November 2011 Archives

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.
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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.

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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

There have been many debates as to whether homosexuality is a heritable trait passed down through the genes or parents, or if it is based on an environmental influences. Here I have included some examples to help to put a conclusion to this debate.
One example of homosexuality being considered a genetic disorder takes place within an episode of the animated comedy series, Family Guy. In this episode, Peter wants to make money and is injected with a homosexuality gene for an experiment. Peter appears to become homosexual and looks to the opposite sex as a mating partner. The family doesn't like this new Peter so they send him to a straight camp, which he quickly escapes. But in the episode, Peter's homosexuality wears off and he soon returns to his heterosexual self. Here is a link to the episode on megavideo.com. http://www.megavideo.com/?d=U0O5OS95
But instead of relying on a television series, lets look into some actual studies, specifically twin studies. One of the major studies to date is the Bailey and Pillard study of 1991. They recruited a sample of 161 male homosexual participants, all over the age of 18 with a twin or adoptive brother through advertisements placed in homophile publications in several cities in the Midwest and Southwest of the United States. The co-twins and adoptive brothers were sent questionnaires in which five questions regarding sexual orientation were embedded in over 100 other items regarding social attitudes, personality, and childhood behavior. Their data showed that 52% of monozygotic (identical) co-twins, 22% of dizygotic (fraternal) co-twins, and 11% of adoptive brothers were homosexual. The data regarding co-twins and their homosexuality seem to be moderately correlated, especially compared to the data comparing adoptive brothers and their homosexuality. This data suggests that homosexuality is a result of nature, but that nurture does play some role.

http://www.tim-taylor.com/papers/twin_studies/studies.html

Changing our Perceptions

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Think back. Have you ever done something differently to cope with what is actually going on? Denied it, forgot it, acted like a little kid, or even acted rude? If so, you have used an unconscious maneuver intended to minimize the anxiety of the problem: a defense mechanism. In changing our perception of the problem, it makes it a lot easier to deal with. There are many examples of the different defense mechanisms in movies:

Displacement was shown when Jen took out her anger out on a piñata instead of the person or thing that made her angry. She displaced her anger onto something more acceptable. Denial was shown when the girlfriend was motivated to forget the fact her boyfriend was breaking up with her. She denied the fact that the breakup was real. Intellectualization was shown when Elle decided to study and get into Harvard law school rather than the breakup between her and her boyfriend. She is avoiding her real emotions and focusing on something more abstract and impersonal. Rationalization is shown when Jim Carrey rationalized why he did not get his job promotion by saying he didn't want to be tied down anyway. He provided a reasonable-sounding explanation for his failure. Sublimation is shown when Gretchen uses an essay about Caesar and Brutis's relationship to take out her frustration with Regina, instead of taking her anger out on Regina and ruining their friendship. She is transforming a social unacceptable impulse into a social valued (schoolwork) goal. Reaction formation is shown when the Queen is somewhat annoyed with the Principal, she pretends to be very sweet and gives her to Joseph to give her a job elsewhere. Regression is shown when Jenna acts like a child when Matt tells her that they are not friends anymore. Jenna is returning psychologically to a younger and safer time to deal with her anxiety about not having Matt as a friend anymore. Repression is shown when Sam stumbles on his words when he is trying to talk to an attractive woman, showing his desire for her. He is blocking unacceptable impulses from consciousness. Projection is shown when Cecilia makes Claire look like she wants attention, when really she is the one who craves it. She is unconsciously putting her negative quality of wanting attention onto another girl so she does not look bad.
However, they did not add Identification with the aggressor.



This boy is adopting ways of the army because he does not want to be hurt or threatened. He is adopting the psychological characteristics of them to stay safe. People need to be careful of this because children who grow up around hurt and violence will take on the characteristics of this and grow up this way too. Then it will become a chain and personality formation will be harmed for all of their ancestry.

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/07/youve-got-to-be-carefully-taught.html

Defense mechanisms are just a way for people to transfer negative feelings from their anxiety and hurt into different ways that don't harm the person who hurt them, or to make themselves able to cope with it more positively.

In chapter 14 we covered the subject of personality; and who knew that there could be some much involved. One thing that jumped out to me was Jung's idea of a "Collective Unconscious". The book's described this idea as the shared storehouse of memories passed down to us across generations (Lilienfeld, 2010. pg 554). This was interesting to me because it reminded me of a popular video game series called Assassin's Creed. The idea of the game is that a machine accesses memories from a subject, memories encrypted in his DNA that have been passed down through the generations; just like Jung's theory.
However, this idea of collective unconscious is not sitting well with me; it doesn't seem possible. Memory is not part of our genetic makeup; memory is created through repetitive stimulation of particular areas of the brain. If it were part of our genetic makeup, you would think that most people would be born with particularly good language skills. Also, Jung's theory isn't even falsifiable, so it really can't even be a scientific theory.
The idea is interesting to think about. At first thought it makes complete sense. It would definitely explain why birds know how to fly south in the winter. Unfortunately, if we just apply basic scientific thinking principles, the idea is nothing more than an idea.

Why Are You Happy?

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There are a lot of factors that make people happy. It's interesting that there could just be this simple list of things that are common for every one and they make everyone happy. The list of things that make people happy are:
http://solarphotographers.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/really-happy-girl.jpg
Marriage: married people are usually happier because they have someone to share their life with and responsibilities as well giving them less to worry about.
Friendship: people who have a good number of friends tend to be happier than those with few or none. My friends are what keep me happy, without them I would be so sad and lonely and bored.
College: people who went to college are usually happier. I would say that compared to my brother who didn't go to college, I am happier. I wouldn't know what to do with my life if I didn't go to school. I would feel like a loser.
Religion: those who are deeply religious tend to be happier than those who aren't. Their religion and closeness to God make them happy and fulfilled with life.
Political affiliation: people in the Republican Party tend to be happiest then democrats then independents.
Exercise: people who exercise are usually happier than people who don't. Exercise works as a kind of antidepressant. It also makes people happy to feel the sense of accomplishment you get after working out and feeling fit and healthy.
Gratitude: thinking about all the reasons that you should be happy actually makes you happier. When you think of all the good things you have in your life you realize how much you have to be happy for and how much you appreciate those things. Sometimes I am sad but if I really think about my life and all the people in it, it makes me much happier and I realize I'm not alone.
Giving: when you give to other people who are less fortunate it usually makes people happy. People are more happy spending money on others then on themselves. I love to give gifts it makes me happy to know that I got someone something that they wanted or will just love and I love to surprise people and see the look on their face.
Flow: this is a mental state where people are completely caught up in the moment, in what they are doing at that time. They aren't really paying attention to the world or the bigger picture or problems that can wait until tomorrow. They're just happy now. I always feel this way when I'm with my friends or boyfriend and am having an amazing time.
These things are important because it is important to know what makes people happy and what makes you happy and realizing that these things are a common bond among most people.

An intelligence test is a tool used to measure thinking ability in terms of a standardized measure. Since IQ tests do not directly assess the same things that are taught in the classroom, it is difficult to "study" for them. However, IQ tests are typically able to assess reasoning, comprehension, working memory, and processing speed. Good intelligence tests measure intelligence without relying on verbal expression and can be used for a number of populations.

Commonly used intelligence tests:


  1. Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Ages 2 to 90
    Measures:
    Fluid Reasoning (the capacity to learn new ways of solving problems)
    Knowledge
    Quantitative Reasoning (the application of mathematical concepts and skills to solve real-world problems)
    Visual-Spatial Processing (organizing visual information into meaningful patterns and understanding how they might change as they rotate and move through space)
    Working Memory (the ability of actively hold information in the mind needed to do complex tasks such as reasoning, comprehension, and learning)
    Also measures the ability to compare verbal and nonverbal performance.

  2. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children: Ages 6 to 16
    Measures:
    Verbal comprehension
    Working memory
    Executive function skills

  3. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): Ages 16 to 89
    Measures:
    Verbal comprehension
    Perceptual organization
    Working memory
    Processing speed

  4. Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities: Ages 2 to 90+
    Measures:
    General intellectual ability
    Working memory
    Executive function skills

  5. Cognitive Assessment System (CAS): Ages 5 to 17
    Based on "PASS" theory, measures "Planning", "Attention", "Simultaneous", and "Successive" cognitive processes

What test would you take? What measure of ability are you most curious to find out about yourself?

Among many revolutionary psychological ideas, Sigmund Freud introduced the idea od the Id, Superego and Ego. The Id is the basic instincts, or what people inherently want to do. This is driven by sex and aggression. The Superego is the morals which keep the Id in check. Finally, the Ego is in charge of everything, personality, decision making and interacting with the real world.

What interests me is the extent to which this idea is modeled in popular culture. Many movies or works of art portray the idea of a person dealing with a a tiny devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other while trying to make a difficult decision.
This idea has been portrayed in many movies and tv shows, including the Simpsons multiple times as a reoccurring theme. In a recent Dexter episode, Dexter battles with inner voices attempting to decide between releasing his raw desire to kill, vs. his desire to not get caught and do things correctly. My personal favorite example is from a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry is very repulsed by a girl mentally, but loves the sex. The episode portrays Jerry's brain playing chess with his penis to determine what the outcome of his relationship will be.

(skip to 3:08 for the chess game)
http://youtu.be/buCEzjBz8Hg

In this scene, Jerry's penis represents the Id, while the brain represents the Superego.

Freud's idea of the Id, Ego and Superego are so represented in popular culture because of the comedic potential of this idea. People find it very humorous to imagine a battle going on inside their minds. Perhaps people like to imagine that there really is a voice inside that tells them to do the instinct, even if it is wrong. They like the idea that a part of them really wants to what is considered wrong. People also want to imagine that there exists a voice that knows what to do. If there are voices telling people what to do, they can better trust that the right decision will be made in the end.

Have a piece of cake, sweetie.

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What a hot head!
She is a sour, vengeful crone.
Thanks, honey!
Her salty language caused a huge scandal!
He was a bitter, old man...


Have you ever wondered why we use 'tasty' adjectives to describe people? It is not as if a person who has a bitter disposition actually tastes bitter! Perhaps we use them because we all tend to agree that a bitter taste is not a pleasant one. On the flip side we use words like 'honey', 'sweetie', 'sweetie pie', and 'sugar' to describe pleasant, agreeable people. But, is there a relationship between people's liking for sweet foods and their agreeableness? Believe it or not, researchers have recently conducted a robust study examining if taste preferences predict pro-social personalities and behaviors and they conclude that indeed, there is a significant correlation.

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Study 1 showed that ratings of strangers are higher in agreeableness if one is told that the stranger likes caramel, candy, ice cream and the like versus another food with a different (not sweet) taste. Amazing, but true! The skeptical part of me wondered if the study was sponsored by the sugar-related industry but no, the study was well-run with a large sample of university students using various controls to rule out biases and confounds.
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Studies 2 and 3 showed that agreeable people like sweet-tasting foods more than their less agreeable counterparts and that people who like sweet-tasting foods are more pro-social in their personalities, intentions and behaviors. Pro-social tendencies are those voluntary actions and behaviors that benefit others and do not foreshadow much gain for the doer. In essence, they found that people who liked sweets were more likely to do some extra work for no compensation.

Studies 4 and 5 were experiments that demonstrated that momentarily savoring a sweet food (vs. a non-sweet food or no food) increased participants' spontaneous helping behavior as well as their self-reports of agreeableness. Figure 1 shows the average number of minutes each group volunteered AFTER the purported reason for their presence in the study was completed. In that sense, it truly measures the spontaneity of their pro-social tendencies.
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I think that I WILL have that chocolate cake then!


Source:
Meier, B. P., Moeller, S. K., Riemer-Peltz, M., & Robinson, M. D. (2011, August 29). Sweet
Taste Preferences and Experiences Predict Prosocial Inferences, Personalities, and
Behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:
10.1037/a0025253


Our psychology textbook puts a lot on emphasis on the fact that shared environment does not factor into a person's personality. Twin studies and adoption studies have been performed and identical twins are likely to share many of their personality traits and adopted children adopt the personality traits of their biological parents, even though they may never have had contact with them. Genetics seems to be the key driving force of how a person acts, thinks, and behaves.

New evidence in the field of neuropsychology has recently emerged that supports the hypothesis that a person's traits are determined by his or her genes.

Researchers have discovered an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) that is linked to social traits. Oxytocin is a hormone known by some as the "love" or "cuddle" hormone because it has a role in birth and bonding between mother and child. There are two behaviour-linked alleles of the gene- G and A.

According to the research, people with both copies of the G allele tend to be more social, outgoing, and more interpersonally inclined than those who have only one G allele or two A alleles. People homozygous for G allele are also at lower risk of mental disorders such as autism or schizophrenia. I infer that the G variant of the biological receptor allows better binding of the hormone to the active site of the receptor, leading to the positive, prosocial attitudes displayed by people.

People with GG would probably score higher in the extraversion area of the Big Five, and score lower in Neuroticism. Researchers said that people could instantly detect the genotype by a first impression of the person based on how the person acts in front of another. I would classify myself as a GA, and my best friend as an AA, whereas many of my coworkers would be GGs.

Since this study is new, more research on the gene/protein product must be done in order to confirm the validity of their hypothesis. Little is known about how these differences manifest behaviorally and whether they actually are readily detectable by outside observers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15693508

"Criminal Minds" personally one of my favorite TV shows, and I am more than sure a few of you are fans as well. But have you ever wondered, how do they know who this guy is and what he is thinking? They all do this with no prior knowledge of the suspect, and as the show makes it seem to all occurs in a very brief period of time. They seem to be able to trace the suspects patterns before a large series of cases seem to erupt.
A well known FBI profiler, Gregg O. McCrary, said that the basic premise is that the behavior reflects personality. As in the popular television show, in which most episodes include some sort of homicide, these cases can be broken into 4 parts.
1) Antecedent: What plans were in place before the act? What triggered the occurrence to act on some days as opposed to others?
A. If watching the show this usually occurs in the scenes either at the little HQ they set up on site, or back at the lab. This is when they look at the possibly related cases a how they could be related to this one, and why they may be happening.
2) Methods and Manner: What type of victims was being selected? What was the method?
A. In many episodes they get there after a few cases. This may range anywhere from families with young girls, to men in their 40's. Some of these cases may be swift or may be long and drawn out, seeming like some sort of ritualistic killing.
3) Body Disposal: How was the body disposed of?
A. There have been some extreme cases on the show. In which one episode the perpetrator fed the victims to people. In others the killer leaves all the bodies in similar places.
4) Post-Offense Behavior: Has the murderer been attempting to involve himself with the cases?
A. In several these episodes the murderer is sometimes the least suspect man that is right in front of teams face the whole time. Other times he waits and hides till he decides to strike again.
After looking at all the info it seems very possible for one to analyze the criminal with the proper training. It would require a great attention to detail and a creative mind. I am also lead to believe even though the show makes it seem very possible it is missing a few key points (and yes I know TV isn't always accurate). The show uses what it seems to be like relatively small amounts of evidence. This atop the fact that the make it seem like it takes no time at all to solve cases.

http://www.criminalprofiling.com/

Mirror mirror on the wall

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Do you have the experience that the image of yourselves in the mirror is more attractive than the image we appear in photographs? That's an example of mere exposure effect. The mere exposure effect is the phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably toward it. From the example above, as we may see ourselves in the mirror every day, we are more familiar with the image of ourselves in the mirror, so we prefer to see the image in the mirror.
Obviously, the companies always wish to apply the mere exposure effect in their advertisements and it enables the consumer to buy their products more. But the mere exposure effect does not always work on advertisements, sometimes high level of media exposure will let people become unfavorable. The following video is a TV advertisement during Olympics sport competition.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2dI6dQzqYo
This advertisement just repeats the name of its brand 12 times without anything else. Nearly all the audiences feel boring and disgusting when watched this advertisement. Finally, this advertisement has been banned by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television of China. As it mentioned in textbook, "The more frequently we encounter a stimulus without anything bad happening, the more comfortable we feel in its presence." Because when audience watched the advertisement, they arouse some negative feelings, the repeated exposure cannot make consumer become favorably toward it.
In my respect, novel advertisements which people are unfamiliar with are more attractive and easier to apply the mere exposure effect. And there may exist an ideal level of exposure that nobody become unfavorably toward the advertisement. That's just kind of idealization.

