by Lester Long Jr.

The Cause of Modern Racism

Racism is one of the most revolting things within humanity. It haunts our past and degrades our future. There may be many reasons why one race of people believes they are superior to another but a great majority of people don’t truly know why they react the way; they just do; many just on the sight of someone of a different race. We will attempt to examine, from a social learning perspective, the root causes of racism as well as the culture and the effects racism has upon society. VandenBoss (2006) defines racism as a form of prejudice that assumes that the members of racial categories have distinctive characteristics and that these differences result in some racial groups being inferior to others. He further points out that racism generally includes negative emotional reactions to members of the group, acceptance of negative stereotypes and racial discrimination against individuals and in some cases this can lead to violence. Racism is a cancer that eats at any society that tolerates its existence.

The cause of modern racism seems to stem from long generational histories that promote inferiority of one race and the superiority of another. Rand (1963) points out that modern racist attempts to prove the superiority or the inferiority of any given race are determined by the historical achievements which are promoted by a particular social perception. The adaptations of racist views appear to be learned behaviors through a process of a narrow historical observation. The social learning theory posits that children model adult behaviors observed. If this is the case no wonder racism is a generational tragedy.  Baron and Byne (1994) insist that children acquire racist attitudes and beliefs by observing them by those who surround them, particularly, the media and popular culture as well parents and peers. They go on to say that this process starts at a very young age. An example of this socialization process is children the positive reinforcement given by the parental approval demonstrated when they begin to speak the same language as them.

Another cause of racism is born out the social learning concept combined with a psychoanalytic approach known as the “individualistic theory”. Dollard et al (1939) points out that this approach posits that frustration always leads to aggression which generally leads to more frustration. The theory goes on to suggest that some form of catharsis is needed and due to social power differential, it cannot be directed at actual frustrating object (person or institution), it safer or easier to direct it at a displaced target or a scapegoat often lacking in social or political power. It has been argued that minorities have fit this role all too adequately. On the other side of this argument, Brown & Harris (1989) showed in selection interviewing that greater candidate-interviewer similarity is associated with higher ratings being given to the candidate. In other words, there is a tendency to prefer ‘us’ without there being any malice, let alone racism, at work. So this begs the question: can an individual prefer working with, associating with, or only being in the company of their own race without being racist? How much does malice play in racial attitudes?

Gaertner and Dovido (1986) point out that White America has been socialized by the racial history of the American culture, along with the cognitive tendency to categorized information which results in subtle, yet commonplace racial beliefs and feelings, while at the same time promoting strong egalitarian beliefs.  This oxymoron is known as Aversive Racism.  Gaertner and Dovidio (1986) distinguished between aversive racism or unintentional racism and old fashioned or blatant racism. Gaertner and Dovidio point out that, in contrast, to old fashioned racism, which is characterized by overt hatred for and discrimination against African-Americans or other minorities, aversive racism is characterized by more complex, ambivalent racial attitude. On the one hand, aversive racist are well intentioned people who typically:  avoid acting in a racist manner, support policies that promote equality,  sympathize with victims of past injustice,  identify with the liberal political agendas,  possess strong egalitarian values, and  regard themselves as non-prejudice.  They go on to point out that the source of the negativity that underline aversive racist’s attitudes also provide the motivation for both internal and external prejudice. They insist that one’s own internalized (self-prescribed) standards or guides for regulating behavior is considered to be the internalized source of racism, while the socially prescribed standards or guides for regulatory behavior is the external source of racism. Dovidio thoroughly researched the conflict between the two. By looking at the sources, we can understand how motivation reinforces the responses and how the norms have an impact on those responses.

When we examine Blacks and other minorities we see that there is what could be termed “racial minority aversive prejudice”. This is when Blacks and other minorities generalize “White men can’t jump”, Blacks are better lovers than Whites or that Rap and R&B music has more soul than Country Music. Many Blacks and other minorities demonstrate their prejudice towards Whites through this process of internal and external expression. They claim Whites lack in versatility and creativity when it comes to things of the “spirit or soul”. They may, for example, also believe their White co-workers or supervisors are racist so they avoid them and develop unfounded attitudes of resentment about that person without ever trying to have any significant association; such as inviting them to lunch, coffee or even inviting them to dinner at their home. Because these issues may not be leveled at Whites on an individual bases, minorities may often express these views about Whites in general among themselves In addition, because minorities may fear that open acknowledgement of these thoughts could cause external consequences; they internalized these external racist attitudes. It is possible that aversive prejudice may be born out of feelings of inadequacy, an inferiority complex and frustration; an attempt by Blacks and other minority to claim some form of racial superior differential to Whites.

When one examines the root cause of racism, it must be remembered that the question of racism has affected every society on earth. Social scientists continue to study this problem, as a result, there seems to be a few clear and precise theories developed.  Four of these theories may help to provide answers to this question. The following are often pontificated as answers – False Attribution, Fear, Stereotypes, and Selfishness. Let’s look more in depth at each one:

False Attribution

False attribution is one of major causes of racism. To better understand this concept, one only has to study the theory of attribution. Kassin, Fein, and Markus (2008) point out that research has found that people with baby-face features, large, round eyes, high eye brows, round checks, large foreheads, smooth skin, and round chin, tend to be seen as warm, and kind but more importantly, as it relates to the history of racism, (in my opinion) naïve, weak , and submissive. They point out, however, that individuals with who have mature features, have small eyes, low eyebrows, small foreheads, wrinkled skin, and an angular chin are seen as stronger, more dominant and more competent. Whites used these attributions as a justification for racism towards people of color.

These attributions are seen as the beginning of blatant racism which seemed to have gotten its origins in the 1400’s when Europeans first encountered Black Africans; by way of the Guinea coast (West Africa).  They believed that they saw a people who were, relative to them, primitive and believed as a result, that these individuals were genetically inferior (Osuji, 2009). Europeans observed that there were a naïve people and in many respects were submissive, particularly, after tribal wars. They observed that those who lose the war would subject themselves to a sub servitor condition. They saw an opportunity and they took advantage of it.  After buying off tribal leaders to obtain slaves as well as hunting down the free Africans who lived in the jungles, they took these naïve and submissive Africans and ship them to the colonies and enslaved them. In order to justify their racist behaviors, the Europeans concluded that Africans look like humans beings but that they are different from Whites and are closer to apes, such as gorillas or chimpanzees.


 Fear is probably one of the strongest bases behind why people tend to have racist views. Because of the media and what individuals have been told by parents and others, there seems to a natural fear of association with other races, except on formal bases. Insecurity creates fear and this fear acts as a natural instinctive human reaction based on social learning. This reaction is exploited by the politicians, by the ministry, and the press. Bodhioshin (2010) points out that one can come up with beautiful concepts such as National equality but this inclusive nationalist concept will always be overridden if the race that has its origins in the belief of its superiority feels threatens. He goes on to point out that if we explore any culture of the world, we will find societies having some degree of fear when encountering other societies. At the root of this fear is a constant fueling of fear created by a strong identification with not only one’s own race but nationality, caste, and religion.

Becker, Hessische Stftung Friedens-und Konfliktsforschung, and Frankfurt (1973) point out that in nearly all young people’s books historical and social processes are viewed from an individualistic perspective; thus it is assumed that racial problems can be solved on the individual level. This is usually done by appealing to pity and charity, thereby degrading the coloured people to mere objects. The Negro-African is often associated with animalistic behaviors and instincts. Because of this association, the White population, in general, has a fear of African Americans, particularly, African American males.  Both the Negro- African and the Afro-American are rarely portrayed as autonomous, independent human beings with initiative and activity, White believe that these attributes are only reserved for them. The African American is not allowed to display a value system of his or her own; they seemingly can only appear as a human being when they completely internalized the value system of White America.

Probably the most common cause of fear is unfamiliarity. People fear what they do not know or understand. Research shows that if a person hasn’t grown up around a particular race, then there is more of a chance the person can be racist toward that particular group. The chances of this attitude increases as children, especially young children, are fed negative information about another race. This is why it is so important that children, at a very young age, are exposed to people of different races.


 One of the most common causes of racism is stereotypes. Through television, through radio, through the internet, through music and through books, the potential for developing stereotypical beliefs become reality. When a person, especially one that is very young, is exposed to a stereotypical view of a specific group for the first time; beliefs form that assumes all members of that group behavior that way. Likewise, when elements in a society display negative things about a particular race it promotes that overall opinion. Grobman (1990) points out that a “stereotype” is a generalization about a person or group of persons. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all of the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. In the absence of the “total picture,” stereotypes, in many cases, allow us to “fill in the blanks.” Our society often innocently creates and perpetuates stereotypes; unfortunately these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotypes are unfavorable. For example, if we are walking through a park late at night and encounter three senior citizens wearing fur coats and walking with canes, we may not feel as threatened as if we were met by three high school-aged boys wearing leather jackets. Why is this? In each case we have made a generalization. These generalizations have their roots in experiences we have had ourselves, read about in books, magazines, seen in movies, or television, or promulgated to us by friends and family. When we resort to prejudice by ascribing characteristics about a person based on a stereotype without knowledge of the total facts we promote both racism and prejudice views. Quite often, we have stereotypes about persons who are members of groups with which we have not had firsthand contact. Television, books, comic strips, and movies are all abundant sources of stereotyped characters. Grobman (1990) insists that for much of its history, the movie industry portrayed African-Americans as being unintelligent, lazy, or violent-prone. As a result of viewing these stereotype pictures of African-Americans, prejudiced the White race against African-Americans.


One of the greatest proponents of racism in any society is selfishness. Whether it is born out of a sense of survival or out of greed, it always places the minority, particularly those of race, in a precarious position.   Selfishness is definite as concern excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others (Vandenboss, 2006 p.831). Racial selfishly has many motivations; however in a social sense its primary purpose is to ensure that other races are denied the same opportunities as their own race. This is so that those who racially selfish can maintain the power over the ways and means of production. Racism promotes caring only about one’s own race at the total expense of others. Racist are taught not to respect the needs of other races and that they are superior and the “inferior race” does not meet the standard of ‘their’ norms.

It is selfishness that people of color were denied equal pay and access to equal employment. Whites refused, for many years, to allow blacks in the southern United States to vote out of fear that black voters would exercise that right and laws would become more equitable. In the United States, racial selfishness has a disproportion of income going to the majority race. Racial selfishness was bore out of the social evolutionary theory of social Darwinism. This theory posits that if a person, society, or race cannot keep up then they are either left behind or cut off. This is an interesting theory but it does not hold water if one race starts out with all the means of production and in this era technology. Selfishness is also born through manipulation with objective to achieve certain economic and political. In addition, frustration-aggression-displacement as well as an authoritarian personality may play an important role in racial selfishness.

The Culture of Modern Racism

The term “Cultural Racism” is being used increasing throughout social science. This is a shift from the earlier theories sought to explain and justify racism. Cultural development also plays a major part in the answer to racial attitudes and behaviors. When an individual is brought up in a culture that teaches that one’s race is superior to another it creates a situation where the cultural differences of the races causes the race that feels superior, prefer only to associate with individuals of their own race. Blaut (1992) explains that cultural racism presents a theory that not only is the “White” race is superior but the European culture is a superior culture. Non- Europeans are thereby defined as inferior in attaining levels of achievement, or even have the potential for achievement. This theory distinguishes cultural racism from traditional racist thought. Culture is a complex term but it has been defined as “the total range of social values, beliefs, and behaviors of an identifiable group of people with shared backgrounds and traditions which influence and characterize members of that group’s or society’s core outlook and activities’ (Blaut, 1992).  These might include such aspects as manners and behaviors, customs, language, religion and moral beliefs and practices, aesthetics values, and leisure activities. Modood (1994) points out that that multicultural education, which confines culture to the private sphere is not multicultural at all. For example, it’s alright to speak Punjabi at home but not in schools or to practice your religion at home or mosque but it’s not alright to wear the hijab. This results in teaching materials being used inappropriately and students only exposed to the imposing cultural with insufficient attention being given to ensure an accurate understanding of the history and contributions of other races. This, above all things reinforces cultural racism. Diller and Module (2005) point out that herein lies the real insidiousness of cultural racism because those who are culturally different must either give up their own ways, and thus a part of themselves, and take on the ways of the majority culture or remain perpetual outsiders.

Blaut (1992) points out that cultural racism, as a theory, needs to prove the superiority of the Europeans. He points out that the claim is simply made that nearly all of the important cultural innovations which generated cultural progress occurred first in Europe, and then later diffused to non-European people. Therefore, at each moment in history Europeans were more advanced than non-Europeans in overall cultural development (though not necessarily in each particular cultural trait). He goes on further to posit that this has been asserted as a great bundle of apparent empirical fact. He insists, that not only is material  and technological traits put forth as superior but the political and social traits like the state, the market, and the family. He further insists that the tellers of these tales saturated history with European inventions, European progressiveness and European progress. Blaut (1987) makes it clear that this theory evolved as a justification and rationalization for classical colonialism. It asserted, in essence, the following propositions about the world as a whole and throughout all of history. (1) The world has a permanent center, or core, and a permanent periphery. The center is Greater Europe, that is, the continent of Europe plus, for ancient times, the Bible Lands, modern times, and the countries of European settlements overseas. The core sector, Greater Europe, is naturally inventive, innovative, and progressive. (2) The periphery, the non-European world, naturally remains traditional, culturally sluggish or stagnant. (3) The basic reason why Europe is progressive, innovative, etc. is some quality of mind or spirit, or some “rationality” particular to Europe. (4) Progress occurs in the periphery as a result of diffusion, the outward spread, of new and innovative traits from the core to the periphery. This claim is believed to be a natural process (Blaut, 1987). It consists of the spread of European colonialism, European settlers, and European commodities.

Modern diffusionism depicts a world in which Europeans have always been the most progressive people and non-Europeans are backward, and permanently the recipients of progressive ideas, things, and people from Europe. It follows that progress for the periphery, today as always must stay in the past, must consist of the continued diffusion of European rationality and institutions, European culture and control. The periphery, today, includes the Third World, along with Third World minorities embedded in European-dominated countries like the United States, in ghettos, reservations, prisons, migrant-labor camps (Blaut, 1987).

To provide a balance view of cultural racism it has also been embraced in some minority racial cultures, particularly Blacks, who during the 1960’s and early 70’s some of its members ,by way of the black power moment, claimed superiority to Whites based on historical association dating back to the Moors who almost conquered all of Europe. Cultural racism during this era was also promoted by the some members of certain Black religious groups who also advocated that Whites were inferior, based on some theory of the origin of man and that the inventions and initiatives  of Africans over generations were stolen. Therefore, the real diffusion is “Culturally African”.

Cultural racism therefore breeds two major factors in society: Prejudice and discrimination.

Vandenboss (2006) defines prejudice as a negative attitude towards another person or group formed in advance of any experience with that person or group. He defines discrimination as differential treatment of the members of different racial, ethnic, religious, national, or other groups. Discrimination is usually behavior manifested by prejudice and therefore involves negative, hostile, and injurious treatment of the members of the rejected group. Prejudice and discrimination usually involve the intentional mistreatment of minorities but can be used to mistreatment anyone not accepted by a particular group.

Van denHoonaard (1993) in an article entitled “Prejudice and Discrimination” points out that as far as historical records show, no society or nation has been immune to prejudice and discrimination, either as a victim or victimizer.  Prejudice is a cultural attitude that rest on negative stereotypes about individuals or groups because of their culture, religious, racial or ethnic background.  Discrimination is the active denial of desired goals from category of persons. A category can be based on sex, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, or class. Prejudice and discrimination are deeply imbedded at both the individual and societal levels. Van den Hoonaard posits that there appears to be no clear acceptance of any theory to the root cause of prejudice and discrimination. Scholars do agree, however, that prejudice and discrimination are not universals as something humans are inherently born with. Van den Hoonaard further points out that there is ample evidence that prejudice and discrimination are social constructions.

Although there is no wide agreement as to the cause of prejudice and discrimination, there is a wide consensus that they constitute a learned behavior. The internalization of prejudice starts with parents, later with teachers, and later reinforced with peers. Brick (2008) point out those subtle forms of prejudice can be measured in scientific studies. He points out that in the mid 70’s Duncan had White students observe a videotape of a White man lightly shoving a black man during an argument. Only 13% of rated the behavior as violent. When the situation was reversed, 73% stated the Black man was acting violently.

Attitude researchers insist that prejudice persist in subtle forms and allow the prejudice person to consciously suppress prejudicial feelings and thoughts. Resentments, however, still lurk beneath the surface, though open racial prejudice has decline (Myers, 1993). Ethnocentrism is a major cause of prejudice and discrimination.  Sue and Sue (1999) point out that ethnocentric mono-culturalism is dysfunctional in a pluralistic society like the United States. The five components consists of a belief in superiority, a belief in inferiority of others, the power to impose standards upon less powerful groups, its manifestation in institutions and the invisible veil. They believe that in spite of progress being made on the other components, invisible veil can still be considered a more lasting component of modern racism. Sue and Sue point out that people are all produces of cultural conditioning, therefore, a person’s world view operates outside their level of conscious awareness. They posit this world contains a biased and prejudiced belief system. People are taught to hate and to fear others that are different. Sue and Sue (1999) posit that the biggest obstacle towards moving to multicultural society may be peoples’ failure to understand their unintentional and unconscious complicity that perpetuates bias and discrimination. Prejudice and discrimination has immense effects in the psychological, social, political, and economic domains.

