• Posted Psychology In My Life to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Throughout this semester of Psychology 1001, I have learned so many complex concepts that have captivated my interest and challenged the way I see the world and the people around me. One concept that in psychology that I think I will remember in five years from now is the concept of stress and ruminating. Ruminating is defined as "focusing on how bad we feel and endlessly analyzing the causes and consequences of our problems". Ruminating is thought of as "recycling negative events" and often leads to high levels of depression and anxiety. During my high school years I had constant anxiety about every single little thing that was happening in my life. I spent countless hours obsessing over problems (and potential problems) with family, friends, school, and work... It seemed like I had gone crazy! I constantly had thoughts running through my mind about every possible thing that could go wrong within different aspects of my life. Ruminating even ruined my relationship with my boyfriend of the time. I continuously over analyzed every second he was not with my and became overly controlling to the point where we could not even have fun together. Learning about the concept of ruminating related to stress helped me recognize my problem. I was driving myself into a deep depressed, stressed out hole. Because of Psychology 1001 I have learned to take the time to relax and stop 'pre-living' events that occur. I will remember the concept of ruminating in five years from now and, hopefully, this concept will help me throughout the rest of my life. Source: Psychology 1001 From Inquiry to Understanding, Scott Lilienfeld...
  • Posted What You Say is What You Are? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Could what you say really define who you are? This is a question that Wynne Parry attempts to answer, in regards to a specific group of people in the world's population, in her article "How to Spot a Psychopath: Look For Speech Patterns, Scientists Say". This article claims that by merely observing one's speech, you can tell whether or not someone has psychopathic tendencies. A small group of researchers interviewed 52 inmates that were recently convicted of a crime. Of those 52 criminals, 14 were classified as Psychopaths, according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. This assessment had them describe their crime, in detail, and based on their description, assessed whether or not they are psychopathic. This test relies on the assumption that within the criminal descriptions, one can identify certain characteristics of how someone talks and use that to determine if they are, indeed, a psychopath. The team of researchers claimed that Psychopaths talk with little emotion, constantly use cause-effect statements and focused the majority of their attention on their basic needs. For example, they say that psychopaths use the words "because" and "so that" more frequently than normal human because they try and rationalize their crime with an attempt to attain the basic needs of life. These 14 in mates are now recognized as psychopaths. Is this really a fair way to categorize human beings though? It seems a little farfetched that you can become a "psycho" simply by what you say. If that was the case, every depressed teenager should be tested for being a psychopath because they talk with little emotion; every 4 year old should be tested because of repeated excuses that 'made them' steal a cookie. It would be extremely unfair if we used these researchers' claim that one's speech patterns can determine whether you are a psychopath. Article:
  • Posted Can the Moon Determine the Gender of a Baby? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    We all know the story of the stork flying though the starry night, innocently delivering babies to hopeful young couples. However, we also know that this little story is completely untrue (although still a good excuse when small children ask where babies come from!). As a child grows older, they learn that when a husband and wife love each other, they get married and eventually partake in god's special gift of sex and that is what makes a baby. As if this process isn't miracle enough, there are now claims being made that the day the baby is conceived will predict the gender of the baby! Check out this web site/article: . This web site claims that if you use the Chinese Lunar Calendar, you will be able to predict the sex of your future child. There is a date generator that asks for the mother's birth date and the date of conception. Then, based on these two dates, the Chinese Lunar Calendar will be able to calculate whether the baby will be a boy or girl. This is a very extraordinary claim. As we have learned in Psychology 1001, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (also referred to as Occam's razor, one of the six scientific thinking principles). Within the web site stated above, there is absolutely no evidence that could support such a crazy claim. In my opinion, it is better to simply wait out the pregnancy to find out what gender your newborn will be. There is no point in becoming invested in hoax claims that have no evidence of their validity or reliability. From the text book "Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding", by Scott Lilienfeld and others, we know that after conception, the sperm fertilizes an egg to produce a zygote which forms a blastocyst during the germinal stage of prenatal development. The cells in the blastocyst do not yet have specific functions. Once the cells take on functions, the blastocyst becomes an embryo (at about 2 weeks into pregnancy). At this stage, the major organs and limbs are developed. Then the embryo turns into a fetus which marks the first heart beat. This process of development has been proven and can be observed in everyday life. So, although some websites claim to be able to predict the sex of a child based of the conception date, we know that it will not be until weeks into a pregnancy when organs start to develop and the baby becomes a boy or girl....
