November 2011 Archives

What matters most.

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Over the coarse of the semester I have learned to love the field of psychology. Being able to understand people and why they act and do the things they do has been something that has always interested me, and has been stimulated continually throughout this coarse. I think the most memorable "topic" discussed throughout the semester to me was the section on child development, and relationships. I realize now that a lot of who someone is today, is a direct reflection of the way they were raised. I am able to meet a person and after a little bit of getting to know them, feel like I have a good understanding of the way they were raised and the effects their early life had on them. The reason why I think this will be the most memorable to me is because one of my top goals in life is to start a family with a woman that I love, and to raise children and give them the best life experience possible. I know that raising children is not an easy task, but I feel that with my knowledge of psychology, as well as my overall understanding of how relationships work, I should be able to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be. I want to be able to die happy someday, looking back at life with a grin of satisfaction, knowing that I raised wonderful children, and spent my life with the woman of my dreams. And if nothing else good happens in my life, I will still be satisfied knowing I lived a life full of love. These topics were the most relavant to my life goals and is why I truly believe they are ones that I will never forget.

What Type of Parent Will You Be?

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The concept that I will remember in five plus years from now is the different parenting styles. It seems weird to think about parenting considering I am 19 years old but in 5+ years it could be a different story. It was interesting to me how the four different parenting styles have such different effects on the child. Authoritarian parenting is a very strict and often has punishment. Children are often are less happy and have lower self esteem. Permissive parenting, is very relaxed and the parent is more of a friend to the child. There are not many rules and no discipline. Children usually have problems with authority. Uninvolved parenting is when there is no communication and the child feels rejected or neglected a lot of the time. Children tend to rank low in a lot of different areas in life, happiness, self control, low self esteem. As a parent you want the best for your child and sometimes what is good at the time can have harsh effects later. So eventually when I am a parent I want to use the authoritative parenting style. There are rules to follow but it is also a more democratic style. Children are usually happier and more successful. Later down the road I think my child will thank me for learning these parenting styles and applying the correct one to him/her.

"As We Go On... We Remember..."

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Write 200 words or so about the concept in psychology that you think you will remember five years from now and why.

It's hard to pinpoint just one topic that's resonated with me because I have found so many topics discussed in this class to be extremely interesting. A recurring theme in our textbook that I found to be applicable to daily life are the six principles of scientific thinking (Ruling out rival hypothesis, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and occam's razor). For example, when some friends and I were out to dinner the other night, we saw a large amount of unidentified floating objects in the sky. Of course, we all assumed we were about to encounter an alien invasion, but thinking back to psychology, it dawned on me that there may a simpler explanation that could explain what we saw (occam's razor). After a moment of thinking, I realized it was a dozen balloons someone had left go off. As silly as it sounds, I literally thought back to psychology and the six scientific principles! Moreover, this class has allowed me to re-access my studying habits; in high school, it seemed that the more work one puts in to schoolwork, the better their outcome or grade was (displaying correlation vs. causation), which is not the case I have found to be true in college. College requires putting forth more effort than just 'doing the work', which is useful information I will carry on throughout my schooling.

(http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/did-they-learn-correlation-and-causation-in-college/ article on how earning a college degree doesn't equate to a six figure salary!).

Additionally, when it comes to solving problems everybody faces, I have also used the idea of ruling out rival hypothesis: my friends and family tell me tons of anecdotal proof about curing their common cold. They tell me things like Emergen-C, eating lots of bananas or coming Tums antacids are among the things I've heard. Instead of simply accepting anecdotes as truth, one can come to more logical conclusions about problems people encounter in their daily life like the common cold.

(http://www.marksdailyapple.com/do-cold-busters-like-emergen-c-and-airborne-actually-work/ article on popular OTC products like Emergen-C and Airborne).

Psychology and my future children

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In the future, I feel that I will most likely remember the concepts of child rearing. I think that those are some of the best concepts in the book because they can be applied when I have potential children and I can try to figure out the best way to raise my children. Granted, if the best way possible is just "good enough" I will be fine with that because no one is perfect and no one has identified a "perfect" child raising formula.

It will also help me to understand the different stages of their lives or at least give me an idea of where they are and their understanding of the world by using concepts such as Piaget's stages and Vygotsky's ideas. They will help me to understand my children better and give me a better idea on what would be best to teach them or show them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEam9lpa6TQ

It will also help me to avoid marketing schemes that offer creating a "superbaby". I will understand that these products will offer no long term advantages saving me valuable money as well as time. I will understand that these companies are not interested in my child but my money because they have absolutely no scientific proof to back up their claims.
getty_rf_photo_of_baby_boy.jpg

Psychology Encoded

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Throughout this psychology course I have encoded information about several topics. Some information I only stored in my active memory and failed to encode it into chunks of useful information that I can retrieve. One general concept that I have a good understanding of and I am sure I will know, and be actively using, in five years is the Five-Factor Model, or The Big 5. This general concept that describes human personality intrigues me in how well it can animate a person based off of behavior and their character. I have encoded the Five Factor Model into my long-term memory mostly because, since learning it, I have actively used the theory to identify my persona and the personality of others. I understand whom I am interacting with on a whole new scale, which allows me to exemplify personal behaviors to conduct good communication. Also, the model has allowed me to learn about what type of person I am, what I can improve in, and how to analyze individuals to understand what type of personality they may have and how to interact with them. Although the daily observations I make about myself and others is not empirical or statistically driven, what I learned about The Big 5 gives me the tools to make accurate judgments about the personalities of individuals. Since I do this everyday, I know I will still be using the concept five years from now and it's a valuable skill. Being self-aware and understanding what kind of person I am helps me solve personal problems and allows me to build better relationships.

5 Years From Now...

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What I'll Remember from Psych 1001 5 Years From Now
What makes humans happy?

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at 10.48.59 PM.png



5 years in the future, when I'm graduated from the University and trying to make a job in the event planning industry, I'll need psychology to help understand people, but also in my life in general. One thing I know will stick with me is the blurb about what makes us, as humans, happy. The section discusses that monetary value doesn't lead to happiness, growing unhappier as a result of growing old, west coast people are happiest and that what events transpire doesn't completely correlate to personal happiness.

I would love to be rich and live on the West Coast, but that doesn't guarantee a satisfaction in life either. The media makes it seem so, and it is in fact availability heuristic. I may be young now and enjoying my youth, but eventually my skin will wrinkle and hair will turn gray, but that doesn't have to correlate either. How one thinks in their mind about their situation is what correlates to happiness. In fact, as a woman in particular, sleep quality and quantities are great predictors for happiness, and older adults tend to be happier than younger ones anyway! I think this concept is a positive one to remember well after this semester.

False Memories

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When I was a little girl, I went to Disney Land with my family. Cinderella was my favorite princess and all I wanted to do was spend the day with her. I remember we were at parade and Cinderella picked me out of the crowd and I road the rest of the parade with her. After that I spent the rest of the afternoon with her or thats what my memory told me.
I was speaking with my mom about our trips and I told her this wonderful story. In reality, I did sit on the parade with Cinderella but after that I passed out in my dad's arms. My mom said I must have dreamt about spending the rest of the day with Cinderella. For the most part, it was all just a false memory.
A false memory "is a fabricated or distorted recollection of an event that did not actually happen. People often think of memory as something like a video recorder, accurately documenting and storing everything that happens with perfect accuracy and clarity." (About.com)
Memories.jpgThings to remember about out memory:
~Our memories are NOT perfect recollections of past events as they happened
~Memories are susceptible to the influence of inaccurate or unrelated information
~Beliefs can be influenced by the questions asked and/or the information provided
~An entirely false memory can be planted in unsuspecting individuals
(Slides from 10/11, Sarah Chambers)

The best of the best: Correlation isn't Causation.

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correlation.jpg
I can't believe this post will be our last blog post! Even though we still have some chapters cover, I would say I've really enjoyed this course. Over this semester, I was really into PSY 1001 course, I always thought about the contents from the book and applied some concepts to real life. Most of the helpful concepts from the book really changed me; I started to think more scientifically and became less biased person.

For the last blog post, I would like to talk about "Correlation isn't Causation", the best of the best concepts that I found. Many other concepts or ways of scientific thinking are important as well, but if I need to pick one that I would carry on for the lifetime, it is definitely the one I would choose. In daily lives, many people draw conclusion that one thing caused the other if they are somewhat related, but simply by applying the concept "Correlation isn't Causation", we will find that is wrong. Third variable may caused both or the causation may be other way around.

This concept did help me change the way I view the world. Before I learn this concept, I was somewhat neurotic person. For example, before I take the test, I would do the all the same behaviors that I did before other test that I did well, and I would never do any behaviors that I did before another test that I did poorly. (Even some behaviors were extremely trivial, such as taking a bus instead of walking on the way to class)

Now, as I learned this way of scientific thinking, I am more skeptical toward correlations between two variables. I asked myself before I draw conclusion "Even though they are correlated, did A really cause B?" Although It's been only few months since I learned this concept, I applied it to a number of different life situations, and I will be using it continuously for the life time.

Mind Boggling Memories

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Reading the article "Psychology To The Rescue" by The British Psychological Society, Elizabeth Loftus' "Prestige-Enhancing Memory Distortions" was the entry that highlighted the idea I believe I'll remember most. The idea that we distort memories in a way to make ourselves feel better, as she discussed is fascinating much like her other research findings...absolutely incredible. Between the reading that discusses the case of Paul Ingram, to the "Lost in the mall" study from the Lilienfeld text also done by Loftus are what make this topic so memorable for me. The idea that memories that never occurred can be implanted into our minds is fascinating but horrifying at the same time. The case of Paul Ingram is extreme but after talking with a family friend I've realized this type of situation isn't all that far-fetched. Our family friend is a medical doctor and as I was discussing the concept of implanting false memories he said that he sees this quite often, unfortunately. He told me that a lot of times when there are marital problems or an ugly divorce and there is a custody battle for young children, a lot of times parents will implant false memories into their children about the other parent. He said many times mothers will convince their children that the father neglected, abused or assaulted them. To try and avoid this the doctor says he tries to speak to the children alone, without either parent present to try and get an unbiased, true account of what is going on because much too often the children fall victim to implanted memories. It is sad, disgusting and scary to think someone could have this much power over you. I think this topic of memory that we've covered will be the one that stays with me forever.

Below is one of Elizabeth Loftus' books about this exact subject, something I think would be fascinating to read.

book_loftus_myth-recovered-memories-w220.jpg

The Importance of Thinking Critically

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As a Biology major, I have been taught the principles of the scientific method from day one. I have been taught and been expected to look critically at articles and to determine whether or not their claims appear "realistic." During these times, I would often look at whether the publisher or author was accredited, if there were any serious errors in their logic - I figured that I could sort of just tell if it wasn't an appropriate resource. Learning the six principles of critical thinking, however, has greatly influenced how I evaluate research claims. I can now not only identify when there are issues with a scientific claim, but I can pinpoint in what area. By learning not only what to look for, but also how to identify them, in what situations each principle is most likely to appear, I have gained unimaginable skills in not only reading others scientific literature, but in developing my own. The six principles (Ruling out Rival Hypotheses, Correlation vs. Causation, Falsifiability, Replicability, Extraordinary Claims, and Occam's Razor) have taught me to really analyze the material I am reading and will be invaluable in my studies and career in the years to come. Critical Thinking.jpg

Standardized testing

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So my opinion on standardized testing is that it actually just like IQ testing is just there to test us on how well we do under pressure. I took two different IQ tests, one where I answered with the first answer that came to mind and one that I actually thought about or worked on the questions and took time to answer the questions. I got an IQ of 125 on the one that i took time on and much lower on the one that I didn't take time on.
I think that for standardized testing has a negative impact, it stresses out the children because they put so much emphasis on doing well/your best. One of my 6th grade teachers during standardized testing gave us "smarties" one day to help us bring out our brains. The next day he gave us "dum dums" to try and encourage us to be smart.

Motivation

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In my own terms, motivation is something that we are willing to do. Something such as a task like reading a book or driving a friend that we are willing to do and want to do or don't mind doing. Motivations come in all different aspects. Some people can motivate themselves such as thinking of the benefits they'll achieve if they complete a task even if it isn't necessarily something they enjoy doing. Others need a little extra push, whether it's from their parents, or teachers, or possibly even coaches to get them going in the direction needed. I was always motivated in school knowing that if I didn't do well I wouldn't be allowed to play sports, that was all the motivation I ever needed. There are people who make a career of public speaking like the man who spoke in front of all the freshmen here during welcome week. They often are successful in motivating individuals but it often only lasts short term and people lose that focus and fall back to where they previously were. A great example of this in my life is this class actually. After scoring poorly on both exams so far in the class, I often get a rush of adrenaline, a push of motivation to work harder in the class as well as study more in preparation for the next exam. Although it starts off strong and I'm relatively motivated to do more work, after a week or two as time passes, I end up back where I was before the previous two exams not wanting to study as often as I should. Unfortunately for me, as I am no longer playing sports, I no longer have that little extra motivation to work as hard in school, something that I'm going to have to work on. After playing a life of sports I have often been a part of motivational speeches, watching motivational movies like Miracle, and watched dozens of motivational youtube video. I have attached one video in particular that I enjoy and motivates myself. The speech is from another time but is connected in well to this football player trying to succeed which makes it better to me. Enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X38PCf7kao

The Scam of America Test (SAT)

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Ah, the good ol' SAT. I certainly remember waking up the day of the tests and preparing five minutes before hand by eating a granola bar; perhaps, the only preparing that I encountered on my journey to. "ACT and SAT each have their own parts of the country. The GRE has its lock on graduate admissions. And so, one could blame the companies, but really, economically, they have no incentive to change things very much because they're getting the business" (Sternberg).

I'm sure by now, most of us are sentient of a standardized test entitled SAT, which for starters is short for absolutely... nothing. Sure, as if this weren't a brilliant enough, it also cost quite a lucrative fee just to put pencil to paper. Of course, the initial lump sum of cash pronged over doesn't include the endless amount of preparation books, SAT courses, and numerous other addictive additive strategies that your fellow classmates are taking hoping to improve their scores by a zillion points. As well as I did on the current SAT, I sincerely hope to never take anything as monotonous and mind numbing again in my life. In fact, if there ever were a vote for a standardized testing system, I would feel more inclined to vote for this affair than the presidential election of the United States. At least by voting against standardized test, I would possibly prevent the corrupted-egotistical-money hoarding companies from relying on the Wall Street principle of making money; lying-through-their-teeth. " The charge that the SAT is slanted in favor of privileged children--"a wealth test," as Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls it--has been ubiquitous" (American.com)

In fact, my mother and I once had the conversation in regards to the SAT. I was in my living room on a Friday night studying the day before the test. My mother came into the room at the late hour to inform me that I had a test in the morning and should be sleeping. While my movie was on pause I told her that I thought I was well off growing up. She asked what money had to do with anything, and I told her of course, the whole test relies on the underlying principle of money and the slightest bit of knowledge applied to ones test taking skills. She looked at me like she often does (like I belonged in a mental institution) and went off to bed. This practically summarizes my beliefs in a non aggressive, unsupported manner. Here's a good link:

http://www.american.com/archive/2007/july-august-magazine-contents/abolish-the-sat

What Do Standardized Tests Really Say About You?

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All throughout high school, I had fairly good grades. It was easy for me to pick up on things and I felt as though I could get by with good grades while doing the bare minimum. When it came time to take the ACT, my mom would tell me to study and do all of these practice tests but I never did. I ended up taking my ACT three times, receiving scores of 28, 28 and 31. I knew most of the material that was on the test. After I got accepted into college, I had to take more standardized tests to see what classes I would be placed in. After taking those tests, I found that I did much more poorly on them then I had on those sections of the ACT. Even after seeing how bad my scores were, however, my college advisor still told me to take courses that were much higher than the level I tested at. As a result, I am doing poorly in the classes I was told to take, and I've begun to wonder how much standardized tests can say about a person.

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/staiv.htm

Big 5 misleading?

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Reading about the Big 5 in the textbook, I feel it makes sense and I can see how it can be useful in analyzing and predicting people's behaviors. However, I have a reservation about its structure; it measures a person's personality as being high or low in a given trait rather than being more exhibitive of a certain trait versus its opposite. For example, a person with low extraversion may be led to feel he has "less of a personality" in this dimension, as he cannot be described as social and lively. Of course, this is not true at all; he may be any of various degrees of introverted, and it is possible that his personality cannot be justly assessed without measuring just how introverted he is--which would be different from measuring how extraverted he is.

I think this possibly misleading aspect of the Big 5 is important to consider any time it is applied for "real-world behaviors," like predicting success in employment. The textbook states that high conscientiousness, low neuroticism, and high agreeableness are commonly associated with successful job performance. Here, a reasonable inference from the model would be that low conscientiousness, high neuroticism, and low agreeableness often lend themselves to low success in jobs. However, I personally fall under the categories of highly neurotic and lowly agreeable, and yet I've been hired for every job for which I've applied, and I've received raises and awards at my workplaces for commendable performance.

As an alternative to the Big 5, I highly prefer and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures an individual's preferences in the areas of "favorite world," "information," "decisions," and "structure." I see a deeper value in how this model measures these traits in one direction or another, rather than highness or lowness, and especially how it combines the four results to categorize a person's personality into one of 16 distinctive types. The following site provides further information on the logic behind this model:

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my%2Dmbti%2Dpersonality%2Dtype/mbti%2Dbasics/

China's Missing Creativity

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While China has seen historic growth in its productive capacity in the last 30 years, the knowledge and ideas that have driven the growth has all been imported from the Western world. The United States has fallen behind China in manufacturing, but America is still number one when it comes to innovation. Why is it that even with the world's largest population, China is still unable to innovate?

I argue that the root cause lies deep within Chinese culture. In China, the old, rather than the new, is valued. When the Emperors of Imperial China had problems, instead of seeking new knowledge and insights, they would look back to the great Sage Emperors of antiquity, as they had ruled over what was seen as the epitome of a well ordered society. While this may seem trivial, the idea is still deeply rooted in all Chinese people.

This is most visible in the traditions of Confucianism. Confucianism says that the key to a well-ordered society are proper relationships between people. In every relationship, there is always one person who is superior, while the other is inferior. In a well-ordered society, everyone knows and respects their place in the world. Respect for age is central to this idea of the different roles in relationships. Age is what gives things their worth; the older someone is, the wiser they are.

This can be seen in Chinese schools. Students are taught that they should not question their teachers, even if their teachers are incorrect. Correcting a teacher is seen as extremely disrespectful and a violation of their proper role in the student/teacher relationship. Because of this, students are expected to do as they are told; thinking freely is not encouraged. After years and years in this stressful school environment, it is no surprise that Chinese children have lost their creative capacity.

The Big Five Personality Traits in Everyday Life

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After reading about the Big Five, I was able to start recognizing a lot of those traits in people around me, such as friends, family, and even people that I saw on television in shows and in movies. I liked how the traits can lead to patterns, such as when assessing the U.S. past Presidents. Those that were open to experience went along with historical greatness, while those that were agreeable went against historical greatness. Applying more generally, conscientiousness is usually positively correlated with things like physical health and life span. Furthermore, I found it interesting during the activity during discussion that used the Berkeley Personality Profile from the beginning of the year to separate us into groups to pick vacations. What I found interesting was that people usually picked places that were known to fit with their "profiles." Something that I found kind of surprising was that our class went 100% for being able to guess which group we fell into. To me, this means that people are also cognizant and aware of their own style and other people that are similar to their own style. After I realized this I started thinking about my close friends and also realized that many of us have very similar personality profiles that would also fit with similar Big Five personality traits. At the end of the day, I think it is important that although people may fit a certain personality "profile" it is not a know-all-be-all way to tell what people will be like. I think this is evident in the profession of criminal profiling, where law enforcement attempts to put together a general profile of what a criminal's personality and tendencies could be. I think this is interesting because on some occasions those without any training, such as chemists and students, did better than those who had training, such as police and detectives.
http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/bigfive.htm

Does Success on the SAT indicate success on future tests?

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I am looking into applying to Medical School in two years. In order to get into Medical School; you need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and receive around 30 out of 45 to be successful in Medical School. One thing that I was really wondering about was whether there is a correlation between the SAT and the MCAT. I scored really high on my SAT, so I thought that this would correlate over to the MCAT. However, after doing some research I realized that both of these tests are completely different. The MCAT is an achievement test, which means that it measures mastery of certain knowledge. The SAT is an aptitude test, so it measures the future success or capability to learn in the future. Both of these tests are completely different, so I realized that I should not immediately correlate these two for many reasons. Firstly, they are two different tests and they test different domains of knowledge. The MCAT relies on very specific information; therefore it relies heavily on specific abilities. These abilities are particular abilities that are in a very narrow domain and mastery of these can lead to success or better performance on the MCAT. The SAT does not rely on achievement testing; therefore mastery in certain domains is not required to be successful. Therefore, there is very little correlation between these two because they both test different knowledge capabilities. Also, when dealing with correlations, there is always a third variable involved. In the case of the MCAT, extensive studying is required in physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, and biology. So, if someone scored very well on the SAT, but did not prepare for the MCAT, then they would receive a low score. In determining the future success on a test, there are several different variables to account for, so concluding correlation leads to causation is incorrect because so many different variables can come into play.

Sources used
http://www.northeastern.edu/prehealth/preparing/preparing_for_the_mcat/
http://collegeapps.about.com/od/standardizedtests/tp/sat-act.htm
Lilienfeld, Scott. Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2011.

Brief Thoughts on the Big Five

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Personality tests, as we all know, are absurdly common, ubiquitous even. The big five personality assessment appears no different to me than the rest of this slew of tests save for the fact that it has been applied on a larger scale. For this reason it is thought of as more respectable, but, while I am not contesting its accuracy, I am tempted to say it is flawed in that it only provides us with generalizations that people are inevitably going to fall into. Just as a fortune teller or cookie will make a broad, blanket statement that chances are will apply to my life, so do these sorts of tests, hoping that I will take a position and provide further details to support that at the expense of details in my life that could contradict it. This is a perfect, exclusively personally cognitive, example of the confirmation bias, and it is disconcerting to realize that such a respected psychological categorical assessment rests on this premise.

A further problem these pose is that while they may supply human personality with a specific category to fall into, they tend to distract from inquiry into why these are the case. Evolutionarily, what are the reasons for certain personality traits prevailing over others, etc. These unempirical studies get us no closer to assessing this, and are less scientifically respectable to me because of this.

Jack Block is an American psychologist who expressed similar criticisms.

Below is a helpful video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SrPoIsI42U

My Brush With Eugenics

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TownCenter.png
The first time I heard of the eugenics movement in the US was in 6th or 7th grade. Our class had a unit on local history and, in looking for a possible topic, I stumbled upon the term. I learned about it that young because I grew up in Shutesbury, MA. This quaint and quiet hometown of mine was once an epicenter of eugenics studies in Massachusetts. Many would write of it as proof of the legitimacy of "bad stock" and how it was more common in rural areas.
In 1928 the town and its residents were the subject secret study ran by the executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, Leon Whitney. He collaborated with professors and students of colleges in the nearby Amherst (the town where I went to high school) to survey all the residents to assess everything from height and eye color to apparent 'defects' and sexual activities. They pitted neighbors against each other, getting them to report any oddness or depravity. They clandestinely collected residents' church attendance, tax records, medical files, school records, school intelligence tests, family histories, anything they could get their hands on. When Whitney went on to write a book (The Case for Sterilization), he used the statistics collected from the Shutesbury study as evidence for the need of sterilization.
The odd thing about this whole ordeal is that it's not generally heard of or talked about now. I wasn't able to find any real information on it until I was much older. Still, even today, I don't think that most of the residents know of their town's only claim to fame. It shows how much the movement has been forgotten.

