• Posted Five Years From Now... to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    We have covered an extensive amount of topics this semester: some more interesting than others. Personally, I found the four lectures and chapter on personality to be the most interesting and the most relevant five years from now. This is going to sound really obvious, but everybody you will ever meet will have a different personality than the next person. Surprisingly, you don't have to spend a large amount of time with someone to figure out their general personality. By being able to read people and knowing a small amount about personality traits (i.e. Big Five), you can figure out a person's typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving in a relatively short amount of time. This means you will likely be able to tell whether you will like, hate, annoy, be annoyed by, laugh at, laugh with, trust, or distrust a particular person. There are other examples, but you get the general idea. Life plans change and none of us really know where we will be or who we will be with after college. When meeting new people later on in life, knowing a little bit about personality can go a long way in your relationship (or lack thereof) with those people. It will come in very useful when you are around a new group of people: just smile, be polite, silently judge their worth to you as you pick out which ones will be your friends and enemies, or side-kicks and nemeses if you happen to be a superhero. A little knowledge about personality can go a long way when forming new relationships with new people throughout your lifetime....
  • Posted Criminal Profiling to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    I love Jack McCoy. Fun Fact: He is the only DA tough enough to convict Chuck Norris. When he was an ADA on Law and Order (side note: The original is the only watchable version. You have a right to like the spin-offs, but you are wrong in that right.) McCoy will sometimes call on a psychologist to take the stand against a defendant. When no insanity plea is used by the defendant, the psychologist is being used as a criminal profiler. The profiler is giving his expert opinion as to the personality and thought process of the criminal, maybe even describing some phsyical features. The problem is that criminal profiling tends to be subject to the P.T. Barnum effect. "The P.T. Barnum effect is the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions-descriptions that apply to almost everyone-as accurate" (Lilienfeld, 574). In a courtroom, the jury wouldn't buy a vague description of a criminal as "angry" or "disturbed", because most people could venture a guess that someone who acts outside the law as being "angry" or "disturbed". In all reality, criminal profiling is at best a guess. A study by Homant & Kennedy in 1998 (Lilienfeld, 575) agrees. The study showed that professional profilers were no better at distinguishing peronsality traits of murderers than untrained, college students. As other studies have replicated these findings, it is strange that criminal organizations still train profilers. Even if his criminal profiler is a bust, Jack McCoy will still win the case. (Dun Dun!)...
  • Posted Truth Serum on the Rocks (80's Edition) to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    Most people know how truth serum is supposed to work: bad guy is lying, good guy forces him to drink truth serum, and bad guy spills the evil plot to take over Nakatomi Plaza. While words like amobarbital and sodium pentothal sound like scary compounds that could induce the truth, they are nothing more barbiturates, a fancy class of drugs very similar to alcohol. For the Fratellis and bad guys everywhere, there is little to fear about truth serum. Numerous studies have shown that people can lie when given truth serum. Those studies falsify the claim that truth serum produces truthful statements. Some evidence points to truth serum simply increasing how talkative someone is, but creates the problem of decifering facts from fiction. The 'truth' is that truth serum doesn't enchance memory in any way. Truth serum is as reliable as asking 'Zoltar Speaks' to reveal the truth. The studies make sense, given the fact that barbiturates are very similar to alcohol. Even in large quantites, alcohol rarely reveals secrets more important than 'Harry thinks Sally is attractive' or 'I am your father'. We are just as likely to lie and tell the truth under both circumstances. In my opinion, a more effect way to get the truth out of people is to give them Saturday detention for eight hours and fifty four minutes. Ref: pg 421, 191....
  • Posted Pavlov and His Cat? to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    This is Emma: Despite being less cute than any dog, she is okay for a roommate's pet. Emma is a fan of her treats and catnip, both which come in a crinkly, resealable container. Whenever she hears this crinkling, she is near you within seconds. Emma is a conditioned cat. She has heard the crinkling of the bag so many times, a crinkling with normally follows a treat of some sort, that she is conditioned to react to it. The CS (conditioned stimulus) in this case is the crinkling noise of the treat and catnip bags. Emma's CR (conditioned response) to this stimulus is salivation, similar to Pavlov and his dogs. The UCS (unconditioned stimulus) is her treats or catnip, both of which she wants to eat, meaning the UCR (unconditioned response) is her salivation. Emma also responds to stimulus generalization. When other's have food with a crinkly plastic bag, Emma will come running from her current napping spot to investigate. Things like chips, with louder plastic, illicit more of a response than a candy wrapper, which doesn't quite match the sound of her treats. This particular stimulus generalization can become quite annoying, especially when accompanied by several, whiny meows....
  • Posted Speed-Reading to Psych 1001 Section 010 and 011 Fall 2011
    As college students, we are all used to individuals interrupting our busy, college lives by standing on our busy, college sidewalks and trying to peddle some crap (with the exception of free food) that busy, college kids don't need. After hypothetically attending Psych lecture last week, I received the following flyer: View image, View image I was surprised that the University, especially the Psychology Department, would allow such a seminar to take place Coffman. Speed-reading does work, in the sense of being able to read a page of text in two mintues rather than three. The error in critical thinking is that correlation isn't caustion. People assume that reading speed ultimately means reading comprehension, but in fact, studies have shown that reading faster than 400 words a minute reduces the rate of comprehension by less than 50%. Techniques such as skimming, as know as not reading everything, allow you to read massive amounts of text in record time, but significantly hurt the amount of that text you actually understand. In this case, being an average college student (reading 200-300 words per minute) is perfectly acceptable. I hope your Wednesday and Thursday was better spent, say by game-planning (not to be confused with pre-gaming) for the Zombie Pub Crawl....
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