY for males and XX for females) elaborate specific hormones to establish gender selection (Reiner, 1996). But when a failing occurs within this environment, such as the story of Emma Mcdonald who was born a hermaphrodite (an infant born with a mixture of both female and male anatomy, or genitals that appears different from their chromosomal sex). Fausto-Sterling, (2000).

Over 65,000 babies born each year (1 in 2,000) are intersexual and are usually assigned female genitalia by surgeons because the surgical techniques are better (Nussbaum, 2000). With surgeons making the final decision on gender allocation it is little wonder why there are many intersexual people who later reject their assigned gender. These people have created groups to campaign against the corrective shame surgery in newborns without the surgeons firstly understanding the child’s preference towards their own chosen gender (Fausto-Sterling, 2000). This form of surgery should combine medical and ethical principles, and should only be done when the child/adult is aware of their own gender preference. In certain cases there may be a medical need to assign the gender early into the life to reduce the risk of health problems. Perhaps as a society our views towards intersexual babies are clouded by our own perception of social norms. We are quick to stereotype this as an abnormality and immediately assign a gender, almost as a means for the child to become socially accepted.

Studies on gender stereotyping are often aimed at young children, and their preference towards toys made specifically for boys or girls. According to Martin et al (1997), children as young as 2 years old have acquired the knowledge of their preferred masculine and feminine activities, which have been identified by their preferred choice in toys according to their stereotypical roles. (Martin, Eisenbud, & Rose, 1995; Leinbach, Hort, & Fagot, 1997; Serbin, Poulin-Dubois, & Eichstedt, 2002 as cited in De’caroli & Sagone, 2007). However, such studies cannot suggest intersexual children share the same behaviours, or could have the mental capacity to demonstrate their own preference towards specifying what gender selected traits, they should adopt at such an early age. Martin & Halverson, (1981) argued, “these toy preferences are down to the child’s knowledge of these stereotypes” (as cited in Serbin et al., 2001), assuming this is correct, the child’s preference could be more consequential of social influence, rather than of natural innate responses.If intersexual gender groups were successful in their campaigns, would this create further problems where children could be at a greater risk of ridicule and social rejection? Although it seems wrong for surgeons to decide a person’s gender, it does psychologically protect the child from societies normative view and labels them into either category male or female, which will help the child/adult to explore their own sexuality in their own time. With the increasing number of intersexual babies further longitudinal studies should research into the development of these individuals. These studies should identify psychiatric therapies aimed to support those with gender dissociation enabling individuals to secure their own sexual identity.


De’caroli, M.E., & Sagone, E. (2007). Toys, Sociocognitive traits, and Occupations: Italian children’s endorsement of gender stereotyping. Faculty of Educational Science. Psychological Reports, 2007, 100, 1298-1311

Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). The five sexes revisited. Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from

Nussbaum, E., (2000). A Question of Gender. Discover magazine. Retrieved from

Reiner, W.G. (1996). Case study: Sex Reassignment in a teenage girl. Retrieved from

Serbin, L.A., Poulin-Dubois, D., Colburne, K.A., Sen, M.G, Eichstedt, J.A. (2001). Gender stereotyping in infancy: Visual preference for and knowledge of gender-sterotyped toys in the second year. International journal of behavioural development. DOI: 10.1080.01650250042000078. Retrieved from


“Gender stereotyping.” Google; 2009.


What is good is not beautiful but fixed?! Face preference in desired personality traits.

Figure 1. Justice

Figure 1. Jatherip. (2009). Justice

In recent weeks we have discussed societies portrayed idea that, beauty is equal to success as we research our viewpoint in our recent essay “Ugly people deserve to fail”. With this assumption in mind, I have decided to investigate this form of research to determine whether researchers are observing any specific criteria themselves; if they have any biases towards participants tested, also trying to discover any other influential factors which may be present when selecting a sexual partner; rather than just on Beauty alone.

After reading the study What is good is beautiful: Face preference reflects desired personality” (Little, Burt & Perrett, 2006). I was automatically alerted to the specific angle, in which researchers were aiming their study to reflect results they were aiming to achieve. I say this, because it is clear Little, Burt & Perrett, (2006), believed in Buss & Schmidt (1993) previous research, whereas it was stated, youth; to men, was a sign of attractiveness from their belief, youthfulness interprets health, and the woman’s increased ability to bear a child. However, Little, Burt & Perrett, (2006) had mistakenly generalised this assumption towards females as well, when Buss & Schmitt, (1993) had previously stated that females were more attracted to status, financial stability, physical strength and the protection from other non-mated males.

