• Posted Five years from now... to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Five years from now, I will still remember how to spot a liar. This topic is really interesting to me, because lying is an unavoidable part of our world; almost everyone has been in a situation where they have lied to someone or vice versa. There are many situations in which it's really important to tell if someone's lying. For example, if you suspect someone of stealing one of your belongings, you could ask them a question and see if they give off any of the main characteristics of a liar. Some characteristics of liars are: looking up and to the right before responding to a question, continuously shifting their eyes or avoiding eye contact altogether, tapping their fingers, keeping their arms crossed, keeping their hands tightly folded, and sitting at an angle to the person they are talking to. If I remember these characteristics, I will be able to use that knowledge in my everyday life when talking to my coworkers, friends, and family....
  • Posted Parenting Styles to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The age-old debate over how parents should raise their children has stressed many new parents out. Each year, these parents buy parenting books and go to new-parent seminars to make sure they are raising their children well and leading their children in the right direction. However, according to the Lilienfeld textbook, there are four major parenting styles. Permissive (a.k.a "Too soft"): Permissive parents are very lenient with their children. They allow their children to do what they want, when they want, and rarely discipline them for their wrongdoings. In addition, permissive parents often are extremely affectionate with their children. Authoritarian (a.k.a "Too hard"): Authoritarian parents tend to be very strict with their children, giving them little room and opportunity to do what they want. They punish their children when they don't do what they're told, or if they are being disrespectful. In addition, authoritarian parents show very little affection toward their children. Authoritative (a.k.a "Just right"): Authoritative parents combine the best of both worlds when it comes to parenting; they are both permissive and authoritarian. Authoritative parents are very supportive of their children, but know when to discipline them. Most psychologists believe that children who grow up under this parenting type are the best at socially and emotionally adjusting. Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents ignore their children regardless of what they do. Children who grow up under this parenting type tend to have the most problems in life. According to the Lilienfeld textbook, Diana Baumrind studied different parenting styles. Her research showed that most of the time, authoritative parents do the best job at producing well-adjusted children. However, this brings up the debate of correlation vs. causation. Baumrind's research only showed that there was a correlation between authoritative parenting and having "good" children. There might be other factors that play into the outcomes of the children under the different parenting types. Scholars have discovered that if parents provide their children with an average expectable environment, which is an environment that provides children with basic needs for affection and appropriate discipline, their children will turn out just fine. Therefore, we can't conclude that this information of authoritative parents and "good" children is directly due to causation. Sources: Lilienfeld textbook chapter 10...
  • Posted How To Spot A Liar to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The average person lies twice a day (Lilienfeld). Most of the time, the lies go without question from others. But sometimes, we wonder if we are being lied to. To determine this, we rely on unconscious, nonverbal cues that a person gives off. Most people are only 55% right in detecting a lie, so here are a few ways to enhance a person's ability to detect a lie (Lilienfeld). According to ex-FBI agent Bill Brown, "The eyes are a window to the soul." By this, he means that the eyes hold the key in displaying a lie. For example, if someone looks up and to the right before responding to a question, he/she is probably about to lie. This is because he/she is tapping into the part of the brain that visually pictures something that has never happened. If someone looks up and to the left, it means he/she is probably telling the truth. This is because he/she is remembering something that has actually happened. Also, if someone continuously shifts their eyes or intensely stares or avoids eye contact with the person he/she is responding to, chances are the person is lying (Dr. Phil). However, there are more ways to tell if someone is lying. Body language is a huge giveaway. For example, liars tend to rub their neck, scratch their head or nose, tap their fingers, look at their watch, position something between them and the person they are talking to, lean back in their chair, sit at an angle to the person they are talking to, keep their arms crossed, and keep their hands tightly folded in their lap (Dr. Phil, Deborah King & Bill Brown). With this newfound knowledge of detecting a lie, can you tell which person is lying? Hopefully you chose the second picture as the liar. This topic is really interesting, because lying is such a common occurrence in our society. If everyone lies at least two times per day, that's a lot of lies accumulated in a lifetime. I've been in situations where I could sense someone was not telling the truth, but didn't know for sure because I didn't know the common facial or body traits of a liar. That's why I got hooked on the show "Lie to Me." I was fascinated that Dr. Cal Lightman could tell whether someone was lying just by studying their facial movements. From the show, I learned a few common characteristics a liar does when he/she is telling a lie. It was fun to occasionally use that knowledge in my everyday life when talking to people at school or at home. Sources: (Dr. Phil) (Deborah King) Youtube video (Bill Brown) "Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding" by Lilienfeld (Lilienfeld)...