Cottingley Fairies Hoax

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In our book, the end of chapter 9 talks about intelligent people being tricked. One of the biggest tricks of all times was the Cottingley Fairies Hoax. Although it happened almost a century ago, some people still believe it to be true. This hoax presents us on "what not to do" when evaluating pictures in terms of scientific thinking. In 1917, two cousins in England became very famous. Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took Elsie's father's camera and took pictures of both of them playing with "fairies".
People all over saw these pictures and actually believed that there were real fairies prancing around the girls. Though most people figured it out in the end, many people were stumped including the brilliant author of the Sherlock Holmes books, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle even published a book in 1922, The Coming of Fairies, which was based on the Cottingley fairies. It was later found that the fairies looked exactly like illustrations found in a children's book, and therefore it was assumed that the girls cut the pictures out of the book. Both Frances and Elsie never admitted to this until much later in life. The Cottingley Fairies hoax is a prime example of people not using the six principles of scientific thinking, especially the principles of extraordinary claims, replicability, and Occam's razor.
When people evaluated the fairy photographs, they forgot to realize that they would need extraordinary evidence to back up this extraordinary claim of tiny fairies running around England. There was no evidence of fairies living. The girls could not prove that there were fairies either besides the photos they took. This leads into the next scientific principle of replicability. Elsie and Frances claimed that the fairies trusted them and would only come out for them and no one else. This means that no one other than the girls could have possibly seen the fairies and therefore could not confirm their existence. Finally, people should have automatically thought of a simpler explanation for these fairies (Occam's razor) however, most people didn't. They assumed that the fairies were real, not thinking that they could have been cut out from a book. I guess the book was right, "none of us is immune to making errors in thinking." I just can't believe people made the error of thinking that these fairies were real!

http://www.philipcoppens.com/cottingley.html

Defense Mechanisms In Sports

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Defense Mechanisms: Unconscious maneuvers intended to minimize anxiety.

According to Freud, our ego engages in using defense mechanisms to deal with anxiety. People use these in everyday life in order to feel better about themselves. If something bad happens to you, just forget it. If you did something wrong, you can blame it on something else. Us, as human beings, subconsciously deceive ourselves so that we can emotionally feel better.

This is extremely common in sports. Professional and Varsity athletes are under huge amounts of pressure to perform well. If a professional football player plays poorly, he will not get signed to a contract, and lose out on millions of dollars. If a high school football player plays poorly, he will be the laughing stock of the school and will not score that hot prom date.

In order to deal with failures in sports, athletes unconsciously use defense mechanisms.

In a football game last year. Wide Receiver, Steve Johnson, dropped the winning touchdown pass. He later went on to blame God on his Twitter account. Asking how "God could do this to me." He is displacing his poor play onto God so he does not feel as bad.

As a former high school football player, I have experienced defense mechanisms first hand. I remember players looking at their hands as if they did something wrong after dropping a pass. Personally, I took a hard helmet to helmet hit after catching a pass during a game. This caused me to fumble the ball. I don't know if it was the concussion causing me to forget the play, or my ego trying to REPRESS it, but either way, I do not remember it very well.

Parenting Styles

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The age-old debate over how parents should raise their children has stressed many new parents out. Each year, these parents buy parenting books and go to new-parent seminars to make sure they are raising their children well and leading their children in the right direction. However, according to the Lilienfeld textbook, there are four major parenting styles.

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Permissive (a.k.a "Too soft"): Permissive parents are very lenient with their children. They allow their children to do what they want, when they want, and rarely discipline them for their wrongdoings. In addition, permissive parents often are extremely affectionate with their children.

Authoritarian (a.k.a "Too hard"): Authoritarian parents tend to be very strict with their children, giving them little room and opportunity to do what they want. They punish their children when they don't do what they're told, or if they are being disrespectful. In addition, authoritarian parents show very little affection toward their children.

Authoritative (a.k.a "Just right"): Authoritative parents combine the best of both worlds when it comes to parenting; they are both permissive and authoritarian. Authoritative parents are very supportive of their children, but know when to discipline them. Most psychologists believe that children who grow up under this parenting type are the best at socially and emotionally adjusting.

Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents ignore their children regardless of what they do. Children who grow up under this parenting type tend to have the most problems in life.

According to the Lilienfeld textbook, Diana Baumrind studied different parenting styles. Her research showed that most of the time, authoritative parents do the best job at producing well-adjusted children. However, this brings up the debate of correlation vs. causation. Baumrind's research only showed that there was a correlation between authoritative parenting and having "good" children. There might be other factors that play into the outcomes of the children under the different parenting types. Scholars have discovered that if parents provide their children with an average expectable environment, which is an environment that provides children with basic needs for affection and appropriate discipline, their children will turn out just fine. Therefore, we can't conclude that this information of authoritative parents and "good" children is directly due to causation.

Sources:
Lilienfeld textbook chapter 10

Personality Tests

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Personality tests are very helpful to scientists , but creating accurate tests is a challenge. The most common personality tests are structured personality tests, which ask respondents to answer in one of a few fixed ways. The most extensively researched structured personality test is the MMPI. The MMPI uses an empirical method of test construction, which means the test is built with two or more criterion groups, and then items are examined to determine which best distinguish the groups. The MMPI is considered very reliable, but it still has it's problems.
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Another way of constructing tests is the rational/theoretical method, in which developers begin with a clear-cut conceptualization of a trait and then write items to assess that conceptualization. The NEO-PI-R uses this approach and has demonstrated good validity, but not all rational/theoretical tests display this validity. A good example is the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator.
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The Meyers-Briggs test is given several million times a year. I myself have taken this test in my school multiple times and my counselors consider it a helpful tool in life decisions. Many companies give the test to predict job performance and satisfaction. There are many versions of the test available online. These websites tell you they can help your life, because the tests tell you what you should be doing to make yourself happy. According to the video below the Meyers-Briggs test is the most well established personality test in the world!

How accurate are these tests really? According to out text book, "Most respondents don't obtain the same MBTI personality type on retesting only a few months later, and MBTI scores don't relate in especially consistent ways to either the Big Five or measures of job preferences". So why do people still take the Meyers-Briggs test, and put such faith in it? I think people like the idea of having their personality labeled. We as humans like things to be organized and understandable. The Meyers-Briggs test allows us to clearly identify ideas about ourselves without thinking too much about it. But because the test seems to be so inaccurate, I think people should be more educated on the reality of its invalidity. I also think companies should use different methods to determine personality.

Throughout the years there has been much debate on whether or not birth order in families affects their IQ scores.

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

One of the first studies done was in 1874 by Francis Galton which came to the conclusion there was a high correlation between birth order and IQ scores. The reasoning for his finding was...
1. Firstborn sons would be more likely to have the financial resources to continue their education.
2. Firstborns had the advantage of being "treated more as companions by parents." This means that they also undertake more responsibility than their younger siblings.
3. Firstborn children would get more attention and better nourishment in families with limited financial resources.
Therefore according to Galton there was a correlation between birth order and IQ scores. (His reasoning is similar to those offered by modern scientists.)

Another study done was in 1973 by Lillian Belmont and Francis Marolla. Now this study included the aspect of family size with birth order and intelligence. Here were their results...
1. "Children from large families tend to make poorer showings on intelligence tests and on educational measures, even when social class is controlled."
2. "Within each family size (i) firstborns always scored better on the Raven than did later borns; and (ii) with few inconsistencies, there was a gradient of declining scores with rising birth order, so that firstborns scored better than secondborns, who in turn scored better than thirdborns, and so forth."
3. "In general, as family size increased, there was a decrease in Raven performance within any particular birth order position." For example, a thirdborn born child from a 3-child family would be expected to score higher than a thirdborn child from a 4-child family. A thirdborn child from a 5-child family would be expected to score even lower, and so on.
This study brought about a very important aspect in whether or not birth order affects intelligence.
Due to these two studies I can understand why scientists can come to the conclusion that there is a casual relationship between birth order and intelligence. It has been disproved that birth order and intelligence have a high correlation by the idea that families with lower IQs have more children than families with higher IQs.

I have definitely witnessed these findings throughout my time in high school. It seemed like the families with the largest amount of kids had lower IQs rather than the families with only one or two kids. Through my personal experience I couldn't be sure of the family's IQ or the children's but from witnessing them in classes and throughout their high school career it became pretty obvious.

Now, putting my own family into this study I can definitely see the relationship between birth order, family size, and IQ.
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I was an only child for twelve years and so I got a lot of attention from my parents and nurturing of intelligence. Once my sister came along that attention decreased to level out to the both of us and for some time more for her. I can see this affecting children who get siblings at a younger age. If I were to get a sibling at the age of six versus twelve the attention and nurturing I would have gotten from my parents would have decreased sooner and could have affected our overall IQ.
Correlational vs Causation was a very important principle to look at throughout this study, as well as replicability.

Overall, I think that birth order and intelligence have a casual relationship and the aspect of family size is very important. These findings were evident in my own family as well as families throughout my school.

How much do you know about CAH?

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What is CAH?
CAH is congenital adrenal hyperlasia, which is a inherited syndrome due to insufficient adrenal. It appears approximately 1 in 15,000 births. There are two kinds of CAH: one is classical CAH, the other is non-classical CAH. Classical CAH could cause uncontrolled salt and fluids loss from body, leading to adrenal crisis and death.On the other hand, non-classical CAH does no threat life, but affect quality of patients' life.CAH.gif
What causes CAH?
The cause of CAH is gene for producing vital adrenal cortex hormones mutating during coding process.The researches show that a lack of enzyme 21- hydroxylase causes around 95% CAH diseases. It catalyzes hydroxylation reaction and add -OH on the carbon atom 21 in steroids, which is a necessary formation process for hormones.
As a normal human, our adrenal produces produce two kinds of hormones: cortisol and aldosterone. Corticosteroid-biosynthetic-pathway-rat.png
Deficiency of 21-hydroxylase enzyme can lead to disruption due to imbalance of these hormones. For instance, if low level of cortisol, aldosterone overproduces androgens or male steroid hormones into high level.Trimethyl_steroid-nomenclature.png
Classical CAH and Nonclassical CAH
Classical CAH could cause adrenal crises with dehydration and shock, even death. Therefore, patients with classical CAH must be treated properly. In early fetal life, abnormal adrenal androgen production causes abnormal growth of clitoris in girls and masculinzation of other genital-urinary structure. Thus girls patients may be mistaken for boy birth and boys patients have unusually fast body growth when androgen overproduces continually. Patients with classical CAH are premature with shorter height compare to normal adults.
But people affected by nonclassical CAH only develop public hair prematurely and unwanted body hair, or with irregular menstrual periods.
From statistics, there are about 10% to 15% young women with nonclassical CAH suffer fertility problems.Autosomal_R_I1.gif
Treatment of CAH
Proper medical treatment for classical CAH uses glucocorticoids to balance amounts of two hormones to permit near-normal growth and puberty. Another medicine called mineralocorticoids is used to balance salt level and prevent adrenal crisis. Th surgical treatment is that reconstructs near-normal female genital and vagina at the same time as they reduce the size of the clitoris in early infancy. The surgeons have two stages and finish late adolescent period. For nonclassical CAH, individuals can be treated with very low dose glucocorticoids, which is optional and temporary.


Article Link: http://www.nadf.us/diseases/cah.htm

Multiple Intelligences

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Looking back on high school, I'm sure that everyone can fit their fellow classmates into distinct cliques. Some students were geniuses and could solve complex math problems at lightning quick speeds without even needing to use a calculator. Others had no idea what 1+1 equaled, but they made up for that weakness by scoring game winning touchdowns or smashing the baseball out of the park every time they went up to bat. Howard Gardner believed that intelligence was more than just book smarts. He proposed the theory of multiple intelligences which divided intelligence into eight different categories, including logico-mathematical to describe math experts and bodily-kinesthetic to identify athletes. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses, which shows why some people who are great at math may not be able to throw a baseball more than a foot. Caitlin Upton, a 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant contestant, is a real life example of multiple intelligences.

As part of the Miss Teen USA competition, contestants are asked what they would do to solve serious problems that are currently afflicting the United States. As Caitlin Upton answered her prompt, she continuously repeated the same phrases over and over again, including "such as," and people were left baffled as to what she just said. This shows that Caitlin Upton possibly has weak interpersonal skills because people who possess this characteristic are known for inspiring people with their words. Nevertheless, correlation does not equal causation and a third variable may be involved. Her confusing speech could be due to a fear of speaking in front of big crowds, for example. After doing some research on her, one quickly learns that Caitlin Upton was an honor student and varsity soccer player in high school. As a result, she could be a high scorer in the logico-mathematical, linguistic, and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence categories. Every person has their own unique abilities.

Although it is uncommon for people to score dramatically high in a few intelligence types and low in the remaining ones, people do tend to do better in some categories and worse in others. Multiple intelligences can teach everyone an important lesson: before you judge a person for not being smart in math, for example, remember that they could be the next great musician or athlete.

Sources:

-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

-http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/20473692/ns/today-today_people/t/miss-south-carolina-teen-usa-explains-herself/

-Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, p. 322

How Old Are They?

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As we read in the textbook, chronological age doesn't necessarily forecast the behavioral or biological changes that accompany aging. My grandparents are living examples of this. Given the way they act, communicate, and live one would assume them to be a good 15 years younger than their chronological age would indicate. Lets look at some other ways to measure their age.
According to the doctors, my grandparents are as healthy as 70-year-olds can be. They regularly take their required vitamins, have a diet that would seem to come straight from Oprah, and are careful with everything they do. Their biological age, or age in terms of biological functioning, is well below their chronological age.
Next, lets look at psychological age, or their mental attitudes and agility. For the nearly twenty years I have known my grandparents, there is not one change I have noticed in terms of their attitudes or ability to learn. They are more willing than ever to learn new things. Every year they vacation somewhere extravagant, where they bring back lots of memories and newly learned facts about the place they went to. For example, last year they went to Hawaii for a month, and it took hours for them to tell us everything they did and learned.
Functional age refers to a person's ability to function in given roles in society. This is a touchy subject for my grandfather, as he was recently forced into retirement from IBM, not for his lack of functioning skills, but because of the hard economic times. If it were up to my grandpa, he would be working until he could work no more.
Social age refers to whether people behave in accord with the social behaviors appropriate for their age. My grandma's social age does not respond to her chronological age what so ever. If you went to her house right now she is probably sitting in designer clothes commenting on people's Facebook statuses; not something you would expect from a 70 year-old.
With all that being said, I completely agree that there are various ways of measuring age other than chronological age that capture the impact of changes in later life. I think people often stereotype grandparents or people in their later years as individuals unable to perform everyday functions and keep up with the younger generations. My grandparents prove this to be nothing more than a stereotype.

Take That, First Borns!

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My oldest brother Joseph, myself, and my older brother Patrick.

When my brother Patrick was 10 years old, he told my father about his theory of the effects of birth order on personality. Patrick hypothesized that the first born, my oldest brother Joseph, is 'the practice child', who parents make all of their mistakes on. According to Patrick's plan, the oldest child will have to go to therapy later on in life, like their thirties, because of their psychological problems caused by their tumultuous upbringing. Then the middle child, who in my family's case is Patrick, would be the perfect child. Parents would know all of the correct techniques in raising a child, rearing a prodigy. When it comes to raising the last born child, who is me in my family, parents would become very lackadaisical in their duties, rearing a spoiled, unruly offspring.

Since my brother still likes to bring up his theory from time to time, I was very intrigued when the topic of birth order came up in chapter 14 of the Lilienfeld text. According to the text, there have been few studies that show that birth order does have an effect on personality, usually showing how firstborns are achieving, middle-borns are diplomatic, and later-borns are adventurous. For example, one psychologist who appeared on The Early Show talks about his theory on the close relationship between birth order and personality. Explained in the link below, the psychologist states that firstborns are natural leaders and perfectionists, middle-borns are inventive and secretive, and last-borns are financially irresponsible and outgoing. By giving few famous examples of each, the psychologist can persuade his audience to believing that there is strong correlation. However, the psychologist does not even explain how he came to these conclusions, meaning that other scientists cannot replicate the study. When researchers cannot replicate experiments, then they cannot know if the original findings are accurate. As a result of this low replicability rate, the Lilienfeld text says that researchers cannot find a consistently strong association between birth order and personality, meaning the two are not as closely related as much of the media, and my brother, believes.


A video from the show 8 Simple Rules, where Kerry is usually complaining about being ignored as the middle child, since everyone loves her perfect older sister Bridget.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/10/earlyshow/living/parenting/main511694.shtml

Chances are, you haven't used eHarmony or match.com to find a significant other...at least, not yet.

Some online dating sites have users take "personality assessments" in order to find potential partners rather than browsing for people themselves.

eHarmony makes users take a 258-question personality assessment and uses those results to find potential partners. Chemistry.com uses algorithms to "match people on 29 'core traits,' like social style or emotional temperament, and 'vital attributes' like relationship skills".

But does it work? Does using "secret" algorithms and personality tests really work? Can these methods really help you find The One?

eHarmony has the data and resources to conduct cutting-edge research--from its fees and well-known success. But the company has yet to prove that its methods work. "It has started a longitudinal study comparing eHarmony couples with a control group, and Dr. Buckwalter says it is committed to publishing peer-reviewed research, but not the details of its algorithm."

Obviously, not publishing their secrets allow for much scientific criticism. What other factors contribute to the success? Or hinder it? What kind of personality test is used? How do they factor in error--such as people lying in order to match with "better" partners?

And what exactly is in those algorithms? Researchers know that their findings can't be taken seriously if they aren't released and peer reviewed. It's important to take the findings lightly. Chemistry.com was even under fire for running ads saying that they've discovered the "new science of attraction."

Researchers working with eHarmony have found one thing, though. "Researchers who studied online dating found that the customers typically ended up going out with fewer than 1 percent of the people whose profiles they studied, and that those dates often ended up being huge letdowns."

There really is no easy way to find love.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/science/29tier.html

What You Say is What You Are?