In part of the study 26 males and 27 females with a mean age of 24 years old, were shown images of magazines photographs, those which had been specifically selected without glasses or piercings. The studies resources (i.e. Magazine photographs) lacked diversity within participant’s age and ethnic origins, selecting young white adults instead; does this assume young white adults are the only attractive people? We know this not to be true, so other ethnicities should have been joint factors within this experiment.

Along side this, we could suggest these magazine pictures do not hold ecological validity; these pictures are notorious for their distorted, airbrushed inaccuracies of the actual person, whereas these enhancements are quite rare in the real world, so cannot be generalised.

I can only imagine these imagines were specifically chosen, due to their stereotype appearance of beauty, but one which could be more accurately measured.

I liked that researchers were more focused on faces, and discriminated other influences such as hair colour, but the way in which the experiment was conducted raises issues in particular to sexual preference. Participants had completed questionnaires to select their own preferred personality traits in a person; such as; sexiness, warmth, assertiveness, competitiveness, easy-going nature, extraversion, maturity, relaxed nature, scatter-brained nature and responsibility, but failed to ask what gender preference they also preferred, instead assuming that all male participants preferred woman and visa versa.

In conclusion, I believe the idea of the study was interesting, but the way in which the data was collected could be significantly improved. Variations in both age and ethnicity, and perhaps the tools used to measure beauty could have been more prominent in explaining their use.


Buss, D. M., & Schmidt, D. (1993). Sexual Strategies Theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.

Little, L.C., Burt, D.M., & Perrett, D.I. (2006). What is good is beautiful: Face preference reflects desired personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 41 (pp. 1107–1118). Retrieved from

Figure 1.  Jatherip. (2009). Justice, [painting], Concept Forums. Retrieved from

Advertising Vs Addiction in the fight against pharmaceutical drugs

It is no secret that there has been an Influential increase in the production and sales of prescription drugs within the last 10-20 years. With this the increasing number of deaths associated with it have become more frequent; deaths such as Heath ledger, Michael Jackson and more recently Whitney Houston, we are left to wonder what could have caused this massive surge in popularity for these drugs.


Intensive research published by “The New England Journal of Medicine” published their article on the Promotion of Prescription Drugs to Consumers, describing increases are due to advertising methods, pharmaceutical companies use to sell directly to the consumer. (Meredith et al, 2002). Thus illustrates spending in 1996-2000 is at a significant increase of 212%, for what is a direct result of “direct-to-consumer advertising”.


Meredith et al, (2002) study makes an interesting read, and I agree that with any product advertised could predict an increase in popularity; thus increasing revenue. However the figures; only taken from television and radio advertisements, are not a true reflection of the population as a whole; with mediums such as Internet advertisements, including statements from program sponsorships; all which have been excluded within these figures.


With the Internet plat-forming over other types of media in recent years, it is an almost certainty that products advertised and sold in this way should also be included within these figures; although limited to collect data directly through the manufacturers, to ensure true qualitative data is extracted from their internet sales.

A report written in 1998 showed advertising revenue to increase from $312 million, in contrasts to $38.1 billion through television, and an increase in 1997 to $906.5 million, with forecasts to grow to 170 million by 2000. (Dreze & Zufryden, 1998). The actual increase in 2000 was $2.1 billion to $5.9 billion we saw in 2008. (Aaron, 2008). Growth that was clearly underestimated by Dreze & Zufryden in 1998.


These figures of Internet growth sales (Aaron, 2008) provide sufficient evidence that all Internet sales have increased as a direct result of Internet advertising, and not isolated to pharmaceutical drugs alone. The assumption that the increase rise in pharmaceutical drug sales is due to advertising; is a fair assumption, but the data collected within Meredith et al, (2002) original study is not broad enough to show a true refection on the population, as platforms such as sales from the Internet have not been included.


