• Posted 5 Years From Now... to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I will remember The Bystander Effect along with the related pluralistic ignorance and diffusion of responsibility. I remember hearing about the story about the 16-year-old girl that became an tragic victim of bystander nonintervention. It is so sad! Reading about bystander nonintervention is really scary...because I noticed myself nodding along, agreeing! I would like to think of myself as a helpful, good person the wouldn't hesitate to help someone in distress, but now I have to wonder. I know I've experienced pluralistic ignorance. Granted, it wasn't in a serious situation, but I am still surprised at how easily I dismissed a situation simply because nobody else was reacting...its a vicious cycle. And, unfortunately, I've experienced the diffusion of responsibility. My most vivid memory of this is from childhood when my brother and a few of our neighbor-friends thought it would be a good idea to have a water our bathroom. And when the possible punishment and ruined bathroom (outcome) seemed less of a big deal when there were more people implicated in the situation. While most of my experiences are laughable, I will remember these concepts in order to avoid a more serious situation where a person, rather than a bathroom, could be at stake. Thankfully, the enlightenment effect offers hope that keeping these concepts in mind will actually help me avoid them....
  • Posted Don't leave me! to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I found the Attachment Theory really interesting, as well as the Stages of Separation Distress. It kind of seems like common sense, things that people often feel or experience, just put down into words. I think the Theory is very accurate in describing the human need of maintaining relationships, however I definitely know a couple people who refuse the company of others. At first, I wondered how the Theory would account for these people, but then I realized that many of these individuals do not seem happy or satisfied with themselves/their life. So maybe the theory is right after all. Related to the Attachment Theory is the 3 Stages of Separation Distress. Talking about it so frankly and indifferently is kind of intimidating! The "stages of your agony after your breakup," or, if you're a child, the horror of your mother making you sleep in your OWN room. According to an online Child Development Guide, neglecting to attend to this Separation distress can lead to a low self-esteem and impaired relations with peers. These stages can be extremely difficult for people to deal with. I think many people fixate on the possibility of experiencing these stages (neuroticism) that they can eventually make the experience real, even though they may not want it to happen. The overarching theme I found between these two ideas can be summed up with "Don't leave me!" We strive for human companionship and naturally are reluctant to lose it.
  • Posted Build a Baby! to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Our Psychology book briefly discusses the "Mozart effect" and parents' desire to enhance their child's cognitive development...basically, they want to make their child smarter. So, the case: Playing Mozart improves intellectual ability. I think this classifies as an extraordinary claim in need of extraordinary evidence. The study done by Rauscher, Shaw & Ky that launched the "Mozart effect" has failed to pass the replicability and falsifiability tests of scientific reasoning. Unfortunately, this study provided a lucrative opportunity for press and toy companies, elevating an underdeveloped idea to a level of scientific proof. The book even cites the seemingly imprudent act of a former Georgia Governor that added money to a state budget in order to provide all new babies with a free Mozart CD. By applying the Occam's Razor principle, suggests that maybe the extra brain stimulation that music provides accounts for the temporary cognitive improvements. However, I think that the this Mozart craze isn't a complete waste. In a BBC article "The Mozart Effect Debunked," it reinforces the evidence from our book that Mozart music does not make babies smarter. However, it also interviews children who are frequently exposed to Mozart's music and asks them what they think about it. Their responses are all positive and they seem to have developed an appreciation for Mozart's classical style of music, which I personally think it great. If anything, the Mozart craze can maybe help children be more accepting of music (and maybe other things too) that is not typically their favorite....
