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coste087

  • Posted Fitting in Is a Lifelong Annoying Struggle to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The chapter in the textbook that I think I will find most useful five years from now is chapter 13, which is an overview of social psychology. The chapter was meaningful to me because I have always been interested in how people are influenced by other people. I remember really dreading going to school when I was younger not because I didn't like homework and assignments but rather the fact that I didn't like how I had to make such an effort to make people accept me and be interested in me. What was so frustrating is that I was trying to impress kids that I didn't even like, and so I would find myself confused, asking questions like: Why not just keep to yourself? Why do you care what they think if you don't even like them? Although I found having them stressful and tiresome I always had a group of friends throughout my K-12 experience. However, when friends would call me I often would ignore the call or I would answer but make up an excuse for why I couldn't hang out and I only slept over and certain friends' houses. So why have a group of friends when it caused me so much tiresome work? Looking to the chapter in the text on social psychology I came up with some plausible explanations. Perhaps I was being influenced by conformity, which in our text is defined as "the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure." Everyone I encountered at school seemed to enjoy being around other people, nobody ever really ate or played alone and if they did they were classified as "weird kids." So from the start I decided to assimilate into the group. Even though I often didn't like to do what my friends wanted to do I would still participate because I liked that feeling a lot better than the thought of how I would feel if people viewed me as weird or antisocial. This feeling could have been a result of fear for not being a part of a group, which was also discussed in chapter 13. The author looked at studies showing the atrocities that can be committed within the safety of a group that gives an individual the feeling of deindividualization. When usual identities are stripped from us, we often end up acting atypicially, which was the case of the guards in both Abu Ghirab and Palo Alto. Schools can act as similar places when a group of children obtain a sense of power, and that's why I think kids are so desperate to find a group. In a group one can find support on both a physical and emotional level. This ties into another reason people desire to be part of a group, according to Baumeister and Leary's 1995 need-to-belong theory, studies showed that we have a biologically based need for interpersonal connections. Although I am now more comfortable sitting by myself in classes and...
  • Posted Incentive Theories and Motivation to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Drive reduction theories propose that humans are motivated to maintain homeostasis within certain drives like hunger, thirst and sexual frustration. However, if we didn't supplement drive reduction theories with incentive theories we would have to assume that people never intentionally engage in behaviors when their drives are satisfied, and that would be incorrect, people frequently are motivated to extend beyond homeostasis by pursuit of positive goals. An example given in the textbook examines the work of great minds like Picasso, Maya Angelou and Mozart, asserting that if we applied only drive reduction theories to their work after they finished a masterpiece they would have less desire to create another. This we can tell is not the case; Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, which he built upon for many years to reach the groundbreaking cubist movement and then in '37 he painted Guernica, arguably his greatest and most famous piece. What I am interested in are the two types of motivation responsible for Incentive theories: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. As a senior and art major at the U, I have taken nearly every type of art class, because I eventually want to teach art, so it's important that I have a little bit of experience with every kind of art form. This year I was confronted with the fact that I still needed to take ceramics, my least favorite type of art. I figured that I just didn't like it because I didn't have very much experience with it and within a couple weeks of the class it would grow on me. That's how it went with photography, which I slowly grew to love. Ceramics has proven to be different, I still really hate it, even more than I thought I would in the first place. I persist because I want to pass the class and I need to have experience if I want to get into a teacher licensure program for art. These criteria are both motivated by external goals or from extrinsic motivation. If I was making the work in ceramics based more on internal goals, like trying to use it to express a bigger idea or artistic theory I have, it would be intrinsic motivation. So which form of motivation is better? I think both are necessary. Not all people have type A personalities, so sometimes a little extrinsic motivation is necessary to prompt later intrinsic motivation. Class assignments are good starting points so that we don't feel so overwhelmed by an entropic world with endless ideas and possibilities. My frustration with ceramics is that there are way too many goals created by extrinsic motivation. My teacher piles assignment on top of assignment so I have to think quickly and therefore I'm only concerned only with whether or not I can get the assignment finished, I give no thought towards what kind of meaning the piece has to me. So when the ceramic piece is finished and glazed it offers nothing to me except a grade....
