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burke510

  • Posted Life Lessons, and Actual Lessons from Psych 1001 to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While I learned so much in Psych 1001, one thing I am certain I will remember years from now is the use of statistics and data. Specifically, lying with statistics. As horrible as this may seem, I am extremely proud of the fantastic twisting of statistics to back an argument I was making. I needed to make the argument that the private sector was better off than the public sector. Now, I understand that "better off" is entirely opinion based on benefits, salaries, and happiness with their jobs. I made the statement that "on average, the private sector makes more yearly." While this statement is true, the numbers are fairly distorted by the extremely rich such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. These super rich bring the AVERAGE way up. Because of these outliers, MEDIAN would be a much more useful number when comparing the public sector to private sector. If I had used the median to make my argument, I'm fairly certain that the public sector's median is higher. This skill will stick with me because I feel that it is extremely useful to be familiar with statistics in order to make an argument like mine above, and not fall prey to some tactic like mine. PS: A few weeks ago in class a lecturer abused statistics to make a point seem more significant than it actually was. He displayed a bar graph that showed results of a test to prove causation of some activity. The bar graph appeared to show a very large difference in the bars, but if one looked closely at the Y axis, you would notice that the difference in the bars wasn't significant at all. He had simply used a very small interval as his scale....
  • Posted The Id, The Ego and the Superego to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Among many revolutionary psychological ideas, Sigmund Freud introduced the idea od the Id, Superego and Ego. The Id is the basic instincts, or what people inherently want to do. This is driven by sex and aggression. The Superego is the morals which keep the Id in check. Finally, the Ego is in charge of everything, personality, decision making and interacting with the real world. What interests me is the extent to which this idea is modeled in popular culture. Many movies or works of art portray the idea of a person dealing with a a tiny devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other while trying to make a difficult decision. This idea has been portrayed in many movies and tv shows, including the Simpsons multiple times as a reoccurring theme. In a recent Dexter episode, Dexter battles with inner voices attempting to decide between releasing his raw desire to kill, vs. his desire to not get caught and do things correctly. My personal favorite example is from a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry is very repulsed by a girl mentally, but loves the sex. The episode portrays Jerry's brain playing chess with his penis to determine what the outcome of his relationship will be. (skip to 3:08 for the chess game) http://youtu.be/buCEzjBz8Hg In this scene, Jerry's penis represents the Id, while the brain represents the Superego. Freud's idea of the Id, Ego and Superego are so represented in popular culture because of the comedic potential of this idea. People find it very humorous to imagine a battle going on inside their minds. Perhaps people like to imagine that there really is a voice inside that tells them to do the instinct, even if it is wrong. They like the idea that a part of them really wants to what is considered wrong. People also want to imagine that there exists a voice that knows what to do. If there are voices telling people what to do, they can better trust that the right decision will be made in the end....
  • Posted My Experience with the Mozart Effect to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant. Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect. While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon. http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child....
  • Posted My Experience with the Mozart Effect to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant. Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect. While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon. http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child....
  • Posted My Experience with the Mozart Effect to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant. Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect. While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon. http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child....
  • Posted Three Stage Memory to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
  • Posted Why do we have three stage memory? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    For some time I have wondered why humans have developed memory into a three-stage process; sensory memories, short-term memory, followed by long-term memory. Specifically, I am most fascinated by the difference in short-term and long-term memory. Short-term memory is defined as the ability to hold 7 +/-2 pieces that only last about 15 seconds in our brains. Long-term memory seems to be essentially infinite in storage, and lasts seemingly forever. What is the evolutionary advantage to keeping these two processes separate? If the long-term memory has an infinite capacity, would it be harmful to us if we remembered everything that ever entered our short-term memory? I can think of all kinds of advantages this would have, but we can only hypothesize on what types of harm it would have. If we remembered everything we ever moved from sensory memory to short term memory would no longer need address books, flash cards and studying, and no more embarrassing moments of forgetting a new persons name. However, there must be a reason that humans did not evolve this way. Perhaps the human memory works like an external hard drive. Right out of the box, a new hard drive can clock very impressive numbers on data transfer speeds, but as the drive gets used more and has more data placed on it, those data transfer speeds slow down. Its possible the human brain works like this. If this were true, this would be one possible explanation as to why the human brain has placed a limit on how much it cares to remember. Or another possibility may be that long-term memory is not nearly as expansive as it may appear. Perhaps it is much more limited than we believe. Although we may never know the exact reason humans have not evolved to combining short term and long term memory, it is a fascinating topic to imagine what could be/could have been if everything we ever came across was easy to recall....
