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boli0119

  • Posted Complementary and Alternative Medicine to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    A topic that interested me from our psychology book, is complementary and alternative medicine. This, referring to medical products and practices that are not apart of standard care. There are claims that these practices, such as acupuncture and meditation work, but they have not been officially proved to be successful. What surprised me, was that although CAM sounds promising, these therapies may even have potential negative effects as well. Our course book, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, states that "Some impure herbal preparations contain dangerous amounts of lead and arsenic". When the words "herbal" and "natural" come to mind, one thinks that it is obviously safe and beneficial to our health. We should not be mislead by these unproved claims. Furthermore, the FDA doesn't even monitor these products, so it's not guaranteed that these products even contain what they say they do. This is a scary thought. We could be using CAM methods that could put our health at extreme risks. There is a debate about CAM therapies. Some believe that they are highly effective, while some believe they are no stronger then a deceiving placebo. When it comes to this argument, I tend to sit on the fence. Some therapies, such as acupuncture, are hard for me to believe. A lot of these therapies tend to fall into the extraordinary claims fallacy. Using acupuncture as an example, how can you prove that there are meridians that channel "subtle energy or life forces". These therapies, I am unsure of. However, therapies such as yoga and meditation, I can side with. For one, these activities have been correlated with heightened creativity, lowered stress levels, and higher self-esteem. It's unclear why these benefits come from these activities. I think it may be because activities like yoga are related to traditional exercise, and activities like meditation are deep relaxation techniques; which both increase circulation and feeling of accomplishment and well-being. When it comes to CAM therapies, I believe that people just need to be aware of what they are putting into their bodies. I think one should have a clear understanding of what is good and what is not, however, we should not be mislead by false advertising and labels....
  • Posted Traits- Nature vs. Nurture to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While reading chapter fourteen in our course text book, I came across some facts that I thought to be very interesting. The University of Minnesota conducted a very interesting investigation over a span of two decades. This study looked at about 130 pairs of twins that had been separated at birth. The results that they obtained shocked me. The pairs of twins that shocked me most were the male identical twins who had both been named Jim by their adoptive parents. This is not the only strange thing, they also constructed similar looking tree houses in their backyards, had dogs named "Toy", and both married twice to women named Linda and Betty. Is this just some weird coincidence? or does it have a deeper meaning behind it? I believe that this is no coincidence. What are the chances? This is not the only pair of twins they found odd coincidences between. Beyond this pair, the book discusses many other curious similarities between reared apart twins. So does this tell us that surroundings shared between twins plays a more decreased role among twins than we originally thought? When comparing the traits of twins reared together and twins reared apart, the correlation doesn't differ much. So this does confirm that shared environment has little to nothing to do with adult personality. However, this doesn't mean that it has no impact on personalities of children. Children raised in similar atmospheres may have like traits, but as they grow older, these traits generally weaken. So does this infer that some traits are genetic? I believe so. I believe that some traits are influenced by genetics and certain environments and situations cause these traits to surface and develop our personalities....
  • Posted Media and Violence - The Heated Debate. to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The topic of our recent psychology discussion, Can the media influence children in negative ways? The answer to this can vary from study to study. In class, we viewed a video of children shown two different movies. In the first movie, they were shown Barney. The children in this movie were shown singing happily about sharing and having respect for one another. The children watching this seemed to imitate them by playing nicely and quietly. In the other movie, Power Rangers, the "good guys" were shown fighting, punching, and defeating the "bad guys" and it was shown to the children as positive actions. This caused the children to slowly begin to pretend they were the Power Rangers, kicking and hitting one another. Although this "violence" appeared to be mainly pretend and recreational, does it still have an effect on how the children would approach certain situations? There are two sides to this. Some researchers take the side that media does have an influence. Art Mackman wrote an article siding with this perspective. He describes a study that showed increased arousal and energy in the brain when one plays a violent video game. However, challenging this, does this activity have a direct link to aggression? When we simply play a game of basketball we have increased arousal and energy. So would this mean that the sport is making us more aggressive? I don't believe this. However, I do not fully side with the idea that media has absolutely no influence on behaviors. In another article, by CJ Ferguson, he explains a study that he did which measured the amount of violent crimes that young people, ages 10 to 14, committed after a month of playing violent video games. I wouldn't conclude that from one month long study, you could determine if video games had any effect on someone. Furthermore, since the study was on young people and not "children", they are more capable of knowing what already isn't socially acceptable when it comes to violence. I feel that it is too late of an age to manipulate their behaviors. I tend to fall in between the two sides to this debate. I believe that if children grow up around violent video games and shows, they will be more capable of reacting to situations violently than a child who hasn't had much experience with this type of media....