More on Shutesbury Eugenics Study

Eugenics

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As discussed in Chapter 9: Intelligence and IQ Testing, the concept of eugenics, "good genes" were encouraged to reproduce preventing those with "bad genes" from reproducing or both. After reading the section of the textbook, I scratched my head in bewilderment. I couldn't believe that this was actually a concept in the early 1900's. The idea that those with low IQs were sterilized (and involuntarily) was disgusting. It amazed me to think that through all the years, psychology has evolved, and of course, has had its MAJOR flaws. So, as I was looking for more information on eugenics, the first website that I came across left me in even more confusion. The first website I click is "Future Generations." The first thing I read goes a little like this:

"Future Generations is about humanitarian eugenics. Humanitarian eugenics strives to leave a genuine legacy of love to future generations: good health, high intelligence,
and noble character. We advocate measures to improve the innate quality of humankind which are entirely voluntary. Please be forewarned that most ideas expressed on this website are 'politically incorrect.' We aspire to total honesty, believing that it is the only policy for people with integrity and furthermore, that in the long run, honesty is far-and-away the most compassionate policy."

If you visit the website, it lists a variety of articles that you can read supporting the ideas of "humanitarian eugenics." I think the most interesting thing about this article and opening it up at random is the fact that this is even a concept that is still considered. Now, I don't feel I know enough to say whether or not I completely disagree or agree, as I find it completely confusing. I was under the impression eugenics was no longer a discussed topic. I assumed that in order to help those with low IQs or live in a low income environment or have low health could be helped as best as possible with other forms of help in the psychological world or elsewhere.

The new things that you find everyday....

http://www.eugenics.net/

Can We Manufacture Happiness?

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In the Lilienfeld text, it discusses a study that tracked a group of 180 nuns for six decades. The nuns that had more positive journal entries outlived other nuns by an average of almost 10 years. Even though the text notes that correlation doesn't imply causation, these findings are very fascinating. If being an exceedingly happy person would add years onto my life, I would definitely make the effort to try to have a more positive outlook on things. But is this something that we can control? Recently I found an extremely interesting TED Talk video questioning what exactly can make a human feel happy.









According to the video, even if an array of awful events happen to a person, that person can still manage to "trick" themselves into believing that the events that occurred actually benefitted them. In essence, us humans are actually capable of manufacturing our own happiness.

If everyone made the effort to turn their bad experiences into positive ones, don't you think the world would be a much better place?

Standardized Testing Flaws

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOLwDBcgSjs&feature=player_detailpage

As this video shows, some standardized tests claim to determine a person's future. These tests are not as frequently used as the standardized tests taken by high school seniors. These tests, such as the ACT or SAT are used by most colleges. I think that standardized tests are not valid enough to be the sole predictor of a college student's performance or to tell anyone what he or she should do for the rest of his or her life.

A correlation has been proven between test scores and college students grades, but this does not mean that the people who are more intelligent are getting the higher scores. It is possible that someone is just very good at taking tests. Since most college classes are mainly test based, an intelligent student may not be getting the best grades and would not do as well on a standardized test.

I am a person who did not do as well on the ACT as I had hoped. I understand that colleges need something to base their decisions off of, but solely basing their decision off of these standardized tests would hurt both the school and student. I am doing very well academically at the University of Minnesota.

I know that I am getting better grades than a lot of people who did better than me on their ACT. This proves that there are many exceptions to the correlation between standardized test scores and grades. With there being many exceptions it is not fair for the students to not allow them the opportunity to get an education due to the fact that they did poorly on one exam.

Deciding whether someone should get accepted into a college is a big decision and should be taken seriously. That decision will affect the student's life greatly among other people. Since this is such a huge decision many things need to be considered not just standardized test scores.

The Dalai Lama Personality Test

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Get out a pen and paper and get ready to take the Dalai Lama Personality Test.

1. Put the following 5 animals in the order of your preference:
a. Cow
b. Tiger
c. Sheep
d. Horse
e. Pig

2. Write one word that describes each of the following:
a. Dog
b. Cat
c. Rat
d. Coffee
e. Sea

Think of someone (who knows you and is important to you) that can relate them to the following colors: (do not repeat your answer twice):
a. Yellow
b. Orange
c. Red
d. White
e. Green

Finally write down your favorite number and your favorite day of the week.

Number 1 will define your priorities in life:
Cow: signifies career
Tiger: signifies pride
Sheep: signifies love
Horse: signifies family
Pig: signifies money

Number 2:
Dog implies your personality
Cat implies the personality of your partner
Rat implies the personality of your enemies
Coffee is how you interpret sex
Sea implies your own life

Number 3:
Yellow: someone you will never forget
Orange: Someone you consider your true friend
Red: someone that you really love
White: your twin soul
Green: someone you will remember the rest of your life.

Now this personality test is not a true scientific personality test. Originally it was circling around the internet anonymously and eventually was capped as being original from the Dalai Lama. After taking this personality test, I felt as though it was fairly accurate except for the part that my life can be described as "salty". Thinking a little further into this though, the questions were sort of geared to derive a certain answer such as a word you use to describe rats. The information gathered from that is how your enemies are described. Most people would probably say that rats are "creepy" or "gross" which can be generalized to enemies for everyone. The majority of the conclusions made on this "personality test" are broadly general, leading people to believe that it must be valid, when in fact that is not the case. Don't be fooled by invalid and unreliable personality tests unless you're just looking for a little bit of fun!

Link: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/trivia/dalai.asp

Personal Space, social or mental??

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I thought the section in Chapter 11 about "Personal Space" though brief was pretty interesting. It left me thinking about all of my experiences in awkward situations when I felt that my personal had been violated. Although I greatly agree with the idea of personal space, I wonder is it social or mental??
In an age where younger generations are making less personal connections (due to internet and social networking of course) we see that people lack the social skills of getting to know more people and assuming more isolated situations. With this in mind one can believe that we only seem uncomfortable because of the lack of wanting to develop relationships with others.
Research attempts to explain what mentally happens in the brain when our personal space is violated. "Evolution seems to have programmed this discomfort via a brain structure called the amygdalae, a pair of almond-shaped brain regions deep within each temporal lobe that control fear and the processing of emotion. It's your amygdalae that keep you from getting so close to another person..." Isn't it possible for these emotions that are stimulated may have to do with our social skills and lack of desire to interact as Americans or even as humans.
more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1919910,00.html#ixzz1eJRs7Q7y

I think it would be appropriate to see how we have changed over centuries from close cultures to distant people and see the effects that it may have and why something like personal space exist.

images.jpg

Frames of Mind

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As I am studying to become a educator, this topic caught my attention. Howard Gardner's frames of mind theory is one that has helped to improve the educational process. Gardner's theory stated that there are different areas in which an individual can be intelligent in, or have a better understanding of. He created eight different divisions in which individuals can be more well versed in, and helped many to realize that while a person can have a good understanding of one, they might not have a good understanding in another one.

This finding aided in the school system, tailoring lesson plans to help students who may be better in one area of learning, but lack skill in another. This allowed teachers to help students better understand topics that were being taught by using methods that students were better able to comprehend. I believe that the theory was correct. I have known that I wanted to teach since my junior year in high school, and ever since then, have noticed different teaching methods that are directed towards different groups of people. For instance, instructors who have more spatial audience tend to teach with a more hands-on approach, where a more linguistic audience allows an instructor to aim their lesson plans towards papers or research projects.

I believe that this theory, while it could be studied more, has been very helpful, and will continue to be helpful in the work of education. Everyone has different intelligences in which they are more knowledgeable in then others, and in turn have different learning styles. If we can lean towards those learning styles, while also helping to strengthen those which are weak, educators will have done their job and successfully educated their students.

What kind of smart are you?

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There are times when I look at my friends and am able to "analyze" their intelligence. Some friends are "book smart" and others are much more practical which many people would consider "street smarts." And yet there are others who are just creative beyond even our wildest dreams. Robert Sternberg had a theory to explain this, known as the triarchic model. The combination of analytical, practical, and creative thinking, make up our intelligence.

Analytical (Book Smarts):

book smarts.jpg

Best known as "the ability to reason logically." These people are good at taking tests and are sometimes considered above-average in intelligence. This is the main kind of intelligence that people think of when they hear someone is "smart" because this is mainly the type of skill that is tested in our society.


Practical (Street Smarts):

streetsmarts.gif

The ability to solve "real-life" problems, especially ones involving people, is defined by Sternberg to be practical intelligence. In a way it is our social intelligence because it allows us to make decisions while dealing with people. When we understand others and figure out how to get ahead on different projects we are using our practical knowledge. Stenberg has also developed ways to test this knowledge in different settings like in the office and in the military.


Creative:

creativity.jpg

When we come up with new, novel ideas, we are using our creative intelligence. Being able to problem solve with different methods than most people would use can make you stand out, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes these types of people use different methods to share their solutions through things like music and poems.


I would say that balancing these points of intelligence is the key to success. Stenberg says that the practical and creative intelligence's can be very beneficial when trying to predict outcomes like job performance, even more so than analytical thinking. So it just goes to show you that book worms aren't necessarily the only smart ones.

(From our textbook: Psychology- From Inquiry to Understanding by Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf)

I prefer cats, so that makes me neurotic?

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The Big Five Model of Personality was very interesting to me. It makes you think where you fall for each of the 5 traits. Because of this, I decided to take a personality test based on the Big Five and my results really seemed to match me. I scored low on openness to experience, which they said meant I prefer traditional and familiar experiences. I could not agree more. I feel odd if I have to try something brand new and I tend to go with people who seem like they really know what they are doing with something. With this though, I am not completely against new experiences, although they may make me nervous at first. For conscientiousness, I scored very low, which, again, I agree with. I am a very messy person, and I often do not even notice how much of a mess I make. Their comment was that I probably have a messy desk, and I do not think you could get a desk messier than mine. For extraversion and neuroticism I scored really close to the middle, so I guess I am not particular towards either side. I am not the life of the party or a wallflower, and I am not crazy nervous and tense, or calm and tranquil. Finally, for agreeableness, I am not sure if my score always reflects me. I scored lower, which they said meant I can easily express my irritation with others, but I feel this trait of the big five is a bit more tricky, in that people may tend to be more agreeable with strangers than they are with people they are close with. I feel this is my case. I am very agreeable with people I do not know, but put me in the same room as my younger brother for too much time and my unagreeable side will come out very quickly. Now what these scores mean for me and my future I am not sure. I will say that my absolute adoration of cats does not seem to make me very neurotic, although I often tell people that when my kids all leave home I will probably become an old cat lady. Overall, the Big Five model is important, because it lets one know, more or less, the major parts of a person's personality, which can be helpful when getting to know someone. I would love to see more research on the subject and how the traits are used in job predicting.

For my personality test I used outofservice.com/bigfive/
(sidenote: I got the cat people are more neurotic statement from page 563 in the textbook)

And here is my cats and my desk:

28197_422882072703_771057703_5399766_6525222_n.jpg

393577_10150476773562704_771057703_10594283_1460669549_n.jpg

TAT

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One of the most interesting topics to me over the past few weeks were projective tests. I have heard of the Rorshach inkblot test and even have seen it interpreted in movies. But I have not heard of the Thematic Apperception Test or TAT. I never quite understood how these tests were useful. But then we had a lecture about all these different personality tests and we began talking about TAT. One of the more incredible stories I thought was about a woman who was depressed but they could not find the cause of the depression. It was not until they administered the TAT to her with the picture of an older and younger individual. I believe she told a story about how one of the individuals was depressed due to becoming an empty nester. By using the TAT they found out why this woman was depressed.

As I was searching the Internet for more TAT pictures, I stumbled across this.
http://www.utpsyc.org/TATintro/

I decided why not give it a try and tell my story of this picture. The picture in this is of two people in a laboratory. I was asked to write for 10 minutes about the image then I was evaluated. It was found through my writing that my need for achievement was above average as was my need for power I also was above average on my use of positive words. I was lower than the average for need for affiliation and self references.

It was an interesting test to do and I think that some of the analysis was correct however some were different but it was very interesting to do and now I understand why these tests are administered.

College Admission Tests: Are They Effective?

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All of us attending college have taken at least one admission test if not more. We may have even taken each test several times in order to achieve a better score, but are these tests really a good measure of your intelligence or even your ability to succeed in college? Are they a strong indication of future academic success?

Surprisingly the correlation between these entrance exams and college performance is often .5 or lower. Generally, they are a better predictor of first year scores and do a poor job of predicting performance in later years of college. However, if the numbers are broken down, a different explanation is revealed, the admissions tests are not completely useless. For example, with SAT scores of 1,500 or higher have nearly a zero correlation with college GPA, but those lower than that have a much higher correlation. By focusing a parts of the data we can understand that the admissions tests are still important. In fact, in a study where a department accepted graduate students regardless of GRE scores, their GRE scores had a high correlation with their graduating GPA.

Interestingly enough many people even find coaching for these types of exams. Many companies proclaim of the high achievement and success individuals have in their programs, but remember those who seek out coaching tend to be more educated and more prepared for the test already. In addition, it may be true that coaching helps them improve scores compared to initial attempts, but practice effects, improvement from simply taking the test previously, play a role in this improvement.

Here is a website of a company that coaches students for entrance exams:

http://www.collegeprepcoach.net

I believe that entrance exams are effective to a degree, but one factor that was not addressed in the book is the specificity of the exam to the major a student is seeking. Entrance exams into college are very broad, I believe that several different ones need to be developed for certain groups of majors in order to more efficiently select quality students into that department of the college.


Here are a few funny cartoons to enjoy on college exams.

College test cartoon.jpegCollege test cartoon 2.jpg

"Give Me Five!" - When Things Go Hand In Hand!

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In lecture, we went over the Big Five, which is defined as a model that "consists of five traits that have surfaced repeatedly in factor analyses of personality measures." Being who I am, I've always had an interest in learning about personality and anything that has to do with it. It strikes me as something fascinating to unveil and to understand despite the fact that it is a broad concept.

A few months back, my curiosity got the best out of me and as a result, I stumbled across a BBC documentary TV series called "Child of Our Time" through YouTube. Who would've known that the Big Five would suddenly resurface into my world of learning! I was first left a little surprised when I had to take the Berkeley Personality Test at the beginning of the semester for this course, because it was a familiar concept, even though I had only been appeasing my own curiosity. Being able to finally go more into depth and to add on to what I've already known gave me a sense cognizance.

Relooking the videos on YouTube, I was again left awed and amazed at the documentary even though I had already watched it before. In saying so, I have included the links to the full first episode of this series (and yes, there was a second episode).

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzS_k2_fdpk
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjpCDvSQTWM&feature=related
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPARahJglnA&feature=related
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT4HslLJIGM&feature=related
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q0VKEFbsKE
6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uTWZV-B-DI&feature=related

Although it is definitely a little time consuming, I've found this documentary very beneficial to what we've been learning about in Chapter 14 about personality. The documentary first introduces us to extroversion, then afterwards in order, it went on to elaborate about agreeableness, neuroticism, consciousness, and then openness to experience.

Watching the first episode from "Child of Our Time" over again, I was impressed by the documentary itself and the study it had conducted on the 25 children that had made this series possible. I have been able to gain new insight on the complexity and the mind-blowing intricacy of personality.

When I think about all the things I have learned throughout this psychology course, I am able to put together the difference pieces of information that we've discussed and gone over, and throughout this documentary, words that had struck me as "peculiar" became "familiar." I was able to grasp terms and concepts that were included within the documentary. In saying so, I've been able to link many different things together to form a sturdier foundation to my psychological studies.

IQ and working ability

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Two weeks ago we talked about IQ testing and working ability. I personally believe that one cannot be judged on their IQ scores. For example, I am TERRIBLE at taking tests. My average grade on a multiple choice test is probably a C, now give me a written test and my average score for that is an A. I have taken IQ tests in the past and I do well with them, but it takes me a long time to get through them. If I was only hired a position at a job based on my IQ test scores, it would be very hard for me to get a job. Some people are just naturally good at test taking. http://www.iq-tests.eu/iq-test-Practical-validity-800.html This website shows correlation between IQ scores and job performance, education, socioeconomic status, etc. On this site, it shows that there is a .54 correlation between job performance and IQ tests. This is not a strong enough correlation to show that there is a connection between the two. If the correlation was .80 it would be enough to be proven.

Harry Potter and the Truth Serum

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Although I am not the biggest Harry Potter enthusiast, I have watched all of the movies. In the movies, there is a potion that appears multiple times called Veritaserum. As is said in the movie, "Three drops of this and even You-Know-Who himself would spill out his innermost secrets. The use of it on a student is--regrettably--forbidden."

Veritaserum.jpg
Severus Snape holding a bottle of Veritaserum. Image from harrypotter.wikia.com

As I was reading through the sections and lie detection methods, I thought of Veritaserum and wondered if someday there would be a "truth serum" in real life. So, I decided to research the odds of this only to find that there actually are "truth serums. Truth serums belong to the class of drugs called barbiturates, which act on the central nervous system as a depressant. They can be used in various manners. For example, they can be used as hypnotics, anticonvulsants, and anesthesia.

Relating this to the readings for Lilienfeld's From Inquiry to Understanding, the barbiturates can be used as anesthesia in psychotherapy to hypothetically unearth unconscious material. Like many other suggestive memory-recovery methods, the information revealed under the influence of barbiturates is unreliable. It lowers the threshold for reporting memories and by blurring the line between fact and fantasy. Therefore, this technique is merely useless.

Contrary to the evidence that barbiturates are unreliable to revealing the truth hidden in subconscious, there are various countries that use them in interrogation. The United States, though, does don't use them in criminal cases. In 1963, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that using barbiturates to reveal confessions was unconstitutional. I strongly agree with their ruling. I believe they should only be used if they were more reliable and effective. Just like at Hogwartz, the use of barbiturates should be forbidden. Even in the most extreme and dramatic cases.

SAT: Sucking At Testing

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I feel like this blog will come very easy to me because I am going to talk about something that I have experienced. In this blog I am going to talk about cognitive testing, but more specifically, standardized testing. We all have obviously taken a standardized test, since we go to the University of Minnesota. I started taking standardized tests my junior year in high school, and they were horrible! I, along with many other people, would stress myself out. I always did badly on these tests and then I felt horrible when other people would brag about their good scores. I felt even worse when I knew that my college career depended on how well I did, and I did not do well at all. I felt like it wasn't fair that I had to take these tests because they are a poor representation of me; I do so much better in my actual classes. Fortunately, I got into the University of Minnesota!
Cognitive testing can be split up into three types of tests: achievement, ability, and aptitude. Achievement testing measures the mastery of a specific subject; an example of this is a Psychology 1001 Midterm. Ability testing measures a person's current level of cognitive competence; an example of an ability test is an IQ test. Lastly, an aptitude test predicts a students' future performance. Standardized testing, like the SAT and ACT, are examples of aptitude testing.
I was really surprised to read in our textbook that the SAT may not be as great of an indicator of school performance as many think. Morrison & Morrison found that the correlations between standardized testing and college grades are often below .5. They said that these kinds of tests predict first-year grade pretty well, but do not rightly predict performance in later years of college. The Morrison & Morrison study made me feel way more comfortable about my score.
In the future I think college admissions should put less emphasis on how well prospective students score on standardized testing. There are many other factors to look at, such as how hard of classes students are taking, GPA, involvement in the community, etc.

SAT

Sources:

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf)

The Big Five

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"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it." -Bruce Lee

This quote tells us why it is important to look at the big five model of personality to understand individuals. Each of these aspects give a person his/her own identity and makes it possible to distinguish between each person and their personal dimensions. The big five include: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism. In daily life, I believe that in looking at these aspects of a person, you can tell how well you and that person will get along, or not get along in some cases. For my friends and I, we tend to have at least three of the five things in common, but the other two are completely opposite. I believe that in order to get along with someone, you cannot be the same in every aspect because that would cause too much conflict. Specifically, for me and one of my friends, we are both very open to new experiences, easy to get along with, and are very responsible in every aspect of life. When looking at extraversion, I am most definitely the more social one, therefore, it is easier for me to approach new people. She, on the other hand, is not very good at this; in this aspect we complement each other because it does not bother me to meet new people and introduce them to her, or ask questions when necessary. When looking at neuroticism, my friend can be tense and moody at times, where I tend to be much more relaxed and easy-going. We make a good complement in this case too because I can help her calm down or prevent her from getting worked up over things that may not even be that important.

These aspects of human personality are generally good tell-tale signs into a person's life and how they may act in a certain situation. One thing I wonder about is how long it takes a person to observe another and determine which of these big five apply to them, and which of them they are opposites of. It seems like it could take a long time for some, but for others, it may be apparent at the moment of introduction. This would be a very interesting study to conduct.

Am I smarter than my grandpa?

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http://www.care2.com/causes/iq-changes-in-teens.html

The article above is about Flynn effect. Flynn effect is the effect what shows the average IQ scores are getting higher gradually through the generation. There is a graph showing mean IQ scores getting higher than past, too.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/08/surprising-evid.html

The link above shows the evidence of Flynn effect. However, even after I read the article about evidence of Flynn effect; I still think it is arguable. I wondered that the Flynn effect is occurring because of neuroscience or environmental changes.

Through the Lilienfeld text, there are some environmental influences that increase the average IQ scores such as increased test sophistication, increased complexity of the modern world, better nutrition, and changes at home and school.

These reasons tell that people need to be smarter to follow and catch up the others. Also, people need to be smarter or study harder to get their jobs; because they might need to use more knowledge to complete their assignments or work, recently.

On the other hand, I assumed that Flynn effect is not occurring just because of people's brain changes through generation because what those environmental influences that increase the average IQ scores show us.

Still, there are doubts about causes of Flynn effect. Maybe both biologically and psychologically people are getting smarter and build more intelligence through the generation.

Communicating through nonverbal cues

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Chapter 11 talks about "The Importance of Nonverbal Cues." This section talks about the difficulty in interpreting emails, emoticons, text messages, etc. and how easily these forms of communication can lead to miscommunication. This section also talks about the importance of body language and gestures in interpreting emotions. The text talks about how body language and nonverbal cues are largely due to our unconscious but is closely related to our immediate conscious settings. For example, when faced with an intense situation like an argument or debate, people typically sit up and are more tense as if they are ready to strike. The significance of nonverbal cues have on our behavior got me thinking about how much our nonverbal cues actually give away. Are they reliable in giving away information we may not want people to know? Can we use nonverbal cues to our own advantages and manipulate them to hide our true emotions?
I also started thinking about how easy nonverbal cues are to pick up on. I've been able to determine if someone looks angry or happy or any of the other basic emotions but what about more subtle cues? Mentalists, for example, claim to be able to read peoples' minds but one mentalist I've actually come to be a fan of admitted that the secret to being a mentalist is simply being able to pick up on the most subtle of nonverbal clues. Discovery channel airs a t.v. show called "Deception with Keith Barry" in which Keith Barry manipulates people's thoughts and is able to determine what they are thinking. He admits that he is not actually reading their mind but is picking up on the most subtle of clues. The video I included is an example of his show and it is actually quite impressive at how consistent he is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckzelX19sjI
(start at minute 19:00 and watch for as long as you like)

Love

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Heart.jpg
St. Aurelius Augustine once said, "Love is the beauty of the soul." Lilienfeld discusses love throughtout Chapter 11. He says that passionate love is "love marked by a powerful, even overwhelming, longing for one's partner." (Pg. 447) A good example of passionate love is Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet shows how in love there are obstacles. They have a distance relationship, parents that do not like the others, and deaths that stand in their way. These obstacles are how their passion is created.
In love, there is not only passionate love, but there is also compassionate love. Compassionate love is "love marked by a sense of deep friendship and fondness for one's partners." (Pg. 448) They say in compassionate love that is where people "fall in love". You tend to see compassionate love in older couples. They form a powerful bond between each other that can last a lifetime. I feel like Mickey and Minnie show compassionate love. They have been together for years and they care for each other. Their love is forever.
The last thing I want to mention about love is the triangular theory of love. The triangular theory love consists of three different stages. They are intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy is feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness. Passion is when two people connect limerence and sexual attraction. And lastly commitment is the decision to remain with other person for life.

