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kirk0271

  • Posted Carrying My Gavel in the Future to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    You just took exam three for your Psy1001 class. You wound up receiving a seventy percent, while your best friend scored an eighty-six percent. In your mind, you justify your score by saying that the questions were really hard or that the person next to you was distracting. When dealing with your friend, you say that she is just a natural genius and all exams are easy for her. Does this sound familiar? For most people, it does. This concept of overestimating the impact of dispositional influences like intelligence on other people's behavior is called the fundamental attribution error, which we learned about in chapter 13 of the Lilienfeld text. Since this topic applies so easily to our every day lives, the fundamental attribution error will be a concept that I will still remember in five years. When judging other people's actions, we are much more likely to attribute their behavior to their personality, attitudes, and intelligence. When someone makes a rude comment, we say it is because she is cold-hearted, jealous, or ruthless. Instead, we should pay more attention to the situational influences on people's behavior, like maybe she just received some bad news or her car was just towed. We commit the fundamental attribution error because it is easy to make snap judgments. Also, it almost impossible to know all of the situational factors on people's behaviors. The robotically animated clip above shows the other side of the fundamental attribution error. When explaining our own behavior, we are more aware of situational influences, so we tend to attribute our own actions to situational factors. This is because we know all of the situational influences that surround us. Both sides of the fundamental attribution error are extremely visible in my life, now that the concept has been introduced to me. Now, I will keep this concept in my mind when judging my behavior and the behavior of others....
  • Posted Take That, First Borns! to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    My oldest brother Joseph, myself, and my older brother Patrick. When my brother Patrick was 10 years old, he told my father about his theory of the effects of birth order on personality. Patrick hypothesized that the first born, my oldest brother Joseph, is 'the practice child', who parents make all of their mistakes on. According to Patrick's plan, the oldest child will have to go to therapy later on in life, like their thirties, because of their psychological problems caused by their tumultuous upbringing. Then the middle child, who in my family's case is Patrick, would be the perfect child. Parents would know all of the correct techniques in raising a child, rearing a prodigy. When it comes to raising the last born child, who is me in my family, parents would become very lackadaisical in their duties, rearing a spoiled, unruly offspring. Since my brother still likes to bring up his theory from time to time, I was very intrigued when the topic of birth order came up in chapter 14 of the Lilienfeld text. According to the text, there have been few studies that show that birth order does have an effect on personality, usually showing how firstborns are achieving, middle-borns are diplomatic, and later-borns are adventurous. For example, one psychologist who appeared on The Early Show talks about his theory on the close relationship between birth order and personality. Explained in the link below, the psychologist states that firstborns are natural leaders and perfectionists, middle-borns are inventive and secretive, and last-borns are financially irresponsible and outgoing. By giving few famous examples of each, the psychologist can persuade his audience to believing that there is strong correlation. However, the psychologist does not even explain how he came to these conclusions, meaning that other scientists cannot replicate the study. When researchers cannot replicate experiments, then they cannot know if the original findings are accurate. As a result of this low replicability rate, the Lilienfeld text says that researchers cannot find a consistently strong association between birth order and personality, meaning the two are not as closely related as much of the media, and my brother, believes. A video from the show 8 Simple Rules, where Kerry is usually complaining about being ignored as the middle child, since everyone loves her perfect older sister Bridget. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/10/earlyshow/living/parenting/main511694.shtml...
  • Posted Truth is, You're a Liar to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Television shows, like Maury shown above, utilize the polygraph test on a regular basis to 'prove' that a partner is lying, cheating, or committing other dishonorable acts. In chapter 11 of the Lilienfeld text it says the largest organization of polygraph examiners claims that the polygraph test is 98 percent accurate. It is extraordinary claims like this that television shows tell their audience and participants, persuading them to believe that the polygraph results are correct. But are these results actually that accurate? According to the Lilienfeld text, polygraph tests are based on the Pinocchio response, a perfect physiological or behavioral indicator of lying like spiked blood pressure, perspiration, and/or breathing. According to the USA Today article linked below, this means that lie detectors are more of an arousal detector, because scientists still do not know how the nervous system acts when it is lying. If a person responds higher to a control question like "Have you ever been tempted to steal anything from a candy store?" than to a relevant question like "Did you kill your brother?" then they pass the polygraph test. In a perfect world, guilty suspects would experience this heightened autonomic activity, while the innocent would not. However, this is usually not the case. Polygraph tests give a high rate of false positives, or deeming innocent people guilty because of their heightened physiological responses. False positives occur because innocent people are usually very worried about being wrongly convicted, which heightens their physiological responses to relevant questions. On the other hand, the polygraph tests can result in false negatives, or concluding that the guilty person is innocent. This occurs when the guilty person changes their responses to the control questions, allowing them to pass the test. Also, some guilty parties have psychopathic personalities, meaning they have low levels of guilt and fear, causing them to not respond highly to the relevant questions. The USA Today article also says that the polygraph test is only 61 percent accurate, which is slightly higher than chance. Remember that the next time you watch Maury or MTV's Exposed, linked below. Also keep in mind that it makes for better television drama if the person is found to be a liar. How interesting would a television show be if the participants were all squeaky clean? http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-lie_x.htm...
