November 2011 Archives

Deindividuation Oh My?

| No Comments

With the growing amount of criticism toward violent games, little has been said about the environment of multiplayer games. Play any network like Xbox Live, and you will eventually hear a variety of insults ranging from death threats to racial slurs. In one way, it all boils down to deindividuation and anonymity. Deindividuation happens when social norms are tossed out of the window because a person's identity is concealed while in a group. In this example, people gain the freedom to taunt their opponents because they're miles away from each other and they feel powerful when hiding behind their screen. Like conformity, you lose your sense of self.

Personally, I try to avoid any multiplayer video game because they foster such a negative atmosphere. However, I've been accustomed to the downright rude criticisms in the beauty forum on Soompi, my favorite Korean pop culture website. Ranging from the latest beauty reviews to the outfit of the day thread, the forum is a guilty pleasure for any girl obsessed with the latest trends. However, their rating system can get out of hand because posts are allowed to receive negative votes. For instance, there are times where an OOTD post would receive 20 negative votes, and no one would bother to explain what the person did wrong.
Here is an example of an outfit of the day from Fuzkittie, a popular beauty guru:

With the additional bandwagon effect and the anonymity found in forums, I find it highly offensive that people don't consider the feelings of others. For one, people should deserve some respect because they actually have the courage to show their face to people they don't even know. Sadly, deindividuation can bring out the worst of us. If there is a solution to this, I would say a simple way is to put your actually name to any account. I know how people are sensitive with displaying their personal information, but having your name on something is a healthy reminder that you're accountable for your behavior. The impact of deindividuation and even the whole entire study of social psychology will always be in my mind for years to come. On a final note, deindividuation has definitely opened up my eyes to how powerful our social situation can influence us.

Twin Studies & MS

| No Comments

twin studies.jpg

Out of all the topics that we covered this semester in Psych 1001, I believe that I will still think about and question most of the research using twin studies in the future. My mom and aunt are identical twins and are very similar in their personalities and characteristics, yet there is one large difference between them: my aunt is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and my mother is not. They are essentially genetic clones of one another, sharing 100 percent of their genes, so why does my aunt have this life-altering disorder whereas my mom is perfectly healthy? I have often questioned this and thought about what it would be like if the diagnosis was reversed. . Learning about twin studies allowed me to somewhat better understand the small differences concerning their personalities--due mostly to nurture--but not the their genetic differences- such as MS. If they are clones of one another, shouldn't the gene that carries MS be dominant in both of them? Also, since strong evidence suggests that genetics influence MS susceptibility, yet again, shouldn't they similarly carry it? Unfortunately, even with the use of twin studies, research has yet to find the exact cause of MS. MS will continue to baffle me in the future until the cause is found and hopefully, twin studies will help find the cure.

What's the real reason we are who we are?

| No Comments

Nature versus Nurture. The ongoing debate...
The topic was first introduced in my psych class in high school. Our teacher presented the fairly interesting idea and followed it up with some intriguing videos. Because of our short timeframe, our class never really dug into the infamous-never-ending debate. But as we examined it further in this course, the idea of nature versus nurture has stuck with me in my everyday life. I find myself walking through campus wondering whether the girl in front of me is wearing cat ears because she was born into a cat-loving family and it's essentially in her genes or if her roommate wore them and she wanted to also. Or whether my professor of communications has her peculiar accent because of her cultural background or because she grew up in an eclectic hometown.
I find that just about every trait of a person can be argued whether it came from his or her genes or if it came from his or her environmental influences. In most cases, this idea that any trait can be argued and doesn't have a definitive answer would significantly bother me. But in the case of nature versus nurture, I find it extremely fascinating that the quarrel is inexhaustible.
Some may find it odd, but I enjoy having a little debate going on in my head every once and a while. In five years or even ten years, I can picture myself still having debates in my mind, wondering where my colleague picked up her love for jelly beans in her coffee.

Conformation Bias

| No Comments

I believe that years from now when I have graduated I will remember conformation bias the most. Before I started Psychology I only found information that backed up my points when I was arguing with my friends. We never looked at the other sides' point of view when forming our arguments. Now that I have learned about conformation bias I have made extra strides to look at information for and against my argument. By doing this I have made my arguments a lot more compelling than my friend's arguments. I also usual win the arguments now because I have information for my side and for his when he usually can only come up with information to support his. I believe that in the future I will be able to use this great tact to climb the corporate ladder. Conformation bias will also help me with my marriage so that I will be able to look at my wife's point of view before arguing with her which will make for a better relationship than if we both butted heads like me and my friends do.

Universal Happiness & Relationships..Relatable

| No Comments

Happy-Couple5.jpgUpon reminiscing about a memorable topic we have covered in Psychology 1001, emotion and motivation comes to mind. I thought that this topic was really relatable to what I was experiencing at the time that we learned it and I understand it better because I could relate it to my life and my experiences.

Emotion and motivation covered a broad array of topics about love, happiness, motivation theories and relationships. Life is all about relationships and the pursuit of happiness. Interesting to compare what I had known before about the pursuit of happiness to what the book considers to spur universal happiness. The book paints a good picture of what really makes people happy and I think there is a lot of truth to what the book says pertaining to what makes people happy and what doesn't make people happy. This will stick with me because I am just interested in how vastly different sources of happiness can be. That is always something to be aware of. Also another topic that stuck with me was about relationships and particularly romantic relationships. A consummate love is something I desire and it was intriguing to learn about what a relationship entails and such. Also romantic relationships interesting to learn about with the current increase in the number of gay, lesbian and transgender couples emerging and attempting to gain political power.

Relational Aggression and Bullying

| No Comments

mean girls 1.jpg

Have you ever heard of the popular movie "Mean Girls"? Tina Fey got the idea for this movie from the book, Queenbees and Wanabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman. When commenting on the book, Fey said, "What struck me the most were the anecdotes of the girls that were interviewed for the book. Rosalind, rightfully, takes them very seriously, but in my opinion, they are also funny. I mean the way girls mess with each other is very clever and intricate." Anyone that has seen this movie can attest that the girls in it are bullies, but are very clever in the ways in which they bully.
Relational aggression can be seen throughout the movie "Mean Girls". Relational aggression can take on many forms like: exclusion, ignoring, gossip, rumors, insults, teasing, intimidation, manipulative affection, alliance building, and cyberbullying. In the movie we can glimpse most of these in a humorous way, but in reality these situations are no laughing matter.
Cyberbullying has been a recent form of bullying that has been exceedingly present in society. The problem with cyberbulliying is that it is hard to pinpoint who is actually doing the bullying, and many schools do not have rules and regulations that apply to cyberbullying because much of the cyberbullying does not take place on school property. Although cyberbullying has been recently in the headlines, all forms of relational aggression that purport bullying can be considered lethal weapons.
Teenagers have more problems with these types of bullying than other age groups. In the news we have seen a horrific, detrimental effect of bullying: suicide. Many more children that are being bullied are committing suicide because the bullying has gone so far and on for so long. Many of us wonder why no one noticed the bullying going on, or why these children think they have to take their live to stop the bullying. It is sad that bullying can get that bad, to the point where a child commits suicide, for anyone to notice what has been going on in school. Phoebe Prince is an example of a teenager who was bullied so often and so long, that she felt compelled commit suicide.
Governor Dayton has initiated the formation of a task force to investigate the best methods of preventing and dealing with bullying in schools. It is important to know that bullying can be as lethal as any gun. And although, bullying was seen as somewhat humorous in the movie "Mean Girls", the movie did also provide an important message about bullying: there is no point in bullying others.

Deindividualization Stays Stuck In My Brain

| No Comments

(200 words about the concept in psychology that you think you will remember in five years from now and why)


Social Psychology has really given me a new insight on what vast topics psychology has. The most memorable concept that I have found is deindividualization, the concept that people tend to behave atypically when stripped of their usual identities. This has really resonated with me, and I feel that it will for years to come, because it is such a strange concept. I never thought that if one was placed in a hypothetical position of authority that they would change behavior. I have also always been interested in the behavior and relationships of prisoner and guard.

Seeing movies like Shawshank Redemption and Against the Wall have given me insight, but the type of insight that Hollywood gives. Learning about Chaos in Palo Alto as well as the real life example of Abu Ghraib really taught me more about what that relationship looks like when there is so much power in the hands of a small group of people. Though very disturbing, the examples give real world insight and make me think a lot more about how we regulate our prisons and how deindividualization plays such a huge role in the treatment of prisoners.

I think I will remember this concept in five years because it is so strange, yet so simple. And I will think of it when I hear about issues with Guantanamo Bay and foreign prisons run by the United States. The concept of deindividualization as it pertains to prisons is so relevant in today's United States because we are housing criminals of war as well as criminals in our own societies, making me remember very often the concept and the facts and studies that go along with it.

Body Language

| No Comments

They're found everywhere; at the end of your grocery shopping near the candy and gum, in the magazine aisles, airports, doctors' offices, and many more. Cosmopolitan, and other girl magazines are heavily sold and subscribed in the US. They have information from everything on dresses, to dating. Given the topics that we've covered in class, I thought it would be fun to look at what they have to say on body language, and whether or not these claims could actually hold true. Not that this makes me an expert, but I am a guy and have relationship experience, so I wanted to see how these match up with my experiences.

When first meeting, Cosmo says to pay attention to the body positioning and smiles that guys have. I wouldn't find it hard to believe if a scientific experiment were to prove these claims as true. Smiling shows peoples interest in a variety of things, including relationships. And if guys want to talk to girls, then they will turn their body to engage in conversation. I would say Cosmo is pretty correct in their claims.

When it comes to some of their other claims however, I would say that some of these are playing the psychological horoscope game. Most of the time, the beginning claim that they make might make sense, and I would agree with. However, many of the things they try to expand one are completely conditional. For example, a "smooch and cup" shows strong feelings and says that they want to take care of you. There are many people though that would use this anyway, possibly playing girls, or just even doing it because they feel passion in a relationship, not necessarily that they want to take care of you. The same situation applies with the way people sleep. People who sleep facedown, according to Cosmo, have "passion and energy." This is another example of where I think they're coming out with stuff that really doesn't exist. I'd want to see replicated testing for proof.

In my opinion the easiest tell of what non-verbal cues mean is their sincerity and context. Cosmo doesn't necessarily apply to your relationship. The advice that they offer may not hold true for your relationship as all are different, and so the advice and tips should be carefully considered on whether or not they apply, or even are true at all.

"Body Language - How to Read a Man's Body Language - Cosmopolitan." The Online
Women's Magazine for Fashion, Sex Advice, Dating Tips, and Celebrity News - Cosmopolitan. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

"I think I can, I think I can't"

| No Comments

I spent a lot of time in the Math Resource Center when I was at Eden Prairie High School. The Resource Center was a place where you could go and get help on your math homework. I hardly ever went into the resource center to get help, but rather to do my homework because it was the quietest place in the school. Around the room there were different posters that were there to encourage students. One sign always stuck with me.

It read, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."

That sign had puzzled me in the past, but after reading about the Locus of Control, it is making sense.

The sign was very internal, meaning that we control our actions and the results that come from them. In the aspect of school, I believe that it is very true.

I have always heard that you get however much out of school that you put in. Whatever amount of work you put in will get you the same result in amount learned and work put in. In my experience, my grades directly reflect that. I can tell you a class where I definitely skated through and my grade ended up at a A-. Other classes I toiled over every homework assignment, and my grade always reflected that. The classes that I worked very hard in are the classes today that I remember most of and I enjoyed most.

I often find the poster to agree with athletics. If I think that I will win the basketball game or make the putt, more often than not I do. If I hesitate on a golf shot or if I am doubtful on the result of the upcoming basketball game, the result is very rarely satisfactory.

In analysis of my life, I discover that I am very internal in my actions. I believe that while there are many things outside of my control, I can work hard for the results. I am a optimistic internal thinker. If there is something that I want for my life, I know that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish it. And if I don't, I will always be happy with my best work.

The Big Five

| No Comments

The Big Five model of personality consists of five traits. These traits, according to the lillinfield text have surfaced repeatedly. These traits include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. When I think about my results and the values I was given for each of these traits, I think about how rapidly they can change, and then change back over time.

For example, at the beginning of the semester when I took the assessment, I scored high in extraversion, agreeableness, and openness, and low in conscientiousness and neuroticism. I think that if I took the assessment again now, I might score lower in extraversion and higher in neuroticism. When I am put in a place that gets me out of my element, my personality almost always changes. It's not that I get depressed, I just tend to be shy around certain groups of people, and in certain situations. I really just don't think anyone can be consistently high in extraversion and low in another category.

My question is, is the change in numbers consistent? Does this tend to happen universally, or are there actually people who have one true, rigid personality?

Amazing SAT Scores and College Success....Is There a Correlation?

Do amazing SAT scores really correlate to college success? It is easy to think that if a person scores above a 1500 out of 1600 on their SAT, they MUST do well in college; but is this really the case? Researchers and I would like to think otherwise. From personal experience, college is much more than just books, papers, and Scantrons, college is about the social aspect as well. With the parental pressure lifted, college students are free to do as they please and the list of distractions is endless. It is because of this very fact that many first year students with amazing SAT scores often do no better than those who received relatively average ACT scores. Researches have found that SAT scores only account for 10 to 20 percent of the variation in first year GPAs. It is easy to believe there is a correlation due to those who score high attend better colleges than those who score low.
This common confusion can get many people into trouble. To better understand this you must think about SAT scores as a way of breaking down students into groups. For the most drastic example, we should compare the students who attend community colleges and those who attend Ivy League four year colleges. When looking at each group of students, it makes it easier for people to understand that those students who score above average in comparison to the other students from that category, do no better their first year than those who score above average. To quantify this example one could imagine the average SAT score of students who attend Harvard is 1550 out of 1600. Students who score in the 1575-1600 range would do no better in regards to GPA than those in the 1500-1525 range.


Nature Vs. Nurture in personality

| No Comments

The Nature Vs. Nurture debate goes on in nearly every field of psychology. It is the study of whether the heritable genes that we get or the factors in the environment that we live in have a larger effect on a person. The study psychological studying of personality is no exception to this debate.
On the one hand, kids witness their surroundings and things that happen to them and this alters a child's personality. For example a child might watch adults working and giving to charity and then later emulate this behavior; thus the environment in which the child was in (witnessing the charitable giving) later effected the behavior of the child (the child also gave to charity). This is an example of "nurture" affecting personality.
On the other hand, a person might be depressed due to an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. One of the potential causes of this imbalance would be genes that encode certain proteins for the brain are genetically predisposed to create this imbalances. This is an example of "nature".
But the problem is, in both of these cases it is difficult to nail down a definitive outcome for certain inputs. The child witnessing charity might be having a bad day and associate negatively with giving to charity. A person with an imbalance of chemicals could instead become manic or have other personality shifts or potentially none at all. Both of these examples at first seem as though they would have a clear cause and effect. But when applying most things about nature and nurture to personality, it is nearly impossible to truly evaluate and cause and effect relationships without some other factors affecting it. Because of this not only is it clear that both nature and nurture affect a personality, it calls into question whether the Nature vs. Nurture debate is truly as relevant to personality as it is to the rest of psychology.

Does Daycare Damage Children?

| No Comments

There have been many claims made that daycare has negative effects on children. There have many news reports on the subject and it encouraged me to find out where this claim is coming from.

The claim originates from the difference in parenting styles between parents and day care providers. While parenting styles can be different it is commonly found that a child in daycare receives rejecting care or unpredictable care. This is not necessarily on purpose but due to the large amount of children needing care; a provider is not always able to give the proper amount of attention to a child in need.

In multiple studies done by the University of New Hampshire, psychologists found evidence that the more time a child spends in daycare the higher chance they have of increased stress, which later on leads to aggression. Psychologists measured increased amounts of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, in children younger than three, while at daycare. They noted that the levels of cortisol decreased when the child returned home showing it was the daycare that was the stressor and not the home.

This study is reliable because it has been replicated many times, as stated in The Journal of Childhood Development. Psychologists who have replicated the study also noted that children who are in full time daycare are three times more likely to exhibit behavioral problems in kindergarten as those who were cared for by their mothers. This is in direct correlation to the inconsistencies in the attachment theory of development where children receive avoidant and unpredictable care.

The study however has refuting findings. Dr. Robin Goodman, a clinical associate professor, tried to replicate the studies and concluded that only 17% of the children showed added stress from daycare. He explained that there are multiple factors that may influence a child's stress level, like separation anxiety. Dr. Goodman also claimed that shy children struggle in daycare and suggested to measure children's hormones when they were at a social function. However when other psychologists tried to replicate Goodman's work, their findings were inconsistent. The one flaw with Goodman's findings is that he failed to take into account the types of relationships the children had at home. He focused solely on the type of care a child received while in daycare.

Psychologists agree that raising a child with different parenting methods can be detrimental to the child's developmental health.



| No Comments

In my management class right now, we have been discussing international business and things you need to be aware of when traveling from country to country. A lot of it has to do with proxemics (study of personal space) and also the use of hand gestures and such that may be appropriate here, but are looked at differently as you travel. This ties in with things I have read in chapter 11 about personal space and even the study of peoples' facial expressions. Just because one thing may be expected here as one thing, it varies among countries. My example I found that relates to this is in the article attached below.
After giving a speech in Australia in 1992, George Bush threw up a "peace" sign with his fingers, which in the United States symbolizes peace obviously. Not knowing he did something wrong, he just proceeded on. But to Australians, this sign is similar to "the finger" here. Bush was not trying to offend anyone when doing so, but that is how it came off. Sometimes though, gestures help people explain things. When traveling especially, you have to be careful with what you do because something that wouldn't offend you or your culture could come off in an opposite light elsewhere.
Another thing we have discussed in Management is proper etiquette while traveling abroad. In our psychology book, they discuss common distances that we see in the United States, but these probably differ among cultures. I find it very interesting that there are differences of personal space preferences and gender. Personally, I have experienced this while in Mexico. There, people are always very friendly and get really up close and personal. It sometimes made me uncomfortable, but after a few visits I got used to it and learned to expect it.

Is it Really Worth it to Read the Book?

| No Comments

In high school I used to spend long hours reading my Princeton Review books in preparation for the AP tests in the spring. These books claim that you will have a better chance of passing the test if you read their latest edition of the book. This is a bold statement to make, although with a little digging, the data is present and the claim can be defended. The closest study I could find with these variables can be found in an article that was written by Wayne Camara, a member of the College Board. He found statistics that show that a positive correlation exists between the number of AP exams a student passed and college completion rates. Now you may say that this doesn't warrant the strong claims they make. However, I believe that it finds the right person to listen to the claim rather than actually guarantee it. We have learned in discussion that IQ isn't the only thing that dictates intelligence, but it is a strong factor. The same is with review books. There are so many confounding variables that go into passing the AP test and reading the review book cover to cover can only help. General intelligence and excitement for the subject matter also help, but does that really give you a better chance to pass the test? In my opinion, the main determining factor is a person's ambition. If a student is willing to put in the effort to find a review book, read it, study its contents, and effectively prepare for the exam, they will most likely do better than someone who doesn't. This mix of factors makes it virtually impossible to show a strong correlation between any specific intelligence factor and passing an AP test. However, it does say that no matter how smart you are, you don't have that much of an advantage over another person who was well prepared to take the exam. Looking back, maybe the claim Princeton Review makes is not dictated by the quality of the book that they write, but maybe the quality of the student who reads it does the work and Princeton Review takes the credit.

A World Without Displacement? ...World War III

| No Comments

A World Without Displacement? ...World War III

Displacement is all around us. This world is filled with people who take their anger out in a plethora of different ways: whether it be punching a locker after a tough loss, throwing a club after a poor shot, or ripping the test you just received a D on into shreds. With this said, it begs the question, "what would the world be without displacement?" Speaking from personal experiences, when I or anyone I know is angry they want to take their anger out violently. This violence usually comes in the form of hitting a person; for example, when someone talks in your backswing during a round of golf and you slice the ball to the right, your first instinct is to turn around and hit the person in the face. Instead of lashing out in this completely non-socially acceptable way, golfers usually grunt, slam their club into the ground, then throw the club at their bag as if they were trying to slice the bag in two.
If people knew only to take their anger out violently with people, the world would be one filled with violence. This violence between people, and more importantly groups of people, would lead to battles being waged. To take this to a more broad perspective, one that includes entire countries who stand for entirely different ideals, this lack of displacement could lead to wars being waged between countries. These wars could then leak into other countries and potentially create a third world war. Some of this can be seen currently with the war on Iraq and people who share different values battling it out over petty issues. If the people of the world could better displace their anger into various outlets the world would become a more peaceful and understanding place.

As for a video, this is for viewing pleasure:

Thumbnail image for Sideshow-Bob.gif

Although most people have the basic understanding of empathy, most psychopaths usually experience low empathy towards sufferings and pain. In chapter 10, Lilienfeld even mentions that they even feel pleasure when representing those negative stimuli instead of experience sympathy. This makes many psychologists question whether the lack of empathy in psychopaths is innate or nurture. Before going deep into the nature and nurture of empathy, we need to understand the concept of empathy. According to Baron-Cohen empathy research, they define empathy as "the ability to see the world through the eyes of another person or to understand how it might feel to be the other" (1).
There is a misconception that people that turn into psychopath usually experienced awful childhood; for instance, child abuse, violence, sexual assault and negligence. Yes it is somewhat true but nonetheless the only cause; psychologists have noted that there are lots of people have experience awful childhoods which haven't turned them into serial killer, sexual predators, or ethnic cleansers. Thus, there must be another factor that psychopaths have that generate what some may refer to as 'evil.' It seems that genetic factors play an important role in creating these psychopaths with no sympathy to pain and suffering. Many genetics researchers are working to identifying some of the biological groundwork that may influence this behavior. Researchers have found genetics links aggression, anxiety and fear and psychopathic behavior. Because of their impulsivity problems, psychopaths usually run into trouble with the law since they do not weigh the pros and cons before doing something. Another study shows that there also a biological difference in psychopath in comparison to the normal people. Researchers have found that the hippocampus and corpus collosum in psychopathic brain are larger than average (2). Their hippocampus is frequently disproportionate and that the right side of the hippocampus is much larger than the left. Not only that, their corpus collosum tends to be larger and longer than the average person. Also the speed that a psychopath transfer information through their corpus collosum is also much faster than the average person. Thus this demonstrate that the biological difference may play a role in influence their absence of emotions especially empathy towards others.
Although there are many genetic factors that play a role in psychopathic behaviors, we must not neglect the environmental factor that can influence their behavior as well. In a collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study, it shows that there is a strong correlation between psychopathic behaviors and childhood trauma. Psychologists' findings also suggest that parents, caregivers, teachers and peers can play a role in offset personality disorders and possibly lead to psychopathic behaviors in the future(3). These findings all show the "interactionist perspective" between nature and nurture in initiate psychopathic behaviors that it is a very controversial topic that still debate until this day even though the study of personality have been developed several decades ago.


Are College Admissions Tests Obsolete?

| No Comments

Nearly all prospective college students dread taking the SAT or ACT. But what if these tests became obsolete? Some colleges are beginning to believe that idea. In "A New Book Argues Against the SAT" by Rebecca R. Ruiz, discusses that some colleges are making taking the SAT or ACT optional for undergraduate students, because they believe it is an unfair indicator of future performance.


According to the article, SAT scores tend to favor white, male, upper income students. Additionally, they over-predict how well a student will do in college. These findings are supported by sociology professors from Wake Forest and University and Princeton University. However, does psychological findings support this research? Information from the Lilienfeld text proves and disagrees with this theory.

The Lilienfeld text explains how the SAT may not be helpful in college admissions. It explains, "...the correlation between these [college admissions] tests and college grads are often below .5 and in a few cases close to zero (Morrison & Morrison, 1995). Moreover, although SATs and GREs tend to predict first-year grades at reasonable levels, they generally do a worse job of predicting performance in later years of college (Kuncel & Hezlett, 2007)" (330). Therefore, there may be some psychological evidence to support removal of the SAT from college admissions.

However, the text argues, as College Board argues, there is use for standardized tests. Examinations about GPA and test scores have a restriction of range. This range accounts for the low correlations between GPA and SAT scores; it is due to colleges not accepting students who have low scores. However, when you examine GPA and SAT scores for all students, there seems to be a strong correlation. The text concludes: "Do standardized tests predict grades? - the answer is, 'When we measure the full range of scores, yes, although by no means perfectly'." (331).

As prospective undergraduate students struggle through the SAT or ACT, they might find that they had not needed to as some colleges no longer have it as a requirement. However, the SAT and ACT have shown that in terms of the total population of applicants, they can have a strong correlation to future grades. So, college admissions tests may be here to stay.

Does School Make Us Smarter?

| No Comments

According to (, more schooling does not necessarily cause achievement, but it is frequently correlated. The article also mentions that this correlation is very loose and has many exceptions. Also, IQ scores can only reasonably predict test scores for about a year or two.
This article seems very logical and according to the scientific thinking principles, these claims are plausible. These claims actually point out that the evidence suggest that it is merely correlation, but that there is no proof that IQ and schooling are caused by one another. Also, this claim is fairly simple in its reasoning, which satisfies both Occam's Razor and the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Furthermore, it could easily be proven incorrect.
This article seems to be accurate and the information found in the textbook also agree. The textbook says that an extra year of schooling is generally correlated with higher IQs. It also agrees with the articles idea that IQ does in fact have a shelf life. It can easily fluctuate over the summer or if a person drops out of school. I believe that this may be because when you are not actually in school or in an environment where you are actively engaging your mind, you are no longer creating more neurological connections or maintaining the ones that already exists. You need to actively engage your mind, in order to do that.
This article indirectly brings up a good point. It makes me believe even more that continuing education is important. It opens up so many more doors and higher IQs will allow for more people to get jobs and better jobs at that.

