The concept which I could remember for five years from today is the 6 scientific thinking concepts learnt in Chapter 1. I think I could remember this even more than five years because it is quite useful in daily life and in my career in the future.
By having good understand those scientific thinking theories and fallacies we could fall into, I could use them to avoid real life problems and applied them into my further study in social psychology and economics.
For me, when learning economics and business, people's thinking plays quite an important role in it because the whole business world and economics environment are shaped by people who runs and functioning in them. When analysis an macroeconomic changes in real world, I could apply scientific thinking concepts about thinking other explanation than what we have right now trying to figure out what is the main reason cause economic situation changes at that point, weather is social prospection in stock market or government new policies, or even the development of a new industry. Furthermore, by knowing the existence of confirmation bias, I could make wiser choice in the future by intentionally value a question with objective view instead following enthusiastic and initial feeling about it, which will help in both career and private life.
I will trying to combine those scientific principles with my initial value of world from my own culture, a crush of western scientific thinking and oriental mentally concepts, to shaping a sympathetic yet objective value standard to guide my life.

Conformity at its Worst

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Prejudice can be defined as an attitude with three components: affective or emotional, cognitive, and behavioral tendencies. The affective or emotional component deals with fear, distrust, dislike, negative evaluations, etc. The cognitive component deals with inaccurate generalizations, negative stereotypes, etc. The behavioral tendencies include avoidance, discrimination, genocide, hate crime, etc. We can see that these components occur in chronological order to create a racist person.
Today, racism is still occurring, although according to research, it is much less pervasive. Unfortunately, we can still find groups like the skinheads and the KKK who find themselves superior to those of different ethnic backgrounds. One example we can find is by looking at the presidential election of 2008. In this election, it was reported that 26% of the time, race was an issue. But prejudice and discrimination prevail less compared to in the past.
One great example of prejudice that has occurred in the past relates to World War II in which prejudice led to the murder of approximately 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime. Adolf Hitler was the leader in this genocide. He claimed that Jews, as well as gypsies, homosexuals, and mentally and physically disabled patients were a priority danger to Germany. By constructing concentration camps, Hitler and the Nazis were able to rid Germany of such inferiority and threat. Here, Jews and other deeming dangerous prisoners were forced to do hard labor with little food and the threat of being killed by gas chambers, daily shootings, etc. But what could lead people to cause such harm to innocent people? The simple answer is conformity.
Through the suggestive speeches of Hitler, people disregarded their morals and turned to destruction to create a purposive better society. Here is a youtube link with English subtitles of one of Hitler's speeches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGhdX1SI3KY.
Through historical events and the findings of social psychological research, we are able to see just how much conformity prevails. One good experiment to back up the great significance of conformity was done by Asch, who through line tests, found that approximately 75% of the participants went along with the rest of the group at least once.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143
http://psychology.about.com/od/classicpsychologystudies/p/conformity.htm

Psychic?

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There are many things from this course that stuck out to me and that I will remember. One thing I always come back to and think about is ESP. When I was younger, I could have sworn that I had ESP. I felt like I could predict everything before it happened. As I got older, I noticed it less but always thought still that I was some freak of nature. Now that I have learned about it in Psychology, it all makes sense. Though it may seem like magic a lot of the time, I have realized that a lot of what I thought was ESP was actually just coincidental. Since the class started I have been noticing the times where I would have previously thought I was psychic, like picking up my cellphone right before it started ringing or running into a friend on the street I had been thinking about. I have also tried to notice all of the times where it did not happen, for example when I am thinking about someone, but don't see them. I have realized that it truly is coincidence that these things happen. More often than not, I think about something, and sure enough it does not happen. Because of psychology class, I have recently become more aware of preconceived notions I had about many things.

what i will remember

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What I will remember from this class for years to come was the section on common sense in the first chapter. There is a particular section that addresses the notion that we do not notice contradictions until they are pointed out to us. They give the following examples that, when actually read side by side, seem to be contradictions:
1. Birds of a feather flock together 6. Opposites attract.
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. 7. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Better safe than sorry. 8. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
4. Two heads are better than one. 9. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
5. Actions speak louder that words. 10. The pen is mightier than the sword.
Based on common sense we tend to agree with these. The authors of the text book would have you re-evaluate the phrases in comparison to the ones across from them. I disagree that they are contradictions. For example, 3 and 8, "better safe than sorry" is about being prepared for out comes that are less favorable. "nothing ventured, nothing gained" is about taking risks. Who says the two are never both true? You can be prepared and take risks at the same time. 2 and 7, these two are used for two very different feelings towards something. "out of sight out of mind" is used for unfavorable things. "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is for things you love, or care for. They are true under certain conditions.
What I will take away from this is be critical of anything we see as common sense, and look for biases in anything you read.
source: the table of proverbs is on page 5 of the textbook for the class.

Also, I wanted to pose a question based on one of the diagrams from the first chapter if anyone can recall from the confirmation bias. When it asks you to turn over two cards of four, they are trying to prove the bias that people will look for the answer they want. When I posed this same scenario to several of my friends, I asked all of them who chose E and 5 why they did so. They all said the same thing, "well it said if it has odd on the one side it has to have a vowel on the other, and vice versa. " The actual hypothesis only said vowel means odd number on other side. They were more fooled by the wording then trying to prove it right or wrong. Does this test have a confirmation bias itself? Would differently wording the question yield the same response?
page 8 of the textbook.

Milgram Experiment

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The effects of the Milgram experiment will reside with me for many years. The level of obedience participants had to authority figures surprised Milgram himself. If you look at the video of the original Milgram study one man was reduced to tears. He was visibly shaken and even went as far as apply a legal electrical shock, all because a man in a white coat told him to. The ramifications of this study are just scary. Ordinary people administered legal shocks after simply being told by an unknown authority figure. They followed blindly because they viewed him as an authoritative figure. The implication of this study has been viewed many times throughout history. The obvious examples are the Jewish and Darfur genocides. We must educate ourselves about this history so we can prevent such incidents in the future. It is crucial for people to remember to questioning authority. One must never followed blindly and always question authority.

Five Years Later

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I think I will remember quite a lot from psychology in the future. Much of what we learned applies in everyday life and I already find myself analyzing people and situations in different ways without evening trying. I have to say that I actually find much of psychology useless in enhancing society and I have already argued plenty of times with my roommate who believes highly in the importance of psychology. Because of this I think much of it will stick with me for awhile. The one thing I won't forget is "fake" memories. I don't know why this was ingrained in my head so well, but I never knew how easily the mind and memories could be altered.

This is a classic study that the textbook also mentions. I find it interesting that this type of memory creation is possible. It makes me be more hesitant in trusting others when they recall past events. Not only can memories be changed or created, but just the fact that people perceive the same situations differently, so aspects can true and false. This also has implications on eye witness accounts and testimonies of people in lawful situations.

Most of psychology deals with the mind and memories are no different. I'll remember the mind's ability to alter memories to make them true past events. This topic will be a real memory of mine in the future and will effect how I view certain situations.

Racism in Books

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There have been many different books that have had claims of racism. Many of these books are children's books. There could be a variety of reason on why there are hints of racism in these books. These books were written and published a long time ago. Books like Huckleberry Fin and Pippi Longstocking are all books that were written a while back, but are still enjoyed by children today.

There is an interesting dichotomy here. On one hand we have priceless classics that are primarily targeting children, and on the other hand we have these books that have some unacceptable terms or overlying ideas. The question is how do these books effect children? From an outside perspective, I think it must plant the seed of question in children. In lecture, we learned that most modern racism is ties with cognition. After reading such book children will start asking question such as what is this word? Why do these children do this and the other children do this?

In lecture, it was said the best ways to desegregate were:
· Start Early

· Employ equal status contact

So what can be done? Should we ban these books from school? There have been a few times where Huckleberry Fin has been banned from various places.

I think we should just "modernize" them. I think if we do this we can have the best of both worlds. We can keep the classic books and we can let the young future generation read them. The future generation will then get a sense of what the older books were like and avoid the maybe present racism.

Power of Authority

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After all I've learned throughout the Psychology 1001 course, what I will definitely remember 5 years down the road is the Milgram Experiment and its results. I thought it was absolutely shocking how many people went along with the experiment and administered higher and higher voltages of shocks to the learner even when he stopped responding and they knew how dangerous the shocks could be. I think learning about this experiment will help me make decisions in the future. It will help me remember that I should never blindly follow or listen to a figure of authority without asking questions first. Just because someone looks and dresses like a scientist does not mean that they have an infallible concept of morals. I think everyone should learn about this experiment because it is very eye-opening as to how authority can affect humanity. I think it is especially important because it is still relevant. Even though the original experiment took place in the 60s, the recent reenactment of the experiment by the British television show proved that the results obtained today are very similar to those obtained back then, so people are not any less obedient to authority figures today. Blind obedience is something that can lead this world down the wrong path, and everyone should be aware of its effects.

Psychology has been an excellent source of insight into the realm of the human brain. Above all, the information I found most useful and will always take with me was the first unit we covered. The section that stood out and that I put to use almost daily are the principles of scientific reasoning.

As I evaluate situations in my daily life I put these principles to work to ensure I see the issue as it truly is and don't let the symptoms and claims cloud my reasoning.

Extraordinary claims is the first rule I live by and that will stay with me. The reason that this sticks out in my mind is because too often I'm told stories and facts that seem rather far fetched. I no longer take these claims as fact with the scientific principles in use. Occam's razor also goes along with extraordinary claims because I now look for the most simple explanation over all the hype, unless there is the extraordinary evidence to support the claim.

I am a now more rationally thinking person because I took this course. After I learned these principles to think scientifically, I make better decisions and give better advice as well.

Following Your Peers

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As we have all seen in class, conformity is a very real part of social psychology. The Solomon Asch study is a prime example of this. In the study it provides evidence that people will go along with authority no matter how dire the consequences. Specifically in this study, people were told to shock other human and when they resisted they were told to continue by a doctor. Many of the participants continued based solely on the fact that it was a doctor that was instructing them.

Following authority blindly can be seen all over real life. A large scale example of this would be the Nazi regime in Germany. The people in the Nazi regime followed the orders of Hitler and the results were devastating. On a smaller scale conformity is seen in everyday life with the concept of popular culture. Many kids these days do things to fit in with the crowd. This example of conformity is a very simple and an everyday event that also shows that conformity is huge in today's society.

So when you are doing something that you think is truly original, take a look at the people around you, and you may be sadly surpised.

What I Will Remember

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This class definitely gave me a different look on how our brains actually process things, and when I look back on it five years from now I am sure that I'll think all of this information is a lot more useful than I do now. One of the things that I think will stick with me the most is the segment we had on how the human brain learns. This section of study was incredibly interesting to me and I feel will be most applicable in coming years as the thought of a family becomes more prominent and having to teach a child how to walk and talk and all of those things will quickly become reality. The particular study pertaining to the Bobo doll is one that I believe will never fully leave my mind, as a child seeing something done by an adult seemed to immediately make it okay to replicate. This will make me infinitely more mindful of my actions around children and make sure any behavior I display is one that I would also be content with them displaying. This knowledge will help me every day, allowing me to both improve the way a child is learning by understanding how the brain learns and making sure they are learning the right things. It's a great thing to know, and I sure won't forget.

Things I Will Remember...

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Out of the 16 chapters in this one psychology book, how am I ever going to be able to choose just one topic to pick? It was very hard to narrow down what I would remember, because during this course, I am sure to take on to the future, a lot of handy material.

In 5 years, I will definitely remember the one and only Sigmund Freud. I don't know about any of you guys, but this dude is crazy! I find him to be an old perverted man. His findings about the stages of child development were a little creepy to me. Sex sex sex. That is all that this guy ever talked about. Psycho Psychologist? We'll never know. Ok. So I had to rant about that for 5 seconds.

An actual topic that had me really interested was classical conditioning, punishment and reinforcement. As a teenager, I was a nanny for a couple summers. This had me thinking about how to keep kids in line. With punishments and reinforcers, this actually pertains to real life situations in dealing with children, and having good parenting skills. In 5 years, many of us will probably be in this situation of having to raise kids. If you still understand these concepts in 5 years, I'm sure you'll make a great parent.

One other topic that I will most likely remember is that Nature vs. Nurture debate. This is such a huge topic in psychology. This was visited almost every single chapter. And actually I looked up a bunch of different studies just because I found this topic very entertaining to hear all the different sides of the argument. What a great debate. But this can relate to every day situations. Why does that person act that way? Is their aggression gene related, or does that come from other outside sources? What about alcohol abuse? Did they grow up with seeing their own parents abuse alcohol, or is it gene related? The possibilities are endless! And the curiosity will forever remain for me.

5 years from now

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5 years from now, the psychology concept I will most likely remember is the Dutton & Aron bridge study, maybe not the names of the psychologists who performed the study, but definitely the concept behind the study. The concept behind the Dutton and Aron bridge study is a useful one. It comes from the two-factor theory which is a "theory proposing that emotions are produced by an undifferentiated state of arousal along with an attribution (explanation) of that arousal (Lilienfeld 412). It says that situations that cause high states of arousal produce certain emotions. Dutton and Aron's bridge study helped prove this theory. They had a male-female encounter on either a stable bridge or a swaying bridge. The female asked the males a survey and then provided the males with her phone number in case they had any questions. 30% of males in the stable bridge condition called the female, and 60% of males in the swaying bridge study called her. This finding can be useful in everyday life. If trying to meet a lady or gentlemen, you may be so inclined to participate in arousing situations such as rock climbing, or snow boarding, or any activities which cause a large amount of arousal. If your current relationship is fizzling, it may help to do something exciting with your partner to reignite those flames.

The principles of scientific thinking will be the Psychology 1001 lesson that will remain with me the longest. These principles are important because they are applicable to psychology, other sciences, and the world. Ruling out rival hypotheses will help me to determine whether something is the real result or if another hypothesis could explain the idea presented to me. Correlation vs. causation is perhaps the most important as it is the most commonly disregarded. Correlation vs. causation will come in handy when someone simply presents statistics and claims that one of the variables proves the other. Falsifiability is rather simple, but still essential when reviewing claims. Replicability is important for any sort of research across academia. Extraordinary claims is a great rule of thumb for anything in life. Occam's razor is a good principle to follow when trying to explain things. These principle go far beyond psychology and I will apply them to all aspects of my life, in conversations, in school, and in decision making.

Marketing Manipulation

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While reading Chapter 13 from the textbook, on social psych, I noticed that many of the ideas being addressed are quite noticeable in real life; especially, conformity. Any person that went through a public school system can tell you that conformity most definitely exists. During my time, especially in Junior High, such things such as a certain brand of sneakers, music, clothes etc, were very popular. So popular in fact, that if you did not wear those specific brands, you stuck out. For example, sketchers were very popular, and continue to be:

In essence, if you didn't conform, you weren't apart of the acceptable group. Within this same chapter they discuss celebrity endorsements, and this ties in hugely with conformity: when celebrities endorse something, honed to a certain gender or age, that specific group is very likely to buy that product. The more they purchase said product, the more popular it becomes, and the more likely that everyone within that age group will want to conform and fit in. It made me realize, that of course, marketers and companies will take advantage of this psychological state of mind as well as the insecurities that drive people to fit in, so that their product sells.

The most interesting part is that conformity and endorsement does not just stop at tangible products: it works with words as well. A couple years ago the phrase 'finna' popped up in a Black Eyed Peas song. They rap and sing, and would mostly fit in the R&B genre of music. 'Finna' means 'gonna' which of course means 'going to'. Because of one word in one song, slowly but surely 'finna' started spreading: first among those who listen to the Black Eyed Peas and similar music (because other artists were using it as well) and slowly it trickled down until almost any teenager you ask will know what it means. I believe even I've used it once or twice, even if it has been in a joking manner. But from all this, I've definitely learned one thing: psychology is, without a doubt, seen everywhere in the real world.

Now that video of conformity we saw of the people facing the wrong way in the elevator may not seem so silly, because we follow equally odd trends all the time. 'Finna' is just one trend that seems unfamiliar to many age groups, but that is what conformity is: often times it makes absolutely no sense, but we want to feel like we know what we're doing and we are apart of "the group". Still interested? Google searching 'conformity and hipsters' will bring up many hits of what is and isn't mainstream, what's cool and what's not. However, being outside of high school and the silly trends that come along with it, it's much easier to see now that cool is what you make of it.

