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Katherine Sanchez

  • Posted Sensations & Perceptions to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In Chapter 4 of our textbook, a statement that really resonated with me was, "We often assume that our sensory systems are infallible and that our perceptions are perfect representations of the world around us." For the majority of my youth I never realized how different our sensations and perceptions vary from person to person. I always assumed that because someone else was experiencing the same thing as me; they must be feeling and perceiving the same things as me as well. I never gave much thought to the fact that our brains and bodies are different; therefore, our interpretations are different. It was this egocentric way of thinking that caused me to be close-minded, judgmental, etc. I didn't have a very good understanding of other people and how they experience life and the world around them. To this day I am grateful for that change in perception and that understanding that each person experiences life in totally different ways than I do--regardless of how similar our experiences seem to be. Although the processes we go through to interpret outside stimuli are the same, the perceptions our brain and bodies acquire are very unique. This has to be one of the greatest reasons why each person is so individual and special. It's our perceptions on life and the things that happen to us (along with genetics) which help shape our attitudes and actions. For the rest of my life, I will constantly be reminding myself that sensations and perceptions are not universal among people. For me, this understanding helps me be more open-minded, accepting, patient, etc. It allows me to see and feel more and realize that, when it comes down to it, life and its experiences are really only what you perceive....
  • Posted The P.T. Barnum Effect & Spiritual Readings to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In Chapter 14 of the Lillienfeld text, it describes the P.T. Barnum effect where people believe descriptions and sayings as true because they already apply to the majority. Good examples they used in the text to explain this were spiritual readings such as tarot cards, crystal balls and horoscopes. For a long time when I was younger I read my horoscope every morning on a daily basis. And, unconsciously, I spent the remainder of the day applying confirmation bias--seeking out things that would validate my horoscope and ignoring things that didn't agree with it. I was always amazed at how accurate my readings were and believed in them for quite sometime. It wasn't until I started reading horoscopes for the other signs that I started to question how personal these readings were. I soon realized that a lot of the other readings also applied to me even though they were meant for other people. In the book, they evaluate this concept with extraordinary claims, and I agree. It's not that the readings are actually predicting your daily outcomes, but that they are so vague and general to begin with that people are susceptible to finding things in their everyday lives that will agree with it and, therefore, confirming their belief that horoscopes are really true. A few years ago there was a huge boom in the media with Sylvia Browne and her psychic readings. She appeared on many television shows and even made annual predictions at the start of the new year (which mostly turned out incorrect). The following YouTube.com video is a little peek at what she was about and how she worked: http://youtu.be/YiaVgl3DkQw In the audience readings, you can see the person agreeing with her, nodding their head and confirming that what she is saying is so accurate; but her responses are so vague that it can be taken in so many ways by the person she is reading. Just goes to show how easy it is to take what someone says and be able to apply it in some way to something that is actually happening to you. People are so easily persuaded when they want answers to their questions or need some sort of reassurance. It is all fun and entertaining, but it is also necessary to realize the extraordinary claims behind it all. For example, later in the YouTube clip, Sylvia talks with a young mother who says her young daughter talks and interacts with ghosts because she babbles randomly and acts as if she is. Maybe it's simply that her child is being a little kid who can't yet talk and is purely adapting and developing to the world around her. There are many kids who play with imaginary friends, but that doesn't mean that they are speaking with the dead. That's just simply how they are....
  • Posted Nonverbal Clues and Mixed Messages to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Chapter 11 of Lilienfeld's text talks about nonverbal leakage as the unconscious expressing of our feelings into actions. This is a common form of communication we use every day that we just don't think about (hence, the unconscious). But when there is a lack of either the verbal or nonverbal parts of communicating with one another, it is hard to distinguish the real meaning to what the communicator is trying to say. When you have both aspects playing a part, the emotion is intensified and fully communicated. A person who is deaf or can't hear very well relies greatly on other people's gestures and body language. It is they're way of reading their expressions and arm movements to help decipher the emotion. Here is an article that talks a little bit about "deaf culture" and how body language plays an important role in their lives--something they don't take for granted. http://library.thinkquest.org/11942/deafculture.html There are so many people who are hearing impaired and live in a culture of people who aren't hard of hearing. And they survive and live just as meaningful and fulfilling lives. It would be interesting to see what a world would be like where everyone was deaf and only relied on facial expressions, body language and gestures. I bet we would still be able to communicate as much as we could with words...
  • Posted The Key to a Long Life -- Become a Nun! to KatherineSanchez
    In Chapter 7 of Lilienfeld's textbook, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, there was a paragraph that talked about Alzheimer's disease, which also went on to describe a study of nuns and how their life expectancy ranged from 87 to over...