Personality: Big Five vs Strengths Quest

| No Comments

During Lecture and Discussion both, we covered the Big Five dimensions of personality. In Lecture it was mentioned how everybody has all the dimensions, but the differences in the values of even a single dimension results in drastically different individuals. In discussion we just saw the effect of 1 differing trait in practice.

Personality quizzes in general remind me of the Strengths Quest test- a test I had to take for Orientation. While the Big Five worked at least during discussion, I still have to wonder at the accuracy of the Strengths Quest quiz. The goal of the Big Five is just to explain how people act in a given situation - if you have socially undesirable traits then it's not an issue, you just aren't the ideal. Strengths Quest on the other hand attempts to force people to have positive traits (ALL my traits sounded good; I was not allowed to just be "low-low"), and appears to function on relativity - that is, "Are you a better leader than you are a woo-er?" rather than "Are you a leader?". While I can see how the traits are probably more specific sub-categories of the Big Five, I have to wonder if they're really accurate or if the need to choose the five best traits (rather than all traits that exceed a certain threshold) skews results.

I have no idea how the Strengths quest quantifies their data, but the fact that everyone gets exactly five traits makes it feel like the algorithm would not consider if traits near the cutoff-line had only a small difference between them, like my 0-1 results in the discussion inventory. Personally, I got the traits "Strategic" and "Command". During the Welcome Week presentation on Strengths it was stated that command people would tend to be excited about the presentation while deliberative people would tend to be skeptical of the whole thing. Clearly one prediction had to be wrong, and overall the huge number of possible results made things overly complicated and potentially contradictory.

What I have to wonder is if Strengths Quests' huge number of traits makes things too complex to be accurate, or if it just gives conflicting results because it did not control for a specific situation like the inventory in class. I believe the official statement was that the assigned traits are not necessarily ones we have yet, but are instead traits that we may develop, but that explanation is less satisfactory - Just because my strength is not "Harmony" doesn't mean I can't learn to be an arbitrator or help people get along. In the textbook the potential for personalities to change is mentioned, but it does not sound either controllable or reliable, so I also have to wonder how that plays into the stance that Strengths are things for us to develop. Sure Strengths are smaller than a Big Five dimension so there's more wiggle room, but it should still take considerable effort to alter.

Vacation Planning

| No Comments

I was really interested by the discussion session on Thursday November 17th when we talked about the personality tests and how you predicted what the groups would do and come up with for their vacation plans. The goal of the activity was to work with your group to design a vacation that all of you would go on together. Money was not an option and neither was time, the only real stipulation was that you had to do everything together. We were also instructed to watch the other groups to see what they were doing and how they were doing it.
The reason I found this so interesting was how accurate my TA was in predicting what each group would do. My group was the high extroversion and low conscientiousness group. Our vacation was a 7-week tour of the world in which we made stops in seven different countries. The expenses on this trip would have been absolutely ridiculous if we had calculated them, and we didn't even consider things like packing or getting passports. All of this was exactly would describe a group of highly extroverted and low conscientiousness group. All of the other groups were almost exactly as expected as well.
Overall activities like these really pique my interest in psychology because it's freaky how the studies can predict my actions. I'm sure there are more practical uses than to predict how I would act in a group going on a fictitious vacation. It would be interesting to see what other actions psychological studies can predict accurately.

birth order

| No Comments

In our society today, a typical family has anywhere from 1-4 children. Many people wonder, does the birth order influence the child at all? Does the demographics of a family have an affect on an individual such as personality? Taking a look at the opinions of a few theorists, conflicting data was produced.

To start it off, several theorists in history have supported that birth order does have an affect on personality. Birth order is said to affect who we will marry: "if you are the first born, you will probably marry the oldest child because they already know how to take care of you" [1]. Theorist Frank Sulloway believes that the oldest children tend to have the more dominating personalities, are less open to new ideas and experiences, and are more conscientious than the youngest family member. The middle children are said to be the "peacemakers" of the family, and the youngest children are generally the risk takers who are more open to ideas and experiences.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some theorists believe that birth order does not have an affect on personality. A theorist named Judith Harris believes that although birth order may have an affect on the individual within the family, the personality itself as an individual is not affected by the dynamics of birth order. To support her theory, Dalton Conley, another theorist, believes that other factors such as the death of a parent, gender expectations and role expectations, and outside influences of events are far more likely to affect the personality of an individual than birth order. Conley states, "birth order makes about as much sense as astrology, which is almost none" [2].

So which one is it? Unfortunately, there are no cold hard facts that prove the theories of either party. Having a personal connection to this topic, if I were a theorist I would support the party that believes birth order does have an affect on personality. I have an older sister who is 24, an older brother who is 21, and myself as the baby at 19 years old. My sister has proven so far to be the more responsible, ambitious one of the three by graduating college with a major in nursing. She has always been the "second mother" to my brother and I by nurturing and giving us advice during hardships. My brother is the peacekeeper in the sense that he always stays out of arguments. Regardless if it were his family or buddies, he breaks up fights, or stays out of them completely. I on the other hand fit right into the rebellious baby. Although my mom and I love each other, we have always butt heads about me being "difficult." I tend to break our house rules such as the cleaning responsibilities, and different types of expectations. Whether birth order has an effect on personality or not, all it may come down to is a personal experience that supports either party.



Multiple Intelligences

| No Comments

In the Lilienfeld textbook, there are numerous definitions and views on multiple intelligence. I would like to focus in on Howard Gardner's eight types of multiple intelligence. Now why I believe in this concept from Gardner's view so strongly is due to the fact it how well it correlates to myself. I have worked hard to obtain a higher intelligence level throughout my life but sometimes I feel as if I just wasn't a student type. I show a much higher interest in the outdoors and sports then school work, if I could just put more time into school then extracurricular activities I could be a much better student today. This is why I believe assessing young children with an intelligence test could better the intelligence of the United States as a whole.

The book talks a lot about Gardner's belief on multiple intelligence and how it has inspired many teachers to do intelligence tests to find out which areas student's excel in and which areas that aren't so hot. Breaking down each individual and helping them in the types of intelligence they need extra work in could really benefit kids in their childhood. I feel as if an intelligence test was given to the students as they entered the school year and then again before summer, there would be an extremely high increase in areas that were lower entering the year. The assessment would need to be done at an early age so each individual can be monitored and helped in the areas needed. For example, a very smart young student scored high in the linguistic and logico-mathematical but has very little interpersonal skills. This student could be missing out on all the possible job opportunities that deal with associates simply because he/she never received the proper interpersonal skills growing up. Overall, by evaluating young students with a Gardner type multiple intelligence test annually, the United States could see a huge increase in overall IQ in the next century.
Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Model.gif

Can duality exist in one's life?

| No Comments

What are the "big five"? Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism are the five traits that have surfaced repeatedly in factor analysis of personality measures time after time. Crucial features of human personality are embedded within these five dimensions. They can help predict real-world behaviors. I wonder if the levels of these dimensions differ between men and women and, furthermore, over the duration of one's life.
Can your personality change over time though? I am curious about twin and adoption studies. I recall from the text book that adoption studies have found that the sociability trait is correlated stronger between the child and their biological parents rather than the child and their adoptive parents. I wonder if your personality can change due to sudden changes in nature and nurture aspects.
I read an article recently from Science Daily and discovered that they did a study on 132,515 adults testing their personality. Through the examining of these volunteers, researchers found out that levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness increase as we age. I wonder if this shows that the level of maturity increases as we age because it seems that typically people are more responsible and easy to get along with when they are older; hence, more mature. Openness didn't show a change as people aged but neuroticism and extroversion declined for women and remained constant for men as they aged. This study proved that higher levels of neuroticism and extroversion exist in women than in men. I wonder why women start with higher levels of neuroticism and extroversion and decreases as they age and these two dimensions remain constant for men. I think that the fact that when women age they are less confident with their appearance may contribute to the decline in extroversion and neuroticism.
Overall, I think that throughout the duration of one's life, a person's personality can change. This change however, is for the better. Maturity levels increase to create people who are more responsible and capable of contributing to our society.

Big Foot

| No Comments

A myth that has been around for a long time is a creature called big foot. It is believed that this 7 to 8ft monster lives in a forest in North America. Big foot is supposed to be covered in all hair and walks like a man on two of his four feet.
We can disprove this myth by using our scientific thinking principles. First this myth didn't rule out rival hypothesis. Big foot could be a bear that was seen in the dark standing on two legs. This would explain why we have never seen big foot during the day. A bear could easily be mistaken for something different in the night if the bear is standing on two legs. We can also use the extraordinary claims principle because when there is an outrageous claim such as big foot walking around there needs to be a lot of evidence to prove that it exists. Since researchers have never discovered big foot we know there isn't enough evidence to support this extraordinary claim. There have been videos put out of big foot chasing after people in the day light. These videos have been falsified by experts. The last principle that we can use to disprove that big foot exists is occam's razor. The simplest explanation for big foot is that he doesn't exist and that people have been seeing bears in the forest late at night.
Big foot will be a myth that continues to exist because there are some people that will allows believe in myths and will keep big foot alive. Science shows us that big foot does not exist in many ways. Thus I don't believe that it is possible for big foot to have lived for this long and not be discovered by researchers.


| No Comments

Inkbot testing is one of the main projective tests that are used. These pictures are used to determine the personality traits of people by asking them to say what they believe the inkblot resembles. However this test has many problems with it. First, this test requires the tester to decide on what interpretations mean what. This allows for the human element of error to come into effect on the results. This test also has very low incremental validity. There is also very little association between the results of the test and personality traits. To add on to this long list of problems it is also very easy to fake the answers and get a false diagnosis.
In the article A few blots in the copybook Gregory Meyer and his colleagues looked into the reliability of the test and found that there is some power within the test, but there are also some basic traditional pieces that can be rejected. Based off of the results that he gathered he figures that that the current way that the test is being used the results are useless. Some of the basic ideas that he rejects are that people that look into the details are obsessive and that if the examiner can not find something within the blot that the participant does the participant has impaired perception.
I believe that these findings are probably closer to the truth then what the examiners of this test think. Everyone sees things in different ways. This could be seen as creativity or many other different things. If everyone saw things the same way then that would probably mean that we all think the exact same way and we know that is not the truth. I great example of this is when we look into the sky and try to make things out of the shapes of the clouds. It is easy to try to make obscene arguments that something looks like another object, but it doesn't have anything to do with the person's personality.


Lie Detector

| No Comments

How Lie detector Works

Lie detector also as known as polygraphs, are instrument that monitor a person's physiological reactions. Lie detector does not detect lies but they detect whether deceptive behavior is being displayed.

Lie detector is basically a combination of medical devices that are used to monitor changes occurring in the body. When a person is questioned about a certain event or situation, the examiner looks to see how the person's heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and electro-dermal activity change in comparison to normal levels.

Lie detector exams are most often associated with criminal investigations, but there are other events in which they can also be used for, such as being subjected to the lie detector exam before being hired for a job.

The purpose of the lie detector is to look for significant involuntary responses going on in a person's body when that person is subjected to stress, such as the stress associated with deceptions. The exam itself is not able to specifically detect if a person is lying. The theory is that when a person lies, the lying causes a certain amount of stress that produces changes in several involuntary physiological reactions. By asking a certain question, the examiner can determine if deceptive behavior is being demonstrated.

During a lie detector test, the examiner asks a series of questions that set the pattern of how an individual responds when giving true and false answers. Then after the pattern is set, the actual questions are asked mixed with filler questions.

Gender of Parents and the Effects

| No Comments

In chapter 10 of the Lilienfeld text, the main focus is on social development and one of the topics that comes up is how children raised in nontraditional families develop versus those who are raised in a traditional family. A big question lately has been whether children who have two same-sex parents do or do not differ from those who have two opposite-sex parents. Currently, research has shown that the impact same-sex parents have on their child's development really does not have any effects different from that of opposite-sex parents when it comes to "social adjustment outcomes, academic performance, or sexual orientation" (Lilienfeld, 390). Lilienfeld text also points out that the role of "father" is usually associated with the breadwinner and playmate by children, whereas the mother is seen as the primary caregiver. If the female of the household is who earns the income and is gone most of the day at work, the playmate role is also transferred to her. Even in same-sex families the splitting of these roles shows the same pattern.
In an article titled "Does a Parent's Gender Impact a Child's Success?" found on DiscoveryNews, researchers found that this holds true. They mentioned that "overall, studies indicate that children raised with lesbian co-parents do just as well as children raised by heterosexual married couples". The researchers even when on to suggest that the "children of lesbian co-parents may even have fewer behavioral problems and higher self-esteem." The gender of the parents is not the issue. What best predicts whether a child will be successful is the amount and quality of resources available to the parents and the amount of commitment they give.
In this clip from the popular cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, both "parents" here are male but each takes on the roles of caregiver and income-earner. In the end, the child still develops normally!

Human vs. Polygraph tests for detecting lies

| No Comments

E. H. Chapin once said, "A small lie, if it actually is a lie, condemns a man as much as a big and black falsehood. If a man will deliberately cheat to the amount of a single cent, give him opportunity and he would cheat to any amount." We spend a large amount of time trying to figure out if people are lying to us. Many people think they can tell if people are lying, others feel there are other methods that detect lies better. I believe that I can tell if my friend is lying, but not someone that I barely know. I feel that if you know someone well, it is easier to notice if they are telling the truth. Back when I was in high school, my little brother told me he was going to start for football. I knew that even though he was pretty good at football, there was no way he was going to start for his football team since it was his first year. If some random person told me that they started for their football team, I would probably believe them even if it wasn't true. Detecting lies by just instincts is not always the most accurate. Polygraphs are one of the most popular tests to detect lies. The polygraph test works by asking the suspect relevant, irrelevant, and control questions and evaluating their autonomic activity following the questions that are asked (video that shows the polygraph test, I think that the polygraph test is a better way of determining lies than using humans. I believe that the polygraph test is more of an arousal detector. If I was put to take a polygraph test I feel like I would fail regardless, because when they ask me relevant, I would be nervous about whether my autonomic activity would pick up and make it look like I committed the crime. Polygraphs are more accurate that humans when it comes to detecting lies, but I believe that there is no perfect way to tell whether someone is lying.

Truth or Lie?

| No Comments

Whether or not the CQT polygraph test should continue to be used is an extremely controversial topic. In our textbook a compelling argument is made to show that it is not an accurate method of extracting one's true involvement in a crime. Iacono and Saxe state that it's an arousal detector, not a lie detector. Many leading scientists and criminal investigators are beginning to agree. John Larson stated that, "The lie detector, in many places, is nothing more than a psychological third-degree aimed at extorting a confession as the old physical beatings were. At times I'm sorry I ever had any part in its development," and the courts are starting to agree as well. Many states and federal circuits have no longer allow polygraph tests as admissible evidence in court unless its admissibility was previously agreed to by both parties.

Many investigations have been done into how accurate polygraph tests are and how easily they can be manipulated. Michael Shermer, from the Skeptic's Dictionary did an interesting Test of the Polygraph.

I for one think that these are all steps in the right direction. In fifth grade I was a participant in the D.A.R.E. program at my school in which we learned about safety and the law. At the end of the program we went on a field trip to the local police station. While we were there, three of us got to undergo a mock polygraph testing. We were asked harmless questions and answered them all faithfully. Later we were asked about hypothetical situations and how we responded. Two out of the three of us tested false positive for one or more of the officer's questions. In unknowing fifth graders could get themselves caught for something they didn't do it clearly can't be a very accurate test.

Through the textbook I now know that the modern polygraph test measures a variety of bodily functions and looks for changes in them that may indicate lies. The problem is that taking a polygraph test would presumably be very stressful for an innocent individual causing them to feel aroused and the test to respond with a false negative. In the future tests such as the GKT and Integrity Tests may be found more beneficial to correctly identifying criminals or just bad workers!

Id, Ego, and Superego

| No Comments

After reading the first part of Chapter 14 in the Lilienfield textbook, I read about a Freudian interpretation of our personality. Freud asserts that the human psyche is made up of three components: the id, the ego, and the superego. These three parts, Freud claims, make up our personality and the differing importance of each of these three parts can be used to explain our individual differences.

Firstly, the id, according to the textbook, is "the reservoir of our most primitive impulses including sex and aggression...that provides the driving force for much of our behavior." This theory screams Freud since he is an avid believer of the unconscious and latent sexual desires present in every human being. This partly makes sense to me. I can honestly see a part of this in everyday life. For example, when I am driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic and someone cuts me off, I let loose a very -shall we say--creative string of expletives at the driver of the car in front of me. It really does surprise me how agitated I become when something that seems so "whatever" could elicit such an aggressive response from me.

Secondly, the ego is described as "the boss of the personality, its principle decision maker." The ego is comparable to the strict mother that has to keep her child, the id, in check. While the id operates under the pleasure principle (immediate gratification ... or an "I want it now" mindset), the ego operates under the much more grounded reality principle (postponing gratification...or a "Not now...later" mindset). Basically, these two things balance each other out to create a more harmonious existence. Going back to my rush hour traffic experience, the most extreme behavior I could exhibit is magically producing a baseball bat and succumbing to the worst road rage in the entire history of road rages. However, there's always a part of me that says, "Hey, maybe that's not a good idea. You don't want to end up in jail for assaulting a total stranger...But what you can do is wait a little bit, switch to the other lane, go past them, and then give whoever is in front of you a taste of their own medicine." Now I've officially prevented having an attempted assault charge on my criminal record, but I still managed to feel a little self-satisfaction after that experience.

Lastly, the superego is "our sense of morality." It is the parent that looks down on the ego. Basically, it is our sense of right and wrong, black and white, and moral and immoral. I feel a little bit of this when after I had successfully cut the other driver off, looked in my rear-view mirror and find myself face-to-face with an elderly person. That sense of satisfaction immediately evaporates and leaves me with the self-loathing feeling of extreme guilt. Not a very good story to tell sympathetic friends about the idiocy of drivers. "Yeah, and I cut that person off and they turned out to be a grandmother in the car with her grandchildren. Yay me...[insert looks of disgust from friends]."

I guess I have been fairly warned by Freud's theories mainly because most of them do not have scientific proof and does not fit the ideas of the scientific thinking principles. However, there is a ring of truth to this theory about personality. I think personality is multi-faceted and too susceptible to individual differences for it to be neatly composed of only three main ideas. Furthermore, as we've learned in class, personality is a much contested principle and there are so many tests and theories ascertaining to personality as a whole that it really is not a completely tangible subject matter. But I think that Freud was onto something when he thought of these three components. It not only makes sense, but it also gives us a way to understand ourselves a little better.

I think any concept in our lives can be neatly summed up in a 19 second video from the show called, The Simpsons:

Color Me Bad

| No Comments

The internet is riddled with personality tests. Facebook especially has numerous quizzes with titles such as " What's your inner animal?" or "What Super-Hero are you?". Although the themes greatly vary, the central idea is the same. You answer a few personal question or select what you would most likely do in a given situation then wallah! you have your own personality profile. But a different type of personality quiz doesn't rely on questionnaires for results. The Color Quiz bases its results solely on the order of colored squares chosen by the user.
The Color Quiz is loosely based on the studies of Dr. Max Lüscher. 150px-Luescher-2005.jpgHe theorized that people associate certain colors with your current psychological state. The Color Quiz takes this theory uses it to supposedly predict personality traits that are holding, sources of stress, and many other things that seem suspiciously attainable through picking colored squares at random.
The Color Quiz is particularly worth evaluating because the people who created it hold to a higher standard that that of "What Character from Twilight are you?" They claim that colleges and businesses use this method to screen applicants. I'm not sure what colleges or businesses use this type but I would avoid sending my resume to them. The biggest problem with Lüscher's theory is that it assumes that opinions on color is universal. It might be easy to associate blue with sadness or red with anger ( which aren't even the correct personality traits according to Lüscher) but what about more ambiguous colors like green or violet? Also since most people have a favorite color, could this affect the outcome? Is Fred's fondness of red putting his potential job in danger? If you apply the principles of critical thinking,replicability is violated the results should be similar if taken closely together but if the results are based off of choosing at random this is almost impossible. I took the Color Quiz and the results were very inaccurate. Although I didn't it could've been a coincidence the results were almost completely opposite my personality. Along with this I think the Color Quiz is not something anyone should use as a serious source of information. coloured-squares-created.gif

The Genetic Basis of Intelligence

| No Comments

After getting an introduction to the nature vs. nurture debate over what influences a person's intelligence, it was made clear to me that both sides play important roles in determining just how smart someone is. I was curious to learn how much was known about the specific genetics that influence a person's intelligence. After some searching, I found out that a group of scientists at the University of Edinburgh had found an answer to my question. According to their study, there was no specific "genius gene," or group of genes that specifically related to an individual's intelligence. Instead, they concluded that slight variations in many different genes are what influence your intelligence in addition to environmental factors. The article that reported their findings described the genetic role in intelligence "like a master chef preparing a savory dish" in the sense that it is the combination and slight variation in the use of many genes that ultimately influences one's intelligence. It is very interesting to hear that, unlike many other traits, there is no specific genetic sequence that directly determines a person's intelligence. The impact of this discovery is quite large, considering the potential impact that isolating a specific intelligence gene would have had. For instance, a single gene or set of genes would have allowed for many advances in the study of our cognition, which would have many social and medical ramifications given the correlation between a person's intelligence and their job, income and the length of their life.

Depth of Attraction

| No Comments

Attraction is a very quirky topic. It is a subject involved in each of our lives everyday even without us consciously paying attention to it. Many factors are involved in attraction. One of them is proximity, which shows us how physical nearness allows us to form relationships more easily. This is very similar to the mere exposure effect which is the phenomena in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us feel more favorable toward it. At first when I read about these two factors in attraction I was skeptical. But as I read more about them and connected them to my life I realized how true they really were. An example of this is a worker at the gym I go to. When I first saw him I wasn't attracted to him but as I slowly began to recognize him I noticed myself also recognize how I was attracted to him. This is also very similar to proximity. It's so true that we often form relationships or befriend people who live near us or who we see on a regular basis. Some questions I have however are how some relationships can be so strong throughout distance. What is the force that pulls people together who don't see each other everyday?

Freudian Theory of the Mind

| No Comments

In Freud's theory of the mind, he determines that there are three divisions of the how the mind works and "conflicts" with itself. Divisions does not mean that the brain is based on three physically separate parts, rather it based on three functions and thinking of the brain. The three parts are the id, ego, and superego. The id demands basic functions and will pretty much do anything to keep the body alive. The id prevails in infants because their necessities include food, diaper changes, and attention. The ego develops later when a child or adolescent pretty much believes that the world revolves around them and they can't imagine that someone would know more than them. Lastly, the superego regulates the id and ego by filtering all information. The superego accounts for such things as guilt and religion.
The article and video that I have embedded discuss these concepts and divisions in more detail.
Questions that come to mind when reading about the theory are:
1. Does the id get less strong after infancy because there is more to think about than just basic needs?
2. How do the three divisions interact with each otherand conflict, exactly?
3. Is the superego called the superego because it is like an enhanced ego?
Somehow, it is hard for me to form an opinion on this theory. I believe that there are certain levels of survival and resolution methods, but not to Freud's degree. I believe that this theory takes the concept too far with assumptions.

Youtube video


Parental Investment Evolution

| No Comments

It is without doubt that throughout human evolution the Parental Investment theory has been right on key when predicting who will be more selective and who will be more competitive when finding a mate. Scientist Robert Trivers said, "The sex that initially invests more in offspring is a "'resource"' for which the less investing sex competes." This is exemplified by the mating process of humans. Women, who invest around 9 months into producing an offspring, are found to be more selective and face more trade-offs then perhaps a male, who invests, in comparison, a very short amount of time into producing that same offspring.

In this dynamic, women are more selective because they also produce less offspring than men do. This important selectivity helps women to detect males who will pass on favorable traits to their offspring, and who will also invest more time into their offspring.

This theory is applicable to a past when the life expectancy of offspring was relatively low. In this new century, will the process by which humans mate evolve to form a more emotional based connection, rather than a natural survival mechanism? It is rare that a woman who is looking for a partner walks into a bar and thinks to herself, "I need to be very selective here, because I will be the only one investing a huge amount of time into this." In this day and age, the man normally signs into an investment that is just as long as the females. With this change in outlook, it is not hard to guess that the selection process and Parental investment theory can only evolve more.