Corey, Corey and Callanan, (1997) point out that cultural tunnel vision could be considered a form of modern or subtle racism. They posit that many psychology students enter training with monocultural tunnel vision. They point out that student’s make statements like” I don’t want to work with poor people or minority groups”. They may point out implicitly or explicitly that minority groups are unresponsive to profession intervention due to a lack of motivation due to some sort of resistance to professional help. Wrenn (1962) describes the culturally encapsulated counselor as one who defines reality with one set of cultural assumptions, shows insensitivity to individual cultural differences, accepts unreasoned assumptions with no proof, doesn’t evaluate others viewpoint nor tries to accommodate the behavior of others and is trapped in one way of thinking.

Prejudice and discrimination is a direct produce of cultural racism.  Klineberg (1968:440) asserts that prejudice and ethnic hostilities constitute a major danger to peace both within a nation among nations. He goes on to argue that the emergence of a new global moral order is increasingly providing leverage pointed at countering the effects of prejudice and discrimination. Klineberg goes on, however, to point out that the media and social institutions solidify prejudicial attitudes, giving them social legitimacy. In a sense it is presumptuous to speak of eradicating prejudice and discrimination from either an individual or cultural standpoint, the most we can hope for is to reduce it.

The Effects of Modern Racism

As we examine the effects of racism, it goes without saying that it has a long term effect on minorities specifically and society in general. Effects of racism are felt in schools, the economy, and political institutions. When we look at the minority racial classes in our society we see high unemployment, violent crime, lack of education, little to no political power. Not only does racism have external affects but it has also has psychological ones as well. Racism is a divider. It causes people to take sides on issues they would rather not take. An example: Can I believe in the equality of all races yet at the same time oppose affirmative action? Do I mind racial minorities living in my neighborhood, even if it means the property value my go down? Can I believe that all children deserve an equal education even if my children has to sit in the same class as a minority student that needs extra help or is far behind? These question and others must be addressed in a society that’s stated policy is to eliminate discrimination.

In order to get a better understanding of the effects of racism on society, we will examine three crucial areas that racism seems to be the most detrimental to minorities in particular and the society in general. Economic racism, Education racism, and the Psychological effects of racism; these three issues continue to plague the society. Let’s take a good look, in depth, to what theorists believe are the results of their perpetrations:

Economic Racism

Reich (1981) points out that in the early 1960’s, it seemed to many that the elimination of racism in the U. S. was proceeding without requiring a radical restructuring of society. Prior and during the civil rights movement, hundreds of Blacks moved to Northern cities where discrimination was supposedly less severe than the South. This move was supposed to point to a bigger and brighter future for Blacks specifically and minorities in general. However, Reich (1981) points out that by the 1970’s; the optimism of earlier decades had vanished. Despite new civil rights laws, elaborate White House conferences, special ghetto manpower programs, the War on Poverty and stepped-up tokenism hiring, racism and the economic exploitation of Blacks has not lessened. Reich (1981) insists that during the past twenty-five years there has been virtually no permanent improvement in the relative economic position of Blacks in America. Median Black incomes have been fluctuating at a level between 47 percent and 63 percent of the median income of White incomes, the ratio rising during economic expansion and falling to previous lows levels during recessions. He goes on to point out that racism is of profound importance for the distribution of income among White landowners, capitalist, and workers, For example, racism clearly benefits owners of housing in the ghetto where Blacks have no choice but pay higher rents  than what is charged to Whites for comparable housing elsewhere in the city.

Reich (1981) points out that the real exploitation begins in earnest when Black youth enters the labor market. A Black worker with the same number of years of schooling and the same scores on achievement tests as a white worker receives much less income. The rate of unemployment among blacks is generally twice as high as among whites. Layoffs and recessions hit Blacks with twice the impact they hit whites, since blacks are hired last and fired first. The ratio of average Black to White incomes follows the business cycle closely, buffering white workers from some of the impact of the recession. This form of economic de facto discrimination leads to disillusion and despair among Blacks. It causes many Blacks to turn to illegal ways of generating income. Many young Blacks (particularly Black youth) resort illegal activities such as selling drugs, manipulation or other means, in order to provide a decent living for them and their families. Many of these young blacks are high school dropout and because they have lost any faith that the educational system can help them become better wage earners; they feel they have no other choice.

Educational Racism

In order to effectively deal with educational racism, the educational system must address it and come out of denial. In order to make continual progress towards solving problems of access and equality; we must confront the root cause of such practices and policies.  Reich (1981) posits that beginning in the first grade; blacks go to schools of inferior quality and obtain little of the basic training and skills needed in the labor market.  He points out that the average Black student still drops out at a lower grade than his white counterpart. In 1974 only 8.1 percent of Blacks aged 25 to 34 were college graduates, compared to 21.0 percent of Whites in the same bracket. Having access to the same quality education from the beginning of the academic experience has a major impact on this disparity in numbers.

When we examining this problem, we see that up until recently, the major goal of the school system was the attempt to create a system of homogeneous education. This meant that all students must adapt to the educational system of the majority both its culture and processes. All other cultures and customs were to be secondary to this uniform point of view process of instruction. This may be beneficial for the majority race but it leaves the majority of other races struggling to keep up. This creates a society of uneducated and unemployed minorities.

Black pupil’s underachievement in education is due to structural discrimination. This system is not set up to meet their needs and/or to break through the consequences of the various ways they are discriminated against.  Quite often underachievement, by Black pupils, is attributed to the fact that “they”-the Black pupils- have another cultural origin. This is a clear example of blaming the victim’. De Vreede (1995) points out that the convenience of this mechanism is that it allows the system to keep doing what it’s doing. The system De Vreede insists promotes racism by omission. The presence of Blacks and their achievement are conveniently left out most textbooks. History books are renowned for omitting Blacks and their views on the colonial exploits of the Whites.

In looking further into educational racism, it is sometimes assumed that teachers are free from racism. De Vreede (1995) points out this could not be further from the true. Most teachers are confronted in some form or another with racism; in some instances on a daily bases learning how to confront their own racist and ethnocentric views can be one of the most difficult tasks of teaching. Prospective teachers grow up mostly in middle-class families and are from White communities (Tellez, Hlebowitsh, Cohen, and Norwood, 1995). Meanwhile, by the year 2020, almost one third of the school-age population will be non-White children and one fourth will live in economic poverty. As we review the school system from top to bottom , one finds …Superintendents are overwhelming White and male (95%)… women and men of color in school administration tend to be elementary school principals, central office staff, or administrators charged with duties related to Title IX, desegregation, and so forth (Sleeter And Grant, 1994). People of color are often custodians and aides, and over 90% of secretaries are women. Larkin and Sleeter (1995) point out that most of the students’ education is conducted within a narrow dominant-culture perspective and curricular issues ….a broader agenda that must be addressed is the development of teachers education programs willing to face the challenges of cultural diversity and educational equality. The effect of inequality in education has a broad and long range effect on minorities. It eats at the heart of the communities though drugs, violent crime, and unemployment. Solutions must be developed to lessen or eradicate this injustice.

Psychological Effects of Racism

The psychological effects of racism are extremely detrimental to people of color. Ethnic minority clients’ racism- related stress has been a major focus in the mental health profession. Researchers indicate that racist discrimination, hostility, and prejudice are stress stimuli  experienced by racial/ethnic minorities. This condition leads to low-self-esteem, helplessness, depression, anxiety, and physical health problems such as hypertension (Clark, et al., 1999).Cultural racism and ethnic identity correlate with the lower quality of life among ethnic minorities such as Blacks, Asian American, and Latino Americans (Utsey 2002). Racism-related stress is negatively related to ethnic minority students’ academic work (Grieger and Toliver, 2001). Nora and Gabrera (1996) compared 831 college students’ (50.4% White and 49.6 non-White) the impact of their perceptions of prejudice on their adjustment to college environments, and found that only ethnic minority college students perceived prejudice on campus, and their perceptions negatively influence their adjustment to academic work, injured cognitive learning, and adversely affected personal development.

Harrell (2000) has given special attention to racism-related stress. She points out that there are six types of racism-related stress that have the potential to affect the well-being of an individual: racism-related life events, vicarious racism experience, daily racism micro stressors, chronic –contextual stress, collective experiences, and trans-generational transmission. Let’s examine more closely how these experiences of stress affect minorities. Racism related life events can be compounded into three of aspects. Racism related stress is the result of specific, time –limited experiences of racism in which one feels discriminated against, harassed, or judged. Harrell (2000) points out racial minorities also experience stress as a result of hearing about or seeing another person’s experience with racism. This constitutes a vicarious experience of racism. Racism –related stress is not always overt. It may be demonstrated in daily subtle reminders that one is different. These racism micro stressors may be as simple as being watched in the store or overlooked and discounted in an office setting; however their effects are no less deleterious.

Harrell (2000) posits that another form of stress is known as Chronic –Contextual Stress. This occurs when non-whites are forces to live in a society in which they are subject to differential treatment and unequal distribution of resources. Non-white families are forced to cope with unfair treatment and adapt to an environment in which they are given less of an opportunity for success. One example of contextual stress is poor educational resources in non-White communities. Another example of Harrell’s stressor is collective racism-related stress. This is when one perceives the racial group for which they are identified is generally not treated fairly. For example, one may experience an increase in stress as a result of witnessing a stereotype portrayal of race with which they identify on television or in the news. Harrell’s last contention concerning the cause of Chronic-Contextual Stress is trans-generational racism. This is when it is believed by one race that historical injustices were aimed at them and continues to be transmitted from one generation to another.

Racism-related stress has been discussed in various forms and a stress model has been suggested to explain the etiology of negative impacts that racism has on psychological and physical well-being of non-Whites. Clark, et al., (1999) points out that exposure to racism may cause one to become anxious, paranoid, angry, helpless/hopeless, frustrated, resentful, and fearful. These stressful related responses can affect one’s ability to function in school, work, social settings as well as increase the potential for violent out bursts and suicidal ideations. Nyborg and Curry (2003) found that personal experience with racism has a strong connection to behavior problems in African American boys. Increased hostility and aggression are common forms of active coping responses that have been associated with racism-related psychological distress. Clark, et al (1999) points out that other forms of negative coping strategies are verbal expression of anger, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, and poor eating habits. One study, conducted by Nyborg and Curry (2003) showed a correlation between personal experiences with racism and lower-self-concept, higher levels of hopelessness, and depressive symptoms.

The psychological effects of racism and racism-related stress complicate the lives of non-whites in number of serious ways. Not only has racism been shown to have a negative impact on one’s psychological wellbeing (as well as physical well-being) but psychological distress can be debilitating and may increase potential one will adopt greater and more destructive negative coping strategies: Coping strategies that put lives in danger and our society living on constant alert.


In summary, we have explored the root causes of racism. We see that false attributes, fear, stereotyping, and selfishness have played a major role in continual racial attitudes and behaviors. We see how the feeling of superiority by one race can have a profound impact on another. We have been able to examine how, when racism raises its ugly head, the entire society suffers. We have reviewed the origins of racism begin in modern society and how ethnocentric views have divided those who have from those who have not. Racism is a cancer and like any other destructive force it must be met with the full force of treatment. The cultural, economic, educational, and psychological effects of racism are not only dangerous but self-defeating to any society that practices such behavior.

We see after reviewing  the theoretical views of people who have study the effects of racism, that  most, if not  all conclude, that the health of the society as well as the individual, depends on our ability as a society to address racism and racism-related issues. The racism-related issues as we have seen is poor education, double digit unemployment, violence, stress, depression, anxiety, and frustration.  These are issues have brought about not only a racially divided society but also it has created a class system that could eventually lead to a more dangerous and perilous course.

Trans- generational racism plays a major role in the issues we have presented and above all must be addressed and be put at the forefront of stamping out both prejudice and discrimination. If we are to grab at the heart of prejudice and discrimination it must not be allowed to be passed to further generations. Racism can only be changed by a change of the heart and not by just simply the changing of laws. As we have seen, there were Civil Rights laws passed in the 60’s and 70’s and though there have been some improvements, over the years, racism still continues to have its day in court.


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Posted in Social Learning | Tagged ,

Self-regulation: A Key Tool Used To Improve Students’ Learning Behaviors

by Lester C Long Jr.

Self-regulatory learning is critical to a student’s learning development. It underlines the essence of the mindful, intentional, and thoughtful behaviors of learning and exemplifies metacognition. Self-regulation is the capacity of a learner to control their impulses by both stopping their behaviors that are not consistent with accomplishing specific tasks or the ability to move forward with behaviors that will accomplish them. Self-regulation is often confused with obedience or compliance but self-regulation is the student’s behaviors whether a parent and/or teacher is or is not watching. Self-regulated students are students that can delay gratification and to think ahead of the possible consequences of their actions or the ability to consider different or alternative actions. A key element of self-regulation is that it is not limited to just a social-emotional domain but can be applied to cognitive behaviors such as remembering or paying attention to instruction. Research has indicated that these two aspects are extremely relevant because children who have a difficult time controlling their emotions at age four are not likely to be able to follow teacher’s instructions at age six and most likely will have difficulties becoming a reflective learner in middle and high school.

Research has shown that interventions early in a child’s development have a positive and lasting effect on his or her social-emotional well-being as well as their academic success. This tool of mind provides benefits to all children not only those who may develop self-regulatory deficits. One of the primary keys to this process relates to human motivation. This importance of how one see a particular task or circumstance will determine the level of their self-regulation processing. This is important because accomplishing the goal has a lot to do with the child’s cognitive processing the self-regulatory process.

In this paper it is intend to demonstrate how self-regulated learning is central to student learning and development. This paper will focus on how self-regulated learning not only touches the lives of  student’s educational experience related to the three R”s (Reading, writing, and athematic) but how all students benefit from this process whether they are gifted or have learning deficiencies; whether they have intelligence or challenges; able or unable to meet projected expectations. It is important to understand that even if a child is not able to fully complete a particular task the effort made through a self-regulatory process demonstrates a willingness to learn and develop. Ashton (2008) point out that research contains to many weaknesses in their critical analysis of self-regulation because too much dependency on self-reporting, use measures that provide inadequate sensitivity to identifying important relationships, and models that include many relevant variables such as prior knowledge and achievement. They further point out that the objective of developing self-regulation should be the major goal of all persons entrusted with educational process of children.

The Goal of Self-regulated Learning

The implementation of self-regulatory learning by educators can be very effective in determining whether underachievement and behavioral issues are related to the characteristics of a student or whether it stems from more serious issues such as physical, cognitive, or emotional issues (Reis and Greene, 2014). Florez (2011) point out that self-regulatory process of moving from intentional to automatic regulation is termed internalization. The goal of self-regulatory learning is for the student to internalize learning so their response to stimuli is to respond by positive processing. In examining self-regulated learning research it is a cognitive processing that determines how a given task should be approached as well as how it’s comprehended, or   evaluated on the progress towards goal completion. Researchers at The University of Connecticut in a study conducted in 2013 point out that there is tremendous evidence that a number of children, especially those at risk begin school with a low amount of self-regulation.

Rafferty (2011) explains that the major goal of educators is to enable students to become independent and self-sufficient. It is the desire of educators to enable students to manage their behaviors without other individuals providing directions. Rafferty goes on to explain that there are five different types of self-management intervention that develops self-regulation: (1) self-monitoring, (2) goal setting, (3) self-evaluation, (4) self-instruction, and (5) strategy instruction. But what type of student that can receive and implement a self-regulatory process? Rafferty (2011) points out that students from many diverse backgrounds can develop the ability of self-regulation including preschoolers. However, socioeconomic status (SES) does play a role in the student ability to adjust to school and often have more of a difficult with self-regulatory management. Miech, Essex, and Goldsmith (2001) points out that longitudinal evidence has shown that a child’s capacity for developing self-regulated behaviors in childhood is directly related to the (SES).

Self-regulation and Motivation

Motivation is a critical factor in the framework of self-regulated learning. Motivation is one of the interconnected frameworks that help to determine the development and sustainability of self-regulated learning. Self-regulation and motivation work hand and hand. The learners’ proactive efforts to learn is directed by their personal goal setting task strategies. Zimmerman (2002) points out that because of their motivation they develop an adaptive learning method that allows them to improve their abilities. He further explains that few persons who begin a new discipline right away develop powerful self-motivational benefits. They could easily lose interest in the discipline if not encouraged socially. The self-regulatory process helps to develop very powerful motivation especially for individuals in the beginning of the study of new a disciple (Zimmerman, 2002). For example the motivation of a music novice may be greatly enhance when they use high quality self-regulation such self-monitoring.

Research shows that the self-motivated quality of self-regulated learners is related to a number of underline beliefs: the amount self-efficacy and intrinsic validation. The motivation that comes through self-regulation is self-directed and involves a large degree of self-awareness. Studies reveal that self-directed study is highly motivating. For example, experts spend about four hours a day studying and practicing their craft to discover new strategies for self-improvement. Zimmerman (2002) research showed that this type of commitment to a self-regulatory process is highly predictive of the learner’s skill level. He further found that motivation is not a process that basically stem from the task itself but things such as self-monitoring and the effects of self-belief.