  • Posted Perfecting Parenting to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    From my little experience working with kids, (I taught swimming lessons for a couple years, and I volunteer at a preschool) I've been surprised to learn how very different they can be behaviorally speaking at such early ages. I think this has a lot to do with parenting, which is mentioned in our book on page 388. I also think that the style of parenting kids grow up with has long-term effects on development. A parenting phenomenon that has been highly discussed recently is "helicopter parenting." I would classify a helicopter parent under the style the textbook calls an "Authoritarian." An authoritarian is strict, offering little freedom and much punishment. Helicopter parents are involved with every aspect of a child's life. Many interpretations of the term appear as comic strips with an apathetic looking kid in the middle of two hovering parents, one whispering an answer to the test they're currently taking and the other trying to wrap the kid in bubble wrap. The term reminded me very much of many of my friends' parents in high school, in particular my friend B's mom. B's mom always decided what classes B would sign up for. She wouldn't allow her to take art because there were more important classes that would be "more beneficial to B later on in life." When I first started to hang out with B she admitted to being constantly stressed out, she told me how on holidays she would always get drunk in her bathroom because she felt like she didn't belong with her family and they didn't think she was good enough. This really freaked me out and I suggested she tell her mom how she felt about how much control she had over B. B's mom didn't like this at all and eventually stopped allowing B to come over to my house. She said I was a bad influence on her because my parents were too liberal and they were divorced so I was "troubled." As stated in our textbook the effects of divorce on children are variable and "better-designed studies show that the substantial majority of children survive their parents' divorce without long-term emotional damage." My parents' divorce came as a relief to me because I knew the constant fighting would be over. B's parents condemn divorce and yet have separate bedrooms and fight often. So then in 2008 came Bs transition and mine into college. While my parents had been lenient with me (or authoritative) I was reluctant to disobey them and their suggested limits because I was generally happy with life. When B got to college it was as if you let her out of a cage, once overwhelmed with structure and limitations B was now free to do as she pleased. She drank heavily and her grades suffered. So was the cause of this her helicopter mom? Or had she simply been wired that way..with little self-control, and thus her mom had no other choice but to constantly dictate her...
  • Posted False Memories to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    This weekend my roommate was watching a lifetime movie called "Committed." I got sucked in to watching the movie, which is the story of a woman psychologist who is freshly a widow. She decides to take a position offered to her at a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane, but soon after arriving she realizes that she has actually been tricked into coming and has been committed as a patient. The movie reminded me of something we touched on in lecture and discussion section because the woman in the movies "mentors" who we later find out are patients who have murdered their doctors work to implant false memories. First her "mentors" ask the woman over and over again to try to remember how her husband died. She insists that she remembers nothing. Finally they allude to the possibility that she found him. Yes, now she thinks she remembers finding his body and he was bloody. Then the therapists "reveal" to her that she had found his body after he committed suicide. They tell her what room in her house it happened in as well as what he used to hang himself. Later they tell her that first she had to accept that her husband was dead, but that he actually didn't die from committing suicide, apparently she killed him. She found out he was cheating on her with patients of his and she shot him. In the end we find out this is not true, and that the patients planted this in her head to convince her that she had killed before so that she would be more inclined to kill "again." Our textbook goes into detail about how recalling events that never happened, such as those recalled by the victim in the movie are surprisingly easy to conjure up. The methods the criminals used to implant false memories in the victim are summarized in the textbook as suggestive memory techniques. These include providing misinformation, the misinformation they provided to the woman in the film was plausible and extremely detailed. By making the victim envision herself killing her husband over and over again it became more lucid. The criminals also created fake newspaper articles. Typically the newspaper is a source of truth, because of this the woman in the movie fell victim to bias, not questioning the newspaper because she never had before. The most annoying thing about the film was that the woman in it was supposed to be a psychologist, a person who is supposed to think scientifically. She didn't question the extraordinary claims her captors were presenting her with, she didn't try to falsify their claims, or question their legitimacy....
