Mid-Term group 8

Angela Gonzalez 

How does pornography affect our brain?

“Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction, tolerance, and an eventual decrease in pleasure.” (4) Although pornography is seen by many as a ‘healthy’ entertainment, it can become an addiction that controls a person’s life. In the past, factors that made people addicts were considered to be only substances that were inhaled into the body. Thus, pornography wasn’t considered a possible factor of addiction. However, studies have demonstrated that pornography alters the way our reward pathway system works in our brains; making pornography as addictive as any drug. Pornography can drive people to cross their moral limits, as it may change the sexual taste.  Yet, to be able to understand how can porn become an addiction is important to first understand the way our brain works in relation to addiction.

In our brain, there is a reward network, that evaluates anything that brings us satisfaction. After the information is evaluated, it is taken to the reward pathway center where “our sense of pleasure is first produced.” (1) Things like, “food, sex, drugs are all registered as delicious, as something we want more off,” it releases chemicals such as dopamine or adrenaline in our brains and these makes us feel good. (1)  Healthy people are able to control the need of this chemicals in their brain. Indeed, a person that is in control of their instincts and body can per say love sweets, but know that they have to control the intake as it could make them obese. Yet, while a healthy person can wait to satisfy the crave, people with addiction cannot. In an experiment made by the Cambridge University, MRI scans of the brain were made to those that considered themselves to be porn addicts and a control group.  In the experiment what was mainly observed was the reward center of the individuals while seeing strong pornographic videos, and the comparisons between the two groups were astounding.

Although, the reward center of the control group was definitely activated while watching pornography, “the compulsive user’s brain was twice as active, just as addicts responding to drugs and alcohol.” (1) The brain reacts to porn like it does with any other addictive substance, the more a person watches the more need it creates towards it. “Porn offers an endless stream of hyper-sexual images that flood the brain with high levels of dopamine every time the user clicks on a new image.” (1) At the beginning, everything is triggering and the brain reacts to it immediately. Yet, as the brain starts to get used to the images it perceives, the dopamine doses release are not the same. Thus, the brain begins to crave new things that can create the same activation of these chemicals in the brain. Here is where addiction starts, people with this problem create a dependence on porn as it makes them feel good; and they are always looking for more. Sexual addicts begin to explore new things crossing even their own moral limits  combining things like violence and pleasure and much more. (4)

These chemicals and sensations are important as they motivate us, giving a glimpse of happiness to the monotonous lives we sometimes live. Yet, food, drugs or indeed porn become an issue as we create a dependence on them. Thes addictions are most of the times related to intense emotions. Thus, to not fall into this habits that can destroy our life is important to be aware of how our feelings are making us react, and seek for help when there is need of it. Anything in extremes can become harmful for our body and mind.


  1. Porn on the Brain. Perf. Dr. Valerie Voon at Cambridge University. Youtube. N.p., 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
  2. How Porn Affects the Brain. Fight the New Drug, 10 July 2013. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
  3. “Porn Addiction Recovery.” Cure the Craving. Youtube, 7 Sept. 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
  4. @FightTheNewDrug. “Home – Fight the New Drug.” Fight the New Drug. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
  5. Hendriksen, Ellen. “Your Brain on Porn and Other Sexual Images.” Scientific American. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Mitchell Landeros

Further Analysis:

Pornography is the displaying of sexual activity intended to stimulate erotic instead of aesthetic feelings. Although it can bring temporary sexual pleasure; what is pornography doing to the brain in the long run? “A recent neurology study found that the more porn a man watched the less gray matter he had in his brain.” [1] Although some may argue that self-pleasure from pornography healthy, it can surely become addicting. “…all addictions create, in addition to chemical changes in the brain, anatomical and pathological.” [2] These changes usually result in the various manifestation of cerebral dysfunction best known as “hypo-frontal syndromes.”

A study in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry showed that men who reported watching porn showed less volume and activity in the striatum (connected to reward processing and motivation). [1] As stated before, some may argue that porn can be healthy. However, the gray matter (intelligence) in males who watch pornography decreased. What supports this statement is the less processing and motivation the men who watch porn have. An additional observation that was made was “connectivity between the striatum and the prefrontal cortex (used for decision making, planning, and behavior regulation) weakened the more porn the men reported watching.” [1] In other words saying men who watch pornography have trouble with their everyday life. With your ability for decision making being weakened, one is unable to function productively throughout the day. Without being able to plan properly, one can easy be late to work, whether it’s public transportation or self-transportation. With their behavior regulation being compromised, they can end up with road range or just another angry subway rider.

Donald L. Hilton Jr. and Clark Watts stated that hypo-frontal syndromes (well known to neuroscientist) are seen in tumors, strokes, and trauma. Patients with traumatic injuries to the cortex display problems–aggressiveness, poor judgment of future consequences, inability to inhibit inappropriate responses that are similar to those observed in substance abusers.” [2] With injuries to the cortex one can make a poor judgment of future consequences which can result in minor/fatal situations such as an automotive accident or an aggressive exchange of words.