Last Entry

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The aspect of psychology I will remember most five years from now is the sections we covered in human development. My major is child psychology and I am very interested in the development of children. What I find especially interesting is the process of social development in children and the process of learning language. I will remember this aspect of psychology because it interests me and because it really stuck out for me. I find it very interesting that all children tend to develop in very similar ways. I will use this knowledge in a future career working with children in a psychological sense. I believe that knowing how development occurs is an important part of understanding how and why humans act certain ways. With this background, I think that what I learned in Psychology 1001 will help me in future Child Psychology classes. I am very excited for my psychology class next semester and I feel especially prepared now that I was able to learn about certain parts of human development. I am happy to have a basic understanding of parenting styles and the emotional development in adolescence. I will use the concepts I learned this semester and apply them to my future education and career.

While I learned so much in Psych 1001, one thing I am certain I will remember years from now is the use of statistics and data. Specifically, lying with statistics.

As horrible as this may seem, I am extremely proud of the fantastic twisting of statistics to back an argument I was making. I needed to make the argument that the private sector was better off than the public sector. Now, I understand that "better off" is entirely opinion based on benefits, salaries, and happiness with their jobs. I made the statement that "on average, the private sector makes more yearly." While this statement is true, the numbers are fairly distorted by the extremely rich such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. These super rich bring the AVERAGE way up. Because of these outliers, MEDIAN would be a much more useful number when comparing the public sector to private sector. If I had used the median to make my argument, I'm fairly certain that the public sector's median is higher.

This skill will stick with me because I feel that it is extremely useful to be familiar with statistics in order to make an argument like mine above, and not fall prey to some tactic like mine.

PS: A few weeks ago in class a lecturer abused statistics to make a point seem more significant than it actually was. He displayed a bar graph that showed results of a test to prove causation of some activity. The bar graph appeared to show a very large difference in the bars, but if one looked closely at the Y axis, you would notice that the difference in the bars wasn't significant at all. He had simply used a very small interval as his scale.

The chapter in the textbook that I think I will find most useful five years from now is chapter 13, which is an overview of social psychology. The chapter was meaningful to me because I have always been interested in how people are influenced by other people. I remember really dreading going to school when I was younger not because I didn't like homework and assignments but rather the fact that I didn't like how I had to make such an effort to make people accept me and be interested in me. What was so frustrating is that I was trying to impress kids that I didn't even like, and so I would find myself confused, asking questions like: Why not just keep to yourself? Why do you care what they think if you don't even like them? Although I found having them stressful and tiresome I always had a group of friends throughout my K-12 experience. However, when friends would call me I often would ignore the call or I would answer but make up an excuse for why I couldn't hang out and I only slept over and certain friends' houses. So why have a group of friends when it caused me so much tiresome work? Looking to the chapter in the text on social psychology I came up with some plausible explanations. Perhaps I was being influenced by conformity, which in our text is defined as "the tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure." Everyone I encountered at school seemed to enjoy being around other people, nobody ever really ate or played alone and if they did they were classified as "weird kids." So from the start I decided to assimilate into the group. Even though I often didn't like to do what my friends wanted to do I would still participate because I liked that feeling a lot better than the thought of how I would feel if people viewed me as weird or antisocial.
This feeling could have been a result of fear for not being a part of a group, which was also discussed in chapter 13. The author looked at studies showing the atrocities that can be committed within the safety of a group that gives an individual the feeling of deindividualization. When usual identities are stripped from us, we often end up acting atypicially, which was the case of the guards in both Abu Ghirab and Palo Alto. Schools can act as similar places when a group of children obtain a sense of power, and that's why I think kids are so desperate to find a group. In a group one can find support on both a physical and emotional level. This ties into another reason people desire to be part of a group, according to Baumeister and Leary's 1995 need-to-belong theory, studies showed that we have a biologically based need for interpersonal connections.
Although I am now more comfortable sitting by myself in classes and doing tasks on my own I always find myself concerned with how I'm being perceived. I think in five years time I will be more comfortable with the concept that I don't need to be friends with everyone, this chapter has helped me realize why groups seem like such a comfortable concept to people, but I've found that a tight knit group of good friends is what makes me happiest and most at ease.

Bystander Effect

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

I am sure some of us have fallen pray to the bystander effect. I know I have. In this case, the girl is portraying abduction by another man. It was shocking how no one even seemed shocked by what was occurring. They thought someone else was going to take care of it. That is what we call the bystander effect. Since we are not the only person around the area witnessing what's happening, we assume someone else will take the action of preventing or reporting a terrible behavior. In this day in age, people seem to be self centered and only focus on themselves and the safety of themselves. We also may not perceive the situation the same as others, which is called pluralistic ignorance. So we are not certain if we should intervene because of our uncertainty of the situation. There is also what is called the diffusion of responsibility, which is not feeling responsible for the individual. Like I mentioned, we are selfish and usually do not care about others. I can recall a situation just a couple of weeks ago where a couple of my friends and I were driving on the interstate late at night when we saw a car in the ditch with its lights on. It appeared to have been in distress, but we assumed someone else driving by would call it in. I think the reason we did not call it in was because we did not think it was our responsibility to take care of them. Now that I recall the situation, I regretfully wished we would have called for help.

"The not me"

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I have a difficult time thinking about what I would do with myself later on in life if I found that I had witnessed a murder or someone getting hurt, but not acted upon the situation because I had fallen victim to the bystander-effect. This being said I am promising myself that I will always act if I am presented with a situation similar to the one I described. So if I ever see someone who is being mugged or if someone crashes their car I am making sure that I will be one of if not the first one to call 911. There are shocking statistics about this effect, and it is saddening to know that most individuals will stand by because they think that others will answer the call and cover for them. This site shares some examples of notorious occurrences of the bystander-effect at its finest http://listverse.com/2009/11/02/10-notorious-cases-of-the-bystander-effect/ . Some of these cases deal with people that were actually involved with the process as a whole compared to my expectations of a random and spontaneous event. Nonetheless I would like to feed myself with the correct knowledge take action, and to prevent or at least limit the damage the situation is presenting.

One Accident in China Are Reported Worldwide

October 13, 2011, a two-year-old girl was knocked down and run over by two vans and ignored by 18 bystanders in Guangdong, China. The little girl, Wang Yue, was knocked by a van while wandering through a market, where her parents went shopping. The driver ran away without checking on the girl's condition. Over following 7 minutes, at least 18 people walked past the accident cense instead of helping her, even another van running over her leg. But no one stopped and gave her a hand. Finally, a rubbish collector helped the girl and send her to the hospital. Unfortunately, Wang Yue passed away a few days latter.
The accident was reported worldwide because people questioned the state of China morality. Yes, It is undeniable that those bystanders and drivers were apathy and cruel. But is it only simple apathy? Maybe there is another explanation from social psychology.china-toddler-car.jpg
the Explanation in Social Psychology Area
It is possible that social psychologist may call above phenomenon "bystander effect", they suggest that bystanders have no idea how to cope with emergencies. In other words, they are just frozen and helpless. There are two steps: pluralistic ignorance and diffusion of responsibility. Pluralistic ignorance refer to error of assuming that no one in a group perceives things as we do. To intervene the emergency, we have to figure out whether the condition is emergency or not. For example, we may think it is an emergency when we see a man laid down on the road but other people just walked away. Therefore we may mistakenly think the situation is not an emergency. However, pluralistic ignorance cannot explain the above example for car accident. obviously, the bleeding toddler is a really emergency. The second step is diffusion of responsibility, that refers to reduction in feelings of personal responsibility in the presence of others.
There were at least 18 bystanders in that 7 minutes, thereby, each person may feel less responsible for the accident. The bystander may think he or she was not the only one did not help the girl. It was his or her fault and they did not hit the girl. After all, everyone just walked away.Yuex-large.jpg
The Later Story
An old lady came to donate money during Wang Yue in the hospital, because Wang's parents were both immigrant workers so that they could not afford their daughter's surgeon. The old lay shows altruism, that is, helping others selflessly. We can find situational influences from the case: characteristics of victims, that is, wang's family is impoverished and the little girl was poor, and she may expose to role models who help others.1319404375_chen-xianmei-garbage-scavenger-ayi-who-helped-little-girl-yueyue-01.jpg
Related Articles: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15398332
http://www.happinessinthisworld.com/2010/06/13/the-diffusion-of-responsibility/#.Ttw_AmB-S_A

Important memories

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Correlation does not mean causation, representative bias, and hind-sight bias are distinctions that I will carry like an armed weapon. As time goes by, and we have experiences, we create schemas; as we have learned in our course. The schemas help our minds to make sense of the world in which we are perceiving. As we have learned our senses are motivated, and our neurons get excited, connecting synapses reaching out with our dendritic arms, wirings of complexity, systems of fiber optics that run through-out our bodies. All of this process, most of us are just now becoming aware of. My point is that until now, mostly, I have trusted and believed what my mind, and body has perceived as correct information, or as somewhat true, and real. Now it must pass through the empirical method. What kind of data do I have to support what I am thinking or saying? Is this the true cause, or are there other variables? My experience tells me one thing, and I quickly can find representatives that confirm my theory, but hold on! What if it is someone else's life that I am tampering with. I best not rely on my own mind, yet the bodies of minds, and research that have created a backbone, not of sugar and phosphates, but of consciousness. Even perhaps, if Jung is correct; Archetypes that form part of our descended unconsciousness. So as many others students have commented, that it is not just one variable, or distinction, that we will be taking and remembering for years to come. It will be many of the experiences ,and ideas that we have shared and covered these last months of our lives. Not only are we taking definitions, but a shared part of the history that B.F.Skinner, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Ivan Pavlov, and Sigmund Freud amongst others have shared.
nature_vs_nurture2.jpg.

What I'll Remember

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While there are several things I learned in this course from both the texts and the lectures the psychology topic that I think will stick with me is not to believe everything we hear from popular psychology.
Now, whenever I see a commercial about a weight loss "miracle pill" or see a self help book meant to boost self esteem I am not so quick to believe what the product is advertising. There is much more to what these products advertise that can not be quickly fixed by taking a pill or reading a book. For example, losing weight involves exercising and making healthy food choices. So products advertising that a person can keep eating whatever they want and don't need to start exercising more and still lose weight may require some extra research and a careful eye for information they are leaving out.
Another topic that i'm more skeptical about now is that to do with is horoscopes and psychics. Now when I read my horoscope I always make a point to read other horoscopes too and it really is true that they all hold about the same about of truth about my life or personality.
I really hope that I remember all of this in five years because it may save me a chunk of money and wasted time on something that holds little to no truth.

What I Will Remember

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Psychology has many topics, theorems, and concepts that all are important in showing how humans work physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. I will use many things that I learned in psych for the rest of my life but something that stood out to me that I know I will remember five years from now are the Big Five traits, what they mean and how you can tell where people fall on each trait. I have always been one to analyze, especially when it comes to someone's behavior or personality. I think that by knowing the five traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, attentiveness, and neuroticism) I can make a better judgment of whom I will be more compatible with friendship-wise and relationship-wise. It may also help me know what certain people would do in a given situation based on where they fall in the big five personality traits. For example, if one of my friends is very low in extraversion, then I can most likely guess that she will not want to come with me to a party where she doesn't know anybody and would rather stay home or be with her close friends.

5 Years From Now..

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Throughout this psychology course, we have learned various concepts and ideas about psychology, health, medication, and popular myths. Much of psychology can be applied to everyday life, whether it is to question everything one hears and attempt to find scientific support for it or why some habits are harder to end compared to others. However, the psychology idea that I believe will stick with me throughout time is the concept of relationships. It was interesting to learn that proximity, similarity, familiarity, reciprocity, and barriers to relationships were all factors of successful, or unsuccessful, relationships.

It made sense that all of these factors play into relationships, and reveals why many of my past friendships have either failed or prevailed through time. Of course, there are always exceptions to these guidelines. Right now, my closest friend is attending school five hours away, but during Thanksgiving break it was as if no time had passed at all. Clearly, it has only been a few months, so does not mean that the friendship is guaranteed to last in the future.

The relationship concept covered in psychology will be most memorable for me, for I can apply it directly to my life. Since it is an applicable concept, it will be memorable for me in the long-run compared to other concepts covered in this psychology course.

What will I remember from this class in the future five years? I can't say, because I don't know. From this class, which I learned most is the way of thinking. Since the first chapter, all of the chapters that book are teaching is about the scientific thinking and research and findings based of the scientific method of thinking. Looking back from the start, psychology is all about the study of mind, behavior and the way we see things. Everything that I learned in this class about human being, such as, the cognitive study, the personality study, the emotion study, the twins study..... However, from all of those, what leaves me with most impressive memories is the scientific way of thinking. Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. Evidence speaks louder than words, and ruling out the confirmation is the thing you should never forget, etc. Those are not only the way of doing researches and studies, and also the way should be applied into my future life and work. There are so many distractions in this world. See thing as they are, not you want them to be. It's a simple rule. However, applying it to the real world and real life could make the life much easier and better. And also learning something about how human brain works can always somehow gives you a advantage in the future.

The social psychology unit I found the most interesting because it is the study of why people act in the ways they do and how people are fundamentally more similar than different. There have been many ideas and concepts in this class that studied the differences in people, is what makes social psychology unique. In this chapter I found it very interesting the concept of groupthink, which as described in "Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding" is the emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking. This is a concept I will remember five years from now because I thought it was so hard to believe that individuals would forget to objectively evaluate issues and simply go with the crowd. Through further reading it appeared as if all of us at some time or another behaved in this manner. Few examples are the certainly of success for the in-group even against the realistic odds and the stereotyping of the out-group. I feel it is important to always remember that we can fall pray to this and a good way to avoid this would be to have someone play devil's advocate in debates.

The social psychology unit I found the most interesting because it is the study of why people act in the ways they do and how people are fundamentally more similar than different. There have been many ideas and concepts in this class that studied the differences in people, is what makes social psychology unique. In this chapter I found it very interesting the concept of groupthink, which as described in "Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding" is the emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking. This is a concept I will remember five years from now because I thought it was so hard to believe that individuals would forget to objectively evaluate issues and simply go with the crowd. Through further reading it appeared as if all of us at some time or another behaved in this manner. Few examples are the certainly of success for the in-group even against the realistic odds and the stereotyping of the out-group. I feel it is important to always remember that we can fall pray to this and a good way to avoid this would be to have someone play devil's advocate in debates.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/257674/20111129/black-friday-turns-deadly-hundreds-left-unconscious.htm
(Check out the videos at the bottom of the link!)

Every year the stories about Black Friday get scarier and scarier - crazy moms getting physical over Xbox consoles, people pepper spraying one another, workers getting crushed and killed by large stampeding crowds - and the list goes on. A social psychologist might ask themself - what causes these normally sane and well behaved citizens to act so outrageously? Chapter thirteen, Social Psychology, gives us the resources to analyze these behaviors from a social psychological standpoint.
Social Psychology is the study of how people influence others' behaviors, beliefs and attitudes (Lillienfeld, 494). By studying how people influence one another we can understand how large groups of people can adverse affects on the individual. The following concepts help us better understand group behavior:
1) Deindividuation: tendency of people to engage in uncharacteristic behavior when they are stripped of their usual identities.
2) Diffusion of Responsibility: Reduction in feelings of personal responsibility in the presence of others.
a. The more people present in a crowd, the less responsibility each person feels for the negative actions of the group. (Lillienfeld, chapter 13)
By deidividuating and diffusing responsibility throughout a mob of black Friday shoppers it is easier to understand how people can get out of control. Other factors such as arousal and frustration can also lead people towards aggressive behavior.

