December 2011 Archives

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

Conformity at its Worst

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

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

Psychic?

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

what i will remember

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

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

Milgram Experiment

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

Five Years Later

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

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

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

Racism in Books

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

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

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

· Employ equal status contact

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

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

Power of Authority

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

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

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

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

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

Following Your Peers

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

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

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

What I Will Remember

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

Things I Will Remember...

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

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

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

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

5 years from now

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

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

Marketing Manipulation

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

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

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

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

Last Entry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bystander Effect

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

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

"The not me"

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

One Accident in China Are Reported Worldwide

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

Important memories

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

What I'll Remember

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

What I Will Remember

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

5 Years From Now..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Critical Thinking

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

Milgram Experiment

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

5 Years From Now...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature vs Nurture

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

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

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

Five Years From Now...

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

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

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

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

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

Happiness and My Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conditioning

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

Unintentionally Remembering

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

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

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

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

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

Five years from now...

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

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

Do you remember?

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

It Makes Sense In My Head

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

Psychology to Family Life

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

What I'll Always Remember

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

Five years from now

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

My Friend the Amygdala

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

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

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

amygdala.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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