harms123: October 2011 Archives

Sleepwalking Nightmare

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The textbook has a short section on sleepwalking and some of the crazy things that people have done while possibly sleepwalking. As another example I ran across this news video about a man stabbing his wife while sleeping.


I would like to know more about this case, but from what I find he has no memory of doing this, however his actions were analyzed by a doctor and he concluded that they were similar to that of an awake person. The man has had a past of sleepwalking, but the actions were different this time, and he had confronted his wife about an affair multiple times leading up to the attack.

This and the text lead me to ask the question: How do people continue to stay awake through such events". This man and others should become awaken through movements and noises it seems. Are these people dreaming and acting that out only some of the time. I wonder if there is something different biologically when people sleepwalk like the changes that occur through the different stages of sleep. Otherwise it would seem like sleepwalkers should always do it instead of just sometimes.

In cases like this it makes me wonder how we can determine if someone is asleep or awake during certain situations. The courts do their best to make sense of it, but in reality who knows? Testing is probably pretty difficult on these patients, which leads to just another innocence plea that people can use. Insanity pleas are well-known through movies and other cases, but for people to use psychology as an escape to freedom seems tough to grasp. I like the quote from the movie Case 39, "Do you remember when people were just bad".

There are so many psychological "problems" that affect people's behavior that it is almost impossible now to state a specific cause and effect. Sleepwalking is just another example of an altered state of mind that I believe requires more research and development.

While learning about Pavlov's classical conditioning and his experiments i got interested in looking at related topics. Subliminal perception got my attention. The fact that we can subconsciously pick up messages that are presented all around us and that those affect our behaviors is fascinating. I looked at subliminal messaging in advertising in this video:

Think of all of the ads that we see everyday. Every ad is persuading us somehow if it's by the ad's colors, words, images, music, etc. We hardly notice many of these things, but they do affect us. I always think that ads don't make me want to buy their products, but when i think about it I remember so many logos, slogans, color schemes, and jingles and isn't that the goal of an ad?

Now back to the video. Most of those images and messages were sexual in nature, which says a lot about how we as a population respond to sex appeal. I also use my skepticism to ask-Are these all intentional?
I have no doubt that many are, but our minds, as we've learned, are amazing and can perceive things that aren't really there. I think as humans we look for these things that aren't intentional. However, I do agree that most of these messages are intentional because the ad wants our minds to perceive them even if we don't realize it.

And why not? The products have to be appealing for us to buy into it, and they try to do that any way they can.

Racism: Is it in Everyone?

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Many people believe that everyone is a little bit racist and many studies agree with their evidence. A recent psychological study published on ScienceDaily.com looks at the root of racism and how it can be that everyone is a little racist. The study named, "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, but It May Not Be Your Fault", gave people a survey with words to match based on their first reaction. Words such as black and lazy, white and greedy, old and wise, young and healthy, etc were the most popular matches and had the fastest response time. Other words were matched like summer and warm, night and cool to show that not only racial prejudices, but also other associations are made quickly by people.

Now it seems obvious that summer is warm and night time is cool, but where did we pick up these racist associations? How did we associate black with lazy or women with weak? The study points out that media and the environment have influenced us and installed these beliefs in us. The study looked at books newspapers and magazines from the BEAGLE and found that the most common words matched in the study showed up together the most in all of the literature. So does that mean we were raised or possibly nurtured into believing these things?

It is difficult to falsify these claims as it is hard to find evidence against it and this study could probably be replicated if the claims are true. However, the fact that the environment affected us enough to instill our beliefs in us shows how nurturing can really affect our behaviors in many ways. Now just because everyone may associate two words together that show racism doesn't mean everyone behaves and acts out as a racist. It is a scary thought that we might not have control of our own beliefs from an early age because the media available to us puts those ideas in our head.

Can we break free of the environment instilling the racist thoughts in us?
It is difficult to say, maybe things can change.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by harms123 in October 2011.

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