Midlife Crisis:Kim Kardashian

| No Comments

We all know the Kardashians. The most dramatic family in the Hollywood scene, having nervous breakdowns over a piece of their weave showing in a magazine spread. Varying on different fans, everyone has varies on which sister is the most dramatic is, Khole? Kim? Kourtney? On my part, I believe the most dramatic is Kim, the middle sister. She's the most conscientious of her looks and her body. At the age of 29, she went through a minor midlife crisis.
A midlife crisis happening to middle aged men women trying to regain their youth by doing something spontaneous. Perhaps for men it is buying a sports car or women trying to dress younger. Although the psychology book claims "the midlife crisis more of a myth than reality" due to not being able to replicate findings that would support emotional distress. I think that even though there is no evidence to support it, midlife crisis's still happen. It is more in a person's head and they bring it on themselves.
A perfect example of worrying about becoming older and her looks changing with her skin sagging is Kim Kardashian. A couple of seasons ago of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", Kim had made the decision to get botox to lift up her eyes in hopes of making herself look younger at the age of 29. A midlife crisis was a minor point of this episode. Kim tried to change herself in attempt to make herself look younger and keep up with the young Hollywood she-bang.
Even though she is not 50 years old and going through menopause and depressed about life, she still showed signs of distress about her age. A crisis is a problem in ones life, and for Kim Kardashian aging is a clear crisis that is always looming over her. When the Lilienfield Psychology book says that midlife crisis's are myths, they mainly only think in critical terms and not in general terms.


| No Comments

The eugenics movement is a concept in psychology that basically says that who we are is determined entirely by our genes. Its main supporter, Francis Galton, believes that it is possible to create a "highly-bred human race." Galton was the half cousin of Charles Darwin, and therefore was relatively close to the development of evolution. The eugenics movement really started and gained strength in the early 1900's. It eventually began to taper off around the middle of the twentieth century.
I think one reason this is an important concept is what is the first thing that comes to mind. When I heard the words "highly-bred human race," I think of Hitler's final solution, or master race. The eugenics movement also promotes the sterilization of people who have some disease that could be deemed hereditary. This is used for justification for discrimination. I believe that discrimination is always going to be an issue, and since eugenics can be associated with the worst form of white supremacy in modern history, it should be considered important. Just as George Santayana said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it," if we can't understand what made this so appealing to even get prominent U.S. citizens like Margaret Sanger, Teddy Roosevelt, and Charles Dight behind it, the same thing could happen again. First off, on paper, in a dehumanized point of view, its reasoning is sound: create the perfect race. If there are any morals in existence however, it is horrible.
Most people would say that the eugenics movement is a thing of the past, but are there remnants of what was that are still gaining strength? Actually, some would say yes. There are some that argue that abortion is a modern form of eugenics, and that society has benefited from it. Prominent professor Steven Levitt has published that New York's crime rate fell dramatically 18 years after Roe V. Wade, and it has made New York as a city better. The infants that were aborted were likely to be born into poor households, i.e. the ones that criminals are bred in. If there is positive evidence for it, will abortion become much more commonplace to improve the standard of a society by reducing the crime? I'm not saying that abortion will lead to Hitler part II, all I'm saying is to keep an eye on things.

The id, ego and superego

| No Comments

Freuds ideas on the human psyche are very complex and interesting to learn about. Basically, Freud breaks our personalities down into three different areas. The id is someone's basic instincts and lies deep within the self conscious. The ego is the main component of a someone's personality. It is considered the primary decision maker but is completely different than the more common use of the word in terms of how big somebodies ego is. The ego is governed by the reality principle which helps it keep a person's id and superego in check. The superego is where a person's beliefs and morals come from. This is the part of our personality that separates right from wrong which is usually conceptualized from our parent's beliefs.

Freud's theories about human's personalitites are important since it helps us understand why people think and act certain ways. It provides a partial explanation to why people have different mental attributes and breaks it down into three clear cut categories of thinking.

This article has some great ideas on the superego. It's theory is that the superego is more like an internal parent that is deeply concerned about your health and well being. The superego also helps out by reassuring you when you meet a personal goal or succeed.

Something that I would like to learn about is how the id is shaped being that it is the deepest part of a humans psyche.

Child Prodigies

| No Comments

These days there are many items marketed toward parents that say they will improve a child's learning capacity or a give them a head start on reading and math. Is this really a good thing? In the article "The Downside of Being a Child Prodigy," Alissa Quart is interviewed about her book that talks about what it's like to grow up with an IQ that's beyond your actual age. Alissa was considered a child prodigy. By the time she was 13 she was a freshman in high school. At 17 she had won many creative writing contests, written a novel and accomplished many tasks that were beyond her years. At the age of 34 she wrote a book about what it was like to grow up as a child prodigy. She says that being brought up as a child prodigy and then a little later in life being "deflated" left her with a feeling of failure. Is being a child prodigy and pushing our kids to be the smartest really what's best for them? At the age of 10 Brandon Bremmer graduated from high school. By age 14 he was putting the finishing touches on his second CD of music that he had composed. He also committed suicide at the age of 14. People that knew him said that he showed no signs of depression and that he was a a very nice kid. If he had so much going for him why would he throw it all away? While I can't make a direct connection with my life, my dad once told me a story about how when he was interviewing for jobs as a psychology professor and researcher there was a man in the group of people wanting the job that had been a child prodigy and written many research papers going above and beyond everyone else. My dad beat the other man out in the interview and got the job because the other man had very bad personal skills and wasn't able to communicate effectively. My dad always uses this example when I feel down about a bad test grade or nervous about an interview. You can be the smartest person in the world, but you may never be successful if you can't have good connections and effectively communicate with other people. I think if more stories like this were published, parents would be less concerned about having the smartest kid in the world. They wouldn't put so much pressure on kids to be the next Bill Gates. There are many very successful people today that were average in school. I think if parents were to encourage kids to do well in school and support them in their studies, but also support them and encourage them to participate in other things like clubs and sports there would be more of a desire in the child to learn and do well. Have there been any other recent studies that support this? Is this something that the psychology community would be interested in researching? In lecture we learned that higher IQs usually means there is less of a chance of mental illness. Has that changed since it was last researched by Terman?

Birth Order Stereotypes Confirmed?

| No Comments

There are many stereotypes behind the birth order of siblings. The oldest is seen as the mature, smart, first born with all the answers; the middle child is always getting into trouble (or getting blamed); and the youngest is always the sweetest one who would never do anything wrong. All of these stereotypes are in the eyes of the parent or guardian in my opinion.

Being the youngest child in my family with two older siblings, I decided it would be interesting to write about the stereotypes of family placement!
Research clearly shows that the oldest, middle, and youngest children in a family all differ in some way. The specific ways, however, are unclear.

CBS news claims that newscasters or TV hosts tend to be only children or first born! Many examples include Walter Cronkite, Oprah, Peter Jennings, Donahue, and many more. Thinking about the personality of newscasters, it is clear that my first born stereotypes are somewhat correct. Being mature and smart, first born children are natural leaders.

Middle children are very difficult to decode, because they often feel as if the older sibling gets most of the attention and the younger sibling escapes all discipline. This is why my stereotype could be correct, because most of the blame tends to fall on the middle child.
According to CBS news, the youngest child of the family tends to be spoiled and babied much more than the other children. To me, I feel the youngest children are the most outgoing and social. It's clear that this is true because both Jim Carey and Steve Martin are last born children, among many other outgoing celebrities!

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about birth order is the popular television series, Malcolm in the Middle. Malcolm is the middle child who is ignored by his parents most of the time. That is, unless he is being blamed for something that his older brothers are too mature for and that his younger brother would never do! Confirming my stereotypes even further, Malcolm in the Middle is a great (somewhat exaggerated) portrayal of my personal views of birth order.

| No Comments


A fragile X syndrome (mutation on x Chromosome) or an extra copy of chromosome 21 makes a healthy child have either a mild or moderate retardation. People with mild or moderate retardation have relatively normal IQs, but show a distinctive pattern of physical features such as flat nose, upward slanted eyes, and a short neck. If a change in chromosomes and a distinctive appearance is the only difference between people with mental retardation and people without, then why do we discriminate against people with mental retardation? Scott Lilienfeld stated that societal attitudes toward individuals with mental retardation have improved; yet, did they improve enough?
"A 17-year old mentally retarded girl has a baseball bat and a broom handle brutally rammed into her vagina by four high school football players in the affluent suburb of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, while nearly a dozen other students watch on and do nothing to stop it" (Long). The girl was a victim because as an individual with mental retardation she can be easily tormented, because she does not adjust to the society like everyone else. Yet, the only difference between her and everyone else is that she has an extra copy of a chromosome. Still, "People tend to think in terms of a handicapped person rather than a person who is handicapped. It is imagined or perceived that the disability is the central life experience of that person"(Long). Maybe by educating people about individuals with mental retardation, people will be more accepting.
If individuals with mental retardation are accepted in the society, do all of society's rules apply to them too? Several crime cases gave the defended a lower punishment, because he pleaded "mental retardation" For example, in the case Atkins vs. Virginia, Atkins shot a man 8 times after demanding money and then forcing him into the truck (Current). A person needs high IQ to do what Atkins performed; yet, his punishment was less server because he was "a person with mental retardation" Does Atkins deserve the punishment that a person without mental retardation would have received?

"Current Cases - Mental Retardation." The International Justice Project. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. .
"The Long & Sorry History of Discrimination." A Ragged Edge Online. Cliffwood Organic Works. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. .

Trick to Horoscopes and Crystal Ball Readings

| No Comments


Most of us at some point and time in our lives have probably either picked up a newspaper and read their horoscope or had a crystal ball reading. Although we also probably knew that the results were not necessarily scientifically true, we were most likely lightly surprised that part of it was "accurate" to our life. Ever wondered how this works?

The basis to most horoscopes, crystal ball readings, and tarot cards comes from the P.T Barnum Effect. This effect happens when people have the tendency to accept certain information as true because the information is quite vague and applies to just about everyone. The majority of the information presented from horoscopes and crystal ball readings is fairly vague. This video from YouTube clearly shows how horoscopes can apply to just about everyone, even when an entire room full of people are given the same exact one. As a result of this effect, most of the horoscopes, and crystal ball readings aren't valid measures of personality even if they appear to describe someone to the T.

Even with knowing that horoscopes aren't necessarily accurate based on how they work and what techniques they use in order to make them appear real, will people still have a tendency to believe them? I personally think that people will unintentionally still slightly believe in them. Not because they are ignorant but simply because we are human and need something to believe in.

You're Looking for a Male with a Quick Temper...

| No Comments

There's a lot you can tell from a person just by looking at them. You can get a sense of their style, their mood from they body language, and even some of their interests. But you can't judge a book by its cover; their personality, for example, isn't something you can tell at first glance, and many of your other observations could prove false on closer examination.


The same applies to crime scenes. It's fairly easy to tell whether it was a crime of passion or a calculated operation, and certain clues at each scene can indeed hint at gender or age. Yet outside the basics, analyzing a crime from what's left behind is far more an art than a science.

crime scene.jpeg

Consider the video below. In this clip, a profiler from the hit show, Criminal Minds, shows off her profiling and observation skills to a cocky coworker.

Criminal Profiling Video

As impressive as this monologue sounds, it's hardly science. Take her assumptions about her coworker's child and missing wedding ring, for example. He could have had his child out of wedlock, or perhaps he and his wife are divorced. Both are perfectly plausible explanations for a child and no ring, and his apparent "flirtiness," would also seem to suggest a lack of attachment. But instead, she intuitively knows that he's happily married. How?

Ultimately, profiling is far more an educated guessing game than a hard science.A study cited in the Lilienfeld text indicated that criminal profilers were no better at describing a killer than were college students with no training in criminology. If this is true, however, the question remains: why does the FBI still use profilers? Is it simply that old habits die hard? Perhaps we remember when profilers get it right, but conveniently gloss over when they're wildly wrong? More likely, it's because profiling is hard to falsify-if a profiler is incorrect, that person is just a "bad profiler."

Whatever the reason, criminal profiling is a largely romanticized field of psychology that borders more on the side of pseudo-science. And as fun as it is to watch shows like Criminal Minds, perhaps this field is one that is better used in fiction than fact.

Addictive Personality Traits

| No Comments

The "Addictive Personality" is a common theme amongst scientist within the addiction field. It serves as a means to explain why certain people are more likely to become addicts, and if we are able to categorize exactly what the addictive personality is, we could better treat and prevent addicts. According to an article from the New York times, there are a few personality factors that are highly correlated with addiction-prone people: impulsive behavior, sense of social alienation, a high value for nonconformity, and a sense of heightened stress are just a few.

The article looks into several different situations. Mainly, they profile an alcoholic. Alcoholics are considered to be addicted to a hard drug, since alcohol quickly affects mood and personality at a heightened level. for situations such as these, moderation is key, as it is with anything. Most people who drink alcohol throughout their life don't become alcoholics. The key to creating an addiction is "excessive, repetitive use of pleasurable activities to cope with unmanageable internal conflict, pressure and stress." This explains why most addictions occur within younger age groups, with the added pressure of school as well as social anxiety weighing on their minds, many turn to drugs, alcohol, or other activities to relieve the pressure.

I can't help but wonder if there are other factors that contribute to addiction. While it is extremely likely that their are personality types that are more likely to be addicted, I think our society has a lot to do with it. We live in a world where we emphasize pleasure. We are able to choose (for the most part) what we want to do for a living, and most Americans live with a TV, cable, internet, video games, and a plethora of things that are designed to make us happy. And to top it off, most people have a wide disposal of good-tasting foods that they can eat whenever they want. So we live in a way that could easily contribute to an addiction. We live for pleasure, and when we can't get enough pleasure, we look for the fastest and most accessible way to achieve happiness, which can sometimes mean drugs and alcohol.

Freudian Defense Mechanisms in Lost

| No Comments

In the television show, Lost, the concept of the story is that survivors of a plane crash are forced to survive on a deserted island for a great deal of time. As a result, the characters of the show have extremely high levels of anxiety and many of them have different defense mechanisms they use. The writers of the show clearly had knowledge about the different psychological defense mechanisms because the majority of them are used in the development of the various characters. One such mechanism that is used in the show was displacement. For example, when the group of survivors traps a man in the jungle without knowing who he is they begin to take out their frustrations and anger for being stranded and other events that occurred on him. The clip below shows the after clip of such way which they displaced their emotions onto him.

From the clip, it is evident that the character of Henry has mistreated as a result of the survivors displacing their anxiety onto him. In this particular case, the clip is right after Sayid's girlfriend Shannon was killed by someone completely unrelated to Henry, the men being held captive. Sayid has then displaced his anger and emotions onto Henry and as a result provides a prime example of the psychological defense mechanism displacement. This is just one example from show of the psychological defense mechanisms that are illustrated but it is clear that the writers had a good grasp on the concept by their illustration of it.

Rorschach Test

| No Comments

Swiss psychiatrist Herman Rorschach created the Rorschach Inkblot test back in the 1920s as a way of measuring ones personality. There are two distinct types of this test. The first is the black and white version, and the second is the color version. The most interesting aspect of this test is its lack of reliability and validity. This test would frequently create illusory correlation, correlations between things where no correlation is present. One of the most frequent illusory correlations was the diagnosis of homosexuality based on individual's interpretations of the images. What's interesting to me is the range of answers you get from different individuals looking at the same card.
For example this image here:
This image receives a variety of explanations ranging from human face or two humans, all the way to elephant, dog, or even a bear. I think that by researching people's responses to these images we can better understand the question of "What makes people's personalities and views different?" For Rorschach these different responses meant something. If you answered a specific way then you could possibly have a psychological disorder. My problem with this is how do you come about determining that a certain response means a specific thing? How do we not know that it is not just an illusory correlation? Even if there is a correlation between answering a certain way on the test and having a psychological disorder, correlation does not justify causation. In this next video the cross examination of Dr. Lorandos proves my point that it is up to the administrator to determine the significance of the response.
After researching the Rorschach test I am left wondering would it be possible to use this test method as a way of determining the origin of how our personalities and views form?

What would the Big Five say about you?

| No Comments

In chapter 14 we learned about the Big Five Model of personality. The Big Five is a personality model that contains five general traits and every human may fall into one or more of these traits. The five traits are Openness to experience ,Conscientiousness, Extraversion ,Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. There are two acronyms that we can use to memorize these traits ; OCEAN and CANOE. The Big Five model can be used to predict how someone will handle a certain situation. For example , Extraversion has been positively correlated with successful performance with salespersons. The Big Five can be used to describe anybody even those that people have never met or people with psychological disorders. I have attached a video that also explains a little bit more into what exactly each of the Big Five traits mean. One of the examples is Curious George and he falls into the category of Openness ( hints the name ; Curious).

The first week of Psychology we were asked to take a personality test and record our scores. I scored especially high in Extraversion and Conscientiousness. I wasn't surprised by my scores on Extraversion because I find myself to be very social and enjoy gatherings where I can meet new people and also I would consider myself very responsible and coordinated which deals with Conscientiousness. I like everything to be on time and have everything in neat order. I think that the Big Five is a very accurate test and can tell a lot about a person for example in job situations and how a person will deal with a situation under pressure.

I believe that The Big Five model is accurate but I also wonder if there are some other hidden traits that can be broken down into a smaller category and if the Big Five could possibly expand to more traits.

Freud's Case Study on Oedipus Complex

| No Comments

Sigmund Freud's theories are known to be highly controversial, and one that interests me the most is the Oedipus complex. Oedipus complex is termed after the tragic Greek character who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. It describes the conflict in boys which they supposedly love their mothers romantically and want to eliminate their fathers as rivals. I actually found this claim outrageous, so I decided to look for real-life case studies related to the Oedipus complex.
While I did not find any recent and updated examples, I found that Sigmund Frued himself actually published a case study in 1909 called Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy. The subject was called Herbert Graf, known in the study as "Little Hans." The case study began when his father sent Freud reports about Hans' interest in sexual matters. According to the father, he had an immense fear of horses for the fear of getting bitten by them. Also, he showed interest in his genitals and other people's genitals. Freud provided an explanation to this phobia saying that the phobia arose from the fact that Hans was struggling with the oedipal conflict. Hans' father being an obstacle to his sexual attractions to his mother, as well as the fear cause by the large penises of horses, gave rise to his castration anxiety and the fear of getting punished.
This case study interests me because I found that Freud violated a few laws of critical thinking. Firstly, Hans was only one of the billions of five-year-olds all over the world. Freud only studied one subject, so he would have to replicate his findings before he can conclude that Han's phobia was caused by the Oedipus complex. Secondly, Han's fear of horses and his interest of his or other people's genitals could have stemmed from two different things. Freud concluded that both were caused by Oedipus complex without ruling out other hypothesis. Moreover, Freud's theory is impossible to refute. For example, if people were to find evidence that most five-year-old boys were sexually repulsed by their mothers, this observation would refute the existence of the Oedipus complex. But Freud could respond by saying that the boys are merely engaging in reaction-formation and are attracted to their mothers at an unconscious level. These violations to the laws of critical thinking make me doubt the truthfulness of the theory, and I am sure it also raised a lot of other people's doubts as well. This probably explains why the Oedipus complex was highly criticized around the world.

I only provided a cut-down version of Freud's case study. Here is an extended version:

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmmm"

| No Comments


On Friday, while sitting in class, Professor Simpson had me wondering about myself. Although maybe a little personal for a psychology 1001 blog, this is what has been running through my mind for the last few days and nights. Simpson explained to us three different attachment styles:

• Secure Attachment Style: Trusting, without concerns for abandonment, feeling self-worth and being liked.
• Avoidant Attachment Style: Suppression of needs due to repeated rejection. Difficulty in forming intimate relationships.
• Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style: Worry that others will not reciprocate intimacy. Caused by inconsistent experiences.

These attachment styles are studied in both children and adults. When studied in children, the parent/child relationship is what is focused on, and in adults it is mostly with lovers/partners.

When I was a baby, I definitely would say that I exhibited a secure attachment style, but now I have migrated to an often anxious/ambivalent attachment style. No offence to the other anxious/ambivalents out there, but I wonder where I went wrong? This personality trait is also only evident in me in romantic relationships as well. I am less trusting and often enjoy a one-hundred-percent-relationship. With friends, I am much more laid back, and even individual, I would say. I have no problem with sometimes doing things on my own.

I wonder my morph in my personality attachment traits came from my parents' divorce. Watching what should have been unbreakable fall apart between my parents could have possibly swayed my ideas about love and relationships. Then again, I wonder if my dad's relationship with me after the divorce was what caused it. When in class, Simpson talked about the children with "shake it off" parents. This is how my dad deals with almost all problems in life, and he expects that we do the same.

All in all, I will never know why exactly I am the way I am. Or, in fact, that I am actually how I say I am. Self-assessment is never completely reliable. I think it would be so interesting if I could look into this deeper. I also wonder if the people I've chosen as my closest friends are similar to me, and if that's why I've chosen them to surround me.

Happily Ever After?

| No Comments

Different people have different ways of making decisions; some people think long and hard and weigh all of their options before deciding on something while others just go with their gut feeling. No matter how one makes a decision, their goal is the same, to achieve happiness in the future. While we think we're doing what's best for ourselves and others, we're actually very bad at affective forecasting. Affective forecasting is defined as "the ability to predict our own and others' happiness." We think that our choices in a new car, our college, a new house, or a partner are what will ultimately make everyone happy in the end, but we're generally wrong. Part of the reason for this is durability bias, "the belief that both our good and bad moods will last longer than they do." Because of this we think only about how we feel now, rather than how we'll feel in the moment of what we're planning.
I am a prime example of the failure to predict our own happiness. Every Tuesday morning I get up earlier than I would otherwise need to in order to do my laundry. Monday night I set my alarm for 7:00am sharp, since I'm not tired at the moment I think only about how nice it will be to have washers and dryers available for use rather than how tired I'll be when the alarm goes off. What usually happens when the alarm goes off is my hand slamming down on the snooze button, aching for more sleep. I decide in that moment that it would be better for me to get more sleep, rather than be tired as I do my laundry. When I eventually get up later in the morning, I go down to the laundry room and see that there are no washers available for me to use. My thought that more sleep would make me happier actually ends up hurting me later in the day.

Here's a short video of Dan Gilbert (who came up with affective forecasting) explaining a bit of this concept to help you better understand:

I think affective forecasting is a really important concept in psychology. It helps us understand ourselves more and can be used to explain things like procrastination. I think more research needs to be done, though. How do so many couples end up married for so long if we're "remarkable poor at affective forecasting?" There are so many happy endings in this world that make me wonder how they can generalize that we're all so bad at predicting what will result in a happy future.

Could all the answers to finding out our strengths, who we are going to marry, and whether or not we are a good fit for a job be hidden in our handwriting? Graphologists do believe so. Graphology, according to our Lilienfeld text, is the psychological interpretation of handwriting. According to an article from HuVista International, it states "Graphology is the study of the psychological structure of man through his or her handwriting... and depends on research and experimentation. This social science recognized that our handwriting - the formation of letters, arrangement, speed, and pressure - tells about our personality, character, and emotional state ( The article also states "handwriting is energy." This is an interesting statement because it goes on to explain that one's energy varies as moods change, but the underlying personality is the same and your energy reflects that. Graphologists state that writing, "engages our brain, our nervous system, our muscles, our coordination, our memory, and our eyesight." Thus, it is considered a science and is interesting to see if your handwriting correlates with their hypotheses.
Graphology is a subject that is tantalizing and believable, but it is not always correct scientifically. Some of the basic claims state that handwriting that is more curved means that the person is more open and unselfish. Those with more space between letters yield potential openness of the mind. Disorderly handwriting could mean the person is disorderly or has a lot of ideas ( I took an online handwriting quiz where the website analyzed my handwriting The online assessment stated that based off my handwriting style, I tend to plan ahead and am interested in beauty, and outward appearance. The second part of this is false. It also states that I am shy, which is true, and that I am a idealistic person who does not find it easy to form close personal relationships, which is partially true. The other part states that I am a talkative person, which is completely false. So, this particular inventory was correct is some of my personality traits and false in others. Obviously, graphology is more scientific than this online examination, but it proves that graphology is an interesting type of science and is an interesting potential way to reveal one's personality.

Personality Assessments

| No Comments

One way to test personalities is by using a projective test. The Apperception Test (TAT), or also known as the "tell-a-tale" test. The TAT consists of 31 cards with ambiguous pictures; one with particularly extreme ambiguity and the individual must convey what they see. The patient will describe what they see by telling a story about what they believe to see in the picture. The psychologist will either use what they call "clinical intuition" to evaluate their response or a type of systematic coding; where different themes are being tested. There is another type of projective test known as the Rorschach Ink Blot test, where individuals are shown blots of ink on any card and the individual must tell what they see. Unlike self-rapport assessments these tests are designed to get at the underlying and unconscious thoughts of an individual. These tests are important in the field of psychology for many reasons. They are used to diagnose many mental illnesses and disorders in patients ranging from anxiety to depression and even to empty nest syndrome. Many people question the validity and reliability of these tests, because of the impressionistic nature of the results. It still confuses me about how they "score" projective assessments because they aren't reported on a give scale, but somehow discerned from less structured responses. This subjectivity might be why these tests are known to be unreliable. Psychologists may decide to use this form of testing, despite all the invalidity, if the patient does not seem to be responsive to the self-rapport assessment, it also gives the patient the opportunity to open up and discuss rather than simply scaling one's feelings.