Here is a video on Social Psychology: Love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAgYPxEPmIc

Love

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Heart.jpg
St. Aurelius Augustine once said, "Love is the beauty of the soul." Lilienfeld discusses love throughtout Chapter 11. He says that passionate love is "love marked by a powerful, even overwhelming, longing for one's partner." (Pg. 447) A good example of passionate love is Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet shows how in love there are obstacles. They have a distance relationship, parents that do not like the others, and deaths that stand in their way. These obstacles are how their passion is created.
In love, there is not only passionate love, but there is also compassionate love. Compassionate love is "love marked by a sense of deep friendship and fondness for one's partners." (Pg. 448) They say in compassionate love that is where people "fall in love". You tend to see compassionate love in older couples. They form a powerful bond between each other that can last a lifetime. I feel like Mickey and Minnie show compassionate love. They have been together for years and they care for each other. Their love is forever.
The last thing I want to mention about love is the triangular theory of love. The triangular theory love consists of three different stages. They are intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy is feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness. Passion is when two people connect limerence and sexual attraction. And lastly commitment is the decision to remain with other person for life.

Here is a video on Social Psychology: Love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAgYPxEPmIc

Blog #5 ->Sex differences in science ability

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So in the text book, I've been reading the section about sex differences in science abilities. I'm a chemistry major, and I can tell you, there have certainly been times when I've imagined how much easier it would be to be a man in my major. Not that I've witnessed any sexism within my major, but there has always been that inherent thought that if I was good at something, especially involving math, science or athletics, I would been even better at it if I were a guy. On a similar note, one section in the book talks about a professor that speculated that women may be genetically ill-equipt to do math and science. I never thought that I was genetically ill-equipt, like this professor says, but that being good at math, science and athletics was easier for guys because there wasn't anything unusual about it.

I looked online for other information, and this title killed me:
"How Wanting Love Makes Girls Bad at Math" (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201109/how-wanting-love-makes-girls-bad-math). I was actually pleasantly surprised that towards the end, the author mentions that she was a chem major to start that "turned to psychology", so she speaka-ma-language a bit. The article talks about how yes, women have the same abilities as men to do sciency-things, but have less interest. One of the more interesting studies mentioned in this article was about how when female students are persuing romance, they do less math homework/go to fewer math classes (skipping?)/ do overall less math stuff, and when they were spending more time doing mathy things, they spend less time doing relationship-type things. Sounds weird and vague, but I understand how hard it is to do homework for math and science classes (which require your full attention) when you have romance on your mind; I've done it, and I see my friends do it all the time.

Although my ideas about sex differences and science abilities are not supported by this particular study, it may be suggesting that cultural attitudes and stereo types affect how successful women are in scientific fields.

Never good at standardized testing

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There is a huge debate on whether or not standardized testing measures intelligence accurately or not. Personally, I do not think that it does. My GPA has always been a 3.4 or higher, however my ACT score was only a 20. I feel as if my GPA really shows my intelligence level, rather the ACT score because during the ACT I was extremely nervous, the test itself was very long, and I experience very high test anxiety, and I rarely do well on these things. I want to explain why I think that standardized testing does not account for how intelligent a person is.

General intelligence accounts for the overall differences in intellect among people (textbook, chat 9). Meaning, the items we test on are all positively correlated and reflect our own intelligences. Some people have more general intelligence than others, which is true. There are some people that can process information more easily than others. However, this remains so controversial because intelligence in each person varies upon differences in race and gender.

Multiple intelligences, something that I identify with more myself, means entirely different domains of intellectual skill. Someone I identify with a lot, as well as multiple intelligences in general is Chris Langan who is extremely successful in some intellectual domains and not so much in others (textbook, chpt 9). Gardner really changed the way many teachers views intelligence and began changing their ways of teaching to accommodate those who thrived more in math, or those whole thrived more in art.
Gardeners 8 intelligence's are:
(1)Linguistic (2) Logic-mathematical (3) Spatial (4) Musical (5) Bodily-Kinsthetic (6) Interpersonal (7) Intrapersonal (8) Naturalistic

There is also a triarchic model of intelligences:
(1)Analytical (2) Practical (3) Creative

Now of course, we cannot utilize all of these things for standardized testing because standardized tests are always based off of the general intelligence standpoint. A factor for why students that don't do good on these types of tests is because students are now encouraged to utilize what they thrive in, even though the tests are math based but the student thrives in a musical setting. According to fairtest.org these tests typically do not measure the ability to think, because they only offer one correct answer. These tests are also not reliable because they have "measurements errors", because they do not account for the emotional states of the students. (fairtest.org)

I hope at some point test are designed for all students to do well, not ones that just thrive with the g intelligence.

Anxiety

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Anxiety.jpeg


Anxiety occurs when your ego experiences a threat from the outside world. A threat could range anything from studying for an exam or seeing your boyfriend talk to your friends in a flirty way. During these situations, your ego finds a way to cope with the anxiety which is known as defense mechanisms, unconscious maneuvers intended to minimize anxiety. According to Freud, defense mechanisms are healthy and essential for psychological health. He also stated that people lacking any defense mechanisms are prone to being unable to control anxiety which is not good for their mental health at all.


Here are some examples of Freudian Defense Mechanisms and an example of each.
2 table150.08.01 Freud Def Mech examples.jpg




There is a difference between normal anxiety and harmful anxiety. According to the Web MD website, they state that when anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it interferes with day-to-day activities -- when it keeps you from going places, from doing things you need to do -- that's when you need help.




helicopter parent.jpg
When I think of anxiety I think of my mom. She would always be worrying about my brothers and I whenever we're not in her sight. She is what you would call a "helicopter parent", which is a parent who would hover over their children and become too involved in their lives, including interfering in college or career decisions, when I first came to college here at the University of Minnesota. She would constantly call me every day and when I mean constantly I mean she would call me EVERY HOUR. I once had about 88 missed calls from her while I was in my chem lecture. It got to a point where I stopped picking up calls and when I did stop she would call the RA's office to see if I'm in my dorm room. I remember everyday after my classes are done I would come back to my dorm hall and my RA would come knocking at my dorm door to notify me how annoying my mom is. Sometimes when I do pick up her calls, she would nag back like a little kid and reply back to me with stupid comebacks like a little kid would say when I didn't even say anything negative to her. This reminds me how she uses one of the defense mechanism known as regression. Yeah, it got pretty bad. At that point, I realized my mom has lots of issues. During that time of her life she was going through a lot. She came to realize that she wasn't herself anymore with the help of the family and she sought out help.


I believe that people should be more aware of how important it is to learn how to manage and deal with anxiety. Anxiety is part of who we are and it's important to be aware of it. It's okay to ask for help and seek help if you need it. Nobody is perfect and everyone experiences anxiety.
-------------------------------------------Sources----------------------------------------------------

1."Coping With Anxiety." WebMD - Better Information. Better Health. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. .
2. Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. "Anxiety and the defense mechanisms" Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solution, 2011. Print.

Coffee is a Girl's Best Friend?

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http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/26/health/women-depression-coffee/index.html

The article above discusses a longitudinal study that was done over a ten year span that suggests that women who drink coffee often are less likely to become depressed than women who do not.

The study had a large sample size which consisted of 50,000 women who were all between the ages of 30-55. Having a large sample size is important because then one can see how many women the coffee may or may not have affected and if their age had anything to do with it. The article also keeps in mind the principle of correlation and causation. One difficult thing about this study though is that you can't really prove it false. Because the study can't conclude that coffee lowers your chance of becoming depressed and because there could be so many other things causing it, it would be hard to prove the theory true of false.

In the article it says that women who on average drink two to three cups of coffee a day are 15% less likely to become depressed. However, this doesn't mean that results will be the same for everyone, or that coffee itself is the source for fighting off depression. Those conducting the study were kind enough to remind people that correlation does not equal causation. In the article they say, "The study does not prove cause and effect, so there's no reason to believe that drinking cup after cup will actually prevent depression" (McMillen).

In another study, done in Finland, similar results were found among men. Apparently men who consumed coffee had a lower chance of being at risk for depression and suicide.

Because similar results have been found in both men and women, it's difficult to hold back from saying that drinking coffee will put one at lower risk for depression. However, we have to keep in mind that there could be other factors that cause these findings. Perhaps all the people who participated in the study also all shared something in their daily consumption besides coffee. In this case it wouldn't be coffee keeping people happy, but maybe something like blueberry muffins.

starbucks

Stress and how to cope

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When I was reading the chapter on stress I started thinking about my own life and how I just do not get stressed out very easily. There are only a few times in the last year when I actually remember being really stressed to the point where I didn't think I was going to be able to accomplish every thing I had to do. My roommate on the other hand is a very stressful person. She is always worrying that she is not going to have time to finish her projects before they are do or that she won't be able to make it to something she has already committed to. The book talks about a few different ways that can help people deal with stress. These are to have social support, gain control of the situation, and to be flexible (Lilienfeld et al., 2011).
I started wondering what else one could do to help relieve stress or even prevent stress in their lives. The article Stress Management: How to reduce, prevent, and cope with stress on healthguide.org first tells you to identify the stress in your life. They suggest keeping a stress journal so you can write down every time your feeling stressed and what these causes may be. The article then goes on talking about unhealthy ways people currently cope with stress such as smoking, drinking, and overeating. They talk about how there are six different ways you can deal with stressful situations in a healthy way. Step 1: Avoid unnecessary stress 2: Try to alter the situation 3: Try to Adapt to the situation (adjust your standards) 4: Accept that you can change everything 5: Make time for fun and relaxation 6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle (exercising regularly and eating healthier).
After reading these six things I feel that when I do get stressed I do realize that I can't always change the situation and that helps me to relax because I know that the situation is going to happen no matter what. I also showed my roommate this article and she also thinks that some of these things might help her to be less stressed about things.
So next time your feeling a little stressed try to think about these six steps and see if one or more than one can work for you.

http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm
Lilienfeld et al. (2011).

Schizophrenia

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The recent lectures and reading about personality led me to thinking about the issue of schizophrenia. I understand that the diagnosis of such a disorder is completely detached from the cause of the disorder--much like the causation vs. correlation debate which is ongoing in the field of psychology. Evaluation of such an individual involves many different tests of psychological and emotional health. A few examples we've covered in lecture during this semester are the Berkeley Personality Profile and the Rorschach test.

Further investigation of this topic led me to learn about an algorithm-based determination of such disorders in personality. It greatly interests me when a mathematical and logical interpretation can be used to describe an emotional and personal issue. The evaluation of thoughts seems to be a useful tool for psychologists simply because it is, in a way, blind to the subject. I wanted to share in this blog a few examples of a Rorschach test, in hopes that students will look into this test into more detail and understand the underlying psychological thought processes that occur in the human mind that determine personality and emotion.

Where does happiness come from?

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Different people can find happiness in many different places. But where does it really come from and how happy will it make us. Everyone has something that makes them happy but what in our life brings us the most and withstanding happiness. One thing that may people think is a big factor is happiness depends on what happens to us. But as humans we think that a major event will make us more or less happy for a longer period of time than it actually will (Gilbert 2006, Sevdalis & Harvey, 2007) So what happens to us in life shouldn't have a major impact on our overall happiness in life. We will eventually move on faster than we think and return to our overall state of happiness.

Another myth is that money will bring happiness but according to Desebir & Diener, 2008, and Wilson, 2002, while money can bring happiness when people have less than $50,000, additional money won't make people much happier. We see this all the time in our society; people with millions of dollars ruin their lives to get more money or are do something they will later regret to make more money. It may never truly bring happiness to someone because they are constantly looking for a way to gain more money and not focus on aspects of life that will bring happiness. Instead it could completely ruin a person's life if they become obsessed with money. Instead of spending time with or looking for a partner or friendship, something that can bring happiness(Diener 2000, Diener & Seligman, 2002) , they focus on money. People should take a step back and realize that just because you have a lot of money doesn't mean you'll be happy. If you spent all your time focusing on work and making money you may lose your family and friends. And what is money worth when you don't have people to share it with.

Self-Esteem

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Why are people so hard on themselves? Everyone is different and has their own unique characteristics, physical or not. There are a lot of people in the world that have low self-esteem, and it gets hard on some people. Self-esteem is the way on views themselves, or what they are worth. The effects on someone with a low self-esteem can be devastating. Some studies show that higher self-esteem helps you live a happier life. I think that self-esteem derives from both nature and nurture, but primarily nurture. Things like the way you look or parts of your personality can be found in the nature part of it. On the other hand, the way you are raised and how the people around you treat you (people from school, your family, etc.) are the nurture part of it. I feel like the nurture part of it has the most impact on how you view yourself. Obviously, some factors are closely related and affect one another, but your environment growing up is crucial to how you view yourself. Low self-esteem can be conquered though. People over time learn how to respect themselves, and not be so concerned with how others view them either. This concept is cleverly called "self-respect". People can have a low self-esteem, but have self-respect and live just as "happy" of a life that someone with a higher self-esteem would. Watch out though! Having a really high self-esteem isn't the best thing either. If you have too high of a self-esteem you may come across as narcissistic in some cases or just be oblivious to reality. You have to find a happy median.

Two Factor Theory - Titanic and Hollywood

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According to the Two Factor Theory, we first encounter an emotion-provoking event and experience an undifferentiated state of arousal. Then we label that arousal with an emotion. Out of all of the emotion theories (James-Lange, Cannon-Bard) I believe the Two Factor Theory best describes people's emotion of love, affection and physical attractiveness.

As the bridge experiment done at the University of British Columbia explains, 60 % of the men who encountered the attractive woman on the dangerous bridge called her while only 30 % of the men did who encountered her at a normal location. Being attracted to someone or having feelings for someone ties back to excitement. Does the person you're going on a date with excite you? Does your girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband excite you? It seems that one person could have false feelings for another just because they confuse their excited feelings for the person with the excited feelings that were rushing through his/her head when they met her. Although, if a relationship is going to last, if one finds an ideal life partner that fits proximity, similarity, reciprocity and physical attraction principles of attraction, I think that the initial meeting of the mate is insignificant.

So what I'm trying to say is that the bridge study teaches students how to get dates without following any of the major principles that guide attraction and relationship formation. Look at Jack and Rose from the Titanic. Rose was about to jump to her death (emotion-provoking event) when she met Jack. Their meeting ended up being love, but would that have been the case if Rose's emotions weren't running out of her head crazy? Did jack just take advantage of this girl who couldn't label her emotions? There are dozens on top of dozens of movies that set up the plot of a romance this way; Titanic just does it the best. So what I'm saying is Hollywood caught onto the Two Factor Theory and is milking it.

Validity of the Rorshach test

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Projective tests are a very interesting topic that caught my eye. These are different ambiguous visual stimuli that are meant to have people determine their meaning. Since the pictures have no real meaning the interpretations of the pictures can help determine peoples personalities. The only one of these types of test I have heard of before was the Rorshach test. This test involves looking at ink blots and having people decide what it resembles. I have heard of this test mostly from movies and tv shows and things like that. I never new exactly how it works or what it means. After reading the section on this test in the book I was left with a couple questions. I am wondering how the different personalities were determined by seeing different things in the ink. Like why does seeing reflections in the ink blots make someone narcissistic. This whole process just does not seem really scientific to me. The test takes about 45 minutes to give and even longer to determine what results mean, I feel like they just look at what people say on the test and just make up what is wrong with them. There may be some validity to this but I can't imagine it is that reliable. How do people know that the patients are giving honest answers or if they patients know what different responses to the inkblots means. Even if the test is sometimes valid it seems to me that other measures, such as just looking at peoples history of behavior would be more valid. According to an article by the committee for skeptical inquiry, the evidence for validity of the Rorshach test has always been feeble, yet they still administer it to many adults and children every year. This just does not make sense to me because psychological problems are a major deal and serious researched methods should be employed. I am interested to take a Rorshach test for myself and see what happens. Perhaps this could help me decide if it is indeed valid.

Article referenced: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/rorschach_inkblot_test_fortune_tellers_and_cold_reading/

Turn That Frown Upside Down

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Our book points out 4 very interesting misconceptions about happiness that lots of people seem to have. It highlights that we think happiness comes from positive events, money makes us happy, happiness declines with old age, and people on the West Coast are the happiest. If those are all wrong then what does make us happy? In broader terms, our psychology book highlights a few things, found on page 425, that have been correlated with higher levels of happiness; things like being married or going to college tend to be correlated with higher levels of happiness. Besides those things, I tried to find tips and other items that are related to higher happiness. An article from Yes Magazine, called 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy, points out some very similar tips and items that are found in our book but it brings up a tip not found in there. It says to "smile even when you don't feel like it".The article says that faking happiness is just like practicing being happy. Maybe a prolonged non-Duchenne smile will eventually turn into a Duchenne one.
27morris_ekman.jpg
I have tried this before and it does work quite well; I just kept smiling until I forgot why I was down in the first place. Another interesting thing I found that can lead to higher levels of happiness is personal freedom. Graham Wilson highlights research in a blog that says personal freedom correlates to higher levels of happiness; if people feel they have more power over their government, they tend to be happier (go out and vote people!).
Maybe we do not have as much control over our happiness as we would like to, but it is nice to have a few tips to help us on the pursuit.

The Great Debate

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The great debate, as described in our book, is the nature vs. nurture debate. Based on my own personal beliefs and who I have grown up with in my environment, there really is no debate. It is obvious that there are particular aspects of where we grow up that shapes us into who we become. Furthermore, there are aspects of how we grow up that shapes us as well. I grew up in rural-suburban Minnesota, where my house was located in the country, but the city and school I went to was much more urbanized. It is apparent to me now that since I lived in the country, where I barely had neighbors let alone children to interact with, I was more introverted compared to the kids who lived in city style neighborhoods and played together all the time. I was quick to try and make friends anyway I could, trying to be friendly and agreeable with everyone. This helped me grow to become more extroverted and as I continued building friendships into high school, I became more vulnerable to being changed into a personality similar to those I surrounded myself with. Luckily, my parents raised me to know the difference between right and wrong, and therefore I surrounded myself with people I knew would not lead me into troubled behavior. This makes me lead to the assumption that how we grow up also shapes us into who we become. If I was raised allowed to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and how I wanted, I know that I could have started hanging out with the wrong kind of kids. It comes down to personal courage and being able to say no to certain situations and the ability to be able to do this is rooted in how we are raised by our parents. Although this hypothesis is based off of my own experiences, the general principle can be applied to others.

IQ Tests

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It is thought that IQ tests can predict whether a person will have a successful life or a unsuccessful life. I feel that intelligence can measure if a person has the capacity to succeed but IQ tests don't take into account other factors that can determine success. In the text it says that physicians and lawyers tend to correlate with a higher IQ but couldn't their IQ deal with having studied for a substantial amount of years. Obviously one who studies for a great amount of time is going to be significantly smarter than someone who has had minimal schooling.

http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/giftednessTesting.shtml

IQ testing also takes in very little on the economic and social situation that an individual may be in. A person could have lost a loved one or had a serious injury occur which could damage their mental status. They would not be able to fully apply their abilities because their mind is in other places rather than being able to fully focus on tasks.

IQ tests only measure analytic intelligence, but there are many other ways to have intelligence. There is also practical intelligence and creative intelligence. Practical intelligence can be applied to social settings and can be very useful in the business world. While creative intelligence is what is used to create music and beautiful art pieces. These intelligences cannot be tested on an IQ test and they are very real and powerful intelligences that have substantial impacts on the world. Overall, I believe IQ tests are only useful in informing people of their IQ and that they have minimal ability to predict success rate in life because there is a large amount of variability to factor.

iq.jpg

Boot camp motivation

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If you served in Army, you will agree with me that the nine weeks of basic training were the most motivated times of your life. I completed my basic training back in 2005, and my experience with boot camp is the love and hate story. I hated it when I was in boot camp and I couldn't wait to graduate, but after I graduated I loved every memory of it. When I graduated I was in best shape of my life physical and mental. I was focused and motivated, but it only lasted for about a year.
I always wanted to recreate the state of motivation I had while at boot camp, and I asked my self what motivated me and many young recruits like me to become motivated to achieve almost anything. Answer to this is actually pretty simple - common goal to survive and graduate. OK then, how come I am not that motivated to study now since I have the common goal to graduate from University?
I find the answer to that in Chapter 11 Motivation: our wants and needs. The drive reduction theory states that certain drives, like hunger, thirst, and sexual frustration, motivates us to minimize aversive states. The aversive states in case of boot camp was absence of caffeine, no music, no television, no snacks, no alcohol, drill sergeant yelling at me day and night, sleep deprivation, constant state of running around all day, physical challenges, no outside contacts, no sex, no doing what I like and list can go on and on for a while. So, to minimize that aversive state I got my self together and became motivated and not just graduated but maintained that motivation and life style for some time.
In case of university, the only aversive state I can think of is the negative grades. There are no teachers that act like drill sergeants and yell on students as soon as they see them and tell them to read and do homework , there are no restriction and definitely no physical challenges and structures. So students left to motivate themselves.
Finally, in conclusion I want to highlight that although my experiences while at boot camp were unpleasant at times , the satisfaction-ability to survive and graduate- of them resulted in pleasure- the great physical and mental state.

The Bigger the Brain, the Better?

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brain2211.jpg
Growing up, I always heard people say, "Matt, you must be pretty intelligent because you have such a big head". The notation that brain size is correlated to intelligence has been a part of my family's life (just because we all have abnormally large heads) for as long as I can remember. This notation's importance is prevalent in society because a lot of people have different views on this complicated, popular topic, but there is no consensus on what is fact. It has been a long time interest in psychology, though, so studies have been done.

In one study by numerous scientists at the University of Texas, they used magnetic resonance imaging on 40 college students and found that larger brain size was associated with more intelligence. Another study at University of Western Ontario found the same results, as the correlation between brain size and IQ correlated at r=0.395 for 40 healthy, right-handed females aged between 20 and 30 years.

When researching these studies, I noticed that most studies did support the correlation, but it is important to mention that there were a few studies that supported the notation that brain size and intelligence do not correlate as well. This shows how complicated this interesting topic can be. I believe that the brain size does correlate with intelligence, even if the correlation is weak. I believe this because I remember hearing about neanderthals having smaller brains than humans, and that evolution lead to humans having large brains and more intelligence. I also know that there could be a correlation vs. causation with this topic as well since there are most likely other variables that determine intelligence, such as the person's experiences and environment.

As stated before, this topic has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. After researching, I still have some questions though: are there particular areas in the brain that would give a person more intelligence if they were enlarged? Also, is there more of a correlation between brain weight and intelligence? For example,a person had a smaller brain, but the brain could be dense with glial cells and neurons, which would promote more intelligence. Overall, this topic interests me a lot, and I will definitely continue learning more about it.
neuron.png
Neurons


Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160289691900318
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0191886994902275
http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/2006/brain2211.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/GFPneuron.png/250px-GFPneuron.png

Do You and Your Twin Always Think Alike?