  • Posted Hypnosis Simply a Hoax? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Growing up in America, many of us have heard of the crazy "phenomena" of Hypnosis. If not, check out this video clip: Hypnosis is a "set of techniques that provides people suggestions for alterations in their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors". Hypnosis is especially prevalent in Hollywood movies and during big events. If you have ever seen someone get "hypnotized" you may have been instantly amazed! However, have you ever stopped to think about exactly how hypnosis works? Can it really make people unconsciously quack like a duck or completely change personalities? The following ideas may change your perception on hypnosis and challenge your beliefs about it. Last year I went to the "Senior All-Night Party" at my high school. One event of the night included a hypnotist that called up 20 of my classmates and proceeded to "make" them do CRAZY things like driving fake cars, singing popular songs, and literally crying over the fact that their kitten had just died (there were no real kittens, apparently the hypnotist imposed these feelings on the students). This whole act was very skeptical and did not seem real. Looking farther into hypnosis I found out that hypnotists actually choose their participants based on their personality features. Some people respond to waking imaginative suggestions. These are highly correlated with response to hypnotic suggestions. So, hypnotists choose people because they will more easily obey what they say. Does this suggest hypnotism really works, or is it just tricks that work with certain people? Many people think that people that are hypnotized are completely unconscious and unaware of their surroundings. However, people that are hypnotized are actually hyper-attentive and can later completely recall things that happened when they are in a "trance". This makes me think that people convince themselves into entering a hypnotized state. Both of these things lead me to believe that the students at our All-Night Party were simply faking their unconscious state while being hypnotized. Although it would take extensive research and countless numbers of studies to show the true effect of hypnosis, as of now, hypnosis simply seems like a hoax. Sources: Psychology 1001 From Inquiry to Understanding, Scott Lilienfeld...
  • Posted Protection from the Abstract to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    One of the most important concepts that have been introduced in Psychology 1001 so far is the idea that there are "metaphysical claims" (Lilienfeld, Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding, 9). We must separate these claims from our scientific thinking in order to protect ourselves from accepting false truths. Metaphysical claims are assertions or arguments that confront issues and beliefs that we cannot see or test in order to prove them right or wrong. A few examples of metaphysical claims include the existence of god, ideas about the soul and thoughts about the afterlife. These metaphysical claims are very often held close to people's hearts. Important aspects of one's life like religion, values and morals usually rely strongly on metaphysical claims. However, in order recognize the validity of science and studies we must separate metaphysical claims from scientific claims. Take a look at this video clip: . It seems like the speaker has some degree of try-hard "logic" that accompanies his argument that God does, indeed, exist. This is a kind of metaphysical claim that someone sought to prove and has provided "evidence" to that fact that their argument is correct. Obviously, God is outside the realm of human understanding. Being able to realize that a video like the one you just watched has assertions that cannot be proven will help protect you from being sucked into ploys and phony beliefs that the people of this world are trying to spread. Keeping in mind the Scientific Thinking Principles, (Lilienfeld, Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding, 22) you can easily pick out these metaphysical claims when you come across them. For example, Metaphysical claims cannot be proven wrong, or right for that matter; the claims are usually very extraordinary and would require very extraordinary evidence (which the video clip absolutely did not have). The only question that still arises in my mind is how people can be SO SURE on their own metaphysical claims? If we are to think scientifically, how can people, without a doubt, rely on such ideas? *For the record, I do believe God exists and I am a very strong Christian. I simply used the "existence of God" as an example to provide a better understanding about what a metaphysical claim is....
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