1. What is social behavior, and how do both inter- and intra-personal factors influence social interactions in the clinical setting?

Social psychology is a scientific study that seeks to find out how a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the presence of other persons be it actual, implied or imagined. People think, feel and behave in a particular manner when in a given social environment. The thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all psychological variables that are measurable to human beings. Social behavior refers to the way in which individuals and societies interact. More so, social behavior is built into one’s DNA which means we behave the way we do because we are pre-programmed to do so. Examples of some common behaviors include emotions, aggression, love, altruism and feelings.

Social influence refers to the degree in which other people affect one’s behavior, opinions and attitudes. In inter-personal relationships, the participants of an interaction are interdependent in the sense that the behavior of each affects the outcomes of the other. These interactions can be intimate and close or otherwise. There are three ways in which one can be socially influenced by the group namely conformity, compliance and obedience. Intrapersonal factors take place within a single person and influence the way one reflects upon or appreciates something. They include social cognition and social reality, attitudes, perceiving others, attribution as well as persuasion (Dulewicz, Higgs, & Slaski, 2003).

  1. Is there such a thing as ‘true altruism’? Discuss some evolutionary examples as to why altruism is not possible

Altruism refers to a virtue of selflessly helping others. Normally, it is without a reward and at the expense of the individual. Nonetheless, biologists, philosophers, sociologists and psychologists are of the opinion that there is no such a thing as “true altruism”. They imply that is self-interest and not actually the benevolent helping others. The self interest of the benevolent is viewed at in a number of angles. Altruism for instance relieves anxiety probably because they lead to pleasant feelings of pride and satisfaction, expectations of honor or reciprocation, relieving of unpleasant feelings such as guilt and shame of not having acted (Burton, 2012).

There are several evolutionary explanations to altruism. Ethology, which refers to the study of animal behavior, is comprised of among other studies evolutionary psychology. There are several evolutionary bases to altruism. To begin with, kin selection is of the opinion that animals and humans are more altruistic towards close kin than to distant ones and non-kin. The other example is reciprocal altruism which infers that it is beneficial to help others if there is a chance that they can and will reciprocate the help. Cost signaling and the handicap principle on the other hand is of the opinion that altruism might be a signal that the altruist has resources and can be a valuable partner. Again, these examples signify a lack of true altruism as in all the scenarios; the altruist has some vested interests.

  1. What is Dyslexia? Outline what you would say to parents seeking a visual treatment for this disorder?

The term Dyslexia is derived from two Greek words namely Dys (poor/inadequate) and Lexis (speech/words/language). It refers to a language-based learning disability that is represented by a cluster of symptoms that result in people having difficulties with specific language and particular reading. It is not yet clear what causes dyslexia but anatomical and brain imagery studies have shown differences in the way the brain of a person with Dyslexia develops and functions. There are two types of Dyslexia namely acquired and developmental Dyslexia. As for Developmental Dyslexia, the reading ability fails to develop in the usual way whereas Acquired Dyslexia results from a brain trauma, specifically to the left hemisphere, leading to a loss of reading ability.

In as much as Dyslexia is usually traceable to processing disorders in the brain’s language center, dyslexic individuals have other physical problems with their vision. Medically, visual processing issues cannot be cured but there are several strategies and supports that parents can seek to help their children. Visual therapy is a type of eye training that helps improve eye coordination issues. There are three such types of therapies namely optometric vision therapy, behavioral therapy and educational therapy. Optometric vision therapy is used to remedy vision problems that involve eye movements and eye alignment. Behavioral vision therapy involves eye exercises that seek to improve visual perception. Finally, educational therapy helps the children with visual processing issues by teaching them strategies around their weaknesses (Kelly, 2017).

  1. Critically evaluate the evidence for Irlen Syndrome, and whether you should recommend the use of Irlen Lenses to this treat this syndrome.

Irlen Syndrome, since its discovery over three decades ago, has been the subject of scrutiny and criticism in a number of circles particularly optometrists. Also referred to as Scoptic Sensitivity Syndrome, Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder and not an optical problem i.e. a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual problem.  This difficulty in processing visual information leads to situations such as eye strains, mental fatigue, as well as poor performance on visual tasks. Whereas there are studies that support Irlen, there are many grounds as to why it has been heavily criticized.

The grounds used to critique evidence for Irlen Syndrome include among others inappropriate statistics, poor sampling, failure to include a control group, conflicts of interest as well as the lack of theoretical explanatory framework. Optometrists are of the opinion that Irlen Syndrome cannot be corrected through standard optometric interventions. The use of Irlen tinted lenses to ameliorate scotopic sensitivity Syndrome thought to underlie some reading disabilities has been prescribed in recent years. Irlen tinted lenses are said to adjust the way in which the brain interprets visual information. However, research has shown that there is no significant difference in performance between pre- and post-lens prescription. Neale’s analysis of reading ability has been used as the measure (Skiadaresi, 2014).



Burton, N. (2012, March 27). Does True Altruism Exist? Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201203/does-true-altruism-exist

Dulewicz, V., Higgs, M., & Slaski, M. (2003). Measuring emotional intelligence: content, construct and criterion‐related validity. Journal of Managerial Psychology , 405-420.

Kelly, K. (2017). Treatment Options for Visual Processing Issues. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/treatment-options/treatment-options-for-visual-processing-issues

Skiadaresi, E. (2014). Irlen syndrome: expensive lenses for this ill defined syndrome exploit patients. BMJ , 349.

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