  • Posted Operant Conditioning: Be Nice to Servers to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    "The customer is always right" is by and large the golden rule in the food service industry. But the longer I have worked as a waitress, the more clear it has become to me that customers, whether doing so intentionally or not, find pleasure in having control over servers and often see how much they can get away with. They take advantage of the fact that in general a server must remain respectful if they expect a tip. This is a real life example of operant conditioning. In the Lilienfeld text operant conditioning is defined as learning controlled by the consequences of an organisms behavior. So with money/a tip as a reward, over 4 years I have been shaping my behavior in ways I have found I can get the most money out of people (it sounds greedy, but it is my wage). The difference between waiting tables and the example given in the text of pigeons discerning Monet's from Picasso's paintings is that the pigeons were either right or wrong, with waiting tables there is a large amount of gray area. Some people wish they didn't have to talk to you at all, and others find it disconcerting that the person who is going to bring them their hamburger doesn't want to know their life story. So I have to resort to picking up cues based on my initial impressions of customers and past experience and act accordingly. My acting how I think they want me to is termed in psychology as "demand characteristics" and psychologists constantly try to prevent it with "distractor" tasks or "filler" items. I think customers do the same- many people try to catch me off guard, asking me for a knife and then asking me a personal question. I've also found they will watch me take orders at other tables and watch me interact with my co-workers. Sometimes people will shake their ice in their empty glasses to send me a "discriminative stimulus," I find this incredibly rude and respond not by immediately getting them another drink but walking to their table and insolently asking if they would like a refill. I can be cheeky with this person because I have already judged the probability of them leaving me a good tip as slim using "representativeness heuristic," and I'm not going to waste my time trying to please them when I have 7 other much more pleasant tables. Unlike classical conditioning, where a reward is provided unconditionally, reward in operant conditioning is contingent on the behavior. What makes being a waitress difficult is that desired behavior varies from each table, and you can't always get it right. A story from the radio and TV show "This American Life," investigated a restaurant in one episode that turns the operant organism into the customer- if you want your food and you get out of line the servers will get out of line with you too and you might not get what you paid for. The free...
  • Posted Is that Lady on Your Toast the Virgin Mary? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    More often than one would expect some very trivial headlines pop up in even the most reliable news resources. Some that are particularly interesting to me are the constant accounts of the Virgin Mary and her many manifestations. She will appear as the burnt part of your toast, in the wrinkles of your sticky bun, in the scratches on the bottom of your Teflon pan, or in the reflections on the panels of the office building you work in. This recognition should sound familiar, as we learned in chapter one that humans often experience pareiodolia, which is defined in the Lilienfeld text as "The phenomenon of seeing meaningful images in meaningless visual stimuli." People from Clearwater, Florida likely know of the event characterized on youtube as "A Miracle in Clearwater." This refers to a face on the side of an office building that had what some thought to be an uncanny likeness to the Virgin Mary. In one video created for the likeness to Mary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWul9UC_w_c) the author of the video asserts that the "apparition" was sighted on December 17th, and this date being so close to Christmas led many viewers to believe that the reflection had something to do with the birth of Christ. This tendency to make a connection is called apophenia "perceiving meaningful connections among unrelated and even random phenomena" (Carroll, 2003) It could be argued that only religious persons would see any significance in the event, but as the Lilienfeld text states "Our brains are predisposed to make order out of disorder and find sense in nonsense." Because it is human to want to dismiss entropy, we make sense of things that should not make sense sometimes, and this leads many people to make what is classified in our book as an extraordinary claim. What the people who truly believed that this was an apparition likely did not consider was why the Virgin Mary was showing up on "A Finance company office building," or how she came to be there. In a video from ted.com, Michael Shermer reveals that a sprinkler hitting a palm tree and then the building caused the image. He jokes that the same image showed up on the backside of the building, but that "they started to wipe off, I guess you can only have one miracle per building." (http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things.html) By placing the tendency we have to create meaningless connections in the pseudoscience section of the text, the author has given the condition negative connotations. I don't believe that creating such connections is always a bad thing, it can spark creativity, and it keeps people happy, and gives them a sense of security and control....
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