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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 ( ). 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Seeing in the dark

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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.
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?

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.

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, 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!

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.


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.


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.


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!

The British Psychological Society 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.

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 video is a little peek at what she was about and how she worked:

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:
• 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.
• 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.


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,8599,1947019,00.html

Article: Does the GRE Measure Anything Related to Graduate School? By Jamie Hale published in the journal World of Psychology:

Sample questions:

"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.

Source: APA-
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, 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.

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,, 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.

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.

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.

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.


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
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.

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.

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.

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
    Fluid Reasoning (the capacity to learn new ways of solving problems)
    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
    Verbal comprehension
    Working memory
    Executive function skills

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

  4. Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities: Ages 2 to 90+
    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?

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.

cupcake tree.jpg

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.
pumpkin pie.jpg
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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choc cake.jpg
I think that I WILL have that chocolate cake then!

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:

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.

"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.

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.
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!

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.




-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.

Chances are, you haven't used eHarmony or to find a significant 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. 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. 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.


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.


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?

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