In a study conducted by Schwinger, Steinmayr, and Spinath (2009) demonstrated that the self- regulated motivation in itself does not substantially enhance one’s GPA, it does influence and increase effort management and persistency which helps to improve the overall educational experience. Self-regulation of motivation is defined is conscious control over one’s own motivation that helps to increase effort and persistence. In recent years there has been a great deal of attention given to the works yielding the taxonomy of motivational regulation strategies. Schwinger et al (2007) constructed a German questionnaire which consisted of an eight motivational strategy scale. The study which translated the works of Wolter’s was given to college students of Germany. They students had to answer open questions regarding motivation in everyday life study situations. An analysis of the psychometric properties and the examination of the open responses given, item were re-worded the questionnaire and extended it to eight strategies. Two of the eight revised questionnaires yielded good psychometric properties (i.e. internal consistencies). They also demonstrate that there was an extremely strong correlation with external criteria; things such as (cognitive learning strategies and goal orientation).

This demonstrates that cognitive learning strategies influenced self-directed motivation along with goal orientation. The more internal motivation one has towards accomplishment of the goal the greater self-directed process. The self-regulatory process comes into play as the motivation increases. Schwinger et al (2009) found that motivational regulation strategies in general only demonstrate a moderate positive effect on effort management, motivational self-talk has a major correlation on a student’s GPA. Schwinger et al (2009) point out that even though some results show those motivational regulation strategies generally have a week effect on achievement; they argue that motivational regulated strategies are underestimated and do in fact have a direct correlation between effort and performance. This is where the self-regulatory process come into play because self-efficacy, self-belief, and self-direction all elements of self-regulation must be implored to achieve high performance. Motivation is a very important element in the self-regulatory and provides for a self-directed oriented process.

Self-regulation and Self-efficacy

The other self-regulatory strategy is self-efficacy (Zumbrunn, Tadlock, and Roberts, 2011). Motivated self-regulated students with high self-efficacy plan ahead, gives forethought to task, how much effort id needed to complete a given task, and their values and interest are considered as factor in the decision to move forward. Zumbrunn, Tadlock, and Roberts (2011) research found that students with high self-efficacy when seeing the value in learning tasks order increase the self-regulatory process. If not those students are less likely to utilize time setting goals and planning strategies to accomplish a given goal. They further found that a student’s self-efficacy (their confidence level in their ability to accomplish a goal) will play a major role in determining a student’s motivation level. Their research found that self-efficacy and self-regulated strategies have a great impact student behavior as it relates to goal completion. They found that the higher the motivation and self-efficacy beliefs by a student the greater he or she will utilize self-regulated strategies.

Research has shown that the self-regulatory strategy can lead directly to increasing a student’s self-efficacy beliefs and motivation and this improves academic achievement. Pajares goes on to explain that intrinsic motivation is an important guide to effort and persistency used in completing assigned task and self-regulatory strategies. In addition, as one accomplishes given tasks their self-efficacy is increased. Self-efficacy becomes a key element in self-regulatory strategies because it increases motivation towards goal completion. Orhan (2008) explains that the greater degree of self-efficacy confidence the greater the degree of self-regulation. In his research using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire in 1993 and the Teachers Self-efficacy Scale developed in 2005, he found that students with a high degree of self-regulatory skills have a greater degree of self-efficacy. He further found that that motivation was encouraged by goal orientation and that self-efficacy required that individuals judge their success or performance not just by obtaining the goal but how and what methodology was used to accomplish it. He also found that when extrinsic goals are set like test scores, rewards, or performances was the basis for motivation when measured against their peers students performed well. However when examining extrinsic goals vs. performance goals, performance are much more relevant to motivation and self-efficacy as is intrinsic goals to learning goals. The research found that performance goals encourages the belief that one’s intelligence is established and learning goals are associated with the belief that one’s intelligence is pliable and can be enhanced..

One of the ongoing questions that must be addressed by those in the field of educational psychology is the integration of a single conceptual framework. There is a need to integrate the many theoretical process of self-content (e.g., beliefs, values, goals and self-processes) that maintain a student’s motivation to learn (Roeser and Peck, 2009). The analysis of motivation studied by Roeser and Peck (2009) revealed that goals, beliefs, and emotions are consistent with many theorists’ observation of the self. They further contend that the context of self-gain is measured by individuals through their importance and how they exert their influence through self-efficacy through motivational values. This is important when understanding the processes of self-regulation because it demonstrates how the integration of self-efficacy and a belief in one’s own ability is vital to the self-regulatory process.

Self-regulation and Reinforcements

The self-regulatory process in order to enhance positive learning behaviors requires good self-efficacy. One of the primary aspects of the enhancing self-efficacy is positive reinforcements as a result task completion. Ruiz, Ruiz and Sherman (2012) conducted a longitudinal quantitative study over a year period from the school year 2005-2007 to 2007 to 2008. The study utilized student discipline referral data to assess the how effective the use of school –wide positive reinforcement and behavior support initiative on middle school children. The study reviewed classroom offenses such as class disruption, general disruptive behavior, disobedience, and leaving the class without permission. As positive behavior interventions were implemented as opposed to punishment over the three year period. As a result there was a significant decrease in incidence involving leaving class without permission from 203 to 64, disruptive behaviors from 471 to 40. This study helped to reveal that students who received positive behavior reinforcements tend to have a greater sense of self-regulation.

One of the most significant processes of re-enforcement is importance of self-reinforcement. In research conducted by Bandra (1976) he found that the theorist that did not included self-re-forcemeats has restricted their research important aspects to examining only external influences on behavior. His examination of research showed that people do in fact have control over their behaviors. He found that the integration of the self-regulatory process in understanding the process of learning has added a new aspect to experimental analyses of reinforcements. He points that studies show that individuals can regulate their behaviors by employing self-reward through a process of matching self-prescribed standards. As interest in education shifted from managing behavior through a process of imposed their will through instruction to a self-regulated process, self-reinforcement became vital to the self-regulatory process. He further explains that research shows that the major issues that come into play self-reinforcements is standard of performance. Bandra explains that research has found that when children have observed the reaction of others to their performance positively if they achieve or exceed standards or negatively if they do not, the child eventually begins self-regulating his or her own self-reward or self- punishing system.

Bandra (1974) points out that these findings show that children adopt the standards set by others. The influences of modeling have received substantial attention of late. Students who are exposed to models that present high rewards for a superior performance tend to reward themselves for high performance where children exposed to low achievement as sufficient re-enforce themselves as a result of minimal performances. Re-enforcements tend to enhance the self-regulatory process and increases self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-awareness.


In summary the aim of this review was to provide a better understanding of the literature written on the process of self-regulation. Self-regulation has become an increasingly popular subject in the field of educational psychology. There are many individuals who attempting to find better understanding of its operation and impact it has on learning. Researchers have discovered that the self-regulatory process can help to assist students in with goal completion through a self-directed, self-aware, and self-oriented process. Self-regulation has been shown to have a significant impact on changing students’ learning behaviors. It has become a catalyst in contributing to positive learning experience.

The review has attempted to demonstrate that the self-regulation process is not only important to the student but parents and teachers as well… This review analyzed self-regulation, the relationship of self-regulation to motivation, as well as self- regulation to self-efficacy, and self-regulation to self-re-enforcements and how they  all work together to enhance learning and positive behaviors. The understanding of the self-regulatory process has revolutionized the educational process of learning and brought new meaning to education instruction. This review is hoped to have brought a meaningful and productive assessment of the literature.


Ashton, P. (2008), What do we know about motivation’s role in developing hardy habits of learning? PsycCRITIQUES, 53, (38), pp.1-6.

Bandra, A. (1976), Self-re-enforcement: Theoretical and methodological considerations. Behaviorism, 4 (2) pp.135-155.

Florez, I. R. (2011), Developing Young children’s self-regulation through everyday experience. . Retrieved February 23, 2014 from https://www,

Miech, R., Essex, M. J. and Goldsmith, H. H. (2001), Socioeconomic status and the adjustment to school: the role of self-regulation during early childhood. Sociology of education, 74, pp.102-120.

Orhan, F. (2008), Self-regulation strategies used in a practicum course: A study of motivation and teaching self-efficacy. H. U. Journal of Education 35, 251-262.

Rafferty, L. (2011), Step by Step teaching students to self-monitor. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43, (2), pp.50-58.

Reis, S. and Greene, M. J. (2014) Using self-regulated learning to reverse underachievement in talented students. Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development: University of Connecticut. Retrieved February 23, 2014 from http://www.gifted.uconn

Roeser, R. W. and Peck, S. C. (2009), An education in awareness: Self- motivation, and Self-regulated learning in contemplative perspective. Educational Psychology, 44, (2), pp. 119-136.

Ruiz, A, Ruiz, G. V. and Sherman, N. W (2012), A longitudinal study on the effects of the Texas behavior support initiative on rural middle school students. Rural Research Brief: Texas A &M

Schwinger, M., Steinmayr, R., and Spinath, B. (2009), How do motivational regulation strategies affect achievement: Mediated by effort management and moderated by intelligence. Learning and Individual Differences, 19, pp.621-627

Zumbrunn, S., Tadlock, J. and Roberts, E. D. (2011), Encouraging self-regulated learning in the classroom: A review of the literature. Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium: Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved February 23, 2014 from

Posted in Social Learning | Tagged

Criminal Recidivism: the Plight of African American Male Youth?

by Lester Long Jr. MS CPC BS CSS CADC CPS


The high rate of recidivism among African-American male youth is a major problem in the United States (Kroner and Yessine, 2013). Darendbourg, Perez, and Blake (2013) point out that the United States federal and state inmate populations have increased to over 1.5 million since 2005. Their research showed that, though there have been some small decreases since that time, the decrease level have had very little impact on the overall annual rate of incarceration which averages about 770,000. The National Institute of Justice (2013) explains that the national inmate population stands at 2.4 million and African-Americans and Hispanics make up two-thirds of that total. This is significant since African-Americans only consist of 12% of the population and the Hispanics population around 16.7%. The National Institute of Justice goes on to point out that the United States has the highest number of people incarcerated than any other democratic nation in the world. Among African American juvenile arrests

Boulger, .Bostwick, and Powers (2012) point out that the re-incarceration rate averages about three times higher than that of Whites. Boulger et al point to the State of Illinois as an example where the African-American male youth recidivism is high. Their State commission report showed that the African male youth recidivism rate is as high as 40%. Jackson (2009) explains that 1 in 3 African-Americans between the ages 20-29 are under the criminal justice system. Jackson further points out that the current incarcerate by race places Whites at 919 per 100,000 while African-Americans are almost 7000 per 100,000. This is a significant number because a large percentage is African-American male youth.

The Center for Disease Control (2013) explains that African-American male youth committing violent crimes since the 1980s has doubled that of their White counterparts. The number of offenses committed with firearms in 2006 showed that African-Americans at a rate of 100.4 per 100,000 five times more than any other group. Walsh and Kosson (2007) in drawing attention to the high rate of incarceration and re-incarceration of African-American male youth contribute this to socioeconomic status and ethnicity. In addition, the implications of living in poverty and racial/cultural disparities lead to anxious and frustrated feelings. These feelings have widespread implications as it relates to criminal recidivism.

The growing concern about violent crime rate in the 1970s, resulted in harsher and longer sentences by the courts; Reisig, Bales, Hay, and Wong (2007) point out that these new law were enacted to appropriate greater penalties for those perceived as career criminals. However, after many finished serving their sentences, the population of released prisoners grew from 170,000 in the 1980s to 600,000 by the year 2000. Reisig et al point out that the rate of young African-American males, who made up the majority of those incarcerated increased as result of this policy.Miller (2010) explains that there is strong evidence that the overwhelming incarcerated and re-incarcerated population is drawn from poor neighborhoods. Miller points out that the high concentration of persons in the prison system is mostly uneducated and most lack the skills to gain meaningful employment. Miller goes on to point out that the result of having such a large segment of African-American community in this situation has bred feelings of racial victimization and distrust. This distrust has resulted in the development of a subculture which is evident by negative and often anti-social behaviors. This situation is credited with creating persistent criminal behaviors.


There are many problems related to the high rate of African-American recidivism. One such problem is the lack of criminal justice/prison rehabilitation programs. This situation has had strong implication for African-American male youth. This is particularly troubling because this population of offenders is disproportionately represented in the system (Wernsman, 2009). Reed (2010) points out that the inability or unwillingness of the criminal justice system to develop more effective rehabilitation/intervention programs to improve employment skill; educational enhancement, substance abuse treatment and changing anti-social behavior has had a significant impact on the rate of recidivism among African-American male youth. The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety (2011) released a report indicating that states and local governments can ill afford to continue to spend tax payers’ money on building more and more new prison and not investing in rehabilitation efforts. The Summit Report goes on to explain that it is necessary and essential for communities to begin developing more effective ways of addressing crime and recidivism. The Summit concluded that strategies must be developed to provide substance abuse and mental health treatment as well as education and job training to rehabilitate offenders. The Summit Report further concluded that Congress needs to understand that the high rate of recidivism must be reversed.

In recent years the Congress has taken some action by the passing of the Second Chance Act of 2008. This Act provide some funds to assist state and local governments as well as community agencies in developing programs that will increase the success of released prisoners by providing substance abuse and mental health treatment as well as education and job training (The National Institute of Justice, 2013). However, the implementation of these programs requires cooperation of local communities in the form the businesses willing to hire ex-offenders as well as the availability of social service which are already overcrowded and in some communities this may be a major challenge. The National Institute of Justice (2013) explains that compared to the numbers of released prisoners per year somewhere around 550,000 to 600,000, the resources allocated is like putting a bandage on a serious cut. Siegal et al, (2012) contend that the lack of effective programs, in effect prevent African-American male youth from obtaining basic educational and employment skills, while incarcerated, is major contributor to them going back to a life that legitimizes illegitimate gain and criminality.

Miller (2010) points out that even when rehabilitation programs are implemented, in spite of the disproportionate number of African-American male youth incarcerated, White male youth tend to be given a greater opportunity to criminal justice/prison rehabilitative sentences and services Huddleton and Marlowe (2011) explain that this is particularly true as it relates to substances abuse treatment. In their findings, it was noted that of the 109,000 detainees eligible for the Drug Court program only 21% of African-Americans are sentenced to the program where 62% are White. Those evaluating eligibility tend to deny African-American based on past criminal behaviors. In most cases individuals with violent offenses are not eligible (Huddleton and Marlowe, 2011).

Huddleton and Marlowe (2011) explain that with certain in- prison programs, judges are reluctant and prosecutors are reluctant to recommend sentencing African-American male youth to these programs. This has a significant impact on a great number of African-American offenders who need rehabilitation. Huddleton and Marlowe further point out that representation of African-Americans in jails and prisons is nearly twice that of both Drug Courts and probation. Miller (2010) posits that this is a result of racism inherent in the criminal justice complex. This is the very complex that perpetuate the issue of recidivism.

The Rand Corporation Report (2006) points out that recidivism is lowered by 43% among inmates who are willing to participate in correctional education programs, the odds of obtaining a job after release, is 13% higher than those who do not participated. These findings indicate that more African-American male youth who participate in correctional programs have a better chance of not becoming repeated offenders. Walsh and Kossom (2007) posit that the lack of prison rehabilitation programs causes prisoners to become dependents on the prevailing social structure once released. Social constraints related to poverty, unemployment, substance abuse as well as being faced with inequality, created a “criminality of hopelessness” (a personally coined term indicating African-American male youth ex-offenders feelings of hopelessness and despair). With prisoners now faced with long-sentences, unemployment, homelessness, and a physical or mental disorders the need for intervention are very appropriate. (National Institute of Justice, 2013).

Problem Ramifications

The release of prisoners without any educational, employment, and cognitive restructuring addressing anti-social behaviors has a negative impact on the communities they are released in. The “get tough on crime” initiative in many places has proved disastrous. The African-American Forum (2013) points out that, in spite of their ‘get tough on campaign’ over recent years, violent crime rates have increased as well as the incarceration and re-incarceration of offenders. Prisoners released, without the proper preparation, breeds recidivism; the largest group being African-American male youth. Burden (2009) posits that given the situation of offenders being released  to high areas of poverty and criminality, criminal recidivism is almost a certainty. Burden makes it clear that the criminal justice system does very little to reintroduce them back in their communities.

Miller (2010) points out that the most discouraging aspect to this problem is the prevailing view by many African-Americans is this is a result of racial discrimination and the consequences of this is resentment and anger among African-American male youth, Schwartz (2013) explains unfortunately, this anger and resentment is turned inward towards their own community and created victims among their own community members. Schwartz statistics demonstrates that 1 out of 15 offenders of crime are African-American male youth as opposed to 1 out of every 104 White. Unfortunately a major amount of African-American offenses are aimed at African-American victims.
Miller (2010) explains that this particularly true since the introduction of crack cocaine to the African-American community. This has led to Black on Black crime which has substantially increased  the incarceration and re-incarceration rate of African-American. Miller posits that the impact of the United States drug policy has had very little to no effect on the African-American community. Miller posits that, though the issue of drug abuse has been at the center of American policy debate since the 1970s, crack raise the stakes. The inability to adequately counteract the drug epidemic and address other socioeconomic issues has certainly contributed greatly to the high recidivism among African-American male youth.