College Exams A Good Judge of College Success?

| No Comments

Every student prospectively looking to enter college has stressed about these tests at least once, but for most of us we went through this process 2 or 3 or even 4 times! Your scores on these tests have an immediate impact on where your options for schools lie. Even if you graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA a below-average score on one of these tests most likely takes all of your top choice schools right off the table. Because of this, there has been an ongoing debate about the validity of these tests and their necessity in the application process.
I guess first we should cover why colleges even look at aptitude tests when making their decisions on a student. It is almost common knowledge nowadays that the SAT is positively correlated to how "smart" an individual is, so scoring well on an entrance exam could lead colleges to assume you are actually more intelligent than you really are. This was the situation I found myself in. I had a mediocre GPA when I applied for schools so I was guided by my college counselor to look at schools below the level at which I knew I could achieve. The Carlson school was not on that list. It wasn't until after I received my ACT's that the school even crossed my mind. I guess the reason I bring this up is that without the SAT and ACT I wouldn't be where I am today, so I thank college admissions officers for their [sometimes over] reliance on aptitude tests.
When we look at the numbers for the correlation between these tests and higher level academic achievement the numbers are very surprising. The reported numbers are 0.16 for SAT-Verbal and 0.12 for SAT-Math (Elert 2008). These seem extremely low for the overall weight admissions give them, especially saying the correlation between high school grades and achievement is reported at 0.24.
If those numbers weren't convincing as to the role aptitude tests should hold, I should tell you those are just the numbers reported by the testing agencies themselves. The actual results, when calculated by a third party, independent firm, were actually about 0.02 points lower for each area (Elert 2008) excluding the high school GPA, which was 0.03 higher at 0.27. Just by these statistics alone high school GPA has nearly twice the ability to predict a college student's success. But then that brings into question the correlation between college success and intelligence, and we all know how well that worked for so-called genius Christopher Langan....

Works Cited:
Elert, G. (n.d.). The SAT: Aptitude or Demographics?. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from


| No Comments

According to many devout psychologists, even the way we sign our names at the bottom of our credit card receipts can be an insight into our personality. Graphology is the study of handwriting, and is most commonly used in the psychological field. Some regard it as a projective technique that can clearly evaluate personality, but most say it is an unreliable form of pseudoscience. The main problem is that it mostly relies on the representative heuristic because if the handwriting resembles certain traits, psychologists assume they automatically go together. Graphologists are present in the medical field, believing handwriting analysis can help identify defects in the nervous system. This concept is also widely depicted in criminal profiling shows such as "CSI" and "Criminal Minds." Some even say your marital compatibility can be determined by comparing the couple's handwriting.

One of the most interesting applications of graphology is it being used in graphotherapy, which is a technique where the participant changes his or her handwriting style in order to change his/her personality. This operates under the idea that every stroke in writing corresponds to a personality trait, so if you identify and eliminate negative strokes, you will be getting rid of the negative traits within you. Claims have been made that graphotherapy has been used to cure drug addictions and eating disorders.
This blog gives a very committed tutorial of graphology/graphotherapy and its many uses:

As unreliable as this technique may seem, an aspect of graphology can be useful in the medical community. Doctors can examine a patient's fluidity, pressure, and consistency of size and form to determine his/her response to pharmaceutical treatments. Although this is similar, it is generally used for the means of investigating motor control processing as well as examining the interaction of biochemical and neurological systems in the body. Just for extra security measures, there are codes of conduct that prohibit graphologists from forming any type of medical diagnosis.

Still interested? Here's a youtube video of pseudoscience enthusiast Michael Shermer investigating graphology:

How to parent talented children?

| No Comments

The majority of parents want to raise extremely gifted and talented children. However, this is not usually the case. Many parents end up raising 'ordinary' children in comparison. But on the flip side, geniuses are more likely to suffer from mental disorders. In the worst case, they are unable to contribute to society and achieve any personal future goals. Consequently, it is necessary for parents to raise their gifted children properly and help them make the best use of their talents. First and foremost, although their children may be gifted, they cannot make any achievements without enough practice. Parents need to convince their children that practice is crucial to achieve excellence, even if they do well academically in school. Parents should act as supervisors to encourage children to keep working even when their children have already lost interests and enthusiasm on something. According to Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School who raised two successful daughters, "Things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up." Sometimes, parents may overreact to children's resistances and negative feelings. It may be tough, but it's an important task for parent to keep being strict on their children. At this time, adults need to understand that their children need a balance between the time they spend on academics and their personal development. What's more, parents should help their children have a better comprehensive understanding of their children's strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a genius, like Sheldon in "The Big Bang Theory", can easily excel in the scientific field but lacks social skills to communicate with others in a normal way. Every single person needs to contribute to society and cannot be isolated from the whole group. For these particular children, adults should pay as much attentions to their intellectual development as well as all other aspects of personal development. All in all, although it's great to have smart children, it is more important to provide them appropriate education and understanding that all other aspects of personal development are equally important.

How accurate does the media portray criminal profiling?

| No Comments

There is no doubt that television shows centered around criminal content are intriguing and significantly popular. The numerous amounts of different series out there is a clear demonstration. Some of the most popular shows focus on the behavior of criminals and criminal profiling. For instance, my favorite, Criminal Minds, digs deep into crime scenes to understand the minds of those committing the crimes. As shown in the clip, the profilers study habits and mannerisms of their suspects along with studying the different components of murder scenes to establish a profile for the criminal. But how accurate are these shows?
Despite the fascination with the criminal television shows, there has been some research found that contradicts the validity of criminal profiling. In some cases, profilers indeed produce more accurate information than one who is not trained to predict suspects of a crime. But other cases have found that these profilers have little to no legitimacy. The textbook explained a study that suggests this idea. The study illustrated that chemistry majors predicted more precise profiles than the actual trained profilers.
Though this research has proposed that criminal profiling is less than accurate, there must be an obvious reason that the television shows are so interesting. To me, digging into a criminal's mind is extremely captivating. What qualities or traits of a person motivate him or her to commit such a crime? The shows depict different techniques or methods to abducting their victims and killing them. Though the vulgarity is sometimes disturbing, this thought is far more stimulating. The idea of one being more introverted versus extraverted or the factors of one's young life and the effects that elders had on them or environmental effects could all be contributing factors for a murder. Though research has found that profilers may not be able to accurately predict from these aspects, it seems as though they are all reasonable features that could influence one to turn to violence or criminal behavior.
As hard as it may be to admit, my favorite television shows may not be as accurate as I would like to think they are. But regardless, the shows are still exceptionally entertaining!

Intelligence: How do we measure such an abstract thing?

| No Comments

The matter of measuring an individual's intelligence can be a complicated one; even a controversial one. Initially, intelligence was measured simply through one's sensory abilities; what one could hear, see, feel, etc. While one's sensory abilities may be quite important, it was decided that that could not be the only measure of a person's intelligence. Then came the concept of general intelligence, or g, which is defined by the textbook as "the hypothetical factor that accounts for overall differences in intellect among people". There is also specific abilities, generalized as s, that pertains to ability in a particular domain. Then came about the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence, being the capacity to learn new things and the knowledge of the world one has accumulated over time, respectively. I believe that these are all viable measures of intelligence, but they can easily be expanded upon. The biggest discovery, in my eyes, is that there are multiple intelligences; that being, someone can be particularly intelligent in certain aspects, and therefore cannot be compared on a strictly through intelligence to another person with a high intelligence in another area.
The best way to measure one's intelligence is definitely by means of an IQ test. These tests have come a long ways since their inception, going through mandatory changes. These changes were important because at a certain age, intelligence no longer was able to increase, according to the tests. Now there are many tests that are used in various applications, such as occupational and athletics. Intelligence is a very interesting topic that we have come a long way in understanding but I don't think that anyone can concretely define exactly what intelligence is.

The Big Five Model of Personality

| No Comments

It's hard to imagine that a person's entire personality is based off of five characteristics. However, according to The Big Five Model of Personality there are only five personality traits from which all other traits derive. Among these are Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (page 562 of the Lilienfeld text). After taking a personality inventory test, an individual will get a score for each of the five traits. What makes a person unique is not his/her score in one of the categories, it's his/her score in all five categories.

Relying on five personality traits to define an entire person seemed impossible at first, but after analyzing the world around me I saw that these five traits do not only define individuals but also their relationships with others. This can be seen most apparently all across television. To make television interesting the writers of modern day TV shows make their characters exhibit tremendously extreme levels of these five personality traits. This makes things interesting because the people that surround us in our actual lives have more moderate levels of these personality traits. The next thing that TV show writers do is take these characters that have tremendously extreme levels of these traits and place them in close proximity with one another. These traits are meant to clash and, in doing so, to create conflict and an interesting plot to follow.

We can see this in TV shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad where the father of the household exhibits unhealthily high amounts of Extraversion and the mother of the household exhibits unhealthily low amounts of Extraversion. This continually sets the family up for conflict because each episode the father goes out and gets put into horribly unfortunate and incredibly entertaining situations while the mother of the household has to deal with everything and help solve the problem. After we spend time getting to know the characters of the show the writers will also through in episodes where the characters will dramatically switch roles. For example, there is an episode of Family Guy where the mother of the household begins to steal and becomes addicted to it. This really grabs our attention because we have an understanding of Lois (the mother) having low amounts of extraversion. When she all of sudden becomes a thrill-seeking maniac and the father of the household is the one who has to help her through the problem we can't look away because it's completely challenging our understanding of the characters.

Here are two video clips that demonstrate this process. The first shows Peter's (the father of the household) incredible Extraversion. The clip contains fragments of several episodes where he spontaneously takes hard drugs such as meth and cocaine. This is Peter's normal character, a thrill-seeking, for lack of a better word, psychopath. The second video is a clip from the episode where Lois (the mother) switches roles with the thrill-seeking psychopath and gets incredibly drunk. This is interesting to viewers because this is something we would expect Peter to do.

Andrew Otto

Harry Potter and the Attachment Theory

| No Comments

From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, people naturally form relationships to get through the ups and downs in life. One of the most crucial relationships is the connection between a child and their caregiver. According to the attachment theory, the bond between a caregiver and child has a significant impact on a child's development on both a social and emotional level. Studying the effects of attachment is essential because research has shown that early relationships can serve as a foundation for adult relationships.

With the attachment theory in mind, I was wondering if I could actually analyze some of the main characters in my favorite series, Harry Potter. Especially with all the hype over the Twilight movie this weekend, I feel like the beloved trio needs some recognition. Out of the all the attachment styles, Harry would be an example of having an avoidant attachment. Although he had loving parents when he was an infant, he mainly experienced psychological abuse from his neglectful Aunt and Uncle while growing up. As shown in the book, he had a hard time reaching out toward others in the beginning of his first year and had problems with expressing his feelings toward girls like Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley.

On the other hand, Hermione is known for having supportive and understanding parents. This positive relationship is the epitome of a secure bond, which is shown through her high self-esteem and her willingness to develop a relationship with Viktor Krum in the Goblet of Fire. The third person, Ron, should show characteristics of an anxious attachment style. With all his siblings, Ron probably didn't' get all the attention he wanted because his parents had their hands full. However, instead of being anxious and worried about his love life, he felt uncomfortable with his relationship with Lavender Brown.

hp.jpgLike in reality, the attachment theory can do a somewhat reasonable job of reflecting romantic relationships even in the Wizarding World. Personally, I would be concern if a person's early attachment style fully determines their personality in a romantic relationship. Yet as displayed in the final chapters of Harry Potter, not every relationship is doomed.

Big 5 Personality Traits

| No Comments

Big 5 .gif

The Big Five model of personality really caught my attention in chapter 14. I think that the Big Five test is extremely accurate in measuring a persons personality. When I took the Big Five test I scored above the average in Agreeableness and below the average in Openness to Experience.

This measurement of my personality is completely true. I grew up in central South Dakota surrounded by farms. Where I was from there wasn't any controversies in citizens' beliefs because everyone in the community had almost identical opinions on news articles or governmental actions. Even if some people did not agree with others opinions this wouldn't affect the way they interpreted controversies. Everyone was set in his or her own ways and others couldn't change their beliefs. I find this affects the way I take in others opinions. I am not used to people arguing with the way I see things, but to me I enjoy listening to other people's beliefs. By coming to the University of Minnesota I see that having an open mind is needed in life and I'm improving my open mindedness every day that I am here.

The measure I found most interesting was the Agreeableness measure. My lower than average on Openness and my higher than average on Agreeableness seem to over lap each other. Even though I maybe not be excepting to extremely new situations I am cooperative and I will listen to others opinions and take into thought what they say.

I think that the Big Five personality test is more accurate than any other personality test I have taken. Reading the results was extremely eye opening and interesting. The test was the most interesting because out of 35 questions the test can correctly tell what a person's personality is. Psychology is a fascinating science that can produce results that are close or identical to the real object.

Criminal Profiling

| No Comments

One of my favorite shows on television right now is "Criminal Minds". It's a dynamic and fascinating show that is told from the point of view of members of a Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI. They psychologically profile the behavior of serial killers and use this information to help catch the culprit. The idea of psychological profiling is incredible; by looking at the way in which a crime is committed and the traits of the victims, the team is able to determine all sorts of information about the individual that committed the crime, from gender to physical characters to upbringing, and sometimes even the kind of car he or she drives. However, our textbook suggests that psychological profiling might not be as incredible as it appears to be.
Criminal profiling often falls prey to the P.T. Barnum effect, which is the tendency for people to accept base rate descriptors as accurate. In other words, if a statement describes us perfectly, we overlook the fact that that statement most likely describes a lot of other people as well. The P.T. Barnum effect is especially prevalent in criminal profiling, because most serial killers share a lot of common characteristics. Most serial killers tend to be male, fall within a specific age bracket, and suffer from psychological problems. So, it's fairly easy for profilers to guess specific traits about the serial killer in question, because it is highly probable that they will possess these standard characteristics. Criminal profilers are often guilty of profiling characteristics that any individual could predict; for example, the textbook states a case in which a profiler described a sniper as someone who would be self-centered and angry at others. These are very generic and obvious statement that most likely fit a large majority of killers. In fact, our textbook even states that some studies have found that real-life criminal profilers are generally no more accurate in guessing the personality traits of killers than college students with no training in criminology.
It is interesting to note that "Criminal Minds" isn't just a tv show on CBS; the government really does employ criminal profilers to attempt to hunt down serial killers. I think it's interesting that the government spends time and money training these individuals to do a job that is statistically proven to be practically ineffective. These paid professionals are no better at predicting the behavior of serial killers than untrained college students, and yet criminal profiling is still a common practice within our government. It can't be denied that it makes for good tv, but that might be all it's really good for.

The Attachment Theory in Depth.

| No Comments

Blog Post #5

Attachment Styles in Depth

Did you know that there are types of attachment styles that can affect children throughout their whole entire life? There are three researched attachment styles that are formed in children from birth to adolescence: secure, avoidance, and anxious-ambivalent. In a secure relationship between the child and guardian the child often will be treated contingently with responsive care. In an avoidance relation the child is often ignored when filled with mixed-emotions and left to deal with it on his/her own, it's as if the parents have a "toughen up kid" mentality although the child is nearly a year old. In an anxious-ambivalent relation the child will often have a guardian care for him/her with great attention at times then have total ignorance when faced with similar emotions, this is often one of the worse and least expected outcome relations between children which can lead to destructive long-term effects. When taking all of the possibilities into account I thought that this was very true. While this topic was being discussed in lecture I constantly kept filling in names in my head of the people who fall into the possible categories which made this theory really jump out at me, as I fell into the secure attachment with my parents (I know this because my mother has a collection of videos of me and my younger siblings when we were younger). From the three the 'secure' attachment should always be the case within the relation of children and their mother/father. Psychologists have really cracked the code between types of relationships which really helps us understand who we've become and how we've been treated from birth. I have really put a lot of thought into this theory and this has given me insight on my very own relationship, which I will not talk about on this post. The ideal parenting techniques that I myself will provide in the future has changed greatly through this theory which gives me a better understanding why there are so many types of people with unique personalities. I believe this is the reason why such things occur: starting off with the bad: bullying, mental dysfunctions, mischief, and the good: traditional-based, sympathetic, easy-going, and many other possible humane outcomes. To sum this whole post up let me ask you a question, out of the three attachment styles which one best suites you as a person?

This photo demonstrates how a parent should relate to their children, with love and care.

(Just in case if the link doesn't appear:

Ambiguous sexes what's right and wrong

| No Comments

We discussed in last week's lecture the issue of children born with ambiguous genitalia. However, there was a striking story that really stuck in my mind. The John/Joan case in particular. As we all know the story consists of twin boys but one encountered an accident during circumcision and resulted in the removing of all male genitals and creating female ones. The parents were told to never tell the young boy what happened and to raise him now as a "her" for the rest of her life. The story ends tragically with this boy committing suicide years after discovering the truth about his sexuality. This is why I think the parents shouldn't have the say in what sex to make a child born ambiguously.
However confusing and awkward the situation might be having a child with both genitals, it would be best to wait it out. It isn't long before the child will start exhibiting either stereotypical male or female actions. This is a way of kids letting who they feel like they are inside, out. For instance of the John/Joan case, even as a girl he felt trapped that he belonged a boy. You hear about these cases a lot where a child feels like they aren't who they were boy to be and become depressed. Whether it is a girl who feels like she should be a boy or vise versa. The difference between sexes isn't just the physical genitals, far more of it lies within the brain. This is why one cannot know which sex the child truly is until later in life. There are even instances of people with normal genitals that feel they were born in the wrong bodies. I feel like in rare cases such as this, the child should have some say in which sex they turn out to be. I know that complicates the first couple years of life, but the outcome seems to be far more positive. This article shows what causes these accidents of nature, and how one can get support and deal with the issue therefore each person can find him or herself and be in peace in their bodies.

"Believing Eyes"

| No Comments

Near the end of Chapter 11, there is a lot of discussion regarding attraction and love. It is discussed in our Lilienfeld text that people tend to have similar ideas of what they think is a physically attractive feature in a person. Even though the text states that physical attraction towards your partner and some amount of passion is important in a relationship, it has been observed that expressing and communicating your feelings towards your partner is just as important. I encountered an article on that reminded me of Steinburg's triangular theory of love, which includes the three corners of intimacy, passion, and commitment (shown below) and also provided tips to strengthening a couples love and relationship.
The article was written by Linda and Charlie Bloom, both prestigious psychotherapists and marriage counselors, and according to them, it's important in a relationship for each partner to experience "Believing Eyes." They define believing eyes as "the experience of having one's gifts and capabilities reflected back from a someone who we love, trust, and respect, who sees our beauty and goodness, and reflects it back to us, particularly during the times when we are unable to recognize our gifts ourselves." (1). The Blooms stated they notice how each partner would feel much better about themselves and experience a more successful relationship when they engage is these "Believing Eyes."

I feel this term of loving communication developed by the Blooms is a perfect example of companionate love. The book describes companionate love as being "marked by a sense of deep friendship and fondness for one's partner" (2). Believing eyes expresses this fondness and tightens the relationship threads; bring each partner closer together and overall strengthening the relationship. About a year ago, I experienced a relationship that clearly lacked believing eyes. Although we were physically attracted to each other and communicated fairly well, it's clear to me now that we never really expressed our thoughts and feelings about each other. I remember I would always feel self-conscious around him and I would never know exactly what he was thinking about me. This is most likely one of the main reasons why the relationship ended. Hopefully in future relationships, I can apply believing eyes to strengthen and extend the relationship.

(2) Lilienfeld Text

Anyone can be a Criminal Profiler!!!

| No Comments

Criminal profiling is something that took hold in the 1940's here in the U.S. It is a technique used by law enforcement agencies around the world, in which conclusions are drawn about a suspect's personality type/ traits by looking at their pattern of crimes committed. This has been depicted in popular television shows such as Law and Order and Criminal Minds. But how accurate and reliable is criminal profiling? This is a question that researchers have looked at more and more.
Criminal profiling is easier than it looks. In general, most criminals are males who are in their adolescent or early adulthood with a psychological problem. Take a homicide for example. Usually when a person draws inferences from the crime, they come up with it was most likely a male in his twenties or thirty's and has some type of psychological problem. Statistically, they are correct in thinking this and usually they are not for from the type of person that committed the crime. In essence, criminal profiling demonstrates the scientific thinking principle of occam's razor. Maybe this person won't be able to tell the type of personality the suspect has, (unless they had a psychology course like this), but they will be able to get the main idea of the motives and what might be going on in the suspects mind.
In the article "Criminal Profiling: Problems and Prospects," Dr. Chris Devery brings up a very good point that profiling can mislead investigators of a crime and in some extreme cases cause mistakes in dealing justice. He goes on about DNA evidence confirming the negative effects that profiling has on the investigation and prosecution of crimes.


| No Comments

writing5pic.jpgAfter the overlap of learning about evolutionary psychology in both my psychology and biology classes, I was interested to know more about how evolutionary reproduction is different in humans than animals. From Dr. Simpson's lecture, it is said that women seem to be pickier in choosing a mate than males are because women are investing more in bearing a child than men are. This is true for most species; the female bears the child and is generally picky while the males compete.

I was interested to know more about promiscuity and why we sometimes seek a relationship and sometimes do not. Are there certain ages that we tend to be more promiscuous than other ages? What are the factors that go into whether we hit it and quit it or stick around and emotionally invest in a potential partner? Also how does this work with gay or lesbian couples? Are both females choosy, or do both men compete?

In a book review of the book Sex from Dusk Till Dawn, Dr. Michael Price criticizes the authors in that humans are not as naturally promiscuous as the authors thought. In Sex from Dusk Till Dawn, the authors suggested that because human nature was so promiscuous, all females and males were mating with whom ever they so pleased and that the issue of who the father of the child was, was not an issue, whatsoever. Dr. Price clarifies the idea that in the human species, males ARE interested in investing into the offsprings' lives because of the fact that males want to pass on their genes. Also to consider is the environmental factors of promiscuity...leaving out cost and cause for conflict. From reading this article I can conclude that maybe humans are a little more tamed than this book suggested.

Graphology: an insight into personality?

| No Comments

Graphology is the study of handwriting more specifically signatures as an understanding of ones personality. This practice has been around since at least 1662. Alfred Binet popularized this practice in the 1900s. Binet experimented with graphology and claimed that it was a highly accurate insight into personality. This tradition is still upheld in job interviews in the United States today. This concept is riddled with the representatives heuristic. Graphologists view certain handwriting styles as representing traits in personality. For instance, slanting of the writing, as a whole to the left is more common in males and according to graphology is an indication of and unbalance in parental attachment. Conversely, a slant to the right is symbolic of a person who is impatient and in a hurry. If I were to apply the guidelines to graphology found in the above website I would be considered: close to others based on my margins, hurried, a criminal due to the pressure I write with, imaginative, over concerned with money, extroverted (that's true), shrewd, unstable, and that I follow my intuition. First off let me say that very little of this is accurate by my personal standards. With science in hand we can look at this through an experimental side. Lewis Goldberg tested the theory of graphology using "graphologists" and found almost no correlation between handwriting and earlier conducted personality tests. However, there is a small correlation between tidy handwriting and job success. Both of these tests may have been easily skewed due to the fact that personality is a very hard to measure construct. To sum up, the authenticity of graphology is found to be untrue.

Childhood IQ and Adult Drug Use

| No Comments

A recently released article in USA Today online revealed the result of a study that shows that children who had a high IQ at a young age could be at an increased risk for drug use during adolescence and adulthood. The results are based on a British study of about 8,000 people, begun in 1970. Their IQ scores were tested at ages 5 and 10, and their illegal drug was surveyed at 16 and 30. Investigators concluded that men at age 30 who had high IQ scores at age 5 were 50% more likely than those with low IQ scores at that age to use illegal drugs. Also at age 30, women with high IQ scores at age 5 were more than twice as likely to have used illegal drugs than those who had low scores.

The article suggested that this correlation may be due to highly intelligent people being more open to new experiences, perhaps leading to experimentation with illegal drugs later in life. The article also offered the explanation that kids who are more intelligent than their peers may be targeted and bullied by other children, which could "increase vulnerability to using drugs."

However, I'm a little skeptical about the conclusions made by the investigators. According to the Lilienfeld texts, the earlier in one's life an IQ test is administered, the lower the correlation with adult IQ. This leads me to believe that IQ can fluctuate considerably during childhood. Testing a child's IQ at age 5 and trying to correlate it with behaviors in adulthood doesn't seem very reasonable or reliable to me. And as always, a correlational relationship doesn't equal causation. As the article inferred, a third variable may play a part in the future drug use in children, such as bullying. And finally, the article does not explain exactly what a "high IQ" for a child is considered. It is unclear to the reader how unusually "highly intelligent" these children are, and what IQ was necessary for a child to be considered as such. Goes to show that with a little careful examination, even the most valid looking article can be challenged.

The Eugenics Movement

| No Comments

In the early 1900's intelligence tests were starting to boom. At this time there were a lot of American's immigrating to the United States. People were concerned about the low IQ's of the immigrants and other Americans and that's when the Eugenics movement began. The phrase was invented by Sir Francis Galton and its goal was to prevent people with bad intelligence genes from reproducing and creating more people that would have that same low intelligence gene. By the time it had died off, as many as 66,000 North Americans had undergone forced sterilizations to prevent them from reproducing. When I first heard about this I had a hard time believing it that people would trick people into getting sterilizations just so they couldn't produce low IQ children. I don't even know how anyone can allow such a surgery to happen. I was also very surprised at how many people got this surgery and how the majority of them didn't even realize what was really going on. Genetics isn't the only factor that influences intelligence. There's a lot more to it such as environment and social background. Even the schooling a child receives can make all the difference for how intelligent they are. By 1935, 28 out of the 50 states had laws making it legal to perform sterilization surgery on unintelligent people. This lasted 39 years and by 1974 all the states were required to repeal these laws and ban the use of sterilization on patients who are deemed "unintelligent".

Battle of the Sexes

| No Comments

It's a topic that has been discussed countless times, which sex is the better of the two? As it turns out each sex have qualities that "beat" the other. We learned in Dr. McGue's lecture that the sex differences we see are pretty consistent across cultures. This can be explained by evolution. There is a theory that evolution has shaped the differences between men and females. One major influence on this is "parental investment", that is how much time each parent invests into the child.