Other assumptions for the increase could be down the accessibility of these prescription drugs to the consumer, and the increased numbers of those who misuse the drug. “Prescription drugs are easy to obtain, especially from family or friends, and they are viewed as “legal,” less shameful to use, and safer than illegal drugs which are more likely to be purchased from street dealers (PATS, CEWG). “ (Maxwell, 2006).


With increased availability comes the increased numbers of those who misuse, reporting a 200,000k  rise in deaths, since 1983-2004 that are within the home. Accidental errors for using legal drugs at homes have increased by 560% (drugs obtained from avenues other than healthcare professionals), this compared to those who have been prescribed by Clinics; which only report 5% increase, shows a substantial significance in availability. Perhaps the increase is down to the accessibility of the drug, rather than advertising alone, but largely down to the avenues people are willing to go down, to gain access to these drugs.




Aaron, M. (2008). Internet Advertising Revenues in Q3 ’08 at Nearly $5.9 Billion. NEW YORK, NY. Retrieved from

Dreze & Zufryden, (1998). Is Internet Advertising ready For Prime Time? Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Maxwell, C. J. (2006). Trends in the Abuse of Prescription Drugs. The Gulf Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center The University of Texas at Austin.  Retrieved from

Nicholson, C. (2008). A study shows prescription OD accidents are on the rise. Scientific American. Retrieved from

Covariation of the cause and effect of Cannabis and other natural drug remedies.

Why are we encouraged by health professionals to use manmade pharmaceutical drugs to treat medical illnesses; such as, Depression, Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), Parkinson’s Disease and AIDS/ HIV to name a few, when we are aware that in some cases natural remedies have been used successfully by patients with symptoms to relieve pain; such as, drug extracts opium found in the poppy, used in manufacturing codeine and morphine. (Opiate based painkillers), Acupuncture, a Chinese medicine used to relieve stress, Chronic back pain and Cannabis used to relieve symptoms of ME (supplements and herbs), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and AIDS/HIV. (Sidney, 2001 as cited in Cannabis therapeutics in HIV/AIDS).

We have all been guilty to reach for a pill to aid a headache; for instance, but do we really know what chemicals we are digesting. Should we be the ones researching these drugs more effectively before taking them ourselves, rather than solely relying on the drug companies that made and sold them to us. Can we assume that stronger painkillers used for long-term pain relief (Co-Codamol) which is prescribed by our doctors, is actually safe and will not have any long-term side effects; even though the main ingredient is Codeine, an element which is used in the same drug as Morphine from the Opium poppy plant. MHRA, (2006). Would it not be safer to use these naturally grown drugs, rather than to mix them with other man-made chemicals that drug companies have approved themselves, surely there is a bias there and a threat to their research reliability, a threat to validiy.

Not all drugs approved by the government have been safe. It is reported that 1 in 10 people from America, and fifty thousand children in the UK are taking antidepressants drugs, which had once been made legal by drug companies to consume, then later discontinued due to the hazardous and additional side effects. With over 30 varieties to choose from, both the confusion and complexities with risk associated with the drugs are much greater.

In 2003 the UK Department of Health banned antidepressant drug “paroxetine” (used for depression) for the use of those under the age of 18, as they were found to be ineffective and could cause increased suicidal behaviour (Cheung et al., 2005 as cited in BMJ medical journals). These were drugs that were once approved by the government for use after clinical trials.

Natural drugs like Cannabis are used to medicate a variety of conditions such as, depression, anxiety, HIVAIDS-related problems, chronic pain, menstrual cramps, migraine, Narcotic addiction as well as everyday aches, pains, stresses and sleeping difficulties, so why are doctors not pushing the government into prescribing prescription cannabis instead?

Interviews taken for a study into who is using cannabis as a medicine and why, (Ogborne, Smart, Weber, & BirchmoreTimney. 2000) unearths self-medicated cannabis users who prefer Cannabis to treat these conditions. Although few participants interviewed for the study, (n=50) experienced negative experiences, those who told their doctors about their use were found to be unsupportive.

So why, even though we have the evidence that chemicals within these natural drugs do help to relieve chronic symptoms, and are used to self medicate by patients; regardless whether the drug is legal or not, be enough for health professionals to support their patients further, and to research more optimistically into the positive indicators that drugs like these have on chronic conditions. In addition the government should re-evaluate the drugs and their classifications, identifying the use for medicinal purposes only to prescribe for severe medical conditions in the interim, over any drug that is physically made.