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Twin Photo.jpg


I think all of us have heard it: "You are JUST like your dad" or "You have to hangout with the right group of people". So what is it? Is our personality more influenced by the genes we inherit or our group of friends? And why do my twin brother and I have different personalities then?
Personality in my own words is the way that a person thinks and behaves. How you acquire your personality is so important because it has a major impact on your life.
Being a twin, I have had a direct relation to how my personality is influenced by gene and environmental factors. People always imply that my brother and I are identical in every way. That we think, feel, and behave the same in every situation. I do not even think there are enough people in Minnesota to tally up how many times I've been asked: "Why do you and your brother always do the same thing?". I realize that since we are identical twins and were raised in the same environment, we were pretty much destined to be similar. Although I do agree that we are pretty similar, I feel that many people close to my brother and I would agree that there are distinct differences in our personalities. According to Pamela Prindle Fierro, identical twins can have unique characteristics from various differences in their life experiences. For instance, I am more afraid of heights and thrilling situations since I had a scare in the Alps when I was younger.
So overall, I feel as if our personality is not determined more greatly by the genes we inherit or by our environment. Although my brother and I are near identical genetically, we still have important differences that make us unique. One question I am still curious about is how the order of birth for the twins could affect personality. Would the older twin tend to be more aggressive since they are the older sibling?


Reference URL: http://multiples.about.com/od/funfacts/a/differenttwins.htm
An additional article on the topic: http://www.atypon-link.com/AAP/doi/pdf/10.1375/twin.5.1.44?cookieSet=1
Photo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/TwinGirls.jpg/220px-TwinGirls.jpg

Student Criminal Profilers?

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One of the chapter 14 quiz questions raised my curiosity on Criminal Profiling. The question was, "According to the authors, criminal profilers are...the correct answer was... no more accurate and insightful than college students with no training in criminology." I got the answer correct but it made me reread the article on page 575 of our textbook. The author indeed suggested that college students with no training in criminology to be more accurate and insightful than professional profilers; but I wondered, does that mean any college student with no training are more insightful? That statement seemed at little misleading; however, the author went on to specify that college students majoring in Chemistry produced more accurate profiles of a murderer than the experienced homicide detectives and police officers. The author also mentioned that some researchers have found that profilers sometimes perform better than untrained individuals in identifying criminal suspects as well. Thus the debate, do professional profilers perform better? I wonder what kind of skill set it takes for a person to perform better at identifying a criminal than another. In general, do chemistry majors have better logical thinking skill that some homicide detectives lack?

I went on to read about two other studies in the Monitor on Psychology, http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/profiling.aspx. It described two studies which found mixed results regarding professional criminal profilers and untrained students. The first study, asked the groups to profile rape and murder suspects. The study tested FBI profilers, police detectives, psychologists and students. It found that the trained profilers were more correct on the rape profile but no better than average with the murder profile; thus, mixed results.

The second study used an unsolved arson and murder case to test groups; but this time it was geared towards groups with specific types of skill sets. It compared professional profilers with groups of undergraduate science students who were assumed to have logical reasoning skills, psychologists assuming behavioral knowledge skills, police recruits, experienced police personnel and arson investigators assuming investigative experience skills, psychics assuming intuition skills as well as random control participants. It concluded that professional profilers were better at making predictions than the other groups and the students did the 2nd best job. The article went on to mention that logical reasoning skills seemed particularly important in making the predictions.

The mixed results made me wonder about the reliability and validity of the studies, I'm not saying that they are not valid or reliable, but I'm wondering what exactly are they measuring? It would nice to see more detailed criterion.

The Impact of Personality on Our Lives

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The reading on personality made me wonder how our personality affects our lives. I think our personality has a major impact on who we are and how others see us. Our personality traits can reflect how open we are to trying new things, and how sociable and responsible we are. For group projects I can often differentiate between the people in my group who are more conscientious and will probably work hard to get the project done on time, and those who will tend leave the project to others and not work on what they are asked to do.

Research has found that your personality may affect your health. Researchers found that people who are extroverts tend to be healthier, perhaps because bonding with friends can relieve stress and improve the immune system. People who are high on the agreeableness trait are often healthier, possibly because they may agree when others say they should see a doctor, and may be more likely to take prescribed medications. People who are lower on the conscientiousness trait are more likely to take risks that could be harmful to their health as well. This is not saying that if you are introverted or not agreeable you are unhealthy, but there are correlations found between personality traits and health.

I was also wondering how your personality influences your choice in friends. One of my good friends is in an introductory psychology course at another college, and she is also learning about personality. One of the assignments she had was to take online personality inventory tests and have a friend take one of the tests. On a Big Five personality inventory our scores were almost the same. Research on personality and friendships says there are many factors influencing the formation of friendships, so I was unable to find a study that gives conclusive evidence on the impact of personality. There are studies that support the influence of personality on friendships; they have found that personality traits of friends often have similarities. While my friend and I are very similar in personality traits and enjoy spending time together, I do have friends whose personality traits are very different from mine as well. I have found that my relationships with friends differ. My personality traits focus more around consciousness and agreeableness, and when I am around friends who are similar in these traits I find that I agree with them more and can sometimes relate to their experiences better. I tend to be somewhat introverted and low in openness to experience. When I am around friends who are extroverted and open to trying new things I find that I learn a lot from them and try new things more often.

Overall, I believe your personality influences many areas of your life, including your health and friendships.


Sources:

Textbook: Lilienfeld S, Namy L, Woolf N. 2011. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding.

How Your Personality Affects Your Health: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/heart/articles/2010/09/22/how-your-personality-affects-your-health

Personality Study: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1147&context=masters

Changes in Personality

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The Lilienfield textbook touches on the question of whether or not personality traits can change. First, the authors point out that these traits do sometimes change over the years and these changes lessen after a person is 30 years old. Before 30, openness, extraversion, and neuroticism are more likely to decline over time while conscientiousness and agreeableness are more likely to do the opposite. There are also drugs that have been shown to change one's personality, making them more outgoing and less anxious. Cosmetic psychopharmacology, using medications to alter personality, has been shown to help many people with mental illnesses although the ramifications of these drugs on society have yet to be fully determined.

I think that it is vital to our society that the use of personality-altering medications be studied further. The following Reuters article was interesting to me because I nearly lost a loved one to methamphetamine:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/15/us-antidepressant-shows-early-promise-idUSTRE7AE22820111115

It is an interesting study and I appreciate that the article acknowledges that they do not have enough evidence to make any claims, that the antidepressant used in the study only looks promising, and that they will have to conduct further studies to determine whether or not mirtazapine is something that can help meth addicts get clean.

Furthermore, while I realize that the book only stated that until age 30 those personality traits "tend" to change in a certain direction, I feel that I have experienced some of the opposite. I turned 30 seven months ago and over the last few years have noticed that I've become seriously more outgoing and open. I've also become quite a bit less conscientious, although I am still responsible with school work, because I see that being responsible and careful all the time doesn't matter as much in the grand scheme of things--it's more important to me now to have fun and experience new things even if I have class at 7 in the morning. And for the other two, I'd say they've either stayed the same or moved a little in the direction the book says.

The Mating Game

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During Professor McGue's lecture about sex, gender, and behavior, he discussed the idea of sexual selection. Sexual selection is a form of Darwin's natural selection in which the male or female is attracted to other by certain characteristics, such as color and/or behavior. When looking to reproduce, males and females look for specific things. Evolutionally, species want their offspring to survive and thrive in their world/environment so in order to ensure this, species must be quite selective in those they choose to mate with. The Lillienfeld text notes "women tend to pursue a mating strategy that maximizes the chances that the man with whom they mate will provide well for their offspring" (p. 446). The Lillienfeld text explains that since men produce numerous sperm and women typically produce only one egg per month, women have to be much more selective about whom they want to fertilize that one egg. Males therefore often have to prove to the woman that they are well fit and well equipped to produce offspring. This is the reason why women tend to consider the income and occupation of men more important than men do for women.

Humans are not the only species who display sexual selection. When I watched Professor McGue's lecture and read the Lillienfeld text I was immediately reminded of a clip from Discovery Channel's Planet Earth. This clip highlights the mating practices of birds of paradise. The females are incredibly picky about finding a mating partner. The male birds put on fabulous displays of their worth in which they show their beautiful feathers, sounds, and dance moves. As the narrator says, "the more extravagant the male is the more likely he'll be noticed".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54bxmZy_NE

Although we humans don't flap our feathers or spread our wings, we too look very carefully before selecting a partner to date, marry, and reproduce with.

College students are required to take the SAT or ACT in order to get into college. Some jobs are requiring an IQ test as part of the application process, but do these tests really separate the intelligent from the unintelligent? In the article provided below, the author clearly states, "The SAT, more than anything else, shows how well you take the SAT." Therefore, evidence has shown that although the SAT is an aptitude test, it doesn't necessarily measure if someone is more knowledgeable than another. For example, someone might be less intelligent than another person, but knowledgeable about how to take the SAT and therefore get a higher score, but that does not mean that person is more intelligent. So why should colleges use them? It does not seem to be a good indicator of intelligence in my opinion. Colleges could look at a lot more than just SAT scores and GPA; such as, extra curricular activities, jobs, classes actually taken and how hard the workload could have been, along with a personal statement or short essay.
According to April Hall, the author of the second article, the IQ test "does not measure many, many things!" An IQ test does not measure creativity, "street smarts", wisdom, and other countless aspects that are essential for making a job run efficiently. I take the same stance on this issue as with the SAT. It does not account for various attributes that are important in measuring intelligence overall. With a little extra effort by human resources more efficient workers can be hired the first time instead of having to hire and fire people because it become apparent after the fact that they are not qualifies for a certain job.
In conclusion, these two tests do not measure intelligence efficiently, and should not be used to determine if someone is qualified for admission or a certain job position.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2009/09/13/AR2009091302546.html
http://www.catalogs.com/info/education/what-does-an-iq-test-measure.html


In todays society, anyone with any form or degree of psychological "imbalance" can get a prescription to improve their mood. This field of neuromedicine used for creating desired moods is called cosmetic psychopharmacology. The definition of cosmetic psychopharmacology is the "use of drugs to move persons from a normal psychological state to another normal state that is more desired or better socially rewarded." For example, a constant state of being indifferent can be changed to a state of confidence. Drugs that are commonly used for this purpose, but are often overlooked, include both caffeine and nicotine. Though this idea that taking a prescrition drug can lead you to always feeling "better than well" sounds great, it does come with a downside.
Many people with moderate to severe clinical depression (18.8 million Americans) or anxiety (40 million Americans) are often prescribed an antidepressant drug known as a "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor" or "SSRI" for short. SSRI's work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the synapses in the brain after being released, therefore forcing the recpetors to intake the remaining serotonin. Althought these drugs can and do have dramatically positive outcomes for most users, they also come with a common negative side-effect known as emotional flattening.
Emotional flattening is defined as the shrinking of both range and emotional extremes a person is able to feel. Though a person taking and SSRI is much less likely to feel strong emotions of sadness, they also are much less likely to feel strong emotions of happiness. Emotional flattening happens when an SSRI is taken for an extended period of time. Coincidentally this period of time is necessary for the drug to produce its intended effects. This flattening results in a person seeming to be more boring to others because they dont express or feel strong emotion. These people with this flattening do feel emotions but it is a shorter range of emotions and at a weaker level. Those who are taking SSRI's say that emotional flattening can be summed up as a sense of "detachment and unrealism" to their own lives. Though emotional flatteing is not permanent, it does take months after the drug is stopped being takend for the range of emotions to come back.
About 60 million Americans are currently diagnosed with either depression or anxiety, SSRI's can have a benefitial outcome for many these people. The pssible consequences of emotional flattening must be taken into account in each person's individual social and metal situation.

Sources:
1)http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
2)http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f30/long-term-side-effects-from-taking-ssris-45063/
3)http://altman.casimirinstitute.net/cosmetic.html
4)http://www.circuitblue.com/psypharm/2006/01/thought-experiments-in-cosmetic.html
5)http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/mental-health-meds-as-social-drugs
6)http://biopsychiatry.com/cosmetic-psychopharmacology.htm

Impact of Relief

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On Thursday, November 17th, a couple of students and I held our International Dinner fundraiser that we have been planning for weeks. Our goal was to raise a thousand dollars for to give relief to the Horn of Africa, which is afflicted by a famine that UN is calling the "most severe humanitarian emergency in the world" and the "worst drought in 60 years". We would do so by serving foods from all around the world, ranging from the Caribbean, to East and South Asia, and Somlia itself; and host a date auction. Fortunately, we exceed our goal and donated all of the money to Feed My Starving Children, who will then pack food specifically for that region.
After reading the chapter on intelligence, I realized that humanitarian fundraisers that bring food to impoverished families have a more definite impact than just momentary relief. According to the Flynn Effect, the population's IQ is rising at about three points every decade. That may be the result of increased test sophistication, the increased complexity of the modern world, better nutrition, and changes at home and at school. In this case, it is better nutrition and secondary effects with schooling. That is because prolonged malnutrition in childhood can lower IQ (Eysenck & Schoenthaler, 1997), which is being countered through these efforts. Children, who may not have had the energy or motive to learn when searching for food is priority, will now be able to learn and attend school. In the long run perspective, education is what advances a society. Therefore these children who are fed and educated will be able to improve the quality of life in their region through innovation, greater efficiency, and through the heightened opportunity we provide for them.
http://www.thelancet.com/series/maternal-and-child-undernutrition

Gender & Gender Development

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Something I found interesting was from the lecture on gender and gender development. We saw a video of an experimenter who tested how people reacted to playing with children who are boys versus girls. It's interesting because I'm currently taking a feminist film studies class where we constantly learn about how people gender themselves. It's as if an idea of gender is reinforced upon a child since birth, and it becomes second nature when a child grows up to "gender" themselves. Of course, there are some outliers. For example, the family from Vancouver, as brought up in lecture, who has decided to raise their child gender-less until the child is old enough to determine a gender for their self. How would society be different if people allowed their children to identify gender for themselves later in life? Quite different! The fundamental way in how we approach pro creating and raising children could be viewed differently.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S5usRgY720&feature=related youtube video of transgender 7 year old!)

This topic is interesting in so many ways. For example, one may argue that gender is a factor of biology. Males are innately more aggressive, while females are more nurturing for the most basic of reasons (hunting, security, protection, raising youth, etc.). While conversely, we've learned in the textbook that for every boy a mother has, each successive boy has a 33% higher liklihood of being homosexual. From a purely biological level, something in the same vein as Darwinian theory, what is the purpose of this? Is this merely an unexpected outcome of biology, a mutation perhaps? If this holds true, were there more homosexual men in the past, but fewer who identified with said orientation? Charles Darwin is quoted by saying, "...we do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality. The whole subject is hidden in darkness."

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/06/homosexuality-and-biology/4683/ (article on homosexuality and biology.)

Many theories have been proposed, but biology aside, another aspect of the psychology lecture we've come across is the bell curve. In terms of plotting sexuality within the parameters of a bell curve, one could suspect that very, very few people would be considered "100% straight" or "100% homosexual" (as demonstrated with IQ). Rather, most people (96% of people, to be exact) would fall somewhere in the realm of "bisexual", but tend to lean more heavily towards "straight" or "gay". Also, things like cultural norms, the media, religious influence, and the environment in which we are raised weight quite heavily on the outcome of children. Nonetheless, it's interesting food for thought.

http://www.examiner.com/gay-issues-in-atlanta/human-sexuality-as-a-bell-curve

Rorschach Inkblot Test

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The Rorschach Inkblot test was not originally intended to be a projective measure of personality. Instead, it was meant to produce a profile of people with schizophrenia (or other mental disorders) based upon score frequencies. It provides a picture of the psychology of the person taking it, and some level of understanding the person's past and future behavior.
First the person looks at the card while their brain encodes the stimulus (inkblot) and all its parts. Then the person discards potential answers, and censors other responses they think may be inappropriate. Lastly they select some of the remaining responses by reason of traits, styles, or other influences. If a person responds to common contours of a blot, there was little projection going on. However, when a person starts to embellish on their answer or adding more information than they originally provided, it can be a sign that projection is now occurring. That is, the person is telling the examiner something about themselves or their lives. Once finished, the psychologist will then take the person through each inkblot again, asking the test taker to help the psychologist see what they saw in their original responses.
The core of scoring revolves around coding (from how much of the inkblot is used, to what story is told about the response, to the level of detail and type of content is offered about the inkblot). The following characteristics are coded:
• Form
• Movement
• Chromatic Color
• Achromatic Color
• Shading-texture
• Shading-dimension
• Shading-diffuse
• Form dimension
• Pairs and reflections
The Rorschach is not some magical insight into a person's soul. It is an empirically-sound, projective testing measure that has been backed up with nearly four decades of modern research. Through asking people to express what they see; people can often show a little bit more of themselves than their conscious selves may have intended -- leading to better insights into the underlying motivations of the person's current issues and behaviors.

Example of a Test:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Fe2OIpJMI

References
http://psychology.about.com/od/rindex/g/rorschach-ink.htm
Psychology, From Inquiry to Understanding Lillenfeld, Namy, Woolf

Self-actualization: A True Life Goal

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Throughout the history of man we have seen a drastic change in the goal orientations exhibited by our race. From early colonialism; where expansion and imperialistic views dominated, to the industrial revolution, where innovation and quicker, more efficient ways of producing labor dominated. But one goal that has remained a under the radar, and yet coveted by man is the idea of self-actualization. Self-actualization is the process of realizing ones full potential, and once obtaining this realization, using it to better the world around us. "Self-actualized people tend to be accepting of themselves and others. They're self-confident but not self-centered. They focus on real-world and intellectual problems and have a few deep friendships rather than many superficial ones." This description of a self-actualized person hit home for me, because this has been a goal that I have been striving for since obtaining a new view on life as well as the world around me. I feel that this should be a goal all people strive for, because a world full of self-actualized people would be one that I would like to live in. Maslow, who did the main studies on self-actualization described moments that self-actualized people experience called "peak experiences" which are transcendent moments of intense excitement and tranquility marked by a profound sense of connection to the world. I hope that everyone someday can experience on of these peak experiences as they are one of the more gratifying experiences a person can have in life. I can't say that I have achieved this level of self-actualization, but it is something that I strive for everyday, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Sometimes people need to take a step back and look at their life and when keeping this in mind they may find little things that upset them may seem miniscule in the larger picture of life. Self-actualization is truly a goal that all men and women should strive for every single day.

Does Money Bring Happiness?

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The classic saying "money brings/buys happiness" is this true? There will always be two sides for this question, there are people who believe if you have more money you will be able to have and do more things (for example travel, have a nice house, clothes, cars etc.) which in turn brings happiness. And there is the other side who thinks that money does not bring happiness, their points being that a demanding workload could/would have to be done to be able to have a great amount of money, taking away from the activities you like in life. Or if you inherit massive amounts of money you won't understand the concept of a dollar or have work ethic. Because everyone knows the super star Lindsey Lohan, I thought she would be a perfect example for this. This girl was doing well, staring in Parent Trap, Mean Girls, Freaky Friday (to just name a few movies) making loads of money, but we all know how this fairy tale ends. She could/did have it all but all things went south. (http://www.people.com/people/lindsay_lohan) She has been in rehab and jail multiple times for different reasons. Not blaming those actions because she had a lot of money (correlation vs. causation) but we see many celebrities who have this same problem. They literally could buy anything but end up messing up there lives and in conclusion probably not too happy with that. They should focus of what really makes people happy like a strong marriages, true friendships, getting an education, having religious and political beliefs, exercising, being grateful, and giving back. These are all researched items that actually bring happiness, and in that list there is no reference to money. I know everyone needs X amount of money to live and take care of needs, but there are so many humans in the world who are obsessed with having a occupation where they make a lot of money, so they can become rich and therefore be happy. I think people need to rethink this equation of "happiness". So what is a "good equation of happiness"?

Eq vs. Iq

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I read an article, http://www.alduncan.net/eq-or-iq.html that asked the question of which of iq and eq is more valuable. The author made a very good point that i agree with. Both are extremely useful but you need both to get the most out of the other. The author makes the argument that someone with a fabulous eq wouldn't be able to do much with it if they had an iq of 90 or so. I also can think of a certain smart kid that I've grown up with who was always the smartest kid in class but emotionally or socially couldn't function as well and personally I think a lot people would be more valuable in real life situations. I don't anyone exists who is perfect at both. And while no one has the maximum of both I would argue everyone has some of both. In all the argument of which of the two is more important will never be truly one because both have an unquantifiable value.

The P.T. Barnum Effect and Personal Validation

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The P.T. Barnum Effect and Personal Validation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si2HoscBLIw&feature=related


fortune+teller.jpg

In the textbook, the Barnum effect is defined as a "tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions as accurate". These types of descriptions are pretty popular with activities like tarot card readings, horoscopes, or personality profiles. Most of us have taken personality tests, answered a few simple questions later and an extensive review of our personality is revealed--but how accurate is it? If you watch the video linked above, you can see how these groups of people are tricked into thinking that just by giving this man a few small pieces of information (birth date, an outline of their hand, and a personal item) that their extensive personality review was above 80% accurate for most participants. The experimenter asks the group members to switch and read each other's profiles, and they see all sheets are the same. Just moments before, all divulge how personally it fit to them.
An experiment similar to this is also mentioned in the textbook, when Susan Blackmore found "clients couldn't pick out their own tart card readings from nine other readings". Confirmation bias tends to make us believe that what we're reading, like horoscopes, are applicable to only our sign, but by reading the rest, it's easy to see that the rest could be seen as equally applicable.
In addition, personal validation makes us think things that are related to us, and not often look and see if other sources are equally as valid or applicable. Of course, this can be aided by the scientific method of extraordinary claims, as well as Occam's razor. The claims surrounding 'supernatural' phenomenons can't be scientifically recognized as accurate because they aren't back up by sufficient evidence.

What is Happiness Good For?

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The Lilienfeld text proposes that happiness may serve some evolutionary adaptive functions. One theory, proposed by Barbara Fredickson's (2001,2003), is that happiness predisposes us to think more openly. This is known as the Broaden and Build Theory. It suggests that happier people are more adept to see the big picture of events, which may otherwise become overlooked. Evidence for this theory was seen when one test gave doctors a bag of candy, and this action was correlated with more accurate diagnoses of liver disease. Apparently doctors being in a good mood allowed for them to consider alternative diagnostics. This supports the idea that happiness may lead us to find novel solutions to problems. The book also provides an anecdote stating that a study which looked at 180 journals of nuns from the 1930's and they found that nuns who used more positive words such as love, joy, and hope outlived other nuns by almost 10 years. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but this large correlation shows they may be some slight interaction. The book also presents another study of 660 people over the age of 50 which found that individuals with positive attitudes about aging lived, on average, 7. 5 years longer. Overall, there seems to be some correlation between happiness/optimisms and a longer more substantial life. Therefore there is a reason to.....

Sherlock Holmes?

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Criminal Profiling
"For 16 years, "mad bomber" George Metesky eluded New York City police. Metesky planted more than 30 small bombs around the city between 1940 and 1956, hitting movie theaters, phone booths and other public areas.

"In 1956, the frustrated investigators asked psychiatrist James Brussel, New York State's assistant commissioner of mental hygiene, to study crime scene photos and notes from the bomber. Brussel came up with a detailed description of the suspect: He would be unmarried, foreign, self-educated, in his 50s, living in Connecticut, paranoid and with a vendetta against Con Edison--the first bomb had targeted the power company's 67th street headquarters.

"While some of Brussel's predictions were simply common sense, others were based on psychological ideas. For instance, he said that because paranoia tends to peak around age 35, the bomber, 16 years after his first bomb, would now be in his 50s. The profile proved dead on: It led police right to Metesky, who was arrested in January 1957 and confessed immediately."
(http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.aspx)

After reading about criminal profiling in our text and researching on the American Psychological Association website, I'm even more intrigued by the idea that forensic science is evolving to become integrated with psychology. As pointed out, while some of the descriptions are derived from common sense (with a vendetta against Con Edison, paranoid), many are simply due to psychological thinking and eliminating possibilities. Recently, more value has been put into using academic psychology to profile criminals, by the FBI employing psychologists to work alongside them in forensic investigation.

This is important in ultimately finding criminals. Although it's easier said than done, maybe it simply is easier than relying purely on physical evidence that is not always apparent at crime scenes. The idea of becoming a real-life "Sherlock Holmes" is enticing and actually sparked my interest into this field of psychology.