  • Posted to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    While reading, I thought the concept of Linguistic Relativity to be extremely interesting. The basic idea of linguistic relativity is that characteristics of language shape our thought processes. Lilienfeld ultimately decides that the theory isn't conclusive and that other aspects of perception play an important role in shaping how we think. I, personally, was intrigued by the study that goes against the idea that language affects thinking: color categorization. Although people across the world that are part of different societies and cultures speak various languages that have different numbers of basic color terms, still all people can, for the most part, divide the same color categories. This study shows that people can still understand something, even if their language doesn't outright teach it to them. For example, in a New York TImes article, the author uses the example that even though an English speaker has never heard the German word "Schadenfreude" doesn't mean that he or she cannot understand the meaning if given an explanation or that he or she is incapable of feeling the emotion. (Schadenfreude refers to the pleasure derived from another person's misfortune.) Just because a language prohibits a person from an initial understanding, it does not rule out the possibility of being able to comprehend it if given the chance. Given this view, it seems to suggest that people from different cultures and societies cannot learn about or understand other people in different countries with opposite ways of living. However the article also discusses the ways in which giving directions through language can affect the way we think. For example, most people typically use egocentric directions which are dependent on our own bodies..."go left then walk straight until the house and then turn right." Versus geographic directions which are oriented on the earths axises..."head north then turn east." The different sets of directions would influence the way we think of getting to each place. Still, I think that Linguistic Relativity can be a little far reaching, but definitely holds true to a point....
  • Posted Poor little narcoleptic dog... to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Narcolepsy is "a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep." In this case(video), a dog is suffering from narcolepsy. At first, I found it somewhat funny because, ironically, every time the dog got too excited, it would fall asleep. But by the end of the video and through the textbook reading, I realized that narcolepsy is a serious sleep disorder that dramatically affects people's lives. Some people with narcolepsy experience cataplexy, which is a complete loss of muscle tone. This can happen from surprise, excitement or any strong emotion. When I imagine my own life being affected by narcolepsy/cataplexy, I realize how problematic this condition would be. You couldn't drive, safely anyways, which for me growing up would have made life difficult. Thinking back on birthdays, Christmas, and just other happy moments in my life, suffering from narcolepsy would completely change all of these memories. I think it's really unfortunate that it seems to affect people during the more exciting or significant moments of their life. While some people are born with narcolepsy, (some with a genetic abnormality that increases the risk) others develop it after sustaining damage to the brain. So, unfortunately, everyone is susceptible to developing narcolepsy. Complications that come with narcolepsy include: a misunderstanding of the disorder, an interference with close relationships, and physical harm. People can mistake the side effects of narcolepsy with laziness and apathy. Because extreme emotions can trigger narcolepsy or cataplexy, people sometimes refrain from forming close relationships that would be affected by the disorder. Physical harm may result from many activities that are interrupted by a sleep attack. Clearly, narcolepsy affects people on a personal and everyday basis, changing the way he/she lives. In the case of the dog from the video, narcolepsy has made a normal, happy life impossible.
  • Posted Faking a muscle disorder? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I came across an article about Desiree Jennings- a young, lively woman in the prime of her life, that is suddenly reduced to limping, stuttering, convulsions and other degenerating symptoms. She believes that a flu shot vaccination caused her current condition, however, some medical experts disagree. My first thought after reading the article was, "This is an extraordinary claim." If it was the flu shot that caused her affliction, then why hasn't anyone else reported a similar case? I'm not saying that she is faking, just that maybe there is another cause, maybe she ruled out a rival hypothesis. Desiree became a poster child for the anti vaccine movement. Whether involuntarily or by choice, this label presented the movement with a new force, making me wonder if vaccines truly are a problem? Is it safe to take these drugs that can have such malicious effects? Well, it's definitely not safe to not get them. Vaccines have even managed to eliminate smallpox in the human population. Thinking critically to avoid ruling out a rival hypothesis, I moved to the idea that she could be faking it. It seems like a lot of people are looking for ways to make themselves famous, whatever the repercussions. However, this claim would be difficult to disprove (falsifiability). Some medical experts believe that she is suffering from a psychogenic disorder rather than a physical or neurological disorder,'s all in her head. If her symptoms really were unconsciously invented, then her up and down improvements from various unreliable treatments would indicate the placebo effect. She anticipates her improvement after a treatment, therefore, she temporarily improves. So, is she faking it? No, I don't think so. While her flu shot claim seems extraordinary and her symptoms can appear suspicious, doesn't mean she's lying. However, instead of an extremely complex, degenerating physical disorder, it seems more likely that she is unknowingly causing her own symptoms.
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