gearm001: October 2011 Archives

Pavlov and His Cat?

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This is Emma:
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Despite being less cute than any dog, she is okay for a roommate's pet. Emma is a fan of her treats and catnip, both which come in a crinkly, resealable container. Whenever she hears this crinkling, she is near you within seconds. Emma is a conditioned cat.

She has heard the crinkling of the bag so many times, a crinkling with normally follows a treat of some sort, that she is conditioned to react to it. The CS (conditioned stimulus) in this case is the crinkling noise of the treat and catnip bags. Emma's CR (conditioned response) to this stimulus is salivation, similar to Pavlov and his dogs. The UCS (unconditioned stimulus) is her treats or catnip, both of which she wants to eat, meaning the UCR (unconditioned response) is her salivation.

Emma also responds to stimulus generalization. When other's have food with a crinkly plastic bag, Emma will come running from her current napping spot to investigate. Things like chips, with louder plastic, illicit more of a response than a candy wrapper, which doesn't quite match the sound of her treats. This particular stimulus generalization can become quite annoying, especially when accompanied by several, whiny meows.

Speed-Reading

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As college students, we are all used to individuals interrupting our busy, college lives by standing on our busy, college sidewalks and trying to peddle some crap (with the exception of free food) that busy, college kids don't need. After hypothetically attending Psych lecture last week, I received the following flyer: View image, View image

I was surprised that the University, especially the Psychology Department, would allow such a seminar to take place Coffman. Speed-reading does work, in the sense of being able to read a page of text in two mintues rather than three. The error in critical thinking is that correlation isn't caustion. People assume that reading speed ultimately means reading comprehension, but in fact, studies have shown that reading faster than 400 words a minute reduces the rate of comprehension by less than 50%. Techniques such as skimming, as know as not reading everything, allow you to read massive amounts of text in record time, but significantly hurt the amount of that text you actually understand. In this case, being an average college student (reading 200-300 words per minute) is perfectly acceptable.

I hope your Wednesday and Thursday was better spent, say by game-planning (not to be confused with pre-gaming) for the Zombie Pub Crawl.


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This page is an archive of recent entries written by gearm001 in October 2011.

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