In reviewing these issues, it is important to ask some very important and investigative questions. One such question is what are the primary causes of this problem? Is addressing the symptoms of this problem in the long run creating a greater problem? Is the problem so astronomical that rate of African-American male youth recidivism is inevitability? Wernsman (2009) explains the readmission of African-American male youth back into the criminal justice system is an almost certainty without assistance. Their plight, without that rehabilitative assistance, is a hard uphill battle for them to stay crime free. Because of their return back into the very communities that led them to criminal activities, the question has to be asked: Is there a greater opportunity for them to return to criminal behaviors?

Historical Perspective and Justification for Change

Reisig et al (2007) explain that during the 1970s laws aimed at punishing felons with longer and harsher sentences were enacted resulted in a 300 % increase in the amount of persons incarcerated. The impact that this would have on ex-offenders and the communities to which many of them were returned was not given much thought by law enforcement officials. The inability to find employment and in many cases uneducated placed a burden on society. Wernsman (2009) explains that the policies of the 70s resulted in over 100,000 youth 20 years old and under being released from incarceration annually. Wernsman goes on to point out that over two-thirds of them will be re-arrested within a few years. With the already over burden prison system the re-incarceration rate taxes the criminal justice system even greater. Wernsman further explains that nearly 60% of these are African-American males. Reisig (2007) explained that about 50% of individuals releases will re-enter the prison system with African-American male youth reaching as high as 25 % higher than that of White male youth. The result of the socioeconomic issues in African-American community has left these individual little options and many return to crime. Wernsman (2009) explains that while research is limited as to the exact cause for the overwhelming recidivism rate, it is believed that this situation is a fit between the person’s attitude and environmental factors.

Lamb and Metz (2011) point out that historically the criminal justice system has done little or nothing to rehabilitate prisoners. In researching this problem Lamb and Metz found that the system just simply waits for crime to occur, investigate the act and believe that arresting the suspect solve the problem. Lamb and Metz posits that the criminal justice system process, for whatever reason, has shown limited vision as it relates to crime. In their evaluation of the present system a sad picture is painted that the criminal justice system unfortunately believes that punishment will provide regulation to society and punitive enforcement are effective has shown to be disastrous. Lamb and Metz research has found just the opposite. It found that harsher and longer sentences only increases the prospect of increased criminal behavior and ultimately result in recidivism. Their research concludes that even the most violent criminals must be given feelings that life still has meaning. Therefore education, job training, substance abuse and mental health treatment is essential. This traditionally has not been the modus operandi of the criminal justice system.

Blomberg, Bales and Piquero (2012) conducted a sample research study on the effects of inadequate education on recidivism. The study consisted of 4,147 delinquent’s 86% male and 57% non-White, the average age around 17 years. Bloomberg et al found that youth with above average education were most likely to return to school after release. However those with less adequate education or substandard education were more likely to be re-incarcerated within one year of release. Among African-American males preventive efforts suggest that better education help them to develop better employment skills and ambition. This is significant because Blomberg et al study indicated that academic achievement indirectly and directly reduces recidivism.

Wernsman (2009) agrees that the lack of educational achievement contributes to recidivism. Her study however established that the disproportionate rate of recidivism among African-American male youth is both theoretical and empirical as it relates to the response of African-Americans to the criminal justice system. Wernsman’s research support evidence that the high rate of recidivism among African-American male youth ranges from conceptualization to the cognitive processes of the African-American culture in relationship to the dominate culture.Wernsman’s research concluded that the lack of intervention by the criminal justice system create a continuum of repeating criminal activities African-American male youth.

Though the research of Mandracchia and Morgan (2010) did not disavow that conceptualization ideal their research found that the rate of recidivism among African-American male youth was primarily caused by how the criminal justice system processes African-American male youth through system. Their study found that as a result disparity in the criminal justice system, African-American develop resistance to any direction given by that system. Mandracchia and Morgan in a canonical correction analysis also found that criminal justice spends 60 billion dollars annually on prisons and reinforcing the get tough on crime activities but this has not proven to significantly reducing recidivism.
Mandracchia and Morgan (2010) study also found that the promotion of the ideology of getting tough crime as it is presently manifested develop certain implications that has an effect on the African-American male youth psychic which has cause resentment and created criminal responses by that population. There is no question that their sense of hopelessness and despair promulgates a cycle of criminal thinking and behavior. Their research suggested that a high rate of recidivism can be identified by the basic offender’s characteristics. Mandracchia and Morgan research indicated that a 2007 study of adolescents found a higher level of criminal thinking and this is primarily associated with criminal history, drug use, familial dysfunction, and behavioral disorders. Addressing this issue must be of primary concern to society.

Miller (2010) offered an even different perspective on African-American male youth recidivism. Miller’s research examined the criminal justice system and found that it is inherently racist and American Federalism is the culprit. Miller’s research concluded that because the political system places limitations on minorities and particularly the overpopulated African-American male youth population, the criminal justice sentencing process creates a recycling of criminal behavior. This is also consistent with the findings of Mandracchia and Morgan (2010). Her analysis  found that American Federalism and the prevention of African-American male youth having access to the fruits enjoyed by the dominate culture accounted for continued criminal behaviors. Miller’s research and that of Mandracchia and Morgan research however both contended isolated feeling and low self esteem have an effect on these issues. Without criminal justice efforts to rehabilitative hope for change may be irreversible.

Brown (2009)  evaluated the relationship between substance abuse and the rate of recidivism. Brown discovered that over the last three decades the incarceration rate for drug offense has increased dramatically. Brown found that it increased from 100 per 100,000 in 1970 to 491 to 100,000 in 2005. Brown discovered that roughly of the 2,085,620 prisoners in the United States and of that number 508,623 are serving in either prison or jail for drug related offenses. Brown discovered that the cost for incarcerations is around 8 billion dollars annually.

Brown found, consist with other studies, that there are a disproportionate rate of incarceration of African-American versus that of Whites. African-American comprises 12% of the population of the United States however 53% are incarcerated for drug related offenses. These offenses range from using illegal drugs to sells. This disparity is not only troubling but unfortunate. Different from the literature that has examined concerning poverty, unemployment, and racism, the implication of this phenomenon is more a de-facto consequence of all three issues. Different and more disturbing than Brown’s assessment of the issue are the findings of Walsh and Kossom (2007) that contend that psychopathy play a major role in criminal behavior. Walsh and Kossom conducted a quantitative random sample study at Northeast Illinois county jail of 199 male inmates’ ages 17-40; 108 of which were African-American. In determining the tendency towards psychopathic behaviors African-Americans had a percentage of 26.72% as opposed to European Americans at 24.44 %. The psychopathy assessment was administered using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). These findings are particularly unsettling because it points to a whole generation of potentially violent repeat offenders among African-American male youth.

Articles Related to Social and Economic Disparities

Researchers seem to believe that socioeconomic disparities as well as a modern era of racism has more than just a marginal impact on this situation. Situations related to unemployment, substandard education, racial treatment of African-Americans by the criminal justice system as well as other issues requires intense and expert research. In evaluating the issue of African-American male youth criminal recidivism, it’s important to first look at how the criminal justice system historically has related to African-Americans. In a research article entitled “Racial and Ethnic Disparity and Criminal Justice” by Robert D. Crutchfield, April Fernandez, and Jorge Martinez (2010) explain that the post-antebellum period brought about a different form of slavery. It was known as the convict’s leasing system which emerged in the Southern states (this was a penal system that created in effect de-facto slavery). Crutchfield research found that convicts, disproportionately African-American, were leased to plantation owners to work their fields as they had done as slaves before the Emancipation. Their research discovered that the mentality of the present day criminal justice system basically operates from that same frame of mind. Prisoners are just products to gain income particularly the disproportionate African-American male youth population.

Crutchfield research found that  funding for inmate’s housing and food is based on a per capita formulation, so the number of incarcerated prisoners support the criminal justice system budgets. Therefore, there is more than sufficient incentive for them to increase their incarcerated populations. Their research found that among criminal justice officials incarceration was the first priority of the criminal justice system not rehabilitation. This is unformulated because research shows that cultural sensitive rehabilitation counselors and programs aimed at African-American male youth are needed. They are essential to reverse the trend towards the continuation of African-American disproportionate representation in prisons and recidivism.

In support of this assertion, Mark H. Chae, Anthonia Adegbesan, Sharon Hirsch, Danny Wolstein, Alex Shay, and Kristen Schiro (2010) in an article entitled “Relationship of Racial identity to Cultural Competence and Self-Esteem among Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Students” explain that even when African-American are provided rehabilitative services many rehabilitation counselors need to have training in cultural diversity and sensitivity. Without this training, their research concluded that this process must be implemented in order for counselors to provide effective interventions and cultural relative treatment plans. This type of meaningful rehabilitation is needed to provide service sensitive to persons of different colors and /or culture. Chae et al research posits that counselors are most effective when their therapeutic process reflect psychosocial influences, cultural beliefs and values, issues of diversity. This is extremely important in providing counseling to African-American male youth because of their resentment against the “White power structure”.

Viewing the issue of African-American male youth recidivism from a different perspective, Firouz Fallahi, Hamed Pourtaghi, and Gabriel Rodriguez (2012) in an article entitled “The Unemployment rate, Unemployment volatility, and Crime” explain that unemployment promotes criminal activity in  the persons who are unemployed and its tends to have a greater motivation to commit crime than when one is employed. Their research demonstrated that the need to meet basic monetary and essential needs as well as the emotional desire to boost self-esteem causes the temptation to commit offenses to increase. This situation particularly affects African-American male youth as a result of high unemployment in the African-American community. Fallahi point out the among African-American the unemployment rate is at about 13.5% as opposed to that of Whites which is between 6 to 7%. The inability to find stable and meaningful employment not only places African-American male youth at an economic disadvantage but encourages criminal behavior. Fallahi (2012) further explained that not only does the unemployment rate contribute to minor crimes but the uncertainty of the future coupled with the conditional variation of employment numbers is an important reason for the commission of major crimes such as: burglary, larceny, and motor-theft. Employment skill training is essential for released prisoners.

Assessing another view related to African-American male youth recidivism, is an article entitled “Substance Abuse Hinders Desistance in Young Adults’ Anti-social Behavior” by Andrea M. Hussong, Patrick J. Curran, Terrie E. Moffitt, Avsahalom Caspi and Madeline M. Carrig (2004) these authors examined the effects of substance abuse on changing anti-social behavior among young adults. Hussong et al research contends that substance abuse among young adults hinders changing anti-social behaviors. This has wide implication for African-American male youth because statistics show that a large proportion of their incarceration is a result of either drug use or other drug related offenses. As a result of their investigation Hussong et al put forth two hypotheses: (1) substance abuse enhances anti-social behavior in young adults and (2) early substance use could be a predictor of long-term anti-social behaviors which goes beyond adolescents into adulthood. These contentions provide important reasons why substance abuse issues should be addressed as a part of criminal justice rehabilitation programs.

While substance abuse treatment is extremely necessary, the lack of adequate education causes major problems on prisoners released as it relates to obtaining employment and good general self esteem.In an article entitled “Is Educational Achievement a Turning Point for Incarcerated Delinquents across Race and Sex”? Thomas Blomberg, William Bales and Alex R. Piquero (2012) point out that few incarcerated juveniles graduate from high school or even earn a GED and many do not return to school after released. This, in effect, creates a problem for society. Blomberg et al, investigation note that adolescents who have problems with school are more likely to have problems in society. Blomberg et al explained that as a result, individuals are unable to meet the minimum educational standards of the community. Blomberg et al found that as result of inadequate education those leaving prison are often looked down upon by society. This creates feelings of low self-esteem which is manifested in anger. Rehabilitation programs aimed at providing basic societal educational requirements are essential, especially, for African-American youth who still lag behind Whites. Successfully completing these programs is essential  because of the many disadvantages African-Americans, in general, have to overcome early in life.

Problem Solution

In reviewing the problems related to African-American male youth rate of recidivism, it is essential to determine a solution that is effective in addressing this issue. One recommended solution is that for each State establish a Criminal Justice Reinvestment Council. The reason the term reinvestment is used because there are some that feel the initial investment has been primary incarceration. This council would consist of 9 members; two businessmen, two democrats, two republicans, one ex-offender, 1 former prisoner employees and 1 person elected statewide. The council would be paid an annual salary for their services. This council would have the whole weight of the governor’s office to implement, evaluate, and sanction prison officials and programs geared at statewide prisoner rehabilitation.

The council would have a staff and their primary function would be three –fold. One: implement with the council’s approved rehabilitation programs in all prisons; two, evaluate programs effectiveness based on outcomes; and three; sanction those prison systems that fail to meet expectations. Sanctions could range from allowing time to implement corrective measures to recommending the removal of wardens.
Given the history of efforts to rehabilitate criminals, a program must be put in place that is accessible, accountable and reach the prisoners who need it the most. Therefore a three prong program that focuses on employment, education, and cognitive restructuring is needed. One such recommended process would be a program that its primary purpose is not only to rehabilitate but to reinvest in ex-offenders. It is essential that a program be established that place emphasis on minorities in general and the overly populated African-American male youth specifically. Research has shown that many of these individual are unemployed and in many cases, the lack of completing high school make them unemployable; a vital piece to the whole process of rehabilitation.

Any solution to this issue must be comprehensive and measurable. Therefore the following process is recommended for implementation:

1. The project must be comprehensive. It must be a program that is designed for those who need it the most regardless of their past criminal record. Phelps (2011) points that programs should focus on the type of correctional facility; adequate staffing; and ways to encourage inmate participation. Phelps (2011) explains that the implementation of this process, from a theoretical standpoint, is essential in demonstrating the difference between whether the effort is punitive or of a rehabilitative nature. The program must be cultural sensitive and the counselors should be trained in cultural diversity. The program must be made accessible to all races and its primary objective is to reduce recidivism. Mandracchia and Morgan (2010) posit that any treatment process should focus on anti-social behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and enhancing positive cognitive processing.

2. The project should be measurable. The council’s staff must establish measurable goals for each implemented program. Each prison should have expected outcomes. A certain number of persons should be expected to complete the programs. African-American male youth and other minorities must be sufficiently represented in those outcomes. The Council’s staff should be allowed to conduct quarterly audits of programs to ensure two things: One, the way the funds are being allocated and two the number of graduates. The Council’s staff would have the authority to go unannounced in the prisons at any time and observe the program.

Three Prong Program

The first component of this program would be job development. This program would reach out to the business community and state governments in creating an offender hiring reinvestment project. The highlight of this component would be two-fold: One establishes a tax credit for businesses that participate and two, establish a 50,000 bond for persons who graduate from the prison job training programs. This bond would be established to cover any losses suffered by the businesses as result of this program. This component of the program would, in addition, provide resume building skills process, how to dress appropriate for an interview classes, and the questions that could be expected in an interview. The program would provide skills training designed towards jobs that businesses participating indicate are available. Prisoners completing the program would go before the parole board and the board would evaluate them based on status and prison behavior. Those who have acceptable behavior would be placed on parole with the condition of being hired by the businesses participating in the program.

The second component of the program would concentrate on educational development. Blomberg, Bales and Piquero (2012) explains that education is a vital part of preventing recidivism. The main objective of educational development program would be to improve the overall education of program participates. In some cases offenders may need to get a GED in other situation there may be a need or desire, on the part of some offenders, to get college degrees or certificates. Classes would be set up on prison grounds and instructors would come directly to the prison. There would be agreements reached between the program and educational institutions to provide free books and other materials.

The three component of this program would be the establishment of cognitive behavioral therapeutic individual and group counseling. Criminal self-identification and criminal association play a large part in criminal thinking (Mandracchia and Morgan, 2010). Hussong et al point out that anti-social behaviors become a major reason for continued criminal behaviors. Their research concluded two theories. (1) That anti-social behavior is relative to one’s individual development and is trajectory. In addition, this individual development towards anti-social behavior is increased by the abuse of substances and (2) early in young adulthood the use of substances slows an individual’s overall criminal desistance and are consistent with offender’s norms. Therefore individual and group counseling should be established with a theoretical emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The group and individual population counselors should be trained in cultural diversity and have the ability to assist all members of the group. In as much as substance abuse increases criminal thinking and anti-social behaviors CBT should also be implemented to assist those who have demonstrated extreme anti-social behavior and substance abuse disorders. In addition, those identified with having mental or emotional issues should be given the necessary treatments. Appropriate assistance and interventions have shown to reduce recidivism as much as 16% (Mitchell, 2010).

