Recently in Writing #3 Category

kissing on the cheek


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.


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Something that I found very interesting that we talked about was the idea that one could be taught to do or fear something at a young age. In the text book, I read about Little Albert and how he was taught to fear white fluffy things because when he was younger, every time his white mouse was by him, someone would strike a gong behind him, startling him and causing him to cry. Little Albert then began to cry whenever he even saw the white mouse without even hearing the gong. I guess I just am fascinated with how we can be taught to learn things without even knowing it. I know this is a different sort of thing than Little Albert's situation but one time a few years ago, I was drinking a soda and kept choking on it. As a joke, I twisted the little metal guy all the way around so that it was covering the opening of the soda can a little bit. I realized that this allowed less soda to flow through the can at once and ever since, I have been twisting my soda cap around. Today I will open a soda and will automatically just turn the cap around without even realizing it and I can't drink soda any other way. This kind of relates to the story of Little Albert, although it is a different scenario and doesn't involve fear of any sort, but I just found it interesting that even at an older age, I could still be taught to do things without even knowing!

(i tried uploading a picture but it didn't work)

Baby Signing

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One of the most interesting topics that came about after listening to the lectures from class and reading chapter 8 of our textbooks was the concept of language. Obviously language has many aspects and can be rather arbitrary. But the concept that peaked my interest was the part that touched on sign language. The reasoning behind my interest is because of two reasons, the first is because my uncle is deaf and second is because I watched my cousin use sign language before he could produce words.

Baby sign language touches on two very important topics we learned about. One is the ability to communicate through hand gestures. The other topic demonstrates how babies are able to communicate before they are verbal. At first when I heard of this I was somewhat skeptical. How can a baby tell me it wants more food, or is too hot? But I witnessed it first hand when I lived with my Aunt and Uncle. When baby Zachary was eating he finished his food and then my uncle pressed both of his hands fingers and thumbs together to signal "more". Zachary did the same hand motion; he was given more food and ate it all.

When researching however there seems to be a lot of websites that offer DVD's and strategies for baby signing. If I were in a position to teach a child baby sign language I would have to do an extensive amount of research to find a good technique. But the ability to communicate with your baby before it is able speak is pretty incredible. Not to mention that you could potentially prevent crying tantrums by understanding what your baby wants or needs. Here are several websites that have information about baby sign language.

Patience with puppy

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When I got my German Shepherd puppy, Bean, I researched training methods for basic behavioral skills and for tricks. Virtually all the sources I read emphasized the importance of rewarding good behaviors and either ignoring or reprimanding bad behaviors. I didn't realize it at the time, but these very common training methods that have yielded great progress in all kinds of domestic animals, are prime examples of the same operant conditioning that applies to people.

Even at only several weeks, my dog's defensive instincts became apparent. She barked loudly and ran excitedly from window to window whenever pedestrians walked by the house with their own dogs. So I made it one of my first priorities to teach her to be quiet when she saw dogs outside. To do this, I thought of methods involving both positive reinforcement and negative punishment.

I intentionally walked by Bean very often when she was lying on her rug by the window at the front of the house. Every time I passed her and she was lying quietly, said, "Good girl! Good quiet," and rubbed her head or dropped a treat. I noticed she sometimes started to walk over and lie down on her rug even when I simply looked at her near the front door. I thus used positive reinforcement to increase her good behavior.

Often she'd be playing with or chewing on a toy by a window when a dog would pass, and when she would start barking, I would take away the toy and make sure she saw me put it away. Here I used negative punishment to decrease her poor behavior.

I found both methods quite helpful and simple. I also got ideas from Cesar Milan, the "Dog Whisperer," at this site:

A Ramble on Babbling

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At nearly 8 months old, my niece (the cute redhead above) is at the babbling age. She's been vocal for a long time but only recently have the actually phonemes of language started to occur in her sounds. She's been cooing for many months, and screaming (in excitement) for a few but now we can tell that some words won't be that far behind. It is interesting (not to mention fun!) to see this process in real time up close. I've had many little cousins that I have seen go through parts of the process but growing up far away from them, I saw their growth only in chunks and spurts, never as the gradual and amazing process that it really is. And what surprises me the most? How quickly they pick everything up!
So in the book, we learned a lot about how babies and children learn language. I've heard that a correlational relationship exists between musical ability and language acquisition skills. As far as I know, it applies to older children and adults, but could this also apply to babies learning languages for the first time? I've looked online for research or articles without luck. I know from two pregnant sister-in-laws that fetuses of a certain age react to music. I also know that by about 4 months, my little niece was already matching tones if you held them for long enough. Is this something that is innate in some children? How is it that some adults can't hold a tune while this tiny baby can match what you sing? Is music (enjoyment, ability, etc.) something people can be born with?

50 First Dates

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When it comes to movies, I am an Adam Sandler enthusiast. Give me a quote from Adam Sandler I will be able to name the movie instantly. So when I read the chapter on memory impairments, I immediately related it to Adam Sandler's movie, 50 First Dates. Since watching this movie, I have been intrigued with Drew Barrymore's character's memory impairment, "Goldfield Syndrome".

In the movie, Lucy (Barrymore) has Goldfield Syndrome, which they strongly correlate to anterograde amensia. Lucy was in a car accident that damaged her ability to transfer short-term memory to long term memory. As this is true for anterograde amnesia, there were also symptoms in Lucy that did not hold true.

One example, the most obvious example, is that Lucy is unable to store any new memories since she was in the accident. Where the movie goes wrong though, is that she can store memories throughout the day until she goes to sleep. When she wakes up she has no recollection of the day before. Realistically, people with anterograde amnesia can't even store memories for longer than 5 or 10 minutes. Sleeping has no relation with anterograde amnesia.

