Blog 4: April 2012 Archives

In the future...

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I think what has resonated most with me with everything I've learned throughout Psy 1001 is how easy I identify with many of the psychological tendencies displayed by humans and why it is important to be critical about everyday perceptions and claims. The course has shown me how valuable the scientific enterprise is in psychology. As a future scientist, it has re-solidified the importance of seeking scientific evidence for observations and hypothesis. Psy 1001 has done this by demonstrating how common perceptions encountered everyday can be misguided. To name a few-- "Opposites Attract", "Crime rates increase during the full moon", and "Newborns are not cognitively active until a few months after being born". The course has made me aware that I am just as capable as my neighbor to fall victim to many of the tenants of psychology, and that I'm anything but a unique individual within a large sample size. Because I'm made aware of this, I'm more enlightened about my own weaknesses and I can now work to strengthen them. Of course, the way I will start is to start is to be less accepting of extraordinary claims (without the provision of evidence), avoiding confirmation bias, and being more humble about my susceptibility to psychological tendencies that I perceive as negative.

5 years from now

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5 years from now i hope to remember a lot about what i learned in psychology this semester because a lot of the information i learned can be useful in my everyday life. If i had to pick one thing that i would have to choose Operant Conditioning and how it is used to train animals. I think i will remember this the best 5 years from now because it was the topic that was most interesting to me, Watching all of Skinner's experiments involving Operant Conditioning in the training of different animals was really cool. I really like the experiment where he train pigeons to play ping pong. Another reason this topic will stick with me over the years is because Operant Conditioning is used a lot and it will be a good tool for me to have when i decide to get a dog so i will know how to train it easier.

In Five Years...

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Through this course, I was introduced to the world of psychology. It was a world that I had never previously acknowledged even though it had crossed my path many times. What surprised me the most after taking PSY 1001 is how many people, including myself, get the concept of psychology all wrong.

Several subjects will always stand out in my mind; memory, emotion, intelligence, and personality. I found these and many more concepts quite fascinating but I think the one thing that will stick with me in five years is the way psychology approaches these subjects. As laid out in Chapter 1 "Psychology and Scientific Thinking" of the textbook, there is a process and a definite set of guidelines in the world of psychology.

One of the main criticisms of psychology is also one of the greatest misconceptions. Many "real" scientists dismiss psychological findings as imprecise and relative. While there are certainly false claims out there parading as "psychology," the real stuff is just as structured and unbiased as chemistry or biology.

What makes psychology and consciousness so difficult to categorize and study is the vast number of variables present. In the desired controlled environment of an experiment, it is essential to also take into account the missing variables (the ever-present concept of Correlation vs. Causation).

Five years from now

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Five years from now I hope will remember many concepts in psychology, but I think the most memorable concept is think critically on everything I experience. Because until I read this psychology text book, I barely had can think critically on the information I get from the media or anything I experience. When I read an article or the news paper I pretty much always believed everything because that information is from the news paper and news paper never put untrue information. Therefore, when there is news about some kind new research I just believed that it is always true, and there is no doubt about that. But, after critical thinking I started to ask question about every information or experience I have. For example, now when I read article about some kind new experiment, I start ask question about it. Such as how many times did this experiment success or is there any other explanation for this experiment. Critical thinking made me see new side of the world. Therefore, five years from now critical thinking is the concept in psychology that I will never forget.

Bias in Today's World

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One concept in psychology that was especially appealing to me and that I will remember five years from now is the different types of biases and how to recognize them. The first type of bias is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is defined as the tendency to seek out evidence that supports our beliefs and deny, dismiss, or distort evidence that contradicts them. This concept is applied to many arguments I have daily. Another type of bias is belief perseverance, the tendency to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence contradicts them. Often times it is hard for people to change their minds about things when they have believed one thing their entire lives. It's key that you keep biases in mind when considering a topic. TV stations and other pubic media sources often fall subject to both types of bias. When watching a political television program it is not difficult to determine which political party the station favors. Biases are everywhere in today's world, it's important we notice and consider these biases.

Five years from now...