Advantages and Barriers of Implantation

The advantages of the three prong program are that it will be held accountable for successful outcome. The ability to sanction prison and programs that fail to meet expectation is a very essential aspect of the program and would be possibly be unprecedented. Several other issues that are advantages rest in the partnership of business and government as well as colleges and universities. The program would have the whole support and authority of the governor’s office. This would cause wardens and other criminal justice officials to think twice about the importance of rehabilitation. The incentive to ensure the success of the program as a result of this council would ensure that rehabilitation would become the prisons primary priority.

The barriers of the program would be getting state legislators to endorse such an idea particular in those state that have a law and order philosophy. Another disadvantage, if the program is implemented, it would require a dramatic change in prison schedules. Guards at the prisons would need to take prisoners back forth to class and make food available at different times. This may cause resentment on the part of Guards who in turn may be taken out on prisoners. The most important barrier to overcome would be the attitudes citizens of the states affected about the cost of the program. Last but not least the wardens may feel that their control of the prison may be compromised.


In conclusion the continual high rate of recidivism among African-American male youth is a tragedy. It seems that society, though concern, and is not willing to put neither the effort nor the energy into resolving this issue. An important example of the success of rehabilitation efforts however is in the State of Texas where just two years ago the State had the second largest inmate population however as of this year it is fourth resulting from rehabilitative efforts. (Ward, 2013), The State was able to considerable reduce the percentage of the criminal justice budget. In convincing the citizens of this country about the need for criminal rehabilitation/intervention, the example of Texas would provide a great argument.

The overpopulation of American prisons in general must be addressed but the over representation of African-American male youth must be overcome. If the goal of the criminal justice system is to implement effective and accessible rehabilitation, the philosophy of the criminal justice system must change. Rehabilitation programs must truly be its first priority of the criminal justice system. The accessibility of programs to African-Americans and other minorities is especially appropriate. When the criminal justice system sends these individual back into society uneducated and unskilled it only increases the chances of criminal recidivism. This policy is just not working.

The articles presented in this assessment demonstrate that African-American male youth recidivism is a major problem. More importantly the authors that researched the material demonstrated that without effective action taken by the criminal justice system to develop effective rehabilitation programs accessible to African-American male youth the high rates of recidivism will continue to be an issue. Each element presented in this presentation point to a need for corrective action. Whether correcting the issue of a system that promotes racial and ethnic disparity, the lack of developing programs that assistance with employment skills or developing effective cognitive behavioral treatment criminal recidivism, the challenges must be met. If these challenges are not met a whole generation of African-Americans could be lost. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that next generation may also be affected.

Society has made some steps towards reversing the punitive philosophy it has created over the last 25 years. There does seemed to be efforts in some states to see the advantage of rehabilitating criminal rather than just merely locking up criminals. If American is every going to reduce recidivism, substantially, a joint effort on the part government, the business community, and the community at large must work to attack this issue at the root. Continuing the present policy of excessive and selective incarceration, especially African-American male youth, must come to an end. This cannot continue to be the ongoing plight of African-American male youth.


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by Lester Long Jr. MS CPC BS CSS CADC CPS

The founding of the Experimental laboratory in Leipzig by William Wundt (1832 -1920) in 1879 was a significant and important contribution to the developing school of psychology. It was significant because it was the beginning of psychology no longer being viewed as an off shoot of philosophy and biology but a science in its own right. It was the foundation of many off sprang concepts in the field of psychology such functionalism and behaviorism. Experimental psychology presents us with a concept that the mind could be broken into elements and components. This process of experimentation was known as structuralism.

This new concept put forth a new understanding called introspection. The introspection concept pointed out that it was not caused by causal events but it was a high practice of examination of the self. The experimental laboratory became a center of study for students all over the world. It became focal point for person interested in this new science.
The practice of experimental psychology made use of highly trained associates from all over and they were often given ticking metronome as a stimulus and were asked to reflect on their experiences. The experimental laboratory provided training for 186 graduate student and about two-thirds became psychologist.

However among the students that graduated very few earned Ph.Ds. The experimental method is relevant in this day age because it has made a significant contribution to developmental psychology. Its contribution in the areas of mental functioning such as thought process, images, and feeling is a very important part of the school of Cognitive Psychology.The experimental method was also significant in its contribution to behaviorism. It was the research provided by the experimental method that played a major part in thinking of modern behaviorist. Behaviorist utilized the experimental method as scientific approach in developing and accessing behavior.

As we examine greater into the system and the work of Wundt, we see that there is a great relationship between philosophy and psychology. Many believed the work and even the laboratory itself provided an extensive philosophical and psychological system. Araugo (2012) point out that the two the main aspects of psychological analysis in Wundt’s work are logical causality and psychophysical. The experimental science of psychology was to do research in controlled conditions. McLeod (2008) explains that the approach encouraged behaviorist in later research to follow the same example in order to find their studies more scientific. McLeod further goes on to say however many psychologist such as B. F. Skinner argued that introspection was subjective and unable to be verified and observable behavior is the most reliable way to measure behavior objectively. Even though Wundt will always be seen as the founder of experimental psychology and has secured a place in science of psychology even he believed that the experimental approach was limited.

The Separation of Psychology from Philosophy and Biology

Psychology separated as a discipline from philosophy and biology took place in the later part of the 1800s.This separation came about as result for the need to analyze human behavior in a way that was measurable. Experimental psychology attempted to present a form of science that would examine behavior through a logical and mathematical process. It was important in experimental psychology to be able understand analytical thinking through a process of observation and associate that thinking to ideas and outcome. This aspect provided a way to measure behavior through a scientific process as opposed to philosophy that did not provide a meaningful measure process. Experimental psychology differed also from biology because measuring and braking down components of the mind provided a more measurable understanding of what stimulus caused what responses not just though physical changes but by observation and testing. However, since Wundt had a background in physiology the incorporation of physical issues reminded a continuous area that provided experimentalist with answers.

Nicolas and Ferrand (1999) explain that the opening of experimental laboratory marked the beginning of how human behavior forever is assessed and reassessed scientifically. They further go on to point out that the laboratory was the first to provide an examination of mind through a structural process and was the beginning of modern psychology. Cherry (2012) points out that this structural process became known as Structuralism. Because Wundt had a background in physiology, the work he and his assistants often concentrate on was in that area of study. The laboratory would study such things as reaction time, sensory process, and attention. However, the separation of psychology from philosophy Angell (N.D.) points out that there is no theoretical distinction between the two except when psychology interpreted both from a structural and functional standpoint. He goes on to point out that the problems that exist for psychology and normative sciences are an outgrowth from the central of the structure and the function of the consciousness.

Prior to the separation of psychology from philosophy the basic belief in Europe was that psychology as a science would never take place. This was just not the thinking of some but of many persons in the academic field. However what we know about psychology today began as attempts the present arguments against psychology as a scientific process as those who believed in its value scientifically fought to overcome those arguments. Psychology separated from philosophy but there is still an overlapping relationship basically because both advocate the ability to observe and the association of ideas. However, Green (2000) explains that psychology limits philosophy because psychology establishes boundaries which provide a range for philosophy. He goes on to point out that the narrower the range of a person understanding of life from a psychological standpoint, the narrower the original range of his or her philosophy. He also points out that the separation of the two disciplines eventually made British philosophy a thing of the past. The basic reason for the separation was to bring human behavior into way of understanding not just that people respond but why they respond. McLeod (2008) explains that Wundt’s primary objective was to record and analyze sensations and thoughts by the same means as a chemist do when assessing compounds of chemicals.The separation between philosophy and psychology also came about as result of Wundt’s belief that the consciousness could be broken down into various aspects without compromising the whole. This new science was given the name “Structuralism”. The name came from Edward Titchener, a loyal assistant to Wundt who later went off to establish a new school of psychology known as “Functionalism”.

What is Structuralism?

Structuralism promoted the concept that the mind  could be broken down into components or elements and through both research and study causal relations can found. The process based in both biology and philosophy it was believed that structuralism could arrive at a greater understanding of the relationship between stimulus and response. Structuralist believed that elements of consciousness could be understood by understanding physical condition. Benjamin (2007) explains that the structuralist method of grouping and finding patterns could be accomplished through quantified laboratory observation. Wundt’s laboratory experiments consisted of categorically broking down the whole to their basic conscious elements. An example of the way this would take place is a subject would asked to identify an object such as an apple or orange and relates to the observer their basic perceptions of was invoked by the object. The subject would then describe such things as it was crisp, cold or sweet. Structuralism for the most part is dead. Primary because it was proven to be bias in its conclusions and was not able to give a logical explanation why stimulus given to one person it causes a certain reaction or response given to another a different one. Its death took place pretty much with Wundt but the concept of experimentation lives on. The concept of sensory and perception assessment is also very much alive.


Functionalism was an off shoot of structuralism. Edward Tichener presented this theory as an alternative to structuralism. Functionalism examines behavioral psychological processing by studying sensory processing related to the input and output of causal relationships. The primary area of difference between structuralism and functionalism was that structuralism promulgated that the breaking down of the conscious into basic elements and there exist similarities in individual organism. Structuralism sought to find mental content as opposed to mental functioning. Functionist believed that looking at the adaptation of environment was the determining factors in assessing human behavior.

According to the Functionist theory society is an organism that is influenced by the environment. Social institutions worked together like organism to reproduce and maintain societies. Functionist theory advocated that social institutions exist because they promote integration and stability. The functionist theory sought to find and understand individual responses in changing environments. The questions asked by functionist are “How does an individual respond to environmental changes? Is adaptions possible?

One of the major criticisms of functionalism was that it did not take it to account social changes which take place. It was considered too conservative in desired outcomes. McLeod (2008) explains functuralism placed a great deal of emphasizes on consequences and the causes of human behavior. It brought together the relationship of psychology and its union with physiology. He goes on to point out that objective testing was of great concern for functionist and they believed that through the observation of animal behavior would help us more understand human behavior. Some of the leading proponents of Functionalism were William James, John Dewey, and James Rowland.

The Experimental Method Moves to France and North American

Nicolas and Sanitiso (2012) point out that upon the election of Theodule Ribot (1839-1916) as the chair of Experimental and Comparative Psychology at the College de France brought about a liberation and France officially became part of psychology era. This new title caused a lot of debate but finally a compromised was reached. It was pointed out that name “Experimental and Comparative Psychology” was an attempt to show that it was broad in perspective and comprehensive in psychological study. Psychophysics investigation was left to the Germanys and Americans and as a result French psychologist and the development of its psychological efforts were seen as lagging behind in this new field of psychology. The major reason for this was the French had no laboratory. They thus provided no means to test theories or provide experimentation.

Henry Bennis (1830-1921) saw this as a problem and recommended that an experimental laboratory be developed. As a result of receiving the approval of Ribot, the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology was opened and Bennis was named Director.Nicholas and Murrray (1999) explained under the leadership of Bennis, this new laboratory was founded and began its first experiments at Sorbonne in Paris, France. Unfortunately, this new laboratory had to depend on the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes educational institution resulting in the laboratory having an uphill battle. The Ecole Pratique des Hautes educational institution was opposed to any aspects of experimental psychology.

In the early stages of the laboratory experimental projects were very modest but Bennis wanted to create one similar to the Germans and the Americans. Nicholas and Murray further point out that Bennis felt very strongly and excited about the possibilities of the Laboratory and went about seeking a separate budget for his various instruments and equipment. But unlike Wundt, Bennis had no assistance and in addition was still teaching at Nancy University. Bennis decided that in order to fulfill his dream of fully establishing the laboratory, he would have to take a leave of absence from the University. He did so between 1891 through 1892. During this same period Alfred Binet left Jean Martin Charcot and the Salpertritee hospital. In addition Jean Philipee (1862-1931) decided to become an assistant to Bennis and was its first volunteer in 1891. Nichol and Murray point out that at one point Benet met Bennie and asked if he could work at the Laboratory and he was invited.

Nicolas and Sanitioso (2012) explain that between the years of 1892 and 1904, Alfred Binet (1857-1911) brought forth original work at the experimental laboratory. .His work provided very important research for the University of Sorbonne in Paris. Binet had graduated with an educational degree in law and practiced in this field until it got boring and the experimental method of psychology became of interest. He began to study psychology and became very curious about the scientific method. Nicolas and Sanitoso explain that Binet had a particular interest in the pathological method. He was motived about this method because the aspects of experimentation. This method of experimentation was introduced to him by Theodule Ribot who is considered the Father of French Psychology. They argued that the pathological method is a basic component of biology and it is not as many people believed that of philosophy. Those believe in this theory and concept of experimentation (morbid derangement of organism) as well as prodigies assess that this psychological order is experimental in nature. One of the revolutionary aspect of this process was that the pathological scientific method promulgates that psychologist in order to get a better understanding of the experimental outcomes, the psychologist needed to be in communication with physiologist, physicians, and alienist.

Binet eventually took control of Laboratory at Sorbonne after Henry Bennis. He and his associates felt that the laboratory should take a different direction. They believed that the experiments should not be like the ones in Germany that limited them narrow sets of rooms. The experiments that Binet presented were investigations that did not use or be conducted by sophisticated devices such as the original experimental process. He believed in a working area highly organized where all documents are categorized from wherever they might originate.Green (2009) explains the during the latter part of the 1800s, an American Stanley Hall who had worked with William James who was among the first to assist at the Leipzig laboratory returned to the United States. Upon his return he went about his own goal of establishing a laboratory at John Hopkins University. There seems to be however no documents or accounts of experiments published. Green goes on to point out that this laboratory at John Hopkins was the first in North America. However as time went on other laboratories were established in North America.

In 1888 Stanley Hall became the President of a new University Clark. This university was located in Worcester, MA. As a result of Hall accepting his new position, he brought many of students with him one of whom was named E.C. Stanford. Hall immediately appointed him to the head of the laboratory at Clark University. Green insists that by the 1890s laboratories began to establish everywhere. One of the biggest problem however was most of the literature written on the experimental process was not in English. Stanford decided that he would publish his Journal in a five-part series of articles. These new series of articles became the beacon of course study as it was appropriately named Laboratory Course Physiological Psychology. These articles were published in Hall’s new founded American Journal of Psychology in 1891-1893. These articles became the most read courses and many newspaper given them great acknowledgement. The interesting thing about this course was that 169 experiments were contended.

Experimental Psychology was not limited to gender. One of leading contributors to method was Mary Whiton Calkins. She at one time had been a student of William James and established the first experimental laboratory at Wellesley College in 1891. She gave a full description of courses she taught and the topics she used in the article “Experimental Psychology at Wellesley University.One of the years that became extremely important experimental psychology was 1893. A student of Hall’s, Joseph Jastrow recreated a public psychology laboratory at Worlds Columbus Exposition in Chicago. One of the significant strength that was demonstrated by the Chicago Exposition was researcher from all over the United States as well as North America attended. Many people from other countries attended as well as and it was seen as a great victory for the American experimental process. Jastrow would even experiment on visitors and charge a fee for his services. Green (2009) points out that Varigny demonstrated that even though he was a Frenchman, he had a great interest in the laboratories built-in North America
The Canadian’s got into the act when James Mark Baldwin opened up the laboratory in Canada. Green (2009) points out that the University provided him with a grant to buy equipment. In addition, students were encouraged in an article of the American Journal of Psychology.

Criticisms of the Experimental Method

The 1920s saw experimental psychology come under intense criticism by those who believed that the process design was unable to take into account the independence of experiences of cultures, economics, and history. They believed by neglecting mental process and one could not get the full picture of behavior. Critics believed that the process of experimentation in the psychological processing was inaccurate in representing human nature and that in lead too much support to the social order. Experimental psychology came under criticism because the method tried to predict individual behavior by subjective observation as well as though the embellishment of similar circumstances expecting similar responses. Other reasons for the eventual fall of the structuralist process are because of the flaws in Wundt’s methodology due to the lack of reliability and agreement. One thing that is very important to realize is that concrete data is often difficult in psychology.

To ensure that all has been done to ensure much accuracy possible there was a need for multiple observers who could agree independently on phenomenon. Critics pointed out that the biggest problem with Wundt’s experiments is that all his observers were his students which no doubt provided bias and inadequate outcomes.Researchers today go to great lengths to make sure that research is impartial. In addition, agreements are made prior to the research as well as those areas to be researched. This is done so that all parties making the observations can come to objective conclusions. In modern-day research of sensory and perceptual phenomena things such as vision, touch, smell and taste all stimuli that bring about responses; efforts are made to include objective parties and that agreement is research among those participating.


Experimental psychology was considered an intellectual achievement in the 1800s.In its time it may even been considered revolutionary because its concepts promulgated that if the mind can be broken down into components researchers could learn more about its responses. Experimental psychology was unlike philosophy saw life as ideas that are summed process of  logical conclusions. Experimental psychology provided scientist with a way to deduct psychology concepts, develop theories and develop a process by which those theories could be tested.There were many individuals that made major contributions; individuals such Ernst Weber who presented the idea that the differences in sensory judgment are not absolute but relative. Another person that is a great contributor is Gustav Fechner has been credited for publishing the works of experimental psychology. Oswald Kulpe, an assistant to Wundt, who founded Wurzburg School of Germany.
There will always be a place in the psyche of psychology for the experimental method. The fall of this discipline, has not over the years, stopped scientist from engaging in experiments to understand the human race better. Laboratories still exist as a necessary and regular process for proving and disproving theories.