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In Denial

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"The motivated forgetting of distressing external experiences" is how denial is defined in our Lilienfeld text. This is only one of the ten major Freudian defense mechanisms discussed in chapter 14. It is also a concept that the majority of people know about and can relate to. There are numerous examples of denial, the book mentions the example of a mother who loses a child in an accident yet still insists her child is alive. Defense mechanisms are maneuvers to help lower anxiety and help us cope, even if it might not be the most accurate or effective way of coping. I found an article from "MHM" or Mental Health Matters website. The article focuses on denial in relation to addiction, specifically to alcoholics. It uses this quote to describe how we use defense mechanisms which I found very interesting: "Defenses operate to protect us from uncomfortable or unacceptable self-awareness." If we are addicted to something we like to think we could stop at any moment and that we are in complete control but in reality that is far from true. This is the idea of denial, we deny that there is a problem or consequence. The article goes on to discuss other types of defense mechanisms and briefly discusses how Freud's theory doesn't account for enough human behavior, his is based more on human instinct. I think this article and looking at the various defense mechanisms in relation to behavior could be important as psychologists broaden and improve theories on how people try and protect themselves.

People want to ignore the reality. This is denial

denial.jpg

http://www.mental-health-matters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147

Strange Situation

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Separation Anxeity.jpgcryingbaby.jpgThe portion of the reading on attachment styles really interested me, specifically because of my experience with my sisters. I have three sisters, one older and two younger, and although we supposedly have some similarities, according to my parents, we all went through the separation anxiety phase very differently. In most of the situations I remember, we were all older than the children in the study (they were one), but I was easily able to identify each of our attachment styles.
My older sister displayed the most common "secure attachment" behavior. Always upset when my mother left and happy to see her return, she quickly became their favorite child. I, on the other hand, was the insecure-anxious type: I panicked. I distinctly remember crying so much so that I would make myself ill after my mother left, because I knew if I was sick she would have to come back and get me. Betsy, who is three years younger than me, has the best stories though - she probably falls into the disorganized attachment. Betsy would follow the idea of secure attachment, becoming upset when my mom left and happy when she returned, but at a completely different level. While my mom and I were leaving, we would watch her claw at the window by our front door, screaming so loudly the neighbors could hear, sobbing, while my dad tried to get her to calm down. It's something I still tease her about today. Katy was easiest, showing "insecure-avoidant" attachment. The interesting thing about this for me is that it says in the text that these styles can predict children's later behavior; while I never would have thought to look at our attachment style, thinking about it now, it really does reflect some of our personality characteristics.

Thank you Big Grandma

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I had a different upbringing, you could say, in that my great grandmother raised me from the age of four, because my parents just weren't cut out for it I guess. Sitting here now and writing this, I realize this is the thing I am most grateful for. If my great grandma, aka big grandma, hadn't raised me, I don't know who I would be now. Now what does this have to do with psychology and what we are doing right now? A lot actually that ties into the nature vs. nurture debate. You see I also have 3 siblings and we were all, at one point, raised by my great grandma. My older sister and I moved in with my great grandma when she was nine, so most of her young life was still spent with my parents, and she only stayed with my great grandma until she was about 14. At 14 she moved in with my aunt, who, in my opinion, was not the best person for my sister to live with. That same sister did not graduate high school and never really liked school in the first place. This, to me, is directly related to the nurture aspect, because myself, and my two younger siblings all enjoy school a little more than the average person. It seems when it comes to the nature via nurture idea, my sister picked the wrong environment (not all her fault) and lost out on the genes that were probably there. Now back to my great grandma raising us. I could not tell you right now what she did that brought out our intelligence so much, or made us do so well in school. She is 88 years old right now and it isn't like she could help us very much with homework, what with all of the new technology that we began using, but she must have done something, right? Well that is the question. What kind of environment really helps drive forth the nature via nurture idea? Is it that she just kept us in line, or maybe it was the forced independence that made us have to be more responsible in our education. I have no idea what she did, or didn't do, but I am happy she did it, because we all seem to have her to thank, since she is the only thing we have in common besides the same parents. Hopefully, my hypothesis that her nurturing was what brought out our intelligence is correct, because I am very hopeful for my two younger siblings. 302353_10150452719322704_771057703_10498733_1250781238_n.jpg

Detecting a Liar

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2058385/Lie-detection-techniques-The-fool-proof-way-detect-liar-honest.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The article above is about the methods to detect a liar. Eye contact, fidgeting, looking up and to the right, listen to voice pitch, bombard them with questions, make them say it reverse, how quickly do they answer?, listen to verbal cues, and honesty baseline are the subtitles in this article. Such as eye contact, fidgeting, looking up and to the right, and listening to voice pitch are nonverbal behaviors. Through the Lilienfeld text, detecting a liar with nonverbal behavior, such as gestures, eye movement, and faces, has high error rates. Also, rests of the methods are not always correct either.

While reading this article, I thought those methods are too general and not accurate. Even if a person is not lying, there can be any different reasons to feel embarrassed and tensioned; and embarrassing emotion can make him/ her some unusual behaviors such as nonverbal behaviors which are considered as motions showed when people are lying. Also, he/ she can be confused when he/ she is getting questions. If they get sudden questions, it might be harder to answer; and if a questioning person force to answer quicker, that can lead answering person to make mistakes.

I've heard so many different myths about lie detection. I don't think it always work, because there are so many different people living in and they all can feel and think different when they get same questions. Also, there are some people who are good at lying. That means not all the people show the same response to the lie detection which are generally known like the methods in the article above.

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In daily lives, we are often recommended or even required to use our creativities in many ways. Even for writing this blog post, I need some creative ideas. Some people think that most creative ideas arrive in sudden flashes of insights, and others argue that is a myth. Is it really a myth? Or it's just hard to prove scientifically?

Many great composers, painters, and writers had experiences of getting sudden flashes of insights, but many critics argue that creative accomplishments come from hard works they've done over and over again. Also studies of brain activity indicate that well before people report sudden, creative ideas, brains have already been active. I have my personal story about this issue.

Last year, around this time of the year, I was struggling to write good, innovative college essays. Sometimes I sat down and think about what to write about for 4 hours and ended up with just couple of sentences. However, one day when I was still worrying about writing an essay, I was taking nap, and suddenly I woke up and wrote 6-page long essay, which made me get into colleges. I was stunned that I could write this long and good essay in a short time. Does my story explain that creative ideas come from sudden flash of insight?

My answer is 'No'. As our text stated, our brains are active before we report a sudden creative ideas. In my case, even though I didn't come up with full 6-page long essay, I was deeply emerged into writing an essay long before I actually wrote it. I was always thinking about what to write and I just couldn't organize those ideas into one great essay. When I think about those time-wasted few sentences, those were actually became scaffolds of my essay.

Even though some creative ideas look like coming in sudden short period of time, it is actually result of one's hard work. Many innovative people have failed to come up with brilliant ideas before they actually achieved great accomplishments. Bear in mind this; we shouldn't wait for the creative ideas and we should keep up our hard works.

No, I do not want to play playstation with you.

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One of my biggest pet peeves, are the boys that are "gamers". I think that video games are an extreme waste of time, and I couldn't want anything more than to get rid of them. My brother was really into video games for awhile and one summer he barely left his room because he was always playing his playstation. The only time we really talked is when he asked "Do you wanna play playstation with me?" and I always said "No Dj, I do not want to play playstation with you. READ A BOOK." Even today, when my boyfriend whips out the Xbox and asks if I want to play, I just get really upset because he could be doing something much more productive.
What I noticed in my brother and my boyfriend when they play video games is that their reaction speed is incredible. I've pondered back and forth between whether or not its a natural thing (because they both play baseball, where reaction time is required success of the sport), or if it is "video game" inflicted. Referring back to the article Violent Games Not to Blame for Youth Aggression study, suggest this is a potential benefit of video games.


I don't find it surprising that video games don't trigger aggression in our youth. In my opinion and from what I've witnessed, and from what some studies are potentially suggesting is that video games are a depressant. I feel that this is true because sitting down and playing video games all day doesn't stimulate your brain, and if you are not stimulating your brain, that can lead to signs of depression. However you can throw it the other way by saying young people are depressed, so they play video games to get away from the real world. As we watched in discussion, mass media only has short term effects. Children got riled up after viewing power rangers, because they wanted to participate in what their favorite characters were doing. But just after a short time, they forgot all about it. As soon as they saw Barney, their moods were altered to feel more friendly and loving. After viewing something violent, our mood usually is changed to violent, but just for short term. Anything beyond that is self inflicted and typically processed by our environments. It is more likely that a child turns out to be more violent in adulthood if he/she was exposed to violence in real life, not virtual.
It would be just fabulous if the government could regulate mass amounts of video game and television usage, but no matter what its up to the parent and how they decide they want mass media to affect their children's behavior and brain energy.

Not another Stranger!

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One thing that I always find very interesting when I visit my eight month old cousin is that he is always afraid of me. He knows who I am, but does not warm up to me right away. Whenever I go to his house, he always hides behind his mom and dad and plays with me later on when he feels comfortable. I now know that he is doing this because little children experience stranger anxiety. This is a fear of strangers developing at around the age of eight to nine months old. This anxiety is very normal and its main purpose is most likely an adaptive mechanism. Children are shy around strangers because they do not know who the strangers are and they do not know if they will pose any danger to the children. This mechanism of hiding behind parents allows children to feel safeguarded behind their parents and it gives children the option to come towards the stranger when they feel more comfortable.

Looking at my little cousin, I realized that over time he did the same thing. When I came over, he would be scared and then he would warm up to me. As my cousin got older I noticed a decrease in his stranger anxiety. When my cousin was seventeen months old, he did not show any signs of stranger anxiety and greeted me whenever I went to the door. The typical age for stranger anxiety to go up the most is around twelve to fifteen months. After my cousin passed this age, his stranger anxiety decreased. The reason for this is because he passed the stage where he was so dependent on his mom that he could not be without her. As he aged he became more independent and did not feel so lost without his mom. As a result of his new behavior, he was able to roam around the house and was not so startled without his mom and not so startled by strangers.

Source Used
Lilienfeld, Scott. Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2011.

Obesity in America

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Currently, 33.8% of US adults are obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html). Currently, the average American consumes roughly 2700 kcal a day. This is a 24.5% increase from the 1970's, when the average American consumed about 2170 kcal a day (http://www.livestrong.com/article/445675-the-average-daily-calories-consumed-by-adults-in-the-united-states/). However, not only has the amount of calories consumed increase dramatically, but the levels of physical activity exerted have dropped significantly as well, for reasons such as the increased use of cars.

According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed. That that in a system such as the human body, energy in must equal energy out. This means that if a person consumes more energy than they use, the extra energy must be stored in some form, and in humans, it is either stored as fat or muscle. Conversely, if calories consumed is less than calories exerted, then there will be a net weight loss. Granted, there are genetic problems that can cause an inefficient metabolic system, but those people only represent a small percentage of the 80 million obese Americans.

Because of this, there is a gigantic weight loss industry worth $60.9 billion (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/5/prweb8393658.htm). Yet despite all of the money pumped into fad diets, 95% of diets inevitably fail. Why is this? The word "diet" is derived from the latin word, diaeta which meant a "prescribed way of life." This is exactly what a diet should be; a lifestyle change. However, despite the fact that it took years and years of unhealthy lifestyle choices to gain the weight in the first place, most people expect that they can fix their very large (no pun intended) problem overnight if only they spend enough money.

The only way to lose weight is by following the first law of thermodynamics. No pill or fad diet, no matter how expensive, can make the first law of thermodynamics invalid. Regardless of what pills you are taking, what your genetics are, what type of food you eat, or what type of exercise you do, if the kcal you consume is less than the kcal you exert, you will lose weight. Period.

My Ideal Parenting Style

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When thinking about parenthood, I have often thought about what kind of a father I want to be to my children. These thoughts were sparked again after reading about parenting, parenting styles, and the role of the father. Being only to base my opinion largely off how I was raised and the role my own father took in my upbringing, obviously I want to apply many of the same methods that he used in raising me. This includes many of the concepts mentioned in the reading as well. I want to be highly involved in my children's playtime, such as throwing a ball around, or teaching them to skate. The reading mentioned that fathers tend to be less attentive than mothers. However, even being a mama's boy that I am, my father is still able to take a very attentive and affectionate role in my life, which is something that I want to do for my kids, and not be limited just by having the "father role." I want to be able to assume a role where I can teach my children good values and morals, while also passing on wisdom that I have hopefully accumulated by the time that I become a father, while, at the same time, not pushing it upon them. I want to be lenient enough to allow them to learn things for themselves, because of the fact that I won't always be there to hold their hand and guide them through everything, much like the permissive parenting style. I also want to command a sense of respect and still have limits for my children, so they aren't running completely wild.
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/infantparentingtips/a/04_pntg_styles.htm

barney vs power rangers

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I too use to watch both barney and power rangers. When my mom and I were looking through old family videos (VHS) we found one of me watching Barney. I was in my diaper with my bottle and security blanket in my hand, dancing and completely entranced by the songs, just like those little children in the video that we watched in class. My mom asked me(in the video) who was on tv and i said, "my friends" and kept on dancing with the song that they were singing, i think it was the kookabara song, if i remember the video correctly i haven't watched it in a couple of months. If we had a digital copy of it i would post it as an example but alas it's STILL on VHS.

I think that Barney had a positive effect for me. Although I have been called a sweetheart all the time and very good with children(that's the positive part), there is a negative part as well. I am a minor pushover, I try to make everyone else happy before me even if it means doing something that I don't want to do, like having sex. I think that if I would have watched more Power Rangers than I did, I would have learned at an earlier age how to stand up for myself and then maybe my childhood wouldn't have been such a difficult time.

My group, after watching the video agreed that president obama should regulate but almost make it a little mandatory to help teach children that it is okay to stand up to the bad guy and defend your self. Yes violence isn't the answer but that would be what the other television show(in my case Barney and My Little Pony) would teach.

Emotions in Men vs. Women

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So you know how people ALWAYS say that women are just more emotional than men? I took it upon myself to see if science agreed with this school of thought. Personally, I totally concur. And I think it's nice to be able to explain away excessive displays of emotion with "I'm a girl, I'm emotional" end of story, but that's just me.
In a study done in 2004 by Robin Simon and Leda Nath, from Florida State University and U of W Whitewater (respectively) scientists sought to prove whether 1) women display a greater frequency in emotions, 2) which gender reports a higher range in emotions, and 3) women express their emotions more than men. If you want to see the whole report published in the American Journal of Science, use this link: http://www.fsu.edu/~soc/people/simon/simon_gender.pdf
The data provided by the study shows that 1) women don't actually "report emotions more frequently than men" 2) men display "positive" emotions more, and women display "negative" emotions more, and 3) the scientists found that once a certain social class is reached, regardless of gender, people on average show less overall emotion.
I think this study was really interesting, and parts of it were really surprising. Like I said before, I tend to agree with the general idea of women being more "emotional" than men. I've always heard that, and seen enough evidence, both personal and observed, that I rarely questioned it. Not to say I've never seen a guy show emotion. Sure, there are some guys who display neither positive nor negative emotions except under extenuating circumstances... but I've seen plenty of ice-women as well. I guess the social class part of it is what might set my personal experiences apart from scientific findings. I've spent my whole life surrounded by people of the middle and upper middle class, and I'm not complaining there! We're a pretty awesome class to be in most days :) it's just, being who we are, and in our lifestyles, we have stresses that we deal with: paying the bills, working difficult and sometimes downright unpleasant jobs, caring for our children and our sick parents, finding and then keeping a good steady partner in life. These things don't always affect the upper class as much, I would say. I think it's interesting how the study looked at social class as well as gender. Aside from that point though, I like their second point the most I think. That women display "negative" emotions more. Stuff like, oh let's say, complaining? Or anger, sadness, things of that sort. I can definitely see where all of that comes in, and I like that science has proven it to be more than urban myth. Women are what they are, and mean are what they are. Our emotions are how we deal with our lives; they enable us to make decisions, react to our environment, and communicate with our fellow beings. Does that mean every emotion always makes sense? Most definitely not! But they are an integral part of a human being, and apparently they are mostly equal in us all.

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Growing up, I too was a true believer; a true believer that one day, I indeed, was going to become a power ranger. One to read this may think I have lost my mind, but the truth is I have. In fact, for your information, I am completely insane. I do not follow rules often; do not listen to what people have to say. In contrast, I am not a clinger nor attach to anyone in particular. I also like long walks on the beach? No, I am sure tired of talking about myself.

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However, power rangers or violence as a child certainly did not shape my future, and if so, in a minimalist way. Power rangers were one of my favorite shows. I too, had a favorite character (Michael Angelo...Obviously), but this doesn't mean that it was not conformed throughout the rest of my life by other important events, relationships, lessons, lectures, etc. In America the average child is shaped shortly after his/her adolescence, when one starts caring about others and world issues.

Of course, there are a few oddballs out there that do not conform to caring about others. I tend to care a lot about world issues, and carry my emotions on a sleeve. Power rangers certainly did not make me a violent kid, as for now I am practically a pacifist, refusing to fight other than self-defense. Sure, power rangers are certainly impressive in their combated-aerial, special optic skills. But, one has to remember that children exposed to a lot of media often forget certain things or are uninfluenced within hours of watching the material. For example, even with my wisdom and age, I sometimes become inspired by watching motivational speakers or even Superman. I may walk sadly out of Spiderman, for now I wish I could just sling out.

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However, I usually am uninspired of powers or motivation to a heightened sense within a day or two (perhaps a week if we're talking about superman here). In a psychological sense though, I do not believe that children misbehave or completely evolve into a difference specimen due to one small parallax in there long and hopefully symbolic life. One appears on the earth for a reason, and that reason is not to be condoned my adolescence, nor is it to be shaped while not even psychologically developed. The human is a very complex organism, and I do believe that each and every human was entered into this world purposefully; weather that be a musician street performing to barely scrape by, or a lawyer in the inner city making six figures.
See, in essence, we are all here together. Think about it, all of your peers were wearing diapers at the same time as you, and perhaps tied their shoes on the same day as you learned, they're not superior.

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Nobody is above anybody in this world; no child is completely shaped by such a small event as power rangers. Perhaps a viewer of power rangers as a child will misbehave and conform to some mob or "gangster group" G-UNIT! (Sorry, I am ignorant about violence and rap and what not...) But this is due to chance, and one who thinks otherwise is pulling a confirmation bias or representative heuristic. I conclude that power rangers, Barney, yo-gabba-gabba, or even humpty dumpty does not shape any child, but may leave lasting memories.

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TV Shows and Viloence

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As we discussed in class there seems to be a big debate on whether tv as well as video games determine whether someone (likely a child) is to become more violent when they grow up. In my own opinion I do not believe that there is a direct correlation from the amount of violent tv you watch to how violent you may become. After having spent my childhood watching shows such as Power Rangers that were often violent (although they were fighting evil for a good cause) I personally never experienced any extra aggression later on in my life nor do I now. Like we saw in the video from class about the study they did on the news with the children watching Barney and Power Rangers and their actions after, I do believe there is a short term memory where the children start to act out what they saw on television. However, I don't think it lasts a lifetime or causes any extra permanent aggression later on life. I believe it mainly depends on the child themselves as well as other outside elements that determine this. I don't think a child's added aggression can be based solely on the child's habit of watching violent television. I believe there would likely be other variables that would link this extra aggression. An example of this could be a child's group of friends as he or she grows older that influence their behaviors. After researching articles to support my claims, I found that most articles put the blame of aggression and violent behavior on the amount of violent tv as well as video games. With this said though, I think it would be nearly impossible to determine if violent television and video games are a direct cause of aggression and violent behavior rather than a combination of multiple elements. I still stand by my thoughts though as they support myself as well as most my friends in that no added aggression or violence was caused my the violent games and television we watched growing up.
Article: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2003/03/media-violence.aspx

Choosing to Be a Mom or a Dad

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When discussing having children some day, I have told my husband "I want to be a parent... I just don't want to be a mom." This may seem a contradictory statement but the textbook tells me I could have this. The role I'm actually hesitant to step into is that of the stereotypical mother. I'm not afraid of that special bond that many women seem to have with their babies and children; that I want. But every adolescent and adult I know has a more complicated relationship with their mom than their dad, and I believe this has a lot to do with the different roles that parents take on as the primary or secondary attachment figure. And yes, this is anecdotal but it's all I have to work with at this point (once again I'm asking the wrong questions if I want to find answers in prior studies.)

The textbook talked about how the father is often the secondary attachment figure, making his role to the children become more of the "fun" parent. It only talks about it in terms young children but might it carry over into adulthood. Based on observations of families I know, I'd hypothesize there's still a kind of "division of labor" even though it's no longer in terms of raising the children. Rather, grown kids have different sorts of relationships with their parents that seem to have a root in who was the primary and the secondary attachment figure. The transition from parent to person is easier when it comes to the secondary figure. They remain the "fun" parent because it's easier to disassociate them from the role of "parent" only. Not to say that they no longer are but just that it's more effortless to see them as more than just your parent. With the primary attachment figure, that disassociation seems to be much less easy. It takes more to see your mom as more than just your mom, and some people never quite seem to.

So in essence I want both. I want to be the primary attachment figure for my kids when they are young but be able to have the more well rounded adult relationship with them that seems to fit with the secondary attachment figure. It's something that may not be possible. But it is interesting to know that I could choose.

myths of violent video games

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This article http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx has 11 myths about the affects of violent video games. Although I think it's a bit bias it has some interesting points or myths about the topic.
-Violent video game research has yielded very mixed results.
-The studies that find significant effects are the weakest methodologically.
-Laboratory experiments are irrelevant (trivial measures, demand characteristics, lack external validity).
-Field experiments are irrelevant (aggression measures based either on direct imitation of video game behaviors (e.g., karate kicks) or are normal play behaviors.
These are some of the myths. From reading this article I now agree with hypothesis that violent video games and media increase aggression and violent behavior. The article was interesting and convincing.

What Makes us Happy?

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There are many myths of what truly makes a person happy from youth to money or even where we live. The myth I am most intrigued by is that happiness declines with old age. I have heard the discussion many times while at college that 'someday we have to grow up and join the real world' or 'enjoy college while it lasts, it is the time of your life.' These types of phrases and conversations feed into the myth that happiness declines with age. In fact many studies show that happiness increases with age all the way through 80 years of age. This article shows a study about happiness, it showed that happiness decreases from 18-50 years old, then increases until about 85.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/health/research/01happy.html

I found another interesting website that compared differences in gender with happiness and age.

http://www.more.com/reinvention-money/careers/why-womens-happiness-declines-they-age

What do you believe? Is there a correlation between happiness and age? Do females have less happiness when they are older than males?

I believe that age does effect happiness and being over 50 does not mean your happiness level will decline. However, it is important to consider the facts about being happy. Based on studies, there are several things shown to increase happiness; marriage, friendships, religious belief, exercise, and giving to others among other things. I have seen many of these things are correlated with age (e.g. more friends, a strong faith). Happiness declining with old age is one myth we must not listen to and don't forget about the things that are proven to make us happy.

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Blog 4... development

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Well I'm back to thinking about discussion a little bit - we watched Power Rangers and Barney, which just so happened to be my two favorite tv shows as a child strangely enough (they were SO different in content! but I think I was a little older when I started watching PR than when I was watching Barney). The funny thing about Power Rangers was that I thought that I wouldn't like it because I thought playing Power Rangers with boys was really crummy (probably because of the ridiculous immitation fighting). I actually remember the first time I ever watched Power Rangers really well (COMPLETELY SERIOUS). I didn't care for the fighting so much, but I related to the Pink Power Ranger, probably because she was really into flowers in this particular episode, and was hooked from there on out. I'm thinking that I didn't even understand what the fighting was all about (who even fights like that, anyways?), and my parents were fine with me watching, and they were pretty tough about what I watched, so I guess I didn't start kicking/punching after every episode.