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Could what you say really define who you are? This is a question that Wynne Parry attempts to answer, in regards to a specific group of people in the world's population, in her article "How to Spot a Psychopath: Look For Speech Patterns, Scientists Say". This article claims that by merely observing one's speech, you can tell whether or not someone has psychopathic tendencies.

A small group of researchers interviewed 52 inmates that were recently convicted of a crime. Of those 52 criminals, 14 were classified as Psychopaths, according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. This assessment had them describe their crime, in detail, and based on their description, assessed whether or not they are psychopathic. This test relies on the assumption that within the criminal descriptions, one can identify certain characteristics of how someone talks and use that to determine if they are, indeed, a psychopath. The team of researchers claimed that Psychopaths talk with little emotion, constantly use cause-effect statements and focused the majority of their attention on their basic needs. For example, they say that psychopaths use the words "because" and "so that" more frequently than normal human because they try and rationalize their crime with an attempt to attain the basic needs of life. These 14 in mates are now recognized as psychopaths.

Is this really a fair way to categorize human beings though? It seems a little farfetched that you can become a "psycho" simply by what you say. If that was the case, every depressed teenager should be tested for being a psychopath because they talk with little emotion; every 4 year old should be tested because of repeated excuses that 'made them' steal a cookie. It would be extremely unfair if we used these researchers' claim that one's speech patterns can determine whether you are a psychopath.

Article: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/10/24/spotting-psychopath-speech-patterns-give-them-away-scientists-say/

Are you honest?

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Intelligence is a very difficult topic to discuss. This is because some people are naturally better at solving problems and can process information faster than their peers. Yet, we know that intelligence is highly influenced by genetics. Therefore, is it fair to test people based off of their genetics?

As we have discussed in lecture, there are multiple views on intelligence. Some people look at overall intelligence while others believe it is a multifaceted construct. Yet, I am not sure we will ever know exactly how to define intelligence.

Testing intelligence can be a rather touchy subject especially for juniors and seniors in high school taking the ACT or SAT tests. A low test score could mean rejection from a potential university. I think this raises the following question.

If every job is important and every individual unique, why do people always get rewarded for being the most intelligent? Is that really fair?

Yet, is that really the question society faces? Sometimes I wonder if it is our priorities that we need to realign. Typically when describing an individual people describe their career and that's how they define success. What if we started defining people through other terms, such as honesty, compassionate, and selfless? Would this change how society views mental/school like intelligence?

Furthermore, if society bases success on career, than it seems socioeconomic status which highly correlates with career would also be influenced. Then I wondered, does this influence people's self esteem? If your success is based off career and thus socioeconmic status, will this affect an individual's daily life? To see if there is a correlation between socioeconomic class and careers (intelligence) I decided to do some research. It ends up that Jean Twenge who works in the Psychology Department at San Diego State University, studied self esteem and socioeconomic class. She found that an individual's economic status has a small but significant relationship with self esteem. She also noticed that the effect is very small in young children but continued to grow until age sixty.

Therefore, next time you ask someone to describe themselves, maybe try asking something other than their profession. What if society changed and asked something totally different: are you honest?

Phobias and Emotion

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The textbook describes phobias as, "intense, irrational fears" and continues that many phobias such as fear of spiders, snakes, the dark, etc., are common place, most of the time without a frightening encounter. I myself have arachnophobia and the rest of my family doesn't understand why, if I've never or had a bad experience with a spider.

I compare this with my mother's fear of worms but she always defends herself with the argument that she's had a bad experience with worms when she was younger. I've heard this story multiple times: when she was in grade school her friends (young and foolish) decided to gross her out (psych terms- produce a reaction of disgust) and collected a bucket of worms on a rainy day. Mind you, previous to this, my mother had no problem with worms. Her friends rang the doorbell to her house and when she answered, they dumped the bucket of worms all over her head. My mother was absolutely horrified and since then has not been able to see or be near worms without getting extremely disgusted and uncomfortable. This argument of spiders versus worms often gets jokingly brought up and it was only after reading chapter 11 that I noticed one part of the story I had previously dismissed.
My mom always starts off with explaining in detail how she'd already had a bad day because my very strict grandparents had told her to clean her room and it didn't get done on time, which means she got in trouble. When her friends were at the front door, they rang the doorbell multiple times in a row and my mom was afraid she'd get into even more trouble and ran to get the door.

This brings me to the two factor theory of emotion, by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer. Perhaps the reason my mom developed an actual phobia of worms was because she experienced a state of fear (from the amygdala) and used a labeling process of fear to worms. However, a possible reason the reaction was so strong was because my mom was already in trouble and possibly could have had a rush of adrenaline when the doorbell was constantly rung, in fearful excitement of getting into even more trouble with serious consequences.

This possibility is backed by the famous Dutton and Aron experiment of 1974, and I think could possibly explain what happened with my mom. Due to the stress of previously being scolded mixed with the adrenaline and annoyance of getting in trouble again (when the doorbell was being constantly rung) her reaction to the worms being thrown on her was an extreme one, and produced more fear than if she hadn't been on the verge of getting in trouble again. However, nothing is concrete and this is just a possibility, which could be easily falsified. For example, many 'flashbulb memories' are remembered with elaborate details that actually didn't take place, and perhaps my mom is mistaken, which is a possibility, along with the possibility that all of the theories of emotion hold some small truth.

To end with, I think phobias are incredibly interesting and often give an insight to the person in question. There are many phobias in the world, and plenty of them are not irrational!

Human development is not only affected by our biological feature inherited from our parents but also environment around us. The environment elements include both social environment and family environment. Environment effect on human is more reflected on behaviors, however, how much does it involved are still under research without a solid conclusion. Most of the time, researchers use twin studies to compare how different environment affect one's behavior and personality.
According to Piaget, we won't achieve our most abstract levels of reasoning ability until our adolescence and our frontal lobe which in charge of our planning, decision making and impulse control is still in maturing process and that's is why teenage kids are easier to be influenced. Both social environment and family environment could affect our cognitive development during this time and that is the reason why the society will put that much efforts in publicize protecting adolescence from improperly internet content and home violence.
Along with the development of the entertainment industry, child and adolescences are exposure to media much more than last generation was. How TV program and computer games affect their behavior becomes more and more complicated because more factors needed to be considered to have valid result. As far as I concern, ways of how does violence and sexual content exposure to child needs to be separately examed. Also, for different age level, children are affected differently. What's more, for oriental and western culture based education, child may reflects differently to same content.
Here is some links related to study on this area.

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=1952&cn=28
http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/5/1222

Human development is not only affected by our biological feature inherited from our parents but also environment around us. The environment elements include both social environment and family environment. Environment effect on human is more reflected on behaviors, however, how much does it involved are still under research without a solid conclusion. Most of the time, researchers use twin studies to compare how different environment affect one's behavior and personality.
According to Piaget, we won't achieve our most abstract levels of reasoning ability until our adolescence and our frontal lobe which in charge of our planning, decision making and impulse control is still in maturing process and that's is why teenage kids are easier to be influenced. Both social environment and family environment could affect our cognitive development during this time and that is the reason why the society will put that much efforts in publicize protecting adolescence from improperly internet content and home violence.
Along with the development of the entertainment industry, child and adolescences are exposure to media much more than last generation was. How TV program and computer games affect their behavior becomes more and more complicated because more factors needed to be considered to have valid result. As far as I concern, ways of how does violence and sexual content exposure to child needs to be separately examed. Also, for different age level, children are affected differently. What's more, for oriental and western culture based education, child may reflects differently to same content.
Here is some links related to study on this area.
http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=1952&cn=28
http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/5/1222

blue shirt.jpgred shirt.jpg
Recent research shows that the color red makes men more attractive to women. A study was conducted in England, China, Germany, and the United States that showed, even though red symbolizes many things across the four cultures, in every country it made men more alluring to women. The study showed both men and women a black-and-white picture of a Caucasian man surrounded by a red or white matte and asked them three questions regarding how attractive he is. On a nine point scale, women found the man over one point more attractive when surrounded by red; there was no statistical difference between red and white matte for men. Another experiment showed a man in either a green shirt or a red shirt, women found the man more attractive and desirable when he was wearing a red shirt. Also, a follow up study found that women believed men in red shirts to be significantly more likely to be high in status than men in blue shirts. Five similar studies comparing men in red or grey shirts found the same result, red makes men seem more attractive and of higher status. It has been proposed that red might make men more self-confident, therefore more attractive to women. However, other studies have found that women are better at perceiving red stimuli than men. Though this research does not completely rule out the rival hypothesis of red increasing men's self-confidence, its high rate or replicability shows that there is at least some connection between status/attraction and the color red.
Source: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/08/red-attraction.aspx

Life-Span Perspective

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I would like to introduce you to the life span perspective created by Paul Baltes a Developmental Psychologist. The life-span-perspective reads that "human development is multiply determined and cannot be understood within the scope of a single framework" (Human Development a life span view 5th ed., Robert V. Kail, John C. Cavanaugh pp17).

Multi-directionality: Development involves both growth and decline; as people grow in one area they may lose in another and at different rates. For example people's vocabulary ability tends to increase throughout life, but reaction time tends to slow down.
Plasticity: One's capacity is not pre-determined or carved in stone. Many skills can be learned or improved with practice, even in late life.

Historical context: Each of us develops with in a particular set of circumstances determined by the historical time in which we are born and the culture in which we grow up.
Multiple causation: How we develop results from biological, psychological, sociocultural, and life-cycle forces(Human Development a life span view 5th ed., Robert V. Kail, John C. Cavanaugh pp17).

As we have been learning, correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. When creating a diagnosis we should consider the social-biological-psychological framework before forming any opinions. Social constraints are extremely important. Where we find ourselves in society can tell us a lot about why we act the way we do. For example, our society typically assigns different jobs to different sexes. This is changing ever so slowly, but you will still see many ads selling play kitchens for little girls and tools for fixing for the boys. Other social contexts may present questions like: What is the patients relationship like with his/her parents? We may also have to consider cultural differences when making assessments. What is true in one culture isn't necessarily true in all.

When considering the biology of a person, we may want to understand the family history. Have there been genetical factors involved? Other questions may be what is the diet of the person with whom we are working with? These questions are fundamental, but often overlooked when doing a diagnosis. Depression can be a horrible reality for many people. One may want to look deeply into the problems of people with depression, but what if the problem is more on the surface like a vitamin D deficiency. Biological questions are equally important when considering our assessments of patients.

The Psychological framework as we are seeing can be approached in many ways. All of which are most important. The Life-Span Perspective is a developmental point a view that can be applied to all walks of life. Whether it is Cognitive, Behavioral, or Neural Psychology that we are studying. I hope that you will take the LIfe-Span Perspective into consideration. If we can embrace the whole dominion of a human being we may closer reside to solving the complex problems that we find with in the race.

1? 2? Try 8.

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How many intelligences do you truly have? According to Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences the answer is eight. Gardner says that these intelligences include:

Logical-Mathematical:
This intelligence is the ability to work in logical sequences and work with numbers. Some of the ways to show this is through the computation of complex math problems, thinking scientifically, and recognition of abstract patterns.
Spatial:
This is the ability to judge objects in space using only the mind and eyes. This is more of an abstract intelligence and it is commonly said that people in the arts such as architects and other design based jobs possess high levels of this intelligence.
Linguistic:
As the name suggests this has to do with the language aspect of the brain. This can include both written and verbal forms of the language. People with high amounts of this intelligence usually enjoy reading and writing and playing various word games to keep their mind sharp.
Musical:
This intelligence allows people to very sensitive to sound and the rhythm of music. A very extreme example of this intelligence is people with perfect pitch who are able to tell one note from another just by simply hearing it.
Intrapersonal:
This is knowing your own self. People with high amounts with this intelligence often like to learn alone and work alone on tasks if given the option. They are also very in touch with their emotions and feelings.
Interpersonal:
This is the opposite of the intrapersonal intelligence. People with high amounts of this intelligence often like working in groups and learn best through interaction with other people. They also have a strong sense of how people feel around them.
Bodily-kinesthetic:
The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is one in which gives you control over your body and the way it moves. This is important in people who do very physically skilled based positions. This also allows people to communicate through body movement and language.
Naturalistic:
Naturalistic intelligence is the ability to be able to recognize the world around you. Whether this be classifying plants or knowledge such as farming or gardening, the naturalistic intelligence all has to do with you and the world around us.

This theory of the multiple intelligences have been very interesting to the teaching community because if Gardener's theory is true then the best way for people to learn would be by combining all of these different ways of learning. One major problem with his theory though is that not all of the different intelligences can be tested in a scientific way, so there is no way to prove his theory of multiple intelligences. If his theory were to be correct however, this may open a new window into teaching and understanding how the mind is able to learn under all different circumstances.

Population Crisis!

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According to the United Nations, "The world's population is expected to increase 2.5 billion people in the next 43 years" and "Most of the growth is concentrated in the 60-plus age grouping". This may not be too shocking to most considering how far medicine and health has improved in our society. However great these advancements have been for humankind, I have concerns about the longevity of our ever increasing population. I believe that the earth has natural capacity and certain ecosystems should not be pushed over their limits. The Earth recently reached the amazing feat of supporting 7 billion people on the planet, but I believe that this is simply setting us up for disasters in the future. For example, if the Midwest gets a drought thousands will instantly go hungry or even parish. It's a sad situation to think about but scary none the less. Additionally, Americans lead a lifestyle that is rivaled by no other cultures that features wasting products and overusing. To think if other parts of the world consumed at the rates of Americans the natural capacity would be much smaller. This situation is new to the Earth, so it will be interesting to see how our population reacts to the crisis that will be upon us shortly

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/The_Global_Aging_Problem_999.html

Population Crisis!

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According to the United Nations, "The world's population is expected to increase 2.5 billion people in the next 43 years" and "Most of the growth is concentrated in the 60-plus age grouping". This may not be too shocking to most considering how far medicine and health has improved in our society. However great these advancements have been for humankind, I have concerns about the longevity of our ever increasing population. I believe that the earth has natural capacity and certain ecosystems should not be pushed over their limits. The Earth recently reached the amazing feat of supporting 7 billion people on the planet, but I believe that this is simply setting us up for disasters in the future. For example, if the Midwest gets a drought thousands will instantly go hungry or even parish. It's a sad situation to think about but scary none the less. Additionally, Americans lead a lifestyle that is rivaled by no other cultures that features wasting products and overusing. To think if other parts of the world consumed at the rates of Americans the natural capacity would be much smaller. This situation is new to the Earth, so it will be interesting to see how our population reacts to the crisis that will be upon us shortly

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/The_Global_Aging_Problem_999.html

Mozart Effect

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In a 1993 study, researchers Raushecher, shaw, and Ky found that college students who listened to about 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata showed a significant improvement on spatial reasoning task compared with a group of student who listened to a relaxation tape. This phenomenon was dubbed the "Mozart Effect." Our book describes the Mozart Effect as, " The supposed enhancement in intelligence after listening to classical music" (Lilienfeld 377).
Although the popular media ran wild with this theory, including marketing scores of CDs targeted toward babies, these findings have yet to be replicated. Those who found similar effects only saw very low magnitudes and durations only lasting an hour or less.
An explanation for such an effect could be that listening to such music elicits greater emotional arousal. Another study done found that subjects who watched a scary movie before memorization found similar effects to those who listened to classical music. Perhaps anything that boosts emotional arousal can increase spatial memory and long-term memory.
From now on when i try to block out my roommates nonsense while studying, i will switch from a white noise generator, to perhaps some classy classical!

Chapter 11 of Lilienfeld's text talks about nonverbal leakage as the unconscious expressing of our feelings into actions. This is a common form of communication we use every day that we just don't think about (hence, the unconscious). But when there is a lack of either the verbal or nonverbal parts of communicating with one another, it is hard to distinguish the real meaning to what the communicator is trying to say. When you have both aspects playing a part, the emotion is intensified and fully communicated. A person who is deaf or can't hear very well relies greatly on other people's gestures and body language. It is they're way of reading their expressions and arm movements to help decipher the emotion. Here is an article that talks a little bit about "deaf culture" and how body language plays an important role in their lives--something they don't take for granted.
http://library.thinkquest.org/11942/deafculture.html
There are so many people who are hearing impaired and live in a culture of people who aren't hard of hearing. And they survive and live just as meaningful and fulfilling lives. It would be interesting to see what a world would be like where everyone was deaf and only relied on facial expressions, body language and gestures. I bet we would still be able to communicate as much as we could with words

This is something that it written about time and time again, yet I never feel any single article establishes a real resolution to this argument. The article I found on the topic however, and this is a first, does not claim one side or another, it simply points out the scientific evidence and lets the reader decide which is where I must step in.

Based on the evidence that the testers gathered in their studies, violent video games triggered enhanced amounts of emotional arousal in children. The article goes on to add that this does NOT mean the child will go on a killing spree after playing a game like Call of Duty, which I think is one thing many studies fail to point out. From what I read numerous other activities, such as playing an intense racing game with no graphic violence at all, can also cause similar results on brain patterns. What I found was most surprising in the article was that these instances of heightened brain activity seemed to increase in duration based on how long the game was played, and some researchers even began to theorize whether or not the effect could become permanent after consistent gaming sessions. To me the idea seemed somewhat possible, as just as our brain has the ability to learn a new skill or ability wouldn't it make sense for it also be able to learn a mindset? This possibility is quite interesting and could finally justify the fear of violent games as true, yet just as the article stated they are simply theories.