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The concept in Psychology 1001 that I feel will stick with me most in five years is Jean Piaget's stages of cognitive development. Whether I'm still working as a nanny for young children or have some of my own at home, I will remember his theories of child development and put those to use in my everyday life. From object permanence to egocentrism and conservation, Piaget's work has put a name to some phenomena that I've noticed before but never fully understood until he explained it. The most interesting aspect to me is that some children reach the stages of development earlier than others and are already mentally capable of deconstructing abstract tasks, experimenting systematically and reasoning hypothetically beyond the here and now. It's amazing to me that until the concrete operational stage, around age seven, children cannot perform mental transformations and mentally conserve amounts of objects. Understanding of these concepts allows me to interact with children better because I have a more thorough idea of their cognitive abilities and, concurrently, their motivations. I hope that I will remember most of the concepts I've learned in Psych 1001, but this is the one that I don't think I'll ever forget.

Think right and think free

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Throughout this semester, I think that the idea of scientific thinking is the most important point the course made and I may remember for a long period of life. It's a world of information nowadays, we are surrounded by tons of information in everyday's life and how to make the best use of it has become an issue. Though complexed terms may be forgotten, I'll still remember being aware of confirmation bias, recognizing pseudoscience, following principle of Occam's razor and so on. The argument about if we truely have "free will" also leaves an deep impression in my mind. Since we can be easily mislead, controlled by media, or other information around us, "being yourself" seems to become a hard thing. Things in this world have so many faces in different perspectives, truths are always hard to find, but as long as we plant a clear idea of scientific thinking in our minds, there is always a way to know the truth and do the right. No one wants to be a puppet, that's why think right and free are so important, that's what I got from this course.

Will I remember anything?

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To be completely honest, in five years I am not really sure I will remember anything from this class. That is not because I didn't find it valuable, but simply because not one thing truly stands out in my mind. If I had to make a guess at what I will remember in five years, I would say the things we learned about IQ testing.
Since we have been little we have always heard about how intelligence and one's IQ plays a major role in their success in life. As a result, it seems that a lot of weight is placed on one's intelligence. To learn that the tests are sometimes biased, and do not have strong correlations with job performance in some cases, was quite shocking to me. I really am not sure why that is, but a lot of it most likely has to do with the pressure society places on kids from very early ages to be very smart. That isn't saying that intelligence isn't important, it is. It just seems that in order to truly perform the best in life you need to have intelligence and also the ability to interact with people, which is something that IQ tests cannot measure.

Classical Conditioning

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Before this class, I knew what classical conditioning was. I knew who Ivan Pavlov was, and what Pavlovian conditioning was. Both my parents have psychology degrees, and talk about the subject occasionally. I think that this is a very important topic in psychology and will be talked about for a very long time.
Pavlov's findings, especially his four concepts of conditioning are extremely important in the basics of conditioning. The unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response are important for other types of conditioning, since they provide a stable base in which to start training an animal. Pavlov had shown this with his dogs; he had taught his dogs how to salivate with certain stimulus's, or know when the food was coming. And to think he wasn't even interested in the subject!

Here's a weird/cute/CREEPY video about Pavlov's conditioning techniques:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMJJpbRx_O8&feature=related

Scientific Psychology

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I think after five years from now, I will still remember about the concepts of "scientific" psychology. During the semester, we talked about how scientific the psychological field is. We examined psychological theories with the six principles of scientific thinking. We also talked about science and pseudoscience. What we normally face from the media, such as television shows, books and magazines, are mostly not proper science. In many cases, popular psychology was proven to be not true and not scientific. It was more likely to be beliefs which widely exist among society. Among the six principles of scientific thinking, correlation versus causation and falsifiability were the most impressive principles to me. I learned that the existence of relationship does not mean that A causes B to happen. Also I learned that if I want to claim something to be scientific theory, it should be falsifiable. At first, I could not understand this principle because I thought a theory that is not possible to falsify equals to flawless. Soon after, I could understand the book's saying that falsifiable is different with false; it is being able to test to disprove which it is essential component in science. I am not sure how much I would be able to remember the knowledge that I learned this semester. However, the basics of scientific thinking will remain in me and enable me to interpret and filter the flow of information which claim themselves to be "psychology". Actually, this concept is already being really helpful in my life.