Anyways, one of the things that I always thought was weird about me looking back on when I was a child, was that I had a million Barbies (I'd get them as hand-me-downs and gifts) but I never played with dolls. Ah. I take that back. I played with dolls about 3 times in total when I was a child; when my cousins babysat (I'd eventually go and do something else while they played Barbie), when a friend visited that liked to play Barbie, and the one time after that friend visited that I really really wanted to like to play with Barbie, but was literally forcing myself to do it, as I remember. So I've always wondered why I didn't like Barbie/ if that indicates something different about me today. For instance; "Am I less feminine or girly?" or "was a a born bra-burning feminist?" or "what the hell kind of girl didn't play with Barbies?" (In my defense, Barbie's legs don't even move right - LAME.Oh, and disclaimer - I DID want a life-sized Barbie at one point, if only because it was cool and my friends wanted one)

So of course I can't find anything via google that would tell me anything about whether not playing with Barbie is unusual. All I'm getting is stuff about boys playing with dolls! I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that I was probably picking up on the adults worry about what effect playing with D-cup plastic figures would have on my future psyche (oh, and I did have a Pink Power Ranger Doll at one point, which I loved). I did find some stuff that might suggest that playing with dolls helps develop self-help skills (https://www.virtualpre-k.org/en/lessons/cd1/lesson5/classroom/atchildcare), something that I STRUGGLE WITH. For instance, I have a hard time feeding myself and taking care of myself in general (like sleep, water and laundry) when I'm even just mildly stressed out, which leads to things like me getting super tired through the day and even to the extreme of me fainting 3 times on the first day of school (this really happened, unfortunately). Maybe having little interest inlaying with or "taking care" of the dolls as a child indicated that I would struggle with self-care when I got older (not so different from many college students I know, but whatever). This could be tested by taking a poll of students, rating their self-care abilities and how much they played with dolls as children. This study would have to be made up of girls for the most part, because boys typically don't play with dolls because it's not apart of their gender role.
If there was a correlation between the two, even though correlation doesn't mean causation, parents that have female children that aren't interested in dolls could take a little more care in teaching self-care to their daughters.

Infant motor development: How babies get going

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cutenolen.jpg Here's a picture of my son Nolen. He recently learned how to sit and he's only 4 months!!


Human babies are born not able to move by themselves. The only movement they know is their sucking reflexes. They develop how to move muscles over time. It's not as easy for babies to easily just grasp a spoon if they wanted to. Learning about the body and making it do things you want it to do takes time. It is somehow programmed in our mind to learn to accomplish simple motor development first and then learn the more complex one afterwards.

The major milestones in motor skill development are sitting up, crawling, standing unsupported and walking. Sitting without support usually occurs around 6 months, crawling usually occurs around 9 months, standing occurs around 11 months, cruising occurs around 12 months and walking without assistance occurs around 13 months. The age at which different children reach these motor milestone varies. Studies has shown that physical maturation plays a major role in allowing children to achieve the motor milestones. Bigger babies tend to develop motor skills earlier due to more muscle mass build up compare to smaller, lighter babies. Although the age at which they acquire these skills may differ among babies, almost all acquire them in the same order, from simple to complex.

My Nolen is only 4 months old and he has already began to sit by himself. I'm so proud of him. My husband and I were so impressed by how fast he learned how to do it. He has a cousin who is around the same age as he is and she's not able to sit yet. I understand that Nolen may have learned to sit first but it doesn't correlate to him being smarter than his cousin because every baby is different and also Nolen's weight plays a major factor into why he's already sitting. Nolen also has a cousin who did not learn to sit until she was 11 months. She learned how to roll over first because being able to sit. Every time we see her she's always rolling on the ground. She estimates the angle at which she needs to roll to get where she wants to be. I find it so cute and funny how she used to do that. She serves as an example that not all babies learn these motor skills in order. Down below I have a link to an article on babycenter.com that goes in depth on motor development skills. When I was pregnant I signed up for babycenter.com and I love how they sent emails on how your baby is developing. They have great resources. I highly recommend parents and parents-to-be to sign up! www.babycenter.com


------------------------------------------------Sources---------------------------------------------
1. http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-childs-walking-timeline_10357004.bc 2. http://social.jrank.org/pages/435/Motor-Development.html 3. Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. "Learning to Get Up and Go: Coordinating Movement." Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solution, 2011. Print.

Infant motor development: How babies get going

| No Comments
cutenolen.jpg Here's a picture of my son Nolen. He recently learned how to sit and he's only 4 months!!


Human babies are born not able to move by themselves. The only movement they know is their sucking reflexes. They develop how to move muscles over time. It's not as easy for babies to easily just grasp a spoon if they wanted to. Learning about the body and making it do things you want it to do takes time. It is somehow programmed in our mind to learn to accomplish simple motor development first and then learn the more complex one afterwards.

The major milestones in motor skill development are sitting up, crawling, standing unsupported and walking. Sitting without support usually occurs around 6 months, crawling usually occurs around 9 months, standing occurs around 11 months, cruising occurs around 12 months and walking without assistance occurs around 13 months. The age at which different children reach these motor milestone varies. Studies has shown that physical maturation plays a major role in allowing children to achieve the motor milestones. Bigger babies tend to develop motor skills earlier due to more muscle mass build up compare to smaller, lighter babies. Although the age at which they acquire these skills may differ among babies, almost all acquire them in the same order, from simple to complex.

My Nolen is only 4 months old and he has already began to sit by himself. I'm so proud of him. My husband and I were so impressed by how fast he learned how to do it. He has a cousin who is around the same age as he is and she's not able to sit yet. I understand that Nolen may have learned to sit first but it doesn't correlate to him being smarter than his cousin because every baby is different and also Nolen's weight plays a major factor into why he's already sitting. Nolen also has a cousin who did not learn to sit until she was 11 months. She learned how to roll over first because being able to sit. Every time we see her she's always rolling on the ground. She estimates the angle at which she needs to roll to get where she wants to be. I find it so cute and funny how she used to do that. She serves as an example that not all babies learn these motor skills in order. Down below I have a link to an article on babycenter.com that goes in depth on motor development skills. When I was pregnant I signed up for babycenter.com and I love how they sent emails on how your baby is developing. They have great resources. I highly recommend parents and parents-to-be to sign up! www.babycenter.com


------------------------------------------------Sources---------------------------------------------
1. http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-childs-walking-timeline_10357004.bc 2. http://social.jrank.org/pages/435/Motor-Development.html 3. Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. "Learning to Get Up and Go: Coordinating Movement." Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solution, 2011. Print.

Infant motor development: How babies get going

| 1 Comment
cutenolen.jpg Here's a picture of my son Nolen. He recently learned how to sit and he's only 4 months!!


Human babies are born not able to move by themselves. The only movement they know is their sucking reflexes. They develop how to move muscles over time. It's not as easy for babies to easily just grasp a spoon if they wanted to. Learning about the body and making it do things you want it to do takes time. It is somehow programmed in our mind to learn to accomplish simple motor development first and then learn the more complex one afterwards.

The major milestones in motor skill development are sitting up, crawling, standing unsupported and walking. Sitting without support usually occurs around 6 months, crawling usually occurs around 9 months, standing occurs around 11 months, cruising occurs around 12 months and walking without assistance occurs around 13 months. The age at which different children reach these motor milestone varies. Studies has shown that physical maturation plays a major role in allowing children to achieve the motor milestones. Bigger babies tend to develop motor skills earlier due to more muscle mass build up compare to smaller, lighter babies. Although the age at which they acquire these skills may differ among babies, almost all acquire them in the same order, from simple to complex.

My Nolen is only 4 months old and he has already began to sit by himself. I'm so proud of him. My husband and I were so impressed by how fast he learned how to do it. He has a cousin who is around the same age as he is and she's not able to sit yet. I understand that Nolen may have learned to sit first but it doesn't correlate to him being smarter than his cousin because every baby is different and also Nolen's weight plays a major factor into why he's already sitting. Nolen also has a cousin who did not learn to sit until she was 11 months. She learned how to roll over first because being able to sit. Every time we see her she's always rolling on the ground. She estimates the angle at which she needs to roll to get where she wants to be. I find it so cute and funny how she used to do that. She serves as an example that not all babies learn these motor skills in order. Down below I have a link to an article on babycenter.com that goes in depth on motor development skills. When I was pregnant I signed up for babycenter.com and I love how they sent emails on how your baby is developing. They have great resources. I highly recommend parents and parents-to-be to sign up! www.babycenter.com


------------------------------------------------Sources---------------------------------------------
1. http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-childs-walking-timeline_10357004.bc 2. http://social.jrank.org/pages/435/Motor-Development.html 3. Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. "Learning to Get Up and Go: Coordinating Movement." Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solution, 2011. Print.

The Big O

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According to this article, (http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/sneeze.asp), there was a claim made that stated sneezing seven times in a row is equivalent to having an orgasm. According to our textbook an orgasm is the phase in human sexual response marked by involuntary rhythmic contracts in the muscles of genitals in both men and women. Humans are very sexual beings, for the most part, and the ultimate goal is this climax/orgasm phase. This extraordinary claim that sneezing seven times in a row equals an orgasm would mean that someone with a head cold or allergies would be sexually pleased all day long. I have a hard time believe someone who is allergic to cats would bring themselves to a cat farm just to have a sneezing orgasm.

An alternative explanation for this orgasm-like experience is simply that sneezing, like an orgasm, is an involuntary reflex. Comparing them even further, sneezing and orgasms both are some sort of convulsion of the body. There are many involuntary responses that our bodies act out on a daily basis. This sneezing reflex is just one of those responses. Adding a number of sneezes right in a row may lead the body to feel as though it is having an orgasm-like experience, but it really is simply an involuntary response/reflex. This explanation is a simpler way to understand how the body works (Occams Razor). There is a pleasure center in the brain that deals majorly with the amygdala. I wonder what would happen if someone looked at the pleasure center and activation of the amygdala during both an orgasm and a sneezing fit?

Emoticons

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When Professor Gewirtz started to talk about emotion, and the fact that there could be a cultural component intrigued me. I think everyone knows the ☺ (smiley face) or the ☹ (frown), but now with gmail there seems to be an unlimited amount of icons to express yourself. What I really found interesting is the fact that there are different emoticons from different cultures such as orz. This is a person that is on all fours showing failure or despair. This led me to do some research and try to find other emoticons from other cultures and areas of the world. I found that there are a great number of different emoticons. Here is the Wikipedia article concerning popular emoticons, surprisingly there are more from Asian decent than of Western cultures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emoticons

Another interesting idea is that we experience different emotions from culture to culture. Gewirtz began his first lecture on emotion using familiar words associated with emotion. Then he threw out schadenfreude, which means enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. This is not an English word but we can experience that emotion, so can cultures have different emotions? It is an interesting idea but I think that most humans can and do experience the similar emotions.

Violent Video Games and Child Aggression!

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Growing up I never played video games, but my brother on the other hand was obsessed. Now the question parents and all professionals who deal with children should ask is how can we deal with child aggression, and if there any factors that can reduce it or increase it. There have been many experiments looking into this phenomenon. There is extensive evidence on both sides claiming that child aggression is not related to video games and vice versa.

A study that was conducted on child aggression in the journal of Pediatrics found that children exposed to video game violence did develop more aggressive behavior, than those children who were not exposed to such high levels of video game violence.
http://news.health.com/2008/11/03/violent-video-games-linked-to-aggression-in-children-teens/

Another study conducted at the University of Illinois found that strong exposure to violent video games did not cause an increase in child aggression.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/08/15/video_games_and_aggression/

Looking at all of these extensive studies into this topic can be overwhelming especially for someone who is trying to pick one side. I personally would not let my children play violent video games if they are not in the age limit for those specific games. I feel that we can take something from both of these claims. Correlation Does Not Imply Causation, just because we see aggression in children after they have played some video games does not mean the video games are responsible for the aggressive response. I would definitely pick proper video games for my children and would not let them play around with extremely violent games, but it's safe to say that we do not need to be consumed in this topic. As a parent you have your child's best interest at heart and it is up to you if you let them play video games or not. Just remember never run with what you hear on CNN or ABC and do a little background work to gain some knowledge on it first.

Not Completely Sold

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When reading the articles this week about the correlation between aggression and video games, I found another perspective that would have interesting to take into account. The perspective being that the correlation can go both ways. It could be that people who are more aggressive in general in life may be prone to violent video game and tv shows. This is not to say that every person that plays or watch is an aggressive person, but that some may be attracted to this sort of media because of this characteristic. Violent games and shows can be looked at as a way to release this emotion or channel it. This could be the reason why most but not all men are more attracted to this type of media more than women. In society we usually look at men as more aggressive than women.
Another thing that I found interesting while talking about this debate earlier this week was the clip we seen in discussion about the kids in daycare reacting to the different shows. I thought that it was a little premature to say that violence in shows just simply cause aggression in children. One reason being that I while I do agree that there is an automatic reaction in the brain that is associated with aggression, I only think that this may be the case for only a temporary amount of time. Another reason being that in both cases of the two shows, "Barney" and "Power Rangers", the children simply imitated what they saw. In one show they marched and in the other they fought each other, so there would need to be a prolonged or longitudinal study to say that watching more and more of the more aggressive show leads to overall more aggression in a child into adulthood.
It is hard to say that I am completely against the idea that violent games and shows can be the cause of more aggression and violence in people, but I think that it will take a lot more evidence and the measurement of many different factors to know the correct answer.

Set Point

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By now, I am guessing most of us has told ourselves "my diet starts on Monday" or "bulking up and lifting weights every other day begins tomorrow". How long did that diet or working out phase last? From my own experience, I can say it did not last long. I cannot say I did not try though, and I bet I am not the only one to put in the effort. I always felt like I hit a brick wall and my body was just not suppose to gain any more muscle mass. After reading Chapter 11 in psych, I found a term that clearly explains what I was feeling: I realized I found my set point. The set point value is defined as the value that establishes a range of body and muscle mass we tend to maintain. This means that our bodies seemed to be programmed to where, for example, when we try to not eat enough calories, our metabolism will decrease or our appetite will decrease. In my case, to a certain point, no matter how much or how many times I lifted weights, I could not get anymore muscle mass. Knowing that there is a term for my situation was kind of bittersweet; I cannot really gain any more muscle but it was not because I was not putting in the effort. I have come to terms with my scrawniness, maybe that is what we all must do for our body types. Our bodies are programmed to be such a way and up to a certain point we cannot change that. Maybe we would be happier people once we all realize that, but that's a blog for a different day...
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Parenting... The best and the worst

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My mother has been a daycare provider for the past 13 years. Throughout those thirteen years, we have had numerous different families come and go, and I have been able to watch many different types of parenting at its best, and at its worst. We have had the permissive parents (those who are more in favor of affection, and only use discipline when absolutely needed), authoritarian parents (super strict parents who do not show much affection), and authoritative parents (the happy-medium between permissive and authoritative parents).

While studies that have been conducted have drawn conclusions that parenting styles do not have much of an effect on children as long as they are raised in a stable household, I do think that the parenting styles do have an effect, especially on the personality, socialization, and the good/bad actions of children with their peers.

Just from what I have experienced in the past thirteen years, I have noticed that children with permissive parents are usually out spoken, have wild personalities, and are more likely to hit or bite when they do not get their way. Children with authoritarian parents, though I have only observed a few families with this parenting style, are usually quiet and more likely to fall subject to those children with a more dominant personality. Those with authoritative parents, while they do have their temper-tantrum days (as do any child, no matter what parenting style) are the ones who are more likely to share and get along with most of their peers.

While parents will not change the methods they use to raise their children, I believe that one of the factors,at least the way that the personalities of the children who grew up in my mom's daycare where somewhat shaped, was interacting with other children their age and learning to share and what was "socially acceptable" as far as getting along with other children. While caring for children who were being raised different ways always proves to be difficult, it isn't impossible.

kiss on the cheek

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America is diversity. The multiculturalism is everywhere you look, well at least in urban areas. Being different culture is cool and it creates curiosity and attraction, but it also creates misunderstanding. I want to talk about tradition of kissing on the check among men as a meens of greeting. I was born and raise in the country where it is common among men to greet friends and family with firm handshake and kiss on the cheek or most of the times touch cheek to cheek. It's a sign of respect among men and if you refuse or reject this gesture it can be taken as disrespect. In general greeting is a big part of relationship in my home country of origin.
In US however greeting appears to be less important. I can't describe my surprise when my coworker show up to work and pass me by without saying simple "hello". In the beginning I though they mad at me or I did something wrong, but I learned not to take it personal. Another misunderstanding happen when my friend and I kiss on the cheek in front of my girlfriend and that made her questione my sexual orientation. Even after my explanations she couldn't get over the fact that I kissed the other man.
As I was reading over Emotion and Motivation, I connected my personal experience with paragraph about Cultural Differences in Emotional Expression. The tradition of greeting and kissing among men falls under display rules, that cross-cultural guidelines for how and when to express emotions. This tradition is not common in Minnesota and it resulted in misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

kissing on the cheek

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America is diversity. The multiculturalism is everywhere you look, well at least in urban areas. Being different culture is cool and it creates curiosity and attraction, but it also creates misunderstanding. I want to talk about tradition of kissing on the check among men as a means of greeting. I was born and raise in the country where it is common among men to greet friends and family with firm handshake and kiss on the cheek or most of the times touch cheek to cheek. It's a sign of respect among men and if you refuse or reject this gesture it can be taken as disrespect. In general greeting is a big part of relationship in my home country of origin.
In US however greeting appears to be less important. I can't describe my surprise when my coworker show up to work and pass me by without saying simple "hello". In the beginning I though they mad at me or I did something wrong, but I learned not to take it personal. Another misunderstanding happen when my friend and I kiss on the cheek in front of my girlfriend and that made her question my sexual orientation. Even after my explanations she couldn't get over the fact that I kissed the other man.
As I was reading over Emotion and Motivation, I connected my personal experience with paragraph about Cultural Differences in Emotional Expression. The tradition of greeting and kissing among men falls under display rules, that cross-cultural guidelines for how and when to express emotions. This tradition is not common in Minnesota and it resulted in misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

How are you feeling?

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I wasn't really surprised that we would be talking about emotions in class because emotions are something we deal with every single day. In lecture, an emotion was said to be a state elicited by a strongly motivational event or by anticipation of such an event that produces a coordinated set of adaptive responses. So, to put that in simpler terms, an emotion is basically how we feel after something happens.

I thought the process and topic of emotions was going to be very complex, especially with all the different theories that are associated with emotions. Some examples are the James-Lange Theory, Cannon-Bard Theory, Somatic Marker Theory, and the Two Factor Theory. But I was very, very surprised when I realized that there are only seven primary emotions! I tried really hard to figure out other emotions that I have ever experienced. Every time I thought of an emotion, the simpler version of that emotion was one of the primary emotions. I literally could not understand how we, as human beings, experience so many different things every single day, yet we only have seven primary emotions that we experience!

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The seven primary emotions discussed in our textbook are happiness, disgust, sadness, fear, surprise, contempt, and anger. There are obviously other emotions that we experience; these seven emotions are not strictly the only emotions we ever experience. But just think about it; isn't it crazy that we can boil down how we feel at any given moment to one of these seven primary emotions? Right now, think about how you feel.

Sources:

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf)

Glass Half Full/Empty?

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In Chapter 11, the book discusses the aspect of happiness and what makes us happy. Reading, I was very interested in their definitions of happiness and misconceptions of what make us happy, such as money, young age and living on the "West Coast", or living in "paradise". As one may expect, excess money doesn't actually make a person happier, older adults are happier than young people, and climate doesn't affect happiness on average. As I kept reading, I came across the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), developed by psychologist Ed Diener. On a 1-7 scale, the test taker rates how much they agree or disagree with a series of 5 questions about their life and satisfaction with it. The higher the score, the more satisfied a person feels with their life (Featured on Oprah, you can find this and other interesting tidbits and quizzes at http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/How-Happy-Are-You). While this is a fairly obvious quiz, it got me to thinking about other aspects of the chapter, such as how a person's attitude affects their happiness. Optimists tend to be happier than pessimists and can cope with everyday problems more easily (Seligman & Pawelski, 2003 and Watson & Clark, 1984). On the CBS Early Show, Dr. Holly Phillips brought about a study called Positive Attitudes Reduces Risk of Death (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HUkAx0fkAI). Although this is a very blunt warrant provided, actual evidence was found. After following participants between the ages of 50 and 80, they found that those who showed the most positivity on the first day of the study were the least likely to die over the five year period, and those who were more negative were more likely to pass away. They reported that happiness is correlated with a person's health in many different areas such as heart-healthy, less stress leading to a better immune system, and much more (http://www.kbzk.com/news/want-to-live-longer-get-happy-study-suggests-/).
Even though this may seem like a very obvious study, it can be easily seen in daily life. When you have a positive outlook on life, the events that occur in your life positively affect you. Through relationships, religion, giving and gratitude, people use these tools to make themselves happy and live longer, happier lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piie7qDUPxg

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Sexual Orientation

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I find it very fascinating in our modern day society when we have political leaders fighting over the issue of "Gay Marriage". I find it fascinating because I feel by this time we should have a better understanding as a society because we have so much information indicating that being gay is inherently wired into an individuals DNA. Being gay is as much of a choice as choosing who your parents are. In the Lilienfeld text, they point out that even at a young age children go to objects that are linked with their gender such as boys go to trucks and girls go to barbies. But this can show that a a child who goes to the object that is opposite of his or her gender may from the start of at least infancy have biological roots in more a "homosexual" background.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002340883_gayscience19m.html

There is not just homosexuality in the human species, but also in a variety of many different animals. This indicates that the chances of it being an outright choice are minimal because animals run on animalistic behaviors and if that is hardwired in their genes, then it has a possibility of being embedded within human genes as well. An example of homosexuality in animals can be seen in sheep populations and cow populations.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/11/can-the-biology-of-being-gay-combat-bigotry.html

Granted, there is a chance that environmental factor may trigger responses to be gay, it must be hardwired into the biology of the individual. Being homosexual for the most part, is wired into your system by the time you are born. So when it comes down to it, being against "homosexuality" is the same as being born a certain skin color. You can't control it, you are just born that way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj2-_tFXXT4

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Gender Identity and Role & My Family is Amazing

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The Lilienfeld text explains that one's gender identity is whether they feel as if they are male or female regardless of their sex and that gender role is based on the actions of a person that are considered more male-like or female-like behaviors. The text goes on to explain that there are biological and social influences on gender. Biological influences are apparent in infants when the infants are more interested in playing with toys which are stereotypically associated with their sex. Social influences result from the expectations of parents, teachers, and other adults and the encouragement that children receive when they act in a way that corresponds to stereotypes of their sex.

Here is a link to a great poster that highlights the fact that people of both sexes sometimes feel, act, or behave certain ways that are not in sync with what society expects:
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I believe that the ideas in that poster must be acknowledged in society. The Lilienfield text points out that it has become more acceptable for females than it is for males to participate in "cross-sex ... behavior." I agree with this. I grew up as the only female in my generation in my family. I was encouraged to play and watch sports, play with legos, and play video games with the boys. But I also solely inherited my mom and her four sisters' Barbies. ^_^

I feel that I was lucky. I know far too many people who have been ostracized by their families for ending up too much like the opposite sex, whether they are homosexual or not. Gender identity and gender roles should never be forced upon someone. One's identity and actions should be accepted and respected as long as no one is being seriously hurt.