Acaujo, S. (2012), Why did Wundt abandon his early theory of the unconscious? Towards a new interpretation of Wundt’s psychological project. History of Psychology, 15, (1) 38-49.
Benjamin, L. (2007), A brief history of modern psychology. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.
Cherry, K. (2012), Structuralism and Functionalism: Early schools of thought. Retrieved May 21, 2013 from
Green, C. D. (2000), Darwinian theory, functionalism, and the first American Psychological Revolution. American Psychologist, 64, (2), 75-83.
Nicolas, S and Ferrand, L. (1999), Wundt’s laboratory at Leipzig in 1891. History of Psychology, 2,(3), Aug 1999, 194-203.
Nicolas, S., & Murray, D. J. (1999). Theodule Ribot (1839-1916), founder of French psychology: A biographical introduction. History of Psychology, 2, 161-169.
Nicolas, S. and Sanitioso, R. B. (2012), Alfred Binet and Experimental Psychology at the Sorbonne Laboratory. History of Psychology, 15, (4), 328-363.
McLeod, S. (2008), Wilhelm Wundt. Retrieved May 6, 2013 from

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Posted in Social Learning


by Lester Long Jr. MS CPC BS CSS CADC CPS

  • Understanding the Cross-Cultural Psychology and the Latino Community

Understanding cross-cultural psychology and the effects it can have on human development is often complex. The encouraging thing, however, there are many elements of culture that is similar to all cultures. For example, all cultures have a process of passing down from one generation to the next: traditions, values, and norms. It is important to recognize that in many cultures there are elements of behaviors that reflect several cultural values, and norms contained within that one culture. A good example is the American culture.

In American culture, considered the cultural ‘melting pot’ of the world, there are sub-cultures such as that of African Americans, Irish, Asian, Latinos, and many others. Therefore in developing creditable research on the American cultural, one must include the significant influences these cultural developments have on the majority’s cultural values. One of the things that have proven itself true, cultural values in the United States  has evolved over the last 25 years.  One such cultural that has truly evolved is the Latino culture. Latinos also known as Hispanics have over the last 20 years grown to be second largest population in the United States. In fact the U. S. Census projections indicate that this population is about 15% of the United States population. This is about 45 million people. One of the emerging cultures that have had a great influence on the evolution on the changing American culture. The primary reason this culture chosen for this writing is because there has been a lot of controversy over the migration of its members to American. In addition, the Latino people have not been given credit for the importance of their family traditions and heritage.

Through I am an African American, engrained with the White majorities norms and values, I identify with the Latino because I believe that a collectivize approach to family development is essential for generational continuity. I also believe that it is important to human development. The Latino culture with its strong religious beliefs, family values, and desire to overcome poverty through hard work is something I admire.

In the process of growth and migration, they have brought with them a collectivism of culture that can only be said to enrich the individualism of this country. Matsumoto (2001) points out that the framework of culture can be a catalysis that produces a collective human effort and create a dynamic integrative system which intersects religion, culture, and economic cohesiveness The Latino community demonstrates this integrative process that provides a significant impact on American cultural psychic. In understanding this one has to examine the psychological impact of integrative culture and effect on the culture of power. Kim (1995) explains that a cross-culture psychological approach to understanding human behavior is realizing that culture affects human behavior. The world can then be seen as culturally cohensive.

  • Latino Family Values

The Latino community’s norms and values as well as its work ethics have proven to enhance the American experience and have made America a better place to live. The family is the cornerstone of any Latino community. The Latino community is a solid example that exemplifies that highest level of family cohesiveness. Clutter and Zubieta (2009) point out that the Latino family members are very close as a unit. In the traditional Latino family the father is the undisputed head of the family. The mother is responsible for the maintenance of the household.

The tradition of ensuring that the Spanish language among the young has continuity is a requirement by senior members of the family. Elderly members of the family insist that younger members are respectful, understand the importance of honor, and the meaning of good manners. Greeting each other with kiss on the check and hugging is great part of demonstrating togetherness; not only among family members but those outside of the family. When traveling to other cities or states among their members it is traditional to stay with other relative in those cities or states. This is a process that takes place probably more so than any other culture in the American society.

Sexual orientation has become an issue and its impact on traditional family values has come to the forefront lately. Men having sex with men go against all past and even present Latino teaching. However, it has become more common than has been acknowledged in the past. The machismo image has begun to take a less significant posture. Some view this as a challenge the importance of the male head of the household. In spite of some of the new challenges facing the Latino community, the basic collectivism of culture seems to be the main ingredient that holds the society together.  This is special process because the very significance of collectivism is the crust of family unity; each member having a willingness to sacrifice in some form for the betterment of other members or all.

  • Similarities and Differences Between the Latino Culture and Larger American Culture

When looking at similarities and differences between the Latino culture. In the larger American Culture one needs to examine time orientation, communication, and they relate to physical and mental health as well as group relationships and perceptions and measurements of intelligence. When examining time orientation Latino though they have a respect for time, do not put the importance on it as the average American does. If a member of the family has issues that may interfere with the days plans family issues are going to come first. Latinos are flexible with their time schedules. They tend to make room for family, friends, and associates. Vivano (2013) explains that they are a culture that concerns itself with the present rather than the future. In addition, they are able to engage in various activities at the same time. They tend to have reputation for being on what Vivano terms “Latin time” generally out of concern for others. Vivano (2013) points out that Latinos tend to place inference on the solution of a situation rather than too analytical about the reasons.

Though there are similarities between the Latino culture and the American culture as it relates to communication such as handshaking, building trust before exposing ones hand. There are several differences such as Latinos are more hesitate to reveal issues of personal importance. They have a tendency not to be quick to discuss family problems as the larger American society. Vivano (2013) points out that they tend to be “less confrontation” and in addition they first “establish trust, support, warmth, and caring before dealing with difficult issues” (p. 10).

Non-verbal communication is very important. Latinos are much more likely to touch a person when they are speaking to them. They stand closer to people with whom they are talking than Whites. They are fast to introduce themselves and often provide a kiss on the check. Vivano (2013) explains that they see long term eye contact as a sign of disrespect. The non-verbal communication process is very important to this culture. It is not only significant to the heritage but to development interpersonal relationships.

As we examine  how Latinos look at the importance of their physical or mental well- being, we see that there is very little concern about what many Americans would consider health issues. Luquis, Garcia, and Asford (2003) conducted a qualitative assessment to evaluate the views Latino students had on health. They point out that a majority of those responding to the assessment believe that not having a disease either mental or physical problems as good health. Luquis, Garcia, and Asford explained that when it came to substance abuse some 80 to 90% viewed this as par to course among peers. Bisco (2004) identified with drug use such as marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, ecstasy, and acid. The research revealed that experimenting sexual activity was seen as a natural part of college life. Cintron, Owens,and Cintron (2009), explain that “sexually transmitted diseases and physical problems associated with substance abuse” is a major problem among the Latino community (p.85). Though these same issues are challenges for the general American community, the issues same to be extremely prevalent in the Latino Community.

In terms of Latino adults, Afable-Munsuz and Brindis (2006) explain that research shows that though the “role of acculturation” found greater risky sexual behavior the mechanism of family remain close kit   (p. (208). In general Latinos have been associated with having lifetime partners but there has been a greater risky sexual activity such as oral sex. They point that there appear to a greater increase, however in the use of contraception for both men and women. It may not seem like it but this is a sign that the tradition religious anti-contraceptive use is not as strong as it once was. This is encouraging for greater improvement of health.

Intelligence is something that is relative to each culture. What may be considered intelligent in one culture may be consider less intelligent in another. The American general culture is a culture that is considered to be comprised of very intelligent people. There are similarities as well as difference as it relates to intelligence among Latinos and the American general culture. Latino children face an uphill battle in being perceived as having the same abilities as the majority American culture. A great deal of the problem exists as a result of language barriers. Becerra (2012) point out that student of Latino decent in order to “maximize” their potential, capabilities and contribute to society  that prevent them from progress must be eliminated (p.167). The perception of Latino children is that they are not capable of learning at the same pace as the general American society. Becerra points out that Latino perception of the barriers in education are important because to believe that their inability to compete with White and African American students can prevent them for making the necessary efforts to overcome barriers.

Becerra (2012) points out that achievement academically is different among Latinos and it varies depending on where they enter the educational system. He explains that achievement in the area of academic is much lower for Latinos in general. He goes on to point out that acculturation produces negative results on behavior and the achievement of Latino students academically. He posits that academic achievement is measured differently among the Latino community and there are two processes that have a great impact on its level. One is language and the generational status. These are according to him the most well-known ways of measuring acculturation. Language is a stand in commonality taken as a proxy. The English acquisition provides the means to engrain the values and norms of majority culture. An, Cochran, Mays, and McCarthy (2008) point out that generation in society similar as language which  brings about integration in the majority culture also promote the adoption of majority- cultural norms. Latino students are often not given the same leveled playing as a result the difficulty in assimilation.

  • Mental Health Treatment

In examining the attitudes and behaviors of Latinos as relates to mental health and mental health treatment one sees that they are less likely to seek therapy. In Kouyoumdjian, Zamboaga, and Hansen (2003) point out that there is an underutilization of services pertaining to mental health among Latinos. One would think as the Latino culture becomes more assimilated into the majority American society there would utilization of mental health services. The new challenges now faced by the Latino community such as socioeconomic conditions, acculturative stress, and the new family strains as a result of coming out of the closet by some male members have caused greater mental health challenges. Kouyoumdjian, Zamboaga, and Hansen explain that the barriers in utilization of mental services by the Latino community have numerous cultural variables. They are “diverse and numerous” (p. 30). They posit that some of the reasons for the underutilization of service are things such as the general perception of mental illness. No group or individual wants a stigma of mental illness. In the Latino community it is more viewed as the individual not being able to conform to traditional family values or that there is a way that the problems can be worked out among the family members. Though there are similarities in the majority American community as it relates to trying and work out emotional issues within the family. The majority American population is more likely to receive therapy and accept the concepts as define by the American Psychological Association.

.Kouyoumdjian, Zamboaga, and Hansen (2003) explain that clinicians have provided a variety of ways they believe can improve delivery of mental health services to Latinos. They believe accessibility is major reason for the lack of utilization of services. They believe that greater distribution of information concerning services, and address general challenges such as time, cost, and location. They also posit that there must be a better education program to assist practitioners in understanding the Latino community. There should also be a greater effort to involve clergy, physicians, and other community leaders. They insist that mental health services to the Latino community must become more assessable and greater utilize.

  • Cultural Influence on Human Development, Identity Development, and Personality Development

In the evaluation the Latino culture on human development, it is apparent that the history of this Spanish speaking people is rich. They built the Pyramids in Latin American; they have maintained a heritage of family cohesiveness that is an example not only to Americans but to the world. The music of Latinos is well known and emulated around the world. The tradition and devotion to the Catholic Church is un- paralleled. The Latinos contribution to human development has been substantial and unique.

As it relates to identity development the Latino culture is a very proud culture that has a positive identity. They have been able to assimilate into the American society but yet maintain their heritage, language, and family values. The men are the head of the family but the mother and other females are held in reverence. As it relates to personality development low self-esteem is not one of their traits. The Latino people can be said to be a fun loving people with balanced personality development.

The greater American society has contributed a great to human development particular in the 20th century. American contributed to defeating the German’s twice as well as the Japanese in World War II. This in itself has made the world safe for democracy. There is no doubt that Americans, at least White Americans has issues with identity in general and though the whole concept of personality disorders is a Western element. Americans in general are not balanced as well in self-assurance.

  • Morality Development, Gender, Aggression, and Psychological Process within the Latino Cultural

Morality is Latino cultural is the cornerstone that holds that culture together. The insistence that the males marry young women they have sex and get pregnant, respecting the heads of the family, respecting the elderly are benchmarks of Latino culture. The Latino culture is rich with religious devotion and believes that God and his laws are the ultimate authority. The children in Latino families are taught young that they are to obey their parents and respecting their rules. Even though the Latino culture is engrained with alcohol as a part of their beverages they tend to not let that interfere with the family responsibilities. They tend in general to oppose birth control as well as abortion.

Women in the Latino culture are highly respected but they are still treated as second class citizens. The mother and grandmother are viewed as the homemaker even if they may work. They are never view as independent but must consult with their husbands when making any important decisions. They daughters are taught that they must always respect their male mate. Their heritage is rich in tradition of machismo. It is important for the women, no matter how much education they receive, to be sub servant to the male.

In general the Latinos are not aggressive people but they present an image that they are not to be messed with. In general, if one member of the family has a problem with someone the other males of the family will rally to their aid. Latino men in spite of the fact that have this machismo attitude are not violent towards their women. As mention above in general they are a fun loving people. They work hard, drink hard, and play hard.

The psychological processes of the Latino culture is one that maintains self-efficacy but not at the risk of betraying family members. Family is the center of psychological function and having the approval of the family for any adventure is extremely important. If a Latino goes against family desires there are feelings of guilt and anguish. I once read where a young Latino female was in therapy and the therapist suggested that the young women take a particular course of action. The young women replied “I must first ask my father”. The therapist replied “you are over 18 you can make your own decisions”. The young women never returned to therapy. The psychological impact of family is very significant and compliance is essential in maintaining meaningful psychological stability.

  • Explain Biases that may have Influenced your Analysis

I have to admit that I am bias as it relates to studying the Latino culture. I am a great admirer of the family togetherness. I believe that the values and norms of this culture are attributes to human development and the type of societal organizational structure that brings a reliable community. The teaching of the young,, the respect for the elderly, the maintenance of the native language is all indicators of a strong community.

  • Summary

In summary the Latino culture has a lot great characteristic some of these are values, and customs and traditions. Their desire for a better life for their children is admirable. Latinos has made great sacrifices to migrate to United States in order to provide their children with a better economic, educational and social life. These basically rural people have had an uphill battle trying to assimilate into a society that has not always been friendly to them. It is very important to understand the language barriers, the conflict tradition and the commitment to religious structure have been an admiral struggle.


 An,N .Cochran,S. D., Mays,V.M., and McCarthy, W. J. (2008), Influence of American acculturation on cigarette smoking behaviors among Asia Americans sub-populations in California. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 10, 579-567

Afable-Munsuz and Brindis (2006), Acculturation and the sexual and reproductive health of Latino youth in the United States: A literature review. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,  38, (4), p. 208-219

Becerra, M. (2004), Self- efficacy, alcohol expectancy and problem solving appraisal as predictors of alcohol use in college students. College Student Journal, 38 (4), 541-551.

Cintron, R. Owens T.,and Cintron, M (2009), Health, culture, HIV/AIDS, and Latino/a college student. Journal of NASPA, 44, (1), p. 84-100

Clutter, A. W. and Zubieta, A. C. (2009), Understanding the Latino culture. Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University.

Kim, U. (1995), Psychology, science, and culture: Cross-culture analysis of national psychology in developing countries. In D. Matsumoto (Ed), Handbook of Culture and Psychology, (p. 51)

Kouyoumdjian, H. Zamboaga, B. and Hansen, D. (2003), Barriers to community mental health services for Latinos: Treatment considerations. Retrieved February 22, 2013 from

Luquis, R. R Garcia, E. and Asford, D (2003), A qualitative assessment of college students’ perceptions of health behaviors. American Journal of Health Studies ISSN: 1090-0500

Matsumoto, D. (2001), the Handbook of culture and psychology. New York, New York: Oxford University Press

Vivanco, I. and Randall-David,E (2013),  Cultural Values and Behaviors. Retrieved February 22, 2013 from

U. S Census Bureau (2001) The Hispanic population: Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.

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SAT: The Validity and Reliability and it’s Effect on Cultural and Racial Minorities

by Lester Long Jr. MS CPC CSS CADC CPS


The SAT is arguably the single most important test for American high school students. Every year over 2 million young people take this standardized multiple choice test and most four-year colleges and universities use the results to evaluate applicants from more than 20,000 disparate U. S. High Schools. Considering the growing importance of this test, is there any wonder there would not be continual concern about it reliability. The SAT, though the barometer by which most colleges and university determine their admissions, the question remain is it truly an accurate assessment of an individual’s ability or potential?

The Validity and Reliability and its Effect on Cultural and Racial Minorities

The SAT was first administered in 1926 and the original plan was formulated by Robert Yerkes, Henry T. Moore, and Carl C. Brigham. A conscious effort was made to develop an instrument that would measure neither school achievement nor general mental alertness. However, with the passage of time, resemblance to its prototype lessened: sub-test became fewer; speediest was reduced; and emphasis was placed upon two relatively homogeneous items types-verbal and mathematical. Currently the two  sub-scores are referred to as the SAT-V and SAT-M (Educational Testing, S. n. d.). These test scores must reflect reliability and validity (Buchmmann, Condron, and Roscigno, 2010).