From a personal standpoint I am undecided on the topic. The way that our brain is able to learn makes me think that there is a possibility of such a threat, yet from experience I have to think otherwise. At very young ages when children are most impressionable during early stages of development, do I believe they might begin to play soldiers after seeing a game of guns and killing? Of course I do, and this could be where the belief stems from. Yet in a practical case, where the children are maybe a bit under recommended age I believe their knowledge of reality and simulation will overcome any urge they have to pick up a gun and go shoot people. Just as the parents believe the violence corrupts the minds of their kids, I believe the fear is corrupting the minds of the parents, and until there is solid evidence to prove otherwise I will continue believing just that.

I have found body language and human lie detecting techniques very interesting, especially where they overlap. When people lie they tend to take defensive stances which include folding their arms in front of the torso or, if they are seated, leaning away from the person they are talking to. As far as facial cues go people often cover part of their face with their hand, in an attempt to hide other cues but this has become its own hint to lying. It is common to have heard that if someone is avoiding eye contact then they are lying, in fact any change in amount of eye contact can be a dead giveaway for lying. Keep in mind that in normal conversations people keep eye contact only 50% of the discussion.
If we look at body language alone to tell if someone is lying we will not be 100% accurate. There is no way to be 100% accurate with human lie detectors. Still, you cannot be anywhere close to being always right. You need to look at other reasons for the body language the accused liar is displaying. Defensive stances could also be caused by the person feeling uncomfortable with the person asking the questions, or they have been on edge due to outside influences.
Other signs of stressed body language are often linked to lying, because lying can bring up feelings of stress, you must think of what is causing the stress. Most lying body language is based on the person being stressed about having to deceive. When the person is stressed on their own it is mistaken for lies.
To help lower the anxiety of lying, and to lower any cues you may be unaware that you are giving, if you can believe in the lies yourself, you are more likely to be able to sell it. Confidence is sometimes enough to sell the lie, or to lower the suspicion enough so that the questioner will brush off any doubt.

Sources:
http://www.humanliedetection.com/BodyLanguageOfLiars.php

Emerging adulthood is defined as the period in our lives from the ages 18-25. This is the stage in life where many aspects of emotion develop. This stage particularly applies to college students like us.

Although changes in personality also occur, the Emerging Adulthood stage is still different from earlier adolescence. In adolescence, the primary internal conflict is "identity vs. role confusion." For example,in adolescence prior to the Emerging Adulthood stage, I solidified who my friends are, that I still see today. I also could be labeled with an identity as I played sports in high school. Emerging Adulthood is different from earlier adolescence because it deals with internal personal development rather than how we are seen by others in the environment.

http://wearemoviegeeks.com/wp-content/animal-house.jpg
So right now, it is normal for us to be preoccupied with our own internal personal developments. The Emerging Adulthood stage is categorized by a solidity in personality and life goals. I know for certain that I (at 19 years old) think about my life goal each day. This stage may be due to the fact that it is the age in which we, as colleges students, determine our profession that will impact the rest of our lives. My main question is that if this stage can change based on cultural input. For example, would people living in a culture where youth assume more responsibility at an earlier age undergo the Emerging Adulthood stage earlier in life. Like 15 or 16. Or is the solidity of personality and identity due to biological reasons not occurring until later years. (18-25)

Can you beat a lie detector test?

There are plenty of people, websites, and shows that "prove" it's possible to lie to the lie detector without getting caught. However, how professional are these polygraphs that they're using? Here's a video taking a look at this,

Here the test accurately and easily told when he was lying even with a simple test. If this guy can't even lie about a simple number he wrote down it is going to be pretty tough to lie when there is more at stake in a police case. It also mentions in our textbook about the Pinocchio response and it seemed to come into play in this video. The guy here paused and looked a little stressed when it was time to lie, this can also be seen in other videos. Not only here, but also in everyday life there are cues that help any normal person decide when someone is lying.

So, with all of this it leads me to wonder how can the test really be beaten? How can elevated heart rates, blood pressure, respiration and other natural brain and bodily responses be controlled when your under pressure and your body knows the truth?

The textbook also mentions that the polygraphs turn up a lot of false positives. I think this is the reason people think that the test is inaccurate and beatable. However, if someone is lying I think there is a very, very high chance of it detecting it and it's difficult to beat it. Until I actually see someone beat an official polygraph and the test administrator i won't believe it. It is hard to control emotions and sensations that occur because of body reactions and the polygraphs are good enough at picking that up.

http://psychfutures.ning.com/page/psychology-of-attraction

Through psychology, it appears that the popular claim that opposites attract is misleading. Two similar counterparts are more likely to make a whole versus opposing couples. The article provided above is evidence to this idea.

It would make sense that one chooses to surround themselves with people who live near them and see frequently, have similar interests, and have a mutual relationship. While relationships begin between people who live closely together, it isn't necessarily necessary to live close to maintain the relationship. My mother's best friend lives in a different state than her, but when they are together, it appears as if they see each other every day. It is their interests and sense of reciprocity between each other that maintains their relationship.

Today, people often hear of friends being in bad, abusive relationships. This could be a result of media's obsession with portraying couples who are exact opposites. The media gives rise to the idea that opposites attract, and it is necessary for two people to be different to be complete. However, we cannot draw causation from correlation.

However, being too similar to someone does not mean that the relationship will be destined to work out. Another popular idea is that the qualities we don't like in others are often qualities we possess ourselves. Whether this is true or not, I have had personal experiences being in relationships with people who are too much like me. In these cases, I feel as though I get annoyed more easily or lose my sense of identity. It is as if we are all the same. However, this is anecdotal evidence, so people should be weary of it.

In general, the ideas of proximity, similarity, familiarity, reciprocity, and barriers apply to the general public's relationships. People chose to be around people who are close to them, have similar interest and views, and benefit from each other. These characteristics can be said to be essential for a positive, healthy relationship.

Perfecting Parenting

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From my little experience working with kids, (I taught swimming lessons for a couple years, and I volunteer at a preschool) I've been surprised to learn how very different they can be behaviorally speaking at such early ages. I think this has a lot to do with parenting, which is mentioned in our book on page 388. I also think that the style of parenting kids grow up with has long-term effects on development.
A parenting phenomenon that has been highly discussed recently is "helicopter parenting." I would classify a helicopter parent under the style the textbook calls an "Authoritarian." An authoritarian is strict, offering little freedom and much punishment. Helicopter parents are involved with every aspect of a child's life. Many interpretations of the term appear as comic strips with an apathetic looking kid in the middle of two hovering parents, one whispering an answer to the test they're currently taking and the other trying to wrap the kid in bubble wrap.
The term reminded me very much of many of my friends' parents in high school, in particular my friend B's mom. B's mom always decided what classes B would sign up for. She wouldn't allow her to take art because there were more important classes that would be "more beneficial to B later on in life." When I first started to hang out with B she admitted to being constantly stressed out, she told me how on holidays she would always get drunk in her bathroom because she felt like she didn't belong with her family and they didn't think she was good enough. This really freaked me out and I suggested she tell her mom how she felt about how much control she had over B. B's mom didn't like this at all and eventually stopped allowing B to come over to my house. She said I was a bad influence on her because my parents were too liberal and they were divorced so I was "troubled." As stated in our textbook the effects of divorce on children are variable and "better-designed studies show that the substantial majority of children survive their parents' divorce without long-term emotional damage." My parents' divorce came as a relief to me because I knew the constant fighting would be over. B's parents condemn divorce and yet have separate bedrooms and fight often. So then in 2008 came Bs transition and mine into college. While my parents had been lenient with me (or authoritative) I was reluctant to disobey them and their suggested limits because I was generally happy with life. When B got to college it was as if you let her out of a cage, once overwhelmed with structure and limitations B was now free to do as she pleased. She drank heavily and her grades suffered. So was the cause of this her helicopter mom? Or had she simply been wired that way..with little self-control, and thus her mom had no other choice but to constantly dictate her every action?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1940697-1,00.html <---good article on helicopter parenting

The effect media violence has on families and the general public is an ongoing debate. Some scientists insist that violence in the media directly influences and shapes children's personality. Michael Suman, the Coordinator of the Center of Communications Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, did a study on the effects of violence in media and drew a few conclusions.

His conclusions were that violence on television increases violent behavior in people, desensitizes people from violence, and increases fear, and that children are more vulnerable to all these negative effects.

However, many scientists would argue with Suman's claims and say that he could be confusing correlation and causation. It is possible that viewing violent television may cause people to have more violent behaviors, but it is also true that people with more violent personalities are more likely to watch violent television.

Some of the claims are also hard to falsify. For instance, the claim that violent television increases fear in people would be extremely hard to falsify, because there are so many different things that could contribute to a person being fearful.

Suman's exact claims can be found here:

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-f012.html

Are violent video games bad?

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Are violent video games bad? Do they cause aggression, or help vent stress in an way in which nobody is harmed? Growing up brings on a slew of emotions and stress that young teenagers have to learn to cope with. The argument states the very interesting point that violence in video games can help children deal with certain emotions that could be harmful to others if they were dealt with in other ways. Think of a child who is angry at a fellow classmate. Wouldn't it be better if he/she deals with this anger by playing a game in a virtual world were the emotion is released on a virtual character, rather than engaging in a physical fight with the classmate? In this scenario, both parties win and nobody is hurt.

The counter point to this argument that is brought up is the fact that children who do not posses violent behaviors can pick them up through video games and then engage in real life violence. While this could be possible in some, I personally think that it is more beneficial to let the children who already have the emotions of anger or violence take it out in a way that does not harm anyone, rather than focus on the few children who cannot differentiate reality versus video games.

Another interesting point brought up in this panel is the idea that children not only are able to deal with the emotion, but learn to vent it and become a master of it. Think of growing up in the middle school and high school years. There are many things being learned, and how to deal with emotion is one of them. By finding ways to positively express these new and powerful emotions, the child masters it and has ways to deal with them in the future. I believe that is a very positive thing that is not considered much in the debate on violent video games. If one is able to master a way to deal with anger by sitting down and playing video games, then the child is not participating in other negative activities that can lead to even more negative activities in the future. By learning to deal with sadness and down days by playing video games, the child is avoiding self destructive behavior that could occur as they get older such as smoking cigarettes and taking it out on other people.

There may be other ways that children can learn how to deal with emotions, but I feel like video games are a good way for some children to take out emotions in a positive or neutral way. Everyone has their own stance on the subject and may feel like these ideas are only selective to only a portion of those who play video games, but there is no right answer to this debate as everyone differs in the way they react to violence in video games.

Lying and Lie Detection

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An interesting topic that we have learned about to me was lie detection. An important fact to know is that humans are not a good way to determine if someone is lying or not. Humans are right about someone lying only 55% of the time and usually by chance; very few people can exceed 70%. Police and other occupations that involved being good at identifying lies say that verbal cues can be more helpful than nonverbal cues. For example, usually if someone's voice goes up higher while talking, there is a greater chance that what they're saying is a lie. Another verbal cue to look for is a statement that has few details and words such as, "I'm not sure but..". We learned about two different kinds of lie detectors, one of them being the Polygraph test. A polygraph test relies on what are called Pinnochio responses; supposedly perfect physiological or behavioral indicators of lying and claims to be accurate about 98% of the time. However, many believe that the test can confuse arousal with guilt and therefore cause the innocent to look guilty. The second test is the guilty knowledge test. This relies on the premise that criminals harbor concealed knowledge about the crime that innocent people don't. For example if there is a fork involved in the crime and a fork is brought up, the criminal is more likely to have a physiological response to the word fork than innocent people. I find this topic of discussion interesting because I would like to be a lawyer when I grow up and it's very important to be able to tell if people in court are lying or not. Many shows that I watch demonstrate how to tell if someone is lying. I believe that the more you know, the more likely you can tell if someone's lying to you or not. A perfect example of this takes place in one of my favorite movies, Legally Blonde. Elle Woods knew the witness was lying because she knew the rules about getting a perm. Knowing this piece of information helped her save the innocent and put the guilty in jail. Here's a clip of that scene below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acUFdP7N1vw

Violence in the media

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In discussion this week, we observed reactions from children watching Barney and Power Rangers. The reactions of the children would suggest that aggressive and violent media can effect one's aggression and violent behavior later in life. I believe this is an important concept to consider.

In my opinion, playing violent video games and watching high pace, aggressive television shows does not impact the way that one will behave as they grow. According to both of the science daily news articles, there are studies showing that indulging in these activities do not correlate with aggressive behaviors and that there are many other factors that are necessary to consider when determining the way someone will act.

In my personal experience, there is no impact on aggression, anger, or violence from violent media. Of the many friends and family that I have, we have all been exposed to violent video games, movies, and television from a very young age. In my family, TV, video game and movie ratings were ignored from the age of about four. My brother and I have never expressed any more aggression or violence than your average person, along with any of our friends or family members.

The most aggressive people I know, were exposed to poor parenting, depressive and anxiety symptoms and poor living conditions. This is proof enough, along with the studies done by scientific journals that violent media is not the cause of aggressive behavior and that people need to stop blaming video games and tv shows and look at what the other more logical factors are. The simplest explanation is usually the most right and if you use a diamond decision making model you can also learn to evaluate this behavior for what it truly is.

SOURCES:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214112031.htm

Ergonomics refers to the study of how our bodies interact with the technology and devices in our environments. With the rapid growth of technology, the understanding of how our bodies can work comfortably and efficiently under various conditions is becoming more important.
As an interior design major, the study of ergonomics is a topic of high importance. Proper ergonomics in interiors address issues of safety, comfort, and well-being of the occupants. The design of offices is an area of design that studies and utilizes ergonomics extensively. Chairs, tables, workstations, conference rooms, and collaborative work configurations are all designed to adjust and fit the varying sizes of the human body. People spend much of their lives at work.; it is crucial that their work environments promote comfort, efficiency and low stress in order to maintain high worker retention and overall well-being.
Herman Miller is an office furniture design company that dedicates extensive time and funding to research on ergonomics and the science behind designing to fit the human body. Herman Miller designed the first ergonomic chair for the office and today creates a variety of furniture built to adjust to suit the body and comfortably as possible. As part of the concept of universal design (design to suit all needs and abilities equally) ergonomic design strives to suit the diverse needs of all users.

Divorce and children

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Does divorce impact children?
In one article I read, Journal of Marriage and Family, Demo and Acock say that "the pattern of empirical findings suggest that children's emotional adjustment, gender-role orientation, and anti-social behavior are affected by family structure." Two psychologists argued that one of the basic functions of the family is to serve as a stable, organically integrated "factory" in which human personalities are formed(Parson's and Bales). Two parents also emphasize the importance of role models in children's lives. They are the initial and primary reinforcers of their children's behavior. Straying from the nuclear family is problematic for children's development, especially during the adolescent stage because that is a crucial time in the developmental process. Some developmental problems are deficiencies in maturation dealing with cognitive development, achievement, conformity, and moral learning. As a result of divorce, children are prone to divorce once they do marry, or not even want to marry at all.

Many of the studies of the effects of divorce on children show the negative aspects. The social and psychological effects on well-being are aspects of self-concept, personal adjustment, antisocial behavior, interpersonal relationships, etc. The age of the child during the time of the divorce plays a big role in how much it affects them. Studies show that preschool- age kids aren't as affected by it then school-aged kids are. They are more aware of what is going on and have a deeper attachment. Another factor that affects children is who has custody of them. The gender of the parent and child can have an effect on how the child adjusts. Girls are shown to adjust better with their mothers, and boys adjust better with their fathers, but the rate of father's gaining custody is very low. Over time, as children adjust to their new environment, the affects of divorce become easier to deal with.

I listed a few ways children are affected by divorce. There are many different ways living in single family homes with separated parents affects them. I believe that there are a lot of deep psychological problems that can be correlated with divorce in children. It is very hard for them to deal with their parents splitting, and it can affect them throughout their lives, and it can affect their own families they create in their futures.

In the article I read it focuses on the real meaning behind the phrase "s/he's just a friend." The article had stated that at the beginning of a friendship the boy and girl will have mutual feelings for each other, meaning they do not think of their relationship anymore than just friendship, but all the time spent with each other eventually changes the relationship into something more. This is known in Psychology as proximity: physical nearness, and a predictor of attraction, seeing someone on a frequent basis creates an perfect opportunity for relationship formation. Have you ever noticed when you were younger you always had a crush on the boy/girl that lived next door to you? Or the guy/girl that waited at the bus stop with you every morning? These are examples of how proximity works when it comes to forming relationships. Would you still have a crush on that particular person if you didn't see them on a daily basis?
However in the article I read it also stated that opposites attract. This contradicts what we've learned in Psych 1001 which states in our text book that like attracts like. The article continued to explain that having a friend of the opposite gender excites us mentally, but not enough research has proven this to be true. This does not explain then why some girls may prefer girls over guys and some guys may prefer guys over girls when it comes to what attracts and excites them. Our book also makes a valid argument that having things in common with someone or also known as similarity, can become a predictor of attraction as well.
Another key aspect the article stated on why boys and girls can't just be friends is due mainly because of attitude and nature.Flirty nature more specifically can cause jealousy, and irritation especially when the guy flirts with someone other than his so called friend and naturally the sexual tension may be there. This can end the friendship abruptly. Although there is more support and evidence proving that guys and girls can't just be "friends," more research still needs to be conducted to test out any other hypotheses as to why this became the golden rule. Those of us who have seen the 1991 film My Girl directed by Howard Zieff, have experienced first hand how awkward a friendship can get when spending too much time with one another can start to turn into something else.