  • Posted The Key to a Long Life -- Become a Nun! to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    In Chapter 7 of Lilienfeld's textbook, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, there was a paragraph that talked about Alzheimer's disease, which also went on to describe a study of nuns and how their life expectancy ranged from 87 to over 100 years--much higher than average American life expectancy of 77 years. Alzheimer's is a disease characterized by memory and language impairments (Lilienfeld 268). It affects 42 % of people over the age of 85. The fact that nuns had a higher life expectancy interested me and so I looked up other "nun studies" on the Internet. I also found another article detailing the same findings... http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/205970/the_key_to_a_long_life_become_a_nun_pg3.html?cat=5 It was cool to see that the findings could be replicated, but we already know that studies and surveys do not yield causation. Which makes me wonder what the contributing factors are to leading a long healthy life. In the article, the author referenced that cloistered nuns live a very routine life causing the brain to be more at ease. This could account for the slower deterioration of brain cells. It also stated that they rarely live their communities resulting in lower sickness rates. Pair those things with the "no smoking or drinking rules" and you've created a less stressful life. Another possible cause I'd like to point out is the fact that nuns are very compassionate, loving and peaceful people. They don't go on roller coaster rides of emotion or take big physical or mental risks. They have positive outlooks and are very much content with their purpose in life. I feel that having a demeanor like this also plays a critical role in having a healthier brain later in life. The brain is very intricate and powerful. It dictates what we do and what our bodies do, so it would makes sense to assume that people who think healthier have healthier lives. I mean, do you ever see a mad and grumpy 100 year old? No. Because people like that don't live to be that old! Just kidding. But it would be interesting to see the studies done on people with positive and negative demeanors and their life expectancy......
  • Posted Hypnosis: Is it really mind control? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Hypnosis is a set of techniques and suggestions that alter one's perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Today, it is widely used therapeutically, for entertainment, or getting over addictions. There have always been misconceptions of the power of hypnosis and the trance in which the person being hypnotized succumbs to. Chapter 5 of Lilienfeld's text, Consciousness: Expanding the Boundaries of Psychological Inquiry goes into greater details of the myths behind hypnosis on pages 182 and 183. For my senior class party in high school, we invited a hypnotist to come in for part of the night's entertainment. It was definitely funny, but I always wondered what really went on when someone was under the hypnotist's spell. The following Youtube video gives an example of what we experienced at our senior party: Are they really under a spell? Does the hypnotist have complete control over the person being hypnotized? What does the person being hypnotized feel/experience? Although hypnosis is still very much used as an alternative way to treat many aspects of mental and physical disorders, most of the results can be disputed by ruling out rival hypotheses. According to our textbook it can be a great tool when used therapeutically depending on how susceptible the person is to suggestiveness, but we also have to rule out the fact that the success of hypnotic treatment could be because of the relaxed state one becomes or the suggestibility of the person being hypnotized. Either way, I think that one of the reasons that hypnosis is a great therapeutic tool is the fact that the mind is very powerful when it truly believes it can fight an addiction or overcome fears. Hypnosis is a good tool to help the person believe that they can achieve their goal of quitting smoking, losing weight, getting over their fear of flying, etc; therefore, enabling itself to overcome obstacles that a negative thinker would otherwise be defeated by. So can hypnotism scientifically be proven to cure diseases and ailments? No. Can it aid in the recovery of certain mental blocks like addictions and fears? I think there are too many variables to determine what is actually causing its effectiveness, but it doesn't hurt to try. It's the right tool for some people and others, no....
  • Posted Is Friday the 13th really unlucky? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    One concept brought up in Psychology 1001 thus far is illusory correlations from Chapter 2, "Research Methods," of Scott Lilienfeld's textbook, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. An illusory correlation is the ongoing belief of a certain claim or association to be true even though there is no statistical data or scientific evidence backing it up. I think that at some point or another everyone entertains the idea that these myths could be real (usually when we are younger and eager to believe what anyone else tells us). But then you reach a point in your life when you realize that there needs to be evidence supporting such outrageous claims if you're going to continue believing them. For me, it is amazing that many urban legends and superstitions have survived multiple generations without scientific proof. However, it is still interesting to see the concept of belief perseverance in action; and then being able to use the 6 principles of scientific thinking to discern whether or not I want to believe in it. Growing up, I fed into the superstition of Friday the 13th. Every Friday the 13th I would take note of the negative things that happened to me on that day and attribute it to that myth, not thinking it was just coincidence. I have provided the link to an article about Friday the 13th and the persistent belief that it is unlucky. http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm. This article also includes a link to a study done in 1993, which was published in the British Medical Journal supporting the 13th's unluckiness. In this case, I used the principle of correlation vs. causation. In the study done by the Department of Public Health by the United Kingdom in 1993, I questioned it using the correlation vs causation principle. Although it reported a standard deviation of p And going along with the principle of replicability, can we do another study and get the same results? I was not able to find another one. Throughout the article, there were many theories and ancient beliefs as to why Friday and the number 13 were considered unlucky; but there was no scientific data. A lot of the theories had to do with death and religion, which are both scientific mysterious. We cannot know what happens when we die and we cannot verify if there really is a god. I think that people feed into these superstitions to satisfy their own need for answers--even if they are wrong. People seek explanations to the unknown no matter how absurd it is. It's a great way to entertain ones self as well....
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