rhein045: October 2011 Archives

When this home video of two young twins appearing to talk to each other in a language unfamiliar to any outsiders was released, it was an instant hit. People immediately posted comments claiming that this was proof that babies indeed have their own secret language, while others tried to guess what these babies were actually talking about. Before you come up with your own funny translation, however, let us look deeper into this issue where a simpler explanation awaits.

I'm sure there has been a time in everyone's life when they wished they were a twin. This is probably because people have the false idea that twins have a special way to communicate that nobody else can decipher. This idea is so well known that it even has its own name, cryptophasia. At first glance, this makes sense because you are likely to have a close bond with someone who you have spent your whole life with. However, this claim is no match for Occam's razor, one of the six principles of critical thinking, which proposes a simpler explanation. Since twins learn how to talk around the same time, it is likely that they make similar errors when speaking. As a result, the twins are able to recognize what the other one is trying to say while outsiders have no clue what the twins are talking about. Occam's razor has saved the day once again.

But is this babbling completely pointless? Absolutely not! Although it is true that babbling consists of intentional, yet meaningless sounds that come out of a baby's mouth, these noises are the first step in learning how to talk. The babbling allows babies to experiment with their vocal tracts and discover how to create different sounds.

By putting Occam's razor to use, we learned that it is unlikely that twins have a mysterious language that only they can comprehend. However, babbling should not be seen (or I guess heard) as an annoying, worthless noise because it plays an important part in helping an infant learn how to talk.


Video courtesy of:

Information courtesy of:
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding Textbook, pages 290 and 297

Dreams are stories that keep us entertained while we are sleeping and our body is relaxing. Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, yet they can also take place during non-REM sleep. Dreams can be both logical or outlandish depending upon what stage of sleep they occur during.

Many people enjoy having crazy dreams and they cannot wait to tell their friends about them the next day. These people should thank their forebrain because without it we would not be able to dream. Dreams that occur during REM sleep are usually ridiculous and involve situations that would never happen in real life, such as flying. When I was younger, I had a dream that I was with my family in a mysterious, foreign country. There was a strict leader there that would send his guards to kill you if you ever made eye contact with him. Within seconds, I was at my elementary school in Minnesota. Wait, what? How did this happen? I had just become living proof that REM dreams do indeed consist of erratic shifts in plot. The new part of my dream brought me to my elementary school where I was watching an airshow with my family. This makes absolutely no sense because the nearest airport is over five miles away and it would be dangerous to perform stunning loops with airplanes if there was no where to land safely if they had an emergency. As a result, this supports the theory that REM dreams tend to be unrealistic. However, the bizarreness did not end there. All of a sudden, hundreds of alien-filled spaceships appeared. As the crowd tried to rush inside the school, my alarm clock went off. Although this dream happened years ago, I still remember it since it was so strange. Dreams are known to contain more negative emotions than postive ones. My dream that night definitely backed this claim up because I was frightened that one of my family members would fall prey to the leader's violent ways or I would be abducted by aliens and never see my family again. Let's just say that I kept a close eye on the sky whenever my mom dropped my brother and I off at school for many days to come.


Other dreams involve situations that occur in everyday life, such as homework or going to school. These dreams take place during non-REM sleep. Personally, I have had numerous dreams in which I am in the hallway at my junior high school. This reinforces the theory that non-REM dreams are repetitive. Every time I have this dream, I always have trouble finding where my classrooms are and the hallways are endless. In addition, I am always late to class because I keep getting distracted by my friends that I stop to chat to in the hallway. This dream always leaves me frustrated because one of my biggest fears is being late to class and getting detention. Again, this dream supports the idea that dreams are more likely to be full of misfortune than luck. It seems that whenever I am about to start a new school year, I get one of these dreams. This makes me wonder if a dream's topic involves what a person was worried about right before they dozed off.


Dreams come in a variety of different types. Some are out-of-the-ordinary while other dreams involve everyday problems. This makes me wonder if we have any control over what events occur in our dreams. Are our non-REM dreams focused on problems that we are currently facing in our lives? However, we should try not to lose any sleep over this question. Instead, we should head off to bed early and hope the answer appears to us in our dreams.

UFO picture courtesy of:

Hallway picture courtesy of:

Earthquakes are life-threatening phenomena that occur without notice. As a result, people are always looking for ways to predict them so that they have time to move their families to safe locations before the earthquakes strike. Some people believe that earthquakes are most likely to occur when the weather is hot and humid. Others are convinced that animals will act strangely before a major earthquake. However, many main ideas of psychology, including the six principles of critical thinking, can be used to discredit these outrageous statements.

The Ring of Fire forms a large circle around the Pacific Ocean and is where many of the world's main tectonic plates come together. As a result, it is a hotspot for volcanoes and frequent earthquake activity. This helps disprove the claim that earthquakes are more probable during hot and humid weather through correlation versus causation. Instead of the weather being the cause of the earthquake, it could be a third variable altogether, such as location. Places along the ocean are usually more humid than landlocked areas due to the wet air blowing in from the ocean. In addition, the Ring of Fire includes areas that are near the equator, which are known for being boiling hot. Knowing this, it is clear that weather may not be a cause of earthquakes.

The psychology principal of apophenia leads us to disprove the idea that animals will act peculiarly before an earthquake. Apophenia occurs when a person believes that two independent acts are related. On any given day, a person may view a squirrel erratically running around in a circle. Normally, a person will forget that this ever happened within a few days. However, if a devastating earthquake occurs later that afternoon, the person may wrongly come to the realization that the squirrel was acting that way due to the upcoming earthquake.

Until someone finds a way to successfully forecast earthquakes, we will have to continue looking for ways to reduce the damage they cause, such as by building stronger buildings. However, their prophecies must hold up on multiple occasions in order to be taken seriously. Do you think that scientists will ever discover a reliable way to predict earthquakes? If so, do you think we already have the technologies needed to do so and all we need to do is put them to a better use?

Article about the proposed causes of earthquakes courtesy of:

Information about the Ring of Fire courtesy of:

Ring of Fire image courtesy of:

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by rhein045 in October 2011.

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