• Posted The Concept That Will Stick with Me to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    PSY 1001 has been such an interesting class. I have never been bored with one subject that we have learned in lecture and in the book. It's hard to pick just one concept that I think I will remember in five years but, for me, an obvious choice is language and thought. My major is Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences so the topics presented in the book and lecture pertains to everything I'm learning for my major. From discussing what a phoneme is to learning about the stages of speech development, these issues we heard about in psychology are what I love to talk about on a regular basis (clearly, otherwise I wouldn't be in the major I'm in!). This chapter of the book also discusses sign language which is the language I'm currently taking. I love love love sign language; the signs, fingerspelling, and the culture associated with it (Deaf culture) are fascinating to learn about! When I saw a section of this chapter was on the topic of sign language I got really excited and was fully engaged in the reading (which is hard to do sometimes with the long PSY 1001 chapters). I really enjoy learning about language acquisition for hearing and deaf children and this little section of PSY 1001 dealt with all of this. Therefore, in five years, I definitely will remember the concept of language and thought....
  • Posted Cottingley Fairies Hoax to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In our book, the end of chapter 9 talks about intelligent people being tricked. One of the biggest tricks of all times was the Cottingley Fairies Hoax. Although it happened almost a century ago, some people still believe it to be true. This hoax presents us on "what not to do" when evaluating pictures in terms of scientific thinking. In 1917, two cousins in England became very famous. Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took Elsie's father's camera and took pictures of both of them playing with "fairies". People all over saw these pictures and actually believed that there were real fairies prancing around the girls. Though most people figured it out in the end, many people were stumped including the brilliant author of the Sherlock Holmes books, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle even published a book in 1922, The Coming of Fairies, which was based on the Cottingley fairies. It was later found that the fairies looked exactly like illustrations found in a children's book, and therefore it was assumed that the girls cut the pictures out of the book. Both Frances and Elsie never admitted to this until much later in life. The Cottingley Fairies hoax is a prime example of people not using the six principles of scientific thinking, especially the principles of extraordinary claims, replicability, and Occam's razor. When people evaluated the fairy photographs, they forgot to realize that they would need extraordinary evidence to back up this extraordinary claim of tiny fairies running around England. There was no evidence of fairies living. The girls could not prove that there were fairies either besides the photos they took. This leads into the next scientific principle of replicability. Elsie and Frances claimed that the fairies trusted them and would only come out for them and no one else. This means that no one other than the girls could have possibly seen the fairies and therefore could not confirm their existence. Finally, people should have automatically thought of a simpler explanation for these fairies (Occam's razor) however, most people didn't. They assumed that the fairies were real, not thinking that they could have been cut out from a book. I guess the book was right, "none of us is immune to making errors in thinking." I just can't believe people made the error of thinking that these fairies were real!
  • Posted Are same-sex couples capable of being parents? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The "traditional" family is a dad, a mom, and the children. They believe that a child cannot develop properly without the presence of a mother and a father. However, contrary to popular belief, there are many more "non-traditional" families living in the world than people think. Single-parent families, second marriage families, childless couples, and same-sex parents all fall under the category of "non-traditional families." All of these family lifestyles, although some might not believe it, are capable of raising perfect children (minus the childless couples, for obvious reasons). Out of all these nontraditional families, same-sex families are undoubtedly the most discriminated on. It is proven that a child raised by same-sex parents develops as any other child would. Although a mother and a father have distinctive roles in child's development, same-sex parents take on the same roles. These include the role of the "caregiver" and the "breadwinner". In "traditional" families, both parents can be either of the roles (although more often the mother is the caregiver and the father is the breadwinner) and the same goes for same-sex couples. A child that has one primary parental attachment figure and one secondary attachment figure that both play different roles, develops normally whether she has heterosexual or homosexual parents. Though this fact is proven, people are still hindered by the fact that two people of the same sex are capable of raising a child. Why? I have no idea! I found a, quite frankly, disturbing case when I was reading an article titled, "America's Child Abuse Epidemic." The article discusses how the state of Texas' governor, Rick Perry, brags about how Texas has one of the highest rates of traditional families that stay together. However, he neglects to inform people about how Texas has one of the highest rates of children being incarcerated, dropping out of high school, and dying from abuse and neglect. The article continues to discuss that Texas' Child Protective Services has "lowest rate of removal for abused children from their homes. Not surprisingly, it also has the highest number of child abuse fatalities in the country". This is all due to the fact that Texas wants to boast about its "high traditional family values" which means children should be in a "traditional" family. This also means that Perry would rather have a child stay with an abusive traditional family than be in the hands of a homosexual couple. There is an extremely low rate of abuse in same-sex parent families. This is most likely because these parents have to jump through hoops to finally get their child with adoption costs. They would have to be completely insane to want to spend all that money on child only to abuse it. I think Perry needs to reevaluate his so-called values...just sayin'.