Why do some people embrace society's values while others reject them? What social or psychological forces lie behind the tendency to conform? The article I read did an excellent job in explaining why individuals who have different personality characteristics and who occupy different roles in society are more likely to participate in conformity than others. Not all acts of conformity spring from the same motivations, some arise do to intimidation and some simply for approval by the rest of the group. Research has been done to test the factors and determine the main causes as to why individuals imitate each other when under social influence. Studies have also shown that behavior is influenced by both personality and social factors, they explained that you are most likely to conform when: you are facing a unanimous majority of four or five people, you must give your response in front of a group, you have not already expressed commitment to different idea or opinion, you find the task ambiguous or difficult, you doubt your abilities or knowledge in the situation, and last but not least if you are strongly attracted to a group and want to be a part of it.
In conclusion, all research that has been done thus far has found no correlation between personality type and conformity, however they did find that diffusion type people were most influenced by peer pressure whereas identity-achievement types admitted to engaging in conformity behavior for achievement gains. So no matter our personality are we all just victims of social acceptance, even if we have the strong urge to stand out in the crowd and go against conformity? I would really like to see further research on this particular topic to see what would make certain people speak out against the crowd.
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Sources:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6520703
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED013360&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED013360

Critical Thinking

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The one concept that I know will stick with me throughout the rest of my life is the basic framework for scientific thinking. I believe that it is important to evaluate claims from multiple views before you choose whether or not to believe them. They are important because scientific thinking is a set of skills for overcoming our own biases.
In all forms of media, we will hear about studies and new findings in science about the correlations of such and such. This is just one example of when scientific thinking will help me out in my daily life. I will think if different reasons that could help to justify the claim. Using "ruling out rival hypotheses", I would think what else could attribute to this? Other ways of scientific thinking include remembering that correlation isn't causation, and asking questions such as; Is there extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims? Has this study been falsified or replicated with similar results? And has the simplest explanation given to us?
When I think back to when I was younger and I became briefly interested in conspiracy theories, I realize that if I had known how to think scientifically, I would have realized that many conspiracy theories have ridiculous coincidences and are backed by very little evidence. This just shows that just because something sounds plausible doesn't mean that we can believe it blindly. If not for scientific thinking, we would be nowhere.

Milgram Experiment

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I think the most interesting thing we have studied so far is the Milgram experiment. I find it intriguing and disturbing that research subjects could so easily be convinced to hurt complete strangers. Its amazing how people respond so well to authority. Even a strange man in a lab coat was able to order people about to do something they know is wrong. Its scary to wonder what would happen if an entire government was able to control its people in this way. The best example of this i can think of is Nazi Germany. I didn't know that the Nazi's rise to power was such a perfect example of people's subconscious needs to submit to a group or authority. This i believe is why it is so important to study psychology and history. Had people not been educated about the Holocaust it is not so far-fetched to think that something like that could happen again. You can see this in less educated countries around the world. In Rwanda in 1994 a massive their was massive genocide between two very similar ethnicities of people. The majority Tutsi people began killing the minority Hutu people.This happened all because of slight tensions between the two peoples and a rebel movement that sucked people up into it creating hatred and anger. Had the people in Rwanda learned about how easily it is to get sucked up into a group and be forced to do terrible things, perhaps the genocide would never have happened.

5 Years From Now...

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I will remember The Bystander Effect along with the related pluralistic ignorance and diffusion of responsibility. I remember hearing about the story about the 16-year-old girl that became an tragic victim of bystander nonintervention. It is so sad! Reading about bystander nonintervention is really scary...because I noticed myself nodding along, agreeing! I would like to think of myself as a helpful, good person the wouldn't hesitate to help someone in distress, but now I have to wonder. I know I've experienced pluralistic ignorance. Granted, it wasn't in a serious situation, but I am still surprised at how easily I dismissed a situation simply because nobody else was reacting...its a vicious cycle. And, unfortunately, I've experienced the diffusion of responsibility. My most vivid memory of this is from childhood when my brother and a few of our neighbor-friends thought it would be a good idea to have a water fight...in our bathroom. And when the possible punishment and ruined bathroom (outcome) seemed less of a big deal when there were more people implicated in the situation. While most of my experiences are laughable, I will remember these concepts in order to avoid a more serious situation where a person, rather than a bathroom, could be at stake. Thankfully, the enlightenment effect offers hope that keeping these concepts in mind will actually help me avoid them.

Although this psychology class only lasted one semester, its lessons have had a life-long impact on me. Five years from now, I will remember the discussion we had on whether or not IQ tests should be used in the hiring process.

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Both sides had very good arguments. The people who were in favor of using IQ tests insisted that a person's IQ score is highly correlated with job success. The people who wanted to eliminate the use of IQ tests, however, claimed that some jobs require skills that cannot be measured with IQ tests, such as coping with stressful job situations, and that IQ tests give minorities a disadvantage. This battle over whether or not IQ tests are a valuable tool to use when hiring employees will not end soon.

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This lesson will likely stay with me the rest of my life. This is because I plan on majoring in marketing and entering the business world in the near future. Someday, I may start my own business and be responsible for hiring employees. This discussion on IQ will be helpful to keep in mind if this becomes a reality. I tend to focus too much on how school-smart a person is, such as their grades or scores on major tests. However, I need to remember that this information only tells part of the story and it leaves out some important details. For example, IQ scores say nothing about how friendly a person is. If I only focus on IQ, I may end up hiring someone who is rude to customers and many customers may choose not to return.

Psychology has many real-world applications. In addition, psychology and business work hand in hand.

A topic that interested me from our psychology book, is complementary and alternative medicine. This, referring to medical products and practices that are not apart of standard care. There are claims that these practices, such as acupuncture and meditation work, but they have not been officially proved to be successful.

What surprised me, was that although CAM sounds promising, these therapies may even have potential negative effects as well. Our course book, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, states that "Some impure herbal preparations contain dangerous amounts of lead and arsenic". When the words "herbal" and "natural" come to mind, one thinks that it is obviously safe and beneficial to our health. We should not be mislead by these unproved claims. Furthermore, the FDA doesn't even monitor these products, so it's not guaranteed that these products even contain what they say they do. This is a scary thought. We could be using CAM methods that could put our health at extreme risks.

There is a debate about CAM therapies. Some believe that they are highly effective, while some believe they are no stronger then a deceiving placebo. When it comes to this argument, I tend to sit on the fence. Some therapies, such as acupuncture, are hard for me to believe. A lot of these therapies tend to fall into the extraordinary claims fallacy. Using acupuncture as an example, how can you prove that there are meridians that channel "subtle energy or life forces". These therapies, I am unsure of. However, therapies such as yoga and meditation, I can side with. For one, these activities have been correlated with heightened creativity, lowered stress levels, and higher self-esteem. It's unclear why these benefits come from these activities. I think it may be because activities like yoga are related to traditional exercise, and activities like meditation are deep relaxation techniques; which both increase circulation and feeling of accomplishment and well-being.

When it comes to CAM therapies, I believe that people just need to be aware of what they are putting into their bodies. I think one should have a clear understanding of what is good and what is not, however, we should not be mislead by false advertising and labels.

Nature vs Nurture

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PSY 1001 course has been an interesting class so far and we studied numerous intriguing theories throughout the semester. We studied research methods, memory, intelligence and so on in pursuit of how our minds work. However, out of all the things we learned what I will remember five years from now might be the Nature and Nurture debate.

The nature-nurture debate casts a question whether our behaviors attributable mostly our genes or to our rearing environments. Up until the 20th century, it was believed that all human behaviors were produced by learning (nurture). However, after conducting twin and adoption studies, researchers found out that the most important psychological traits such as personality, intelligence and mental illnesses are influenced by genes. Modern psychologists have concluded that human behavior is attributable not only to our environments but to our genes (Lilienfeld 34).

The reason why I think I will remember this debate is because it personally means something to me. Since my husband was adopted, after learning about the nature-nurture debate, I naturally became interest in it. I've had a chance to observe this debate in person and have concluded that nurture plays a bigger role when it comes to personality, especially when you make a decision at times. I'm certain that I will keep my interest and carry on my own research in the future. I was glad that I got to learn about this debate through this course.

Five Years From Now...

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We have covered an extensive amount of topics this semester: some more interesting than others. Personally, I found the four lectures and chapter on personality to be the most interesting and the most relevant five years from now.

This is going to sound really obvious, but everybody you will ever meet will have a different personality than the next person. Surprisingly, you don't have to spend a large amount of time with someone to figure out their general personality. By being able to read people and knowing a small amount about personality traits (i.e. Big Five), you can figure out a person's typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving in a relatively short amount of time. This means you will likely be able to tell whether you will like, hate, annoy, be annoyed by, laugh at, laugh with, trust, or distrust a particular person. There are other examples, but you get the general idea.

Life plans change and none of us really know where we will be or who we will be with after college. When meeting new people later on in life, knowing a little bit about personality can go a long way in your relationship (or lack thereof) with those people. It will come in very useful when you are around a new group of people: just smile, be polite, silently judge their worth to you as you pick out which ones will be your friends and enemies, or side-kicks and nemeses if you happen to be a superhero.

A little knowledge about personality can go a long way when forming new relationships with new people throughout your lifetime.

The concept that I will most likely remember five years from now is biological psychology. This was the most interesting topic for me. I really learned a lot about structures in the brain, where certain functions take place, etc. Another concept that I will most likely remember that is very closely associated to biological psychology and the brain is memory. That was also very interesting to learn because memory is a very unpredictable.
The reason I will probably remember these subjects better than any of the others is because I want to be a surgeon. As you know, doctors are very interested in the anatomical side of things. The biological side of things is very interesting and easy for me to learn. Memory isn't necessarily related to the specific field I want to study but like I said before, the variability and uncertainty of memory is what makes it such an interesting concept to study.
I'm not saying I'll forget all of the research and facts that we've learned about other areas of psychology. I'm saying that the two areas that I will remember the most about is biological psychology and memory.

Happiness and My Future

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In the next five years or so, I will remember the emotion and motivation chapter. More specifically, the part where it explains what makes us happy. Many people, including me at times, think that money makes us happy, or that the situation and outcomes is what determines our happiness, but I have always believed that it is more than that. This section explains it perfectly. When I am on my own I will need to know what makes me happy in times where I am not. Exercise is proven to increase happiness because it is an antidepressant, so if I am feeling down, my knowledge of this will improve my mood. Also, when applying for jobs in the near future, I will look for something that will make me happy. If the job is not fulfilling or something I enjoy doing, it will not be worth it; therefor, I will only apply for jobs that I will be in the state of "flow" (a state in which we are totally absorbed in an activity and do not notice time passing). This will increase my level of satisfaction with the job and subjective well-being. Recently, I have realized that working with people and doing activity, not sitting for a whole workday at a desk, is what makes me happiest and time passes very quickly while doing this. I will definitely consider this in searching and applying for jobs.

Having many friends who have become addicted to some sort of drug whether it be alcohol or nicotine, it has been hard understanding why this happens. I always thought that it was one hundred percent their choice on whether or not they could stop using. After learning about drug abuse, withdrawal symptoms, dependence, and cravings, I know that once people start using it isn't as easy to stop as some might think.

My best friend Stephanie grew up in a family with an alcoholic mother who physically and mentally abused her. Eventually she moved away to live with her father and step-mother in hopes to have a better future. Her freshman year of high school was her worst in terms of drinking. One night she drank so much that she went unconscious and an ambulance had to be called. I just couldn't believe that she had let it go so far especially since she has seen what alcohol has done to her mother and their family.

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This class opened my eyes into what goes on in someone's brain and body when they are addicted to alcohol or any drug for that matter. I learned that genetic factors play a key role in the vulnerability to alcoholism. So, Stephanie always had a greater chance of becoming an alcoholic than someone whose parents or family members didn't have a problem with alcohol. Once someone becomes addicted to a drug they build up a tolerance to it so that they need greater quantities to achieve the same effect. As the tolerance is building, the harder it is to stop using even for a few hours or a day. This is due to the body's withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Right when you stop using or go off your pattern of using, your brain sends signals to your body saying that you want the drug, in Stephanie's case alcohol. Second, if you deny that craving and still don't use then your body reacts through withdrawal symptoms. These are unpleasant effects of reducing or stopping consumption of the drug that the person had consumed habitually. These genetic factors, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms make it nearly impossible to stop drinking unless you have a strong support system and get professional help.

In Stephanie's case her father and step-mom were not very supportive of her in general. Stephanie did get better for a little while as she stopped drinking for about a year and a half. But with this reduction in drug use came about more problems such as anorexia and depression. Once again these problems were not looked at as a medical problems that needed treatment by her parents (which it should have been), but it was seen as Stephanie's fault.

Witnessing Stephanie go through problems with alcohol I realized that you can't always blame addicts because it is harder to stop consumption once you start. The psychology concept that has impacted me the most in my life personally is drug addictions and the reasons behind them. Since I already have used this knowledge in my life I think this is one of the things I will remember five or even ten years from now. I also think the concept of nature and nurture can tie into drug abuse which I can also see being important in my future.

In Chapter 4 of our textbook, a statement that really resonated with me was, "We often assume that our sensory systems are infallible and that our perceptions are perfect representations of the world around us." For the majority of my youth I never realized how different our sensations and perceptions vary from person to person. I always assumed that because someone else was experiencing the same thing as me; they must be feeling and perceiving the same things as me as well. I never gave much thought to the fact that our brains and bodies are different; therefore, our interpretations are different. It was this egocentric way of thinking that caused me to be close-minded, judgmental, etc. I didn't have a very good understanding of other people and how they experience life and the world around them. To this day I am grateful for that change in perception and that understanding that each person experiences life in totally different ways than I do--regardless of how similar our experiences seem to be. Although the processes we go through to interpret outside stimuli are the same, the perceptions our brain and bodies acquire are very unique. This has to be one of the greatest reasons why each person is so individual and special. It's our perceptions on life and the things that happen to us (along with genetics) which help shape our attitudes and actions. For the rest of my life, I will constantly be reminding myself that sensations and perceptions are not universal among people. For me, this understanding helps me be more open-minded, accepting, patient, etc. It allows me to see and feel more and realize that, when it comes down to it, life and its experiences are really only what you perceive.

Conditioning

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Throughout Psy 1001, there have been many concepts that we have all learned, so it is tough to think of one that we will never forget. For me, one that popped into my head was the conditioning techniques. Just the other day, I was thinking of how I could condition myself to do something. We use these classical and operant conditioning techniques throughout our lives, whether it be teaching our children to do somthing, or teaching our pets not to do something.
Classical and operant conditioning are concepts that I will use now, a few years from now, and in the future when I am living on my own. I will them to train my pets to behave, and I will use them to teach my future children how to walk, go to the bathroom, and how to not do bad things or act out. We will all use these concepts throughout our lives, and we have all used conditioning already. When we hear certain noises, we may feel fear. When we see yummy looking treats, we get hungry and we salivate because we want them. We have been trained to use the bathroom and to do our homework and go to school for 18+ years.
This is something that I understood very well, and it is something that I will always remember and use throughout my life.

Unintentionally Remembering

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When I took psychology in high school, and when I took it here this semester, one subject has always been my favorite and has caught my eye: Inattentional Blindness.

We have all seen the video where you are supposed to count the amount of basketball passes made during a short clip. While you are busying counting, a gorilla walks by, and goes unnoticed due to your focus on counting.

To me, it seems remarkable how we can so easily overlook strange happenings when our attention is focused elsewhere. While I was still in high school, around Christmas time, I was at the mall with my girlfriend at the time. Yea I know it sucked, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. My girlfriend was looking at boots through a store window. Clearly she was very focused on them because while she was looking, Aaron Rodgers walked by in front of us and she didn't even notice him! (I went to high school in Green Bay) She loves Aaron Rodgers and is familiar with what he looks like. She did not recognize him due to inattentional blindness.

My curiosity is, how many strange or extraordinary things might we see in our lifetime that we don't even recognize due to inattentional blindness?

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=i+bet+you+didn%27t+notice+the+godzilla&num=10&hl=en&safe=off&gbv=2&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbnid=mGUuEWzRvhNltM:&imgrefurl=http://pigroll.com/811_i-bet-you-didnt-notice-the-godzilla.html&docid=3LREa8gQQS8Q4M&imgurl=http://pigroll.com/img/i_bet_you_didnt_notice_the_godzilla.jpg&w=448&h=580&ei=eSjbTvHdNo3VgAersNzpDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=206&vpy=137&dur=3251&hovh=256&hovw=197&tx=78&ty=153&sig=118055108855659728039&sqi=2&page=1&tbnh=171&tbnw=132&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0

Five years from now...

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Five years from now, I will still remember how to spot a liar. This topic is really interesting to me, because lying is an unavoidable part of our world; almost everyone has been in a situation where they have lied to someone or vice versa.