Stress.

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Five years from now I think the topics covered Stress, Coping, and Health will be things that resonate with me. Although all the topics covered were relatable on some personal level, stress is something that has been present in my life for a while now and will continue to be present for some time. Learning about the different kinds of stress and what effects they have on our bodies and health was really interesting.

The part that will stay with me five years from now will be the coping methods that were discussed. The different ways to gain control were really interesting. I had heard about many ways to deal with stress in general, like exercise, meditation, and spirituality, but the controls discussed in the book elaborated the reasoning behind those common stress relievers.
It was also really interesting to read what kind of medical solutions there were to stress. I knew about the more well-known ones, like chiropractic medicine and acupuncture. The medicine that I was unaware of was the vitamins, herbs, and food supplements. Since body health is such a huge factor when it comes to stress levels, these medicines make sense now, but they are simply things that didn't come to mind when I thought of ways to help relieve stress.

Article on Stress:
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/personal/07/27/wlb.rs.stress/index.html

Five Years

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This is a though assignment to grapple with. I plan to major in psychology and therefore would like a job related to my studies. I hope for all of these concepts to be pertinent, and they should be built upon in future classes. The thing that is tricky to me is figuring out how I will be applying these concepts. In five years I will (hopefully at least) be graduated with a degree in psychology. I would be content with one of two options. The first option would be applying these topics to a job relevant to psychology. The next would be furthering my education in psychology or getting certification in a related field. My future classes in this major will decide which field my emphasis will be in or what way psychology would change my career choice. If anybody else is in a similar position, I would love to hear any input!

STRESS

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In five years from now I will most likely remember stress (from Chapter 12). I not only suffered from stress throughout this semester but I also dealt with a lot of other personal stresses such as family, friends, and life in general. I took part of a REP study that involves students listing their stresses and indicating whether they think they have control or not. I remember thinking to myself of course not, because when I undergo stress I feel like the world is against me and it makes me highly agitated and angry that I have so much on my shoulders. After a week or so I received another email to further participate in the study and record some stress logs. I was interested in what the REP study had to offer so I agreed to participate in that as well. In the end of the study, I felt like a better person at managing my stress. Before I felt like I had no control and now I felt like I do have control. The REP study gave the participants a general idea of what stress is, the negative side effects of it, and how to manage it. When I read chapter 12, it gave a more in depth review of stress. I found the study to be very beneficial and since it has helped lift a few weights off of my shoulders I will most definitely remember the topic five years from now. Remember that you DO have control over your stressors. Don't let it control you and make you believe you don't. It will just make you more vulnerable.

I think the thing I will remember most about this course was the idea of realizing that no one person, not even I, is immune to biases. This I feel I will remember well because it stands out in my mind in many of the hobbies I enjoy such as Magic the Gathering and chess. This concept helps me understand and learn from my games. I no longer just lose a game blaming it on something like poor draws on my part and lucky draws for my opponent (Magic the Gathering is a card game). I realize that I don't always make the correct decisions in a game and more often than not I notate my games, particularly in chess, and really take a good look at them to see where things went awry. I don't know if this idea perfectly fits with biases but in my opinion it is the whole idea of the individual performing actions (in some cases very commonly) that result in unreliable (or in the case of my hobbies--unfavorable) results. Now I really ask myself the question that is "Where did I go wrong" and not just assuming my opponents simply outplayed me based on position (chess) or deck construction (Magic) and I never look at a loss as simply poor luck anymore.