  • Posted Out of Body Experiences.. Are the real? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    An Out of Body Experience (OBE) is defined as an experience that usually involves a sense of floating outside of one's own body, and in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from an outer location. This bizarre sensation that 25% of college students and 10% of adults have claimed to have had, springs up many questions for scientists and specialists. Can this actually happen? - And how would we even be able to test this phenomenon to validate it? So what may cause this sensation? It is impossible to find good evidence to support that people actually experience this sensation. Scientific findings appear to falsify these claims. According to the Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding textbook, people who have unusual fantasies, such as vivid fantasies, lucid dreams, hallucinations, perceptual distortions, and strange body experiences on a regular basis. People may also experience them when they are under the influence of psychedelic drugs, experiencing headaches or seizures, or under great relaxation or stress. Can we actually believe that these people are experiencing a true OBE, or can there be another explanation? Unfortunately, it's a claim that we will never know to be true or not....
  • Posted Anencephaly to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Today I came across a neurological disorder that I found both interesting and disturbing. The name of this horrifying disease is Anencephaly. It is a cephalic disorder that consists of a defect in the closure of the neural tube during fetal development. It occurs when the head end of the neural tube fails to close, which leaves the fetus with an absence of a large part of the brain, skull, and scalp. They have no forebrain and no cerebrum. What's left of the brain is usually uncovered by skin or scalp. Babies born with this disorder are usually blind, deaf, unable to feel pain, and/or unconscious. The physical effects of Anencephaly are quite severe and unpleasant. These poor babies have a large part of their brains exposed and large, frog-like, and protruding eyes (as a result of no forebrain). This disorder effects one in one-thousand pregnancies, and the lifespan on the baby spans from a few hours to a few days, if it survives the womb. In the end, the baby will not survive. It's controversial with many people whether or not people should abort the baby, knowing it has 0% chance of survival. 50% of fetuses with anencephaly are aborted, yet the other half of mothers believe there might be a miracle. Scientists believe that anencephaly can be contributed to both genetic and environmental factors. It has been confirmed, however, that it can be prevented by folic acid. Drugs that lower the amount of folic acid, such as anti metabolic drugs, lowers this, hence increasing the risk. Anencephaly can also be the cause of high exposure to toxins such as lead, chromium, mercury, and nickle. Sadly, there are no treatments. It's difficult to think of what parents experience when finding out their bundle-of-joy won't be able to survive, and that they will have to overcome the horrifying experience of losing a child....
  • Posted Blinded to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    How do people, who have been blind since birth, perceive our world? This is a question that consumed my mind earlier today when I happened to see a young child, around four years old, walking on the sidewalk with his mother. On any normal occasion, this would be something I overlooked. However, after taking a second glance at this child, I could tell there was something different. The young boy had a long, white cane that he poked out in front of him with each hesitant step, and appeared to have a glazed look over his eyes, as if oblivious to all of his surroundings. It was no question to me that this child was blind. As I continued my walk back to my dorm, some questions emerged. How did the child envision this world? Could he dream, and if so, what of? Could his mind make out shapes, textures, or colors? The stream of questions was endless. After doing some of my own researching, I came to some conclusions. When it comes to the question of blind people dreaming, answers range, however it was typically stated that people who have been blind since birth have dreams with only sound factors, no images. In an article from the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois, a blind woman states that "blind people do dream. What they see in their dreams depends on how much they could ever see. If someone has been totally blind since birth, they only have auditory dreams." Branching off from the dreaming question, it seems only reasonable to believe that if blind people cannot see in their dreams, their minds don't conjure up pictures in their minds to suit real-life objects. They may see forms, shapes, textures, but can they actually think of it as an object since they have never seen an actual object before? As I searched for answers, they varied. Some say the blind see nothing at all in their minds and dreams, some say the blind see many abstract blurs and colors in both, and some even say that the blind can make ideal pictures based on what their four other increased senses can understand. I can't conform to any of these, because I don't believe that anyone will ever be able to fully understand this situation, unless they are involved. Going back to the young child that caused this array of ideas, it seems cruel that such an innocent individual would be punished with the absence of this wonderful gift. It causes one to think how things that seem so miniscule in our everyday lives can be such a treasure. On my walk back, I made sure to take in the reds, oranges, and yellows of the gorgeous late September trees, the skyline of Minneapolis beyond the Mississippi River and the west bank, and the historically beautiful buildings of the UofM. How often we take our sight for granted....
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