There are many situations in which it's really important to tell if someone's lying. For example, if you suspect someone of stealing one of your belongings, you could ask them a question and see if they give off any of the main characteristics of a liar. Some characteristics of liars are: looking up and to the right before responding to a question, continuously shifting their eyes or avoiding eye contact altogether, tapping their fingers, keeping their arms crossed, keeping their hands tightly folded, and sitting at an angle to the person they are talking to. If I remember these characteristics, I will be able to use that knowledge in my everyday life when talking to my coworkers, friends, and family.

Do you remember?

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There are a lot of concepts in psychology that are extremely useful in daily life given that psychology is the study of behavior. Yet, there is one concept I will never forget. The idea that we only remember events that stand out (events we want to remember) seems obvious, but in fact, is a hidden mystery of life. I think this is critical for everyone's lives not only in eliminating and fighting stereotypes/prejudice, but socially.


For example, when coming to a new place, such as the University of Minnesota, everyone was anxious to meet new people and form a close group of friends. However, not only do you want to make friends, but in general, people prefer a mutually 'beneficial' relationship. By this, I mean a relationship in which both people are invested. Therefore, in this case, both individuals would make an effort to maintain the friendship.


Typically, when I talk to people they are always 'making the effort' to make new friends. However, I think this is because you only remember when you initiate the conversation. This may be due to the fact that it takes a conscientious effort to start the conversation and therefore is easier to remember. (A Rival Hypothesis?) Similarly, when people are frustrated that other individuals are unfriendly and neglect to say hello, they need to recall their position as well. Did they say hi? Have they initiated a friendly greeting? Do we only remember our own seemingly non trivial actions? When will we be able to recognize and remember those same actions in others?


In my opinion, this will start when people make an effort to recognize not only their actions but others as well. I think this basic idea has the potential to ease anxiety when it comes to relationships.


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The one concept that has been etched into my psyche after having been in this class is the one about false memories. Until this Psychology course, I had always assumed that memory, once encoded, would stay true for all time. In fact, it seems completely an odd and wasteful thing for our brains to do - to take what it saw and experienced and to change it. But it does. Most of us will look at the pictures of the pennies above and be fairly certain that the one we pick is how the real penny looks. Chances are extremely high that a good proportion of us will be wrong. Such demonstrations and reading about the pioneering experiments done by Elizabeth Loftus and subsequent ones by Barbara Tversky, Polly Dalton, and Elizabeth Phelps has changed my notions about memory.

The ease with which people can be led to have false memories has such far-reaching implications in everyday life. Feuds are started, grudges are nursed, and enemies are made, as we resolutely hold on to our versions of events in our inter-personal relationships. In a larger context, our criminal justice system makes use of witnesses to help establish the guilt (or lack there-of) of the accused. Whereas scientists have known about false memories for decades, they have regrettably not been too forceful in broadcasting the facts and in changing the practice of using eyewitnesses. It turns out that 75% of DNA-based exonerations have come in cases where the witnesses were mistaken about what they saw and/or heard.

I believe that I will take into account false memories for the rest of my life both for things that I remember as well as for other people's remembrances. In addition, whenever I hear about witnesses to a crime, I will know better than to mistake their confidence for their rightness.


Sources cited:
Beil, Laura. "The Certainty of Memory Has Its Day." New York Times 29 Nov. 2011: D1+. Print.

The psychological concept of physical and emotional attraction was one of the more interesting subjects to learn about within the field of psychology. According to the textbook, people are more attracted to people who are similar in personality and attractiveness, and tend to pair with one another. At first, I was reluctant to accept this theory because the phrase "Opposites Attract" was an adage I had heard very often, but the activity during discussion supported the hypothesis of similarity. People with higher numbers were more often than not paired up with others with higher numbers on their foreheads. Other hypotheses such as the proximity make sense because frequent contact and exposure would naturally increase the chances of attraction.

On a deeper level, being in this introductory psychology class has opened my eyes and has allowed me to become a better critical thinker. The lecture and the text heavily emphasized the importance of not thinking simplistically and accepting claims blindly. Thinking scientifically and empirically becomes a vital tool in our everyday lives since we are bombarded by extraordinary statements and biased messages in the media. In order to progress, we need to be able to know what could logically, plausibly occur and thus eliminate the impossible, as Sherlock Holmes once said. Scientific evaluation is definitely one skill that I will need down the road.

It Makes Sense In My Head

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In chapter thirteen of the Lilienfeld text it covers the subject of conformity. We discussed this topic in discussion, but we focused a lot on the aspect of action conformity. If you recall we watched the video with the people in the elevator who conformed to the odd facing direction. I thought that was very interesting, but what is even more interesting to me is conformity that is not so public and more a personal conformity.. This is hard to put into words and may seem but confusing, but maybe I can bring you to my level of thinking for a while.
The man conforming in the elevator displayed his conformity publicly, people could see it, but right now I'm focused on an inner conformity. Here is an example from the text. When Walt Disney died, many people believed that he had himself frozen to be thawed and brought back to life in the future when technology permitted it (Lilienfeld, 2010). Now, a lot of people believed this, and even I had caught wind of this rumor and thought it was legit for a while. But when I heard this and believed it, there was no one around me to pressure me into believing it, I simply accepted it because it seemed logical. Disney had an enormous fortune to his name, and could pay for any such procedure. This leads me to believe that conformity, though part of SOCIAL psychology, doesn't always need to be in a social situation. Conformity appears to be prevalent in a multitude of personal situations.
To conclude I want to point out and make sure that what I'm trying to convey, is conveyed. Many people believe that conformity only happens in social, group settings. Someone does something, and another person conforms to that. But, I'm trying to point out that it seems many people will conform to something, even when there is nobody anywhere near them... it's hard for me to explain, but it makes sense in my head.

Psychology to Family Life

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When my brother and I were little we obviously never got along due to the enduring stereotypical behaviors of two young siblings. We would never really see eye to eye, and sometimes I just believed that he didn't really enjoying being related to me. Eventually my family and I learned that he had Asperger's disease, a disorder that is characterized by problems involving development of social skills and behavior. Now that I know this information, this is how I am going to utilize not only what I have learned in terms of one specific branch of psychology, but for the most part, almost all of them. I will say though that I will use some more than others. Perhaps, not by just using that I know from social psychology that humans are naturally social or maybe the theory of social comparison, I could use what I know from what we have discussed in terms of relationships and dating. It may sound silly, which even I will admit that it does, but these natural instincts are the ones that he somewhat lacks and the ones that I believe, due to the new knowledge of the mind that I have acquired, I can not only help him with but also know how to interact with him myself.

What I'll Always Remember

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I feel like the scientific thinking principles will always apply to real life. They can be used to compare and analyze things that happen every day. For most situations, like the saying "there are two sides to every story" there can be more than one explanation for things which is an example of Ruling out Rival Hypotheses. An example of correlation vs. causation is that, with my group of friends we are all very similar and it could be that we were all so similar and that is why we became friends or because we are all friends we started to be more alike. I actually used this thought process today in a conversation. Falsifiability is very common in being able to tell whether or not someone is lying to you. Whether or not you can prove or disprove the claim that they are making. Occam's razor is a way to think of things when you are trying to explain how something happened. When something happens and one person comes up with a crazy reasoning of the situation, you can think of this and try to reason that whatever is the simplest and most easily probable explanation is probably what really happened.

Five years from now

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Five years from now, the one thing I know that I'll remember is the lessons on advertisement techniques. It seems like everywhere I look there are advertisements; some type of propaganda, trying to convince me to buy a product. It doesn't surprise me that young people see over 40,000 advertisements per year on television alone (Pediatrics Vol. 118). When we learned about classical conditioning and how it can change our behavior, it made complete sense to me that advertisers would use this technique to "teach" people that their product is the best choice. Most people have the point of view that they make informed, objective decisions when choosing a brand of shampoo, chips, or even a new car. However, after learning about classical conditioning, I think advertisements affect our decision making a lot more than we realize. We can compare an advertisement to Pavlov's salivating dog. For example, the skyblue vodka advertisement in the Lilienfeld textbook (pg. 208). In this advertisement the girl in the bathing suit is the unconditioned stimulus (or the food in the case of Pavlov's dog) because she creates an inherently enjoyable response in the viewer. This becomes associated with the conditioned stimulus, skyblue vodka, and eventally the same enjoyable response is associated with both stimuli. If consumers have an enjoyable feeling associated with a product they are mich more likely to buy it, even if they attribute this bahavior to something else, like the quality of the product. There are so many products available to consumers now, how do people decide which ones to buy? I am now aware of, and will remember in the future, the reason that certain advertisements are so effective.

My Friend the Amygdala

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The concept (or rather, thing) in Psychology that I believe I will remember in 5 years or so is the amygdala. Not only does it have a funny spelling, it has a lot to do with fear, excitement, and arousal. Plus, every time I think about Doctor Gewirtz, I will remember his distinct, accented voice saying the word "amygdala." For those of you who don't remember, the amygdala is defined as the "part of the limbic system that plays key roles in fear, excitement, and arousal."

I will remember the amygdala because I am bound to think about my fears in the future, and thinking about my fears will remind me of the part of my brain that gets activated when I'm scared or aroused. Now when I think of fear, excitement, or arousal, I will be reminded to psychology class and my dear friend the amygdala.

The final reason I will remember that particular part of the brain is because it is not a recognized word by Microsoft Word, which I found to be rather strange. Weird.

amygdala.jpg

I've always been a bit skeptical when I see stories in the media about studies and new findings in science.

I think that it's important to really evaluate a claim before you believe or accept the findings, and through the principles of critical thinking have really played a role in my ability to evaluate those reports featured in the news.

I've realized that once I see something on the nightly news, like a claim that ice cream sales increase robberies, for example, I start to think of other reasons to justify the claim. Ruling out rival hypotheses. What else could attribute to this? Or when I see other stories, I think...hmm, Correlation vs. Causation? Or do the findings back this extraordinary claim? Has this study been falsified? Has it been replicated with similar results? Is this the simplest explanation given to us?

I react with some critical thinking principle when hearing claims like those because we really shouldn't believe everything we hear. I think that many people believe things and go along with ideas just because it's presented to us through some "authority" like the news. They don't think it over, they're not skeptical enough.

There are many debates going on that could be resolved by doing a little critical thinking...like the issue of arsenic in apple juice. Many scientists don't believe this claim, as I've read. Or how vaccines can cause autism. What are some other reasons this could happen? Think about it. The principles of critical thinking can be applied to many situations.

We shouldn't just follow blindly and believe information presented to us. A little thinking goes a long way.

PSY 1001 has been such an interesting class. I have never been bored with one subject that we have learned in lecture and in the book. It's hard to pick just one concept that I think I will remember in five years but, for me, an obvious choice is language and thought. My major is Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences so the topics presented in the book and lecture pertains to everything I'm learning for my major. From discussing what a phoneme is to learning about the stages of speech development, these issues we heard about in psychology are what I love to talk about on a regular basis (clearly, otherwise I wouldn't be in the major I'm in!). This chapter of the book also discusses sign language which is the language I'm currently taking. I love love love sign language; the signs, fingerspelling, and the culture associated with it (Deaf culture) are fascinating to learn about! When I saw a section of this chapter was on the topic of sign language I got really excited and was fully engaged in the reading (which is hard to do sometimes with the long PSY 1001 chapters). I really enjoy learning about language acquisition for hearing and deaf children and this little section of PSY 1001 dealt with all of this. Therefore, in five years, I definitely will remember the concept of language and thought.

You just took exam three for your Psy1001 class. You wound up receiving a seventy percent, while your best friend scored an eighty-six percent. In your mind, you justify your score by saying that the questions were really hard or that the person next to you was distracting. When dealing with your friend, you say that she is just a natural genius and all exams are easy for her. Does this sound familiar? For most people, it does. This concept of overestimating the impact of dispositional influences like intelligence on other people's behavior is called the fundamental attribution error, which we learned about in chapter 13 of the Lilienfeld text. Since this topic applies so easily to our every day lives, the fundamental attribution error will be a concept that I will still remember in five years.

When judging other people's actions, we are much more likely to attribute their behavior to their personality, attitudes, and intelligence. When someone makes a rude comment, we say it is because she is cold-hearted, jealous, or ruthless. Instead, we should pay more attention to the situational influences on people's behavior, like maybe she just received some bad news or her car was just towed. We commit the fundamental attribution error because it is easy to make snap judgments. Also, it almost impossible to know all of the situational factors on people's behaviors.


The robotically animated clip above shows the other side of the fundamental attribution error. When explaining our own behavior, we are more aware of situational influences, so we tend to attribute our own actions to situational factors. This is because we know all of the situational influences that surround us.

Both sides of the fundamental attribution error are extremely visible in my life, now that the concept has been introduced to me. Now, I will keep this concept in my mind when judging my behavior and the behavior of others.

Psychology for Me in the Future

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Of all of the interesting, bizarre, complex, and controversial issues and concepts introduced to me this semester in my first ever psychology course, the most outstanding concept that I know I will remember and use five or even ten to twenty years down the road would be that of the six scientific thinking principles. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor were all addressed numerous times constantly throughout the course of our book, related and applied to nearly every idea and theory that psychologists and scientists have hypothesized and thought of. These critical thinking skills to keep in mind are best used, as our book defines them, "for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion" (Lilienfeld 21). From this definition, it is obvious that they will prove most useful well after I am done with this course and even college altogether.
For example, when I see ads in magazines or on the television that claim extreme or outlandish things, I can identify that there might not be extraordinary evidence to back up these claims nor might there be ways to falsify these claims or prove them wrong. Also, when I see a relation between two things, such as the amount of time I study and the grades I get in my classes, I need to learn that there may be other causes for the correlation between these two events, such as the amount of sleep I get every night/how rested I am for class.
The main reason why these six principles will be sure to be remembered years down the road is because of their usage in a lot of everyday activities and scenarios. Without learning these psychological strategies to assessing claims, I could fall prey to a lot of false assumptions that could be detrimental to my life in many ways, most importantly my health and reasoning abilities. For this reason, I am most grateful for learning these criticisms and being able to now apply them to situations I am faced on a day to day basis.

*Lilienfeld, Scott. Introduction to Psychology: From Introduction to Inquiry. p 21.

Psychology for Me in the Future

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Of all of the interesting, bizarre, complex, and controversial issues and concepts introduced to me this semester in my first ever psychology course, the most outstanding concept that I know I will remember and use five or even ten to twenty years down the road would be that of the six scientific thinking principles. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor were all addressed numerous times constantly throughout the course of our book, related and applied to nearly every idea and theory that psychologists and scientists have hypothesized and thought of. These critical thinking skills to keep in mind are best used, as our book defines them, "for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion" (Lilienfeld 21). From this definition, it is obvious that they will prove most useful well after I am done with this course and even college altogether.
For example, when I see ads in magazines or on the television that claim extreme or outlandish things, I can identify that there might not be extraordinary evidence to back up these claims nor might there be ways to falsify these claims or prove them wrong. Also, when I see a relation between two things, such as the amount of time I study and the grades I get in my classes, I need to learn that there may be other causes for the correlation between these two events, such as the amount of sleep I get every night/how rested I am for class.
The main reason why these six principles will be sure to be remembered years down the road is because of their usage in a lot of everyday activities and scenarios. Without learning these psychological strategies to assessing claims, I could fall prey to a lot of false assumptions that could be detrimental to my life in many ways, most importantly my health and reasoning abilities. For this reason, I am most grateful for learning these criticisms and being able to now apply them to situations I am faced on a day to day basis.


*Lilienfeld, Scott. Introduction to Psychology: From Introduction to Inquiry. p 21.

Correlation vs. Causation

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Five years from now, and for the rest of my life for that matter, I will be incorporating the concept of correlation and causation into my everyday life. As I have matured as a psychologist, I have discovered the importance to identify when correlation does not necessarily mean causation. You do not have to look hard in your day-to-day adventures to find an event where just because two things may appear to be related to one another, it does not mean one caused the other to occur.

Five years from now I am hoping to be working in finance at a large corporation or in the midst of starting my own business, both of which will require many difficult decisions regarding how to spend money. For example, I cannot simply assume that because my company or the company I am working for has a good month of June that the month of June is directly correlated with good profits and therefor we should increase spending and inventory during all June months. There are many third variables that may have come into play. Maybe a new product was released, or maybe the economy was on a rise, neither of which has to do with the month of June. Because of my psychology class I realize this, and I will now be more careful and aware of this common fallacy.