PTSD

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Post traumatic stress disorder is developed when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as front-line combat, an earthquake, or sexual assault. To qualify for post traumatic stress disorder, the event must be physically dangerous or life-threatening, either to one self or somebody else. I know a little bit about this disorder because my grandpa was in the Vietnam war. After speaking with him about it, I can sense that it is a touchy subject. He could be a victim of it, because he explains the flashbacks he has of the traumatic event. He was there from 1965-1970, and from what I got from it is that five years of war can be very traumatizing. I asked if he killed anybody, and he responded, "with five years of combat I would expect you to know the answer to that question." In the book, it says that post traumatic stress disorder involves a constellation of symptoms that can be quite debilitating. He doesn't show many symptoms compared to the people that have the disorder in the worst way, but he says he still thinks about it from time to time. My grandpa is a very outgoing happy man, but I feel I can sometimes see a side of him that is not normal in a person that has not been through what he has. This is why people should be wary while speaking with a person that has gone through something traumatic.


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

Baby Development

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The lesson that will stick with me even after the course ends is what we learned about human development and more specifically, how infants develop mentally.
I used to work in a daycare that had a few infants and when taking care of them I was always surprised by how much they seemed to comprehend the world around them (remembering favorite toys, responding to voices etc.) At the time (this was a few years back) I thought that a lot of it had to be in my head because I'd always thought, before I spent any extended time with them, that babies weren't really capable of observing much.
The lectures with Professor Koeing were my favorite of the semester because I was able to learn that those cognitive abilities that I thought I saw in the infants I took care of were actually there and I wasn't just seeing things. The studies we looked at during this section of the course, particularly the ones involving babies and language comprehension were full of information and concepts that I will retain years from now especially when I reach that point in my life when I start having and raising kids of my own.

Personality

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I've always been hugely fascinated by personality, but had never really learned anything about it. It was a part of the class that I was looking forward to learning about and greatly enjoyed. It is probably the part of this class that I will remember. I think that some of the other aspects such as development are boring and don't really interest me. But personality was a somewhat fun chapter. It was very interesting to learn about the big five and how by examining those five aspects you can sort of define someone's personality. I think that thinking about these aspects of personality can dramatically help you ability to understand someone and their motivations behind their actions. We tend to think that if someone is extroverted they're also open to experience, but that's not always the case. Learning about the big five is a good way to see how aspects of someone's personality are not dependent on the other aspects of it. Another part of this area that I found very interesting was the projection tests. It is was fascinating to see how these tests could expose personality disorders and mental disorders that could not be seen through other tests and methods.

I think that the biology and possibly the developmental section of psychology will benefit me the most five years from now. Right now I plan on going into the field of nursing and I know that knowing what different parts of the body and brain are meant for will be great for me to know. If I can expand my knowledge on the brain, neurons and all of the different systems even further I know that I will end up going very far in this field.

The developmental part could be very useful also because in five years I could be married with children on the way. I think that it would be very difficult to raise a child and not know how he/she is supposed to be developing at different stages in their lives.

I am pretty sure that knowing information on most all of the sections in this textbook will eventually come back to me and help at different points in my life but these two seem that they will be the most helpful to me.

Due to the fact that this semester was packed full of introductory information on a breadth of different psychology topics, I have already forgotten a lot of the surface information we have learned about certain topics. I will not be able to remember the specific stages people developed such as Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development, however I will remember the directions that people like Jane Goodall have made in observing animals and comparing them to humans.
The reason I use this example is because I have always been someone who is fascinated with how people react to certain situations and environments, but even further, I LOVE building connections with people. I went into psychology with the mindset that even though I was required to take this course, I would find something that applied to my major or desires for the future. I really want to work on the front line of a non-profit such as the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society, so I feel that the personality chapter as well as other information on how people respond to stressful situations like discussed in Chapter 12 will be the most important for me to understand in order to most effectively respond to others and help guide them when they need a hand. I am going to miss this class...aside from all the chapter quizzes... :)

All I've learned

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Science is always auto-correcting itself! The thing that I believe will stick most with me because of this psychology class is an altered way to think. I did not previously think the same way that I do now. Before Psychology 1001, I would accept almost any information I was given by an authoritative figure as correct. I suffered from a flawed form of logic. Since the first chapter in the book for this class, I have been constantly encouraged to think for myself in a way that agrees with the scientific community. The book introduced 6 common mistakes that people make and ways to think about them so that future errors may be prevented. Ruling our Rival Hypothesis, Correlation vs. Correlation, Falsifiability, Replicability, Extraordinary Claims, and Occam's Razor. With even a basic understanding of these 6 scientific principles, I began to see new information in a new way. As the class went on I grew deeper in my understanding of these 6 principles, and how I could use them in deciphering my world. I found many things interesting and thought-provoking in this book, many of it will probably stick with me for a long time (if encoding happened and my retrieval isn't too bad). But a critical way to think was the most meaningful thing that I learned for sure.