Looking at the tremendous amount of reliance on this “National Standardized Testing” process there is no wonder how so many people question the reliability and validity of this test. With over two million young adults taking this test and most four-year colleges and universities using these results to evaluate applicants from more 20,000 disparate U. S. High Schools, the reliability and validity must also meet a national standard. As a part of a large-scale project to remodel the SAT, a study was conducted in 1987 by the “New Possibilities Project” directed towards making the SAT more educationally relevant to all segments of the test taking population and to provide more meaningful information to colleges, high schools, counselors, and students. Towards this end, both the verbal and mathematical sections of the SAT were to be expanded (Hale, et al., 1992). In addition, a test writing ability, including an essay component, was to be incorporated into the companion tests that was to an Achievement Tests, now known as the SAT II.

Over the years there has been much controversy over the heavy reliance on SAT scores and their effect on the admissions process for colleges and universities. The issue seems to stem from how admissions personnel tend to use this test, which was only intended to be an indicator of ability, into an absolute decision makers for university admissions, leaving out, at times other important aspects of students’ qualities and abilities. This is has been particularly true as it relates to cultural and ethnic minorities. Rothstein (n. d.) points out that vociferous debate has emerged regarding the fairness of the SAT and the extent to which it should be used in the college admissions process. Over-reliance on SAT scores in college admissions has broad and clear-cut implications for issues of merit and diversity in the educational sorting and credentialing process (Rothstein, n. d.). No less profound, especially for the question of merit, is the likelihood that access to and use of test preparation vary by family background of students.

Validity research becomes extremely important when reviewing the above paragraph because this research must then take into account how family background correlates with college performance as does the SAT. Though the extent to which the SAT’s predictive validity derives from this correlation with family background it is crucial to the interpretation of predictive models. It is crucial to keep in mind; however, that predictive validity has little to do with causation. Evidence for predictive validity of SAT scores, for example, cannot be interpreted as evidence that SAT scores have a causal effect on student performance. Rather, predictive validity studies are often interpreted as evidence for statements such as “The SAT has proven to be an important predictor of success in college… SAT scores add significant to prediction” (Camara and Ecternacht, 2000 p.1). This has a profound impact on score interpretation and the placement process.

Although the SAT was not designed to be placement instrument it has been become a ready tool at the hands of placement officials. This can lead to unfortunate consequences if those who are determining the placement have misinterpreted the scoring interpretation. Validity models that use the unadjusted SAT score with demographic controls overstate the direct contribution of individual SAT to prediction, attributing to it substantial variation that better attributed to readily observed school characteristics (Rothstein, n. d.). However, the strongest argument for using scores from the SAT exam in college admissions is that these scores help admissions offices predict students eventual performance in college.

In theory, the educational movement that initiated standardized testing for purposes of college admissions originally held the promise of identifying students of merit from diverse social-class and ethnic backgrounds who otherwise would not have been considered for admission into the nation’s select colleges. But, in practice, this early promise has not been fulfilled, especially for minority groups whose mean test performance has departed significantly from the White mainstream test takers. Over
the past several decades, the search for a more equitable ethnic representation in our nation’s select colleges led to the adoption of affirmative action, however, this policy has come under attack therefore, the higher education system must continue to develop ways to make to SAT more reliable and valid for both the minority as well as the majority in our society.

Early Years

As the SAT’s long history has suggests, it standardization sample and norms have changed over the years (Stickler 2007). The test that preceded was standardized on a sample of 978 predominantly upper and upper middle class white Anglo-Saxon males from New England; while this sounds hopelessly biased, Stickler points out it did accurately reflect the population of college students at the time. The original SAT was not standardized until 1941; prior to that, the members of each year’s cohort were compared to each other only. By 1941 multiple yearly administrations of the SAT became necessary to accommodate more college applicants, creating the problem of non-equivalence between applicants who took the test with more or able peers during a single year (Dorans, 2002). Thus, the College Board decided that all students who completed the April 1941 SAT would serve as standardization sample for verbal section, and those who took the April 1942 SAT would constitute the mathematics standardization sample; these reference groups were not updated until April 1995.

Although the 1941 and 42 standardization group of 10,000 test takers consisted primarily of self-selected privileged, White male applying to prestigious New England colleges (the College Board’s membership base at the time) changes in population of test takers over the next few decades had to be weighed against the entrenched utility of the test. Stickler (2007) points out that scores, especially verbal scores, declined from the original means of 500 and population variance increased from the 1940’s standard deviation of 100 as the population of college students exploded in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but SAT users were hesitant to revamp a test that had already been carefully established (Dorans, 2002). By 1990, the mean SAT verbal score was 425 and the mathematics score was 475, a substantial drift that indicated meaningful population changes and a lack of alignment between the mathematics and verbal scales (Dorans, 2002).

Finally, the College Board re-centered SAT mathematics verbal scoring, using the 1990 cohort of 1,052,000 college bound seniors as it new reference group. Dorans, (2002) points out that re-centering the SAT meant both collecting data from a new standardization sample and recalling the distribution of scores to reset the mean to 500 and the standard deviation to 100 for both sections of the test. These students’ average verbal score of 424 was statistically equated to 500, as was the average of 476 on the mathematics section. By measuring the entire population of test takers in 1990, the College Board accurately captured increases in numbers and in racial, class, and gender diversity of college applicants in the new SAT norms.

Measurement Abilities and Test Cluster Scoring

In the measurement abilities, technically, the SAT may be regarded as highly perfect possibly reaching the pinnacle of the current state of the art of psychometric (Educational Testing, S., n. d.). Actually it would be surprising if this were not the case. Ever since the SAT was first administered in 1926, highly competent professional staffs have been available at all times to prepare new forms, being guided by objective findings on past administrations an on items analysis of experimental material. Like many developments in measurement, the SAT is a direct descendant of the Army Alpha.

Test cluster scores reported for the SAT have provided cluster scores based on content specifications or item type and such scores do not typically provide great insight into whether an examinee will correctly answer a particular test (Ewing, Huff, Andrews, and King, 2005). This is because to meet test guidelines the content specifications for a particular domain are written to cover a range of difficulty. As a result, there are usually some easy, medium and difficult items within each domain. An examinee of average abilities would be expected to correctly answer the easy items and most of the medium and difficulty across all content domains. In this situation, feedback based solely on content domains or item type would suggest to the student that he or she needs improvement in all areas, which is not very informative.

In connection with the new SAT that was introduced in March 2005, research has been under way to investigate the feasibility of providing examinees with score reports that contain feedback on skills measured by critical reading, mathematics and writing sections of the test. Furthermore, recipients of educational score reports generally welcome the idea of receiving more descriptive feedback about examinee performance than provided by total score or a percentile rank indicating overall performance ( Ewing, Huff, Andrews, and King, 2005). This is not surprising as descriptive score reports have the potential to aid score users in the development of student-based instructional plans and /or suggest areas for classroom-based instructional intervention.

Is the SAT overemphasize?

The idea that students should be judged on their ability is closely associated with the SAT (Geiser, 2009). This process though, it has captivated American college admissions since the test was first introduced, but well has it done at predicting student performance in college. Geiser (2009) points out that older College Boards had knowledge of college-preparatory subjects, the SAT introduced in 1926, purported to measure a student’s capacity to learn. He goes on to point out that this idea dovetailed perfectly with the meritocratic ethos of American College admissions. However, over the years has it really been able to truly predict the ability of student college performance? In a recent article published by the College Board, this body pointed out that the SAT has proven to be an important predictor of success in college (Geiser and Studley, 2002). It has proven over the years to a useful tool in the assistance of admission counselors in determining placement and admissions. Not originally developed to assess achievement or mental alertness it has become the catalysis of American University testing. However, calling the overemphasis on the SAT scores “the education equivalent of a nuclear arms race, “University of California President Richard C. Atkinson recently proposed to abandon the use of the SAT I in the university’s admissions process. He proposes using only standardized test that assess mastery of specific subject areas rather than undefined notions of aptitude or intelligence (Geiser and Studley, 2002, p.2).

When evaluating the above arguments this bring us back to the age-old question: What would be the best psychometric instrument in determining college performance, one based on aptitude and intelligence or one based on achievement? When it comes to aptitude versus achievement in determining college admission, Geiser (2009) points out that the SAT II has been a better predictor of student performance. He maintains that the admission criteria that tap mastery of curriculum content, such as high school grades and achievement test, are more valid indictors of how students are likely to perform in college. He also points out that those admissions criteria that emphasized demonstrated achievement over potential ability are better aligned with needs of the disadvantaged students and schools. He points out that data gather by the University of California (UC) showed that the SAT I has more of an adverse impact on poor and minority applicants than traditional measures of academic achievement.

In a study examining the relative contribution of high school grade point averages (HGPA), SAT I and SAT II scores in predicting college success sampled 77,893 first time freshman who entered UC over a four-year period from the Fall of 1996 through Fall 1999, Geiser and Studley (2002) point out that the only students excluded were students missing SAT scores or high school GPA’s; students who did not complete freshman year and /or did not have a GPA recorded in the UC Corporation Database; freshman in UC Santa Cruz, which did not assign conventional grades at the time; freshman entering UC Riverside in 1987 and 1998 during which years the campus data upload into Corporate Student System had extensive missing data.

HSGPA used in this analysis was an honor weight GPA with grade points for honor level courses; HSGPA was uncapped and cold exceed 4.0 and SATI scoring and SATII scoring were as follows: SAT I scoring analysis represented a composite of students’ scoring on verbal and mathematic test, whereas the SATII was a composite of three achievement test; writing, mathematics, and a test of the student choose which are used to determine eligibility for admission at UC. Results showed that freshman grades were highly correlated with cumulative GPA and that SAT coupled with GPA is a much
better indicator of college success. This would indeed indicate that the SAT alone is not the best reliable indicator of college success. It may in fact be overemphasize.

Cultural, Statistical and Economic Bias

Freede (2003) posits that the SAT has been shown to be culturally and statistically based against African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. He argues that the R-SAT which scores only “hard items on the test is shown to reduce the mean-score difference between African-Americans and White SAT test takers by one-third. Further, the R-SAT shows an increase in SAT verbal scores by as much as 200 to 300 points for White individuals over individual minority test-takers.
Freede (2003) points out that a standardized test is culturally biased when one group (typically minority population) performs consistently lower than some reference population-typically, the White population. He adds that a test is statistically biased if two individuals (e.g. One African-American and one White) who get the same test score but nevertheless performs differently on some criterion external to the test, such as school grades.

Economic status has played a major role in how many applicants have been able to perform on the SAT. Buchmann, Condron and Roscigno, (2010) point that there is a theoretical construct known as “Shadow Education”(p.1). This is associated with higher income families, most often used in comparative education research and it refers to educational activities, such as tutoring, extra classes ,occurring outside of formal channels of an educational system that are designed to improve a student’s chance of successfully move through the allocation process. Buchmann, Condron, and Roscigno (2010) point out that there is a large and significant disparity in SAT scores by family income and parental education. Asian score about 35 points higher than Whites, while African-Americans score about 40 points lower. They posit that this is due to the family having the income to hirer tutors and others to provide applicants with other assistance outside of the formal educational system.

Evidence of Reliability

Despite changes in the population of test takers and education over the last 75 years, the SAT has proven highly reliable. In fact, reliability studies have yielded such consistent result that researchers focus instead on examining the criterion-related incremental and construct validity of the SAT (Burton, 2001). As researchers have found good evidence of the SAT validity, it can be inferred the SAT has met the statistical prerequisite of reliability.

But how reliable is the SAT? The College Board website reports that student’s true score is within 30 points of his or her measured score (SEM= 30, College, FAQ, 2005). A test with a standard deviation of 100 and SEM of 30 has an internal consistency coefficient of .91 (a=.91). In a study specifically investigating SAT I scores changes upon repeated testing, 1,120,563 students in the 1997 college-bound cohort who took the SAT one to five times in their junior and senior years gained an average of 7 to 13 points on the verbal section and 8 to 16 points on the mathematics section (Nathan and Camara, 1998). Thus, a student who retested at the higher end of both ranges still would not breach the standard error of measurement, indicating high test-retest reliability.

Reliability statistical data in February 1963 reported the medium correlation between SAT-V and SAT-M for 14 form of the SAT administered in the period 1959-62 was .64: about ten years ago the average correlation for comparable three-year period was .54. The test-retest reliability coefficients were unable at the time, but a study by Richard S. Levine in which the verbal and mathematics aptitude scores of the Scholarship Qualifying TEST were correlated with the two SAT scores and prove to have a high correlation; SAT-V and SQT-V .85 and SAT-M and SQT-M .81.

The College Board in an effort to receive more data on the reliability and internal consistency of the SAT contracted with a number of experts to conduct in a study on the reliability and internal consistency of the SAT on skills measurements in the areas of critical reading, mathematics and the writing section of the SAT. Parties bought in for this study were content specialists, measurement experts as well as cognitive psychologist. These experts conducted test using the two forms of the SAT on 500 juniors in high school with 17 school participating two scores were computed (1) internal consistency and (2) alternative-form reliability. Estimates of alternative –form reliability of each skill, Pearson product moment correlated estimated within skills across the form, that is, raw number correct score on the form was correlated with corresponding raw number and correct score on the form. Alternative-form reliability estimates ranged from zero to one with higher values. This aspects of the study concluded that students performed about the same and most students exhibited acceptable alternative-form reliability.

In the areas of internal consistency estimates at the skill level total test level varied by the SAT ( i. e., critical reading, mathematics and writing), but not by form (i.e., form 1 versus form 2). Internal consistency was estimated separately from skill by the form using the formula for Cronbach Alpha for both forms. The internal consistency estimates at the total level were .93 for critical reading .92 for mathematics, and .83 for writing. On the skill level the internal consistency estimates from both forms ranged from .69 to .81 for mathematics, .68 to.81 critical reading and for writing .40 to 67. Findings showed that for the exception of writing skills, most students exhibited acceptable internal consistency.

Deferential Validity of the SAT-V and SAT-M

From the beginning, the SAT has been found to have reasonably good validation for predicting college achievement. Also it has been found consistently that the SAT increases the validity of high school average or rank. Burton (2001) points that studies made in 1927 showed a median validity of school records of .52, a median validity of the SAT of .34, and of the combination of both, .55. For school of engineering, science, business, education, and liberal art, the high school record is more valid than the SAT but the SAT supplements the high school record with additional valid variance. Expect in engineering the SAT-V is generally more predictive than SAT- M. How well the SAT-V and the SAT-M correlate?

Research of test content over the years has shown it is possible to construct  sub-test which measure these two academically important aptitudes. Test conducted by the Indiana University yielded these results: the SAT obtained validity coefficients of .54 and .41 for SAT-V and SAT-M respectively. Publication by the College Board shows that the SAT has validity for predicting freshman grade point averages(validity coefficients usually range between .30 and .55) and the achievement test have acceptable validity for predicting grades in appropriate subjects(coefficients also usually range between .30 and.55) (Educational Test, n. d.).

In the category of predictive validity studies, Burton (2001) meta-analysis of studies of classes graduating between 1980 and 2000 found that combined SAT scores accurately predicted many measures of success in college. Additionally, Burton confirmed that high school GPA and SAT scores were consistent and equally precise predictors of college success of women and African-Americans students, and differently-abled students; that although SAT scores under-predicted theses groups’ college GPAs, high schools under-predicted their performance to the same extent.

Additional predictive validity studies focused on the SAT‘s ability to predict college success for specific populations. Ting (2000) found that SAT mathematics scores and students’ realistic a self-appraisal contributed most significantly to freshman GPA for Asian American students. SAT mathematics scores may have been useful predictors whereas verbal scores were not because Asian Americans tend to value applied science more highly than humanities and pursue technical degrees. In a study of the factors that enhance SAT prediction for African-Americans students, Fleming (2002) found that the SAT best predicted undergraduate GPA for black males at traditionally black colleges.

When African-American were study in relationship to attendance at black colleges, the predictive validity of the SAT for African-American students rose from .46 to.57 suggesting that non-academic, adjustment factors of black students in white colleges, rather than test bias, account for SAT’s under-prediction of minority students’ GPAs. (Fleming, 2000).
Other researchers have established that SAT’s construct validity by studying the extent to which SAT scores vary according to theoretical predictions. For example Everton and Millsap (2004) found that educational opportunities and experience both inside and outside the classroom correlated with SAT scores; the fact students who are better educated perform better on the SAT supports the claim that measures learned knowledge and skills rather than wealth or prowess with the multiple-choice format. Additionally, latent variables models indicated that educational experience inside the classroom, through extracurricular activities, and at home moderated the relationship between socioeconomic status and SAT achievement.


Over the years there has been much controversy over the relevance of the SAT. Since its inception it has been the single most important tool for college and university admissions. This has caused a lot of feeling to run deep concerning it dominates in the lives of so many individuals. But why is this? Research has shown that it is indeed a reliable tool in predicting student success and performance. It has been proven to have validity in terms of relevance. But issues seem to stem around “Should this be the primary factor in determining the future of a young individual who are attempting to meet standards for which they were not prepared”.

The SAT have modified its versions of this test but never it basic standards and this has been a source of review for many decades. This is why the test is not without its detractors, some whom regard it as a tool of the academic establishment. No attempt is made to adjust SAT scores for sex,socioeconomic status, race or educational background and in this writers opinion it should not. Such attempts would render the test ineffective However, predictability is much more substantial with the use of high school grades to assistance in the right program for the right student.