Sources:http://living.oneindia.in/relationship/love-and-romance/2011/girl-boy-friendship-041111.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200109/can-men-and-women-be-friends

The topic of our recent psychology discussion, Can the media influence children in negative ways? The answer to this can vary from study to study. In class, we viewed a video of children shown two different movies. In the first movie, they were shown Barney. The children in this movie were shown singing happily about sharing and having respect for one another. The children watching this seemed to imitate them by playing nicely and quietly. In the other movie, Power Rangers, the "good guys" were shown fighting, punching, and defeating the "bad guys" and it was shown to the children as positive actions. This caused the children to slowly begin to pretend they were the Power Rangers, kicking and hitting one another.

Although this "violence" appeared to be mainly pretend and recreational, does it still have an effect on how the children would approach certain situations? There are two sides to this.

Some researchers take the side that media does have an influence. Art Mackman wrote an article siding with this perspective. He describes a study that showed increased arousal and energy in the brain when one plays a violent video game. However, challenging this, does this activity have a direct link to aggression? When we simply play a game of basketball we have increased arousal and energy. So would this mean that the sport is making us more aggressive? I don't believe this. However, I do not fully side with the idea that media has absolutely no influence on behaviors. In another article, by CJ Ferguson, he explains a study that he did which measured the amount of violent crimes that young people, ages 10 to 14, committed after a month of playing violent video games. I wouldn't conclude that from one month long study, you could determine if video games had any effect on someone. Furthermore, since the study was on young people and not "children", they are more capable of knowing what already isn't socially acceptable when it comes to violence. I feel that it is too late of an age to manipulate their behaviors.

I tend to fall in between the two sides to this debate. I believe that if children grow up around violent video games and shows, they will be more capable of reacting to situations violently than a child who hasn't had much experience with this type of media.

Obesity and the Media

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Obesity and weight gain have been a rising issue in societies all over the world when looking at recent years. For instance, the number of obese people in the world has already doubled since only 1980 and in 2008 alone, it was reported that about 1 in 10 people in the world were obese. Clearly there are some roots to this problem, but what's primarily to blame, no one knows.

Though this body type is becoming more and more visible in our society, a lot of the health conditions and risks that go along with this lifestyle go unnoticed by others or obese people themselves. Not only can a high BMI and case of obesity cause serious cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke, but also severe diabetes and various types of cancers.

It's hard to say what the exact cause of this weight epidemic is, but it is obvious that our society seems to be infatuated with it. There are a handful of popular TV shows watched every day that deal with obesity and some even weight loss, such as Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, Ruby (the reality show based on the life of an obese woman), DietTribe, etc. We also are constantly seeing celebrities on air promoting their weight loss supplements and programs.

http://www.hotspot106.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/hart1a_jennifer_hudson_weight_watchers_spokesperson.jpg

http://woooha.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/queen.jpg

It is possible that this massive media attention brought towards the scene of obesity could be one of the causes of its growth over the decades. When obese people see these shows and their immense popularity, it acts as a type of positive reinforcement in that if they continue to be obese, they could get themselves a reality show or a chance to lose weight to win a huge amount of money. To show the other side of these great incentives, here's an interview with a Biggest Loser winner and his struggle for steady health.

Others, however, argue that by bringing more media attention to the scene of obesity, it shows those with the condition the realities of their condition and holds the chance to shed more much needed light on the situation and help them make a change.

My question is this: if we keep bringing media attention to the issue of obesity, will it further perpetuate its growth by reinforcing others to be obese, or pose a change that will try to eliminate its stance in our societies?


Sources:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index.html

How to be a Better Dad

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The Lilienfeld text touched on the role of the father in parenting a child; sparking my interest on what really makes a great father. Of course it is important that children have a "warm, close relationship with their father" (Lilienfeld, 390) but what exactly does this mean? I found a source which lists ten ways to be a great dad so I chose only a few that I found most interesting.
My personal favorite off of this list was the advice to respect your children's mother. While this was not the first thing I would have thought of in order to improve a father's relationship with his children, it makes the most sense. Whether or not the father is married to the child's mother, it is important that a child feels like he is safe and there is no conflict between his parents. This is especially important for children whose parents are separated.
Another good piece of advice in this article was to discipline with love. A father who can both acknowledge his child for rewardable behavior, and fairly and calmly discipline them as well, is both loving and admirable.
Probably the most obvious way to be a great father, showing a child affection can make a world of a difference in the relationship between a dad and a child. This is especially important for fathers because they are less likely to be the parent to provide the most comfort to infants as they are growing. A father who hugs his child every day and lets his child know how important they are to him gets a gold star for being a great dad.

I know from personal experience that eating meals as a family is also a great way to be a good father. Sitting down to dinner and talking about each person's day allows children to talk to their father and tell them how they are feeling or bring up things that they've been wanting to tell them but couldn't find the time. It also provides a sense of family which is important for any child growing up.
Although there is no set recipe for whipping up the perfect dad, it seems there are a good number of things that are important for a dad raising his children. Mother's are typically given a lot of the credit for raising and taking care of a child but it can not be forgotten that a father provides a great deal for his child. I personally cringe at the thought of the question, what would I have done without my father?

http://www.a-better-child.org/page/823183

How To Spot A Liar

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The average person lies twice a day (Lilienfeld). Most of the time, the lies go without question from others. But sometimes, we wonder if we are being lied to. To determine this, we rely on unconscious, nonverbal cues that a person gives off. Most people are only 55% right in detecting a lie, so here are a few ways to enhance a person's ability to detect a lie (Lilienfeld).

http://youtu.be/E3PAW7zjgPw

According to ex-FBI agent Bill Brown, "The eyes are a window to the soul." By this, he means that the eyes hold the key in displaying a lie. For example, if someone looks up and to the right before responding to a question, he/she is probably about to lie. This is because he/she is tapping into the part of the brain that visually pictures something that has never happened. If someone looks up and to the left, it means he/she is probably telling the truth. This is because he/she is remembering something that has actually happened. Also, if someone continuously shifts their eyes or intensely stares or avoids eye contact with the person he/she is responding to, chances are the person is lying (Dr. Phil).

However, there are more ways to tell if someone is lying. Body language is a huge giveaway. For example, liars tend to rub their neck, scratch their head or nose, tap their fingers, look at their watch, position something between them and the person they are talking to, lean back in their chair, sit at an angle to the person they are talking to, keep their arms crossed, and keep their hands tightly folded in their lap (Dr. Phil, Deborah King & Bill Brown).

With this newfound knowledge of detecting a lie, can you tell which person is lying?
picture
picture
Hopefully you chose the second picture as the liar.

This topic is really interesting, because lying is such a common occurrence in our society. If everyone lies at least two times per day, that's a lot of lies accumulated in a lifetime. I've been in situations where I could sense someone was not telling the truth, but didn't know for sure because I didn't know the common facial or body traits of a liar. That's why I got hooked on the show "Lie to Me." I was fascinated that Dr. Cal Lightman could tell whether someone was lying just by studying their facial movements. From the show, I learned a few common characteristics a liar does when he/she is telling a lie. It was fun to occasionally use that knowledge in my everyday life when talking to people at school or at home.

Sources:
http://drphil.com/articles/article/228 (Dr. Phil)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRt2YvuRB_4 (Deborah King)
Youtube video (Bill Brown)
"Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding" by Lilienfeld (Lilienfeld)

Disgust?

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The Mayans and their culture have always been a mystery to the world. The Yucatán Mayan people do not have a word for disgust.

The Mayans that were a part of an emotions without language study are from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Their language database is smaller when it comes to describing emotions. Compared to the Yucatán Mayans, the Germans have a larger database of emotions to choose from. To start the study, researchers from MPI Psycholinguistics and Evolutionary Anthropology took subjects that spoke the Yucatán Mayan language and they took subjects that spoke German. After showing both a collection that contained emotional photos of disgust and anger, the German speaking people described the two emotions differently. The Mayans, on the other hand, described those two emotions the same. This showed that the Mayans had no specific word for the disgust emotion. This is very interesting to me. I don't know why they do not have a different word. I would think they still experience the emotion at times. They must use a unique linguistic system, or they must group emotional descriptions more generally.

They also conducted a second test. They used this test to see how the Mayans language transferred to their view of emotions. They showed the subjects a picture of a mixed emotion. Then they took the photo away, and showed two other photos. One of the photos was the original, and the other was the same person with a "slightly different" emotion. In some pairs the dominant emotion changed, in others it remained the same. For many of the photos, the subjects were asked which of the two they had just seen.

The results showed that they did the same as the German speakers. They performed better when the two faces they chose from were dominated by different emotions.

We were talking about how there are emotions that are internationally understood or "universal". This study proves this, there may be no word for disgust in the Yucatán Mayan language, however they were able to perform just as well as a German speaking person. One of the things that intrigues me is how these expressions are so universal. How could they reach everywhere in the world? I think that the answer to this is because they live in the same world. Some experiences will be the same. For example, no matter where one is in the world there is death. People generally are sad when someone dies. Also, around the world there are celebrations for various different occasions, and for that people are happy. I think life experiences and human interaction make these emotions universal more than any other reason.

Ishan

LINK:
http://www.healthcanal.com/mental-health-behavior/22712-Understanding-emotions-without-language.html

I have always struggled with the idea that a single number can determine the intelligence of an individual. After reading chapter 9 and watching the following video, I realized that IQ should not be used as a single marker of one's overall intelligence.

Although IQ scores are valid, there are aspects of IQ testing that must be looked at closely. IQ can predict some aspects of human intelligence. For example, good health literacy and success at mentally demanding occupations both have a positive correlation with IQ. And IQ tests are also valid because the correspond with other modern tests.
However, when considering the reliability of an IQ test, we must be very careful. In general, IQ scores remain stable throughout adulthood. But IQ scores are not set and can drastically change over time. So as the man in the video states, it is unfair to set the standards for a student's education based on his standardized test scores from one point in time, in this example, fourth grade. In order to make the testing more reliable, the tests must follow test-retest reliability. In this instance, a student's future could be determined by his scores on one IQ test, but it would be more fair for scores to be taken many times in order to insure reliability. I have personally experiences the difficulties one time IQ tests can cause for an individual. For high school I was asked to take an entrance exam which would ultimately place me in the "correct" math and science classes. I was placed in the middle level math class when in reality, I could have taken the upper level math class. Because my placement was based solely on one test, it became an unreliable marker of my ability. In this situation, I was unfortunately set back because I didn't score well enough on one test. While IQ is helpful and usually a good marker of intelligence, it is important to remember some of the basic scientific thinking principles. Tests must be replicated to ensure reliability and to limit the number of confounding variables, such as specific difficulties on test days due to illness or personal situations.

Background
Gender, male or female, it is one the basic elements that helps develop our own individual personalities and sense of self. But then there are those who are really sure they are you they should be. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a condition where the individual feels a strong identification with the opposite gender.
A person suffering from GID often experience severe discomfort with their actual anatomic gender. They may often present themselves as members of the opposite sex, as well as express their desire to alter their bodies.
Some individuals, such as Chaz Bono, are committed to altering their physical appearances. They may do this through cosmetics, hormones, and in a few cases surgery. Those who commit to the surgery, such as Chaz, are known as transsexuals.

What is it?
With all the science and technology in the world today, no one has quite been able to determine the exact cause. There are however several theories that exist. They include genetic (chromosomal) abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and early childhood development.

How common is GID?
This is a rare disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It is usually caught in early childhood, in fact, most people are able to recognize it before adolescents (<13 years old).

How can it be diagnosed?
GID is usually diagnosed by a trained mental health professional (psychiatrist or psychologist). They perform a thorough medical history and psychological exam. They do this to rule out the possibility of depression, anxiety or psychosis. GID is diagnosed when the evaluation confirms the constant desire to become the opposite sex.

Background
Gender, male or female, it is one the basic elements that helps develop our own individual personalities and sense of self. But then there are those who are really sure they are you they should be. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a condition where the individual feels a strong identification with the opposite gender.
A person suffering from GID often experience severe discomfort with their actual anatomic gender. They may often present themselves as members of the opposite sex, as well as express their desire to alter their bodies.
Some individuals, such as Chaz Bono, are committed to altering their physical appearances. They may do this through cosmetics, hormones, and in a few cases surgery. Those who commit to the surgery, such as Chaz, are known as transsexuals.

What is it?
With all the science and technology in the world today, no one has quite been able to determine the exact cause. There are however several theories that exist. They include genetic (chromosomal) abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and early childhood development.

How common is GID?
This is a rare disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It is usually caught in early childhood, in fact, most people are able to recognize it before adolescents (<13 years old).

How can it be diagnosed?
GID is usually diagnosed by a trained mental health professional (psychiatrist or psychologist). They perform a thorough medical history and psychological exam. They do this to rule out the possibility of depression, anxiety or psychosis. GID is diagnosed when the evaluation confirms the constant desire to become the opposite sex.

Background
Gender, male or female, it is one the basic elements that helps develop our own individual personalities and sense of self. But then there are those who are really sure they are you they should be. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a condition where the individual feels a strong identification with the opposite gender.
A person suffering from GID often experience severe discomfort with their actual anatomic gender. They may often present themselves as members of the opposite sex, as well as express their desire to alter their bodies.
Some individuals, such as Chaz Bono, are committed to altering their physical appearances. They may do this through cosmetics, hormones, and in a few cases surgery. Those who commit to the surgery, such as Chaz, are known as transsexuals.

What is it?
With all the science and technology in the world today, no one has quite been able to determine the exact cause. There are however several theories that exist. They include genetic (chromosomal) abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and early childhood development.

How common is GID?
This is a rare disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It is usually caught in early childhood, in fact, most people are able to recognize it before adolescents (<13 years old).

How can it be diagnosed?
GID is usually diagnosed by a trained mental health professional (psychiatrist or psychologist). They perform a thorough medical history and psychological exam. They do this to rule out the possibility of depression, anxiety or psychosis. GID is diagnosed when the evaluation confirms the constant desire to become the opposite sex.

Background
Gender, male or female, it is one the basic elements that helps develop our own individual personalities and sense of self. But then there are those who are really sure they are you they should be. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a condition where the individual feels a strong identification with the opposite gender.
A person suffering from GID often experience severe discomfort with their actual anatomic gender. They may often present themselves as members of the opposite sex, as well as express their desire to alter their bodies.
Some individuals, such as Chaz Bono, are committed to altering their physical appearances. They may do this through cosmetics, hormones, and in a few cases surgery. Those who commit to the surgery, such as Chaz, are known as transsexuals.

What is it?
With all the science and technology in the world today, no one has quite been able to determine the exact cause. There are however several theories that exist. They include genetic (chromosomal) abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and early childhood development.

How common is GID?
This is a rare disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It is usually caught in early childhood, in fact, most people are able to recognize it before adolescents (<13 years old).

How can it be diagnosed?
GID is usually diagnosed by a trained mental health professional (psychiatrist or psychologist). They perform a thorough medical history and psychological exam. They do this to rule out the possibility of depression, anxiety or psychosis. GID is diagnosed when the evaluation confirms the constant desire to become the opposite sex.