Psychology In My Life

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Throughout this semester of Psychology 1001, I have learned so many complex concepts that have captivated my interest and challenged the way I see the world and the people around me. One concept that in psychology that I think I will remember in five years from now is the concept of stress and ruminating. Ruminating is defined as "focusing on how bad we feel and endlessly analyzing the causes and consequences of our problems". Ruminating is thought of as "recycling negative events" and often leads to high levels of depression and anxiety.

During my high school years I had constant anxiety about every single little thing that was happening in my life. I spent countless hours obsessing over problems (and potential problems) with family, friends, school, and work... It seemed like I had gone crazy! I constantly had thoughts running through my mind about every possible thing that could go wrong within different aspects of my life. Ruminating even ruined my relationship with my boyfriend of the time. I continuously over analyzed every second he was not with my and became overly controlling to the point where we could not even have fun together.

Learning about the concept of ruminating related to stress helped me recognize my problem. I was driving myself into a deep depressed, stressed out hole. Because of Psychology 1001 I have learned to take the time to relax and stop 'pre-living' events that occur. I will remember the concept of ruminating in five years from now and, hopefully, this concept will help me throughout the rest of my life.
Source: Psychology 1001 From Inquiry to Understanding, Scott Lilienfeld

The One Concept

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Freud introduced the world to his compartmentalized view of the psyche quite sometime ago. Since then, genetics, and the theory of evolution has come a long way in helping the humanity to understand our existence. The spiritual community, with modern day devices like the internet, have come to broaden the perspectives of all of humanity; sharing Buddhist beliefs, Cristian, or tribal beliefs. We modern day men and women have an opportunity to connect all of the broad pieces of the puzzle to put into doctrine a deeper understanding of our world, a humanology. I feel one of the most important parts of this puzzle is embracing, and letting go of this compartmentalized view that Freud has conjured into existence.

The id is defined as the reservoir of our most primitive impulses, including sex and agression (From Inquiry to Understanding). Could what Freud was talking about be related to what Carl Jung describes as our Archetypes that have been passed down through ancestors and the universal consciousness (unconsciousness)? To me it sounds like evolution! Is it possible that these primitive impulses, sex, and agression form a part of our fundamental development as a species? As we have observed thanks to people like Robert Trivers, we are products of Parental Care Investments that have been made, along with mating competition. Logically, one would assume as we are forced to deal with errors in the coding of DNA, like Cystic Fibrosis, or Hemophilia that many modern day mental ailments could be related to our evolutionary pasts. How deeply have we considered that our evolutionary pasts have had an effect on our mental development? How much of this development could be linked to un-fit-social behavior?
Freud also compartmentalized with words like the ego, and the super ego. The ego being the psyche's executive and principal decision maker(From Inquiry to Understanding), The super ego is claimed to be our morality. What Freud has done is created a similar problem as did Rene' Descartes. Descartes said " I think therefore I am". I am sure many of you readers are familiar with the mind-body problem. To summarize, Descartes felt that the mind was a thinking thing; and that the body was not; therefore it was under the minds control. Later Eve Cole Browning, a more modern figure, came to express her views which I will summarize. I do however invite you to read about her ideas on the mind body problem at (http://web.utk.edu/~sophia/readings/cole.pdf ). In all basicity what Browning said was that our bodies give us information on how to survive and function on the daily. Through our eyes we perceive, through our touch we are learning, and through our smells understanding our environments. When a woman has a baby, it is far more than her brain giving her cues; her body is telling her how to react. Browning makes a terrific point that DesCartes did his Methodological experiments in solitude. Humans have evolved in groups, which is the first fault of his experiment. Now that I have drawn these conclusions in regards to DesCartes, Browning, and firstly Freud I will lay out my theory to the matter. What Freud did was similar to Descartes. They separated a fundamentally inseparable piece of machinery. This is similar as to what religion does with the soul principle. Yet regardless whether you feel you have a soul, an ego, or id. The most important part of the puzzle is to understand that they all work as one fundamental piece of equipment. We are one, and whole. Separating these parts of a whole being is schizophrenic in its own right. When one embraces this conflict of an angel, and some devil lying on your shoulder, one is set up for fundamental confusion and at best failure. More modern days views must come to embrace the One concept. The intrinsic inter-related reality that exists within our world today. This can only be understood by knowing that we are effects of causes, and their causes upon causes. It is a line of descent, that is, if there were a bottom too it!

My main points that I would like to convey in this blog are that much can be gained by studying one part of the body. Much can even be learned by imagining that there is some parent called the super ego, and that there is some ravaging beast ready to spring. But mostly, what can be learned is that these are flawed ways of thinking. Not only are they un-realistic, but they cannot be refuted. How can you disprove or prove wether we did have some type of compartmentalized reality in our Psyche. You cannot, and more so it is non existent. I however, myself, have learned through torturous self help books based upon Freudian theories that there are many facets to my being. Yet, the fundamental confusion was extinguished as I was delivered from dualism (DesCartes), and compartmentalizing(Freud). I have adopted the inter-related scientific truth, called evolution, to which there is evidence. I hope that other Psychologists look into the cognitive possibilities, that many modern day problems in the psyche of man/woman are related to our evolutionary processes. We are a product of that evolution, along with the "good" and "bad" that accompany its process!

Projected personality tests can be beat just like any other test if you really desire. The tests themselves use a very basic human bias that is very apperent in children. It is the line of thinking that other share your knowledge and or train of thought. Just like when you tell a child a story but some background info, then ask what the main characters knows, they will assume that the character knows all that they know, but they do not. They do not understand this concept until they are about 6 years old. We use the knowledge that people project their ideals onto blank slate of other humans. People like to think that they are normal, so they will stretch out their own problems onto others to try to justify what they do by telling themselves they are normal.
We as people have become test smart. We can understand what the tests are looking for and answer accordingly. So we can start to beat these tests with more ease if we desire. We talked about a man just after world war 2 who was deeply disturbed but knew what to answer for any personality test to seem normal but got all tripped up on the ink blot tests because he didn't know what would be a normal answer. If those tests had been around long before the he might have been able to beat it by just not giving anything away and keeping very bland answers. Not projecting any internal fears, if he knew what to hide. Soon these tests will be less reliable as people start to catch on. It is a concerning thought that we can miss something, but then another test will come out and they cycle continues.

Hospice = "Good" Grief?

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In the past couple decades home health care and Hospice services have increased tremendously. Death and grieving have always been difficult and painful concepts for families to cope with and Hospice care seems to be the answer to these problems. While many critics of home health care and Hospice exist, studies have shown that this type of specialized end of life care have actually improved many people's experience with the passing of a family member. Most people would agree that learning to deal with grief is essential for mental health. Hospice, for many, has become the catalyst for this.
Ransford & Smith (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/027795369190107N) conducted a study that examined the surviving relatives of those that passed away in either a hospital ward or while receiving Hospice care at home. They were assessed using interviews at 6 and 12 months post death. They were interviewed and assessed on their anxiety levels, alcohol use, social participation and degree to which they took control of their daily lives. Ransford & Smith hypothesized that those who received Hospice care would display more grief resolution that those who's family members passed away in a hospital ward. While there was little difference between the two groups at 6 months, the 12 month assessment showed that the families that received Hospice care were significantly better adjusted that those with the care from hospital wards.
I believe that the reason for this is because Hospice was founded on the principles put forth by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She developed the five stages of grief and stressed the importance of "death with dignity". The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. From my own personal experience with Hospice, I can testify that the care provided was exceptional. We had a team that consisted of an RN that would ensure all medical problems were taken care of and a social worker that would come and speak with the family twice a week. The social worker would walk us through what we were feeling and helped explain what to expect. When families have their loved one in a hospital ward these types of services aren't always made available or are as accessible as Hospice. So the best way to deal with the loss of a loved one is to talk it out and be ready to deal with the grief that ensues.

Traits- Nature vs. Nurture

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While reading chapter fourteen in our course text book, I came across some facts that I thought to be very interesting. The University of Minnesota conducted a very interesting investigation over a span of two decades. This study looked at about 130 pairs of twins that had been separated at birth. The results that they obtained shocked me.
The pairs of twins that shocked me most were the male identical twins who had both been named Jim by their adoptive parents. This is not the only strange thing, they also constructed similar looking tree houses in their backyards, had dogs named "Toy", and both married twice to women named Linda and Betty. Is this just some weird coincidence? or does it have a deeper meaning behind it?
I believe that this is no coincidence. What are the chances? This is not the only pair of twins they found odd coincidences between. Beyond this pair, the book discusses many other curious similarities between reared apart twins. So does this tell us that surroundings shared between twins plays a more decreased role among twins than we originally thought? When comparing the traits of twins reared together and twins reared apart, the correlation doesn't differ much. So this does confirm that shared environment has little to nothing to do with adult personality. However, this doesn't mean that it has no impact on personalities of children. Children raised in similar atmospheres may have like traits, but as they grow older, these traits generally weaken.
So does this infer that some traits are genetic? I believe so. I believe that some traits are influenced by genetics and certain environments and situations cause these traits to surface and develop our personalities.

http://www.fairtest.org/whats-wrong-standardized-tests

The usage of standardized testing in the process of college admissions has always been a source for debate. Critics say that standardized tests reward the ability to quickly answer superficial questions that do not actually require any real thought; in other words, they do not measure the ability to think or create in any field. Since I have taken these tests myself, I can attest to the questions requiring hardly any real thinking. Also, according to the text, the correlation between admission test scores and grades in college are usually below 0.5. Others argue that the tests are hardly even objective. The only objective part of standardized tests is when machines do the scoring. What items to include on the test, the wording and content, how the test is administered, amongst other things are all decisions made by subjective human beings.

I do not think that standardized test scores should be such huge indicators of someone's intelligence. As Howard Gardner suggests, intelligence comes in many different forms. I believe that high stakes testing is not helpful, and that the no child left behind act is bologna. Ultimately, I believe there are better ways to evaluate people's overall intelligence.

Body Image Illusions

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Everyone is aware of the eating disorders bulimia and anorexia, but I do not believe everyone is aware of having a set point. Knowing that your body regulates around a certain body weight (similar to the idea that your body temperature is should always be around 98° F) could potentially weaken the rate of eating disorders.

I believe it is the lack of knowledge of weight and healthy lifestyles that cause Americans to go to extremes to fit into an image they believe to be ideal. Yes, people do become envious when flipping through a magazine and see skinny, muscular celebrity after celebrity. However, many times images are altered, the celebrities themselves are not healthy, and it may just be their set point weight.

The hardest part, I believe, when dealing with one's self-image is to acknowledge that it is harder to lose weight than it is to gain it, and it may be that one cannot be any skinner and still be healthy. However, this is not to say it is impossible to lower one's set point weight. A healthy way to do it would be to slowly cut back on food, exercise daily, and have a food routine.

It is when people do not see immediate results that they get anxious and attempt extreme dieting. Americans desire quick and easy results, unfortunately this mindset cannot be used when attempting to lose weight.

It takes the mental ability to be okay with one's appearance and acknowledge that if they want to change their appearance, that it must be a slow change. Anything drastic will cause health problems and increase the desire to eat, for one's body has not adjusted and needs to take in a certain amount of food to maintain equilibrium at the set point.

It is crucial that people become of having set point weight, for it could be beneficial to the American society. Hopefully, with this given information, people will realize how to change their weight in a healthy way.

For more information, click on the below link.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/ideal-weight-or-happy-weight

Don't leave me!

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I found the Attachment Theory really interesting, as well as the Stages of Separation Distress. It kind of seems like common sense, things that people often feel or experience, just put down into words. I think the Theory is very accurate in describing the human need of maintaining relationships, however I definitely know a couple people who refuse the company of others. At first, I wondered how the Theory would account for these people, but then I realized that many of these individuals do not seem happy or satisfied with themselves/their life. So maybe the theory is right after all.
Related to the Attachment Theory is the 3 Stages of Separation Distress. Talking about it so frankly and indifferently is kind of intimidating! The "stages of your agony after your breakup," or, if you're a child, the horror of your mother making you sleep in your OWN room. According to an online Child Development Guide, neglecting to attend to this Separation distress can lead to a low self-esteem and impaired relations with peers. These stages can be extremely difficult for people to deal with. I think many people fixate on the possibility of experiencing these stages (neuroticism) that they can eventually make the experience real, even though they may not want it to happen.
The overarching theme I found between these two ideas can be summed up with "Don't leave me!" We strive for human companionship and naturally are reluctant to lose it.


http://www.child-development-guide.com/child-development-separation-anxiety-disorder.html

Sleepiness & Honesty

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When reading chapter 11 I was interested in the section about humans as lie detectors. I have seen the show "Lie to Me" and did doubt whether it was as accurate as the show made it out to be. I deduced that it wasn't, because they make far stretches to come to a conclusion, and it's a television show- of course they're going to add more drama. However I was curious as to whether or not some of those 'lie cues' could work in real life. After trying out some of the simplest ones on my friends (such as minimal eye contact, fidgeting, touching of the face, looking down to the left, fake smiles-Duchenne smile) and realized that it was more difficult to spot a lie than I had previously thought, and signs could be easily faked.

Later on that day, I was talking to one of my friends on the phone late at night and we were both getting sleepy. I was still awake, but as she was getting sleepier I realized that she was becoming a lot more open with some of the stuff she was telling me. We're good friends, but when I asked questions, she answered them right away in a very straight forward and honest manner, instead of usually when people think for a moment of how best to answer something. I realized that perhaps, when someone's sleepy, they tell the truth! When I researched this, it hit me that it may not be the sleepiness, but the fact that when someone is drifting off to sleep, their brain starts to slow down many sensory areas as well, while different neurons become active. One becomes a lot less guarded and is less aware of their surroundings and understanding of what is happening, and respond by doing things very straightforward, or automatically and without much deep thought.

Much to my surprise, when I told my friend about this a couple days later, she said I've done the same thing myself! At a sleepover during the summer she swore that I hadn't fallen asleep yet and was answering every one of her questions honestly. But just as she didn't remember anything she had said when I was questioning her, I don't remember anything about answering questions during that sleepover either- we decided that we must have been so sleepy, perhaps we either forgot about it or thought it was a dream.

I believe that perhaps there is some sort of link between telling the truth while being sleepy, and just as some of those simple clues to find out when a person is lying, perhaps being sleepy works as well. This could be easily falsified with many claims. Perhaps it holds no reliability and was a one-time deal, perhaps other side effects from the day such as being stressed, etc., led to us opening up and perhaps we can use Occam's razor and simply say that we were too tired to do anything but tell the truth. However, I still believe that there might be some correlation between sleepiness and telling the truth. For those of you interested, try it out on your own friends!