Females make a bigger investment so they are prone to being pickier about whom they choose as their mate. Men on the other hand don't invest very much time at all in comparison, so they have to try and win over the females while beating out the other males. This can be seen across species, whoever tends to invest more time in the child tends to be pickier. Females tend to look for males that can provide for their offspring while males look for signs of health and fertility.

When it comes to qualities women tend to have better verbal skills while men have better spatial skills. The reasons for these differences may be linked to the parental investment theory. Women spend more time taking care of and nurturing the children so having good verbal skills would come in handy. Men were always the ones out hunting and taking on the role of a warrior, they needed to be bigger and have a better comprehension of the world around them.

So if you look at it from this point, it makes sense that women have better verbal skills and men have better spatial skills. This doesn't mean that one sex is better than the other. They each have qualities that were once more helpful to one sex over the other. These skills are needed today by both sexes, now that women are working more and men are staying at home just as often as the females. Who knows how these skills will continue to evolve in the future.

Breast Feeding Can Improve Intelligence

| No Comments

baby.jpg Choosing between bottle feeding and breastfeeding is an often difficult task for mothers-to-be. Bottle feeding allows the child's father to be more involved in the feeding of the baby. However, breastfeeding helps the mother bond intimately with her child. There have been seen many benefits to breastfeeding an infant, such as: providing nutrients that are easily digestible by infants, reducing the risk of allergies and intolerances, provide antibodies, reduce risk of common childhood diseases and disorders, enhanced visual acuity, enhanced nervous system development, enhanced learning ability, and much more(Wardlaw's Perspectives in Nutrition, 8th edition). As you can see, there are many benefits to breast feeding infants, and IQ happens to be one of them.
In a study done at Kentucky University by James Anderson, there was seen a correlation between breast-fed children and higher IQ levels. Anderson said, "Our study confirms that breast feeding is accompanied by about a five point higher IQ than in bottle-fed infants." It is believed that this correlation is caused by the high nutritional value of breast milk for infants. More studies are being performed to determine the exact component of breast milk that causes this increase in IQ of those infants that are breast-fed. Many scientists believe that it may have something to do with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are found in breast milk, but absent from formula. There have been studies on Omega-3 fatty acids effects on the brain, which suggest that omega-3 fatty acids do help improve cognition skills and help the development of our nervous systems.
Others studies suggest that this boost in IQ of those that have been breast-fed, comes from a genetic variance. Those that are breast fed with a specific gene, receive the benefits of higher IQ. Others that receive breast milk, but do not have the specific gene, do not higher IQs. Further studies and testing are required to show which theory is correct, but there is a distinct correlation between breast feeding and higher IQs in children.
Mothers-to-be should take this information into consideration when choosing between the options of bottle feeding their infants and breast feeding their infants. It is important to note that not all people have the option of breast feeding due to disease and nutritional aspects that hinder their ability to produce healthy and plentiful breast milk. However, there are many benefits that are procured from infants being breast-fed, and high IQ is one of them.

Creative Personalities Hard To Define

| No Comments

"The Creative Personality" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is an article in Psychology Today about the traits of those with a creative personality. The author devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live work. He found that there are 10 antithetical traits present in creative people that are integrated with each other. One of them is that creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they are also often quiet & at rest. This trait to me is strange because how do you correlate creativity energy? How many factors are taken into account? It seems to me that so many things could be a confound variable in this research. Environment, career, number of caffeinated drinks, amount of sleep, education. So many factors could be the reason that people are energetic, taking away from the correlation between creative personality and physical energy. This is use/misuse of the critical thinking principle of correlation vs. causation.

A second trait that Csikszentmihalyi identified is that creative people tend to be smart yet naïve at the same time. This trait violates the critical thinking principle of falsifiability. How do you prove that people are smart & naïve at the same time? What does that even mean? To prove this better, they would need to make a rang of intelligence and naivety, showing the place that those with creative personalities would land, how much intelligence versus other personalities that they possess, and the same with naivety. By putting these factors within a range/number line, you could put a more solid value on this thought versus just that they posses both intelligence and naivety.

The Creative Personality- Psychology Today:

John/Joan Case

| No Comments

There is an ongoing debate about whether evolution of sex differences "stopped at the neck" and left the brains of men and women relatively similar. I think this theory is false: All parts of the male and female body are affected by sex, and male and female brains are in many ways dissimilar. The story of David Reimer, who was born male but raised as a girl until he reclaimed his male identity as a teenager, relates closely to our discussions of the power of gender and sex. Unsurprisingly, it has been shown that we interact with people differently depending on their gender. Even so, I think that the John/Joan case suggests that nature is much more important than nurture when determining the gender of a person. Because David was raised as a girl, one would have expected him to act like other girls his age; however, no frilly dress, skirt or female hormones made him act or feel like a girl and he was often bullied by many of his peers; he also experienced severe depression and attempted suicide multiple times. I think that he knew all along that there was something wrong, something that made him feel out of place and misunderstood by everyone around him. Although they changed David's genitalia to resemble those of a female, they did not change his brain, which ultimately held his true identity.

Cases dealing with disputes about gender and whether or not gender truly affects one's upbringing continue to appear today. One recent example is the parents from Toronto who are hiding their child's sex and raising it gender-neutrally. It is clear that the sexes differ biologically, and altering a child's sex without them knowing can severely impact the child's life- David Reimer committed suicide after years of severe depression. Ultimately, I think that no parent should drastically change their child's sex until the child is old enough to make the decision for themselves. The Toronto parents should be aware of the potential consequences of their unusual experiment because biological sex is a very powerful determinant and their curiosity may end up with unexpected consequences.

Dog Training and Classical conditioning

| No Comments

Week Six- Behavior (out with mono)

In class when we learned about classical conditioning, my interest in its relation to animal training was immediately sparked. Before lecture, I had always been curious how people were able to teach their animals to do certain tricks, like ring a bell when they wanted to go outside, or do a flip. After the lecture on classical conditioning, I couldn't wait to learn more about this teaching style. An article published in Dog Star Daily states that "Simply

put, classical conditioning helps your dog form positive associations with all sorts of stimuli." Before attending psychology I operated under the assumption that dogs were able to learn because of repetition, like when I am trying to memorize a list of vocabulary terms for a test. Now I realize that the learning process has more to do with the association that the individual makes with a certain stimuli. When I get a dog when I am older, it is not through repeated actions that the dog will learn, but rather the reinforcement that it receives because of it's actions. It does not take long for an animal to learn that a given action will result in a specific response, especially if it is a reward. In comparisons between the way that a conditioned response is created, researchers have come to realize that it is best to do the reward spontaneously, rather than at intervals, if you want the conditioned response to last longer, because then the individual or animal that is learning will never know when the reward is coming.

Arousal, Performance and Sports

| No Comments

The role of arousal within sports is a major one, particularly in the sport of tennis. Tennis is as mental of a sport as it is physical, if not more. As a result, mentally preparing oneself in order to play in a match is vital. According, to the Yerkes-Dodson law the relationship between arousal and performance is an inverted U-shape that shifts left and right based on the complexity of the task. Since, tennis is a rather complex task it requires slightly less arousal that other simple tasks. This is because in tennis a person has to constantly be aware of one's own position, the ball, the opponent and other factors all of which determine each stroke to be a different and unique one. As a result, the arousal needed is slightly less than other less complex tasks. In this article a Dr. John Murray elaborates further on the relationship between arousal and performance within the game of tennis.

Murray talked about the possible outcomes of being too aroused or excited when playing tennis and the possible negative outcomes that occur as a result. I have personally experienced this relationship between arousal and performance within the game of tennis multiple times. During a championship match I was a single point away from winning, and suddenly became extremely anxious or aroused to the point where it became hard to concentrate. As the match went on this high level of arousal significantly hindered my play and as a result I lost the match. In conclusion, it is evident that the relationship between arousal and performance is a significant, and by better understanding it, one can learn to perform better.

The Importance of Nonverbal Cues

| No Comments

From a very young age, my parents have always taught me that how you say something and what you do are more important than what you say. This always rings true whenever I communicate with anyone beyond a cordial, small-talk conversation.

I have a fun habit of taking a 5 minute break every day to poke through today's comics. I have many funny and lighthearted comics bookmarked on my laptop. I found it funny today when I saw this nonverbal emblem speak its meaning even over a phone-call:
The irony is comical with a nonverbal cue being heard over a telephone conversation, but it does ring true about the importance of how you say something. Obviously Rose's mother does not believe what Rose is saying in the slightest, and probably is annoyed to be on the receiving end of such a rant. She didn't have to say anything or even see the cue for her daughter to understand. We can glean this easily just from one simple picture of Rose's mother cooking.

Take for example my dog, Koda. She cannot say a word to me at all. Yet I know exactly how she is feeling at almost all points in the day. I know when she has done something bad from the way she lowers her ears and walks with her backside lower to the ground. I can tell when she is happy when I rub her tummy and she slowly lets her legs fall over. I know when she wants to play when her ears perk up and she extends her front paws at me! Koda will even crawl up next to me and poke at me to pet her when I am sad. It is as if she knows and understands my sadness, and is doing her method of making me feel better. It is that growth in the connection between a man and his dog that they can understand each other without saying words!

In reading comics and in loving a dog that helps me understand the importance of nonverbal cues! Who knew reading comics and learning from a dog could help me relate to people in the real world!

The Alternate Effects of Videogames

| No Comments

Most people usually tend to focus on the relationship between violence in children and how much they are exposed to violent video games. However, there are also other effects that tend to be neglected in this area of study. In the following study, Akio Mori, a professor at Tokyo's Nihon University, went out in search of these alternate effects. What he found was some rather stunning evidence. He found that beta wave activity in intense violent video gamers was always very close to zero, while those who didn't play violent videogames much. This was also true when they weren't playing, which shows the lack of usage of their prefrontal regions of their brain. Mori says that these two effects are important because the aggressive behavior in children might be stemming from these stimuli. Also, the continued decrease of beta waves after playing the game showed that the effect lasted longer than previously thought. Mori says that this lack of usage of some parts of their prefrontal regions is dubbed as "video-game brain." Really intense gamers become chronically neglected and thus able to alter a person's mood.

I found this exceptionally interesting as I used to be one of those "video-game brains." The article brings up some very thought provoking questions and possible answers to these questions. However, it also created a lot of uncertainty as to where the relationship between violent video games and violence in children really is. This damage to a young brain, or older brain for that matter, could be quite damaging. We know that there is evidence to prove that as a person ages, their processing of information slows down as well as their ability to recall previously learned information. Out of pure speculation from myself, is it possible that this lasting effect on the frontal regions could influence the speed at which their brain ages? Who knows the danger that we could be exposing ourselves to if that would be the case. What we do know is that there are other effects that violent videogames have on kids and that more research needs to be put into these effects to try to find out the whole story behind this fascinating phenomenon.

Deaf children raised by hearing parents

| No Comments

Deaf children that are born into a family of hearing parents face a unique challenge, communication. How do the parents reach out to their children if they have no idea how to sign? Another question you may ask is, if they are never exposed to conventional sign language what do they use to express meaningful thoughts?

A common ground formed within families of deaf children and hearing parents is "home signing." Home signings are spontaneous gestures used to describe what is being said. The signs may differ from conventional sign language, but develop meaning within the family. Often these signs are in the form of describing an action such as "throw," communicating that the child wants the mother to throw the toy to him.

If possible, do deaf children of hearing parents develop morphology and syntax to develop a well-structured sentence meaning? The answer is yes. Children that are hard of hearing develop gestures that describe an action (as previously stated). These children can have numerous base level gestures (throw, eat, go, sleep, etc.) that consistently have the same meaning. Often deaf children combine these individual meanings in various ways to create a "sentence."

Children with normal hearing develop language in a similar way. First, they develop phonemes which are the basic sounds of our language, much like a deaf child pointing at an object to create similarity. Second, hearing children put these sounds together to develop a meaning out of the sounds. Deaf children develop gestures to their pointing to create a meaning of the gestures. And lastly, syntax. Syntax in hearing children allows them to organize the words to create a meaningful message, just like deaf children would combine various gestures to create a meaningful sentence or story.

Although these combined gestures may have a meaning, they are often not conventional sign language and therefore are not understood outside the home. Unless children are exposed to conventional sign language, home sign is the main form of communication and is learned quickly within the child. Just because a child is deaf does NOT mean that they cannot communicate effectively with others.

Proximity is said to be one of the three major principles that guides attraction and relationships. There's no denying that proximity, or physical nearness, creates opportunities for relationships. According to the Lillenfield text, we are most likely to be attracted to and befriend people who are near to us, and see on a regular basis. The effects of exposure could explain this. If we see someone on a frequent basis, our attraction to him or her is heightened. This aspect is important because it is unique, and there are so many couples that can make it work without seeing each other frequently. So, How do people who have to be away from each other stay attracted to each other?

I have a few ideas. The first one is that the two people in the relationship, force the attraction to stay (sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully). I feel like these people tend to talk about their boyfriends or girlfriends frequently, and talk to them frequently. They try to distract themselves from other people and other things with their significant other. Sometimes I feel myself doing this, and I don't mean for this to sound like a destructive thing to do, because all it does is alleviate some of the sadness of having to be away from my boyfriend so much. Another idea I have is that some rare couples really are just genuinely comfortable with each other, so comfortable that being far away isn't a burden most of the time. I feel that I know a couple like this, they have been engaged practically since they got out of high school. I know that the two of them miss each other, but from what I've seen, these two are very supportive of each other. I know they don't even get to talk to each other everyday. These two also probably do not dwell on the fact that they have to be away from each other, neither do my boyfriend and I. I can honestly say it really helps. I still wonder how if proximity heightens attraction, why attraction wouldn't diminish with being away from each other?

I can honestly say in the three months I have been away from my boyfriend my attraction for him has not diminished at all. Am I just lucky? Is there some scientific reason for us still being together? Or are we just doing everything that long distance couples are supposed to be doing? This article,, talks about how you would know if your long distance relationship is in trouble. None of this is anything like the way my relationship is... but perhaps that is the remaining infatuation that comes from a new relationship?

Music For Babies!

| No Comments

Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis was the first person to come up with a hypothesis involving the effects of Mozart music on concentration and intelligence. Now days, the Mozart Effect has become popularized. We must take a look at the sources, which include many newspapers and advertisements. Not everything that is available in the media is effective, and this is a good example.
The attached article is a review of the Mozart Effect. It does a poor job at trying to avoid the facts: that the Mozart Effect has been proven to only temporarily enhance spatial-temporal reasoning and effect scores on one part of IQ tests (temporarily). The article doesn't blatantly states that there is a correlation between the music and the "mood," but this doesn't mean that there is causation! People are likely falling into the trap of believing in certain products such as this because of their appeal to authority also. For example, the governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, strongly believed in the product despite evidence that disproved the products claims, and he set a budget proposal to allow for children to get classical music sets, and the fact that somebody who we assume has a higher level of education and can reason and investigate would know whether or not something is work investing in, so many (not all) will believe in the product too.

Writing 4 - Robert Zilisch

| No Comments

Basically It is an article about how certain people are motivated and how some myths about motivation have become popular. The first my is that if you write down a todo list you are more likely to get all your things done. The second is that if you go into something with an attitude of ill just give it my best, you will do better. And the third is that if you visualize yourself doing something and doing it well, it will be easier to motivate yourself to do it.

I cant say that i completely agree or disagree with her statements, but i can say that if i make a to do list i get more things done. I feel this is more because i dont forget about them than it is because im motivated, but it could go either way. I feel most college students like me deal with forgetfulness and lack of motivation. It must be hard to tell were the line is drawn so i would have to question falsifiability.

Overall i found the article somewhat interesting as it hit home on things that i deal with often, especially on sunday nights when all my homework is due. It relates to what were doing in the lillenfield text right now with devolpment and motivation. Its nice to get a different view than the text.

Is It Easy to Hide From the Truth?

| No Comments


Lie detector tests have been used for hundreds of years and are still based on the same principles of lying. A polygraph test records deviations from a person's normal behavior. When a person is stressed or under pressure, their body activates the fight or flight response. This causes a spike in adrenaline, increase in heart rate, deepened breathing and perspiration.

In order to conduct these tests, a person is asked a set of control questions. Their standard levels are derived from simple obvious questions. Once the control questions have established a "baseline for truth" the examiner then begins asking uncomfortable questions looking for a change in the monitored areas.

Many scientists claim that these tests are not valid because they are based on trickery rather than science. Another common criticism is that they do not follow the basic scientific principles. Because the individual interpretation of the test is subjective and people react differently to lying, the results of this test are not easily replicated. Other scientists believe that the test is, "inherently biased against the truthful." Genuinely honest people tend to answer the control questions without hesitation and with little physical reaction. However, in return it leaves more room for small physical disturbances to be confused and interpreted as a lie.

Scientists also argue that since these tests have no pure scientific substance, they can be easily fooled. The test focuses on a person's physiological reaction to the control questions, so by altering ones reactions to the assumed correct responses, a person is able to effectively lie. Popular ways to fool the test include: doing mental mathematics, altering ones breathing pattern, biting the side of the tongue or simply thinking exciting thoughts. By distracting the mind from the uncomfortable and sometimes incriminating questions, a person is able to effectively pass the test, proving that the test is inconstant and not credible.

It is a widely held belief that if infant gets stranger anxiety at around 5 months, it is a typical healthy development. Even, some parents think that the development of their child's anxiety over strangers or the separation from parents are a sign that their child can perform complex cognitive tasks by distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar adults. However, in recent research on child development and stranger anxiety demonstrates that extreme stranger anxiety may be a sign that the child is lacking emotional security from her parents, which then could pose as a potential developmental problem if the anxiety is serious. According to Stanley Greenspan, a psychiatrist who specialized in treating infants says, "Many infants who are quite healthy emotional don't have stranger anxiety at all" (Goleman).
Richard Davidson, a psychologist at University of Wisconsin, and Nathan Fox, a psychologist at University of Maryland did a research on stranger anxiety. They analyzed the brainwave pattern from 13 infants around the age of 10 months and found that the infants that cried after their mother left the room and leave them with a stranger had brain wave in the right side of their brain while those that did not cry tended to have the reverse brainwave pattern. Not only that in several studies, they found that the right side of infants' brain associated with negative emotion while the activity in the left side of the brain associated with positive emotion like joy. From these data, they believed that the stranger anxiety symptoms came largely from the child's temperament as well as the intimate relationship between the child and the parent. As soon as the parent returns to their child, the secure infants are able to find consolation from their mother while the insecure children get upset or resist their mother's embrace. Although stranger anxiety are from the child's innate change, it also shows weather the relationship between the parent and the child is causing the insecurity in the child because it showed that even fussy children can sometimes feel secure and comfortable to stranger.
Because of this, extreme signs of stranger anxiety may not be show as a normal behavior in infant. There are certain interactions between mothers and their child that will make the child more secure or insecure toward strangers, which then later may cause problem toward emotional development for the children. There were several studies showed that the parent can increase their child a sense of emotional security by respond to the sound their child made. Interestingly, these studies also showed the parent that constantly talks to their child regardless what their child is doing may consider as intrusive in the child's perspective and this can lead to emotional insecurity and a greater chance that the child may develop stranger anxiety.
Goleman, Daniel. New Research Overturns a Milestone of Infancy. The New York Time. 6 June.

Empty-Nest Syndrome Real or Myth?

| No Comments

It is universally known that college can be a very stressful time for most students. However, many mothers are also stressed about their children leaving for college. The mother's stress is called empty-nest syndrome. The following video from cnam2000 , "The Empty Nest [from MOMS]" , gives examples of mothers' responses to their children leaving for college:

According to the Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, empty-nest syndrome is defined as "the emotional letdown often experienced by a parent whose children have grown up and moved away from home." This idea is common in popular psychology. It is even commonly depicted in cartoons, like the one below:


In contrast to popular opinion, however, empty-nest syndrome is not very common at all. According to the Lilienfeld text, women who are working are significantly less vulnerable to empty-nest syndrome (398). Additionally, women who do not define themselves as the exclusive parent for their children are also less susceptible to the syndrome (398). In fact, most women feel an increase in happiness after their children leave home, due to new flexibility and freedom. It would seem that the alternate hypothesis principle of critical thinking was not used in the conclusion that empty-nest syndrome is popular.

In a US News article titled "Is Empty-Nest Syndrome Nothing but an Empty Myth?", there may be another explanation for empty-nest syndrome. According to the article, parents find that they must question who they are as men and women without the influence of their child. The article also found, as Lilienfeld did, that many parents were actually happier after their child had left the nest than before.

Thus, in accordance with the conclusions of Lilienfeld and the US News article, empty-nest syndrome is mostly myth. Some parents may experience emotional distress when their children leave for college, but it is very rare for it to cause actual depression. Actually, most often, parents tend to be happier. So, college students, like me, do not need to worry about our poor depressed parents missing us back at home - they're only missing us a healthy amount.

What do you look for in a partner?

| No Comments
What attracts you? A lot of aspects come into play when looking for the ideal mate. We humans are flattered when a member of the opposite sex shows interest us. Similarity plays into attraction. A man that shares similar values/interests is more attractive to a woman with those same values/interests because they share things in common. Intelligence, kindness, and dependability are strong focuses for both sexes.
Physical appearance is rated by both sexes and whether we like it or not, it's important. Studies show that people who are rated similarly in physical attractiveness are more likely to end up together. Physical attractiveness is valued differently between males and females. For males, "looks" are more valued, and prefer women who are younger while women chase after the opposite. Men find physical appearance more of a priority than women and women put emphasis on men that are more stable financially.
I read an article about what's important when humans are rating physical attractiveness. The article referenced factors that contribute to attractiveness. Symmetry on a person was important. The article went on to explain how naturally we look at a person who's symmetrical & find them attractive. When we procreate we want a mate that can help us produce offspring that'll prosper and is very symmetrical.
When I looked for a boyfriend I wanted someone that's smart and kind & someone I trusted and could depend on. I relate all aspects brought up in psychology to me when I was looking for my boyfriend. I find it important to be physically attracted to your mate. It maintains the other attractions. I wonder if males value intelligence and kindness as much as females do. I also wonder if amount of stress on physical attractiveness varies between males. I find it interesting that males value attractiveness more than females because this is a common "stereotype" among my peers that is scientifically proven. I wonder why in some cultures it used to be physically attractive to be overweight. This shows a value of financial status over symmetry.

IQ Claims Evaluation

| No Comments

After reading the chapter on IQ, I decided that I wanted to see what the Internet had to say on how to raise it. It seems so often that we can find answers on the Internet, although they might not always be from a reliable source. I pulled up a simple Google search on how you can raise your IQ. The first match was an article about five ways to increase your IQ.

1: Minimize Television Watching.
The claim is made that television doesn't, "use your mental capacity OR allow it to recharge," and instead we should have a conversation with people or read a book. I would agree that for the most part this is true. Television doesn't really tend to expand your horizons. You just sit there and watch. It requires no effort, no thought, and no movement. It's true that it will not expand your horizons, however, it may provide people with a new outlook on things. I know my favorite shows and movies that I've watched have given me things to think about before. From Frasier, for example, I've often reflected on situations, and situations that have happened, often changing my perspective on things. Our book said that people who have the attitude of wanting to learn more might have a higher IQ because they like learning and will do things that will encourage that. Following that logic, why couldn't television influence people attitudes, as well as perspectives on learning?

2: Exercise
To me, this claim is a valid claim. There have been studies of high school studies that have shown that playing a sport may increase GPA. Why couldn't exercising do the same?

3: Read Challenging Books
"If you want to improve your thinking and writing ability you should read books that make you focus. Reading a classic novel can change your view of the world and will make you think in more precise, elegant English."
I did have one problem with this claim. Reading a challenging book will no doubt make you think, which may increase your IQ. However, I didn't like the claim that it will increase your writing ability. Although there may be a correlation between excellent writers and people who love to read challenging books, could this be a case or correlation instead of causation? Just because someone may like to read challenging things, there writing ability wont necessarily get better. It definitely wont hurt to read challenging books, however it doesn't mean you will get better.

4: Early to Bed, Early to Rise
There's nothing to argue about when it comes to getting a good nights sleep. It's been shown time after time to increase how well people do in school. Better thinking will most likely mean better IQ. However, I don't like the claim that the morning hours are the most productive. I'd want to see proven studies that show that these hours are before I'd believe it.

5: Take Time to Reflect
I agree with the authors claim that reflecting may help raise IQ. Thinking, going over things, and finding out what is important to you may again rejuvenate an attitude towards learning, which may increase IQ.

Wesley, John. "5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Intelligence." PickTheBrain | Motivation and Self Improvement. Web. 06 Nov. 2011. .

Does Eating More Equate to Happiness?

| No Comments

It has often been stated that being healthier is better for self esteem by prestigious researchers such as Morgan Spurlock and Jay Ebert. However, everybody knows that as one bites in to a juicy McRib, the endorphins flow freely. But as it is well documented, eating more, leads to being overweight, and being overweight equates to a form of depression. Long term, people who are overweight (after the fact) report higher levels of emotional problems, particularly anxiety and depression. It is stated that lowering weight by roughly five percent can lower risk of emotional problems significantly. However, studies have shown that there are foods that gorging on actually helps with long term self esteem. These are foods that contain Omega 3. Omega three is found in fish, oils, and a little in turkey. So, if one attains the Casey Simmons overweight status through fish and turkey, he or she will have no emotional issues from being morbidly obese. It is commonly accepted that being overweight has not attracted the opposite sex as well since the eighteenth century. Despite the common description of omega three as "fatty acids," they are quite beneficial. These fatty acids can even help lower the risk of cancer. It is continuously obvious that McDonalds every day, without exercise of course, will ultimately force the self esteem decreases. So, in conclusion, there are foods that one can gorge his or herself on that will minimize long term emotional problems. Although most foods will at least have some form of sugar fix. Those are the foods that mean low self esteem in the long run.