The SAT’s statistical properties are remarkable, yet the test and its makers are frequently criticized for the SAT’s biases. However, these biases are not inherent in the test but the result from the ways in which the test is used and biases of the American culture. It is not the SAT’s fault that people track negligible difference in aggregated SAT scores as if they determined a municipality’s or an ethnic group’s worth. It is no the fault of the SAT that students attend more crowded and less academically rigorous schools (and often are members of minority groups) does not perform well on the test. There must be some changes to help our young people but it must first start in the home.

Buchmann, Condron, and Rosigino (2010), Shadow education, American style: Test preparation,
SAT and college enrollment. Social Force, 88 (2), 436-462.
Burton , N (2001), Predicting success in college SAT studies of classes graduating since 1980 (College Board Research Report No. 2001-2) Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Services.
Camara, W. J. and Echtermaht, G. (2000), The SAT I and high school grades: Utility in predicting success in college (College Board Research Notes RN-10) . Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Services.
College Board (2005) SAT FAQ. Retrieved June 31, 2011 from
Dorans, N (2002), The recentering of SAT scores and its effects on score distributions and score interpretations. (College Board Research Report No. 2002-11) Princeton, NJ: Education Testing Service.
Educational Testing, S. (n.d), College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test. Retrieved June 31, 2011 from
Educational Testing, S (n.d.) College Entrance Examination Board Admission Testing Pogram. Retrieved
June 31, 2011 from
Everston, H. T. and Millsap, R. E. (2004), Beyond individual differences: Exploring school effects on SAT scores. Educational Psychology, 39, 157-172
Ewing, M., Huff, K., Andrews, M. and King, K. (2006) Assessing the reliability of skills measured by the SAT. Office of Research and Analysis, Research Notes, 24, pg. 1-8, College BoardFleming, J (2002), Who will succed in college? When the SAT predicts black students ’performance. The Review of Higher Education, 25, 281-296
Freedle, R. O. (2003), Correcting the SAT’s ethnic and social-class bias: A method for re-estimating SAT scoring. Harvard Educational Review 73 (1) p.1-43.
Hale, G. A. (1992), A comparison of the predictive validity of the current SAT and Experimental Prototype. Research Report. Educational Testing Services 92 (32), p.1-61.
Geiser, S. (2009), Back to basics: In defense of achievement (and achievement test) in college admissions. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 41 (1), 16-23.
Geiser, S. and Studley, R. (2002), UC and SAT: Predictive validity and differential impact of the SAT
and SAT II at the University of California. Educational Assessment, 8 (1), p. 1-26.
Rothstein, J. (n. d.) SAT scoring, high school, and collegiate performance predictions. Retrieved June from 31, 2011 from http://wwwjrothat/
Nathan , J. S. and Camara, W. J. (1998), Score changes when retaking the SAT: I reasoning test (College Board Research No. 1998-05) Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Services.
Stickler, L (2007), A critical review of the SAT: Menace or mid-mannered measure? TCNJ Journal of Student Scholarship, 9
Ting, S. R. (2000), Predicting Asian Americans, academic performance in the first year of college: An approach combinig SAT scores and non-cognitive variables. Journal of College Development 41, 442-449.

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Social Learning:How Children/Adolescents Learn through Self-Regulation and Reinforcements

by Lester Long Jr.  MS CPC BS CSS CADC CPS                                                 


       The social learning theory posits that learning comes through modeling and observation. It is therefore important to see how much impact the self-regulatory process has in the utilization of this learning on children/adolescent goal achievement. Self- regulatory strategies are also important in developing a pathway to success and none  more important than motivation. Positive reinforcement is a central key to maintaining self-efficacy and self-esteem- two elements that lead to goal achievement. This is true with children as well as adolescents. In the area of academic learning, past instruction may have been based on teaching all students the same way without consideration of ability or culture but more studies have shown that individualized learning couple with self-regulation and reinforcement can enhance success.

Social Learning:

How Children/Adolescents Learn through Self-regulation and   Reinforcements

The impact of social learning and self-regulated learning has on students both children and adolescents can be tremendous in terms academic success. The social learning theory provides us with an understanding of how modeled behavior through observation is reinforced and processed. This review will attempt to explain the importance of how self-regulatory processing helps students develop goals and how through a process of metacognition bring them to reality.  This analysis will demonstrate the role feedback plays in dynamic cognitive activity of students and how it unfolds during self-regulated learning. It will also show how discriminative stimuli play an important role in developing intrinsic self-regulation.  This operant conditioning component and self-regulation help students chose the most optimal strategies in seeking goal achievement. Social learning working with these  other two components is the often the key to the development of students’ achievement.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The

The basic foundation of any degree of learning is the ability to processing information. This must occur in order for students to be effective in any transfer process. Social theorists posit that learning is a process that requires a cognitive ability to process through observation and recall.  The self-regulatory process provides not only that ability, but the ability to determine options. We will show the importance of utilizing these strategies in self-directed learning.

Operant conditioning therapists posit that reinforcement provides motivational strategies that enhance student learning. We will show how reinforcement working hand and hand with social learning help students develop a sense of self-efficacy and better self-esteem. These two factors are important in helping students become efficient learners. Butler and Winne (1995) point out that in an academic context; self-regulation is a style of engaging in task in which students exercise a suite of powerful skills.  These skills through a self-monitoring process bring about desired objectives. It is important for us to understand that in the self-regulated learning process discrepancies often exist between current and desired performance role in directing educational achievement, so it is important that self-regulatory students, both children and adolescents, develop self-reinforcement through intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. An understanding of these strategies should help educational psychologist develop a better understanding of enhancing teaching methods.

Social Learning and Self-regulation

The social learning theory posits that children learn through a process of modeling and observation and that this learning develops as a result of a number of environmental factors. Broderick and Blewitt (2010) point out that this kind of learning, one person (the learner) observes another (the model) performing some behavior, and from just close observation, learns to do it too. However, in the reproduction of this behavior one finds that there are negative consequences if a self regulatory process does not take place. Schunk (2006) points out that self-regulated behavior involves choosing among alternative courses of action, typically deferring an immediate reinforcement in favor of a different, usually greater, future reinforcement.  An adolescent might decide that going to college is more important than drinking alcohol and hanging out with friends. This in the self-regulatory process context, is a decision to choose a greater reinforcer.   So as children, we develop self-regulatory processes which consist of the ability, not only to observe behaviors but to process them based on reinforcements and the effects thereof.  The determining factor in many cases, as to whether a particular behavior is modeled, is often based on consequential processing. See the behavior, modeling the behavior but in addition to the reinforcement, process whether the consequence may be greater than the reinforcement. In addition to a self-regulatory process, self monitoring plays an important role in the metacogntion process.  Schunk (2006) points out that self-monitoring, help students become more aware of existing behaviors that assist them in evaluating and improving behaviors. Self-monitoring students are students who constantly check and re-check situations and circumstances.

Self-regulation has come to be more emphasized in the social learning theory. Ormrod (1999) points out that the self-regulatory process is when the individual has his or her own ideas about what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior and chooses action accordingly. The self-regulation and social learning are integral parts of each other because social learning provides children with an understanding of standards through an observational processes and self-regulation provides them with the options to judge that which is workable and that which is not. Social learning theorist point out that promoting self-regulation can be an important technique. This is done by teaching individuals to reward him or herself after doing the needed behavior. Self-regulation provides social learning, not only with the ability to set of standards and goals, but master them with self-observation, self-judgment, and self-reaction. Self- regulation works hand and hand with social learning to promote self-instruction, self-monitoring, and self-reinforcement.

Abromitis (2010) argues that self-regulated learners are those who possess a systematic approach to their actions including the act of absorbing knowledge, mastering a performance, or thinking metacognitively. Bandura (1985) described this type of learner as an agent in a larger social cognitive model, where a student’s personal characteristics and behavioral patterns are intertwined with environmental factors associated with the task that determine the extent to which the learner is successful. The self-regulatory system elaborates on this model by looking closely at what an individual brings to a specific task and  during the completion of the task, whether it is playing a sport, doing a chore, or completing a classroom assignment. Intrinsic/ extrinsic motivation and self-efficacy plays an important role in the promotion of the self-regulatory process. Teacher can promote self-regulation by assisting students with prioritizing assignment and time management and help children with breaking down larger task into smaller one to make them more obtainable (Schunk, 2006).  Bandura (1997) makes it clear that teacher who consider their students’ self-efficacy beliefs, goal setting, strategy use, and other forms of self-regulation in their instructional plans not only enhance students’ academic knowledge, but they also increase their students’ capability for self-directed learning throughout their life span. Bandura (1986) posits that self-regulation is important because it promotes not only self-regulation but self-instruction, self-judgment, self-monitoring and self-reinforcement. However, the following conditions are necessary in order to be a successful regulator- Bandura’s social modeling conditions: Attention, retention, motor skills and motivation. Probably one of the most important aspects of self-regulation is vicarious learning. This process of learning produces a self-reinforcement that provides motivation for that student’s goal achievement.

Combined Systems of Conditioning and Cognition

The Social Learning Theory defined by Corsini and Wedding (2008) is a system that combines operant and classical conditioning with cognitive meditational processes. This, according to Corsini and Wedding, account for the development, maintenance, and modification of behavior. These qualities are extremely important to the self-regulatory process.  Zimmerman (1998) points out that research of self-regulation grew out of the efforts to explain a proactive effort of students to learn on their own –their personal initiative, resourcefulness, persistence, and sense of responsibility. For these proactive properties to emerge, self-motivation is necessary as well as self-directed learning competence. Self-regulatory models are also distinctive because they seek to understand academic studying from the student’s perspective, especially his or her self-image as a learner. Operant conditioning is also important to the self-regulatory process.  Schunk (2006) points out that from an operant conditioning perspective, one decides which behaviors to regulate. In addition, it establishes discriminative stimuli as a means to evaluate performance in terms of whether it matches standards and administers reinforcement.

Self-regulatory Strategies

Students that develop self-regulatory strategies tend to be more goals oriented towards successful task performance. Weinstein and Mayer (1986) make it clear that strategies include activities such as selecting and organizing information, rehearsing material to be learned, relating new information in memory, and enhancing new material. Techniques that can be employed is creating and maintaining a positive climate: for example, developing ways to overcome test anxiety enhance self-efficacy, and students learning to appreciate the value in learning, as well as developing positive outcomes expectations and attitudes.  Use of strategies is an integral part of self-regulated learning because strategies give learners better control over information processing (Winne, 2001).

Schunk (2006) posits that learning strategies are important because they assist in each phase of encoding. Thus, the learner attends to relevant task information and then transfers it from the sensory register to the Working Memory (WM). Learners, in addition, activate relate knowledge in the Long Term Memory (LTM). In WE, learners build connections between new information and prior knowledge and integrate these links into LTM.  The individual set of self-regulation strategies that are usually used by successful students fall into three categories: personal, behavioral, and environmental. The personal strategies include: organizing and transforming information, goal setting, planning/standards setting, keeping records and rehearsing and memorizing. The behavioral include: Self-evaluation and self consequating. The final self-regulated strategies (environmental) include: Information seeking, environmental structuring, and seeking social assistance.

Dunn (1997) points out that there are a range of behavioral responses to sensory input that reflect the child’s self-regulation strategies. He continues to point out that at the end of this continuum there are passive self-regulatory strategies, in which the person lets sensory events occur. Passive self-regulation can mean that the person missed things or felt overtaken by things that are happening around them. For example, a person with passive self-regulation might miss the visual input of facial expressions or gestures during socialization. Conversely, a person with passive self-regulation might notice everyone fidgeting in class, and this input could complete with the teacher’s lecture.

At the other end of the continuum are active self-regulation strategies; people with active strategies select and engage in behaviors to control their own sensory experiences (Dunn, 1997). Accordingly, active self-regulation can yield more or less sensory input. For example, a person might hum or whistle while playing cards to add sensory input to keep attentive to the game. Conversely, a person might move to a quiet room while studying as a means of controlling auditory input to increase concentration. Both passive and active strategies for self-regulation can be helpful and useful to the person or can interfere with the ability to participate in daily life.

Zimmerman (2000) posits that the study of improvement in self-regulation for learning is a field of great current interest, however, it is quite accepted that the lack of self-regulation strategies in learning leads to poor learning processes and poor performance. The lack of performance in our school system today is directly link to poor self-regulated strategies. It is important that more study in this area continue. We must find and develop better ways and means for teachers to assist students in improving self-regulated strategies in order that directed goals of learning can be reached.  Likewise, self-regulatory strategies once learned must be utilized by students through metacognition to improve performance.

At the social level, consideration and treatment of this problem is equally apparent as it has been assigned much relevance in recent years. (Romera,n.d.) points out that the increasing proliferation of councils directed towards instruction in learning strategies and techniques is without a doubt, a clear example of this in an educational context, and in response to this growing interest, is the ever-increasing evidence of close ties between learning strategies and academic performance. It seems necessary to put effective procedures for evaluating students in the use of such strategies at the disposition of educators throughout the various educational stages.  (Romera, n. d.) also points out that evaluation of learning strategies has been insufficiently applied in our schools to date, especially in Early Childhood Education. The circumstance is due, among other reasons, to the indirect nature of procedures used to get at the strategic behavior of students, such as is the case in using reference systems like language or the observation of displayed behaviors.

Social Learning, Reinforcement, and Adolescence

Social learning theorist posits that children learn as a result of observation and modeling and the reproduction of that modeling process is an indicator of learn precision. These socially learned children develop beliefs and values as well as behaviors that carry into adolescents. However, there is an attempt by many adolescents to develop their own identity as well as beliefs and values and sometimes this attempted identity does not always fit with the “norms” of the larger society.  Adolescence is the time that peer pressure is at its height. Young adults want to be accepted by other young adults, especially if they see that peer behavior is reinforced. However, many of the beliefs, values and behaviors of peers cause direct conflict with childhood beliefs, values, and behaviors and this can cause cognitive dissonance. The anxiety suffered from this situation, however, may in some cases enhance, the self-regulatory process. Because the adolescent is given two distinct alternatives from which they have to choose and the most optimal chose can lesson anxiety when behaviors become more consistent with values and beliefs.

When evaluating childhood experiences negative or abnormal behavior starts way before adolescence. It many cases it starts with early childhood as result of observed or modeled of parental behaviors. Zimmerman (1988) posits that self- regulation measures adolescents’ ability to monitor their activities, assess their performances, motive them, and maintain resiliency… Self-regulation draws on social cognitive functioning, and therefore adolescence is a particular salient developmental period for the creation of self-regulation. Self-control is one element of self-regulation and as adolescence foster to maturity, it given them greater control over their impulses and help them act more appropriately. Adolescents rely on both external and internal resources for future success.

In the area of educational achievement, adolescents’ future plans are often not accompanied by specific strategies for achieving educational and occupational goals.  The majority of adolescents today expect to attend college; in fact, adolescents attend college in higher numbers than ever before (Schneider &Stevenson, 1999). Because of the highly ambitious nature of young people today, completion is more intense than ever before, and adolescents must develop a greater self-regulatory process to achieve their goals. Research on self-regulation’s role in education has generally focused on academic achievement. Students who display higher levels of self-regulation perform better on academic task (Zimmerman and Bandura, 1994). Self-regulation of learning is extended and applied to academic success in terms of taking the steps of transitioning to postsecondary education or gainful employment. Being a self-regulated student prepares one for immediate academic success. Owens and Schneider (2005) revealed that longitudinal interview data from 50 adolescents indicted that an early sense of realism, or knowledge about requirements of one’s future goals, contributes to adolescents’ self-regulation, or willingness to regulate actions to achieve those goals.


In summary, the social learning theory, self-regulation through reinforcement work to enhance student achievement. These are important because self-regulation helps students with a process to monitor and modify behaviors that may be counter-productive to meeting set objectives. Children, as well as, adolescents learn to reproduce behaviors that are given positive reinforcement. It is important than that the observation of a given model can provide students with the ability to develop a pathway to goal achievement. Motivation plays a key role in developing a self-regulatory process because it includes contextual factors. Motivation places the responsibility on student as well as the teacher. It also determines how much energy a student is willing to put in to achieve desired goals.

In this review we attempted to touch on a number of areas regarding the self-regulatory process, but none more important than how Dunn (1997) described ‘people with active strategies select and engage in behaviors to control their own sensory experiences’ (p.1). It is important to note that the development of the ability to take in information and utilize it to the advantage of the learner has a great deal to do with that person’s maturity level to regulate. The self-regulatory process is of great interest to researchers today because it helps to provide an answer to a basic question; “why some students excel and others don’t”?

We have come to understand that academically successful students are students that successfully development the following strategies: Personal, Behavioral and Environmental. We have also observed that adolescence is a time when students are truly faced with chooses and must implore self-regulatory strategies that can have a impact both on educational and occupational success in the future. These skills become extremely important in making decisions about college and what area of study best fits the individual.

It appears that self-motivation and self-efficacy plays an important role in how students see themselves in terms of success. This review hopefully has shown us that when a self-regulatory process and metacognition is successfully implored by the student, he or she can reach their highest potential. This review has examine many different views of educational psychologist but the one thing they seem to all agree upon is that more research is essential.


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