With the popular and separation of intelligence test developed by French psychologist Binet and Simon, it was translated into English by American psychologist Henry Goddard in 1908, and was conducted on peoples including new immigrant and prison inmates and delinquents. Translation though did not change the original meaning and the way intelligence was tested, the language became the obstacle as well as the conducting process.
For new immigrants, English was unfamiliar to them and might have trouble understanding the introduction of the test which obviously affected their performance on it. Also, many conductors did not fully understand the test which originally designed for child, and applied it to adults. All these factors made the results that there were many who were sentenced as mental retardation and the proportion went up to 40% among immigrants.
Due to the situation, people who wished to contain good genes proposed the Eugenic Movement which separated wildly in America. People who were classified as mental retardation needed to be sterilized. However, this movement was a controversial issue until today because it prevents people from reproducing by against their willingness.
Proponents of the Eugenics Movements held opinions that people should preserve good genes to reproduce making sure survival. People against it said that people do have their right to reproduce and to have their own children enjoying the family life.
I personally against the Eugenics Movement for the following reasons, based on what I've learnt from PSY 1001.
First, there was no fully evidences proved that intelligence was completely based on our biological structure which means that it will be influenced by genes. Thought our brain size and structure, partial size as well as density may contribute to intelligence, however, there was no absolute answer of this question. Outside environment such as nutrition and education also plays significant roles in it. Though recent years, twin studies do prove that there were positive correlations between intelligence and genes, however, this still cannot be the reason for the Eugenics Movement because, first, there were not twin studies at that time; second, there was no evidence that education cannot improve one's intelligent since our intelligence is constructed by two parts, flow intelligence and crystal intelligence.
Second, as mentioned before, I do think that intelligence could be improved since our crystal intelligence is "accumulated knowledge of the world acquired over time". Properly education does help people learn more and improve their capability. People who are not high in general intelligence may have other talents, in other words, they may have high special intelligence. Intelligence test do reflects something which is quite important, however, it could not reflect the value of one's life, and people could not use it to decide which person could reproduce, enjoy life and which one could not.
Here is a link I found on our U of M website about the U and the Eugenic Movement.
http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/minnesotans/andHolocaust/

Drive reduction theories propose that humans are motivated to maintain homeostasis within certain drives like hunger, thirst and sexual frustration. However, if we didn't supplement drive reduction theories with incentive theories we would have to assume that people never intentionally engage in behaviors when their drives are satisfied, and that would be incorrect, people frequently are motivated to extend beyond homeostasis by pursuit of positive goals. An example given in the textbook examines the work of great minds like Picasso, Maya Angelou and Mozart, asserting that if we applied only drive reduction theories to their work after they finished a masterpiece they would have less desire to create another. This we can tell is not the case; Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, which he built upon for many years to reach the groundbreaking cubist movement and then in '37 he painted Guernica, arguably his greatest and most famous piece. What I am interested in are the two types of motivation responsible for Incentive theories: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation.
As a senior and art major at the U, I have taken nearly every type of art class, because I eventually want to teach art, so it's important that I have a little bit of experience with every kind of art form. This year I was confronted with the fact that I still needed to take ceramics, my least favorite type of art. I figured that I just didn't like it because I didn't have very much experience with it and within a couple weeks of the class it would grow on me. That's how it went with photography, which I slowly grew to love. Ceramics has proven to be different, I still really hate it, even more than I thought I would in the first place. I persist because I want to pass the class and I need to have experience if I want to get into a teacher licensure program for art. These criteria are both motivated by external goals or from extrinsic motivation. If I was making the work in ceramics based more on internal goals, like trying to use it to express a bigger idea or artistic theory I have, it would be intrinsic motivation. So which form of motivation is better? I think both are necessary. Not all people have type A personalities, so sometimes a little extrinsic motivation is necessary to prompt later intrinsic motivation. Class assignments are good starting points so that we don't feel so overwhelmed by an entropic world with endless ideas and possibilities. My frustration with ceramics is that there are way too many goals created by extrinsic motivation. My teacher piles assignment on top of assignment so I have to think quickly and therefore I'm only concerned only with whether or not I can get the assignment finished, I give no thought towards what kind of meaning the piece has to me. So when the ceramic piece is finished and glazed it offers nothing to me except a grade. I don't think that's how art classes should be, but there are a number of definitions for what constitutes as art, and perhaps one could go as far as to claim that just because all of these feelings and motivations or lack thereof motivations were poured into a piece, that that is what makes the piece significant. What I do know is that once the class has ended I will not be satisfied and I will pursue ceramics again out of an unfulfilled drive of intrinsic goals that I never got to sort out within the scope of this semester.

Numbers DO Lie

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As many of us have experienced, standardized testing is generally used as a predictor for future success. The two major tests that are generally regarded as two of the most important tests you will ever take are the ACT and SAT for college admissions. Although these tests do show some measure of cognitive ability, they do not accurately predict academic success in higher education. According to a study done by Rebecca Zwick of the Educational Testing Service and Igor Himelfarb of UC Santa Barbra, there are a lot of different problems with only using these types of tests for admissions.

One of the main problems stated in the study is that your socioeconomic status plays a large role in how well you do on these tests. This is caused by many different variables. A main one is the availability of resources and quality of schooling throughout the different class levels. This caused an over prediction of first year GPA for African-American and Latino students. This systematic over prediction helps to show that the SAT does not capture all of the necessary factors that go into predicting first year GPA in colleges.

With these problems in the standardized tests, I believe that more emphasis should be placed on HSGPA, which showed throughout this study to have predicted first year GPA with a correlation between .59-.89. If the admissions of college are more based on grades rather than a test, students would have a higher rate of success in their first years.

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=4&hid=25&sid=21dfed19-ac98-4abc-a87a-08427c8c609e%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=61816344

Standardized Testing

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Are standardized tests too difficult?

It is not that these tests are ridiculously difficult; it's that they are simply ridiculous. They don't have the ability to capture what it means to be a well-educated person. As the president of the National Academy of Sciences has remarked, questions that focus on "excruciatingly boring material" not only fail to judge students' capacity to reason but wind up driving away potential future scientists."
The following is an example of a high school standardized test question that students commonly get wrong:

n 12 3 4 5 6 tn 3 5
The first two terms of a sequence, t, and t2, are shown above as 3 and 5.
Using the rule:
tn = tn_2 + tn-2, where n is greater than or equal to 3, complete the table.

This question was found under the math section of the test but it does not actually test a students math skills, it tests the students ability to follow a set of instructions. This is really asking the test taker to add 3 and 5 to get 8, then add 5 and 8 to get 13, then add 8 to 13 to get 21, etc. In addition to the wording of the question being unclear and difficult to follow, many students will get questions like these wrong because they haven't been exposed to this type of notation or question. Questions such as this one demonstrate that students have memorized a procedure, not that they fully understand what they are doing.

The Big Five

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The "Big Five" model of personality has become the basis for many personality assessments. Many companies these days even have potential employees take the test as part of an application process. The model is very popular but is it truly a reliable test of personality?

The first question i raise is what is personality? Personality is an abstract construct. How can one measure it and give it a numerical value when it is not even clearly defined? I think these kinds of test can be helpful to tell us more about ourselves. What it cannot do is give a definitive answer on who we are. These tests are not falsifiable. How can you give a numerical vale to how open one is to new experiences? I call shenanigans.

Another aspect i question is the way the tests are given. Not every person will interpret the question the same. If each person will take the test in a different way how can the "Big Five" test be considered reliable? Also, when given for interview purposes, clever individuals will simply answer the question to what they think the company prefers. I think the test is at its peak when it is taken alone and the results are only seen by the test taker. This way the person taking the test has no other motives to answer the questions to anyone others preference and will really be able to look inward at themselves. This way the test more accurate. Companies who give this out as part of an applicant process are really just kidding themselves. If you really want the best employee you can get and want to know their personality, give the person a good ole fashion interview and find out for sure!

James-Lange Theory

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I was initially intrigued by the theory because my roommate brought it up and we had a small argument about the accuracy of it. I believe the theory is incorrect and it doesn't reflect how emotions and actions are actually formed. My roommate agrees more with the theory.
When I first think about the James-Lange Theory it seems wrong that emotions are consciously thought about after a physiological response to a stimuli. Emotions seem to be more instantaneous and produced because of stimuli without thought. I don't agree with the process that the theory explains and wanted to prove my roommate wrong.

As I looked at research and articles there were a few things that seemed to refute the theory. I didn't look for evidence to prove my theory correct, but wanted to see holes in the James-Lange Theory. There has been a lot of experiments with rats and disconnecting their viscera (internal structures) from their CNS, and emotions were still produced. This helps support that emotions are not caused from conscious thoughts after an action has taken place. Other support from research showed that similar visceral changes occurred with different emotions. One piece of evidence I like is that visceral changes seemed slower than emotional responses. All of this along with other research shows the inconsistency of the theory and helps my point.

I still believe more in the Cannon-Bard Theory or Two Factor Theory of emotion. I think there is a combination of multiple theories, but more research needs to be gathered to show this.

What we really hear

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It is amazing to think about how keen organisms' sensation and perception of audio is in the grand scheme of evolution. The humans' ability to recognize distinctive sounds and piece together complex language into thoughts is so advanced yet normal that we overlook how complicated it really is every single day. Kendra Cherry discusses the science of how the ears work in her article (1). So I asked myself that there has to be more complications to the way that the most intelligent species known can communicate so easily. At source (2) it lists different ways that the audio perception can be muffled by such as auditory discrimination, auditory foreground-background differentiation, auditory blending, and auditory sequencing. The failure of auditory discrimination involves people failing to find discriminations between different sounds. This difficulty to comprehend differences in language would prove to be increasingly difficult for children trying to advance through schooling. Then there are the auditory differentiations that help us differentiate from the unnecessary pieces so our brain does not get overwhelmed by the unimportant. All of these auditory tools can hurt or help us but we must learn to accept them and try not to mess with them or a persons' abilities.

1:http://www.netplaces.com/psychology/how-you-experience-your-world/the-ears-and-auditory-sensation.htm
2:http://www.learninginfo.org/auditory-perception.htm

Seeing in the dark

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http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1NtKsx/seedmagazine.com/content/article/seeing_in_the_dark

Above is a link to an article I found on Stumbleupon one day. It is about a man that had the visual cortex of his brain destroyed by two consecutive strokes. This rendered him permanently blind in both eyes. It is common for stroke victims to develop full or partial blindness, however this man's case was unusual because both hemispheres were damaged, leaving him completely blind. This type is known as selective bilateral occipital damage. Researches began to examine him while he was recovering and discovered something very interesting, despite his complete loss of visual imagery, he maintained the ability to decipher emotion on a person's face. This ability was proven by examining his amygdala activity (used for emotive processing) during these tests. To go further, researches designed an obstacle course by arranging boxes, chairs, ect down a long hallway to see if the man could navigate around without any assistance. He required an aide and a cane to maneuver, but successfully navigated the course without running into anything. This information shows that his eyes were still fully functioning and able to gather information from his surroundings, however he cannot create a definite image of it. He has maintained his spatial awareness through his subconscious.

This case reminds me of the man from the last exam that suffered from epilepsy and had his corpus collosum severed. He was able to retain information and process it without being consciously aware of it.

While I believe that this case of "seeing in the dark" is fully plausible, I have a problem with the study of the obstacle course. The main was given an aide to help him move about, and I think this may have had some role in the success of him completing the course. The aide could have unintentionally given the blind man cues as to which direction to move (i.e. slightly pulling toward and away to avoid the obstacles.) This would apply to Occam's Razor of critical thinking because the claim may be better explained by more simple factors.

Criminal Profiling

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I love Jack McCoy.
jack.jpg
Fun Fact: He is the only DA tough enough to convict Chuck Norris.
When he was an ADA on Law and Order (side note: The original is the only watchable version. You have a right to like the spin-offs, but you are wrong in that right.) McCoy will sometimes call on a psychologist to take the stand against a defendant. When no insanity plea is used by the defendant, the psychologist is being used as a criminal profiler. The profiler is giving his expert opinion as to the personality and thought process of the criminal, maybe even describing some phsyical features.

The problem is that criminal profiling tends to be subject to the P.T. Barnum effect. "The P.T. Barnum effect is the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions-descriptions that apply to almost everyone-as accurate" (Lilienfeld, 574). In a courtroom, the jury wouldn't buy a vague description of a criminal as "angry" or "disturbed", because most people could venture a guess that someone who acts outside the law as being "angry" or "disturbed".

In all reality, criminal profiling is at best a guess. A study by Homant & Kennedy in 1998 (Lilienfeld, 575) agrees. The study showed that professional profilers were no better at distinguishing peronsality traits of murderers than untrained, college students. As other studies have replicated these findings, it is strange that criminal organizations still train profilers.

Even if his criminal profiler is a bust, Jack McCoy will still win the case. (Dun Dun!)

Attachment Theory

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I am currently in a relationship and I found Attachment theory to be very interesting. The basis behind Attachment theory is the idea that humans need to develop and retain stable relationships. "According to attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969), infants and adults experience the same sequence of emotional reactions when separated from their attachment figures" (Lecture 11/18/11). This concept is important because it showed how couples interact after being separated. There were some unique findings from these studies done by Professor Simpson that showed that certain attachment styles led to more successful relationships than other attachment styles. This is what was particularly interesting to me. I believe I have a secure attachment style with my current partner, but at times I think I exhibit different attachment styles. My girlfriend actively seeks support and I give her support. So according to this, that would mean I have a secure attachment style with my girlfriend. I feel like in different situations and at different times in your life, people would have different attachment styles. People can learn to depend on others (secure) or learn that they cannot depend on others (avoidant). Maybe a couple has a really bad breakup and they have trouble trusting others and take on an avoidant attachment style. So wouldn't it make sense that someone could have all of these attachment styles at any point in their life? Someone has a secure attachment style with one close friend and an avoidant attachment style with another? So instead of just labeling a person as having a secure attachment style, shouldn't there instead be some sort of scoring involved, like in a personality assessment?

the big five

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There are many personality tests out there, but who's to say that these tests are an accurate measure of one's personality. The test that I would like to focus on is the Big Five inventory. Though this test seemed fairly accurate in its findings, does this test really consider enough factors?
The factors that are tested in the Big Five are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These characteristics are important but not all powerful and the only ones that matter. These traits are not independent of each other, for example how open you are may be correlated to how extraverted you are. This causes the Big Five to not be a comprehensive analysis.
Another aspect of this personality profile that is not cohesive is the admittance of other personality traits that are very important in determining the way that one reasons, thinks or acts. Important traits that need to also be considered are how masculine or feminine one is or motivation or religion, among many others.
Another issue with this test is that it is a self-report test which lacks in reliability. One person may believe they are extremely outgoing or extraverted, but have a friend that is twenty times more so but they may still receive the same score. This is because people interpret questions in a different way because everyone has their own experiences and are bias to a degree.

the big five

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There are many personality tests out there, but who's to say that these tests are an accurate measure of one's personality. The test that I would like to focus on is the Big Five inventory. Though this test seemed fairly accurate in its findings, does this test really consider enough factors?
The factors that are tested in the Big Five are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These characteristics are important but not all powerful and the only ones that matter. These traits are not independent of each other, for example how open you are may be correlated to how extraverted you are. This causes the Big Five to not be a comprehensive analysis.
Another aspect of this personality profile that is not cohesive is the admittance of other personality traits that are very important in determining the way that one reasons, thinks or acts. Important traits that need to also be considered are how masculine or feminine one is or motivation or religion, among many others.
Another issue with this test is that it is a self-report test which lacks in reliability. One person may believe they are extremely outgoing or extraverted, but have a friend that is twenty times more so but they may still receive the same score. This is because people interpret questions in a different way because everyone has their own experiences and are bias to a degree.

How motivated are you?

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It has been said that an IQ score can somewhat determine how successful you will be in life. It can determine what kind of career you will have. But, can your IQ score be altered depending on how motivated you are at the time of completion? According to a study at Penn's School of Arts and Sciences, motivation plays a key role in the outcome of IQ testing. She was trying to figure out, "when you statically control for motivation, what happens to the predictive power of the IQ test? What we found is that the predictive power goes down significantly." This study is not disregarding the fact that IQ scores do predict long term outcomes, but rather it questions whether it is completely because smart people are more successful in life or, we can predict outcomes based on the test takers motivation to do well.
Though I have never taken an IQ test, I have experienced different results based on motivation. In the past I have studied equal amounts for two different tests, but scored very differently. I always tend to do better on the tests I actually want to succeed at, rather than the tests I must take in order to pass. I have experienced that motivation produces better outcomes.
This theory forces us to take a second look at who is said to be "smart" and "stupid." If it is the case that motivation plays a key role in determining outcome, we must find new ways to motivate individuals for test taking. Low scores may be due to the fact that people just don't care, rather than the fact that they are not intelligent.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427171638.htm

Social Contagion

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Have you ever not known how to feel? Ever think a joke is not humorous until someone else laughs? Ever been with a group of people who are angry or upset and suddenly you become angry and upset for no reason? This are social contagions, which, according to changingminds.org, is emotion spreading rapidly through crowds. Common examples of social contagions include laughing, yawning, menstruation,making purchases, language, emotions, and even obesity.

In our books, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding mass hysteria and urban legends are focused on. According to the book, mass hysteria is a "contagious outbreak of irrational behavior that spreads much like a flu epidemic" and urban legends are false stories repeated so many times that people believe them to be true. Mass hysteria is also capable of leading to collective delusions, most commonly as UFO sightings. In reality, 98% of all UFO sightings can be accounted for by misinterpretations of familiar phenomena. However, once UFO is mentioned, people will go out looking for them and will then typically label normal sightings, such as airplanes and shooting stars, as UFOs.
mass hysteria Pictures, Images and Photos
Urban legends are very popular among all age groups because, although as ridiculous as some may be, they are definitely plausible. Most urban legends provoke disgust, curiosity, and fear, which all grab anyone's attention who has fallen victim to the possibility of these stories. The most recent urban legend I have fallen victim to is that of Slender Man, a tall, faceless man in a black suit with extendable arms that kidnaps you when you think of him. I lost a weeks worth of sleep over this all thanks to my oh-so-wonderful roommate! Urgh! For more information on Slender Man, I suggest watching the MarbleHornets documentary-style string of videos on YouTube to get a truly chilling sense of him.