So why are these drugs illegal and what evidence do the government have in classifying the drug? Well it would appear the home office is still undecided to their agreement as to how and whether cannabis should be classified, in accordance to their harm and misuse act (1971). Constant changes in the classification of Cannabis have been evident in recent years.

Although Cannabis is currently graded as a class B drug, along side; Amphetamines, Methylphenidate “Ritalin”, Pholcodine) (brought into action during 2009). The classification of the drug was previously classified from a class B to C in 2002, due to acknowledging “the classification of cannabis is disproportionate in relation both to its inherent toxicity, and that of other substances (such as Amphetamines) that are currently within class B”. (Rawlins, M. 2002).

 It is hard to believe that more health damaging drugs such as alcohol is legal and is heavily consumed socially, even when it has no health benefits and is ineffectively a poison. The health risks associated with alcohol consumption alone cause: Liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attack. NHS, (2012)According to the governments own classification that any drug which falls into the category “in accordance to harm and misuse”; should be classed as a class B. (Misuse of drugs act, 1971) It appears then that the government has failed to recognize their own policies on drug use, ignoring that alcohol is a poison, misused and harmful.

Based on an assumption, this is due to the controlled production of alcohol and the revenue it creates in TAX for the government. Alcohol is not something they would want to legislate against because they are making so much money from it.

A survey of the UK TAX system have identified that the government forecast to make £45.9 billion in 2011-12 from the sale of Alcohol and tobacco products. (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2011).  Apposed to Cannabis that can be home grown, cannot be regulated or profited by the government, and can have positive health risk factors which can be seen in the recovery of patients, or by the improvements in their quality of life, following life changing medical diagnoses.

Something’s not quite right there!


Action for ME (2012). Opiate based painkillers. Charity registered in England and Wales: 1036419 retrieved from

Action for ME (2012). Supplements and Herbs. Charity registered in England and Wales: 1036419 retrieved from

Adam, S., Browne, J., (2011).  A SURVEY OF UK TAX SYSTEM. Institute for Fiscal Studies, (2011). Retrieved from

n.p. (2003, December 13). “UK – Major antidepressants banned – suicide threat.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from

NHS, (2012). Treating depression. Depression. Retrieved from

Ogborne, A.C., Smart, R.G., Weber, T., & BirchmoreTimney, C. (2000). Who is Using Cannabis as a Medicine and Why: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Volume 32, Issue 4. Retrieved from

Rawlins, M. (2002). The Classification of Cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Advisory Council of the Misuse of Drugs. Retrieved from

Russo, E. (2001). ‪Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. Cannabis therapeutics in HIV/AIDS retrieved from

The Home Office, misuse of drugs act (1971). Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs. Retrieved from

The Home Office (2010). Penalties for possession and dealing. Drugs and the Law. Retrieved from

Medicines and healthcare products Regulatory Agency, (2006). Safeguarding public health. MHRA.

Is it Ethical to refuse organ donation based on Religious beliefs?

With the Welsh Government leading in the UK to change legislation on organ donation, there are those who appose the bill. The Roman Catholic Church of Wales; including the Welsh & Orthodox Church, have urged the government to revise its policies “In a joint statement they said they were, profoundly committed to human dignity in life and death”. (Archbishop of Wales, 2012 as cited in BBC News), basing their decision on the social, moral & ethical principles, with concerns the government cannot assume the consent of each individual; automatically adding the Welsh public to the donors register.

The Welsh Government have, and will continue to follow the wishes of individuals; and their families, who would like to opt out of the donors list.“… launch a white paper consultation on an Organ Donation (Wales) Bill before the end of this year. The Bill will provide for an opt-out system of organ donation, backed by a comprehensive communication programme.” (Jones. C, First Minister. 2011).

With this in mind, there are currently 7,500 people within the UK who are waiting for an organ transplant. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), (2012). Of these people who are already having to go through the torment of being diagnosed with a life threatening illness, then have to suffer the anguish & anxiety of waiting on a list for a donor; a list they may never see the end of.