Happiness :D

| No Comments

Many of us fall into many misconceptions about happiness. Some of theses misconceptions are; money makes us happy, or we don't want to grow up because happiness decline with old age, and even people on the West coast are the happiest. However, psychologist Daniel Gilbert's observations disprove these misconceptions. Money does help out in stressful situations but it come with longer hours and less free time. And contrary to popular belief happiness actually increases in age this is partly due to the positivity effect which is the tendency for individuals to remember more positive than negative information with age.Happy-Old-People.jpg And last pertaining to the West coast, people often forget to think about the high cost of living and high crime rates in those areas of the world. Things that are proven to make people happiest are, marriage, friendships, college, religion, political affiliation, exercise, gratitude, giving, and flow. When I think about times when I have been the happiest I think of the times I've spent with family and friends. I also think of sports and some of my college experiences. Sure some great times of my life were spent on the West coast but it wasn't because I was on the West coast it was because of the people whom I spent that time with. A question I have about happiness is if its possible we trick ourselves into having a better time on vacations because we are on "vacation on the West coast". Is there a difference between spending a week with loved ones or friends on the West coast compared to a week spent anywhere else with them?


| No Comments


Emotions are the key to human interaction. They make up how we express ourselves and how we interpret others. When you stop to think about it, emotion is one of the few things that is truly universal. For example, I can watch a movie in a foreign language, but I can still tell when the characters are happy or distressed even though I don't have any clues from the dialogue.

But why? Why aren't people's facial expressions just as diverse as their languages or customs? According to Paul Ekman, the reason is because there are 6 basic emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust) that are inherent in all humans. So when our eyes widen, our lips part, and our eyebrows raise, everyone recognizes this combination as that of fear. It doesn't matter if someone knows the context that this fear stems from, and it doesn't matter if someone understands what we just said, everyone from New York to New Delhi will understand the basic idea.


In a way, this idea has been supported by the (now outdated) practice of galvanism. By stimulating muscles in the face, Italian scientist Luigi Galvani created very vivid emotions using electrical currents. This could suggest that our facial expressions are more of a reflex than a learned behavior, which would help explain why expressions are so consistent across time and across the globe.

However, I do have once critique of Ekman's idea. While I acknowledge that it largely makes sense, I take issue with the fact that there are only 6 emotions. What about confusion? I wouldn't categorize confusion as any of the "basic 6," but it's just as distinctive. It makes me wonder how it differs from the other 6.


Overall, I find Ekman's findings are fascinating. This last weekend, I was at a crowded even out of town. To try out Ekman's idea for myself, I watched the people around me, playing some music in my earbuds so as to drown out any auditory cues. Sure enough, it was effortless to tell the basic emotions people were expressing. I kept this up for about 15 minutes, and I saw all 6 of them (and my 7th addition as well) repeatedly. It seems like such a "duh" concept, but these basic emotions really do make up the groundwork for human interaction, and that makes them endlessly important.


Truth Serums

| No Comments

Everybody lies. We lie to our professors about our "computers not working" to delay an assignment's due date, we lie to our parents about what we did over the weekend, and we even lie to ourselves when we think we can pass the midterm that we only studied a few hours for. The big problem is: How can we spot the liars? Most times, little lies are harmless, but in the world of danger and crime that we are now living in, is there a foolproof way to spot the phonies? People usually know of the infamous polygraph test, but one method infinitely more interesting is the idea of a "truth serum."

While this notion may remind many of a certain potion in our beloved Harry Potter's world called Veritaserum, truth serums were actually widely studied and explored. Most places have deemed them illegal now, but major crisis have been known to bend ethical guidelines. The buzz about these injectibles was much greater during the time of the Cold War and especially after 9/11. The FBI, CIA, KGB, etc. were all actively pursuing a legitimate truth serum for interrogation purposes, but the results generally turn up the same: truth serums cannot be trusted.

A truth serum is generally a type of barbiturate drug, which make the patient feel intoxicated. Barbiturates work by depressing the central nervous system, causing sedation, muscle relaxation, and hypnotic effects. Sometimes this works in a "placebo effect" type of way; people tell the truth because they believe they cannot lie. While this might loosen some people up, it does not technically prevent them from still lying, nor does it boost memory recovery or memory enhancement in a patient. The intoxicating feeling can make people lose their inhibitions and talk more, but the subjects may be likely to mix fantasy with reality in their statements.

So while movies like True Lies and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire celebrate the idea of an effective truth-spilling drug, it's likely that in real life we're still getting an equal number of lies to facts when using them. So if you think your significant other is lying to you, don't waste time perusing the internet for homemade truth serum recipes. It's probably easier to just let it go. (Or get them drunk.)

Just for fun:

Post Hoc Hunting

| No Comments

The bullets I chose for hunting this weekend were such bad luck I didn't even see a deer. If I want to shoot one next weekend I will NEVER buy those shells again! This statement is clearly a post hoc fallacy. Stating that my lack of seeing a deer this weekend was due to my "unlucky" bullets, when clearly they do not correlate in any such way. But many of us do think this way, that since A is before B, A causes B. Well, that's not always the case. A journalist can show a prime example of this term here. (

I decided to choose this topic due to the fact that many American's think and act in this manner. If there is the slightest variety in a method and one thing goes wrong, they are prompt to point fingers. When on a regular basis, this is exceptionally incorrect. Like I stated before, this weekend was a tough one for hunting. We virtually did everything the same; the deer just weren't there for us. But as I expected, the one guy from the group that tends to have a "childish" attitude was the first to point fingers and blame people for this and that. When in reality, the only reason we didn't get any deer is because we never got the chances we normally do. Overall, there will always be people that are quick to point fingers and blame others, but those guys also never learn from their mistakes and will always be the same. I feel like in life's "hunts" it is important to learn from your mistakes to gain knowledge about yourself and the rest of the world. And if you can't do that, then the only change you will make will be for the better.

Sibling Love

| No Comments


While watching this humorous video the other day, I wondered why certain children that looked to be the same age were acting differently when told that their Halloween candy was all gone. I watched the movie a few more times, admittedly because I thought it was cute and funny, not because of my psychology inquiry, but was satisfied in the end in both categories. I noticed that the children that acted more maturely, that is, not immediately crying, seemed to have older siblings.

This is most evident in the last shot of the two children together. One looks to be about nine years old, and his brother about four or five. At first, the four or five year old seems a bit upset, but looks to his older brother to know how to react. His brother does not start crying, in fact, he reasons with his mother, causing the little brother to do the same. In other clips of four and five year olds, the tears are nearly instant.

I wouldn't say that these younger children are more mature necessarily though, I would just say that model behaviors are evident. The smaller children look at the older children to see what to do. I would also say that this can definitely go the other was as well. When I work with my kindergarteners at school, some will adopt behaviors as the year goes on from some of the "naughtier" students because they see that the particular behavior yields a certain reaction, or just pure attention.

I would find it extremely interesting to do case studies or controlled studies of children in their young stages. It would be interesting to see when these behavioral modeled traits begin to develop. As we discussed in class, infants are able to mock facial expressions, but I really wonder when it is that children learn to do act and react in different ways as modeled by their adults or siblings.

Jerry Seinfeld Goes Through the Polygraph Test

| No Comments

As I was reading about lie detection in Chapter 11, the polygraph test section reminded me of a scene from the television show Seinfeld. In the scene, Jerry would not admit that he watches the show Melrose Place, so he attempts to beat the polygraph test to prove his friends wrong of accusing him. I decided to watch the clip again to see if the depiction is presented correctly as the textbook describes.
The test starts off with the examiner asking Jerry questions such as "What is your name?" and "What is your address?" These questions, according to the textbook, are categorized as irrelevant questions. They are questions not relating to the incident under investigation. After these irrelevant questions, the examiner suddenly asks questions explicitly related to Melrose Place. These are categorized as the relevant questions. These categories are two of the three types of questions asked in the most widely administered version of the polygraph test. The only type missing would be the control questions: those that reflect probable lies. If I were the examiner on Seinfeld, I would ask Jerry "Have you ever watched soap operas secretly?" before I go into the relevant questions.
As the examiner asks Jerry questions related to Melrose Place, the polygraph seems to record arousal, indicating that he might be "guilty." But according to the textbook, the polygraph test cannot be trusted because it is merely an "arousal detector," not a lie detector. It is biased against the innocent. So there is no way to tell if Jerry was aroused because he is guilty of watching the soap opera or because of something else. However, after a series of questions, he finally cracks under pressure and confesses that he watches the show. This actually illustrates why polygraphs are still widely used although it is highly flawed: The test is often effective for eliciting confessions, especially when people fail the test.
Overall I thought the depiction of the polygraph test was fairly accurate. Besides the fact that the examiner did not ask all three categories of questions, the scene was successful in illustrating the usefulness of the test through eliciting confessions.

Here is the clip from the scene:


| No Comments

"What makes people happy?"

If I were to be asked this question, I would probably hesitate to answer, because there are many factors to consider while doing this. Like the book said, there are many misconceptions about what factors truly influence happiness. I think one of the most common assumptions people make is that money leads to happiness. This statement is not entirely true based on many studies. The book says that "money can't buy long term happiness." (Pg. 424) Although money allows us to splurge, splurging almost always leads to a temporary satisfaction.
A point supporting the statement that money leads to happiness says that this is true to a certain extent- if people feel they are running out of spending money (less than $50,000), it is typically the point when people begin to stress out. Specifically, "There's a modest association between how wealthy we are and how happy we are" (Pg. 424). The book also says that our position (ranking) of wealth compared to the people around us can have an impact on our happiness.
In another article I read, it took economic growth into account while looking at happiness and money. Some psychologists have even said that the raise in income can lead to negative affects on family and social relationships.
I think that sometimes people do not consider the whole concept of money with happiness. Most of the time people with more money have put in more hours to get where they are, which often replaces family and social time. It also takes away from time you could spend on hobbies and other things that relax you as a person and allow you to get away from stressful situations. I believe that in this society, it is hard to find a balance between happiness and can depend on how you value certain things.
Finally, to touch on the overall question- I believe that happiness is a hard emotion to measure in general. I think that happiness is based on an own persons' view on what they want to spend their time on and how much they personally take out of that time they spent. I believe that it varies by person on what their answer could be, and that is why it is so complex.

A few sources:

Parenting Styles and How Parents Should Be

| No Comments

Most parents strive to be the best parents, but they all have different ways of parenting. Based on Diana Baumrind's work, she described three major styles of parenting, permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Permissive parents are the nice parents. They give them considerable freedom, show a lot of affection towards their kids, and they rarely discipline their children. Authoritarian parents are the opposite of permissive parents. Authoritarian parents are strict, give their kids little freedom for play and exploration, show less affection, and they punish them when they do not respond appropriately to their demands. Lastly, authoritative parents are mixture of both permissive and authoritarian parents. They support their children, but also set clear boundaries. Baumrind found that children with authoritative parents have the best social and emotional adjustment and the lowest levels of behavior problems. I completely agree with her findings because I believe parents should allow their kids to have freedom and explore, while also setting boundaries from harmful things. I feel that by allowing your child to explore and have freedom, they will learn and develop skills that will benefit them in the future. These skills would include social, emotional, and interests. Freedom will also allow your child to pursue tasks and grow passionate about certain aspects of their life. Having passion is something that companies look for when they interview you. Also, I believe that setting boundaries on certain things is crucial to parenting. I believe that there are aspects of your children's life that needs strict boundaries at a certain age, and aspects where they should have fewer boundaries. I think that parents have to restrict inappropriate items, until their child is mature enough to handle it. An example would be restricting your kids from playing violent video games until they are at an age where they do not act everything they see, or until they are able to control their emotions ( A lot of why I believe that authoritative parents develop the best kids is because my parents were the complete opposite. My parents were the definition of authoritarian parents, except they showed affection at times. They allowed me very little freedom until my senior year of high school. I was not allowed to hang out with friends more than once a week, they set strict times of when I have to do homework or study, and they grounded me for every little thing I did wrong. From these restrictions, I developed a more rebellious attitude towards my parents and I always wanted more freedom. So once I got freedom in college I had to learn how to manage my time, because I always want to do whatever I want since I wasn't allowed to for my whole life. I think that being too strict has no benefits, just disadvantages, because once a kid has freedom, they will just do whatever they were restricted from. I would like to know if having permissive parents can also develop rebellion in kids, because I think that it would be harder since they are more used to accepting authority and their parents. I find the topic of parenting styles very interesting and I have thought about it long before I took this class, because of my past experiences.

Noah and Ally: A Consummate Love

| No Comments

Robert Sternberg's model of love is known as the, "triangular theory of love," each points of the triangle being intimacy, commitment, and passion, all three of the points combining to make the consummate love, the ideal love. Each side of the triangle combines to form seven varieties of love. The triangular theory of love is more of a description of love types than an actual explanation of why people fall in love.
I believe in this type of explanation of love, the idea of consummate love continuing through marriage for years to come shows the perfect love that people strive for. By achieving every point and side of the triangle with a person and maintain it until death is my ideal definition of a soul mate. A soul mate being happy with one person forever and knowing that you are meant to be together. When finding your soul mate, attaining consummate love is a piece of cake. There is no work to keep the "spark" of love alive and being with one another is natural with no doubt in ones mind. Not only can you feel and see the ideal love, but others as well understand why two people are together.
A good representation of consummate love is the characters of Noah and Ally from, "The Notebook." The story of a young romance growing stronger each day and never ending until death takes them away together. Their love was strong and pure, filling each criteria of consummate love. The below clip is the ending scene from the movie. It describes well their relationship and the never-ending love.

Music on Early Development

| No Comments

The discussion of Mozart's music on the cognitive development of young infants has been one of much controversy over the years, but recent findings have given parents the idea that music may be even more beneficial. reported that it can also go a long way to promoting healthy concentration in children of all ages. They showed a study done by researchers at Brigham Young University that found exposing children to certain types of music can produce a variety of results, one of which being elevated brain wave levels. Researchers found that when children were exposed to three 40-minute recordings of classical music a week, they registered brain waves higher than without ( They also found that music with a strong underlying rhythm, like Mozart or other classical composers, causes restless children to relax and be more open to following directions.
Don Campbell noted these discoveries in his bestselling book, The Mozart Effect, which explores the benefits of music on early development. In his book he states, "Rhythm is perceived differently by the brain... so kids are more attentive when you put things musically." (The Mozart Effect). He noted the extreme help this type of therapy could have on ADHD children. Finding a medium that could raise their brain waves as well as increase their focus would be groundbreaking.

Eating Disorders are Just for Girls

| No Comments

Screen Shot 2011-11-06 at 8.15.54 PM.png

To quote our text book, "Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, afflicting on in three precent of the population. About 95% of the people diagnosed with bulimia are women." This is proposed matter-of-factly, and rightfully so, national rates of diagnosis and research all point to binge eating disorders affecting almost entirely women. However there is a completely unexplored rival hypothesis. Perhaps, eating disorders are just as prevalent in men as they are in women, they simply avoid treatment or help. This study shows why underrepresented men should be included in binge eating research. The study shows that men may be reluctant to seek treatment of under diagnosed by health care providers because eating disorders are widely seen as female problems. Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, comments on the study "It doesn't surprise me -- it's thought of as a women's disease, guys are reluctant to seek help. Eating disorders of all types are socially less acceptable than other addictive behaviors. If you drink or smoke, it may be an addiction, but if it's an eating disorder, you are crazy in society's mind." This suggests that the same shame that is felt by sufferers after a binge is contributing to males no seeking help. The study shows men are indeed at a great risk for developing a binge eating disorder. Study's lead author Ruth Striegel comments "Data suggests that the impairment is basically just as bad in men as it is in women. Yet we focus only on women. Anytime we exclude a population ... we are inadvertently giving the message that men don't have the problem, and they do".

Eating Disorders are Just for Girls

| No Comments

Screen Shot 2011-11-06 at 8.15.54 PM.png

To quote our text book, "Bulimia is the most common eating disorder, afflicting on in three precent of the population. About 95% of the people diagnosed with bulimia are women." This is proposed matter-of-factly, and rightfully so, national rates of diagnosis and research all point to binge eating disorders affecting almost entirely women. However there is a completely unexplored rival hypothesis. Perhaps, eating disorders are just as prevalent in men as they are in women, they simply avoid treatment or help. This study shows why underrepresented men should be included in binge eating research. The study shows that men may be reluctant to seek treatment of under diagnosed by health care providers because eating disorders are widely seen as female problems. Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, comments on the study "It doesn't surprise me -- it's thought of as a women's disease, guys are reluctant to seek help. Eating disorders of all types are socially less acceptable than other addictive behaviors. If you drink or smoke, it may be an addiction, but if it's an eating disorder, you are crazy in society's mind." This suggests that the same shame that is felt by sufferers after a binge is contributing to males no seeking help. The study shows men are indeed at a great risk for developing a binge eating disorder. Study's lead author Ruth Striegel comments "Data suggests that the impairment is basically just as bad in men as it is in women. Yet we focus only on women. Anytime we exclude a population ... we are inadvertently giving the message that men don't have the problem, and they do".

The Strange Situation of College Students

| No Comments

The relationship that a child has with its parents is typically based on the attachment that they feel towards them. The Strange Situation, a rather intense experiment, was created by Mary Ainsworth. She found that there were four classifications of attachment. There is the Secure Attachment, where when the baby's parent left reacted by becoming upset, and then happy again when she returned. The Insecure-Anxious attachment classification is when the baby reacts with panic and then mixed emotions upon the parent's return. The Insecure- avoidant attachment classifies when the baby shows indifference and then little reaction to the return of the parent. The last classification is when the child reacts to both the departure and re-arrival of the parent with inconsistent and confused emotions. The last of the classifications is the least common.

It seems to me that these psychological attachment classifications can also be applied to that of a college freshman's attachment or detachment from their parents. The day that parents leave their young student at college marks a major stage in development. There are different ways that these students can adjust to the changes. There are the students, the majority, that reacts to the separation from their parents at first very sad and upset. When they visit their parents after the first essential six weeks, they react with joy. This is similar to the Secure Attachment. There is the Insecure-avoidant attached student that react to the separation with indifference. There are generally the student that do not have a close relationship with their parent. The Insecure-anxious attached young adult that react with sever panic. They don't know how to adjust to the life without their parents help.

The most secure student, we can assume, will be the secure attached student. This also correlates to the Strange Situation study where the Secure classified infant generally became the most secure.

Violence in Video Games

| No Comments

Some people, including parents, worry that when their children play violent video games, such as fallout 3 in the Youtube video embedded below, they learn that being violent is okay. An article by CBS news discusses a particular situation in which a man, who played grand theft auto all the time, committed a crime which involved killing police officers. This is interesting because, in the video game, the player is forced to kill police officers all the time in order to escape and survive. In the attached article, the question is raised of whether a violent video game can actually teach people how to properly commit crimes. I have actually thought about this question before. Could someone who plays a lot of violent video games actually learn tactics from the game and perform them in real life? Well apparently they can.
However, I believe that someone only commits these crimes that they learn from video games at a conscious level. For example, if someone played video games and then went and committed a crime that is unrelated to the game, I would not think that they learned the violence from the video game. But, in the case of the article, the criminal admitted that he played video games and these were the source of his criminal techniques and mindsets.
With the issue of whether the violence of video games has gone too far, I believe it has. Watch the Youtube video that I attached and you can probably see what I mean.

Youtube Video- Fallout 3

CBS Article

TV and Video game Violence

| No Comments

Violence is everywhere in today's society from video games to television. A lot of politicians want to blame violent behavior committed by children on video games. The politicians are committing the correlation vs. causation fallacy. They see that children are being violent after watching violent television shows or playing violent video games. The third variable that could be present is that children with violent behavior play violent video games. Politicians also fall prey to the confirmation bias. They only look for information to make their argument stronger so that they can get stricter laws passed on violent video games and television.
We should not make laws against violent video games or violent TV shows. First, the laws would be very hard to regulate. Second, how much time a kid spends watching TV or playing video games should be left up to the parents and lastly no matter what laws are passed kids are going to still experience violence. If kids are exposed to violence over time they will be less likely to be violent than if they are exposed to a lot of violence all at once. It can be compared to alcohol with college kids. When kids get to college they tend to drink a lot more because of the sudden freedom. If kids were allowed to drink in moderation when they were younger they would not have the need to binge drink. This can be shown in other countries such as Germany where kids start drinking at the family dinner table in moderation. Parents will also be able to use negative reinforcement if their kids start acting violent after playing a video game.
Overall, the government should not regulate video games', they should leave that up to the parents and they should be worried about our ever growing national debt.

Think Outside the Box

| No Comments


Ever find yourself stuck because they way you have always done something doesn't work in a slightly different situation or problem. You are most likely experiencing a mental set; where one becomes stuck in a certain solution mode and has difficulty coming up with other ways to solve the problem.

Sometimes it is quite challenging generating alternative ways to do something, when an old way has always worked. For example, many students were able to get away with minimal studying in high school and still did well. However when they come to college and quick learn that minimal studying won't get them very far they don't know how to approach the material. At this point students have to learn how to over come the phenomenon of mental sets and learn how to think outside the box and explore new study habits.


Along with mental sets, people often experience functional fixedness; where they have a difficult time conceptualizing an object that is usually used for one purpose being used as something different. Although college students may have trouble with mental sets, I feel like they have no problem with function fixedness. Being the college students that we are, sleep and money deprived, we often have to be creative to save time and to make things work. For instance ever heard of a college student using Febreze air freshener instead of actually doing their laundry.


We may not realize it, but these to psychological ideas happen to all of us on a daily basis. Now it's just a matter of us overcoming them and thinking outside the box.

Loneliness and Sleep

| No Comments

David Westenfield
Loneliness Affects Your Sleep
It has been reassured from a new study that loneliness affects sleep (1). This is coherent with a study that was done back in 2002 that came up with the same results. The part of sleep that was changed was not the amount of sleep but rather the way you sleep. By this I mean that people that are lonelier tend to wake up more during the night.
As we have read in our book there appears to be a link between happiness and the length of life. One could assume that a person that is lonely is probably not as happy as a person that is not lonely. This means that there is a possibility that people that are lonely tend not to live as long.
Another way, and more relevant way, to look at this information is that the affect of loneliness on sleep in turn affects our health. Although the total amount of sleep was not found to differ, waking up more during the night would not let the deep sleep occur as much that is so healthy for refreshing for physical rest. This could then lead to people not living as long, because their bodies are not getting the sleep that their bodies need.
To see if the theory of the third paragraph is probable I would need to look into research that goes over the affect of sleep on life expectancy. Then, it would become essential to look into the different types or stages of sleep that the subjects are getting and look at the expected life of those that wake up a lot during the middle of the night to those that sleep very sound through the night. After these steps are completed, I would need to interpret weather loneliness affects the life expectancy of people by affecting their sleep.


P.s. I can't figure out how to get a picture or anything else into my blogs could you please help me figure this out.

Same-Sex Parenting

| No Comments

The "traditional" view of families often involves a mother, a father, a couple of children and maybe a pet or two. However, it is easy to see that there is more than just the so-called traditional family in society nowadays. Same-sex partners, single parent homes, and divorced couples are becoming more and more prevalent, and it is often wondered if children suffer from being raised in these non-traditional families. This issue is really important to me, because I'm a huge proponent of gay rights. Some people like to argue against gay couples adopting children because they think it's detrimental for children to be raised without an influence from both genders. However, there is an abundance of scientific research that proves that it is not at all detrimental for children to be raised by parents of the same gender.
Studies done by Gottman and Wainright et al. showed that children raised by single-sex couples don't differ at all from children raised by opposite-sex couples in social adjustment outcomes, academic performance or sexual orientation. In other words, boys who are raised without a "father figure" aren't more likely to become gay than any other teenage boy, children raised by single-sex parents do the same academically as children raised by "traditional" families, and the same is also true in terms of social skills. These studies also suggest that same-sex couples tend to divide up labor and fall into characteristics of opposite-sex families. In other words, one parent typically works full-time and is the "fun" parent, and the other parent is the primary caregiver. This is probably the reason why children in same-sex families are identical to children being raised by opposite-sex couples; they are being provided for in every way, and even though their parents are the same gender, their parents fulfill different roles in their lives.
While these studies prove a very important point in terms of debates about same-sex parenting, I think it would be interesting to compare children raised in single-gender homes with those raised by a single parent. The studies above suggest that these children benefit from being raised by two individuals that each fulfill a different role in their lives, so it would be interesting to see how children fair when they only have one parent in their lives. However, the textbook states that data these studies would only be correlational, preventing us from drawing inferences, because single parents differ from two-parent families in many ways, including financial stability and education. So, it doesn't look like I'll be getting any information on that subject any time soon, but it's important to note that we can't prove anything about the so-called detrimental effects of single parent families on children.

