ihlef015: October 2011 Archives

Lucid Dreaming In Inception

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When I first read about lucid dreaming in chapter 5 of the Lilienfeld textbook, my mind immediately jumped to the concept behind one of my favorite films directed by Christopher Nolan, "Inception". I decided to look further into lucid dreaming because of how much it intrigued me.

The textbook describes lucid dreaming as the experience of becoming aware that one is dreaming. The book also says that a survey showed 72 percent of people who lucid dream are able to control what happens in their dream. After further investigating lucid dreaming, I found a website that acts as a "how to" guide.

The first steps are to start remembering dreams by waking up slowly and immediately recalling your dreams. You are then supposed to start recording your dreams in a journal. After you get better at recalling dreams, you must become increasingly familiar with the characteristics of your dreams. Most people have specific people, places, and situations that reoccur within their dreams, and recognizing these "dream signs" will further improve dream recall. After that, a person must pay attention to their surroundings in real life to become more aware, which will in turn make them more aware within their dreams.

When you finally do become consciously aware during a dream, there are certain ways you can check to make sure that you are actually in a dream. The "common sense" technique is the most useful, which consists of observing your surroundings and seeing if there is anything that could obviously not occur in real life. The "reading check" technique is another really easy check to do. To do it, you look at something with writing on it, look away, and then look back. If you are in a dream, the content of the writing will most likely be different when you look back the second time.

This somewhat crappy quality video shows how "Inception" describes the "memory check" method, where a person thinks back to see if there are any inconsistencies within their recent memory. Cobb explains that people often can't remember the beginning of their dreams, because they always wind up in the middle of the action. He then asks Ariadne if she remembers how they got to the cafe they are at during the scene.

to "How to Lucid Dream"

Rosemary Hopcroft, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, has made the claim that "intelligence is negatively associated with sex frequency". Her claim is proven true by the most recent National Survey of Family Growth, in which men with college degrees reported to have had a significantly lower number of sexual partners in the past year than men with only a high school diploma.
A health scientist at the Center for Disease Control, Anjani Sandra, and a professor at UNC, Carolyn Halpern, have both looked into this observation. Halpern's studies have shown that many teenagers with the highest intelligence are also virgins, and she assumes these tendencies carry on into adulthood. She says that the reason for this tendency may be because these teens are aware of the consequences promiscuity might have on their future. Chandra, however, says that while this makes sense for these teens not having sex, it does not account for the fact that the same teens are also less likely to have kissed someone, since kissing would obviously not have a negative effect on their future. Chandra also says this reasoning only makes sense for scholarly teenagers, not intelligent adults who already have jobs and are also having less sex.
In my opinion, it is incredibly hard to make assumptions based on the observation that smarter people have less sex. Halpern may be confusing causation with correlation in that the assumes these individuals are having less sex because they are intelligent, when in fact a third factor could account for both. For instance, it is entirely possible that these people felt pressured my authority figures growing up to do well academically and abstain from having sex, and these tendencies stayed with them through adulthood. It also could be that the more intelligent people spend more time doing other things, such as studying or working, and feel like they have less time for engaging in sexual behavior.
It is also a possibility that in the case of the national survey, men with college degrees were for some reason less likely to admit to having as many sexual partners as men with only high school education, or maybe the men with a high school education lied and said they had more sexual partners than they actually had.

The link to the article can be found here

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A sociologist and criminologist at the University of Alberta, Kevin Haggerty, claims his new research proves that serial killers are not shaped by psychological factors, but by society. Haggerty says that as a whole, psychology has made little to no progress in understanding serial killers. He claims that in his research he has found that in many cases, serial murderers choose their victims based on the individuals that society deems unwanted. The example he gives is Robert Pickton from Vancouver, who chose victims who all happened to be female prostitutes.
Haggerty also says that the fame serial killers get from the media may provoke more fame-seeking individuals to pursue the act of killing.

Many, including myself, would disagree with these findings completely. In the case of society playing a factor in how serial killers choose their victims, Haggerty may be confusing correlation with causation. Just because society alienates a certain group of people, and some serial killers victimize that same group of people, does not mean that the serial killers victimize these people BECAUSE of their alienation. It very well could be that the two factors have little to do with one another.
Also, Haggerty's "research" on the effects of fame on serial killers is not very replicable. Eric Hickey, a sociologist and criminal psychologist, pointed out that only some serial killers seem to be motivated by fame and society. He gives examples of killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and Gary Ridgway, both very well known serial killers who were not interested in their killings being publicized, to show that Haggerty's "findings" do not provide an explanation for why serial killers do what they do.
It is more realistic to assume that serial killers do what they do based on a combination of factors relating to both nature and nurture.

The article about Haggerty's ideas can be found here:
http://news.discovery.com/human/serial-killer-society.html

View a video about why some psychologists believe more men are serial killers than women here:
http://investigation.discovery.com/videos/most-evil-secrets-of-murder.html

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