There are many debates over video games and how it affects people. It has been proposed that video games lead people to become more aggressive due to the aggression and violence involved in them. Such video games include Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and others, which emphasize killing, raping, and illegal acts in order to obtain points. But, there are many questions as to the correlation and causation of such accusations of video games and aggression.
One great example that considers the aggression caused by video games took place in Alabama in 2003 by Devin Moore. Moore was apprehended under suspicion of having driven a stolen car and then snatched a policeman's gun and shot two officers and a dispatcher. Devin blamed his actions on the inspiration of the Grand Theft Auto game series, which he claimed to have played obsessively and ended up taking out a lawsuit against the creators of GTA.
Another example that I have personally took interest in is discussed in the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. In this book, a young man has been constantly bullied since a child by the popular kids for being a nerd. To help deal with this reality, he creates a video game that is set in a school and its objective is to kill the popular students. But, this video game becomes a reality when the teenager, Peter Houghton, becomes the shooter at his high school one day.
But could video games really cause someone to murder another? It is a great question that still remains unanswered.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/17/taketwo_gta_lawsuit/

There are many debates over video games and how it affects people. It has been proposed that video games lead people to become more aggressive due to the aggression and violence involved in them. Such video games include Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and others, which emphasize killing, raping, and illegal acts in order to obtain points. But, there are many questions as to the correlation and causation of such accusations of video games and aggression.
One great example that considers the aggression caused by video games took place in Alabama in 2003 by Devin Moore. Moore was apprehended under suspicion of having driven a stolen car and then snatched a policeman's gun and shot two officers and a dispatcher. Devin blamed his actions on the inspiration of the Grand Theft Auto game series, which he claimed to have played obsessively and ended up taking out a lawsuit against the creators of GTA.
Another example that I have personally took interest in is discussed in the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. In this book, a young man has been constantly bullied since a child by the popular kids for being a nerd. To help deal with this reality, he creates a video game that is set in a school and its objective is to kill the popular students. But, this video game becomes a reality when the teenager, Peter Houghton, becomes the shooter at his high school one day.
But could video games really cause someone to murder another? It is a great question that still remains unanswered.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/17/taketwo_gta_lawsuit/

There are many debates over video games and how it affects people. It has been proposed that video games lead people to become more aggressive due to the aggression and violence involved in them. Such video games include Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and others, which emphasize killing, raping, and illegal acts in order to obtain points. But, there are many questions as to the correlation and causation of such accusations of video games and aggression.
One great example that considers the aggression caused by video games took place in Alabama in 2003 by Devin Moore. Moore was apprehended under suspicion of having driven a stolen car and then snatched a policeman's gun and shot two officers and a dispatcher. Devin blamed his actions on the inspiration of the Grand Theft Auto game series, which he claimed to have played obsessively and ended up taking out a lawsuit against the creators of GTA.
Another example that I have personally took interest in is discussed in the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. In this book, a young man has been constantly bullied since a child by the popular kids for being a nerd. To help deal with this reality, he creates a video game that is set in a school and its objective is to kill the popular students. But, this video game becomes a reality when the teenager, Peter Houghton, becomes the shooter at his high school one day.
But could video games really cause someone to murder another? It is a great question that still remains unanswered.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/17/taketwo_gta_lawsuit/

There are many debates over video games and how it affects people. It has been proposed that video games lead people to become more aggressive due to the aggression and violence involved in them. Such video games include Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and others, which emphasize killing, raping, and illegal acts in order to obtain points. But, there are many questions as to the correlation and causation of such accusations of video games and aggression.
One great example that considers the aggression caused by video games took place in Alabama in 2003 by Devin Moore. Moore was apprehended under suspicion of having driven a stolen car and then snatched a policeman's gun and shot two officers and a dispatcher. Devin blamed his actions on the inspiration of the Grand Theft Auto game series, which he claimed to have played obsessively and ended up taking out a lawsuit against the creators of GTA.
Another example that I have personally took interest in is discussed in the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. In this book, a young man has been constantly bullied since a child by the popular kids for being a nerd. To help deal with this reality, he creates a video game that is set in a school and its objective is to kill the popular students. But, this video game becomes a reality when the teenager, Peter Houghton, becomes the shooter at his high school one day.
But could video games really cause someone to murder another? It is a great question that still remains unanswered.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/17/taketwo_gta_lawsuit/

Violent Video games and TV shows affect children's behavior positively and negatively. As we saw in our discussion section, children reacted to both violent and peaceful TV shows. After the TV shows, they started playing with each other. We noticed that after they watched the peaceful Barney show they were happily getting along and playing with each other. After the Power Rangers show was done they started acting out the fighting that occurred in the TV show. At an early age, children are very susceptible to imitating what they see and hear. So it does not surprise me that this is happening. TV shows and video games have the most impact on these children at a young age. Parents are not monitoring the TV or video games a child watches. A great example of a video game that has great influence on children's behavior is Grand Theft Auto. As a player of this video game, I can see how children may imitate the actions from the game. It involves beating people down with bats and shooting people and even stealing cars. This is not the proper material to be showing a child a young age. I am not saying all children that play these games will go on to perform these actions, but a certain amount will. I fortunately was not affected by the actions of the game. I know there are limitations to obtaining these games to play, but all it takes is for a child to go to a friend's house and play it. I know in my future of being a parent I will monitor what my child is watching and playing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsMFsdS3aqU

How to detect lies?

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Everybody lies. Is it right or wrong? Or is it really matter?

It not about the lie itself, but what behind those lies are what people find fancy about. Since the beginning of time, everybody lies. Then, in order to be more successful in everyday personal life and social life, knowing things about lies becoming really important and useful.

It is impossible to catch a liar every time, but there are numerous methods to increase the chance of doing it. Based on the statistical data research, normal person make average about 3 lies in every 10 minutes talking. However, good news, according to our Lilienfeld-textbook: the signs of lying are universal, which means if we know those signs, then we can tell most of the lies other people make.

Then here comes the question: where do we suppose to pick up the cues of someone lying? Answer: social cues, since we talking and interacting with other people, we lie to them as well. There are usually 4 most obvious types of the cues we can look into: eye patterns, patterns of speech, body language, and emotional gesture.

Eye Patterns:
People usually look up to their right while they are lying and do not willing to maintain eye contact.

Pattern of Speech:
A liar will use your words to make answer a question. A statement with a contraction is more likely to be truthful. Avoiding making direct statements. Words may be garbled and spoken softly, and syntax and grammar may be off. The use of distancing language.

Body Language:
Physical expression will be limited and stiff, with few arm and hand movements. Hand, arm and leg movement are toward their own body the liar takes up less space. Hands touching their face, throat & mouth. Touching or scratching the nose or behind their ear. Not likely to touch his chest/heart with an open hand.
emotional gesture
A guilty person will gets defensive.

Everybody lies. We can't change that. However, knowing how to detect a lie and how to making a good lie can make life much better and easier.
Video:http://thelifechic.com/2011/05/how-to-detect-lies/

Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie
http://thelifechic.com/2011/05/how-to-detect-lies/

How to detect lies?

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Everybody lies. Is it right or wrong? Or is it really matter?

It not about the lie itself, but what behind those lies are what people find fancy about. Since the beginning of time, everybody lies. Then, in order to be more successful in everyday personal life and social life, knowing things about lies becoming really important and useful.

It is impossible to catch a liar every time, but there are numerous methods to increase the chance of doing it. Based on the statistical data research, normal person make average about 3 lies in every 10 minutes talking. However, good news, according to our Lilienfeld-textbook: the signs of lying are universal, which means if we know those signs, then we can tell most of the lies other people make.

Then here comes the question: where do we suppose to pick up the cues of someone lying? Answer: social cues, since we talking and interacting with other people, we lie to them as well. There are usually 4 most obvious types of the cues we can look into: eye patterns, patterns of speech, body language, and emotional gesture.

Eye Patterns:
People usually look up to their right while they are lying and do not willing to maintain eye contact.

Pattern of Speech:
A liar will use your words to make answer a question. A statement with a contraction is more likely to be truthful. Avoiding making direct statements. Words may be garbled and spoken softly, and syntax and grammar may be off. The use of distancing language.

Body Language:
Physical expression will be limited and stiff, with few arm and hand movements. Hand, arm and leg movement are toward their own body the liar takes up less space. Hands touching their face, throat & mouth. Touching or scratching the nose or behind their ear. Not likely to touch his chest/heart with an open hand.
emotional gesture
A guilty person will gets defensive.

Everybody lies. We can't change that. However, knowing how to detect a lie and how to making a good lie can make life much better and easier.
Video:http://thelifechic.com/2011/05/how-to-detect-lies/

Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie
http://thelifechic.com/2011/05/how-to-detect-lies/

the science of dating

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The topic of "better dating through science" during discussion got me thinking about dating in our culture today. Young people today are now cohorts of the online dating epidemic. Online dating is turning attraction into a scientific equation. In this article found in the New York Times, they talk about different websites approaches to finding the "perfect match." Personally, I am turned off by many of these websites. For example, scientificmatch.com matches people up completely by genetic testing. they attempt to match people up based on likeness of immune system. These extraordinary claims must be backed up with some extraordinary evidence. That is where I have a problem with a lot of these sites. Most of the results are inconclusive. These websites take millions of dollars from people claiming to give them their perfect match, but offer little concrete evidence in the end. They are trying to turn love into an equation by using cheek swabs and extensive tests.
On the other hand, there are some websites that truly aim to cater to personality likeness. Eharmony.com has had a good success rate of long term relationships. Their matching is based on personality traits rather than biological sameness. Overall the notion of a computer deciding who you are attracted to is something that is hard to swallow. It is frightening to think that pretty soon no one will be finding their true love without help from survey or test.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/business/07stream.html

Eating Disorders

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I was flipping through the book trying to decide what to write about for this blog entry and stumbled upon eating disorders. So, I went online and typed in eating disorders. As I was scrolling down the page an interesting article appeared. It was an article written by Britt Farwick in the psychology department at Vanderbilt University. This article was about whether or not there is a correlation between people with eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder. If you even just think about the characteristics of both of these disorders you can come to some sort of conclusion that most eating disorders and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) have a strong correlation. Through out the article Farwick found very strong evidence to help support her claim.

But, what I found most interesting in the article is that there was another point addressed. It was that since these diseases have such a strong correlation and have very similar characteristics, they could and/or should be classified under a " "family" of disorders called obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder" as stated by the article.

In my opinion these should only be classified under one overarching condition if it has been shown that the said person has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, etc. AND has been diagnosed with OCD. As for treatment regarding this "obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder" condition, medical professionals are trying to create one drug that patients would have to take. There have been several tests with a drug called fluoxetine but it hasn't shown effective yet.

In summary, this break through would be very helpful in cutting down the amount of medications people with both of these diseases have to take. But, as with many psychological claims, further tests need to be done.

Article:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/ocd.htm

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.174-1617.1998.tb00519.x/pdf
For this blog post I read the findings of a longitudinal study on the affects of divorce on children. For this study, the behaviors and attitudes of approximately 30 children who, at the time of separation, were between 2½ and 6 years old, were studied over a 25-year period. The researchers decided to study this age group because it is at this age that children are very dependent on their parents, both emotionally and physically, and they are less able to comfort themselves or seek out comfort elsewhere. All of the children came from families in northern California, and had no previous records of psychological issues.
Before I tell you what the results were, I would like to point out an error in this study. Because the researchers chose children from the same geographical area, with similar backgrounds, the conclusions that they developed about how divorce affects children cannot be generalized to the entire population. Perhaps the parents of different cultures would act differently after the divorce, which would then affect the children differently.
The results of this study are very interesting. The researchers found that:
1) Immediately after the parents separated, many of the children feared being abandoned by both parents. They felt that if the parents could leave each other, they could just as easily leave the child. They feared waking up to a deserted home, coming home from school to a deserted home, and other things such as starvation.
a. Interestingly, these fears turned into reality for many of the children. In most families, the father was gone and the mother was forced to work full-time, leaving the children with strangers or older siblings. Many of the children reported feeling lonely.
2) As they reached adolescence, many children were vulnerable in dealing with their own sexuality and aggression. They were less resistant to drugs and alcohol and many of the women became sexually active in their early teen years.
3) Children who witnessed violence in their parents failing relationship tended to end up in abusive relationships later in life.
The affects of divorce on the children in this study are very apparent and certainly hindered them as they grew older. This study suggests a reform to the legal system and better support for children who are dealing with divorce parents.

As we known, children are affected a lot when their parents decide to divorce. But the degree of influences and the factors contributed in divorcing families have not discussed in the textbook.
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Are there any damages for children of divorce?
According to Amato and Keith's studies in 1991, children from divorced families, on average, experience more difficulty in school and getting along with their parents, than children in married two-parent families. Also, they may have more negative self-concepts. However, Amato mentioned that the actual difference between these two groups have more similarities than differences. Other studies replicate same results.These findings illustrate that most of children from divorced families do not have serious problems compare to children from intact families, but more children from divorced families tend to need help than intact family children.Emotional-Effects-of-Divorce-Children.jpg
Why children in divorced versus intact families are still different?
Paul Amato and Kelly conclude 6 factors that may contribute to difficulties of children in divorced: Parental loss, economic loss, more life stress, poor parental adjustment, lack of parental competence and exposure to conflict between parents. Parents provide emotional support and practical assistance, even serve as role models for their children. The quantity of the father-child relationships is the determining factor for their children growing; limited economic resources makes that children from divorced have more difficulties than intact families, because schools, friends and other supportive relationships change. Parental competence is skills that parents have dealing with children have profound influence on children's well-being. The evidence in studies suggest that parenting skills and types of relationships between parent and child are strong influences on how well children are doing.
Some researches show that children carry more painful memories and longer than children given chances to voice their ideas about visiting or living arrangements. Because they feel little control over their lies following divorce including the transition between households.divorce.jpg
Therefore, divorce may affect children but not very much, and the degree of influences mainly depend on the loss of contact with parents, economic difficulties, stress, parental adjustment and competence.

Article Link: http://parenting247.org/article.cfm?ContentID=646

Sexual Orientation

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The concept of sexual orientation has come up in chapter 11 suggested that a persons sexual orientation is something that is not controlled but instead it is due to a small cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus in the brain. Simon LeVay proposed this in 1981, in later years investigators exposed gay men and heterosexual men and women to phernomes. The results were that homosexual men responded similar to the women's when they smelled the substance derived from male sweat. These finding supported LeVay's earlier results. Further studies have shown that the brain's corpus callosum was is larger in homosexuals than heterosexual men. Scientists have also found that there are physical aspects that also differ. For instance, a majority of left-handed individuals are not homosexual. The article "The Science of Sexual Orientation" by Daniel Schorn published by CBS news discusses to twin boys (Jared and Adam) and their very different interests. Jared was always interested in "boy things" playing with G.I. Joe's, guns... which Adam enjoyed playing with dolls. The scientist Lesley Stahl stated that Adam was demonstrating extreme gender nonconformity she also went on to say that children that show this sign usually grow up to be homosexual. Adam and Jared's mom stated that she began to notice this when Adam was only 18 months old when he began to ask for Barbie dolls. Similar to Jared and Adam were the twins Greg and Steve who were also discussed in the article. This article explained two situations in which one twin was homosexual and the other was not this provides some evidence that sexual orientation does not have to do with nurture but most likely genetics. These findings I thought were very interesting they do not necessarily show that correlation is causation, meaning we still do not know what the difference is, but to me these findings did show that a person's sexual orientation is not a choice but in fact they are born either homosexual or heterosexual and that there are many factors that contribute including perhaps genetic. Video: (video could not be embedded) Direct link: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1391768n News article: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-1385230.html?pageNum=3&tag=contentMain;contentBody

Most people know how truth serum is supposed to work: bad guy is lying, good guy forces him to drink truth serum, and bad guy spills the evil plot to take over Nakatomi Plaza. While words like amobarbital and sodium pentothal sound like scary compounds that could induce the truth, they are nothing more barbiturates, a fancy class of drugs very similar to alcohol. For the Fratellis and bad guys everywhere, there is little to fear about truth serum.

Numerous studies have shown that people can lie when given truth serum. Those studies falsify the claim that truth serum produces truthful statements. Some evidence points to truth serum simply increasing how talkative someone is, but creates the problem of decifering facts from fiction. The 'truth' is that truth serum doesn't enchance memory in any way. Truth serum is as reliable as asking 'Zoltar Speaks' to reveal the truth.

The studies make sense, given the fact that barbiturates are very similar to alcohol. Even in large quantites, alcohol rarely reveals secrets more important than 'Harry thinks Sally is attractive' or 'I am your father'. We are just as likely to lie and tell the truth under both circumstances.

In my opinion, a more effect way to get the truth out of people is to give them Saturday detention for eight hours and fifty four minutes.

Ref: pg 421, 191.

While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant.
Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect.

While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon.

http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music

This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child.

While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant.
Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect.

While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon.

http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music

This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child.

While reading chapter 10, the section that particularly interested me was the section on infant development and the Mozart effect. While the book focuses on musical stimulation after birth, my experience comes from "Prenatal Learning with Music." While my parents were pregnant with my older brother, they occasionally attempted to stimulate him with Mozart and other classical works. Remember, this is all before birth. Three years later, when they were pregnant with me, they were already parents dealing with another child and had much busier lives. They did not find time to make me subject to forced stimulation while I was in the womb. Now advance 18 years and compare my brother and I. We are almost exactly the same in terms of test scores, work ethic, and drive for success. There is no gaping discrepancy between my brother and I proving that stimulation while in the womb significantly affected his development. The only difference between him and I, he may be a much more creative individual than I am considering he will soon be an architect and I will be an accountant.
Admittedly, I cannot completely disprove that music while in the womb is a pointless practice because of this tiny sample size with no control and hardly a well set up research study, but from my personal experience, I do not see much of an effect.

While researching more background on the Idea of prenatal music development I came across babyzone.com, a typical website for excited parents. The page they have dedicated to Prenatal learning with music is pretty wimpy when it comes to psychological evidence which makes me question the validity of this phenomenon.

http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/article/prenatal-learning-with-music

This website doesn't really directly quote research studies or provide concrete evidence for this phenomenon. They even mention that findings vary in their results which prove issues with replicability. The only thing that has consistently been proved is that babies react to auditory stimuli while in the womb, but this has no proven effect on the cognitive and psychological development of a child.

Sexual orientation is a polarizing and controversial topic of discussion in American society. Sadly, there is not much concordance between people about the origins of one's sexuality: many still believe that homosexuality is a choice, whereas modern science and Lady Gaga give evidence of people being born this way. It has entered the sphere of social politics, where perceptions of homosexuality have been clouded by heteronormative personal convictions and outdated religious dogma. It is my personal opinion that religion impedes the progress of humanity, so I will focus only on the biology of sexual orientation.

Many hypotheses exist for how sexual orientation is gained. In our textbook, it gives birth order, exposure to hormones/pheromones in the womb, early upbringing, and temperament as possible factors in determining it.