  • Posted The Power of Advertisements to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    As the Lilienfeld text says in chapter 6, "Few people grasp the principles of classical conditioning...better than advertisers". Since advertisements bombard us everyday on the radio, television, and billboards, I think classical conditioning is a very important concept for everyone to understand. It is a source of learning where an animal or human comes to respond to a previously neutral stimulus when it is paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. In layman's terms, classical conditioning is a type of association. In the commercial above, there is an unconditioned stimulus, the beautiful Amazonian women. Such women tend to elicit a natural or unconditioned response, arousal and other positive emotions. The women are paired with Axe Body Spray, the conditioned stimulus. This association then elicits the conditioned response, the desire to purchase Axe Body Spray. I chose to use the Axe Body Spray commercial as my example because it is one of the most shameless attempts at classical conditioning through advertisements that I could think of, because it elicits the idea that putting on Axe Body Spray will automatically cause thousands of beautiful women in bikinis will run like animals to get close to you. By pairing products with upbeat music, A-list celebrities, and beautiful people, advertisers are conditioning viewers and listeners to buy their products. When I sat and thought about advertisements, I realized how susceptible I am to classical conditioning. I use Neutrogena face wash because I want flawless skin like Hayden Panettiere, an actress who probably spent hours in front of the mirror with a make-up artist, trying to achieve the "natural look". Furthermore, I am sure her skin was then airbrushed after the commercial was shot to make sure her face was blemish-free and smooth. I apply Lancome mascara because the advertisement makes me believe I will have eyes as sparkling as Julia Roberts. I also use hair products from Pantene because I believe it will make my hair as smooth and voluminous as Eva Mendes'. Since buyers like me are so susceptible to classical conditioning, advertisers are some of the most powerful people in the world....
  • Posted Crack is Wack to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Drugs of all kinds, including cocaine, are very often glorified in movies, music, and Hollywood. In college, students are swayed to believe that these four years are meant for experimentation with all sorts of drugs. Many students are influenced to believe that doing drugs makes you "cool", "edgy", and "rebellious". The Lilienfeld text in chapter six called cocaine the most powerful natural stimulant. Even classifying cocaine a stimulant, because it increases activity of the central nervous system, gives it a positive connotation. Cocaine gives users a sense of euphoria, an increase in energy, a decrease in appetite, and a more positive self-image, while they are high off the drug. However, whether snorting, shooting, or smoking cocaine, the effects are detrimental to the brain. If frying eggs and Clint Eastwood cannot convince you to stop using cocaine, then maybe the following information can. Cocaine prompts neurons to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, which we learned about in chapter three of Lilienfeld text. The drug then prevents the dopamine from being absorbed, prolonging the sensation of euphoria. The high concentration of dopamine affects the user's consciousness as well. The euphoric feeling makes the user not as aware of his surroundings and actions. The high from cocaine can last anywhere from 5-30 minutes, depending on the amount of cocaine used and the way it was injected into the body. However, the brain does eventually absorb the dopamine, leading to an abrupt comedown off the drug, which includes moodiness and restlessness. Users can experience the after effect of cocaine for days where they are highly susceptible to headaches, irritability, and depression. Long-term effects of cocaine are very serious. Memory loss, learning problems, attention deficits, lung problems, and strokes may occur. Last, but certainly not least, there is the high chance of addiction, which can lead to an array of health and personal problems. Cocaine use is very serious and can rarely be handled "recreationally". Since cocaine is a stimulant, many users want to take it over and over again to regain that same euphoric feeling. When they do this, the users usually increase the amount of cocaine, which can lead to an overdose and/or death. So do not pay attention to movies and music that glorify the euphoric feeling as a result of taking cocaine. The high never lasts as long as the regret and long term negative effects. Remember, hugs not drugs. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/03.12/ResearchersSeeH.html...