A further 2,873 people have been suspended from the current waiting list because their bodies are too ill to receive a transplant at present. According to the churches earlier comment of: human dignity in life and in death, beggars belief to what their actual intensions are, as they appear to be more supportive of your body after death, than morally trying to save a life, or at least trying to preserving a persons dignity as they battle through ill health (Catholic education resource centre, 2012). Where is the social, moral and human dignity in that?

You could argue the church are in no position to dictate other people’s lives, on the assumption of their own beliefs. Ethically we need to act on what we know to be true, not what we believe to be false. Health professionals are aware of the scarceness of organs, and follow the ethical principles by ensuring kidneys are allocated to patients, who have been identified with 5 major themes: patient advocacy, professional and moral integrity, protecting center reputation, achieving equity, and maximizing societal benefit, (Tong et el, 2011) thus demonstrating health professionals are more committed to the ethics and principles of peoples consensual preferences. (NHS Blood & Transplant, 2012)

These operations are not only taken with the greatest care and respect for the individuals, but the success rate of all donated organs are high. “one of the great success stories of the latter half of the 20th century” (Yacoub, 2012)

  • 94% of kidneys in living donor transplants are still functioning well
  • 88% of kidneys from people who have died are still functioning well
  • 86% of liver transplants are still functioning well while
  • 84% of heart transplants are still functioning well.

For lung transplants the figure is 77% while 73% of heart/lung transplants are still functioning well. (NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), (2012).

The Welsh government are right in trying to commit everybody to the list initially, which has once again highlighted the shortage we face for organ donations today; if you wish to opt out, you will make it your business to do so.

As of the 2nd February 2012, there are currently only 7,650 people active on the transplant list. (NHS, 2012). The probability of a person receiving an organ, that is suitable from the 7,650 people who have agreed to donate is minimal, resulting in three people waiting on the transplant list to die each day.

Hopefully the scientific evidence will prevail, especially as a persons life is at stake.


Tong, A., Howard, K., Wong, G., Cass, A., Jan, S., Irving, M., Craig, J.C. (2011). Nephrologists’ Perspectives on Waitlisting and Allocation of Deceased Donor Kidneys for Transplant. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF KIDNEY DISEASES. 58. Pg 704-716. DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.05.029

Welsh Government. (2011). Proposals for Legislation on Organ and Tissue Donation. Consultation Document retrieved from

Archbishop of Wales, (2012). Organ donation: Church leaders in Wales attack presumed consent. Retrieved from

BBC, (2011). Hostile World. Inside the Human Body: Double Hand Transplant Surgery. Retrieved from

Children’s memorial hospital, (2011). Waiting for a Heart (Episode 10 ) – A video diary of a teenager on the transplant list. Retrieved from

Lay Witness magazine, (2001). Play It Again Organ Donation. Catholic Education Resource Centre. Publication of Catholic United for the Faith, Inc retrieved from

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). More organ donors needed to reduce transplant waiting times. Organ Donation as cited in (4/7/2011)

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Donor statistics. Organ Donation as cited in

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Success Rates. Organ Donation as cited in

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). NHSBT and BTS guidelines for consent for solid organ transplantation. Organ Donation as cited in


A Mystical experience is categorised as a sense of union with God. (Beauregard & Paquette, 2006). The argument on whether God really does exist has been open to much debate since Four B.C. (Before Christ). With more new technical advances breaking through in science the question of whether the idea that God really exists, or whether people have honestly experienced any Mystical encounters with the lord are being further criticised.

Beauregard & Paquette researched into their theory that Religious/Spiritual/mystical experiences (RSMEs) created a response within the temporal lubes, one that could be seen and measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The journals headline read Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. This is quite a misleading title as this give the reader an inaccurate description that there is proof to mystical experiences, whereas in reality the mystical experiences which are explained in the study focuses their attention on the nuns own interpretation of their experiences with God, which are going to be bias. They recruited 15 Carmelite nuns age ranged between 23-64 to participate in the study where they measured both nuns re-experiencing their most mystical experience and the most intense state of union with another human being, the study showed that there was activity in the ?? but this should no way be implied that this is proof of existence, just that certain arousal complexities were demonstrated when the nuns thought about their experiences with God.