One hypothesis I found particularly interesting was that homosexuality was caused by a pathogen. As a microbiology major, I found the 'gay germ hypothesis' interesting. Gregory Cochran and Paul Ewald argued that evolution would strongly select against homosexuals, who have lower fitness (i.e. reduced chance of reproducing and passing down genes). This would make sense. In my biology class, however, we learned of kin selection- in this case, fitness of the homosexual's family increases because it devotes time to caring for its relatives' young, allowing their similar genes greater chance to be passed down.

Furthermore, they argued that higher prevalence of homosexuality in dense, urban areas suggested an infectious agent at work. However, you can't infer causation from that correlation- there might be another reason why there are more homosexuals in big cities such as bigger cities being more accepting and/or increased proportion because of a higher population.

The gay germ theory has largely been rejected by the scientific community because of lack of peer review and replicability. The American Philosophical Association said "there is ultimately very little to be said in favour of these contentions" that liken homosexuality to a disease that needs to be treated.

Sources:
An Evolutionary Look at Homosexuality by Gregory Cochran: http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/backup/An_Evolutionary_Look_at_Human_Homosexuality.htm
Crain, C. "Did a Germ Make You Gay?" in Out Magazine, August 1999.

A way to make you happy.

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I found that this week's chapter was very interesting, especially, ''What Makes Us Happy" on page 424 to 425 caught my attention. I'm pretty confident to say that everyone wants to be happy and in response to that people read many books about how to be happy. According to the text book, there are certain things that make us happy such as marriage, friendship, religion, political affiliation, exercise, gratitude, giving, and flow. I was surprised to see exercise makes you happy not because I was not aware of it but because I have proven to myself how it makes me happy. Today I would like to share more findings about it. I read that exercise not only makes you happy but also makes a difference in your brain size

According to new research found by Lindsay Smith and Dr Nickolas Smith from the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, you can experience a significant mood boost when you perform more intense workouts than less intense workouts. The scientists measured the mood before, during and after the vigorous workouts and what they found is that only the vigorous workouts enabled participants to have respectably elevated moods even 20 minutes after the workout. This is interesting because exercising is what I do when I get stressed. I usually ride a bike when I am stressed and after I finish exercising I find myself feeling better than before. Especially when I ride a bike faster than usual I feel that I did something good and feel pretty good about it.

I also found a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that adults aged from 55 to 80 with one year of aerobic exercise such as running or biking increased the size of the hippocampus. As you know, the hippocampus is the area that is in charge of memory and spatial navigation. As you get older, the hippocampus becomes smaller and it can result in dementia or impaired memory. The volume of the hippocampus plays an important role in terms of memory function.

These two findings perhaps suggest that we should consider exercising in order to be happy and healthy. Next time when you are stressed or depressed why don't you try some intense exercise? It is cheaper and healthier than drinking or shopping after all.


http://www.bps.org.uk/news/feel-burn-and-feel-better The British Psychological Society
http://www.pnas.org/content/108/7/3017.full.pdf+html?sid=f497d8c0-eccf-4824-be57-d408b582d6cf PNAS
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/25/1015950108 PNAS

The Mozart Effect

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The Mozart Effect is the supposed boost in intelligence after listening to classical music (Lilienfeld 377). This concept is important because I have learned of the Mozart Effect prior to this class and always thought of it to be true. Whenever I study, I usually listen to classical music, rather than music with lyrics or words in it, so as to boost my studying ability I guess. My Dad always has asked me if I listen to music when I study. Usually when I am doing math-based homework, I can listen to any type of music. When I am reading or studying for a quiz or an exam, I usually listen to classical music or instrumental music on a very low volume, kind of just background noise. I guess I have done this because my Dad has always suggested it. Further research on the Mozart effect has shown that it is hard to replicate and is falsifiable. The simpler explanation is that the music arouses the participant greater than listening to other composers or silence. So does studying with music allow you to perform better when having to retrieve information? Or is it better to study with no music? I guess it would depend on the person. In the book it says that it showed no long-term effect on overall intelligence. I could see how listening to music would not be helpful when you are studying because of stimuli overload, and you may get distracted. One may suffer from state-dependent or context-dependent learning when taking an exam if they studied while listening to music, which caused arousal because they wouldn't be able to listen to music while taking the exam.

As this commercial suggests, many people's lives now revolve around technology. No longer do people meet up with their friends at the local coffee shop to have a cup of coffee together while catching up on the latest gossip or even use their phones to call people. Instead, people are relying more on technology to communicate with each other, such as emails, text messages, and facebook, to name a few. However, there are multiple downfalls that come with replacing face to face communication with technology.

It is very easy for people to misinterpret written language. According to techdirt.com, around fifty percent of emails are interpreted the wrong way. A lifelong friendship can be destroyed in seconds after simply clicking the send button on an email or text message. One phrase that often appears in text messages is, "Oh okay." For example, I may ask a person if they want to go to the dining hall for dinner together or if they would be interested in going to the recreational center with me to go swimming. They may respond that they cannot go because they have already used up all of their meals for that week at the dining hall or that they have too much studying to do. After viewing their response, I may text back, "Oh okay." This can be interpreted in various ways depending on what syllable the emphasis is put on. A person may think it should be pronounced, "OH. OH-KAY." This makes it sound as if I am angry at them for not wanting to do anything with me. On the other hand, they could interpret the phrase as though my voice gets higher at the end, such as "oh oKAY!" This would mean that I respect their reason for not going and am just acknowledging that I received their text message. People often fail to realize the importance of facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice in successful communication.

There are many ways people can protect themselves from misinterpreted emails. Emoticons are becoming popular in communication technologies. People can place a smily face, consisting of a semi-colon followed by a left facing parenthesis, after something they say in an email to ensure that the comment is received lightheartedly and to let the recipient know that it was meant as a joke. Another technique that people could use would be to underline or italicize the word in the sentence that the emphasis is on. This would allow the person to hear the sentence in their head similar to the way that the person would actually say it. In addition, people should think twice before sending an email and reread their email to ensure that the wording of the email correctly depicts what they are trying to say. The safest thing to do, however, is to turn off the computer and meet with the person face to face.

Video courtesy of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkljLxddVI4

Information courtesy of: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060213/1558206.shtml

True Love?

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Our society is constantly bombarded with stories of love. The relationships of the famous, movies, books, and our friends surround and envelop us with the idea of "true love." For example, one of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In this novel two of the main characters, Elizabeth and Darcey, fall into a love that is totally pure and unconditional. All they want to do is spend the rest of their lives together.

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In our text book, it is described how love is studied scientifically. We like people depending on their proximity (physical nearness), their similarities, and reciprocity (give and take) to ourselves. There is also the fact that we do judge a book by it's cover, a person has to be physically attractive for us to pursue them. There is also the triangular theory of love proposed by Robert Sternberg, that proposes that love consists of intimacy, passion, and commitment.

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These ideas break love down into a very clear manner, but it makes me wonder, can love be this simple and scientific? I don't want to believe it is, but I know myself to be a romantic. I think there are other parts of love that can't be explained by science. For example, the textbook says that passionate love (love marked by powerful, even overwhelming, longing for one's partner) tends to change to companionate love (love marked by a sense of deep friendship) as the relationship progresses. What about those people that seem just as passionate as when they first started the relationship? I don't think love can be boxed and tied up neatly. I think there are other variables to love that will can't be described, but I am also interested to see what information about the idea of love will be discovered in the future.

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Smiling is universally associated with expressions of pleasure, joy, happiness, and amusement. As Americans, we smile at friends, loved ones, at acquaintances, at the check-out lady at the grocery store, at cameras, at good tidings, and in new surroundings, to name a few. Much of the rest of the world thinks that we smile way too much and sometimes in an inappropriate context. Excessive smiling is viewed as a sign of dishonesty or shallowness in some cultures. In Asia, smiling is a more reserved action suited to express love as well as embarrassment, anger, or confusion. Try as we might, we could never get our grandparents (Indians) to smile for the camera although they would readily smile at us.

What makes us smile? In the anatomical sense, it is the contraction of the zygomatic muscles in the cheeks that pulls the corners of the mouth outwards and upwards. That is enough to pull off a conscious, fake smile but a genuine Duchenne smile (the pictures at the ends above) requires the co-ordination of these zygomatic muscles as well as the orbicularis oculi muscle. The result is the raising of the cheeks, the corners of the mouth pulled upwards and outward, crow's feet around the eyes, bagging under the eyes and a gleam in the eyes. It is very difficult to make a Duchenne smile voluntarily and for that reason, it is seen as reflection of genuine happiness.

Now that you have the tools to spot a genuine smile, look at the pictures below and test yourself.


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There have been a number of studies in the area of smiles and the results are fascinating. Paul Ekman (of Facial Action Coding (FACS) fame) has conducted studies that show that ONLY Duchenne smiles cause increased activity of the front region of the left hemisphere, the area associated with positive emotions. This finding has been replicated by Harker and Keltner who conducted a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between positive emotional expression (how the students smiled in their yearbook) with outcomes in marriage and personal well-being. The Duchenne smilers were the winners!

To test yourself further, check out this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/

Sources:

Expressions of Positive Emotion in Women's College Yearbook Pictures and Their Relationship to Personality and Life Outcomes Across Adulthood
LeeAnne Harker and Dacher Keltner University of California, Berkeley
Joumal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001, Vol. 80, No. 1, 112-124

Ekman, P. (2003). Darwin, Deception, and Facial Expression. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1000: 205-221. Retrieved November 5, 2011, from http://www.evenhappier.com/darwin.pdf

Wikipedia Contributors. (2011, November 5). Smile. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 5, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Smile&oldid=258939145

BBC. (n.d.). Spot the Fake Smile. Retrieved November 5, 2011, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/index.shtml

Build a Baby!

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Our Psychology book briefly discusses the "Mozart effect" and parents' desire to enhance their child's cognitive development...basically, they want to make their child smarter. So, the case: Playing Mozart improves intellectual ability. I think this classifies as an extraordinary claim in need of extraordinary evidence. The study done by Rauscher, Shaw & Ky that launched the "Mozart effect" has failed to pass the replicability and falsifiability tests of scientific reasoning. Unfortunately, this study provided a lucrative opportunity for press and toy companies, elevating an underdeveloped idea to a level of scientific proof. The book even cites the seemingly imprudent act of a former Georgia Governor that added money to a state budget in order to provide all new babies with a free Mozart CD. By applying the Occam's Razor principle, suggests that maybe the extra brain stimulation that music provides accounts for the temporary cognitive improvements.
However, I think that the this Mozart craze isn't a complete waste. In a BBC article "The Mozart Effect Debunked," it reinforces the evidence from our book that Mozart music does not make babies smarter. However, it also interviews children who are frequently exposed to Mozart's music and asks them what they think about it. Their responses are all positive and they seem to have developed an appreciation for Mozart's classical style of music, which I personally think it great. If anything, the Mozart craze can maybe help children be more accepting of music (and maybe other things too) that is not typically their favorite.

Being Prosecuted as an Adult

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While reading chapter ten I came across a particular section and immediately bookmarked it for this blog post. The section was on the cognitive changes in adolescence and it dealt with how the brain develops with age. More importantly though it touched on the subject of how some adolescents are "pardoned" for their crimes because their brains are not fully capable of making good decisions. To this idea I definitely agree. However, I sometimes don't agree with how the law handles this. The law generally considers adults as eighteen years of age and older, but sometimes younger teens can be convicted as adults depending on the case, and how hard the prosecutors push to try the defendant as an adult.
The way I believe it should work is that there should be rules "set in stone" about how this works. I believe that for certain crimes, committed at certain ages, it should be required that the defendant be prosecuted as an adult. For example, many teens 16-17 years old commit attempts of murder every year, and find themselves using the excuse of "my brain isn't fully developed yet" as a way of getting barely anytime in jail, and back on the streets. If there were more specific rules on age and crime serious crimes like attempted murder could be dealt with more effectively. Any normally developed teen at the age of 15, 16 or 17 should know that killing somebody is wrong, and if they decide to try and kill somebody, they should be punished like somebody who is 20, 30, 40, etc.

For a couple years now, people have been making claims that pop culture and the media have influenced women to contract eating disorders. While currently there is some research going on to find a biological basis for these disorders, I personally feel that the leading cause is the media's idea of "beauty" and the 20 inch waistlines that are splattered across every newsstand and checkout line. An article published in 2007 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010200298.html) discusses a study conducted here at the U which "found that girls who were frequent readers of magazine articles about dieting and weight loss were more likely to engage in unhealthy weight-control behaviors five years later." I can say with a significant degree of certainty that having images of underweight "models" (in the fashion sense as well as the observational learning sense) in every ad and photograph causes women to second guess whether or not their body weight is acceptable. In the U's study high school and middle aged girls were surveyed on their height, weight, etc. and several other variables. "The odds of engaging in extreme behaviors such as vomiting or taking laxatives were three times higher in the group that read the most, compared with those who did not read such magazines."
The advertisements themselves are the classic "Bobo doll study" just in a different setting. You see skinny, "beautiful" women being adored by equally attractive guys. The way they look is being rewarded with attention and hunky men, and so young impressionable girls who want both of those things are willing to do just about anything to recreate their "model". Another study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533817/) , suggested that "Beauty magazines become 'how-to' manuals to help women suffering from eating disorders in their attempts to obtain an elusive and impossible standard of physical thinness."
There have been so many studies involving the media's portrayal of women's bodies and eating disorders it's hard to ignore the claim's replicability. While it is possible that genetics have a hand in things, the most obvious and abundant factor for eating disorders remains, in my opinion, American culture's focus on weight and appearance. Drowning in a sea of Kate Moss spreads and repeatedly being shown images of thinness being rewarded and revered creates a rather simple explanation for women developing eating disorders.

The "traditional" family is a dad, a mom, and the children. They believe that a child cannot develop properly without the presence of a mother and a father. However, contrary to popular belief, there are many more "non-traditional" families living in the world than people think. Single-parent families, second marriage families, childless couples, and same-sex parents all fall under the category of "non-traditional families." All of these family lifestyles, although some might not believe it, are capable of raising perfect children (minus the childless couples, for obvious reasons). Out of all these nontraditional families, same-sex families are undoubtedly the most discriminated on.

It is proven that a child raised by same-sex parents develops as any other child would. Although a mother and a father have distinctive roles in child's development, same-sex parents take on the same roles. These include the role of the "caregiver" and the "breadwinner". In "traditional" families, both parents can be either of the roles (although more often the mother is the caregiver and the father is the breadwinner) and the same goes for same-sex couples. A child that has one primary parental attachment figure and one secondary attachment figure that both play different roles, develops normally whether she has heterosexual or homosexual parents.

Though this fact is proven, people are still hindered by the fact that two people of the same sex are capable of raising a child. Why? I have no idea! I found a, quite frankly, disturbing case when I was reading an article titled, "America's Child Abuse Epidemic." The article discusses how the state of Texas' governor, Rick Perry, brags about how Texas has one of the highest rates of traditional families that stay together. However, he neglects to inform people about how Texas has one of the highest rates of children being incarcerated, dropping out of high school, and dying from abuse and neglect. The article continues to discuss that Texas' Child Protective Services has "lowest rate of removal for abused children from their homes. Not surprisingly, it also has the highest number of child abuse fatalities in the country". This is all due to the fact that Texas wants to boast about its "high traditional family values" which means children should be in a "traditional" family. This also means that Perry would rather have a child stay with an abusive traditional family than be in the hands of a homosexual couple. There is an extremely low rate of abuse in same-sex parent families. This is most likely because these parents have to jump through hoops to finally get their child with adoption costs. They would have to be completely insane to want to spend all that money on child only to abuse it. I think Perry needs to reevaluate his so-called values...just sayin'.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/24/america-child-abuse-epidemic?fb=optOut

Which is better...motivating ourselves to learn simply for the benefits that learning provides, or motivating ourselves to learn because of the positive outcomes of furthering our education?

The answer isn't a simple one.

Does one "type" of motivation overrule the other? Especially as college students, we should ask ourselves why we're really here. What motivates us to be here?

Going to college was a choice, a privilege. Did we choose to go because we simply love learning and want to gain more knowledge? Because we find enjoyment in learning or want to master something and learn new skills? That's our intrinsic motivation.

Or were there other factors driving us? Perhaps the possible job prospects after receiving a college degree, using that degree to enter higher levels of education, or maybe you just felt that it was the next "logical" step in your life. That's all extrinsic.

But what happens when you're no longer motivated extrinsically? You lose interest, because there's nothing to gain for YOU. Many educators across America believe that while a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is good for students, it should really be intrinsic motivation driving students in school. Because once the reward of good grades or other accolades is gone, what else will drive the students?

According to an article about educators and motivation, "Students' intrinsic motivation is enhanced when practices promote their sense of personal autonomy, when schoolwork is challenging and relevant to students...Practices that promote these environmental characteristics include providing students with choices among activities and between ways of completing tasks, encouraging students to explore and pursue their interests, building on their backgrounds and prior experiences in constructing tasks, encouraging them to collaborate, incorporating fantasy in activities..."

It's also implied that students who are intrinsically motivated tend to "burn out" less because of other motivations besides grades and approval.