Violence and Video games/TV shows

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This last week we talked about the relationship between violence in the community and violent video games and tv shows. I personally do feel that violence is caused by video games and tv shows. My personal experience was when I was younger I would watch Powerangers every day. I saw every episode of all of the different versions of the show. I remember my sister and I playing out the characters with our friends. Back then though we knew that the show was fake, so we knew not to hit each other while playing the game. http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html On this website by pbs, they state 8 myths about video games and children violence. The very first myth says that "The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence." It states that the actual juvenile statistics of violence is at a 30 year low, and say that people that are convicted of crimes report to have low media viewing. This goes back to the Nature vs Nurture argument, when a parent is abusive to their children it is, a lot of the time, because of growing up in a abusive family.. This is why I believe that there is not a relationship between violence and video games.

Parenting Styles

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In Chapter 10 (page 388) in the Lilienfeld Text, the concept of Parenting Styles is discussed. When reading this, I couldn't help but think about the way my parents raised me. The text discusses how there are four styles: permissive, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved. As a young child and an angsty teenager, I would have said that my parents were authoritarian. In the additional reading that I did (see attached link below), authoritarian parenting styles include parents who are demanding of their parents and not necessarily responsive to the needs of their children. I thought they my parents were too strict. I thought they didn't care about my needs. I thought that their expectations were too high and that I could never satisfy them, despite the fact that I didn't care otherwise. My chore list was too lengthy, they were always in my business, and they preferred my siblings over me. I know that my parents weren't permissive; they didn't let me do anything that I wanted outside or inside the home. I know that my parents weren't uninvolved; they didn't neglect or ignore my needs. I would have thought that they weren't authoritative.... but now I know that is not true. Now, I know that my parents were authoritative.

Yes, my parents were strict. Yes, at times things weren't perfect. But, now as a grateful college student, I know that they were supportive, yet set boundaries and limitations with the best intentions in mind. My parents wanted me to exceed in school. They wanted me to be involved in other programs, like 4-H. They wanted me to know that they expected me to do chores in the home and uphold myself in the best manner outside the home. Now, I know that when I have my own children, I don't want to be permissive, authoritarian, or uninvolved. I want to be just like my parents... authoritative.

http://parenting-styles.org/

Our Attitudes Towards Knowledge

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A critical cognitive change that takes place during the late high school and college years is in adolescent's and young adult's perspectives toward knowledge. We are often frustrated to find that their are few black-and-white answers to questions. Part of this comes from the current high school education system that crams knowledge down student's throats, requiring them to regurgitate it back on tests. Students have been molded to look at a question and believe in only one correct answer. Students many times use assimilation when first coming to college where they may answer questions based on what the think the professor wants to hear, when deep down they believe their is a right and wrong answer to most questions. I know from personal experience that I was one of these students, who thought on merely x and y levels. Using accommodation techniques I was able change my way of thinking and realize that most of the time, the answer to basic questions is "it depends." Being able to use this type of thinking when asked a question is a major part in cognitive development as well as becoming an educated adult. Many people never achieve this feat in cognition and are deeply rooted in a simplistic way or reasoning. The use of assimilation and accommodation is necessary in order to surpass this cognitive mind block and see the world in a new and more complex way.

Violence in Video games

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In class we read a few articles on both how video games increase or have no affect on children's aggression. But neither side gives clear evidence or studies that proves their beliefs.
I think it's hard to determine if A causes B or if B causes A. No one is sure if aggressive children like playing violent video games or if violent video games causes aggression.
An article on CNN says that a study shows that video games do cause aggression. In the study the saw an increase in aggression among time in those children that played more violent games. But what they article says at the end I can agree with. Dr David Walsh said, "It doesn't necessarily mean that because a kid plays a violent video game they're immediately going to go out and beat somebody up. The real impact is in shaping norms, shaping attitude. As those gradually shift, the differences start to show up in behavior."
I can get more behind this quote because I feel this is the way it is. Many children aren't going to go start punching other kids for fun, instead it will be more acceptable to talk or joke around about the violence they see. It will desensitize youth from violence but doesn't mean that it will invoke it.
Growing up playing many types of video games, many of which were violent in some way or another, I don't believe that the violence in video games increases the aggression in kids who play the game. Never have I once thought about imitating a violent video game. That being said, aggression in kids could be because of something else like the child them self or parenting. My parents were aware of what I was playing but they knew that I was smart enough not to imitate the actions I saw and made sure I knew that the violence I saw was not acceptable in the real world.


http://articles.cnn.com/2008-11-03/health/healthmag.violent.video.kids_1_violent-video-video-games-game-genres?_s=PM:HEALTH

I think, therefore I am...am I?

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While reading chapter 10, I found one concept extremely interesting, the idea of building an identity. The section on Social and Emotional Development in Adolescence describes Eric Erikson's 8 stage model of Identity and the idea of an identity crisis. Erikson's 8 stages include Infancy, toddlerhood, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, and aging. Erikson explains that as we (as individuals) progress through life we are constantly faced with new challenges in each stage that we need to overcome. He does explain that these challenges are relatively small but if we fail to overcome challenges faced in earlier stages we have a much more difficult time overcoming challenges in later stages. He also explains that stage 5, Adolescence, is the most challenging stage because stage 5 is when we are first faced with the challenge of determining our identity and our role in life.
This concept is something I, and I imagine everyone, can apply to their own lives. I remember in High School being termed a jock and knowing that sports is what I was meant for. But now in college I am certain that my calling is teaching and sports simply a pastime and hobby. Now I know that my identity crisis is not drastic enough to constitute a spot on the nightly news but it did get me thinking of how many times in our lives we really are challenged to form an identity and in what aspects.
The Lilienfeld text points out that identity crises can be in the form of religion, heritage, morals, personality but what it fails to mention is whether or not language can be a form of identity crisis. I found this interesting youtube video about a caucasion individual who was born and raised in Japan. If I saw this individual walking across campus I would have no idea he was a foreign student based on how he looks. He even admits the challenges of being white while growing up in Japan. Unfortunately for this individual, his identity crisis is not something that can be overcome by deep interpersonal reflection t as societal stereotypes in a sense demand for him to be ever confused.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG5sqVE2J5I

Dirty Liars

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Let's face it, people lie all of the time. Lying to a lot of people is an everyday thing sometimes happening multiple times in a day. It's a complex process in the brain that requires a higher level of thinking. It uses multiples brain processes like integrating sources of information and manipulating them. It's such a complex process that it takes a while before children are able to lie. Well as I stumbled upon an article at this web address http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7730522/Lying-children-will-grow-up-to-be-successful-citizens.html and found something very interesting. The title of the article says it all; "Lying Children Will grow up to be Successful Citizens." Now as ridiculous as that sounds, it makes some sense. Since lying is such a complex brain process, it would only mean that the sooner that a child starts telling lies, the more cognitive development in the brain has occurred. The faster development would mean that they would be more quick witted and be better at thinking at their feet. The article says that in this development they acquire the "executive function" which is the ability to invent a convincing lie by keeping the truth at the back of their mind. What the article is saying is that the earlier development of these skills will help them be more successful. I can see how that could be true, but I think that this is a good example of correlation vs. causation. The earlier development of those skills could very well help you down the road, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they will be more successful. I don't necessarily think that this is an accurate finding, but I think it's something interesting to think about.

Do people pop your bubble?

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"Proxemics: the study of personal space."

personal bubble.jpg


Edward Hall observed in 1966 that the personal distance between people is positively correlated with emotional distance. When we stand closer to people, it usually means that we are emotionally closer to them also. And we are less emotionally attached, the farther away we stand. One exception to this theory is when people are trying to intimidate someone and they stand exceptionally close to them to try to provoke fear.

People's "personal bubbles" are classified into four different groups:

personal space.jpg


Public Distance- Is generally used for public speaking events (12+ ft.)
Social Distance- Is used for when people are more of aquaintences or strangers (4-12 ft.)
Personal Distance- When you know someone and are close friends (1.5-4 ft.)
Intimate Distance- Used for showing "affection" (0-1.5 ft.)

These distances can vary based on different cultures, in some places it is more acceptable to stand closer or further away. You could say it's based on where you grew up. We also tend to get a bigger "bubble" from childhood as we become older.

I believe this theory is important for the sake of observing and analyzing human behaviors. I've found that body signals and the amount of space between people to be very reliable sign of feelings or attitudes toward different people. I for one, have a very large personal bubble. I become more uncomfortable when people come near me, especially if I don't know them. On the other hand, I love to observe other people and their reactions when they have people break into their personal space and the awkward moment that they end up having.

So needless to say, when in doubt, take a step back before you decide to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know.


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"Lie" Detectors

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As I read through the chapters of my Lilienfeld textbook, I often find myself applying the material to my life. In chapter 11, I learned about lying and lie detection. I have never experienced a lie detection device personally, but I have seen it in the media frequently. One example is Meet the Parents. The main character, Greg, receives an impromptu lie detector test from his soon to be father-in-law.

http://youtu.be/xBIYnrwNSJo
This clip from Meet the Parents shows Greg doing a lie detector test.

After reading about the lie detector test and watching it on this video clip I wanted to learn more about the test, which is actually called a polygraph. While taking a polygraph test the person is hooked up to multiple machines that all record different data onto one sheet. The multiple machines measure and record physiological functions such as blood pressure, pulse, and perspiration. Some machines even measure body movement. The machines keep advancing as technology is becoming more advanced.

The data is recorded while the person is being asking a series of questions. The data recorded is open to interpretation and is not always accurate. There is actually a method in asking questions. First, control questions are asked to determine the person's normal physiological functions. Then the questions get more advanced and include relevant and irrelevant questions. It is thought that if a person answers with a lie, their physiological functions will fluctuate due to anxiety, fear, etc. So in reality, the polygraph machine isn't detecting lies, but instead it is detecting factors associated with lying such as anxiety.

Overall, I believe polygraphs are not accurate at detecting lies.

Mozart Effect?

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In discussion last week, we watched videos of children watching Barney and then watching The Power Rangers and compared how they reacted to each video. I found that the children reacted differently in how they behaved after each show but they had the same reaction to each in the sense that they picked up on the actions from the shows. For example, after the children watched Barney, the sang along to the songs and marched with the beat. Their actions were all very loving and friendly, as they were mimicking the loving and friendly character of Barney. After watching Power Rangers, they began fighting, pretending to kick and punch each other as they had seen the Power Rangers do on the show. They became more violent as they mimicked the violent actions on the show. I know that children learn from example when they are younger, but I have to wonder to what extent? If children watch shows with violence, such as Power Rangers, are they really going to grow up to be a violent person? While a child may act violently after seeing the show and the actions depicted on it, I highly doubt that they are going to continue to act that way as they grow older and are taught how to behave.
I feel the same way about the Mozart Effect on children. I highly doubt that listening to Mozart's music when you are young is going to boost your IQ as you get older. It's just music. I believe that you are taught gradually as you grow up and listening to music or doing anything as a baby is not really going to make a difference in that. I don't believe that the tests done on the Mozart Effect can even be accurate because every one has a different IQ, and every body learns at a different rate. The Mozart Effect is simply strange and, in my opinion, ridiculous.

HAPPY PACKER SUNDAY! 8-0 :)

Yerkes-Dodson law and being an athlete.

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I have been an athlete and an avid sports fan all my life. I have played the sport of soccer from a young age and have continued to play it competitively through high school. Although I do not play for a team anymore, I continue to play and follow soccer. I also love to play many other sports with my friends. I have always known the importance of being pumped up for the game but I did not know you could be TOO pumped up. The Yerkes-Dodson law is based on a inverted U-shaped relation between arousal and mood and performance. For each person there is a optimal point of arousal usually near the middle of the curve. If below the optimal point, people experience low motivation and don't perform well, if above the point, people feel too anxious and again don't perform well. I knew being pumped up was important but I did not know becoming too anxious could be a problem. This however makes sense though as I am a very anxious person and this affects my performance at some times. I now know, that if I want to perform at my best I should try to achieve this optimal point of arousal. According too some articles online, it appears that the Yerkes-Dodson law (1908) has stood the test of time. The correlation suggested has not been completely established but the Yerkes-Dodson law has passed from theory to law for a reason. It is very well established in the scientific community and this law can easily be observed for all of us athletes out there.

Mirror Reflection: "I Am Not Who I Seem To Be."

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They look at themselves in the mirror, hoping to see something that would please them and leave them satisfied. However, no matter how many times their reflections come within view, all they see is someone they're not supposed to be.

Anorexia nervosa (or anorexia), "one of the most life-threatening of all psychological conditions" is defined as an eating disorder that is associated with excessive weight loss and the irrational perception that one is overweight. Although it is much more common in girls than in boys, anorexia can be thought of as a psychological disease that leaves its victims feeling overweight when they are actually severely underweight. It isn't something simple to talk about; instead, it is a very delicate and complex matter at hand.

Living in a world filled with propaganda and the will to satisfy ourselves, each and every person is exposed to the beautiful yet cruel world of commercial advertisement, as well as the complicated lives that we all live in order to make every moment worth its while. For some individuals however, there is much more to their lives than what we may normally see. Individuals diagnosed with anorexia are greatly concerned about their body image. They are aware of how they look, but only by how they may seem to themselves.

In the following video, CBS news takes us into the world of Isabelle Caro, a French model and actress that was known as "the living face of anorexia." Weighing less than 70 pounds, she was truly the definition of a walking stick, if not a walking skeleton that would leave us all shocked at the severity of her situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS2mfWDryPE&feature=fvst

As a growing child that had just entered the stage of adolescence, Isabelle had to cope with what she had grown up believing about. In this next video, Isabelle openly talks about her parents and the roles they had (or didn't have) with her growth and with what had led to her condition from then to the point when she had been interviewed by CBS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=uKUSGOB-0V8

Watching the above videos, I am left with a heavy heart, knowing that life is not what it may seem to everyone else and the world revolving around us. Her campaign to help raise awareness against the very condition she was suffering made me think twice about the suffering that not only she had gone through, but the suffering that others very much like her are going through as of now in whichever part of the world they may be. It's hard to realize what some people have to go through just because of their past and what has led them where they're currently at. For some, with treatment, they've been able to get past this chapter in their life, appreciating themselves for who they are and for who they've finally become. As for others, they continue to suffer and a few even face death before their eyes or even die as a result of their severe conditions with anorexia.

Unfortunately, for Isabelle Caro, she died in 2010 from unknown causes. It has been said that her eating disorder however, was probably a likeable cause that led to her death.

Losing weight is not that simple

| 3 Comments

Now days there countless number of ways in which people claim you can loose weight. The simplest ones include just taking a pill once or twice a day and you will magically loose the weight. Or other ones claim that by taking a certain group of foods, such as carbohydrates, out of your diet will help you shed the extra weight. Well this is not always the case. The book talks about how to evaluate claims on diets and weight loss plans. There are many different signs that can lead to you to conclude that this diet or pill is probably not going to work the way you think it will. When people market products they tend to leave of specific details to make the information sound better. There are also a lot of extraordinary claims out there saying that they lost a huge amount of weight in a very short time, well if you have taken any science or nutrition classes you would know that one, this is not a healthy way to loose weight and two, that its probably not going to happen for everyone.
What these adds are also not sharing is what happens when you stop taking the pill or stop following the diet plans. Most people don't plan on being on this no carb diet forever or taking a pill everyday for the rest of their life they figure that they will do this weight loss plan till they reach their ideal weight and then go back to what they did before. Well it doesn't usually work that way. Once you stop taking the pill or start eating unhealthy foods again your body will probably gain the weight back. The best way to loose weight and keep the weight off is to make a lifestyle change. This includes eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Diets and pills are an temporary and easy fix but most of the time don't last forever.

Parenting Styles: Tiger Moms

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlTIfG0sQHo

The textbook mentions the work of Diana Baumrind who defined 3 major parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Permissive parenting is associated with giving children a great amount of freedom, authoritarian is associated with strict and quick disciplinary action, and authoritative is the perfect balance of both styles. In terms of child development, parenting style plays a crucial role in providing for the child not only their basic needs, but their emotional needs as well. The way in which parents 'parent' is not the cause of successful or unsuccessful development, but it does play an important role.

As I was reading through the Lilienfeld text for chapter 10, I was reminded of the new phenomenon of 'tiger moms' while reading about these parenting styles. Over the past year this new term has really risen to the surface. A 'tiger mom' is a term for an overbearing mother who pushes her child to exceed academically. Such parents severely limit their child's play time in favor of studying and correctly completing schoolwork.

For many of us in Western society, the concept of a 'tiger mom' seems a bit outrageous. After reading the Lilienfeld text, however, this parenting style may not be as outlandish as we think. What Baumrind failed to do in her work was extend her findings beyond middle-class, Caucasian families. Varying cultures differ drastically in the way they go about everyday life, including parenting and raising children. In a country like China, academic excellence is valued in a much more extreme way. The nature of the country's incredibly large population places limits on parents' ability to socialize their children in the ways which American children are socialized. In quick consideration, one may place 'tiger moms' in the category of authoritarian parents, but after reading about parenting styles it seems that parenting is not so easily placed into a single category. As the Lilienfeld text notes, the most important thing parents must provide children is an average expectable environment, an environment that provides children with basic needs for affection and discipline. As the mother in the following clip says, the most important thing for her daughter is to be independent, happy, and have good self-esteem.

Although I would not consider myself a product of a 'tiger mom', I find this concept quite interesting. It is truly fascinating how drastically parents vary in their styles of parenting. It's amazing to think about influences within different cultures, societies, and families that affect the way in which children are raised. So while I might not get scolded for receiving a grade of an A-, a child in China may not get scolded for certain things that my culture, society, and family feels are important practices.


Fetal Development Barriers

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Fetal Development.jpg

I found the textbook section on "Obstacles to Normal Fetal Development" interesting and wanted to learn more. There are many teratogens, which are things in the environment, such as alcohol, that can negatively affect fetal development, and mothers need to be careful not be exposed to them while pregnant. Genetic disorders and prematurity can also affect fetal development.

In my high school health class, I remember learning about fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition where the fetus was exposed to alcohol because the mother drank during pregnancy. PubMed Health says there is no "safe" alcohol use during pregnancy, and it seems to be most harmful to the fetus in the first three months, but can be harmful at any time in any amount. Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause many harmful problems in babies. These include poor growth and coordination, heart defects, facial and bone problems, delayed development and problems, and death in severe cases. It is sad to think that something that may have been "fun" at the time for the mother can have harmful effects on the child for the rest of their life. It is important for women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, to avoid all amounts of alcohol and other teratogens.

Another thing that can affect fetal development is premature birth. Premature birth is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. It is a serious health problem, affecting 1 in 8 babies born in the United States, and 13 million babies worldwide each year. The number of weeks' gestation a baby is born at significantly influences their risks for complication. Premature babies can have breathing problems because their lungs are underdeveloped, and are at risk for many disabilities. Each year I participate in the March for Babies, a walk coordinated by the March of Dimes, an organization that raises money for research to prevent premature births. I have learned that there are many risk factors for premature birth, but there are also many things mothers can do to reduce the risk for premature birth. More information can be found on the March of Dimes website.

Fetal development has a major influence on the development of the child after they are born. Avoiding teratogens and reducing prematurity risk factors leads to healthier babies.

References:
Textbook: Lilienfeld S, Namy L, Woolf N. 2011. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding.
PubMed Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001909/
March of Dimes: http://www.marchofdimes.com/default.html
March for Babies: http://marchforbabies.org/

Emotions

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Emotions.gif
Our emotions are "mental state or feeling associated with our evaluation of our experiences." (Lilienfeld, pg 406) We feel emotions everday of our lives. They say that we have primary emotions. The primary emotions are a "small number of emotions believed by some theorists to be cross-culturally universal."(Lilienfeld, pg. 408)These seven primary emotions are happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and contempt. Think about it, which emotion do you use the most? I would have to say I am mostly happy on a daily basis but those other six emotions really are used too.

So how do we know the difference between real emotions and fake emotions? Emotion theorist feel that facial expressions are one way to distinguish between the too. Lilienfeld states, "In genuine happiness, we see an upward turning in the corners of the mouth, along with a drooping of the eyelids and a crinkling of the corners of the eyes."(pg. 410) They say if you just have one or the other it is a fake type of happiness.

No matter what culture you are in your emotions are still the same. You still feel your emotions. Display rules are "cross-cultural guidelines for how and when to express emotions."(Lilienfeld, pg 408) In some cultrals it might be okay for boys to cry and in other it might be forbidden. It all depends on you display rules.


About Emotion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COdrxNdndGU

Effects of Divorce on Children

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"Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent's marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent's second marriage." (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html).
The issue dealing with children and divorce is very close to my heart because when my two siblings and I were much younger, my parents went through a divorce and I remember it being one of the most devastating things we had to go through; we were very lucky to have each other during this difficult time. At the time, I think what made it the hardest was that it was all very unexpected and we did not know how to react. I agree with the statement that the book makes when it says that when there is mild conflict between the parents before the divorce that the effects are more severe. I believe this because for several years after it took place, I had a very hard time opening up and getting to know people. Even when talking with my parents, I, along with my siblings, were very closed off and avoided sharing feelings all together.
When looking at how the divorce has affected mine and my siblings' lives, I do not believe that we are depressed by any means, however, each of us has a certain characteristic that has grown out of the divorce: my sister insists on hugging my mom and/or dad every time they step into the room, my brother is very shy and still has a hard time talking about his feelings, and I tend to put up walls when it comes to romantic relationships.
As a result, I believe that this is a very important topic to continue researching because school counselors and even clinical psychologists will be able to get more insight on how to help the children that fall victim to their parents' divorce. This will even be able to educate the parents on how they can help their children get through the type of pain they endure. I would find it interesting to see a study that looked at when kids talk to their parents versus talking to some kind of counselor has a better and/or long-lasting effect on their feelings towards the matter.

The Mozart Effect

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mozart2.jpeg

In 1993 Rauscher made the surprising claim that, after listening to Mozart's sonata for two pianos (K448) for 10 minutes, normal subjects showed better spatial reasoning skills than after periods of listening to relaxation instructions designed to lower blood pressure or silence. The mean spatial IQ scores were 8 to 9 points higher after listening to the music than in the other two conditions. The effect did not extend beyond 10-15 minutes. These results proved controversial. However, Rauscher stressed that the Mozart effect is limited to spatial temporal reasoning and that there is no enhancement of general intelligence. Some of the negative results, she thinks, may have been due to inappropriate test procedures. (Replicability)

The original findings have been criticized on the grounds that any Mozart effect is due to `enjoyment arousal' from this particular music and would not take place in the absence of it. This interpretation is countered by animal experiments in which separate groups of rats were exposed to Mozart's piano sonata K448, to minimalist music by the composer Philip Glass, to white noise or to silence for 60 days between in uetero and birth, then tested for their ability to negotiate a maze. The Mozart group completed the maze significantly faster and with fewer errors than the other three groups. This study showed that enjoyment arousal is unlikely to have been the basis of the improvement.

The original experiments on adults exposed to Mozart's music were of short duration only. In related experiments, long-term effects of music were studied in groups of pre-school children aged 3-4 years who were given keyboard music lessons for six months. At the end of training all the children were able to perform simple melodies by Mozart. They were then subjected to spatial-temporal reasoning tests calibrated for age. Their performance was more than 30% better than that of children of similar age given either computer lessons for 6 months or no special training. The improvement was limited to spatial-temporal reasoning; there was no effect on spatial recognition. The effect lasted unchanged for 24 hours after the end of the music lessons but the precise duration of the enhancement was not further explored. The longer duration of the effects than in previous reports was attributed to the length of exposure to music and the greater plasticity of the young brain.

An enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning performance after listening to Mozart's music for 10 minutes has been reported by several, but not all, researchers. Even in the studies with positive results the enhancement is small and lasts about 12 minutes. The effect varies between individuals and depends upon the spatial tasks chosen; general intelligence is not affected. The practical use of such observations is as yet uncertain, especially since many of the experiments relate only to short listening periods to Mozart's piano sonata K448.

http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/mozarteffect2.shtml

http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/lerch1/edpsy/mozart_effect.html

Baby Geniuses

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As I was reading Chapter 10 of Lilienfeld, I was very interested in the psychomythology section on "The Mozart Effect, Baby Einstein, and creating "superbabies." Personally, I liked the idea of the Mozart Effect, who wouldn't listen to a few pieces if it would let them get a better grade on an exam? However, I understood from the start that I would be guaranteed a much higher grade if I spent my time studying, rather than listening to music. I also thought to the infomercial, "Teach My Baby to Read," and how ridiculous it was to me that parents would do that to their children.Teach my baby.jpg
But then I thought to when I started babysitting in about sixth grade - there were two boys I watched, ages 2 and 4, whose parents really believed in the Baby Einstein videos. The parents were very intelligent people; both went to college and had very good jobs. Looking at this example, and the other people I know who believe in these methods, makes be conclude that a major component in the creation of the "superbaby" myth is the confirmation bias. Many of the parents who feel the need to have intelligent children, to give them a head-start, are very intelligent themselves. While the kids watched a Baby Einstein video almost everyday, they were also exposed to playing with their parents, playing with educational toys, not to mention that some of their parents intelligence had already been passed on to them. The kids had a very good chance at being very intelligent without the videos, but based on the confirmation bias their parents will seek out the evidence that fits their belief: their child is extremely intelligent because he was exposed to the Baby Einstein videos. Baby einstein.jpg

The Impact of Divorce

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divorce_children_225.jpgLillenfield's Chapter 10 on Human Development discusses the developing personality: social and moral development and the effects of divorce on children. Coming from a divorced family makes the topic very complex to say the least and reading the chapter brought up a lot of confusion for me. I wonder how parenting styles as well as the parent's maturity levels play a role with how a teenager deals with divorce situations short and long term. Would a teenager turn out the same regardless if their parents were divorced or intact?

Would I have turned out the same? One could easily make an argument that, short term, my parents divorce had a negative impact on me; but any traumatic event like the death of a parent or other family member, neglect, abuse, accident or serious illness would have an impact short term. Certainly it's safe to say that I can correlate my difficult times with my parents divorce, but did their divorce cause me to be a dreadful teenager and a troubled young woman all through my 20's? Maybe I would have been that way anyway.

After all, it didn't take a divorce for my parents to have their own issues and insufficiencies as individuals. They had four children too young and they dealt with major traumas in their own lives. Perhaps their own issues made them lack the ability to sufficiently deal me whether they were divorced or not. Even if my parent's relationship would have remained intact, I still would have been a difficult teenager. I wouldn't have been any different in the long run. They would have had their same parenting styles and maturity levels, our relationships wouldn't have been that much different.

Fortunately, I survived and I think I turned out ok. Before reading Lillenfield's chapter, I would be inclined to say that I still deal with the effects from the divorce. But do I? Maybe it's just that I have painful memories from that time. The deeper question for me is not how divorce impacts children, but how children are affected by their parents.

Nature the True Cause of Autism?

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http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/07/06/exp.am.cohen.autism.cause.cnn

The link above is a video from CNN in which a new study suggests that more environmental factors may cause autism than previously thought. The results of the study suggest that the age of the parents, air pollution, and the birth weight of the child may all contribute to the development of autism. It was previously thought that genetics played a larger role in the development of autism, but this study challenges that.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/health/09autism.html

This article from the New York Times gives a little more insight into whether or not the age of the parents really does increase the chances of autism. From the study, it appears that when there is a significant age gap between the ages of the parents then the chance of having a child with autism increases. The study found that, "for women 30 and older, the risk of autism rose 13 percent when the father was over 40" (Rabin). Also found was that "when the father was over 40 and the mother under 30, the increased risk was especially pronounced- 59 percent greater than for younger men" (Rabin).
Many people are already aware that having children at an older age could possibly result in the child developing down syndrome, but should older parents now have to worry about autism too? Probably not as long as they remember that correlation does not equal causation.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20025991-10391704.html

The above article discusses a study which suggests that air pollution may be a factor in children who develop autism. The study, "shows that children in families who live near freeways are twice as likely to have autism as kids who live off the beaten path" (Saltzman).
Some things to keep in mind about this article though, is that the researchers only studied children in the Los Angeles area. This study would have increased reliability if the same results could be replicated in other areas of the world. We also do not know what other factors may have played a role in the development of autism in the children who lived by the freeway. Maybe there is more than just pollution around them.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/17/health/low-birth-weight-autism/index.html

This final article is about a study done which finds that there may be a correlation between having a low birth weight and developing autism. According to the article, "Babies who are unusually small at birth have a higher-than-average risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder later in life" (Gardner). This study is not the first like it and similar findings have been discovered previously in premature infants. However, we should not automatically assume that having a small baby will for sure increase the risk of the child developing autism. Diego Chaves-Gnecco, M.D., who was not involved with the study, when discussing if one can really attribute low birth weight to autism said it's difficult to tell, "because so many factors could be involved" (Gardner).

While these findings may help to give insight into the development of autism, we can never know for sure if any of them actually do cause autism.

Dude, I can Totally Tell That You are Lying...

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Psych photo Writing four.jpg
Tim Roth from the hit series "Lie to Me", where Roth's character plays the role of a "human lie detector.


It could be my shifty eyes or maybe how I grasp my palms tightly. I do not know what it is, but my friends can always tell when I am telling a fib. I usually say I am so easily accused because I am a bad liar, but some of my friends always claim that they are a human lie detector. Our psychology book expresses that an average person actually only has a 50% chance (or a guess) at telling if someone is lying, so I found a research article to further my understanding and broaden my knowledge.

A research article I found about humans as lie detectors was written by the Associated Press on MSNBC.com. This research article did a full blown study on the ability for the CIA, FBI, and so called "wizards", which are ordinary people who are good at detecting various lie-related clues. According to the results, it was stated that the CIA and FBI were only average on their lie detecting ability, but these wizards had the ability to be fairly accurate. I found this to be quite astonishing because I figured the CIA and FBI would have been experts at detecting lies.

Overall, I was surprised by the information I found from my sources on humans as lie detectors. I thought that the average human could have been able to detect with higher than 50% accuracy. One aspect that I would love to look into for further research is how the relationship between the person detecting the lie and the liar affect the accuracy of detection. For instance, one would have to assume that a mother knows her child well, so would she have a better chance at judging if the child is lying? Or would there be no advantage at all?

Clip on how FBI agent finds liars:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3PAW7zjgPw

Source in blog:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6249749/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/wizards-can-spot-signs-liar/#.TrVsT_Qg8uw

Source for photo:
http://www.hollywoodnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/LTM_Knuckles-600x300.jpg

The effects are not just between two people

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divorce lawyer.gif
Unfortunately, divorce is prevalent in our country. Even worse, the children in the divorce can experience the effects as well. In summation of the concept, the effects of divorce on children is the harm (or benefit) that a children experiences after a divorce of his/her parents. According to the United States Census, in 2009 the divorce rate was 3.4 out of 1000 people. After looking at these numbers, it is easy to recognize the importance of this topic because it is noticeable in our society today.

When it comes to how children deal with divorces, I believe that the American Psychological Association states it perfectly. They say that there are five factors that relate to the amount of emotional trauma the child may face: 1) personality profile of both parents, 2) quality of bonding, 3) quality of attachment, 4) parenting styles, and 5) resilience of the child.

Thankfully for me, my parents have never divorced; however, some of my closest friends have gone through the troubles from their parents divorcing. What I have learned from watching my friends endure this emotional time in their lives is that every situation is different. Looking back on the five factors stated above, I can definitely relate my friend's emotional states to those factors and see how their emotional tolls were different from one another. For example, some of my friends did not take the divorce badly at all while other friends of mine are still having emotional toll from it. Overall, this shows how different the effects of divorce on children truly are in real life.

After learning more about this topic, I still have a question: does the age of the child play a role in the emotional toll that the child experiences? To find this answer, I will research it on my free time.

Sources: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0133.pdf
http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1994-21149-001
http://www.insightempire.com/Divorcelawyerconsultation/divorce%20lawyer.gif

The Lying Game

| 1 Comment

One of the most interesting aspects of a child's life to me is his development and thought process he learns along the way, and one those stages would be lying. The video attached provides some useful insight into why children lie. Two authors are interviewed on their books and the section on lying can be found around 14:50 to about 18:40. Po Bronson explains that children start to lie for certain reasons. One reason is to gain social status, usually observed when they are with their friends, and another reason is to avoid punishment. The latter is important to look at and try and stop it.
Children start to learn that if they tell a lie they can get their way, or they cannot get into trouble. However, parents often remind them that if they lie they will be punished, which is not a bad thing, but it might not get the child to reveal the truth. Therefore, Bronson tries to tell his daughter that he would "really happy if she told the truth" and this usually elicits a positive response with her telling the truth.
Should this always be done? I would argue that it probably should not because children usually lie because they did something wrong, so even if they tell the truth they might get into the habit of doing whatever they want, telling the truth, and thinking that they won't get punished.
http://fora.tv/2009/09/30/The_Secret_Lives_of_Parents_Revealed

Gene-Environment Interaction

| 1 Comment


environment.gif

The Nature versus Nurture debate has been debated continuously, and there is an ample amount of research that shows that human behavior is extremely complicated and that it is difficult to attribute behaviors to either genetic or environmental causes. I believe that behavior is almost too complicated to attribute it to only one cause and that most of the time behavior depends on the interaction between both an individual's genes and the environment. In my Animal Behavior class which I took last semester we did a lab with grub worm larvae were one type was breed to contain a gene that caused it to spin in circles while it was eating it, and were the other kind moved in a straight line. The worms were indistinguishable until you placed them in an environment which contained food. So, it was the interaction between the grub worm's genes and their current environment that caused them to either move in a straight line or spin in circles. An organism's environment also determines the activation and deactivati
on of different genes; this is known as gene expression. I think it is almost impossible to attribute a type of behavior solely to a genetic or environmental cause, some behaviors may be influenced more strongly by certain aspects but ultimately it is the combination or the interaction between the two that attribute to an organism's behavior.

genes-58178210.jpg

Sources:
Lilienfeld Class textbook: Chapter 10
http://www.breast-cancer-blog.com/images/blogs/1-2010/genes-58178210.jpg
http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/misc/centers/environment.gif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene%E2%80%93environment_interaction

Fifteen

| 1 Comment

In the advent of this freshman year, all of the incoming students have a general set of topics that are easy to strike a conversation on. That includes which college within the University they are attending, their major, where they are dorming, their past high school, and of course, the freshman fifteen. The freshman fifteen is coined the name for the large amount of weight gained within the first year of college.
The freshman fifteen is a result of the transition from life at home and high school to life at the dorm and college rigor courses. According to the source listed below, a freshman's new life may introduce new foods and present more opportunities to eat snacks, alcohol (for all you minors out there), and changes in the amount of sleep. Sleep is especially important out of those factors. "Sleep deprivation increase ghrelin and decreases leptin" (The Dreaded Freshman Fifteen). These two hormones are pivotal in maintaining a healthy weight. Ghrelin communicates with the hypothalamus to increase hunger while leptin communicates with the hypothalamus and the brain stem to lower appetite. You may find yourself indulging in sweets and snacks when your body doesn't require the extra nourishment, leading to the weight gain.
From a observatory glance at the students on campus, the continual weight gain doesn't seem prevalent in all tiers of students. That may be a result of upperclassmen finding a healthy balance and becoming accustomed to the lifestyle, therefore returning to the hormonal balance between ghrelin and leptin. Another cause could be the return to our body's set point, which is the range of body fat and muscle mass we maintain. It our body's response to stimuli and the return to equilibrium. Whatever the cause, it is hard to prevent changes in our body weight unless we determine the causation, whether it be sleep, stress, etc. and fix it.
http://www.personal-nutrition-guide.com/freshman-fifteen.html

Botox and Facial Feedback

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Botox is relentlessly showcased by countless numbers of 'good-looking' celebrities. The precedure has become so common on T.V., that the public's attitude toward Botox has mostly changed from being an unatural thing that people with low self confidence do, to a fad that everyone with 'unsightly' wrinkles should undergo.
The number of Botox injections have been steadily increasing every year. But how does this common precedure that paralyses facial muscles and temporarily reverses the physical effects of aging, play on humans everyday emotions?

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis states that blood vessels in the face, feed back temperature information in the brain, and in return alters our experience of emotions. But Botox works by paralysing facial muscles associated with emotion. Specifically, Botox permanently blocks acetylcholine receptors on the muscle side of the "neuromuscular junction." (People regain muscle movement as months progress, this is because the muscle is forced to develop new receptor sites and slowly regains ability to begin contracting again.)

One essential way we read the feelings of others is by mimicking their facial expressions. But if our facial muscles cannot move, there is much less muscular feedback from our faces to our brains. This creates huge difficulty in helping us to decide which emotions the expressions are corresponding to.

According to David Neal, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, "[David Neal] maintains that having Botox injections to smooth out wrinkles, interferes with our ability to fully mimick expressions of others, thus dulling our ability to accurately perceive and interpret the emotions we are trying to read."
To be more specific, Botox is mostly used for paralysing muscles that are essential to expressing and mimicking negative emotions. This leads to a significant decrease in the strength of experiencing our own emotions and inhibits our ability to empathize with others negative emotions. In summary, Botox inhibits our own ability to interpret, feel, and express important negative human emotions creating significant difficulty in expressing our own emotions and empathizing with others.
Sources:
1)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1298835/Over-million-Botox-treatments-carried-year-time.html
2)http://www.physorg.com/news196585335.html
3)http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/223242.php
4)http://dermatology.about.com/od/cosmeticprocedure/a/botox.htm

Botox and Facial Feedback

| 2 Comments

Botox is relentlessly showcased by countless numbers of 'good-looking' celebrities. The precedure has become so common on T.V., that the public's attitude toward Botox has mostly changed from being an unatural thing that people with low self confidence do, to a fad that everyone with 'unsightly' wrinkles should undergo.
The number of Botox injections have been steadily increasing every year. But how does this common precedure that paralyses facial muscles and temporarily reverses the physical effects of aging, play on humans everyday emotions?

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis states that blood vessels in the face, feed back temperature information in the brain, and in return alters our experience of emotions. But Botox works by paralysing facial muscles associated with emotion. Specifically, Botox permanently blocks acetylcholine receptors on the muscle side of the "neuromuscular junction." (People regain muscle movement as months progress, this is because the muscle is forced to develop new receptor sites and slowly regains ability to begin contracting again.)

One essential way we read the feelings of others is by mimicking their facial expressions. But if our facial muscles cannot move, there is much less muscular feedback from our faces to our brains. This creates huge difficulty in helping us to decide which emotions the expressions are corresponding to.

According to David Neal, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, "[David Neal] maintains that having Botox injections to smooth out wrinkles, interferes with our ability to fully mimick expressions of others, thus dulling our ability to accurately perceive and interpret the emotions we are trying to read."
To be more specific, Botox is mostly used for paralysing muscles that are essential to expressing and mimicking negative emotions. This leads to a significant decrease in the strength of experiencing our own emotions and inhibits our ability to empathize with others negative emotions. In summary, Botox inhibits our own ability to interpret, feel, and express important negative human emotions creating significant difficulty in expressing our own emotions and empathizing with others.
Sources:
1)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1298835/Over-million-Botox-treatments-carried-year-time.html
2)http://www.physorg.com/news196585335.html
3)http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/223242.php
4)http://dermatology.about.com/od/cosmeticprocedure/a/botox.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=OjAd63ysFTI

As this video shows, children are seeing violence in all forms of media especially video games. The issue of whether violent video games cause aggression in kids and adults is a debated issue and I find it very interesting. There is a good amount of evidence showing a correlation between the two variables, but the cause is not clear. Aggression could cause kids to play violent video games or violent video games could cause aggression. It is possible that neither of these factors is true, but rather a third variable affects both.

There are many factors that can affect both the amount of violent video games a kid watches and the level of their aggression. One of the possibilities is that parents who are more involved in their child's life do not let their child play violent video games and the parents less involved in their kid's life do let their child play them often. Children whose parents are more involved in their lives are less likely to be violent and aggressive even without the use of violent video games being considered.

The videos message at the end is to "stop the violence" and "save the children." Stopping violent media is not going to "save the children." There is more to aggressive and violent people than them playing violent video games as children. Since there is a correlation between violent video games and violence there may be reason for adults to be cautious of what they are letting kids play or watch, but there are other factors that are just as or more important for adults to be wary of.

Everyone has had someone or something in his or her life that they could count on to be there when they got upset. Everyone has had someone or something in his or her life that could pick him or her up when they were feeling down. This someone or something in everyone's life was never doubted, they knew that the person or thing would always be there, never leave them, and never give up on them. Well, if you were one of the people who had a someone who made you feel this way, I can guarantee you they were a direct influence on your overall happiness. Research of undergraduate students shows that the relationship style that a couple chose to be influence their psychological distress through association of coping strategies. Meaning, if a couple has a relationship in which both partners are secure with how the other feels about them and how they feel about their partner, then the way they handle altercations with each other and with general stress will be directly effected. So, the secure couple will not punish themselves or avoid their partner, but work out whatever the problem is together and therefore be happier together, building and sustaining trust and security. Also, the research showed that females report higher levels of psychological distress compared to males. So men, we have to make sure we can show and prove through replicability that we love our girl, she will be happier because of it and so will you. Relating this blog with the new chapter in our book, there are many different kinds of love out there, but only one from a special person will truly make both partners happy.


LJ. JB.

Does Violent Media Produce Aggressive Behavior?

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South Park is a prime example of a CARTOON that parents shouldn't let their children watch. As a cartoon, it fits with the idea of violent media and the affects it has on children. Specifically, the South Park episode "Good Times with Weapons" really shows how a child's imagination can take the better of him/her.

Here's a link to the synopsis of the episode and a clip that shows the gang pretending to be ninjas that shows how silly they look as 4th graders fighting like ninjas, similar to the power ranger's clip we watched in class.

Synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Times_with_Weapons

Clip: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/230790/lets-fighting-love

Though the episode doesn't show the kids watching or playing something violent before going on their adventure, it's pretty easy to assume that they have a pretty big background of violent television and video games. By the way they talk and act when they're in "ninja character" you can tell that they're reenacting what they've seen on TV.

If you watch the clip, the kids have this idea in their head that they're actual ninjas and that they look and have the capabilities of ninjas but when a passerby walks by the group of kids playing, they look just like the kids videotaped after watching PowerRangers.

What I'm trying to say is that children have the best imaginations and can transform their world just by pretending, but sometimes they don't know they're pretending. In the episode, they get so into being ninjas and having "backstories" and special powers that they end up throwing a ninja star into Butter's head. Kid's are easily influenced by what they see and they have the imaginations to reenact what they see. The results can be pretty harmful, like a ninja star in the head.

Yet on the other hand, the kids first get the idea of being ninjas in their heads because they buy dangerous ninja weapons that should have never been sold to them in the first place. If the vendor would have been responsible and not sold the weapons to them, the kids may have never pretended to be ninjas. They probably still would have pretended to be ninjas but that's what kids do, they pretend and run with their imagination. It's adults responsibility to not sell dangerous things to children and for parents to monitor their children and let them know that what they see on TV isn't real. Kids may have some aggressive behavior immediately after watching or playing something violent, but it comes down to the parents (nurture) to teach their children what's appropriate and acceptable. A TV show or video game won't be a child's sole reason for being aggressive, it definitely has to do with their upbringing and surroundings.

From Adoption to Admired

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In our Lilienfeld textbook, the topic of adoption is briefly discussed. Looking at adopted children and if they are more influenced by their adoptive parents and environment or their biological parents and environment. There was also a small picture and caption briefly noting that many children adopted from orphanages suffer from severe deprivation. This is the concept that sparked my attention.
One of my best friends growing up had an adopted brother from Russia. He was adopted as an infant from an orphanage and had been a victim of malnourishment and lack of social interaction and nurturing. He didn't know how to eat properly, he was very susceptible to infections and illnesses with a weak immune system, he was never held, cuddled or kissed as a baby so these actions were all foreign to him and seemed to scare him.
As he started to adjust to his new adoptive parents and environment here in America, he tended to overeat, not knowing when to stop. He was afraid of being held or hugged or kissed because it was new to him and encroached on his personal space. Even today he has a very big issue with protecting his personal space and letting people close to him.
The link below discusses how infants and children who are malnourished and unhealthy before being adopted adjust and try to "catch up" on growing and developing. This is exactly what happened with my friend's brother, yet unfortunately there are still some social and communication issues that doctors and psychologists that have met with him believe are tied to his experiences as an infant and the deprivation he experienced so early in life. This whole idea is intriguing to me yet it is so sad to know someone directly that even as a 12 year old, is still impacted by his biological parents and environment.

http://www.comeunity.com/adoption/health/malnutrition.html

adoption-network-law-center.jpeg

Video Games & Violence

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Do violent video games increase aggressiveness? This has been a hot topic for school principles, parents, and government legislature alike according to one of the assigned readings for discussion section this week. Our homework for the week was to *determine* if we thought video games increased aggressiveness by reading two articles claiming video games DID increase violent tendencies (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525151059.htm) , as well as two articles stating video games DO NOT increase violence in youngsters (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm).

I thought, while both articles were interesting food for thought, they both included minimal data and could have incorporated information on previous studies done of the same topic. Also, something that resonated with me was a statement made in an article of NOT causing violence: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214112031.htm. It said that depression and antisocial qualities were more likely an indicator of violent acts than video games. That being said, could it not a combination of depression and video games? It seems as if there is a third variable/confound at work, which makes clarifying the question of whether video games cause violent behavior even harder. Also, I feel like the author may be playing into a sort of bias. He claimed that depression and anti-social qualities were factors in violent behavior, but I don't believe he should be so black and white about the issue. Instead of labeling children as "anti-social" or "depressed", they could be described as "neglected", "unable to find a creative outlet", or "extremely bright children that feel out of place in their surroundings", rather than generalizing all anti-social children are violent.

Additionally, the title of one of the articles is "Could Violent video Games Reduce Rather than increase Violence?". It reminds me of an example in our textbook that shows how articles attract people into reading because of its exciting title, while providing minimal evidence within it. For example, the article states, "in 2005, there were 1,360,088 violent crimes reported in the USA compared with 1,423,677 the year before. 'With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence,' he says, 'Instead, violence has declined.' " I think the article is using buzz words while providing minimal evidence that could be merely coincidental.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qGk7D2XNe4 (youtube video of video games and video game violence)

Basis of Attachment.

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Attachment is the strong emotional connection we share with those to whom we feel closest with. A great example of attachment is the Harry Harlow experiment with monkeys. I watched the YouTube clip, I watch the experiment and he was able to explain/show his experiment more in depth. (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=harry+harlow+monkey+experiment&aq=0&oq=harry+har) I found it very interesting how the monkey choose to spend more time with the "mother monkey" who was more comforting and warm, rather than the "mother monkey" who had the food. Harlow called this contact comfort, the positive emotions afforded by touch. Like stated in the book, the basis of attachment is contact comfort rather than nourishment. This statement led to research further findings on this. I found research about nurses and robot nurses. The results showed that the patients like the actual nurses more than the robot nurses even though they were doing the same thing. They liked how the nurses comforted them more and needed the robot to have more of those characteristics and actions, to make the patient feel more welcome. If this does not happen robots will not be able to be used in the medical field. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309113028.htm) This backs up the statement earlier about how the base of attachment is contact comfort. People like to feel comforted first and then will make the attachment to them. So with just nourishment itself, a true attachment will not be present. So could it go as far as saying, if a parent has a high amount of contact comfort, the stronger attachment to the parent, and therefore harder to be without that parent?

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