• Posted Psychic? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    There are many things from this course that stuck out to me and that I will remember. One thing I always come back to and think about is ESP. When I was younger, I could have sworn that I had ESP. I felt like I could predict everything before it happened. As I got older, I noticed it less but always thought still that I was some freak of nature. Now that I have learned about it in Psychology, it all makes sense. Though it may seem like magic a lot of the time, I have realized that a lot of what I thought was ESP was actually just coincidental. Since the class started I have been noticing the times where I would have previously thought I was psychic, like picking up my cellphone right before it started ringing or running into a friend on the street I had been thinking about. I have also tried to notice all of the times where it did not happen, for example when I am thinking about someone, but don't see them. I have realized that it truly is coincidence that these things happen. More often than not, I think about something, and sure enough it does not happen. Because of psychology class, I have recently become more aware of preconceived notions I had about many things....
  • Posted How motivated are you? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    It has been said that an IQ score can somewhat determine how successful you will be in life. It can determine what kind of career you will have. But, can your IQ score be altered depending on how motivated you are at the time of completion? According to a study at Penn's School of Arts and Sciences, motivation plays a key role in the outcome of IQ testing. She was trying to figure out, "when you statically control for motivation, what happens to the predictive power of the IQ test? What we found is that the predictive power goes down significantly." This study is not disregarding the fact that IQ scores do predict long term outcomes, but rather it questions whether it is completely because smart people are more successful in life or, we can predict outcomes based on the test takers motivation to do well. Though I have never taken an IQ test, I have experienced different results based on motivation. In the past I have studied equal amounts for two different tests, but scored very differently. I always tend to do better on the tests I actually want to succeed at, rather than the tests I must take in order to pass. I have experienced that motivation produces better outcomes. This theory forces us to take a second look at who is said to be "smart" and "stupid." If it is the case that motivation plays a key role in determining outcome, we must find new ways to motivate individuals for test taking. Low scores may be due to the fact that people just don't care, rather than the fact that they are not intelligent.
  • Posted the science of dating to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The topic of "better dating through science" during discussion got me thinking about dating in our culture today. Young people today are now cohorts of the online dating epidemic. Online dating is turning attraction into a scientific equation. In this article found in the New York Times, they talk about different websites approaches to finding the "perfect match." Personally, I am turned off by many of these websites. For example, matches people up completely by genetic testing. they attempt to match people up based on likeness of immune system. These extraordinary claims must be backed up with some extraordinary evidence. That is where I have a problem with a lot of these sites. Most of the results are inconclusive. These websites take millions of dollars from people claiming to give them their perfect match, but offer little concrete evidence in the end. They are trying to turn love into an equation by using cheek swabs and extensive tests. On the other hand, there are some websites that truly aim to cater to personality likeness. has had a good success rate of long term relationships. Their matching is based on personality traits rather than biological sameness. Overall the notion of a computer deciding who you are attracted to is something that is hard to swallow. It is frightening to think that pretty soon no one will be finding their true love without help from survey or test.
  • Posted When We Know Who We Are to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    After watching the BBC Horizon: The Secret You, I was better able to understand when we become aware as we are as ourselves. Marcus was trying to recall the point where he became conscious, but was not able to do so. He then was able to recall when he realized that his son became self aware, which happened at around 18 months. The most common test for self awareness is the mirror self recognition test. In this test a toddler will be put in front of a mirror. They will first be given the chance to see their reflection and become familiar with it. Their parents would then pretend to wipe their nose and while doing so place a sticker on the toddler's cheek with out them knowing. The test is then to see whether the toddler will recognize that they have a sticker on their cheek. The signs of recognition are if the toddlers attempt to remove the mark. If they do, this shows that they realize that it is them who they see in the mirror. These are the first signs of self recognition. This usually happens between the ages of 18-24 months. After this realization, Marcus began to question whether animals could recognize self, or even a single cell. After research we have been able to conclude that those who are members of the Great Apes family (Humans, Chimpanzees and Orangutans) are able to recognize themselves. He puts it as "we engage in a mental time travel." I find self awareness to be very interesting, but also very tricky. Even today when I look in the mirror, I can recognize myself, but I feel I look different every time I look. It makes me realize that our subconscious mind is very complex and hard to understand. I think it is very worthwhile and interesting to study further on the interworking of our consciousness....
  • Posted The Brain Has a Mind of its Own to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    The brain really has a mind of its own. This can be seen when talking about the placebo effect. The placebo effect is the improvement resulting from the mere expectation of improvement. In an experiment testing the effectiveness of a certain drug, one group may be given a placebo, or a blank pill. The group does not know that they have received a blank pill, and records positive improvements. This leads scientist to believe that the mere fact that people know they are taking a pill, they trick their body into thinking they are getting better. The placebo effect can help us determine how effective things are, such as medicine. Here is an example of the workings of a placebo affect: Though this example is a bit different than a blank pill, it still shows the same effect. College students wanted to prank new freshman by serving non alcoholic beer. The freshman didn't know that they were being served non alcoholic beer and were fooled into thinking that they were drunk. Based on this video, they did in fact feel intoxicated and were even vomiting. It is hard to tell if anything really will become of the placebo effect. Will it eventually be used as a cure? If people record to significantly feeling better after unknowingly taking a placebo pill, could it actually be used as a cure? Though it is used in experimental design, I think it deserves some of its own experimenting itself....
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