So ask yourself while you're finishing a paper at 3 am or studying for a mid-term...WHY are you doing this? Why is this important to you? WHAT is driving you?

I think figuring out why we're motivated to do what we do can really change our outlook on our education and other aspects of our lives as well.

Source: http://www.education.com/reference/article/intrinsic-and-extrinsic-motivation/

Which is better...motivating ourselves to learn simply for the benefits that learning provides, or motivating ourselves to learn because of the positive outcomes of furthering our education?

The answer isn't a simple one.

Does one "type" of motivation overrule the other? Especially as college students, we should ask ourselves why we're really here. What motivates us to be here?

Going to college was a choice, a privilege. Did we choose to go because we simply love learning and want to gain more knowledge? Because we find enjoyment in learning or want to master something and learn new skills? That's our intrinsic motivation.

Or were there other factors driving us? Perhaps the possible job prospects after receiving a college degree, using that degree to enter higher levels of education, or maybe you just felt that it was the next "logical" step in your life. That's all extrinsic.

But what happens when you're no longer motivated extrinsically? You lose interest, because there's nothing to gain for YOU. Many educators across America believe that while a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is good for students, it should really be intrinsic motivation driving students in school. Because once the reward of good grades or other accolades is gone, what else will drive the students?

According to an article about educators and motivation, "Students' intrinsic motivation is enhanced when practices promote their sense of personal autonomy, when schoolwork is challenging and relevant to students...Practices that promote these environmental characteristics include providing students with choices among activities and between ways of completing tasks, encouraging students to explore and pursue their interests, building on their backgrounds and prior experiences in constructing tasks, encouraging them to collaborate, incorporating fantasy in activities..."

It's also implied that students who are intrinsically motivated tend to "burn out" less because of other motivations besides grades and approval.

So ask yourself while you're finishing a paper at 3 am or studying for a mid-term...WHY are you doing this? Why is this important to you? WHAT is driving you?

I think figuring out why we're motivated to do what we do can really change our outlook on our education and other aspects of our lives as well.

Truth is, You're a Liar

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Television shows, like Maury shown above, utilize the polygraph test on a regular basis to 'prove' that a partner is lying, cheating, or committing other dishonorable acts. In chapter 11 of the Lilienfeld text it says the largest organization of polygraph examiners claims that the polygraph test is 98 percent accurate. It is extraordinary claims like this that television shows tell their audience and participants, persuading them to believe that the polygraph results are correct. But are these results actually that accurate?
According to the Lilienfeld text, polygraph tests are based on the Pinocchio response, a perfect physiological or behavioral indicator of lying like spiked blood pressure, perspiration, and/or breathing. According to the USA Today article linked below, this means that lie detectors are more of an arousal detector, because scientists still do not know how the nervous system acts when it is lying. If a person responds higher to a control question like "Have you ever been tempted to steal anything from a candy store?" than to a relevant question like "Did you kill your brother?" then they pass the polygraph test. In a perfect world, guilty suspects would experience this heightened autonomic activity, while the innocent would not. However, this is usually not the case. Polygraph tests give a high rate of false positives, or deeming innocent people guilty because of their heightened physiological responses. False positives occur because innocent people are usually very worried about being wrongly convicted, which heightens their physiological responses to relevant questions. On the other hand, the polygraph tests can result in false negatives, or concluding that the guilty person is innocent. This occurs when the guilty person changes their responses to the control questions, allowing them to pass the test. Also, some guilty parties have psychopathic personalities, meaning they have low levels of guilt and fear, causing them to not respond highly to the relevant questions.
The USA Today article also says that the polygraph test is only 61 percent accurate, which is slightly higher than chance. Remember that the next time you watch Maury or MTV's Exposed, linked below. Also keep in mind that it makes for better television drama if the person is found to be a liar. How interesting would a television show be if the participants were all squeaky clean?


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-lie_x.htm

Viloent Media and Aggression

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Violent media influencing aggression is a very interesting topic to me. It is saying on one side that watching violent television programs or playing violent video games causes people to be more violent and aggressive in their everyday lives. Then on the other hand there is the argument that people that are already violent or aggressive just happen to watch and play these violent media forms. This is a matter of correlation versus causation because we don't know that these two factors are correlated and if they are we don't know that one causes the other, or which one causes which. This study is important because it could help us learn why some people act the way that they do and also whether or not it is crucial that we don't allow children to view these kinds of media in case they should permanently influence their life styles and choices. This issue is so interesting to me because it is so hard to decide which side I would agree with because both have the possibility of being correct. I would agree that violent media influences the behaviors of children as we saw in the video in discussion. Though there were also the factors such as the fact that some children may have only participated because all the other kids were doing it. There is also the fact that these children were playing not being aggressive for real and we don't know that this would be a way that they continue to act or if it only occurred at that time immediately following the show and then they forgot all about it. Perhaps this only affects young children and they should be monitored. (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20050610/media-violence-may-affect-childrens-minds) Some may think though that if affects all adolescents' not just young children. That video games and movies can make teens even act more violent and aggressive. We can't know though whether that is the cause or not. (http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/11/20/media-violence-linked-to-aggression/3379.html) Then there is the fact that maybe the media isn't the cause of that behavior it could be the effect.

After our discussion session i was very interested in the correlation between violent video games and violent behavior. I have pretty much always been had the opinion that video games do not cause violent behavior, at least for kids old enough to play the games. I would say that media violence definatley desensitizes very young children but that is seen in movies, t.v., and video games. But that is not exclusively for video games, it is definately up to the parents to keep children away from violence as much as they can intil they're old enough. Video games already have age appropriate ratings that tell what kind of content can will be showed in the game. If parents still choose to ignore the ratings its is their own fault that they are showing that type of inappropriate content to their kids. I did some research and found this video that i find i really agree with.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnWO09q2nnw&feature=related
I agree with the psychologist in this video because obviously playing a violent video game would increase aggression at that point in time. It's just like seeing any violent event or getting in a fight, it excites you and scares you and your bodies response is to be more ready to defend yourself. Over long periods though these games don't really make you a violent person, they're more of immediate stressors. People that start school shootings probably play violent video games because they are already angry with their lives. Or itc ould be the fact that pretty much all teenage boys play violent video games, they are a very popular product. Too many people are mistaking correlation with causation when it comes to this topic.

We all know the story of the stork flying though the starry night, innocently delivering babies to hopeful young couples. However, we also know that this little story is completely untrue (although still a good excuse when small children ask where babies come from!). As a child grows older, they learn that when a husband and wife love each other, they get married and eventually partake in god's special gift of sex and that is what makes a baby. As if this process isn't miracle enough, there are now claims being made that the day the baby is conceived will predict the gender of the baby!

Check out this web site/article: http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/genderpredictor/ .
This web site claims that if you use the Chinese Lunar Calendar, you will be able to predict the sex of your future child. There is a date generator that asks for the mother's birth date and the date of conception. Then, based on these two dates, the Chinese Lunar Calendar will be able to calculate whether the baby will be a boy or girl. This is a very extraordinary claim. As we have learned in Psychology 1001, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (also referred to as Occam's razor, one of the six scientific thinking principles). Within the web site stated above, there is absolutely no evidence that could support such a crazy claim.

In my opinion, it is better to simply wait out the pregnancy to find out what gender your newborn will be. There is no point in becoming invested in hoax claims that have no evidence of their validity or reliability. From the text book "Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding", by Scott Lilienfeld and others, we know that after conception, the sperm fertilizes an egg to produce a zygote which forms a blastocyst during the germinal stage of prenatal development. The cells in the blastocyst do not yet have specific functions. Once the cells take on functions, the blastocyst becomes an embryo (at about 2 weeks into pregnancy). At this stage, the major organs and limbs are developed. Then the embryo turns into a fetus which marks the first heart beat. This process of development has been proven and can be observed in everyday life. So, although some websites claim to be able to predict the sex of a child based of the conception date, we know that it will not be until weeks into a pregnancy when organs start to develop and the baby becomes a boy or girl.

At the age of four Saturday mornings meant that you could turn on your favorite television show while eating breakfast and have a relaxing morning. But was your favorite show Barney or Power Rangers and does that make a difference? After watching a video that demonstrated children's behavior during and after they watched Barney and then during and after Power Rangers showed significant differences in their behaviors based off their exposure to media. During and after the children watched Barney, a calming show full of love and friends, the children played nicely together, sharing toys, and not hurting one another. Once the children watched Power Rangers, a action filled show with fighting, they immediately began imitating the fighting displayed by the Power Rangers during and after the show. Not only did the children act out the motions of punching and kicking but they also began punching and kicking the other children around them. This is a specific example of how children's exposure to violent media affects the amount of aggression displayed through their behavior.

Another experiment was conducted to see how violent video games influenced aggressive behavior (Psychology Today).

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201003/the-broad-view-research-video-games-and-aggression

This meta-analysis examined 380 studies that involved over 130,000 participants. Through this experiment it was proved that there are short-term and long-term effects on aggressive behavior due to violent video games. Playing violent video games for a short period of time seems to activate the idea of violence and increases people's overall level of energy or arousal. Playing violent video games over a longer period of time increases the person's overall aggressiveness. It has also been found through these studies that playing violent video games desensitizes people who play these games and makes them less sensitive to the negative aspects of violence.

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In an article from Science Daily I found something Bruce Bartholow said, associate professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science, very interesting.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525151059.htm

"More than any other media, these video games encourage active participation in violence," said Bartholow. "From a psychological perspective, video games are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular video games, the behavior is violence."

This supports evidence found in studies that violent television shows and video games increase aggression in children and desensitizes them to violence.

Even though there is all this support for violent shows and video games increasing children's short-term and long-term aggressive behavior there are also arguments that go against this. One study from another article in the Science Daily suggests that, "Depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression, and therefore current levels of depression may be a key variable of interest in the prevention of serious aggression in youth," not violent video games.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214112031.htm

The second argument against violent media affecting children's aggression argues that there is no obvious link between real-world violence statistics and the advent of video games and says that video game usage has reduced real violence. "Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s," says Kierkegaard, "while video games have steadily increased in popularity and use. For example, in 2005, there were 1,360,088 violent crimes reported in the USA compared with 1,423,677 the year before. "With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence," he says, "Instead, violence has declined." With this finding, Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England finds supporting evidence that these violent video games and television shows have actually decreased the amount of real-world violence and aggression instead of increasing it.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm

There are two-sides to each argument, so which one are you going to side with? Personally, I agree with the argument, violent shows and video games has increased children's short-term and long-term aggression and has desensitized people to the negative aspects of violence. I have witnessed this first hand through my cousins, little sister and my peers. Moving up a level in video games by shooting someone or stealing a car is reinforcing us to be aggressive and violent to get higher in life. This can in no way help future generations in becoming less violent and reducing real-life aggression and violence. Therefore I believe that violent media and games should be restricted due to its lasting affects on our people.

Imagine yourself when you were 4, watching your favorite television show, Power Rangers. It made you feel powerful, aggressive, and invincible. When you and your friends would play, you reenacted the moves you saw in the show: kicking, punching, and shoving. One of your friends gets hurt, but it was only playing; you didn't mean to hurt anyone! After the wound is all bandaged up, you just keep playing like nothing happened. This is a common occurrence with children after watching violent media. This also occurs in children playing violent video games. Findings from University of Missouri say that "brains of violent video game players become less responsive to violence, and this diminished brain response predicts an increase in aggression" (ScienceDaily). In their studies, after the participants played the violent video games, they were shown a picture of violence. The participants had reduced brain response to the photos. This reduced response to the photos predicted aggression levels, where the smaller the brain response to the violent photos, the more aggressive the participants were. The video games that are popular now are mostly violent video games, and surveys show that an elementary school child spends more than 40 hours a week playing these violent games (ScienceDaily). Most of these popular violent video games encourage the participation in the violence, therefore, desensitizing the children's brains to the sight of violent behavior. In another article, researchers suggest "performing violent acts in video games may be more contributing to children's aggression than passively watching violent acts on television" (Tomkins). There are games that promote prostitution, theft, and violent behavior, such as Grand Theft Auto. The fact that, in video games, you have to act out the violence, makes violent actions are more familiar to the children and there are no consequences for it, leading to the wrong idea. From these findings, we can conclude that violence in media cause children to be more desensitized to violence and more familiar with how to act out violent actions without the consequences there are in real life.


http://allpsych.com/journal/violentmedia.html
https://www2.webvista.umn.edu:443/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct?appforward=%2Fwebct%2FviewMyWebCT.dowebct

It is evident that the traditional family has had some major transformations over the recent years. The video above shares interesting facts on the changing family of today. Irma Zandl from the video states, "There are 30% fewer 30-40 year olds married today than were in the 70s. Marriage and parenthood are also drifting apart, with only four in ten births in this country to married women." I found these statistics very interesting because these changes directly affect the environment in which children are growing up. So how exactly have these changes affected children?
Lucky for me I have learned all about this in my exceptionally informational psychology class. First of all, the absence of a father would have a large impact since the role of a father is very important. Fathers often engage in more physical play than mothers, which is great when developing a child. Also, boys and girls tend to choose their fathers over mothers as playmate. According to the video, six in ten children are born without a father, who is the figure children look to when wanting to play. According to our psychology book on page 389, "Children benefit from warm, close relationships with their father regardless of how much time they spend with him."
We have also learned that children from single-parent families have more behavior problems, such as aggression and impulsivity, than do children from two parent families. "There risk for crime is about seven times higher than for children in two-parent families" (Lilienfeld 390). Although we are given this information, it only shows a correlation. We cannot simply say that single mothers cause children to be aggressive or be criminals. However, from the statistics provided in the video about the changes occurring in family structure, we can observe and hypothesize the affects these changes can have on children.

Allison Conner, Psy. D., did specific research on different couples and singles around the country and came up with a scientific and surprisingly somewhat emotional take on tips for dating, the most common mistakes, and how to avoid them. Conner came up with a top ten, and she states that all these mistakes are more than fixable. A couple of these steps include trying not to play games. At one point or another everyone fears rejection, and depriving your involvement may make you feel secure but this may make you come off as distant or detached. Another form of this would be lying to an individual to get into bed with them. Manipulation is obviously wrong and Conner says that its ok to be genuine and do not be afraid to be yourself and put your best foot forward.
Another topic was talking too much about your ex. Connor states that information on your ex is something that will eventually be shared in the relationship, but while still in the early stages it is bits and pieces of your past that should be left there. Connor says that bringing old baggage into a new relationship creates clutter.
A third piece of advice was what Conner called the "rush in, rush out". She asks her subjects if they rush into love or get overly involved much too soon. This leads to possibly leading your partner on or possibly getting yourself taken for a ride.
Lastly, in general, Conner says that if you have any of these conflicts, or any of the others that she has conjured up, its best if you notice and address them right away.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/therapy-in-mind/200910/top-10-dating-mistakes

Humans as Lie Detectors

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Humans can be used as lie detectors. Albeit many of us think we're avid liars, there are many tells that could give us away to others. Being able to tell whether or not someone is lying is important to the relationships you hold with people. Honesty and communication are key to building strong friendships.
What can you do to tell if someone is lying? Although our textbook says that the best way of finding out whether or not someone is lying is to listen to what they're saying as opposed to how they're saying it, being able to read gestures and body language is fun and interesting. Here are a few tells that can show dishonesty:


  • A person who is lying to you will avoid eye contact or turn their bodies away from you.

  • Liars are unlikely to tough their chest or heart with an open hand, but they will touch their face, mouth, and throat. Scratching the nose or behind the ear is another common gesture of liars.

  • The book uses the example of the Duchenne smile vs. the Pan Am smile. A real smile uses the entire face: eyes and mouth, but a fake smile involves just the mouth muscles.

  • A liar might unconsciously place objects between themselves and you.

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Here is a good site that can tell you more about body language and lying:
http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lies.php

Is love addictive?

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Emotions and Relationships

Being in college, relationships including romantic relationships are commonly on the forefront of many people's minds. As we discussed in psychology class, people are romantically attracted towards people similar to themselves, in contrast to the well known proverb that opposites attract.

Understanding relationships and behavior between individuals is a primary goal of many psychologists. Yet, how far can we go in studying relationships? Some psychologist have already developed a method to predict if couples will stay together. Furthermore, we have already determined, people of similar wealth, race, religion, attractiveness and education will typically come together.

Yet, what types of scientific findings are there in romantic relationships? Are they studying what happens when people are "in love"?

In fact, it seems there is scientific research on romantic love being carried out by Helen Fisher. Check out the following link to see a very interesting video.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html

Fisher is studying people in love. She has taken fMRI images to see what is happening when people see their loved one. She has found that the Ventral Tegmentum Area (VTA) and Nucleus Accumbens a part of the brain responsible for reward is activated. She compared people in love to those who were recently separated from their loved one. She found that these same areas in the brain had heightened activity in both groups of people. Helen Fisher has decided that love acts on the brain like an addiction. This helps explain why it is so hard for people to forget their old relationships and ex partners.

Fisher's next project will also be very interesting. She is going to try to determine why two people fall in love. As we noted in psychology class, proximity and similarity make a difference. However, what if we could determine if two people would make a good match because of their biology?

Overall, it seems love still remains a mystery.

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