The False-Belief Task

| No Comments

I have had a recent discovery of realizing that I am interested in child psychology. Because of this, the false-belief task caught my eye while I was reading. At first, when I read it, I found it hard to understand. Then I read on it a bit further and it fascinated me. The task involves the extent to which children ages 3-4 think about how other people think. In the experiment, a researcher tells the child a story. For example, they would say that Sally the elephant put her favorite toy train away in her top drawer so she could go outside to play. Then Sally's friend Anne came along, without Sally knowing, and moved the train from the top drawer to the bottom drawer. Anne secretly leaves and Sally comes back from outside. The researcher would then ask the child "where does Sally think the train is?" In most cases, if the child is 3 years old or younger, they respond in saying that Sally would think the train is in the bottom drawer. However, when a child reaches the age of 4, they understand that Sally doesn't know the blanket has been moved, and so she thinks the train is still in the top drawer. I find this topic very interesting because it proves that children can't put themselves in other people's shoes. Another interesting question that this video provokes is why a child's thinking would suddenly change between the ages of 3 and 4 and why those particular ages. A certain part of the brain, that has to do with reasoning, must be developing around that age and affect a child's answer. I am happy to say that I actually really enjoyed researching this concept and it still leaves me a bit puzzled.

The False-Belief Test video

Daddy's Role in Development

| No Comments

The father plays an important role in the early development of a child. Child psychologists have found that the father, just as the mother, provides warmth and protection for the newborn. This idea has been generally focused as the mother's role. Fathers have generally been chosen over the mother as the child's playmate because the father spends more time doing physical activities with the child. In The Role of the Father in Child Development edited by Michael E. Lamb, studies have shown that fathers who show more affection towards and spend more time with their child have a greater impact in the development of the child.
I completely agree with the arguments in the article that the father plays a great role in the early development of their child. I know that I am a little bias in saying this because I am a male and my relationship with my father from the standpoint of male/ female perspectives are different, but my father greatly impacted my development. Ever since I was I can remember, my father guided me along my learning processes in the world. From teaching me right from wrong to how teaching me how to tie my shoes, my father was always there helping me along the way.
I think the effect the father has on the child's development also has to do with the relationship between the mother and the father. I think if the two interact in a positive, affectionate way with each other, this type of relationship will carry into the relationship between the father and child as well.

Does the Mozart effect really work?

| No Comments

An inset in the cognitive development section of Lilienfeld (p. 377) discusses the effect of exposure to Mozart's on a child's cognitive development.  While not necessarily the most valid claim, the idea that listening to Mozart can make a child smarter has become a world-wide phenomenon. Lilienfeld states a simpler explanation for the improvement in performance, which is that Mozart's music is more likely to cause a short term boost, rather than a long term effect on intelligence.

This concept was referenced in a parenting article in the Washington a couple of weeks ago ( The author's claim is that development is not only boosted by Mozart's music, but also all other musical genres.  They do so because the complexity of music increases the brain activity of the child.  She also claims that it has a positive impact on physical development and creativity. However, the author is not a psychologist, but an M.A. in Writing. 

Furthermore, she seems to have violated all 6 principles of scientific thinking.  She has not assessed any other possible reasons for this for the occurrence of this effect, nor has she provided significant evidence for her claims.  While, the author briefly mentioned a study at Brigham Young, she did not discuss the actual variables and groups of the study. There is also no evidence that these studies have been replicated. Additionally, the claim would be difficult to falsify, as we must also account for individual differences in the infants.  The author also failed to identify whether this improvement is really the simplest possible explanation. Finally, she failed to account for the fact that the infants tested might be genetically predisposed to faster development, nor has she accounted for any possible confounding environmental factors, such as the difference in living conditions or maternal love.

While this article is directed at new mothers who may not care for these principles, the violation of them suggests that as scientists, we cannot necessarily accept this to be true.  There is a possibility that music may affect child development, but it cannot yet be claimed as a scientific fact.

Understanding the Preopporational Stages

| No Comments

In development of children there is a stage, generally from about two to seven years old, known as the preoperational stage during which children become adept at constructing mental representations of objects but cannot yet perform operations on them. This becomes apparent when kids are asked to perform conservation tasks and fail to respond correctly to what would clearly seem logical (see video below).
It is currently more widely believed that development does not occur necessarily in leaps from stage to stage, but is rather a more continual and gradual process. Despite this it can still be clearly observed that children are unable to grasp certain ways of thinking about things until certain points, meaning Piget's stages of development still holds much validity.
It is difficult to say why peoples brains have different stages instead of being fully rounded in their reasoning processes and then just gaining the ability to process more information. This idea that children were like miniature adults was the believed theory until Piget pointed out fundamental stages that differed from adults. One possible reason for development occurring in stages is that having a fully developed brain right away could be to overwhelming for a newborn infant. In the virtual sensory deprivation that occurs in the womb infants have not yet even started to visualize objects, and if they went from this to not only visualizing them but being able to imagine them and other different abstract combinations it would most likely be sensory overload.
Another reason is perhaps that the human brain is so complicated it simply cannot fully develop without some form of learning involved. More then likely it is some combination of these two things.

Is the lie detector really a valid measurement of guilt?

| No Comments

James-Lange Theory of Emotion: Reacting to Bodily Reactions

The James-Lange theory of emotion, in laymen's terms, theorizes that our emotions are a result of our interpretations of our bodily reactions to a stimulating event. A wonderful example to illustrate such an event would be stumbling upon a bear while hiking through the woods; your body freezes, your palms begin to sweat, and your knees are buckling. When your mind realizes all of these bodily reactions are taking place, you now know you are in a state of fear.

The James-Lange Theory of Emotion is not only important because of how it explains the formation of emotions, but it explains the chain of events in situations such as a "fight or flight" scenario as described above. Understanding that emotion stems from bodily reactions to stimulating events which then leads to a justified response--such as running away from the scenario above--makes you fully understand the chain of events that take place within emotion.

In order to turn this situation into a more relatable one for the students of Psychology 1001 here at the University of Minnesota, we can relate this theory to those pre-test anxieties. Students pile into Humphrey 50 and sit down at the computer, their heart begins to pound faster and faster, their palms begin to sweat, and the sick feeling in their stomach begins to arise. It is at this point when every student says quietly to themselves, "Damn, I am really nervous for this test". Their conscious awareness of emotion stems from their mental awareness of their bodily reaction to the stimulating event of taking a Psychology 1001 test.

Emotional Intelligence

| No Comments

Even though Emotional Intelligence was barely touched on in our book, some psychologists argue that it is just as important as, if not more than, our Intelligence Quotient. Both are certainly applicable to every day events. There are many different definitions of EI, but most psychologists agree that it is the ability to understand our own emotions and those of others, and to apply this information to our daily lives. Researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer believe that there are four subcomponents to EI, including:
• Perceiving emotions
• Reasoning with emotions
• Understanding emotions
• Managing emotions
This list is arranged in order of the level of psychological processing required, with managing emotions being a process of higher thinking.
I would say one of the main components of Emotional Intelligence is being able to control emotion as well as understand it. This is particularly important when it comes to dealing with stress. As college students, there is a lot being thrown at us daily that range all the way from homework to internet problems. If we don't have a solid grasp on our weaknesses regarding our EI, finding ways to balance out the stress and reduce it may be difficult. Even the smallest tasks will come to seem impossible to finish. The best way to fix this issue is to learn what aspects we need to strengthen. With tests for example, I see those who are calm and composed which makes recalling information easier. But there are also those, such as a close friend of mine, who stress out over test taking, only making it that much harder to focus. If stress and anxiety aren't controlled, they can take over.
There are different tests developed to figure out one's Emotional Intelligence, including the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS), Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ), and the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI). These range from ability tests to measuring optimism and pessimism. All of these factors are important to employers, who also want to know how well an individual will perform on the job when stress may be high and cooperating with others is a main component.


| No Comments

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, but less common, eating disorder characterized by excessive weight loss and the constant belief that one is overweight. Anorexia affects around .5-1% of the population and is typically found in young women. Anorexia is an important issue for me because some one very close to me dealt with this horrible disorder. It's interesting that when you read about this disorder we all feel that it is something easy to overcome. However, this is not the case. My family would frequently inform this individual that they need to get help and that what they were doing was not healthy. They didn't listen though. They continued to tell us over and over again that they are fine and know what they are doing. It wasn't until they hit the absolute bottom that they finally understood. This next video demonstrates how media is influencing our society and its views on body image.
Anorexia is interesting to me because of how it tends to originate in younger women than in younger men. This could be due to the fact that many young women are placed under immense pressure to act and look a certain way and it's because of this pressure that anorexia has become such a major issue in women. This image that is created by the media is dangerous and unhealthy, especially for younger teens trying to fit into society's so called standards. These unhealthy messages come from a variety of media sources such as magazines and TV advertisements. If we could eliminate society's incorrect mindset of the ideal woman, then maybe anorexia and other eating disorders would seize to exist. Anorexia is a disturbing disorder that we all wonder if it can be prevented. After researching this topic I'm let wondering to what extent is anorexia a psychological disorder and to what extent has society's view of a perfect women spread this disorder amongst this new generation of young women.


| No Comments

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, but less common, eating disorder characterized by excessive weight loss and the constant belief that one is overweight. Anorexia affects around .5-1% of the population and is typically found in young women. Anorexia is an important issue for me because some one very close to me dealt with this horrible disorder. It's interesting that when you read about this disorder we all feel that it is something easy to overcome. However, this is not the case. My family would frequently inform this individual that they need to get help and that what they were doing was not healthy. They didn't listen though. They continued to tell us over and over again that they are fine and know what they are doing. It wasn't until they hit the absolute bottom that they finally understood. This next video demonstrates how media is influencing our society and its views on body image.
Anorexia is interesting to me because of how it tends to originate in younger women than in younger men. This could be due to the fact that many young women are placed under immense pressure to act and look a certain way and it's because of this pressure that anorexia has become such a major issue in women. This image that is created by the media is dangerous and unhealthy, especially for younger teens trying to fit into society's so called standards. These unhealthy messages come from a variety of media sources such as magazines and TV advertisements. If we could eliminate society's incorrect mindset of the ideal woman, then maybe anorexia and other eating disorders would seize to exist. Anorexia is a disturbing disorder that we all wonder if it can be prevented. After researching this topic I'm let wondering to what extent is anorexia a psychological disorder and to what extent has society's view of a perfect women spread this disorder amongst this new generation of young women.

Colors and Emotions

| No Comments

There have been many debates about whether or not colors can really have an emotional impact on people enough to change mood or performance. Colors are thought to be able to change ones mood to make them feel anxious or calm. It is thought that they can also be used to increase metabolism, performance and concentration and also creativity. I think that there are many reasons that studying the effects of colors on mood and performance and the other factors is not only very interesting, but also very important. Many of the studies that have been conducted so far have been about improving performance and effectiveness of office employees. While a lot of the time this information is used in office buildings, it can be used in other situations too. These days, many sports teams are painting their visiting locker rooms pink or blue because those colors are thought to provoke feelings of calmness and passiveness. Findings have so far indicated that this is effective, but the effect only comes from the initial exposure. Once a person has been repeatedly exposed to the colors, they will no longer have the same effect. The colors of uniforms have also been researched. It has been found that teams with red jerseys will beat teams wearing jerseys of other colors about 60% of the time. In sports, red is associated with being a color of dominance. Researching how colors can effect people can have positive impacts on workplaces as a whole, and in sports can be used as intimidation factors and ways to gain an advantage over the opponent (i.e. the colored locker room). These kinds of studies can also be used in places like hospitals, schools and other environments that are trying to promote learning, effectiveness, and positive attitudes. If institutions like these are able to paint their walls or use these colors to their advantages, they will be able to see the kind of change and response that they are looking for.
I can apply this to my life because I have been involved in sports for a long time and have seen some of the sports tactics. One high school that was in my athletic conference had their locker room painted a pale pink color that was supposed to instill a calming effect on the opposing team. I think it worked. When we played there we usually started the game slowly. During half time we would meet in the hallway instead of the locker room and we always played a much better second half. After my freshman year, we began to meet in the hallways after we were done changing and warmed up there instead of in the locker room. I think that made a difference because after we started doing that, we started the game with a much better performance than we previously had. I can also apply this in my life because my dad is a psychologist, and he has done a little research on color and emotions. When we built the house that we now live in, my parents and the interior designer planned the color of each room based on the social interactions that would take place. In the and the kitchen and downstairs kitchen, they used a clay red color, while in the living rooms and entryway they used an earthy yellow color. According to the studies, people that were in the red and yellow rooms were more social than the people in other colored rooms. The also tended to eat more and feel more at home. From the different social events that my parents have held, I think that these colors are accurate in their research because for their gatherings, everyone is always very social. My parents are often complimented on how "at home" our house feels to other guests. There are probably outside factors as my parents are very social and friendly people, but I do think that the colors play a part as well. My room at my house is bright orange and I have always thought that no matter what kind of mood that I'm in, whenever I step into my room I feel happier and in a better mood.
While researching this topic, I was very curious as to why these effects happen. Does the color stimulate the amygdala to make an emotional connection? Why would a simple color be able to have such a huge impact on our moods? I also was curious as to whether or not colors can be used in therapy as either a treatment or clinical approach to help with anxiety or anger. I feel like there should definitely be ways to use colors that could help anxiety disorders and maybe even depression.

Why are we attracted to certain people and not others?

| No Comments


Have you ever wondered why your parents ended up with each other and how it all began? Maybe they shared similar ideas or were just always around each other and found that they enjoyed being with each other. Proximity describes the physical nearness to someone, maybe your parents attended the same school together from grade school to high school. Another reasoning involves the term similarity. Which means that your parents may have liked the same sport and found that they always saw each other during a game.

In the article 6 Soul-Level Reasons We Are So Attracted To Some People , it talks about how we are attracted to people who give off the same amount of energy that we do ourselves. This makes sense because why would we wanna be with a person who is dull and boring when we are the completely opposite of them.

After reading in depth about some of the reasons we are attracted to people, I applied this to my own life and looked at my past relationships. I realized that I dated people who I had known for a while and was good friends with but never took it forward. This explains proximity because these guys were my friends at first for years and later on they became my boyfriends.

Something that i'm still wondering about is how do people who are opposite and share no interest at all, come to be together? This amazes me , because I've had some friends who have ended up with another person who is completely different from them and I couldn't find a single thing in my mind that they could have both liked or enjoyed together. I think this explains how unique love is and it can bring two opposites together.

How Does Music Influence Learning In Infants?

| No Comments

Government support has been gradually dwindling for education recently, and most schools are making budget cuts to compensate. One of the first programs to lose funding are the music and arts programs. But is this hurting students more than we anticipated?

In the article, "UNLV lab studies links between music, child development" by John Przybys of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Przbys describes the research of Erin Hannon. Hannon is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is researching the ability of infants' ability to recognize, and even learn, from melodies. They use an animation of Elmo, the Sesame Street character, and have him randomly pop out the sides of a T-shaped figure. They have the infants watch for a period of time, and before Elmo pops out, a pitch is played. Eventually (the researchers hypothesize) the child begins to anticipate where Elmo will appear based on the pitch. Then the researchers play a melody, and have Elmo pop out accordingly based on the pitch throughout the melody. As this happens, researchers track the vision of the child. From the tests they have done so far, it seems that the children will look at where they think Elmo is going to pop out as they hear the varying notes.

If their research is correct, this would prove that music is valuable for children during their development. And beyond that, the cutting of music and arts programs could be detrimental to students at the elementary level. If this research holds up, it could be very beneficial for elementary to college education. And it would especially help with language development.

I see a few problems with this experiment. Mainly that their methods for tracking the children's eye movement and anticipation. It doesn't seem like they could get conclusive evidence that the child is actually anticipating where the figure will be, rather than just guessing. So if I actually saw the experiments and how they were tracking the anticipation, and if it was a credible method, I might be more inclined to believe it.

But if they are correct, this could help with all types of education and development. It would also uphold the educational benefits for programs such as Sesame Street. So I'd like to see the results of this study once its finished and what they find from it.

Opposites Attract: Fact or Fiction?

| No Comments

Social Psychology by psychologist David G. Meyers presents us with guidelines or "rules" of attraction such as proximity, physical attractiveness, similarity, liking those who like us, and the rewards (when we associate the other person with positive connotations).

Myers, D. G., (2004). Exploring Social Psychology: Third Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

However, the idea of "opposites attract" goes against the similarity part of those rules. A University of Ohio study concludes that people tend to marry those who share the same views on religion and values. Succinctly, similarity breeds attraction.

There are countless more studies that reciprocate such findings. So why do we think that opposites actually attract? In my opinion, our society has convinced itself that opposition and differences can result in attraction. For example, movies like You've Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan show such an attraction and only seem to perpetuate the ideal. However, this attraction does not necessarily lead to marriage. I think the theory of opposites attract is more closely related to lust and "love at first sight"; we think of them as something that elicit passions yet they are very brief. I think another common misconception is that opposite personalities create mystery and adventure in a relationship whereas similarities can lead to boredom and monotony.

However, I don't believe that a relationship with two people who are complete opposites can truly be long-lasting. Of course, there are cases of opposites attract in our society, such as the James Carville-Mary Matalin pairings of different ideological and political ideals. However, I think that just because such a relationship exists, does not necessarily prove the theory. It is more of an exception and not a rule. Of course, having conflicting viewpoints is not good for a relationship since it breeds discontent.

I do believe that opposites bring quite a bit to the table. Dating a person who is different could lead to more diversity in one's ideals and leads the way to different experiences. They also make a relationship more passionate and adventurous. Nevertheless, similarity is still a very important part of a relationship. Complete differences cannot lead to a long-lasting relationship; it could only bring attraction. opposites attract? Yes, they do. However, it only breeds attraction, not a long-lasting relationship.

I think my views could be simply summarized in this Seinfeld clip:

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

| No Comments

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition that results from alcohol exposure during pregnancy. Pregnant woman that are abusing the use of alcohol can pass chemical from the alcohol to the growing fetus through the placenta. Since the fetus metabolizes alcohol more slowly than an adult does, the developing baby's blood alcohol concentrations are higher than those in an adult body. Alcohol also interferes with delivering oxygen and nutrition to the baby's developing tissues and organs, including brain and heart.

The more a pregnant woman drink, the greater risk to her unborn baby. Risk are presented at any time during pregnancy but impairment of facial features, the heart and other organs, including bones and central nervous system may occur during the first trimester due to alcohol.

Problems that may occur by fetal alcohol syndrome include physical deformities, mental retardation, learning disorders, vision difficulties and behavioral problems. Problems may be different from one child to the other, depending on the mother and how much alcohol is consume during pregnancy but the defects that are caused by fetal alcohol syndrome is irreversible.

Signs of fetal alcohol syndrome include facial features (small eyes, an exceptionally thin upper lip, a short, upturned nose, and a smooth skin surface between the nose and upper lip), deformities of joints, limbs and fingers, slow physical growth before and after birth, vision or hearing difficulties, small head circumference and brain size, poor coordination, mental retardation, and learning disorder.

The best way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is to not consume alcohol while pregnant. It is not worth the risk of just drinking a little amount of alcohol knowing that it might not even harm the baby because the amount is so small. Be smart and stay safe for your baby.

Does Music Have An Effect On Learning

| No Comments

Quite frequently today parents of the world are consumed with wanting their child to be the smartest. One of the ways that has been suggested is that listening to certain music can help with the progression of memory and cognitive learning. The Mozart Effect is what explains this; it claims that listening to classical music, such as Mozart can improve short-term memory, spatial awareness and the ability to perform certain tasks. On the other hand this is thought to help with creativity in the mind. By helping with both the creative side and intellectual side both parts of the brain are affected by listening to Mozart or other classical music. When thinking about this concept I wonder how he or she conducted certain studies to prove this, because each person and child develops and learns differently. I have questions about if there are real correlations between people who listen to classical music as young children or in infancy and whether or not they tend to be more successful in life and their careers. This concept is important t psychology because it deals directly with cognitive learning and can be proved by using a few of the principles of scientific thinking. By ruling out any other possible hypothesizes you can prove this theory but also by using a simple explanation (Occam's razor) that the kids who listen to that music are more likely to study harder and thus be more successful in life could be an explanation. It would be really interesting to conduct a study with your own children, but also very questionable putting their future in the hands of an experiment.

Human Development and the Emotional Toll

| No Comments

Humans continue to develop from the day they were born to the day they die. I always thought that once someone reaches the age of about 21, they stop developing and don't really experience any personality growth. According to a Jewish psychologist, Erikson, he believes that there are eight stages that a person goes through for personality development. Those stages include: infancy, toddlerhood, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, and aging.
After reading the eight stages, I agree that his theory is accurate. A person is constantly experiencing life changing events that affect both their personality and development. A young teen's main concern is trying to discover their self and who they are as a person while an elderly person is trying to cope with the aging process and preparing their selves for death. As of right now, I'm hovering in between the adolescence and young adulthood stage. I'm starting to get a better grasp on who I am as a person and I'm also starting to build my future by going to college to get a degree.
Midlife crisis is probably one of the most difficult phases a person goes through. At this point in time, a person has reached a halfway point in their life. This scares people because it makes them come to a realization that they're aging and they try do what they can to regain their youth. Men especially face this problem and they tend to buy a new car when they hit this point in their life. Women also experience this phase but psychologists call it empty-nest syndrome. Empty-nest syndrome is when women go through a period of sadness and depression when all their kids move out from home and start their own life with a family. I know this holds true because my mom is starting to experience this now that I'm moved out of the house.
A person continues to develop well into old age and experiences emotional stages of development. These changes can be very emotional for some but it's all part of life and everyone experiences it at some point in time.

Educational DVDs slowing down intelligence?

| No Comments
Education products and baby products are a huge segment of the media marketplace. The market report estimates that the market industry spends about $20-billion on infant, toddler, and preschool products and about $8.2 billion on all education products. Now consider all companies that combine education with infant, toddler, and preschool products. Lastly, let's consider how many commercials are about DVD products that aim to improve the intelligence of an infant. For example, the above youtube link is a commercial of My Baby Can Read product which is a DVD aiming to improve the baby's language. The My Baby Can Read commercial is satisfying the parents' desires by promising them that the DVDs will higher the intelligence of the baby.
Yet, as Scott Lilienfeld states, "Thousands of parents bombarded their infants with foreign languages and advanced languages math in an effort to create "superbabies". Alleged intelligence-improving products such as "Baby Einstein" toys and videos are a $100- million-a-year industry... no evidence that these products work."
In fact, in the TimeScience article, "Baby Wordsworth Babies: Not exactly wordy" the author states that DVD's to improve babies' language skills are ineffective. Furthermore, Rebekah Richert and her team conducted a study to see if the educational videos work and discover that watching Baby Wordsworth (Baby Einstein series) had no added benefit. Thus, as stated by the article there is two potential explanations of why these videos are ineffective. One is that babies learn better when they hear live speakers. The second one is that by watching DVDs, the children are not engaging or communicating with their parents. So if there is no evidence that these products work, why do parents keep on buying these products? Perhaps the reason that these products are a multimillion dollar industry is because parents don't have time to spend with their infants; thus, they believe that the TV can do their job of teaching the infants. These DVDs might be slowing down the intelligence of the newborns and in fact hurting the infants in the long run.

TimeSience article that is mentioned:,8599,1968874,00.html

The framing effect is one of the cognitive biases, often seen in research questions and surveys, in which a person's decision is influenced and altered, based on the formulation of the question. Researchers have tried to make these questions as objective as possible. However, the framing effect is unavoidable due to the fact that participants of research questions and surveys have a stronger contribution to the framing effect than the questions themselves. Therefore, in order to avoid framing effects, there are several suggestions for participants to keep in mind. First of all, instead of anglicizing the question in only one way, people should try to understand the question from different perspectives. People usually reflect on the questions relative to their own beliefs and experiences, which can make their answers illiberal. For example, when asked whether or not the rise in salary is a good or bad thing, the employees and employers will respond from two opposite extremes. In this case, if the employees and employers try to put themselves in the other person's shoes, they will have a more comprehensive understanding of the question and give a more reasonable answer. Second, it is important for the participants themselves to keep out of the situation and anglicize the questions as spectators. When people are not involving in a certain problem, they are more likely to be sober-minded and make an equitable decision. Additionally, "A man could be judged irrational either because his preferences are contradictory or because his desires and aversions do not reflect his pleasures and pains."(Tversky and Kahneman, 1981). It is apparent that a person's personal attitude will dramatically affect their decisions. Thus, participants should refrain from answering the questions with personal preferences and dislikes. Furthermore, people should accumulate enough experiences in daily life to help them choose a correct option. People tend to learn a lot from their previous experiences and not make the same mistakes again in the future. With abundant knowledge and experience, participants will have a better focus on making a wise decision. All in all, although it is difficult to completely eliminate the framing effect, people should be careful about the influence of the framing effect.

Blindness = Improved Hearing?

| No Comments

Last Wednesday, Professor Koenig discussed a little bit about how blindness in children usually has little to no effect on their speech production. This makes sense due to the fact that their hearing is still intact and because hearing is a main component when dealing with speech. However, I'm sure most of have heard that blindness in a person usually causes a heightening of the other four senses, especially hearing.

A study done by graduate students under the direction of experimental psychologist, Dr. Robert Zatorre at the Montreal Neurological Institute of Canada's McGill University confirmed this popular thought. They found that the blind subjects were more likely to hear a difference in pitch perception and more accurately point out where a sound was coming from. They also found that the longer a person has been blind, the more accurate they were with their tests.

