mccud001: November 2011 Archives

Psychology for Me in the Future

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Of all of the interesting, bizarre, complex, and controversial issues and concepts introduced to me this semester in my first ever psychology course, the most outstanding concept that I know I will remember and use five or even ten to twenty years down the road would be that of the six scientific thinking principles. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor were all addressed numerous times constantly throughout the course of our book, related and applied to nearly every idea and theory that psychologists and scientists have hypothesized and thought of. These critical thinking skills to keep in mind are best used, as our book defines them, "for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion" (Lilienfeld 21). From this definition, it is obvious that they will prove most useful well after I am done with this course and even college altogether.
For example, when I see ads in magazines or on the television that claim extreme or outlandish things, I can identify that there might not be extraordinary evidence to back up these claims nor might there be ways to falsify these claims or prove them wrong. Also, when I see a relation between two things, such as the amount of time I study and the grades I get in my classes, I need to learn that there may be other causes for the correlation between these two events, such as the amount of sleep I get every night/how rested I am for class.
The main reason why these six principles will be sure to be remembered years down the road is because of their usage in a lot of everyday activities and scenarios. Without learning these psychological strategies to assessing claims, I could fall prey to a lot of false assumptions that could be detrimental to my life in many ways, most importantly my health and reasoning abilities. For this reason, I am most grateful for learning these criticisms and being able to now apply them to situations I am faced on a day to day basis.

*Lilienfeld, Scott. Introduction to Psychology: From Introduction to Inquiry. p 21.

Psychology for Me in the Future

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Of all of the interesting, bizarre, complex, and controversial issues and concepts introduced to me this semester in my first ever psychology course, the most outstanding concept that I know I will remember and use five or even ten to twenty years down the road would be that of the six scientific thinking principles. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor were all addressed numerous times constantly throughout the course of our book, related and applied to nearly every idea and theory that psychologists and scientists have hypothesized and thought of. These critical thinking skills to keep in mind are best used, as our book defines them, "for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion" (Lilienfeld 21). From this definition, it is obvious that they will prove most useful well after I am done with this course and even college altogether.
For example, when I see ads in magazines or on the television that claim extreme or outlandish things, I can identify that there might not be extraordinary evidence to back up these claims nor might there be ways to falsify these claims or prove them wrong. Also, when I see a relation between two things, such as the amount of time I study and the grades I get in my classes, I need to learn that there may be other causes for the correlation between these two events, such as the amount of sleep I get every night/how rested I am for class.
The main reason why these six principles will be sure to be remembered years down the road is because of their usage in a lot of everyday activities and scenarios. Without learning these psychological strategies to assessing claims, I could fall prey to a lot of false assumptions that could be detrimental to my life in many ways, most importantly my health and reasoning abilities. For this reason, I am most grateful for learning these criticisms and being able to now apply them to situations I am faced on a day to day basis.


*Lilienfeld, Scott. Introduction to Psychology: From Introduction to Inquiry. p 21.

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 eHarmony.com, match.com, 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.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/159884/online_dating_analyzing_the_algorithms_of_attraction.html

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.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218125144.htm

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.

Obesity and the Media

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Obesity and weight gain have been a rising issue in societies all over the world when looking at recent years. For instance, the number of obese people in the world has already doubled since only 1980 and in 2008 alone, it was reported that about 1 in 10 people in the world were obese. Clearly there are some roots to this problem, but what's primarily to blame, no one knows.

Though this body type is becoming more and more visible in our society, a lot of the health conditions and risks that go along with this lifestyle go unnoticed by others or obese people themselves. Not only can a high BMI and case of obesity cause serious cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke, but also severe diabetes and various types of cancers.

It's hard to say what the exact cause of this weight epidemic is, but it is obvious that our society seems to be infatuated with it. There are a handful of popular TV shows watched every day that deal with obesity and some even weight loss, such as Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, Ruby (the reality show based on the life of an obese woman), DietTribe, etc. We also are constantly seeing celebrities on air promoting their weight loss supplements and programs.

http://www.hotspot106.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/hart1a_jennifer_hudson_weight_watchers_spokesperson.jpg

http://woooha.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/queen.jpg

It is possible that this massive media attention brought towards the scene of obesity could be one of the causes of its growth over the decades. When obese people see these shows and their immense popularity, it acts as a type of positive reinforcement in that if they continue to be obese, they could get themselves a reality show or a chance to lose weight to win a huge amount of money. To show the other side of these great incentives, here's an interview with a Biggest Loser winner and his struggle for steady health.

Others, however, argue that by bringing more media attention to the scene of obesity, it shows those with the condition the realities of their condition and holds the chance to shed more much needed light on the situation and help them make a change.

My question is this: if we keep bringing media attention to the issue of obesity, will it further perpetuate its growth by reinforcing others to be obese, or pose a change that will try to eliminate its stance in our societies?


Sources:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index.html

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by mccud001 in November 2011.

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