  • Posted Sign Language to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    American Sign Language is a vastly different language than most people think. The grammar rules, or syntax, are completely unlike speaking English. Though the syntax is different, sign languages are still considered languages because they follow specific rules just like speaking languages. Being a native speaker of English, it was hard for me to understand American Sign Language at first. I am currently in my second semester and I am still finding myself trying to translate the sentence I have in my head word-for-word in sign language. This is a no-no! A typical sentence in sign language isn't the English "subject-verb" norm. There aren't really any auxiliary verbs in ASL as well as any articles like "the" or "a". Going from English to sign language, this takes awhile to get used to. When I walked into class of my first semester, two translators were present and I got to see them sign with the teacher. Besides watching their methodical hand gestures, I couldn't help but notice their general posture and facial expressions. These two elements play a crucial part in ASL grammar. My professor stresses how we have to show emotion in all of our sentences. We even have to do eyebrow exercises sometimes if we aren't focusing (eyebrows up, eyebrows down, eyebrows up, eyebrows down...)!!! These facial expressions in any speaking language could be thought of as over-dramatic but in ASL as well as any other sign language, these extralinguistic gestures are very important. There are many myths about sign language. One of the main myths is when children are born deaf to hearing parents, people might think that they cannot acquire language like hearing children do. However, this is false. Deaf children can acquire language like anyone else. In fact, the parts of the brain that process spoken language are just used to process sign language. Also, children that are born deaf go to through the same developmental stages as hearing children do. For instance, when hearing children start babbling, deaf children babble with their hands. Here is a video of a deaf parent signing with her deaf child...very cute!
  • Posted Narcolepsy to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In the 2001 film Rat Race, a group of people are picked by another group of millionaires to race for a large sum of money. As the group departed on their journey, racing down the halls of the hotel, one of the characters suddenly stops and starts sleeping in the middle of the hallway! He does this throughout movie, falling asleep during important parts of the race. At the end of the movie, he ends up being the first one at the money safe, with his key in the lock, only to fall asleep as he was about to unlock the door! The other members of the group catch up to him, resulting in a big fight for the money. Picture of character in Rat Race: Though the film pokes fun at this character's disorder, narcolepsy is nothing to make fun of. Narcolepsy is characterized by the fast and usually unexpected arrival of sleep. This sleep can last a few seconds to even an hour. Imagine not being able to control when you fall asleep. You could sleep through the most basic of everyday activities such as being at work, going to class, cooking dinner at night, or even going to the bathroom! Cataplexy is also associated with narcolepsy and is the complete loss of muscle tone. This means that the muscles go limp and one can fall very easily. People with ordinary sleeping habits are afflicted by cataplexy too during their REM sleep. However, because these people are normally in bed, cannot tell. People with narcolepsy, because they sleep at random times, are more prone to falling simply because they could fall asleep while standing up. Narcolepsy can occur if there are any abnormalities in genetic information. Orexin, a hormone, plays an important role in wakefulness. Abnorallites in the brain cells that produce this hormone can result in narcolepsy. People that have this strange condition can take medications to help to regulate orexin and wakefulness, though it may not work for everyone. As I was looking up information about this condition, I came across a blog written by a narcoleptic woman. She posted that," Everyday is such a struggle for me... no one understands what I am going through. Even my husband gets so frustrated that I am practically disabled and cannot do many things that normal people do... I feel very lonely and sad... I wish I can be alert and refreshed after sleeping just 8 hours like other normal people". I cannot even fathom not being able to control when I do and when I don't want to sleep. Narcolepsy sounds like a tough condition to deal with, not just for the one afflicted with it but also their family and friends. I thought it was hard staying up all night studying, only to get a few hours of sleep for the next day. Now that I know what narcolepsy is and what it entails, I feel lucky to be a normal sleeper.
  • Posted The Miraculous Train That Makes Babies! to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011 I found this article, "The Baby Train", on that claims a small town near Sydney, Australia is filled with children because the town has a main train line running through it. The author swears that the direct cause of this major child influx is that the train wakes up people in the middle of the night and instead of going right back to sleep, couples feel compelled to fill that time with, let's just say, a different "extracurricular activity". His hypothesis is very scientifically sound, isn't it? NOT! His theory contradicts many of the six principles of scientific thinking. However, the two main ones that help indicate that this is not a scientifically proven fact are extraordinary claim and correlation versus causation. The author has no evidence to support his claim and therefore is extraordinary. It sounds more like an episode of The Twilight Zone more than a scientific hypothesis if you ask me--a magic train that produces kids in the blink of an eye! What also makes this extraordinary is the author's mistake of falling into the traps of the correlation versus causation fallacy. He assumes that the train is causing babymania but in reality, a third outside event or situation could explain what is going on. Besides the violation of the principles, the author is also falling victim to confirmation bias which is when we tend to only seek out evidence that supports our hypothesis. Observing only that there were many children running around (so much so, that the schools were overfull as well as the maternity ward in the hospital), he didn't take the time to uncover other reasons to why couples had their children. An easy way to fix this problem would be to do a survey or some interviews instead of jumping to conclusions. Clearly, although some might find trains very appealing (whatever floats your boat), I think most people would say that the train passing through the middle of the night is not causing couples to get their freak-on!...
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