Reflections on the John’s Hopkins Study

Assignment – Discussion – Research & Literacy: From a Humanistic perspective, reflect on the course content, the course readings and other scholarly sources pertaining to research with children and the socio-economic-cultural-political contexts.

What comes up for you as you review the Johns Hopkins’ timeline?

When I first learned about John Hopkin’s study, I was both saddened and surprised that it was conducted in the mid-1990s. It was awful to read about the consequences it had on some of the participants and how they were almost certainly treated as statistics rather than individuals.

After reading several news articles on the subject, I realized that the subject was likely more complicated than I had imagined and that I would need to spend additional time researching it before forming an opinion. As an example, many people were already living in lead-contaminated homes, according to an ABC News article (Moisse, 2011). Furthermore, according to Don Ryan, executive director of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, children who moved into lead-contaminated homes were actually safer than their neighbors, and the study resulted in a policy change that resulted in a 93% reduction in lead poisonings in Baltimore (Moisse, 2011).

Despite the apparent complexity, my initial reaction remained unchanged after conducting additional research on the subject. Although it is common in a fear-based mentality for the end to justify the means, I believe that this mindset is unacceptable when conducting scientific research, and I truly recognize the value of ethical review boards to assist in maintaining regulatory compliance.

What, if any, implications might this have for you as a developing researcher, scholar, and/or practitioner? In other words, let’s assume these were well intended researchers who simply missed the adverse impact. How might you learn from this to assist in not replicating such oversight? 

The most important realization for me is the importance of approaching a problem from multiple perspectives in order to better anticipate unfavorable outcomes, as well as seeking assistance from more experienced and knowledgeable researchers who can assist with the process. Finally, I believe it is always critical to remain “heart-centered” and listen to that internal sense of what feels right or wrong, rather than being overly influenced by the desire to succeed at any cost.

How might this impact ‘other’ groups’ responsiveness to social scientists? 

I believe it is extremely unfortunate when people are harmed or suffer in any way as a result of social science research. I hope that the number of instances of research causing harm to individuals is limited, as are the ramifications of a negative impact on social science research.

As you strengthen your comprehension of what is meant by humanistic psychology, what, if any, other comments or questions arise for you?

As a practitioner of humanistic psychology, I am interested in overtime progressing toward realizing my true potential as a human being, more precisely toward a state of consciousness where virtues such as love, wisdom, and the uniqueness of others are fully respected and valued. While I find it fairly easy to do this on an idealistic level or when circumstances are favorable, I find it more difficult to apply these values to myself and others in situations I find somewhat challenging, such as I am fearful, exhausted, or otherwise out of balance. I’ve discovered that doing some sort of introspective practice on a daily basis helps me stay honest with myself. While meditating in the evening and in a state of self-compassion, it feels like my subconscious mind is reviewing the day and my reactions to it, informing me of times when I acted inconsistently with my authentic self, meaning when I thought one thing, felt another, and possibly even did a third thing.

This developmental psychology course has improved my understanding of several aspects of becoming a more authentic version of myself, as well as how I can assist my clients in doing the same. All of the research articles and literature reviews, as well as the assignments and papers we completed in this course, have increased my understanding of humanistic and developmental psychology significantly. Two of my favorite assignments were writing papers on attachment theory and identity formation. Finally, I often think about how lucky I am to have found a university with a humanistic perspective, as opposed to a more traditional psychodynamic or behaviorist perspective. I really feel at home in the humanistic approach to understanding human nature and dealing with all of the challenges that come with living a fulfilling and gratifying life.


Moisse, K. (2011, September 16). Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute Sued Over Lead Paint Study. ABC News.

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