  • Posted Does Media Violence Cause Real-World Aggression? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Does media violence cause real-world aggression? Although psychologists have differing opinions regarding correlation vs. causation, most can agree that media violence is a contributing factor. (in case link above doesn't work: Correlation vs. Causation: Through correlational designs, data has shown that children who watch violent TV shows are more aggressive than those who don't. However, this doesn't necessarily indicate a direct causation between the two. A third variable, like initial aggressiveness levels, could affect a kid's choice on whether or not to tune in to an aggressive TV show. Ruling Out Rival Hypotheses: Longitudinal designs have also shown a relationship between media violence and real-world aggression; kids who watch violent TV shows commit more crimes than kids who don't, even if their initial aggression levels are similar. But is it a direct causation? No, because longitudinal designs aren't really experiments. The kids aren't randomly selected or assigned to a particular TV show; instead, they choose which shows to watch. Also, there can be many confounding variables like lack of parental supervision and boredom with regular TV shows that might contribute to this correlation. Ruling Out Rival Hypotheses: In a field study conducted by David Phillips, it was discovered that homicide rates rose 12.5% after widely publicized boxing matches. This surprising information led people to believe that violent boxing matches caused a rise in homicide. However, psychologists realized that the relationship between these two occurrences could have been due to chance, because there are numerous other reasons why homicide rates increase. Ruling Out Rival Hypotheses: In another field study, a town without TV access (A) was compared to a town with TV access (B). Initially, town A was less aggressive than town B. However, after enabling TV access to town A, the once media-free town became more aggressive. This shows a correlation between media violence and real-world aggression, but other factors could've influenced this relationship. For instance, after this field study began, the Canadian government constructed a highway that connected town A to town B. Because town A wasn't isolated anymore, town B could have negatively influenced kids by exposing them to things like crime. Even though there are confounding variables in the relationship between media violence and real-world aggression, many psychologists agree that media violence contributes to aggression. However, psychologists can't confirm that there's a direct causation between the two. This relates to college students, because so many shows we watch and video games we play depict violent acts of killing each other. Just look at the top video games sold in recent years: Gears of War 3, Dead Space 2, Twisted Medal, Halo Reach and many more. It's good to know that other factors affect the relationship between media violence and real-world aggression, because otherwise most people would become violent. Sources: Lilienfeld textbook chapter 6
  • Commented on Stages of Sleep
    In a recent study conducted by the American Cancer Society, data suggested that not getting enough sleep is detrimental to a person’s health. Of the million people in the study, those who slept around 7 hours each night were healthier...
  • Posted Stages of Sleep to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In 1951, an important discovery was made at the University of Chicago. Nathaniel Kleitman's grad student monitored a sleeping boy's brain waves and eye movements and discovered that, every so often, the boy's eyes darted from side to side and his brain activity fluctuated. From these findings, Kleitman concluded that there are five stages of sleep. Stage 1 sleep is the lightest stage of sleep, lasting anywhere from five to ten minutes. During this stage, the brain relaxes by about 50% and produces theta waves, which occur four to seven cycles per second. If you've ever jolted awake due to a sudden sense of falling or felt very confused after waking up, chances are you were in this stage of sleep. Stage 2 sleep is where we spend 65% of our sleep time. Although the brain continues to relax, occasional bursts of electrical activity, called sleep spindles, occur twelve to fourteen cycles per second. Also, K complexes appear. During this stage, heart rate and body temperature decrease, muscles relax, and eye movements stop. Sleep stages 3 and 4 are the deepest stages of sleep. In these stages, delta waves become prevalent and occur one to two cycles per second. In stage 3, these waves happen 20% to 50% of the time, and in stage 4, they happen over 50% of the time. In order for us to have a fulfilling night's sleep, we have to experience these two stages of sleep. Stage 5 sleep is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Here, we dream vividly and more often than in any other stage. During this stage, the brain kicks into high gear and produces waves that look like those of wakefulness. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, and rapid and irregular breathing occurs. We're in this stage for about 20% to 25% of our night's sleep. Stages of Sleep video As college students, most of us don't get enough sleep due to homework assignments, studying for tests, and participating in extracurricular activities. We might think that sleep isn't as important as getting good grades in our classes, but we're wrong. It's important that people get enough sleep each night, because sleep reduces stress, improves our memory, and reduces our chances of developing a physical or mental disorder. Sources: Chapter 5 of our Lilienfeld Psychology book...
  • Posted The 10% Myth to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    With the evidence we have today, the myth that we only use 10% of our brains sounds ridiculous. But back in the day, why did so many people believe it? Nobody knows exactly how this myth started, but some psychologists believe Karl Lashley had something to do with it. In the 1920s and 30s, Lashley did many experiments on rats; he would make them learn a task with their brains intact, then he would remove large portions of their brains and make them redo the task (Washington). His results showed that the even without most of their brain, the rats could still accomplish the task. Therefore, Lashley concluded that most of the brain is unused and unnecessary. Another psychologist that contributed to this myth is William James. In the 1900s, James was discussing the brain and said, "The average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential" (How Stuff Works). From these men, the idea that people only use 10% of their brain was spread across the world. In more recent years, psychics and major national companies have publicly announced their agreement with the myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. Psychics Caroline Myss, Uri Geller, and Michael Clark have all stated that everyone has the potential of psychic powers, but people don't know how to tap into it since they only use 10% of their brains (Snopes). In 1998, a U.S. Satellite Broadcasting ad showed a picture of a brain and the words, "You only use 11 percent of its potential" (Snopes). Because the ad was on television and from a seemingly reliable source, many people believed the myth. However, it has been proven that we use more than 10% of our brains. Since there is no way to test the ability of psychic powers, psychologists consider this to be an extraordinary claim. In addition, with the availability of different types of brain imaging machines, it can be physically proven that humans use their whole brains (Snopes). Brain scans have shown that regardless of what people are doing, their brains are always active. An inactive part of the brain would only occur if it was brain damaged (How Things Work). These are solid ways to prove that humans use more than 10% of their brains. Sources: (Snopes) (Washington) (How Stuff Works)...
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