This clip from YouTube shows Lucy's doctor describing her syndrome to her. He also shows her other people with other impairments such as "Ten Second Tom".

Overall, the Goldfield Syndrome in 50 First Dates in fictional.

Mneumonic Devices

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"What is a mnemonic device," I asked myself as I was preparing myself for the upcoming test on Monday. This obviously wasn't a good sign for me, as I didn't know and meant that I had to study even more. I had heard the term before in Biology this year, but was too busy breaking the rule of the "levels of processing" (taking down my notes word for word instead of listening and writing down my ow interpretations) that the term did not make it far enough for me to register what the professor was actually saying about it. So, after going back and looking in my textbook, I found that a mnemonic device was another helpful learning aid used for getting information into our memory banks. We encode these memories so that it is easier to recall them later. Then, after reading the examples, I immediately remembered using this throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years (my retrieval from long-term memory), when I had to remember the Linnaeus' classification system: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

It went a little like this:
Kings Play Chess On Fine Glass Surfaces

Well, this tool for learning was always extremely annoying to me, yet it was very useful. As a future teacher, I decided to do a little more research on the benefits of these devices. I will be teaching younger students, and as we know that they will not learn and recall information as easily as older students will, these devices are not only helpful, but a fun tool for learning. "Mnemonics can be used in language arts (i.e., vocabulary, spelling, and letter recognition), mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, and other academic subjects," the article states. Who knew that so many subjects could be used?? I am amazed my the learning I am doing now. These uses will help me in my future, as well as help others with their learning!

Article Link:


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I found it interesting that our memories change or sometimes they have never even occurred. Phenomenon's such as impossible events and misinformation effects almost leave me in great puzzlement. If you think about it, it is incredible how our brain can make us feel as though we have lived an event that has been replicated by someone else's words. Eventually if we are told something enough our brain will make us feel as though we have ventured through such an event, such as in impossible events.


Another is misinformation effect which can produce interesting responses. Depending upon how you describe a certain situation it can cause it to mislead people into an exaggeration or an over simplification of the event that had occurred.

I think it is interesting that, potentially, we could perceive the world and it could be entirely incorrect. All of our knowledge and understanding of events that had occurred in our life could possibly be implanted or misinformed pieces of information about the world. This is a troubling concept because this could make us question almost every piece of history and religion. They are all perceived events that are written down but it came from an individual who could have interpreted it differently then someone else. But could it be possible that a mass number of people witness the same incorrect phenomenon? Unless the event was written down as it was occurring, it could be possible that many of the "facts" of history could be incorrect because their memory may have changed certain parts in the event or have made it more positive or negative to the reader.

It makes me wonder if the world truly is as it seems or could it potentially a fabrication?

Office Conditioning

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Being a very dedicated The Office fan for many years, I couldn't help but think of this hilarious scene from the famous TV show while reading about conditioning in chapter 6.

The kind of conditioning shown in this scene between Dwight and Jim is known as classical or Pavlovian conditioning. As we learned in chapter 6, classical conditioning is a form of learning in which animals (or in this case, Dwight) come to respond to a previously neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus that elicits an automatic response. In this case, the unconditioned stimulus is the mint, the unconditioned response is Dwight reaching for the mint, the conditioned stimulus is the re-boot sound on Jim's computer, and the conditioned response is Dwight still reaching for the mint even though Jim didn't offer and having a bad taste in his mouth without it.

As you can see from the video, this scene is very hilarious. But even though Jim conducted this experiment to prank Dwight, it got me thinking if other situations involving classical conditioning could be used within the workplace. Could companies and offices use classical conditioning to their advantage? Or do we already?
An example of classical conditioning that I can think of would be the practice of smoking breaks. Most employees that smoke plan their "smoking schedule" around their smoking breaks. When they go on break, it is very unlikely that they will refuse a cigarette even if their cravings are not that intense.
This is just one example of how classical conditioning can influence the workplace, but many people have other theories of how this conditioning can improve efficiency in their companies and offices. Although this purposeful conditioning can seem a touch barbaric, it is an interesting concept nonetheless.

Silent Communication

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If you have been asked one of the infamous "would you rather" questions would you rather be blind or deaf, then you have had a chance to wonder and think what it would be like to deaf. A very tough question to think about, but for me it is easy to answer. I would rather be deaf than blind for one main reason: my mother is fluent in American Sign Language.
Sign language involves the use of hand shapes, movement of the hands, arms or body and facial expression to express the speaker's thoughts and messages. My mother is not hearing impaired at all, but she learned it in college and uses it everyday at work for her career as a deaf and hard of hearing tutor. She works in many school districts around the metro, helping children of all ages with hearing loss with their studies. Other than having my mom coming in to my kindergarten class to teach my classmates and I the alphabet in sign language, and showing me simple words like yes and no, I have not seen my mom sign very much. But there was one neat time when I did see my mom sign out of the blue to a stranger. We were in Target about 5 or so years ago trying to find a few last minute school supplies for me and we were not having much luck finding a where they were. We decided to ask a worker that was adding some new inventory to shelves. When we approached her to ask where the items were, she put her hand to her head and cupped her hand over her ear. That is a sign for telling others that one is deaf. So my mom quickly made the hand signs for school supplies and then the worker pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way. It happened really fast but I never forgot it because I thought it was so awesome how my mom was able to communicate with the hearing impaired person where as many other people would be forced to find another work to get directions from. I started to really appreciate my mom's knowledge of sign language then.
Learning about language and communication in the Psychology course has also got me to appreciate communication that gets taken for granted everyday. I was also amazed to learn that areas in the brain work the same for someone that communicates with sign language as using oral speech. Deaf and hard of hearing infants even have babbling with their hands!
ASL alpabet:

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