  • Posted Did Manson's Music lead to Columbine Massacre? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Here is an interview with Manson about the Columbine massacre: April 20, 1999 will always be a day that lives in infamy. On that morning in Littleton, Colorado, two teenagers went to school in attempt to kill as many classmates and faculty members as they could. This event is known as the Columbine High School massacre. After this tragedy, many people wanted answers as to why two teenagers were so full of hate and anger that they wanted to shoot and bomb their school. While looking for these answers, the police and the community found out that both of the boys listened to the rocker Marilyn Manson, who is known for his gothic and dark music, which has recurring themes of death and anger. After this correlation was discovered, Manson was given the majority of the blame for the Columbine massacre. So, is Manson's music the main reason these teenage boys committed murder? If so, why do other people who listen to his music not have violent outbursts? This debate on whether or not Manson is responsible for the Columbine massacre is an example of the correlation vs. causation debate, which is one of the six research methods discussed in Psy1001. Correlation vs. causation means that as critical thinkers, we must separate relationships and causations. Did listening to Manson's music force the boys to commit the Columbine massacre? Or are there more variables that need to be taken into account? Studies conducted by researchers Pirkis and Blood, described in the link below, did show that there is a relation between listening to heavy metal and suicide risk. However, the article states that it is unknown if the two are directly related. That means that listening to heavy metal does not guarantee that the person will commit murder or suicide. The study could mean that teenagers who already have suicidal thoughts prefer to listen to heavy metal, because the messages in the songs relate to how they are feeling. It is most likely that listening to Manson's music was not the only factor in the teenagers' decision to murder their classmates. If it were the only factor, then every listener of Manson would be a murderer also. I believe that Manson was singled out because he is an easy scapegoat. His music is dark and disturbing, so it was easy to blame his gothic lifestyle for the massacre. The Littleton community wanted answers to why the massacre occurred, and I believe that the relationship between Manson and the boys' decision was an easy thing for the public to pinpoint and choose as the reason for the tragedy. http://www.queendom.com/articles/articles.htm?a=42...
  • Posted Did Manson's Music lead to Columbine Massacre? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    http://extras.denverpost.com/news/shot0422gg.htm Here is an interview with Manson about the Columbine massacre: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYApo2d8o_A April 20, 1999 will always be a day that lives in infamy. On that morning in Littleton, Colorado, two teenagers went to school in attempt to kill as many classmates and faculty members as they could. This event is known as the Columbine High School massacre. After this tragedy, many people wanted answers as to why two teenagers were so full of hate and anger that they wanted to shoot and bomb their school. While looking for these answers, the police and the community found out that both of the boys listened to the rocker Marilyn Manson, who is known for his gothic and dark music, which has recurring themes of death and anger. After this correlation was discovered, Manson was given the majority of the blame for the Columbine massacre. So, is Manson's music the main reason these teenage boys committed murder? If so, why do other people who listen to his music not have violent outbursts? This debate on whether or not Manson is responsible for the Columbine massacre is an example of the correlation vs. causation debate, which is one of the six research methods discussed in Psy1001. Correlation vs. causation means that as critical thinkers, we must separate relationships and causations. Did listening to Manson's music force the boys to commit the Columbine massacre? Or are there more variables that need to be taken into account? Studies conducted by researchers Pirkis and Blood, described in the link below, did show that there is a relation between listening to heavy metal and suicide risk. However, the article states that it is unknown if the two are directly related. That means that listening to heavy metal does not guarantee that the person will commit murder or suicide. The study could mean that teenagers who already have suicidal thoughts prefer to listen to heavy metal, because the messages in the songs relate to how they are feeling. It is most likely that listening to Manson's music was not the only factor in the teenagers' decision to murder their classmates. If it were the only factor, then every listener of Manson would be a murderer also. I believe that Manson was singled out because he is an easy scapegoat. His music is dark and disturbing, so it was easy to blame his gothic lifestyle for the massacre. The Littleton community wanted answers to why the massacre occurred, and I believe that the relationship between Manson and the boys' decision was an easy thing for the public to pinpoint and choose as the reason for the tragedy. http://www.queendom.com/articles/articles.htm?a=42...
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