My Time in Psychology

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Over this semester we have all learned a lot about various areas of psychology. Some of them seemed very important to me and others seemed rather unimportant but that is just my opinion. I think that the major area of psychology that I will remember will be the lessons on classical and operant conditioning. I like the idea that we have been conditioned and taught how to react to certain stimuli through whether or not we gain pleasure from the experience or are negatively affected by it. I think this idea has very important real world applications because it can be used to subliminally guide people to a desired outcome. At times this seems like it takes away from people's freedoms. It is hard to think that nearly every action taken by people is in response to stimuli in the world around us. In fact, most of us who are writing these blogs are doing so to get a good grade in this class because we have been conditioned to dislike bad grades. I plan on using this in the future, particularly when I have children, to try and make them behave and listen to me when I tell them what to do. This is something I feel I will remember in the future and will be useful in my life.

Sleeping

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I think a concept that I learned a bit more in depth during my psychology class this year is consciousness and sleep. I've always found it fascinating and just a wonder to think about. I'm not sure a lot of my thoughts about consciousness are answerable, but its still fun to think about. The practical part I think I will take away and still remember five years from now and beyond are some of the things about sleep. Sleep is one of the things that I never seem to get enough of, and it affects many aspects of my life. It affects my performance in school, fitness, general well being, happiness and many more. One thing I learned is that I may have mild insomnia, it can regularly take me an hour or longer to fall asleep, and I frequently wake up in the middle of the night and may or may not fall back asleep. Thankfully, at least compared to my friends and family, I seem to function well on little sleep (as little as 5 hours). Probably not healthy, but that's okay. I enjoyed learning about the different stages in our sleep cycle, why sleeping is necessary and different disorders that can interfere with sleep.

For me, one of the ideas that I really thought was interesting was the notion that correlation doesn't equal causation. I remember reading about how test prep companies like the Princeton Review raved about the great test scores that students received after going through their program. What they failed to take into account is that by the very nature of their industry they are attracting students that are likely to get high marks. That is to say that if a child's parents are willing to pay extra money so that their child has a greater chance of doing well on a test, odds are that the parents are at least moderately well-off and fairly likely that they are highly educated themselves, leading to the greater likelihood that the child was bound for a relatively high test score from the outset.
This was very similar to something I read in the book Freakonomics. When discussing what is and what is not important in parenting, the authors argued that having books in one's house is a sign of a good parent. Contrary to what some might think, they contended that the physical act of going out and buying books would be futile. Instead, they suggested that the mere fact that you have books around your house illustrates that you are probably well-educated and are an involved, responsible parent.

F.R.i.E.N.D.S.

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So i got a bit mixed up and did the topic for blog 4 for my blog 3, so its a bit of a flashback blog.
When trying to remember the Big Five for our test a few weeks ago, i decided to take a break and watch my favorite t.v show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. As i was watching it i realized that the six of them show all five of these traits in different ways, just like in the Simpson's episodes. These mix of characteristics keep the plot lines going and the episodes interesting. This is what i came up with. Monica Gellar:Neurotic. Monica is always in a tissy,everything has to be her way and if it doesn't she is normally freaking out or cleaning something. Her brother Ross Gellar: Concsiencess. very studious, and is very by the book. He is a professor and very much in to science. Joey Tribeoni:openness to experiences. He is artistic and ready to do pretty much anything stupid or out of the normal.Rachel Green:a mix of all depending on the situation,however in big extremes. Pheobee Bufee:Extraverted. she is always going to for jokes and is always the life of the party. And finally, Chandler Bing:Agreeablness. He is always agreeing with the group and tagging along. i have never seen him really take the bull by the horns and be the leader.
i don't know about you but it helped keep the big five straight in my head and helped me a lot during the test.