From these studies, we can take away that sexual imagery is both not as bad as we think, but probably worse than we think. A moderate amount of pornography might affect the brains of men but don’t seem to affect their mental health. [1]


  1. Hendriksen, Ellen. “Your Brain on Porn and Other Sexual Images.” Scientific American. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
  2. Pornography addiction: A neuroscience perspective

Donald L. Hilton, Jr and Clark Watts1

Research Project – Group 8

Angela Gonzalez

Motivation is the explanation for the decisions or judgments we make in our everyday life; our attitudes towards tasks and simple actions depend on this called motivation. Yet, motivation is a type 1 thinking. Therefore, even when the pattern of our day might be led by how motivated we are while doing something, we don’t necessarily realize this (as it is part of our unconscious.) There are two types of motivations, Extrinsic motivation, and Intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic Motivation is when something tangible from the outside gives us the impulse to make a decision. We are given a positive or negative reinforcement that motivates us to do something, either because we want to avoid a punishment or because we are trying to gain something, like for example money. However, intrinsic motivation lead to decisions we make based on our inside feelings and emotions.

Intrinsic motivations are driven by anything that touches our emotions, these motivations are based on how happy a decision makes us. They give us this feeling of  empowerment and self-motivation, it’s the belief that we can accomplish our goals. Thus, there is a possibility, we create visions of where we will be if we succeed. Our mind asks different questions to our unconscious: “do you believe you can do it? will it work?” but the most important is the motivational question: “is it worth it?” Because behind this decisions there are consequences and we need to have accountability for them. (Scott Geller.) Therefore, if we believe that it is worth doing something, then we will be pushed towards the pursuit of this idea.

Furthermore, as humans, with this motivation we look for a sense of social support and acceptance; which is one of the principal things that move us forward. Yet, it is important to remark that this kind of social support does not involve the reward of a motivation, the decision to do something must come from the individual alone.“When you perceive choice you perceive motivation,” (Ellen langer) otherwise motivation is driven away. “Human beings want to – and in a deeper way need to- feel a sense of being autonomous ..” rewards take away our autonomy because “now [we] are doing it for something else.” (Shankar Vedantam)  We are no longer motivated, we are not longer doing it for our own happiness and empowerment, but because we will more likely gain something. And your language pretty much changes from ‘I want to’ to ‘I have to’(Scott Geller.)

After understanding this concept, I was able to look at my own experiences and see how motivation affected my life in the past. From a very young age, I’ve always love to swim. I was told that when I was of the age of 5 to 6 years I would jump inside big pools without saying anything and  my parents had to pretty much jump to save me from drowning. Since we lived in Cali Colombia a place where pools are almost everywhere and were also the weekend entertainment of my family,  they put me on classes as soon as they could. From then on I was always in different courses, on and off and it became my passion. As I grew and started High School I got the opportunity to join a swimming group that trained and competed against other schools. The training was intense, we would be in the pool from Wednesday to Friday and Saturdays we worked out at the gym; as intense as it was I love every single bit of it. I was really motivated and became one of the best within my category.I trained hard for a whole year until my mother made it seem as if it was my obligation, rather than my hobby. If I didn’t go to training I wouldn’t be able to go out with my friends and every time we would talk about it, everything that I had accomplished was because of her efforts rather than mine. My motivation went away and I stopped going to class and by the time I decided to go back everyone was ahead of me. Thus, I decided to stop going which now is one of my biggest regrets


TEDxTalks. “The Psychology of Self-motivation | Scott Geller | TEDxVirginiaTech.” YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

LisaFosbender. “Psychology 101: Psychological Theories of Motivation.” YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Vedantam, Shankar. “When Play Becomes Work.” Www.Washingtonposts.com. Department of Human Behavior, 28 July 2008. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

Cameron Merisier

I believe that when people can’t guess at a motivation, their brains are not satisfied. Their brains are not satisfied because we are driven to want answers. Type one thinking in my opinion is the reason doctors and scientists that constantly tries to find cures for diseases and viruses or causes for diseases and viruses, and they would do all the research and experiments necessary to find the answer. Another example is historians trying to find out unsolved mysteries. For example, what did Adolph Hitler have against the Jews or who is Jack the Ripper. We are wired to want to receive answers and explanation and when we receive it, our brain cherishes it.

Mitchell Landero

Motivation is view when a boy is always asking for a toy where ever the mother takes him. This toy to him is like a reward but he is a problematic child at home with an attitude and no control to listen. His mother pays no mind for he always does a seen in the location and knows that he doesn’t deserve anything due to the fact he is not passing his math class. The mothers realized that she had to change his mindset and persuade him to exceptional. The mother sets out an agreement where she will buy him a toy for every 85 and higher he brings home on a math test every two weeks. This agreement gave him the motivation or a drive to do exceptional. His instinct was to study because at the end of the day he would come home to something he wanted. So by the parent taking this authority to set out a plan it leads him to have a desire to chase his needs. This also is a positive reinforcement because it makes him study hard to get want he wants and the mother becomes more satisfied with his son’s grades.