  • Posted Unconsciously Intentionally Wasting Our Time to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I face a major problem every time I sit down at a computer. When I go to Google, with the full intention of doing something productive, I unconsciously begin to type "f-a-c-e-b..." oh wait, that's not what I wanted to do right now. I wanted to do something important, like research for a class. Not go on Facebook. A lot of people now just naturally go onto facebook.com without even realizing their doing it. The unconscious mind notices habits and looks to continue them because it feels natural. To sit down at a computer, open up the Internet browser, and immediately go to Facebook has become second nature to many people around the world. Looking more into the phenomena could be extremely useful. If we could understand why the mind attempts to repeat habits over and over, we may be better be able to understand why habits are so hard to break. Possibly habits go down to the deepest sections of the brain: the unconscious. We also may be better able to understand how mental addictions work and why the mind desires to continue these addictions or trends. Or maybe it's as simple that using Facebook is just an addiction. Perhaps the greatest question of all is: Why does the brain unconsciously do something like return to Facebook when it knows the body has more important things to be doing. It's as if our unconscious intentionally wastes time by automatically performing actions that will waste time. We may one day be able to answer these questions and better understand why the brain appears to have a desire to waste time. Speaking of which, I had Facebook open for the entire duration of writing this blog post....
  • Posted The Blair Witch to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The Blair Witch The Blair Witch Project, a movie released in 1999, followed the experiences of a group of college students that traveled into the backwoods of Maryland to search for the supernatural Blair Witch. The Blair Witch is the topic of an urban legend, or myth, common in rural Maryland. It is simply a horror story to tell small children. The Blair Witch Project follows these College students in a documentary style format as they search for the infamous Blair Witch. When night falls upon these college students, strange things begin to happen, the footage gets shaky, and flashes of light and complete darkness ensue. According to this documentary, the college students are never seen again and the film that the viewers watched was "found" in the forest. Pretty scary, right? The way that this footage was filmed made it feel so real to the viewer. These college students found the Blair Witch and were never seen again. The Blair Witch Project created a nationwide fear for this supernatural being in Maryland. Except, here's the catch: before 1999, no one, not even those in rural Maryland, had ever heard of the Blair Witch. These college students that created the documentary also created the entire urban legend. About the time previews started airing for this new film, the students created dozens of websites explaining the legend of the Blair Witch. (http://www.blairwitch.com/mythology.html). People who viewed the movie believed that the idea of the Blair Witch originated over a century ago, when in reality, it was an urban legend from only months before. These students ingeniously used the media, pop culture, and most of all, the Internet, to spawn an entirely new urban legend that is still believed by some today. This extraordinary claim of a 100-year-old urban legend was believed by the masses even though all the evidence about it popped up on the internet only months before the release. It is not even a story passed down from father to son over the generations; it is simply a story that appeared on the internet. This hardly counts as extraordinary evidence to back up extraordinary claims. People should have asked themselves "have I ever heard of the Blair Witch before this movie" and the truth would have been always, no. http://vickie-britton.suite101.com/the-truth-behind-the-blair-witch-project-film-a231966 http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/urban-legends/urban-legends-blair-witch-project Oh, and the college students that were never seen again? They were seen at the Oscars that year and no one thought anything strange of it....
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