The Big Five

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I was always pretty aware of what kind of personality I had, and after learning about the big 5 this year, I was able to put it into words. I'll remember this in 5 years because personality sticks with you for your life, and I will be similar to what I am today. When we took the the personality test, I was not surprised by the scores that I had received. I was high in conscientiousness, neuroticism, low in extraversion, and about average in openness and agreeableness. In the next few years, I feel that these will remain the same, and that I will be able to recall the 5 words that are able to describe me. The Big 5 is an easy thing to remember, because it affects how your interact on a daily basis and always follows you essentially, and that is why I think I will remember in the most in 5 years.

Shaping

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Five years from now, the thing that will stick out the most to me from Psychology class will be the process of shaping. I thought that the whole shaping process was very interesting and genius at the same time. It made it even better to learn that it was introduced by the University of Minnesota's very own, B.F. Skinner. It was cool to see how Skinner and his colleagues trained certain behaviors to animals such as pigeons, dogs, and dolphins. One of the reasons why this will be remembered is because you can use the shaping process with humans as well. A parent can shape their new born by rewarding the child with something positive for behaving a certain way or doing something right. Inversely, they can give the child a negative consequence for behaving wrongly. This is a good way to teach "rights" and "wrongs" at an early stage in development for not only humans but animals as well! I just think that it is so interesting how an individual is capable of shaping and training another individual simply be rewarding or disciplining for certain behaviors. As long as they are being rewarded for behaving a certain way then they are most certainly going to keep acting that way for the positive reinforcement. That is the process that I will remember the most five years from now!

The Big 5

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informational-interview.jpgThe concept that I think will continue to be present throughout my entire life is the idea of the "Big 5." It's also something that I know I will remember five years from now, no doubt. Easily remembered with the mnemonic device "OCEAN," this is something I want to utilize and apply to my life when necessary. I think it will come in handy when in a situation like an interview or something, and you are asked to talk about yourself. Knowing whether you scored high or low in each category gives you something to at least get you started. When asked things like that and you had no preparation, it'll be nice to have that on the top of your head. It would definitely lower my anxiety in that situation which is also a big positive, because interviews can be a scary thing. Also if you were to be on the other side of the situation and you were interviewing someone, the Big 5 would definitely be useful. If trying to decide between two different applicants, weighing where you think they would each score in the Big 5 according to their resumes and interviews, and then applying it to the job description could really help you narrow it down. This topic interests me a lot and I'm glad it's applicable to real life situations.

The concept that I will remember the most from this class is the scientific thinking principles. I remember thinking at the beginning of the year that I would never be able to remember them all, and now I know them like the back of my hand. Not only are there questions about them on every chapter quiz, but also every midterm so far as well. They easily apply to daily life, not just scientific scenerios. I like how you can use them to prove something to be wrong. It has helped me realize that just because information comes from "a "study" or an "expert", that does not mean the information is accurate.

You should always second guess everything you hear, even though it is our tendency to oversimplify everything. Doing so using the scientific principles pretty much guarantees a more accurate and clear view of the issue at hand. This is why I think these principles are one of the most memorable and applicable concepts I have learned from this course.

Neuron Network

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I found out that the computer network that resembles that way neurons work is called as Neural network. In this network, each parts make its own decision in some degree and each parts communicate with each others in both direction.

What is really amazing about this network is that it has the ability of "fault tolerance," since the entire network is okay even if some of its member is not functioning. Also, this network has ability to learn from the external environment.

It is cool that the human brain serves as a paradigm for the most advanced machine.

Personality

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In five years, I think I will still think about what shapes our personalities and what influences them the most. I never realized all the different things that can change our personalities, and also what helps create our personalities. I always thought that it was more based on our environment and how our parents have raised us and what they surrounded us with growing up. But now I realize that heredity plays a large role too. I think about the aggression cases that we looked at in class and realize that it doesn't always matter the environment that you grow up in, but also what your parent's and grandparent's traits are and what your inherit from them.