The telegraph had reported “Nuns prove God is not a figment of the mind” (Highfield. R,. 2006) again based on the idea that an mystical experience from God can now be proven through science. Dr Beauregard is commented as neither confirmed or disconfirmed the existence of god. He was merely measuring any brain activity in comparison to experiences with God and experiences with people. The study would have been less bias should they have used participants who were not religious.


Beauregard. M., & Paquette. V., (2006). Neural Correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Neuroscience letters 405. pp 186-190. Retrieved from

Highfield. R,. (2006) Nuns prove God is not a figment of the mind. Science Editor. Telegraph Media Group, (2011)

Wallace, D, B., The Birth of Jesus Christ. Retrieved from http:

Sexual Behaviour Amongst Teens

Sex is a biological factor needed to be able to produce and evolve the human race, whereas psychologically sex should be intimately shared with your partner. (Stoller, 1968 as cited in APA PsycNet).

In the last few years’ teenage pregnancy rates in the USA and UK have risen. The highest increase of pregnancy amongst teenagers is in the USA and UK (table 1figure 1).

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001)

These findings could be as a result of social attitudes of teenagers wanting to fit in with a particular crowd, partaking in risky behaviour. (Odgers et al.1996; Snow and Bruce 2003 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P.). Snow and Bruce found that teenage mothers often show a history of dysfunctional relationships and social and financial strains, also having low self esteem issues.

With the government funding cuts and councils forced to close their community facilities as a result; forty seven Children Centres in the UK are due for closure by 2013. (Cheshire West and Chester Council, 2010) There is already very little for children growing up to do within their communities and are limited to finding their own entertainment, and are easily influenced into consume alcohol and other drugs.

This could be a reason why children are becoming sexually active at a younger age, and are risking their ambitions and health by becoming pregnant and catching sexually transmitted infections as the results of these risky behaviours. (Hingson et al. 2003 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P).

Other factors for the increase in pregnancy rates amongst teens could be the stigma of using contraception. The retail market is continually reinventing solutions to the design and shape of condoms so that they are easily used, more attractive and are as accessible as possible.

Table 2 & Figures 2 shows the results of contraceptive with the same five countries. Although there is no real significance to the USA and UK figures, it does however confirm the attitudes amongst teenagers in lack of condom use.

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001)

Young people today should be more equipped with the responsibility of motherhood, and should understand that having children at a young and immature age could create potential health risks to themselves and their baby. Behaviours in terms of poor diet, smoking and binge drinking whilst carrying their unborn child; compared with older mothers is increased. An additional risk of premature births and miscarriages caused as a result of the physical immaturity of the mother. i.e. their bodies still undeveloped. (Department of Health 2003; Hogan and Kenny 2007 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P)

The UK home office has taken steps into tacking this problem by reintroducing the licencing act, (Home Office, 2003) which focused on fining and closing down retailers who were selling alcohol to under-age customers. The message the government want to show is their commitment to ensure children are protected against the harms or alcohol (Home office, 2003 as cited in Rebalancing the licencing act, 2003).


Brokenshire, J. (2003). Responses to consultation: Rebalancing the licensing act. (pp 25). UK. Home Office.

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001). Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates Amongst Five developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use.  E-journal of Familiy Planning Perspectives. Page 244. Retrieved from http://www.

Morrison, V., Bennett, P. (2009). Smoking, drinking and teenage pregnancy. An introduction into Health Psychology. UK: Pearsons education limited.

Stoller, R.J, (1968). Sex and Gender. [abstract].  American Psychological Association. Oxford, England: Science House. (1968). xvi, 383 pp. Abstract received from http://

Pleading Temporary Insanity: A worrying truth, or is there a bit of madness in all of us?

It’s true that during your lifetime you may experience mild episodes of madness, from a second of road rage; from the car that cut you off that morning, or the consent need to check you have switched off your hair straightens before you leave the house.

We all have small traits in that respect which makes us normal, but what if these impulses are more aggressive and turn violent, and if your control over these impulses cannot be recognisable?

Is temporary Insanity a true form of mental illness, or is this term used loosely by the justice system today to escape possible conviction?

The term temporary insanity is quite self-explanatory; a “moment of madness”.  But at what point does this temporary insanity shift to become a problem?