There is very little hard evidence as to why there are social contagions. All we can really tell from them is that as human beings we are largely effected by the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. We are highly susceptible to extreme emotions such as happiness, anger, and uneasiness and when others experience these emotions we are extremely likely to mirror their thoughts and feelings. Imagine all of the times you've been having fun with friends. Everything is going great and everyone is happy, that is, until that one person brings everyone down by bringing a bit of drama into the picture and ruins everyone else's moods and evenings. Social contagions are everywhere and effect us greatly in our everyday lives, even when we are completely unaware of them!

http://www.sutherlandsurvey.com/Column_pages/social_contagion.html

http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/social_contagion.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zg48-LIcy0

Does Criminal Profiling Work?

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Criminal profiling is a relatively new scientific field making its way into law enforcement. The goal of criminal profilers is to gather evidence from crime scenes and victim reports to try to put together an accurate description of the offender.

Profiling has worked on multiple occasions. In one case, a profiler put together a probably description of the "mad bomber" of New York City, saying that he is most likely not married, foreign, and around the age of 50. This description turned out to be right on, and the cops found the offender a lot faster than they would have without the profiler's description.

But does criminal profiling actually work? Or is this just an anecdotal occasion? Robert Homant, PhD, of the University of Detroit Mercy thinks criminal profiling is lacking in external validity. When put to the test in an experimental situation, criminal profilers wrote more detailed descriptions of offenders, but they were not always more accurate than other group's descriptions were. They were given both a rapist and a murder case, and the criminal profilers gave more accurate descriptions of the offender in the rapist case, but no more accurate descriptions than other groups of the offender in the murder case.

In another experiment, criminal profilers did well at describing offenders, but did not prove to be consistently good at their jobs. The profilers showed the most variance in their ability to profile criminals out of any of the groups who were tested. The group who did the second best at profiling was a group of college students in science, which leads many to believe that overall logical reasoning is required to be skilled in profiling.

Links:
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.aspx
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/profiling.aspx

The use of ACT and SAT scores in the college admissions process has always been debated. Considering the correlation between admissions tests and college grades are typically below .5 as the Lillenfield text points out, I can see why the use of such scores is so criticized. Many students, like Danielle Rettinger who was interviewed in an NPR report (see link), feel that the tests do not adequately show academic performance. The College Board argues that standardized tests are necessary for colleges to use considering the number of applications they review. Those who argue against the use of SAT and SAT scores say that the number is not an adequate predictor of a student's ability and that the test is particularly biased against women and minorities. I see a problem in the reliability of standardized testing. For example, those who do not do well on the SAT usually score a better equivalent score on the ACT. The SAT and ACT also vary on what they test. Although they test in some similar subjects, the SAT focuses more on grammar than the ACT whereas the ACT tests harder math skills than the SAT. Some colleges have chosen to do away with the ACT and SAT requirement. Bates College in Maine has found that the difference in graduation rate between students who submit scores and those who do not is less than .1 percent indicating that the tests may not be the best predictor of success. I do not think that SAT and ACT scores should be the sole predictor of one's intelligence. As Howard Gardner illustrated, intelligence can come in many forms. Some students are not successful at test taking but might show high intelligence in a different area of academics. Although it would be more difficult during the admissions process, I believe that ultimately, colleges could find more value in looking at overall intelligence rather than a number scored on a standardized test.

NPR article about ACT and SAT scores

Eating Disorders

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The Lilienfeld text discusses the seriousness and sadness of eating disorders and how they are much more than merely a dissatisfaction with one's body. With anorexia having a fatality rate of 5 to 10 percent it is one of the most dangerous mental disorders a person can have. With that said, eating disorders cannot be blamed solely on the media of Western culture; but it is fair to say that it does deserve a fair chunk of the responsibility for this problem.
An article from psychiatry online talks about the contributions the media makes to women and men's self esteem and attitudes towards appearance. Women are presented with several different images of what is sexy, making it increasingly difficult for girls to find a realistic role model to identify with and look up to. Speaking of realistic, the article also pointed out that most of the models shown in magazines and the media are giving women unattainable physical goals. Models bodies are airbrushed to perfection, erasing any trace of "flaws" and giving society the idea that beauty means being stick thin and having large breasts. As if these models would need any airbrushing to begin with considering they are 23% thinner than the average woman.
Although men are not as associated with eating disorders as women, they too are effected by the harsh unrealities of the media. Pictures of men with perfectly sculpted abs and little to no body fat have men dishing out large amount of cash for gym memberships. While a gym membership seems like a healthy idea and not so harmful, the obsession with staying in shape and gaining muscle mass can lead to the misuse of steroids and restrictive diets.
There are still Americans who carry healthy body weights and are able to brush off the expectations set by the media. These lucky beings prove that it is not only the media that causes such terrible mental disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but there is sufficient evidence that shows there is some kind of negative effect coming from these pictures of "perfect" people.

source: http://ap.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=50181

This week, we learned about the Big Five, which are the most distinctive and commonly understood personality traits we share throughout the world. They are openness (how open you are to new things), conscientiousness (how responsible and careful you are), extraversion (how sociable and lively you are), agreeableness (how well you get along with people), and neuroticism (how anxious and worrisome you are). We were supposed to take a personality test before class and thanks to this test I got to know a little more about myself. While reading more about personality traits I found something interesting so I would like to share that with you. If you scored high on agreeableness or if you know someone who is quite agreeable in your life it might be good for you to read this article.

money-market-1.jpg


According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, agreeable people are more likely to be in trouble in money management related situations. Researchers from Louisiana State University (LSU), Texas Tech University and Northern Illinois University found out that people who are conscientious have better credit than people who are agreeable. One of the researchers from LSU, Jeremy Bernerth, explained that people who are more agreeable tend to agree on co-signing loans for their friends or family upon requests. They also tend to have a hard time saying no to store clerks when asked for additional credit cards. Professor Karen Pine from University of Hertfordshire who is an author of Sheconomics commented that easy going people tend to feel discomfort when they switch bank accounts or have to say no to people who ask them to sign up for membership card that cost them membership fees. Apparently saying no to others seems "out of character" to them. She added that in order for you to maintain good credit and strong finances, you need to be tough to various temptations. Interestingly, this study suggested that there is no correlation between bad credit and bad behaviors at work.

If this study reminds you of someone you know in your family or your close friend maybe you can help them. For example, when you go shopping with your friend or family member and someone at a store tries to get them to sign up for a new credit card, you know you can step in and help them!

Sources
http://www.bps.org.uk/news/calm-people-have-poorer-credit-scores/
The British Psychological Society
http://psydb.herts.ac.uk/staff_list/FMPro?-db=staff_list_email&-format=recorddetail.html&-lay=details&-sortfield=surname&-max=2147483647&-recid=33557&-findall=/ University of Hertfordshire

College Admission Tests

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I think one very relevant and highly debated topic is college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT. A lot of people have wondered how well these tests actually predict academic success in college. Sometimes I don't think my score predicted much of anything.

According to an article I found on ABC News, the University of California president wants to get rid of the test as a requirement for admission to their school. I would tend to agree because there have been many problems found with these tests. Such problems are culturally or ethnically biased questions, class biased questions, etc. And, as also stated in the textbook, "...the correlations between these tests and college grades are often below .5 and in a few cases zero." Therefore implying that these tests don't do a very good job of predicting college academic success. So why do colleges still require these tests?

These tests miss out on some very key aspects of success in college that should be examined. They don't measure very accurately how well someone is going to be able to adapt socially. Alone, that can sometimes make or break some of your college classes and overall experiences. While some of the aspects measured by the SAT may help you in college success I still think there should be less emphasis placed these tests and more emphasis placed on other characteristics of personality when reviewing an application.

College Admission Tests

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I think one very relevant and highly debated topic is college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT. A lot of people have wondered how well these tests actually predict academic success in college. Sometimes I don't think my score predicted much of anything.

According to an article I found on ABC News, the University of California president wants to get rid of the test as a requirement for admission to their school. I would tend to agree because there have been many problems found with these tests. Such problems are culturally or ethnically biased questions, class biased questions, etc. And, as also stated in the textbook, "...the correlations between these tests and college grades are often below .5 and in a few cases zero." Therefore implying that these tests don't do a very good job of predicting college academic success. So why do colleges still require these tests?

These tests miss out on some very key aspects of success in college that should be examined. They don't measure very accurately how well someone is going to be able to adapt socially. Alone, that can sometimes make or break some of your college classes and overall experiences. While some of the aspects measured by the SAT may help you in college success I still think there should be less emphasis placed these tests and more emphasis placed on other characteristics of personality when reviewing an application.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

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It seems that overall rich people are happier than poor people. Is that really true? If so, what aspect of being rich makes people so happy? Could some of the aspects of being rich that make people so happy be replicated in other ways to make poor people happier. Here is a great article on this topic.
http://www.forbes.com/2006/02/11/tim-harford-money_cz_th_money06_0214harford.html
The freedom that having money provides is a large contributor to happiness. Not having to worry about whether or not you're going to be able to pay your bills is a huge stressor for some. Also having money gives you the freedom to travel and do more of the things you enjoy. On the flip side rich people generally have more time consuming jobs which many times means less time for those things. It also means less time to spend with family and friends which is the most enjoyable thing anyone can do. People also enjoy having more control over their lives. A higher paying job usually gives people more control over decisions in the work place and they are not constantly being bossed around. I believe that if a poor person could be just as happy as a rich person if they were able to have these aspects in their own life.

In Chapter 14 of the Lillienfeld text, it describes the P.T. Barnum effect where people believe descriptions and sayings as true because they already apply to the majority. Good examples they used in the text to explain this were spiritual readings such as tarot cards, crystal balls and horoscopes. For a long time when I was younger I read my horoscope every morning on a daily basis. And, unconsciously, I spent the remainder of the day applying confirmation bias--seeking out things that would validate my horoscope and ignoring things that didn't agree with it. I was always amazed at how accurate my readings were and believed in them for quite sometime. It wasn't until I started reading horoscopes for the other signs that I started to question how personal these readings were. I soon realized that a lot of the other readings also applied to me even though they were meant for other people. In the book, they evaluate this concept with extraordinary claims, and I agree. It's not that the readings are actually predicting your daily outcomes, but that they are so vague and general to begin with that people are susceptible to finding things in their everyday lives that will agree with it and, therefore, confirming their belief that horoscopes are really true.
A few years ago there was a huge boom in the media with Sylvia Browne and her psychic readings. She appeared on many television shows and even made annual predictions at the start of the new year (which mostly turned out incorrect). The following YouTube.com video is a little peek at what she was about and how she worked:
http://youtu.be/YiaVgl3DkQw

In the audience readings, you can see the person agreeing with her, nodding their head and confirming that what she is saying is so accurate; but her responses are so vague that it can be taken in so many ways by the person she is reading. Just goes to show how easy it is to take what someone says and be able to apply it in some way to something that is actually happening to you. People are so easily persuaded when they want answers to their questions or need some sort of reassurance. It is all fun and entertaining, but it is also necessary to realize the extraordinary claims behind it all. For example, later in the YouTube clip, Sylvia talks with a young mother who says her young daughter talks and interacts with ghosts because she babbles randomly and acts as if she is. Maybe it's simply that her child is being a little kid who can't yet talk and is purely adapting and developing to the world around her. There are many kids who play with imaginary friends, but that doesn't mean that they are speaking with the dead. That's just simply how they are.

Tests? Exams? We don't like them and We bugging about them all the time. And indeed, we are using them in our everyday life. Then there comes the confusion question: do we really need it? Is it really working or is it time to change to another more efficient system?
Of course, for everything in this world, there are pros and cons. So is the standardized testing system. In order to understand better what pros and cons it brings to us, we should ask ourselves a easy question first : what is exactly is the standardized testing?

Looking into our Lilienfeld text book, I find this: A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard", manner. And then searching on the web, I find something more interesting about how exactly those so called "standard" are categorized. There are basically two ways of categorizing the standardized tests. First one is looking into high-stakes and low-stakes of the testing. In a high-stakes environment, test results are used to make important decisions about students, teachers, or schools. However, in a low-stakes environment, the effects of test results are less far-reaching, sometimes effects nothing beyond a student's grade in a particular subject, such as an AP test. Another way to categorize the standardized test is by the reference of the test can make.

Now by the definition of the standardized test, we know that the purpose of the test is to make reference of person's ability and mostly can reflect a certain angle of a person's personal life. But, is it really working? Of course it does. That's why those test are designed for, it has to work in some degree. However, how much of degree is exactly working on a particular person? We don't know and nobody does. We only know a rough number refer to a group, which is reference of the statistical study of the small random sample they took. For example, the SATI score is with a .48 correlation with the freshman GPA, and a .76 of the college make the right decision to select the student. It is not exactly science. It is just a prediction and which is also the way left for people to arguing about how unfair and defected the standardized testing is.
I looked up on the internet and find basically the arguments that people made about the standarized test are the following:
Cons:
• The test questions reveal bias toward a middle-class white background.
• Because test items differ with different administrations of the test, different test scores may not show differences between students.
• The tests do not reveal current understandings of how students learn.
• The multiple-choice format is inadequate for giving instructive information about the student as a whole.
• The conclusions one can draw from authentic assessment and observation of student work and the student as her or she learns is more valuable than standardized test scores.
• Concerns with high-stakes testing results is being given too much power to shape curriculum.
Pros:
• Standardized tests provide a different view than that of the classroom teacher, an important element when a particular child is not being well-served in a particular educational setting for some reason.
• Standardized tests allow for accountability by revealing how effective a particular program is in covering the content of the test.
• Standardized tests can reveal achievement gaps between and among students in different groups.
• Standardized tests are not meant to do everything.
• Tests that are open-ended in order to reveal more about students are also costlier to administer, and more difficult to score to a standard.
• Testing is one way to help ensure that students maintain material that they've been taught after the particular lesson or unit is complete.

Basically, from the con's view they are just looking for the ways that the correlations number are missed, and they are right about those points they made. And the pro part's view basically argue that the prediction of the correlation that the standardized system can refer to.
The debate of the standardized test has lasting for decades and never ends, just like the debate of the global warming, politics, and economy. There has never been a perfect system existed on earth. The one we use is the best and only one we got. So, instead making big argument reflected from the data flaws of the system, do something really matters that can improve it.

Source: http://www.educationbug.org/a/standardized-tests--overview.html
http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199102_worthen.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test
http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/16137.aspx

Insomnia

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Insomnia is a common sleep problem that can have an Affect your quality of life. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. They may wake up during the night or early the next morning. There are two different types of sleep problems: short-term and chronic. Short-term sleep problems are often linked to short-term stress. This short-term insomnia can last for days or weeks. Your sleeping patterns will normally return to normal in less than a month. Chronic sleep problem is an ongoing condition. Chronic Insomnia is often a symptom of another health problem such as depression or chronic pain. Insomnia may be caused by multiple things: stress, depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits, changes in sleep habits or surroundings, stimulants, lack of regular exercise or other health problems. There are many different symptoms of insomnia. These symptoms vary for each person. People with insomnia may :
• Have trouble falling asleep. This can mean lying in bed for up to an hour or more, tossing and turning, waiting to fall asleep.
• Wake up during the night and have trouble going back to sleep.
• Wake up too early in the morning.
• Feel tired when they wake up, like they didn't get enough sleep.
• Feel grouchy, sleepy, or anxious, and be unable to get things done during the daytime.
Insomnia cannot be diagnosed by a test. Normally, insomnia is due to some other cause. Your doctor may assess you current health condition or past health problems. Doctors may also perform physical exams, blood tests and on the rare occasion sleep studies to help find out what health problem is causing the insomnia.
Different treatments to insomnia include:
• Go to bed at the same time each night.
• Get up at the same time each day.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
• Get regular exercise (but make sure you finish the exercise at least 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed).
• Avoid daytime naps.
Insomnia is very common and can affect people in all stages of life. 10-15% of adults are affected by insomnia. 20% of children are affected by insomnia. It is more common in women and the elderly.