Also, growing up and learning what my personality is, it is strange to now think that I have a distinct personality and distinct traits that I fit in with. And looking at some of my friends that I have been friends with for years, I can look at their personality and remember some aspects of their personality being established as we have grown up and some of the aspects changing as we grow.

To answer the question what kind of concepts in psychology I think I will remember five years from now, I find myself encountering another question: what is the most important concept I have learned from the Psy 1001 course? Out of numerous concepts that have been taught during the semester, I pick the one - naive realism. This is because psychology has changed some of my fundamental views about how to look at our world. Naïve realism is the belief that we see the world precisely as it is. This concept actually can relate to a number of other psychological concepts that together point out our tendency to misinterpret reality: confirmation bias, belief perseverance, pseudoscience, apophenia, pareidolia, representativeness heuristic and so forth. I now feel like that many of us are too confident with what we know about our world while in fact we are not. No matter how objective our findings tend to be, they are still the products of our mind and thus are more or less subjective. In this sense, naïve realism is indeed pretty naïve. Hundreds of years ago, a prestigious philosopher, Descartes, pointed out that we cannot trust out senses because they are not reliable. This philosophical idea now has shown more of a practical meaning and significance to me after I have taken the Psy 1001 course. If we hope to gain some real knowledge about the world we live in, we have to rely on critical thinking; not only need we constantly evaluate others' claims about our world but constantly question our own understanding as well. I think I will remember the concept for not just 5 years but the rest of my life.

Sleep Tight

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A concept of psychology that I will most likely remember in 5 years is sleep and dreaming. To me, sleep is a strange thing to think about. We are alive, but not fully conscious of what's going on. I find that dreaming is very interesting in the way that we perceive things that aren't actually there. There are days when I have very vivid and active dreams, and others where I can't recall any in the morning. I also find it interesting how we are paralyzed in our sleep so that we can dream without acting it out. Sleep and dreaming will always be a part of everyone's lives, and yet it's still so weird to think about.

I don't think I have ever sleepwalked, but I know someone who does and it just fascinates me. He has absolutely no idea what he does during the night. To me, finding out about what I do in my sleep would be a little scary because it would feel like it wasn't actually me. I have been told that I talk in my sleep, and I've been told that sometimes it sounds like a different, indistinguishable language, which freaks me out, because I only know English, Spanish, and French. Finding out strange sleep patterns will always interest me and I hope to learn about sleep and dreaming more in depth in the future.

Dream-Interpretation.jpg

Personality

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Years from now, I think that the topic of psychology most in engrained in my memory will be that of personality. It is something which defines us, and a way by which we define others. It is so interesting and instantly visible and applicable in our daily lives and interactions with one another. When looking at your own personality, through tests and simple self assessment, some traits are known and some are surprisingly true! Some we can see were somewhat inherited from our parents and some formed around the environments in which we grew up in and in which we live today. In terms of others personality, personality can be used as a tool to which we can compare ourselves and interact. Furthermore, I think that Freud's studies in personality are very profound. I remember learning about some of this in middle school and some more in high school so that background knowledge peaked my interest and learning this made my interest in the topic grow. Id, ego, and superego, psychic determinism, and all the defense mechanisms make you consider your own personality and make you re-evaluate others motives behind their personality. The concepts covered in this are interesting in the fact that personality is what shapes us and makes us the unique, or not so unique person that we are.

I will remember all of the information presented in our textbook, lectures, and discussion groups about pseudoscience. I know many people who will believe anything that they read on the internet and now I will be able to explain to them that they shouldn't be so easily convinced. I have even fallen to the persuasiveness and hope that pseudoscience provides. After a while I realized it wasn't working and gave up on believing stuff from the internet that wasn't scientifically proven. I have a friend who is a huge promoter for seeing chiropractors. She almost takes pride in going to see them. After reading the chapter on managing stress and other health related topics, I've realized that chiropractors are not a cure all source. Being that my friend has had back problems for a good 4 years, I should probably let her know that the chiropractor is not working and that she should save her money. (Note: I don't have anything against you if you visit a chiropractor, I personally do not believe in their supposed results). Pseudoscience is all around us and is plaguing the wallets of a majority of our country. It's great that we were able to learn about this because it could save all of us a lot of money in the future. Thank you Psychology 1001!