Often health professionals are able to diagnose other types of mental illness, such as : Schizophrenia, bi-polar, stress etc, as there are symptoms. But unless the person or member of their immediate social circle is aware there is a problem, then the problems can go unnoticed and worst still untreated.

Could temporary insanity be triggered by Posttraumatic stress disorder? This can occur in a person after they have been exposed to an event causing psychological distress. This usually starts from approximately three months after an event; as recollections of the events trauma still haunts the person, but this can last for months, even years. (Videbeck, S).

It can be argued that this could be the case, as unexpected life changes can alter your whole outlook on life; make you loose you’re inhabitations, responsibility, and even your moral judgement. There must be a trigger, which allows this behaviour even though the person perhaps has never experienced, or will ever experience this behaviour again.

I read in the Guardian recently, where a father from a well brought up background and had a good loving very happy family, just suddenly had an outburst and attacked his wife; In their family home leaving her for dead.

Fortunately for his wife, their teenage son was upstairs and saw what had happened through his window. He called the ambulance and his father was locked up for attempted murder.

With cases like these you have to ask yourself, what are the other factors? Behaviour like this doesn’t just alter for no reason. In this case the husbands mother and sister recently died, which must have brought on traumatic stress.

Behaviour and its change cannot occur in isolation from the environment in which they occur. (Morrison, V., Bennett, P. 2009)

Having no history of violence, being such a sweet and gentle man, his wife; whom he’d just tried to kill, dropped all charges. They all carried on as normal after that, but the cracks within the family still remained, and his son; who had seen the attack went off the rails. (Olden, M. Guardian, 2011).

So what happens in cases like these? According to the law the father isn’t a threat to society; as the police have released him. He is also deemed mentally stable, as he has just carried on as though nothing has happened, at home with his family? Surely if this unexplained phenomenon has happened once, there’s a possibility it could happen a second time. Or is pleading temporary insanity a get out clause in some cases?

At what point can you determine this as being a mental illness and treated, to needing more analysing on each individual case in their own merits, to determine whether someone is dangerous to society or not.

It seems like there is a very fine line.


Videbeck, S. L., (2010). Nursing practice for Psychiatric disorders. In Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. Retrieved from

Perceptions of Body Image – Is the Media to blame?

I have decided to write my Blog this week on something that I know to be a problem. Whether it’s a developing problem in the last few years, or if it’s always been around us; but not really noticed?

I’m going to explore the possible reasons why perceptions of body image has changed over the last ten years, and what impact this has had; if any on society. Why having the “perfect body” is being portrayed by the media, and at what lengths do people go to too achieve this? Also what pressures this creates to our younger generation; even children, and what impact this has.

Body Imaging has never been a problem, until now; or has it? Marilyn Monroe (1) and Bette Davis (2) were both glamorous movie stars back in the day, both were hugely successful and both had curvy figures; something that seems to be frowned on today.



It wasn’t about what dress size they were, as long as you were healthy, fit and happy. But it appears that even during the 20’s body image and airbrushing has played a huge part on the golden screen, and has deceived the public for decades; Hollywood’s biggest secret.

Beautiful people  are those who signal to have a high mate value. Youth, facial proportions and sexual maternity are all qualities that women should possess. (Cunningham et al, 1986). Where’s in men, woman look for strong features; such as a chiselled chin, dominant but friendly, and are able to provide for his off spring. (Cunningham et al, 1990) cited in Hassebrauck. M. (1998). The visual process method: A New Method to Study Physical Attractiveness, Evolution and human behaviour, 19, 111-123, doi: 10.1016/S1090-5138(98)00002-6.

Early Airbrushing (Betty Davis)

This study seems to focus more on visual attractiveness, rather than looking at what is attractive in people. Attractiveness cannot be measured just by looking at someone. I have known visually pretty people in my life time, but have hearts so cold you could freeze ice. What is attractive isn’t your appearance but your soul. “The best and most beautiful thing in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart” [Hellen Keller (1880-1968)].

Is the Media enforcing the perception of beauty to society, or are they products of our own expectations? Regardless of who should get a slap on the wrist, we all need to realise that this projection of perfection isn’t natural and believe me certainly isn’t Normal.

We are unknowingly creating a social normal that this is how you should look. No wonder why eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are on the increase.