Blog # 5 Standardized Testing

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"Five persons are sitting in a line. One of the two persons, at the farthest ends, is sharp, the other one is fair. An overweight person is sitting to the right of a feeble person. A tall person is to the left of the fair person and the feeble person is sitting between the sharp and overweight persons. The tall person is at which place counting from right?" This is a sample question from the GRE; to many people this question may appear confusing at first and you may be wondering what is this even testing. The answer to this question is that the tall person is the second to the right. In both lecture and discussion there was a great deal of focus on the debate of standardized testing. Being a junior who is going to take the GRE sometime in the spring or summer of 2012, the topic of standardized testing was relevant and interesting to me. Therefore, I decided to further explore this controversial topic. First, I will discuss briefly the history and structure of standardized testing specifically the SAT, ACT and GRE. Then I will review some opinions regarding the reliability of these tests. According to the article "Brief History: Standardized Testing" by Dan Fletcher, published in the magazine "Time" in December 11, 2009 the earliest record of standardized testing originates from China. Government employees or candidate employees had to complete an exam testing their knowledge of Confucian philosophy and poetry. In the United States during the Industrial Revolution this became a method of testing large numbers of students more efficiently. In modern times performance in ACT and SAT tests is among the most significant in the college-admission process. The SAT is geared towards testing logic, while the ACT is considered to be evaluating accumulated knowledge. Imagine now that you have prepared and any of these standardized tests and feeling pretty good about how the test went until 2 weeks later receiving a lower score than anticipated. Data shows that such discrepancy may not always be incorrect answering but due to error in the grading process. This type of error has occurred and sometimes it is caught other times no one is aware of this error which may contribute to which school you will get accepted to. Errors in standardized testing were explained in "A Systematic Problem" published by the National Board on Education Testing and Public Policy written by Kathleen Rhoades and George Madaus from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in May 2003. Rhoades explains that these errors occur due to the fact that there is no US agency that independently checks the processes and products of the testing agencies, which leads to errors that are difficult to detect. A famous example discussed was the case of the 1978 Medical College Admissions Test when the "mistake resulted in artificially low scores for 90 percent of the test takers on one administration and probably caused some candidates to be disqualified" (Rhoades 5). Another horrific story is the 1977 transitioning in the difficulty level of the LSAT. Students that took the test before October of 1977 obtained significantly lower scores and were less likely to get accepted into any law school program. This story is troubling to me because they recently changed the grading of the GRE making me believe this type of error might occur again. Furthermore as discussed in class several studies suggest that GRE scores are only modest predictors of first year grades and showed no correlation to second year grades. The article "Does the GRE Measure Anything Related to Graduate School?" by Jamie Hale and published in the journal the "World of Psychology" discusses how the data from the Educational Testing Service (the test's manufacturer) the GRE is an extremely weak predictor of first year graduate school grades. Morison's study found that the relationship between test scores and grades that the GRE score predicted not even 6 percent of the variation in grades. In summary, standardized test have been around for years and there is still no good correlation between test scores and grades; yet these scores are a key component in becoming accepted in schools, and affect greatly young people's future. These tests not only weakly correlate with subsequent success in studies but are also vulnerable to human errors, which are not always detected. Does anyone still believe these tests should be used or do you think there is enough evidence that standardized testing is inaccurate and should not be used anymore?


Article: Brief history: standardized testing by Dan Fletcher published December 11, 2009 by Time magazine

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1947019,00.html

Article: Does the GRE Measure Anything Related to Graduate School? By Jamie Hale published in the journal World of Psychology:
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/12/09/does-the-gre-measure-anything-related-to-graduate-school/

Sample questions:
http://www.bestsamplequestions.com/gre-questions/analytical-reasoning/analytical-reasoning.html

"A Systematic Problem" published by the National Board on Education Testing and Public Policy written by Kathleen Rhoades and George Madaus from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in May 2003.
http://www.bc.edu/research/nbetpp/statements/M1N4.pdf

Seeing Like a Baby

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Wouldn't it be nice if when something was out of sight it truly disappeared? I know there would be a few things I would try this with, homework, dirty clothes, the list can go on. Well as we read in the book this concept of object permanence is actually something babies lack and so they can view the world with the mindset "Out of sight, out of mind". This would definitely make the world more simple, and infinitely more entertaining. This lack in object permanence is what makes peekaboo so enthralling to a baby. When their parent or caretaker covers their face with their hands they actually believe they are gone, then return when the face comes back into view. Now this would seem like it would always be an amazing time, but the article I read put it into a more sad and terrifying tone.

The article talked about how while the lack of object permanence would make games of peekaboo mystifying it would also make people simply leaving the room devastating. The idea the infant has is that the parent is simply gone instead of in a different room, which can be a very scary thing for something fresh out of the womb. A favorite toy going behind the family couch would be like taking it out of the world. The article claims that these disappearances occurring so often in a child's world allow them to adapt through habituation, but this claim is not consistent across all infants as I'm sure any parent knows the constant crying that will follow their leaving the child. I'm not quite sure if I would hold the lack of object permanence in such high regard if I had to experience it every day, but right now it sure sounds like a pretty cool ability.

The articles I used can be found here:
-http://wondertime.go.com/learning/article/putting-the-fun-in-peekabo.html
-http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-object-permanence.htm

Source: APA- http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/marriage.aspx
old couple.jpg
Research on marriage has shown that couples in successful marriages tend to have completed nine psychological "tasks." The first task is that each spouse has an identity independent from the family in which he or she grew up, not an identity based on one's parents or siblings. Having a sense of unity built on a foundation of shared intimacy and identity, yet respecting the other's boundaries is the second task. Thirdly, a married couple must have an healthy and enjoyable sex life, unimpeded by other obligations. If a married couple has children they must also protect themselves and their relationship from being overrun by the demands of parenthood. Fourthly, a couple must confront and deal with the inevitable troubles life throws their way. The relationship must be a resort for the spouses to express their emotions and conflicts as well, even in difficult times. To avoid boredom and isolation, as well as keep ups and downs in perspective, spouses should use humor. The penultimate task is to nurture and comfort each other, fulfilling the other's need for dependence but also encouraging and supporting one's spouse. Finally, while acknowledging the realities of change due to time, a married couple should always keep alive the idealized concept of falling in love from their early romance.

Lying or Not?

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We all know what a polygraph test is but do we know how accurate they are? We know from our psychology book that the tests measure the changes in skin conductance and even respiration. According to truthorlie.com, it is fairly close to 100 percent correct. The article suggests that it depends on the experience of the examiner. If you have an inexperienced examiner, they might not be able to read the results correctly after each question. However, if an experienced examiner reads the results, they have the practice and knowledge in knowing what to look for. The article brings up an example of an examiner asking ten questions. The examiner identified seven correct decisions, wrong in one, and two were inconclusive. Since there were eight definitive answers and two inconclusive, the article figured the accuracy to be 87.5%. That is pretty accurate. Common errors in a inexperienced examiner are things such as misinterpretation of the data, weak training of the individual, badly worded questions, and improper use of testing techniques. In my opinion I do not the polygraph test should be used in order to predict the accuracy of lies or truths. In critical situations, like court, there is such uncertainty with the test that it should not be reliable. Someone may be convicted that should not be because of an unreliable test.

http://www.truthorlie.com/whyerr.html

Do looks really matter when being interviewed? The researchers at Rice University believe so. "Discrimination Against Facially Stigmatized Applicants in Interviews: An Eye-Tracking and Face-to-Face Investigation" was published online last month in the Journal of Applied Psychology and is one of the first studies to examine how individuals with facial blemishes fare in job interviews. The main focus of these tests surrounded the idea that the most important thing to do, that is, from and interviewers perspective, is to remember what the candidate is saying. That it is most important for them to stick out, but solely because of their words. Rice professor Mikki Hebl said that their research shows that if you recall less information about competent candidates because you are distracted by characteristics on their face, it decreases your overall evaluations on them due to the lack of attention to the words exchanged during the interview.
The research included two studies. The first involved 171 undergraduate students watching a computer-mediated interview while their eye activity was tracked consistently. After the completion of the interview each student was asked to recall general information about the candidate.
One professor states that, "when looking at another person during a conversation, your attention is naturally directed in a triangular pattern around the eyes and mouth...we tracked the amount of attention outside of this region and found that the more the interviewers attended to stigmatized features on the face, the less they remembered about the candidate's interview content, and the less memory they had about the content led to decreases in ratings of the applicant."
The second study consisted of face-to-face interviews with candidates who all had some type of facial birthmark and 38 managers enrolled in a hospitality management program, all who had extensive experience and training for classic one on one interviews. The bottom line is that no matter what the norm is and what each person's standards are, initially, and unfortunately, it is human nature to react negatively to facial stigma. The researchers main point was that since there have been many studies showing specific groups of people are discriminated against in the workplace, they however, have shown why it happens.

In today's world with instant information and a nearly limitless amount of advanced technology, the ways in which we interact with people through the means of technology is drastically expanding. Not only can we reconnect with old friends or family members through means of social networks, but another big way of human interaction is through the use of online dating sites.

With these sites such as eHarmony.com, match.com, zoosk, etc., participants can meet potential partners with more compatible personalities. How do these sites match compatible partners? Well, as we've read in chapter 14 of our " Psychology: Introduction to Inquiry" book by Scott Lilienfeld and others, the "Big Five" traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, are used in most sites along with many other personality indicators.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/159884/online_dating_analyzing_the_algorithms_of_attraction.html

Here is a video discussing the common algorithms used in dating sites to match partners together.

As you can see, it varies greatly what personality traits, if any, are most crucial for a couples success. The idea of determining the best couple characteristics based on the happiest couples they have was also a very intriguing concept. As Janis Spindel discusses, even though two people may share the exact same personality characteristics, if they don't have a physical chemistry or attraction for one another, there relationship could still fail. So, personality can't account for everything. Even still, according to an Article below from Science Daily, 94% of people who met their online match met again afterwards, and relationships formed online lasting an average of 7 months, 18% over a year long.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218125144.htm

This use of online dating is sure to be increasing as technology continues to advance, and if these sites continue to accurately assess participant's personality traits in their structured personality test styles, the matches made are likely to be correct. However, the life of the actual relationship between the two people depends on a lot more factors such as physical chemistry and attractiveness, as well as location, job status, etc. But according to most, it can never hurt to try.

All of us, as college students, have taken either the American College Test (ACT) or the SAT, once known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (but now an acronym for nothing). I would someday like to take a survey to see how many current college students out there feel like 1) this test was an appropriate measure of your intelligence or that 2) this test was an appropriate measure of your test taking abilities. I personally felt the ACT tested the latter, and I know I am not alone on this.

Nonetheless admission exams remain. Even worse, they keep coming. After undergraduate school we face a myriad of other exams, depending on what our higher education goals consist of. Medical school hopefuls are put through the dreaded Medical College Admission Test (MCAT); Law School applicants can look forward to the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); and for those seeking other higher educational pursuits there is the generalized Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There are also the GMAT, DAT, OAT, and the PCAT. It is an acronym nightmare! Rarely do colleges not look at at least one type of admissions exam as part to their admission process. As a pre-med student myself, I know first hand that Medical Schools put just as much weight, if not more, on the MCAT score than on GPA. This means that this one single exam can effectively determine your professional future more than 4-5 years of sleepless nights studying.

On the one hand this may seem unfair, but on the other hand it can be a glimmer of hope for those career changers such as myself who don't have a such a stellar GPA. But how do you prepare for an exam of this magnitude... where the results can literally determine your life? This is where test coaching comes in.

If the thought of spending thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars of college aren't enough to send you running, there is always one more thing to spend your precious, not yet earned, loan money on. This time it is paying someone to teach you how to take a test. Companies such as Kaplan and Princeton Review guarantee higher scores on your admissions test. Kaplan's slogan is "We Build Futures".

But I feel like they are leaving a key part of their slogan out...a more suitable phrase would be "We build Futures...for those who can afford the astronomical price". For the not so small price of $4,999, someone can have a whopping 35 hours of private tutoring from Kaplan's "best of the best". Yes I know, this is the high end. At the lowest end of Kaplan's price range you can register for their online MCAT Advantage program for the price of "$1,899 or 3 installments of $633!". Still quite the pretty penny.

As if we didn't already have numerous financial burdens and obstacles standing in the way of higher education for low-income students...Admission Test Coaching is one more thing to give an advantage to only those who can afford it. Just one more argument to put less weight on standardized admissions tests.

There has been a constant debate in the past few years about standardized testing. And with the ever-growing competition in schools and universities there is a question of their validity and if they should be weighed as highly as they are.

There are two types of testing: high-stakes testing and low-stakes testing. High-stakes testing is used in an environment where important decisions are being made about students, teachers, or schools. (For example, the ACT or No Child Left Behind.) In a low-stakes testing environment the score rarely has any effect beyond a student's grade in a particular subject. (For example, a student's AP score affecting their grade in that class.)

The Debate
Cons: Many people believe these high-stake test results are being given too much influence on shaping the curriculum. Others believe that the tests do not show current understandings of how students learn. There is a major debate on discrimination of such tests. Test questions have been shown to be bias toward a "middle-class white background". For some students whose first language may not be English these tests can be a struggle for them and can't necessarily show their knowledge of the information on it. Further concerns are that because test items differ with different administrations of the test, different test scores may not show differences between students, it will simply show the differences between administrations. Many argue that the conclusions that you can draw from assessments as well as the observation of the students' work and how he or she learns is far more valuable then the standardized test scores.

Pro: People that are for standardized testing believe that it is not only a test of the students, but it is also a test of the teachers; through these tests they can get a view of how a particular teacher is performing and if students are being well-served in their educational environment. It shows what teachers have taught and what they have failed to teach. It is a way to gain accountability of how a particular school's program is covering the content they are supposed to. It is also a way to ensure that students are retaining information they are taught even after the unit is complete. Many believe it is a way to reveal gaps between students in different regions throughout the country.

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/what-do-school-tests-measure/
http://www.educationbug.org/a/standardized-tests--overview.html

In the article I read it stated that to reduce adolescent risk taking a different approach is needed, one that recognizes how adolescents reason. For decades adolescents have been bombarded with facts about the risks they take, most of them involving automobiles, addictive substances, and sexuality. Yet efforts to scare young decision makers with facts and numbers seem to be not affecting the young crowd at all. There is even evidence that some risk-awareness raising programs such as DARE, actually increase the behaviors they are designed to prevent. In our text Lilienfeld stated that adolescents routinely encounter new adult-like opportunities to engage in potentially harmful activities, but their brains aren't ready to make well- reasoned decisions.
The article had also stated that teens fall victim to what is known as the "Immortality Myth" meaning that young people think they are immortal and invulnerable to harm. However the article did contradict itself by saying that research actually proved the exact opposite when it came to the adolescent mind and their perceived risks. a growing body of scientific data shows that young people are actually well aware of their vulnerability. Adolescents estimated some of their risks quite accurately, and even overestimated their risks of negative outcomes like contracting HIV the first time having unprotected sex. Although young individuals do display an optimistic bias, adults display the same fallacy in their thinking, so this does not explain why adolescents take risks that most adults avoid.
Dr. Reyna and her colleagues have reached a startling and highly counter intuitive conclusion about the reasons for adolescent risk taking: Young people take risks not because of a belief that they are invulnerable, but because they engage in too much rational calculation when making choices. Adolescents mentally weigh their risks against perceived benefits. Research has also suggested that the trouble is to get young brains to compute a quick and categorical "NO" rather than weighing the odds. Adolescents took about a sixth of a second longer than adults to get to the obvious "No," when asked questions such as is it a good idea to swim with sharks? a sixth of a second may not seem long, but it reflects a major difference between the brains of adolescents and adults. The areas of the brain that quickly grasps situations in order for one to make a good "judgement call" is located specifically in the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are still maturing in an adolescent and don't reach full maturity until early to mid twenties for most people. So does the cognitive changes in adolescents effect the bad decisions they make? Although more research can still be done to test this theory, our text and the article I read do favor the side of development when it comes to these teens making life or death choices. The best thing one can do as an adult or a parent is to reduce the harms as much as possible until the adolescent brain is fully matured to see not only the positive outcomes of a bad decision if any, but the negative ones as well.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211124302.htm
http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=77188
http://www.parenting.cit.cornell.edu/documents/Adolescents-and-Risk-Reyna.pdf