butle428: October 2011 Archives

In chapter 6 we learned a great deal about the processes and types of learning. There were several examples in the text that focused on how animals learn. When I read these sections about animals, I found it funny how the authors of the text made animals sound less intelligent than humans. An example is from page 228 when it states " a genius of an ape named Sultan, who easy especially adept at solving puzzles. (Lilienfield 2010) My point in this is we give animals less credit than they deserve sometimes. I mean, would we consider a human a "genius" for solving simple tasks? Most likely the answer is no.
In my opinion we give animals much less credit than they deserve. So I thought I would look for cases that display evidence that animals can be better learners and problem solvers than humans. In my search I found two good examples in which primates outsmarted a human, in one case the human was me.
The first video I found was of a chimp named Ayumu. Ayumu was able to learn Arabic numerals, and then outsmart, or outperform a human in a short term memory task. The task was this. Numbers would appear on a touch screen computer. The numbers would then disappear soon after being displayed, Ayumu than had to touch squares where the numbers appeared in ascending order of the numbers that were previously in that location. When watching the video you can see clearly that the human struggles far more than Ayumu in this task.
The second video was very simple. A chimp in given a peanut in a tube that is fixed to the ground. The tube is too long for the chimp to reach with its fingers. As I watched it I had no idea how this chimp would get the peanut out. I thought maybe breaking the tube would be an easy way to do it; but if the tube is to sturdy, and I couldn't break it, than I would have no way of getting the peanut. The chimp however, wasn't as stumped as me. The chimp thought to get water from its drinking supply, and spit the water in the tube, making the peanut float. This in my opinion is an excellent display of animals' intelligence.
So the point again is, I think animals are given much less credit than they deserve. For the most part, yes animals are less intelligent than humans, but there are many situations that primates can out smart us in.

Every year there are numerous accounts of people reporting that an alien or something strange visited them in their sleep. These people often wake up from their sleep and report that they had feelings of something pressing down on them, or they felt an eerie presence in the room. This phenomenon is known to psychologists as sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis in short is the inability to move after falling asleep, or immediately waking up. The condition is often associated with feelings of extreme anxiety and fear.

I think this concept of psychology is a very important one to study because so many people suffer from it, and do no not know what to do about it. In my personal experience I have had numerous accounts of waking up in the middle of the night, and not being able to move because I was so terrified that something was in my room. I thought I was going crazy until about a month after when a friend of mine reported having very similar experiences. It was good to know that this isn't an abnormal experience, but I was still inquisitive to what was going on.

After some basic studying in the text and some support online, it seems that a basic hypothesis to what happens during sleep paralysis is available. In the simplest terms, what happens is, part of your brain wakes up from the sleep cycle, giving you conscious awareness, but the rest of your brain that controls motor functions is still sleeping. This results in the inability to move which can seem so terrifying, especially in the middle of the night.

So next time if you wake up in the middle of the night and think there is something in your room watching you, try to remember that you are most likely suffering from sleep paralysis, and there is nothing to really fear.

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