Motivation is the reason behind the behavior or actions one acts in a particular way. The curiosity behind the motivation is the explanation of why we ask questions majority of the time its “why” and get an explanation. The explanation leads to the observation of a person’s drive, need or want. This process isn’t really seen or recognized because it’s done unconsciously. Many have motivations in life seen by people and even animals when they desire or are in necessity of possessing an object. A person’s instinct or drive is someone’s natural reaction to a certain situation put in. There is also two more motivations which are total opposites and those are want and need. Want is desire for something and need is the lack of subsistence.

Mitchell Landero’s Learning Observation.

Who: My Girlfriend’s Nephew.

When: September 10, 2016.

With Who: My girlfriend’s family gathering.

Throughout our daily life we are constantly observing and learning. On Saturday night, my I attended a family party from my girlfriend, she has a three year old nephew that always misbehaves in family gatherings. However, he got used to being given chocolate every time he stayed close and didn’t hit another child. the more he behave the more chocolate he received. The chocolate would serve as a reinforcement to behave well and I witnessed how he would act just to receive one. He was learning and observing that his parents will reward him with a chocolate if he behaved good and if he did something bad her nephew would learn that his actions caused him not to get a chocolate. Eventually he learned and observed by other children how to receive a chocolate.

Angela Gonzalez – Learning observation.

I have a 14 years old niece with whom I started living 3 years ago, and to be honest it is quite fun for me to see her grow as many times I see myself reflected on her for all the drama that being 14 represents. A few months ago she came back from her other house (As she lives with us and her mother,) with her hair cut as if someone had just taken the scissors, close their eyes and given her a haircut; it was pretty bad. Yet, as soon as she came through the door she started telling us that the woman who gave her the haircut was trying to make this hairstyle on her and that suddenly she heard her said “Ups.” Supposedly when she looked up she had this uneven and really short hairs on the front of her head, and that the hairstylist took more hair from the back and cut it to try to make it seem better. The story seemed weird but everybody started laughing and in the middle of that her little brother said, “But you told Mami Mami (her mother at the other house) that it was grandma (my mother) who did it.”  And that made everyone stop and the whole scene change from laughter to tension. My sister, who is her stepmother, turned red and she was pissed not just because of the lie but because the lie was involving my mother, who actually is a hairstylist. When she calmed down she sat down with her and made her understand that she wasn’t mad because she cut her hair, it’s her hair after all and she is done that before, but that lying is never a solution for anything and much less giving another person a bad reputation. After that they both looked for a punishment, it consisted in an essay of why her actions were wrong, and her iPhone was changed to a flip phone for the rest of the summer, and she couldn’t go out with friends for a week. She was feeling really bad and she hated every single bit of the punishment but she agreed to it. She also called my mom and hers to explain the situation and apologize. However, as talked in class how do we know that a person actually learns the lesson? Well, when she came home last weekend with a ‘new hair style,’ we looked at her and even though nobody said anything she said, “OK OK it is a bad idea to cut my own hair.” She hasn’t had any problems with lying and although it could be because she hasn’t been caught, I do believe she learned her lesson. I grew up in a family that used to be more violent at the moment of correcting a child, but I believe that there are so many batter ways to approach situations like this one and to me, this was a proven example of that. Living with my niece and her parents has made me realize that parenthood is tough and that even when parents seem to have all the answers they not always do. Yet, they are testing different strategies and trying their best to teach us important values that will help us in life.

This was a personal observation. The first part of it was made the early days of summer 2016 on an evening in the living room of an apartment in Brooklyn. The second part of it was made on September 9 in the same place.

Angela Gonzalez – Observation on attention.

As mention in class, children don’t filter out information thus, their span of attention is not big. Since I work a lot with children, this week I’ve been taking a closer look at how they react in different circumstances in reference to their attention. Indeed children of 2 to 3 years old seemed to be easily distracted by small things. This week I was taking care of a 3 years old girl that is really active at all times. She is gotten used to going through my bag every time I get to her house, which is fine with me. But this time I’d forgotten I had a bag of Skittles in it and she went crazy for them. I gave her some but she wanted to keep eating the whole bag; first, I am not allowed to give her any candy, and second it was too late for her to be eating them. Thus, I took the candy away from her, for which she made a scene, and I brought watercolors to her to her attention, as painting is one of the things she loves to do the most. She easily calmed down and changed her attitude as if nothing had happened. Yet, every time she would see my bag she would remember the Skittles and the whole cycle would start again. However, something that I’ve noticed is that with children from 6 and up it gets much harder to trick them into driving their attention to something different than what they want.