Ex-model Frail Jeremy Gillitzer has suffered from anorexia for 25 years. (

In the US a survey was completed on 2,500 school girls aged between 13- 18 which found that over three quarters wanted to lose weight, and two thirds had dieted in the last year to lose weight. (Whitaker et al., 1989., cited by Wykes. M., Gunter. B., The media and Body image: if looks could kill.  Retrived from There is a misconception that only females are suffering from eating disorders. Between 10-25% of people who suffer from eating disorders are men, and the numbers are rising. (Retrieved from (20/10/2011).

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) showed guidelines on eating disorders, that 1.6million people in the UK were affected by an eating disorders in 2004 and 180,000 (11 per cent) of them were men. (Retrieved from (20/10/2011)

David Beckham advertising Armani

I personally blame TV reality shows such as “The only way is Essex”, and glossy magazine’s which advertise beauty to sell their product. Young kids idealise these people. We should be inspiring our children to know individuality is unique and beauty is from within; not out of a bottle. It’s learning to love ourselves for who we are, not what we pretend to be. The media needs to be penalised for printing foggy perceptions, and as a nation we need to realise the truths and stop being so self obsessed with image.

To finish two quotes, sourced from:

Beauty?… To me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to. ~Pablo Picasso.

Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do. But beautiful women don’t need to know about men. It’s the men who have to know about beautiful women. ~Katharine Hepburn.

Is Freud’s theory on psychosexual stages, genius or ludicrous?

Ok, so for this week’s blog I want to start off a debate which is already controversial in the Psychology world. I want to discuss Freud’s theory of Psycho-sexual stages of development, also looking into each stage to see whether or not his views are shared or rejected in this day in age?

Sigmund Freud was an influential scientist as well psychologist. He came up with a theory, where personalities can be explained from five psycho-sexual stages of development.

I must be totally honest at this stage; I know very little of Freud’s theory, but am interested in his concepts and wanted to learn more about his theory, after talking briefly about it with a friend. Reading Freud’s opinion on psycho-sexual it definitely pushes the boundary’s, and in some aspects of his theories, promotes views that are not only controversial, but also negative views on women.

The first stage in development was the Oral stage; Freud believed that during the ages 0-18 months, the child would develop a sexual instinct to their care giver (his mother). This is quite disturbing to read but Freud interpretation on sexual was something that gives pleasure through the body i.e. cuddling a teddy bear or receiving a hug; not in a sexual way.

The second stage was the anal stage (18-36 months). The child was able to control their bowls; where his focus was on this element of control. He believed that if you were unable to develop from oral to anal stage (Fixed), the child would seek self gratification through smoking or thumb sucking etc.

He thought that becoming fixed at this stage was down to the mother not breast feeding the child enough or that they exerted too much pleasure at the breast.

The third stage was the most shocking; in my opinion, and has created world wide controversy in his field. He believed that at the age 3-6 years the child develops an interest to their genitals, but also on the opposite gender parent; their mother. This introduces the Oedipus complex, where the boy basically wants to have his mother’s full attention, and is envious of his father. But at the same time is anxious that his father will find out about his feelings.

Other stages were the Latency stage, where little development takes place and the genital stage (puberty) main focus in on the genitals and relationships.

Freud was interested in Darwin’s theory of evolution and also the Oedipus conflict; which he named his third stage.

In Greek mythology Oedipus fell in love with his mother and killed his father, only later realising who they actually were. (COLLINS Second Edition, Cardwell. M, Clark. Liz, Meldrum. C, Psychology for A Level, p480).

Freud also believed women fell into this category during the Phallic stage, but to their opposite gender care giver. Questioning that woman went through the Electra complex; which in a nutshell was to have penis envy?

Us women apparently blame our mothers for us not having a penis and is something that would stay with us, until we had our own desire to have children?

Personally I don’t fancy the idea of having a penis or have the desire to have children anytime soon!

Freud was a man who was very sexual; which showed in his studies, but also into Cocaine. You could argue that his opinions on the Oedipus complex theory were clouded by his own bias feeling towards his mother.


COLLINS Second Edition, Cardwell. M, Clark. Liz, Meldrum. C, Psychology for A Level, p480-482.

Norton, Gleitman. H, Gross. J, Reisberg. D, International student edition Psychology, P609-610