Analyzing Magic Tricks

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Five years from now I am sure I will still be intrigued by optical illusions. An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality. I never really thought about learning about them in psychology class but now that I did, it makes sense. I always thought they were fascinating to look at. I usually have a fun time trying to figure them out, but often times I never can. They really mess with your mind. I never use to know how they did this. Thanks to Psychology 1001 I can more easily figure them out and understand how they do what they do. There are always many life size structure optical illusions in Chicago and other big cities. I love visiting these kinds of places so I know I will run into more of these huge optical illusions in the future. I'm looking forward to going back to ones I have already visited and analyzing them and figuring them out. I would really enjoy going to a magic show or watch someone do card tricks. When I was younger and found out that people actually can't perform magic, I still could not believe it because the tricks always seem so real. I would love to try to analyze some magic tricks and figure out how they are really done.

5 years from now...

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Although I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast the day before, I know I'll remember what I learned in discussion about abnormal psychology and what is classified as "abnormal." Although some things are abnormal according to social norms, it is not always classified as officially abnormal. In order for someone to be officially abnormal they must meet the 4 D's of abnormality: Deviance, Distress, Dysfunction, and Danger. If they do not meet all four of the D's then they are not considered officially abnormal. This really stuck with me because I did not realize that there were guidelines to follow in order to diagnose someone with an abnormal behavior. I just thought that if I thought it was weird, or unacceptable, then they were abnormal. As I was learning about some of the disorders people have, I felt very compassionate for them because they really do not have control over the situation. It was interesting to me to learn about schizophrenia as well. I always thought that schizophrenics had more than one personality and were violent and crazy, but after learning more about their disorder it's really truly sad. I would like to learn more about abnormal psychology and why people are born with these abnormalities.

Despite learning many interesting topics, the one concept I will probably remember the most strongly is the concept of operant conditioning and its applications on animal training, and in my case horse training. Operant conditioning is very prevalent in all aspects of horse training, whether it be teaching a horse not stop and eat grass while you are leading it, or training it to do a certain drill correctly. One example I have is with a young horse I had that would always stop and try to eat grass while I was leading it to the barn. This is a very undesirable trait for horses to have, so I took steps to end it as quickly as possible. First, I got a special rope halter that put a bit more pressure on the nose than a regular nylon halter (this did not harm the horse in anyway). I used this halter whenever I would lead her from the pasture. Whenever she ducked her head down to eat some grass, I would give her a quick unpleasant jerk on the rope. This action did not hurt her, but successfully stopped her eating. I proceeded to give her this swift jerk every time she attempted to eat. After about a week of reinforcing her not to pull on the rope to eat, she learned that to avoid my swift pulls on the rope, she simply had to quit eating grass while I walked her. This simple solution has its roots in operant condition, where the animal learns to walk respectfully with their owner to avoid the unpleasant tug of the rope. This is just one example of the many ways that operant conditioning is used in training horses.

In the next five years optical illusions will always bring me back to the visual perception concept of psychology. Optical illusions not only represent the concept of visual perception, but they are also very fun to be amazed by. When I think about psychology in its simplest of terms, I think about how our mind interprets information in our surrounding environment. This brings me back to the optical illusion situation that plays into our visual perception field. Even before this class, optical illusions reminded me of psychology. So it only seems right that in five years from now illusions such as pictures or magic tricks will bring me back to the concept of visual perception. From here I'm sure I will be reminded of different topics discussed in lecture or discussion. This will give me a more in depth knowledge of what is actually happening in my mind when I see an optical illusion. Before this course I would only be able to marvel at how impressive illusion artwork was. Now I will understand and display my understanding to others. I have always been intrigued on understanding how things work in life. I am very glad that this course has given me a skill set and background necessary to break down psychological information.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Blog 4 category from April 2012.

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