This plasticity in the brain is necessary to meet the survival needs of the person. However, it makes me wonder: Can this brain plasticity in the blind cause them to detect the non-native speech changes just as infants have the ability to do? Just as Professor Koenig said, Werker's Procedure tested to what age is a child unable to detect the sound change between Hindi and Salish language when raised in an English speaking home. They found that children between the ages of six to eight months were able to detect the sound changes but were unable to after the age of one (the results are shown below). I would like to test this same idea amongst the blind based on the idea that they have heightened hearing and might be able to detect the sound changes as well as the infants in Werker's study. I would like to compose a study just as Werker did; however rather than having the toys signal the sound change I would simple provide the person with a button they would push if they hear the sound change. It would be a very interesting study and I feel it would give us a better idea on the extent of plasticity and speech development in the brain.

Screen shot 2011-11-06 at 10.51.41 AM.png

Blindness Study:

Why do girls marry their fathers?

| No Comments

As a teenage girl, as I have entered the dating phase of my life, I have often heard the phrase "girls marry their fathers". For this blog entry, I would like to explore why this is the case. In the nature versus nurture debate of attraction, this phenomenon makes a lot of sense. The male with the most influence in a young girls life is her father. She watches him, and (when there is a good relationship among them) learns how a male is "supposed" to act. Emotionally, a woman will probably find that she fits better, and is more compatible with someone like her father. Obviously there will be differences in the little things, like food preferences or favorite football team, but things like if the husband respects his wife, and what his core values are (honesty, integrity, work ethic). As a child, a girl sees these things in her father, and, if she has a good relationship with him, finds them valuable.
Obviously there are cases where a woman marries a man that is nothing like her father. This can often times be explained because of a poor relationship between the girl and her dad. Arguments against this phenomenon state that this way of thinking is old fashioned, and in today's society, women have a better understanding of the impact that their fathers have on who they are, and their self esteem, so they are unlikely to blindly marry someone like their dad. I disagree with this argument, because I do not think that if an intelligent woman has a good relationship with her father, and chooses to marry someone with those attributes, she is doing so knowingly, but not blindly.

Chlid Bipolar Disorder

| No Comments

Throwing tantrums is considered a regular part of growing up. Who hasn't seen a child face down and fists flying in the grocery store all because of a candy bar? Some of us probably were that child. Surprisingly these tantrums in extreme form and frequency along with other symptoms such as mood swings or irritability, which seem like normal aspects of being a cranky toddler, may actually be a sign of childhood be a sign of mental disorder, pediatric bipolar disorder.
A controversy surrounding the diagnosis and treatment has emerged along with its recent discovery. Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a number of psychiatric drugs. Ideally children would also undergo the same treatment. But is it ethical to have five year olds popping pills? Parents are also afraid of adverse effects that can come along with drug-therapy. The body chemistry of child differs greater from an adult's. These drugs could cause many problems while trying to cure one. A study has already shown children respond differently in a negative way to the identical drugs used to treat adults with bipolar disorder. A child's brain chemistry is too fragile for alteration through drugs.
Some question the existence of the disorder. Are parents just finding a way to cop out of having to take care of a difficult child? Eventually prescriptions for mood stabilizers will be doled out to all parents of children with mere behavioral problems, turning them into zombies. Supposedly, new age parenting is harkening a new generation of children nurtured by pharmaceuticals rather than their parents.
I think it is frightening that young kids may need to be treated with pills. But we need do what is best for the children. Scientific research has shown that this is disorder does exist. Treatment may not be perfect at the moment but we must do our best in fighting this disorder to ensure our children's health.

The Mere Exposure Effect on Personality

| No Comments

The mere exposure effect suggests that repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably towards it. When I first thought of this effect, I agreed to some extent. It is true that the more I'm around my friends, the more I tend to like them. However, I think that the mere exposure effect goes much deeper than that. I think that the mere exposure effect affects our personalities as well.

Going from personal experience, not only do I begin to like a person more after being around them a lot, but I have also noticed that the more I am around a person, the more I begin to act like them. Certain gestures, slang words, and foreign vocabulary seem to make it into my head without my realization. So I wonder, is this a result of the mere exposure effect as well?

The first example of this more personality driven mere exposure effect that comes to mind is a sports team. With an eclectic array of personalities, every team member differs drastically on a team. However, as the season goes on with daily practices and weekly games, personalities seem to blend. The mere exposure effect not only affects how much you like a person, it also dictates whether or not you'll act like them as well.

During my lacrosse season in high school, I was always with so many different types of girls. There were the girly offensive players, the aggressive midfielders, and the strong and mighty defense. However, after the season dragged on for a while, we all seemed to blend into similar personality types. All of us seemed to listen to similar music, say similar things, including "that was sick!" or "so tight!" after every goal or impressive play made, and wear similar clothing. At the beginning of the season, this was not the case. So I wonder, was my high school team subject to the mere exposure effect or were our gradually building similarities simply a coincidence?

Elizabeth Smarts proves misconceptions wrong

| No Comments

It has been said that children's minds act as a sponge, absorbing things around them to shape their knowledge and beliefs. Along with the idea of children's minds acting as a sponge, many belief that children are shaped largely by their earliest experiences. The notion that children's minds are like a sponge is not false, but the theory suggesting that their development relies solely on their first experiences does not hold true. Obviously, there is no doubt that early experiences shape children's physical, cognitive, and social development. However, experiences that happen later in one's life significantly affect their development, as well.
Another misconception concerning childhood development proposes that development can be easily damaged by traumatic experiences. In reality, children's development has much thicker skin than it is accredited for.
Take, for example, the case of Elizabeth Smart. She was kidnapped from her own home in her bed at age fourteen and was missing for over nine months. She was forced to consume alcohol as well as was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions. Eight years later, after her kidnapper was convicted, Elizabeth expressed much appreciation for the justice system, but also stated that it possible for her to move on after such a traumatic experience. (See video around 1:00-1:30)
Despite the fact that traumatic experiences obviously leave an everlasting effect on a person, I find it thought provoking that in many cases, children can turn out in pretty good shape. In the psychology textbook (From Inquiry to Understanding), they write that even children that were sexually abused as children can grow to have no psychological problems whatsoever. I feel like a majority of our population doesn't believe that. I know that I never would have believed that had I not read it with my own eyes. It is clear that different cases affect people in different ways, as well as different people are affected by cases in different way. It would make sense that younger children that experience traumatic experiences have a lesser chance of having a dramatic psychological affect rather than older children that go through the same events. It seems like that would be because younger children have more time to experience positive experiences after the fact. On the other hand, it seems like older children that experience such events would hold on to the negative memories more closely. In lecture, the professor talked about a treatment to get over anxiety called Exposure Therapy. Though this treatment is mainly used to get over phobias of some sort, I wonder if this type of treatment could work after the traumatic event to reduce any posttraumatic anxiety or fear. If exposing them to some sort of similar occasion, but with a positive outcome, then the anxiety and fear could eventually diminish.

Mysterious Views of Love: The Kim Kardashian Edition

| No Comments now, we all have heard about celebrity Kim Kardashian and NBA player Kris Humphries' divorce after a mere 72 days of marriage. Their sacred celebration of matrimony was publicly broadcasted to millions of Americans and the news of their "surprised" divorce as been all over the headlines. As I watched the drama of planning this ornate event, I couldn't help but wonder where their passionate or companionate love was. Was their marriage a money scheme or did they really have a relationship of commitment and intimacy? Maybe it is because the producers cut out the scenes when Kim and Kris were actually getting along like you think a couple would get along, but I didn't see much of that.

According to the Lilienfeld text, Kim and Kris had the basis and foundation for a relationship including proximity, similarity and reciprocity. From watching many episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, there are snippets of Kim and Kris displaying these 3 qualities such as proximity as the 2 met through a mutual friend after one of Kris' basketball games. They are similar in that they both are in the public eye and have a reputation to withhold. They have similar lifestyles in that they are wealthier than the average American. As far as reciprocity goes, Kim and Kris both traveled to be with each other and Kim even spent a lot of time in MN (where Kris grew up) this past summer even though it wasn't really her scene. These qualities show there was actually a relationship between Kim and Kris despite the rumors that their marriage was some money scheme.

Analyzing Kim and Kris' relationship from the outside, through the show and magazines, Kim described her "passionate" love for Kris prior to the marriage. For example, she still loved Kris even though her family had not quite accepted him, or even knew him, yet. The physical distance they traveled to be with each other, even for one night, was no obstacle for them. As far as the relationship having companionate love, I was convinced that Kris considered Kim his best friend, but then again do we really know? No, we really don't know. This analyzation should be read with a grain of salt because no one really knows the story but Kim and Kris!
A related article I found extremely interesting that further describes the money scheme aspect of the couple's wedding and a thought-provoking opinion of the diminished view of marriage in America.

Violence and children.

| No Comments

Violence and children.

The effects of violent video games on children are typically viewed as bad, but some of the skills attained after are actually needed for the real world. Improved motor skills and hand-eye coordination are just two basic skills that are usually improved when engaging in gaming activities. To some degree the violence presented is shaping the kid to reenact violent scenes, but if regulated by a parent or guardian that can be prevented. In my opinion, part of the prevention is really just the explanation of what's real and what's fake, for example, some kids really think that power rangers is reality but it is just regular people acting in colorful suits. There are not just specific factors that affect how children view violence, but there many factors that play key roles in how children really soak in all the violence presented in video games. Some of the main factors that branch out from this specific topic are biological genes, amount of exposure to violence (both in games and reality), and parenting. They say that there are certain genes that are passed down but usually are shaped into play by environment in order for it to be really noticeable in a child. Exposure of violence in video games are interpreted in many ways in children, as some may see it as reality and other may see it as fantasy, parents/guardians play a huge role in explaining how things work in reality vs. fantasy. They say that children with mere exposures have higher percentage rates in imitating acts of violence vs. children who are exposed to it daily, but I believe that the children who are over-exposed to it still have the mentality to do violent acts/crimes. The brain-wave activity just contradicts the 'system' through habituation of violence. I believe that parenting plays the biggest role in how children are perceiving violence, and that is because they are the biggest influence in the children's lives (at least in my mind they should be). They practically shape the child's mind with knowledge never experienced before. I believe psychologists should view this study in a non-bias view and acknowledge all the presentable factors available in order to really conclude the hypothesis stating that "Violent video games cause children to become violent/criminals".

Children are exposed to violence no matter what, but it can be interpreted differently if the correct parenting/guidance is provided,

This link specifically explains how exposure to violence can affect children.

Opiates & A Cofusing Case of Reward Refusal

| No Comments

Friday's lecture covered applications of emotion in phobias, conditioning, and drug abuse. The last topic reminded me of the case of a friend of mine who's addicted to opiates. While I did previously understand that drugs are rewarding and withdrawal sucks, I thought the painkillers were only a Negative Reinforcer removing pain, and didn't realize it was also a Positive Reinforcer giving actual pleasure through the reward pathway.

What is especially curious about my friend is his source of Opiates; His mother has diabetes, but she doesn't take care of herself so she now has 1 foot and complains about the pain. Her doctor has given her a prescription for painkillers which she buys and my friend steals from her which sounds normal enough, but here's where it gets confusing. She doesn't do anything with them - you'd think that if she's buying them, she'd use them or at least sell them or give them away or *something*.

What I have to wonder is why does she keep buying pills if she in no way is rewarded for it? The only thing I could think of is she'd somehow be penalized for not buying the pills, but buying them out of obligation doesn't stop her from benefitting from them. It's just so confusing...

My friend's actions are logical:
• His reward pathway is stimulated, Law of Effect makes him take more drugs.
• He gots into withdrawal, Law of Effect discourages him from running out again.
• He is conditioned to steal more drugs.

His mom on the other hand:
• Her medicine removing her pain should be a negative reinforcer to take her medicine.
• The naturally addictive nature of opiates should also reinforce taking her medicine.
• The loss of money should be a negative punishment to stop refilling her prescription (that is overpowered by the aforementioned reinforcers in people who actually take their medicine).
• She ignores the reinforcers and doesn't take her medicine. She ignores the punishment and keeps buying the pills.
• There are no indications of other reinforcers, such as money from reselling the pills on the black market.

What I have to wonder from all of this is Why? Is it possible for the reward pathway to not only be desensitized, but to also break? But even if her reward pathway is non-functional, what is preventing the loss of money from inhibiting the behavior of refilling her prescription?

A Longer Life through Kittens?

| No Comments

Recent studies have shown that the secret to a longer life might be easier than one would expect. For instance, happiness may simply be the solution to a healthier, fulfilling life. People with positive emotions tend to live longer because of benefits like less stress on the body and a lower risk for heart disease. All together, it's crucial to understand the process and impacts of our emotions like happiness in order to help those who need a hand when things go haywire.

So what exactly happens when happiness seems like it's out of reach and you're left "dreaming with a broken heart"? One study examines the severe case of broken heart syndrome, a disease that is caused by extreme depression and stress. Cardiologists at John Hopkins have found that sudden emotional stress from shock can cause damaging effects to the heart. Back when I first heard about this study, I had a flashback to the episode of Scrubs where J.D. ponders whether or not kittens would help treat a patient suffering from heart failure. Here's a short clip from the episode:

Crazy as it might seem, J.D. might be on the right track. Two years ago, I remember meeting a therapy dog named Sasha at the Children's Hospital. I can't put my finger on it, but for some reason, Sasha totally brightened my hospital stay. In fact, it's been shown that therapy dogs can decrease stress levels and promote the sense of well-being in people. My only question is why do we experience a surge of happiness when we see adorable things? Perhaps that warm fuzzy feeling inside motivates us to help those that need special care like infants and little shih-tzu puppies. In this point of our society, I believe that there should be more research regarding the effects of therapy dogs in hospitals. We would save so much money in the health care system if we could prolong a patient's life through happiness with a simple solution like therapy dogs.

Harrar, S. N. (July 2005). Shock to the Heart. Prevention, 57, 7. p.50. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from Professional Collection via Gale:

Males and females find their romantic partners based on proximity, reciprocity, and similarity, according to our Lilienfeld text, but there are so many other factors that go into finding that passionate love that couples desire. Could finding "the one" be as close as looking at the traits of your mother or father? Research shows that parenting and attachment styles could very well affect the relationships of the child as they progress to adulthood, specifically the role of the quality of the father-daughter bond in the development of positive romantic relationships.
According to an article from the Child-Psych website by Dr. Lopez-Duran entitled "Father-Daughter bond affects the daughters' romantic relationships", it states two "specific relationship domains" affect the quality of both relationships ( These two are communication and trust. These qualities in the attachment styles and bonding foster these rewarding relationships with both males in the girls' life. Attachment, according to our textbook, is "the strong emotional connection we share with those to whom we feel closest (384)." Parenting that supports an "environment that provides children with basic needs for affection and appropriate discipline" suffices (389). However, the particular relationship with father and daughter plays important roles in her security with her partner.
Dr. Lopez-Duran, the author of the article, conducted a study of 78 teens and young adults with the average age of 19. They reported on the quality of their relationship with their fathers and current boyfriends, and the results were significant. Girls that reported "good communication had significantly good communication with their boyfriends compared to girls with low communication with their fathers." Also, the trust levels between father and daughter correlated with the trust levels between the girl and her boyfriend. The idea of secure attachment with their fathers and that the fathers provided a model and development of good communication skills enabled the girl to form and strengthen these characteristics in herself and thus convey and share them with her partner. These good relationships can also contribute to high self-esteem, which according to our textbook is the "evaluation of our self-worth (427)." Thus, secure attachment and good relationships will make an impression on young adults and enable them to form fulfilling relationships with a romantic partner.
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding Scott Lilienfeld

Emotional Neglect and Effects

| No Comments

This week in lecture and discussion we talked about the processes of childhood development. However a topic that wasn't strongly discussed neither in lecture or group discussion was how neglect and ill parenting affects a child/infant later in life. I know we watched a brief video in lecture of how a caregiver ignoring an infant for only a short time already made the child appear dejected. What I'd like to know are these effects long term?
There are many different types of neglect that I became aware of after reading this article. These types are physical, educational, emotional/psychological, and medical neglect. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory as far as their definitions. I would like to focus mainly on the effects of emotional/psychological neglect. This kind of neglect can include verbal abuse, ignoring the child, rejecting, corrupting, or even bullying of the child. How anyone can contribute to these behaviors to their own children is beyond me, but I would assume the long-term effects are rather detrimental. It is said that this kind of abuse can lead to the encouraging of destructive behaviors in children. It can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse or in some cases suicide. What I want to know is how is this proven? Or is this an issue that is like that of video games increasing aggression in individuals, which hasn't yet been determined.
In addition, how one can determine if it really was emotional neglect that caused the issues seems still unclear. It seems this issue is often related to abuse and is usually hard to report in legal cases. Therefore how is justice ever served to an innocent child who has been affected by neglect? Also, what do findings of children neglected at young ages who turn out normal prove? The best way to know is to take a large enough sample of people all different social classes, religion, family situations, etc. and track the development of the children long-term. I would like to know more about this topic and other instances of other neglect issues.
This fact below is staggering that it seems those who love us most, are the ones doing the neglecting.

The Mozart Effect

| No Comments

The Mozart Effect

Humans are constantly searching for ways to boost our performance academically. We attended seminars to increase our reading speed, we buy accelerated language learning programs and we try every little trick we learn in psychology; but is there a method that actually does work? A lot of these performance-enhancing methods are employed by parents desperate to give their child a way to get ahead.

In 1993, Rauscher and his colleagues found in a study involving college students and spatial reasoning tasks that performance was improved after listening to 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata. The control group listened to a relaxation tape. These findings applied only to a task followed immediately listening to the music. Despite this, companies began mass production of Mozart tapes and movies geared towards improving childhood cognitive development.

When the case was replicated, the results did not match those of the first. Additionally, this theory was applied to very different cross sections of the population. It also was a definitive example of correlation vs. causation as well as rival hypothesis. More recent studies as stated in the article below say that results have been replicated but found once again that the effects lasted briefly. The article goes on to state that another possible explanation is that the works of Mozart are more arousing than a relaxation tape and that is the cause of productivity increasing. Personally I find that the results of the 1993 study were incorrectly broadened to apply to two very different cross sections of the population: college students and young children. One can infer from the results that the experiment contained practical significance but also required testing on a wider variety of ages in order to be statistically significant as the toy companies made them out to be.

Do You See It or Not?: Object Permanence

| No Comments

Toaster cartoon3.jpg

Jean Piaget believed that children do not develop object permanence until they have passed the sensorimotor development stage. This stage takes place from birth to two years of age. Baillargeon's Procedures have proved Piaget theories to be wrong. One experiment proved that infants as young as 6.5 months have been able to reason about the existence, location, and trajectory of solid objects.

The infants were placed in front of a screen where a car was sent down a track and exited through the other side. After the children understood that the car goes out the other side the experimenters raised a small square screen to show the child a block sitting on the track they then placed the screen back and sent the car down the track. When the screen was back down the experimenters moved the block off of the track without the infant seeing, so when the car was sent down the track and passed behind the screen and out the other side the infants were confused. The infants starred longer at the block when it was placed on the tracks.

This Baillargeon Procedure shows that children have a predisposed set of rules engraved in their brains about object permanence. The procedure shows that infants do understand that, even though the block was out of their sight, the block was still behind the screen and it should have stopped the car. The infants starred at this impossible event, which means that they know that something is wrong with the outcome. They know that the block should have stopped the car but they don't understand why it didn't. Piaget thought that the infants understanding of objects depended on their motor development. But the Baillargeon procedure shows that even though a child has not started walking yet they still know that even though an object is hidden from their view the object still remains there.

Violence in the Media; Does it Affect Children?

| No Comments

The topic for our discussion sections this week was violence in television and video games, and whether it causes children to behave in more aggressive manors. In recent years, this has become a big debate among parents, as well as the government, and there have been many pushes to pass legislature that would regulate violence in children's media. There are of course people who express opposing views to the case, suggesting that just because the children are exposed to violence in television and video games, does not necessarily mean that that is why they are more aggressive and/or violent. It is the simple rule of correlation versus causation. I think that each side may have valid arguments. The video we watched in discussion showed children that watched a video of power rangers starting to fight and play more aggressively than when they were exposed to a barney video, after which they were very civil and played nicely. The parents who watched this were very, very surprised by the reactions of their children after watching the power rangers video. The opposing argument in one of the articles we were to read for discussion stated that while violent video games have risen in numbers, overall, aggression and violence have fallen in children. The hole in that argument is that correlation does not equal causation, and that is mostly what they are relying on. A view of mine is that violent video games and such could act as an outlet for stress and aggressive behavior. Instead of being aggressive towards others, one can let out the aggression by playing the video games that allow you to play against others competitively. Though, different types of media affect some people one way, and others another way. Therefore, it may not always be perfectly clear whether violence in the media cause aggression in children.

Rules of Attraction

| No Comments

As we talked about in discussion physical appearances do matter. Although they tend to be more important to males than females, according to Lilienfeld, they aren't the only thing. Other factors also contribute to how attractive we find someone. So what determines who we find attractive?

Proximity is one influence that plays a role, because without seeing this person often how would you know if you'd like them? The more often you see someone the more likely you are to find them attractive. We tend to befriend people whom we see regularly. Proximity isn't enough though; people need to have some common interests, so similarity is another aspect. When our interests and attitudes overlap it lays a foundation for mutual understanding. When others feel the same as we do it makes us feel good about ourselves. Lastly reciprocity affects who we are attracted to. If we are the only person giving anything, then after a while the attraction will fade. It's easier to share intimate things with someone who is also willing to share them in return, this creates a deeper bond.

Along with these influences personality is a deciding feature. In the article Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep: The Different Types of Attractiveness it talks about what makes a person attractive and personality often affects this. How a person conducts themselves will influence how others perceive them. Some people may appear beautiful but have a terrible personality which can in turn ruin their appearance and our thoughts about them.

Like the article says, "Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep." Attraction is complex and based on many variables. It's hard to determine who we're going to end up falling for, whether they are our best friend, neighbor, or someone we meet tomorrow. In the end the best way to attract someone that you'll like in return is to be yourself, as the saying goes "birds of a feather flock together".

Link for the Article:

Child Suggestibility

| No Comments


I remember helping at a daycare a while back, and the children started fighting. One of the other people helping out, went up to the child that got hurt and asked him "Did so-and-so hurt you?" The child went on to exclaim "Yes". Before anyone was punished the daycare provider, told the other person that was helping her, that you cannot lead children when questioning them. You must ask "Who hurt you?" instead of "did so-and-so hurt you?" She told us that this would give a more accurate answer to who hit who. The other person helping out at the daycare, then went back to the child and asked him "Who hurt you?" The child gave a different answer than the one he was lead to before.
Suggestibility is stronger in young children than in adults. As we grow older, we become less prone to the suggestibility of "leading" questions. In one article I found related to this it was stated that "Children are attuned to taking cues from adults and tailoring their answer to the way questions are worded." In psychology journal that I looked at a study found that when children are influenced by suggestibility, it is hard for professionals to determine whether children's answers are true or false. This could explain why when a child at daycare is asked if so-and-so hurt them and they reply yes, we often believe them. Two ways were found, in the study that were used to determine true answers from false answers. First, children tended to be more consistent with their true answers than with false answers. Second, children tended to embellish their false stories more than their true stories.
There are many reasons suggested for why children are more prone to suggestibility than adults. One suggested reason is that children socially motivated, and they want to please adults. They also trust adults, which seems to cause them to want to be compliant with the adult questioning them. Another reason suggested is that children experience a biological change in memory. This is suggested because it is believed that there are developmental differences in how children retrieve, encode, and store memory. It is not known for sure which of these suggested reasons are accurate or if both are accurate to some degree. Further studies can provide the answer.

The mere exposure effect is "a phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably toward it". One example of the mere exposure effect is that a person tends to prefer a picture of themself that is a mirror image over the original image as taken by a photographer. This probably occurs because you are more accustomed to seeing yourself in the mirror every day, so you display a preference to it over a normal photographic image. This phenomenon is depicted in the video below. 5 couples were asked to participate in this study; each of them had their pictures taken and were asked to choose which picture they liked better, the original or the mirror image of that same photo. 60% chose the mirror image of themselves, some claiming that the light was better, they looked slimmer, or they looked less "wonky" (whatever that means). 90% picked the normal photos of their partners, complying with the mere exposure effect. Bear in mind that these researchers don't specify whether these findings are drawn solely from this experiment with 10 people, or from a larger sample size. Of course, if the results are only based off of 10 participants, we can't be too wowed with the findings. Ok, so the mere exposure effect makes sense, you prefer the picture of yourself that you see more often, but why did the other 40% chose the normal image of themselves, and why might the 10% of partners prefer the mirrored image of their partner? Perhaps the subjects preferred the normal picture of themselves because it was different. If you're used to seeing yourself one way in the mirror every day, then a new perspective could make you feel more confident about your looks. Also, one of the participants told their partner that it was hard to tell a difference because her face is so symmetrical. This could also be a clue as to why the certain percentages didn't comply with the mere exposure effect. Symmetrical faces tend to be perceived as more attractive, so maybe the more attractive a person is, the harder it will be to decipher between mirror and original pictures of them.

Heres the video: theres lots of British people in it, which automatically makes it more interesting. Also, basically stop watching after like 8 minutes, unless you want to see a skinny kid's head pasted on someone else's body. It's ok if you do.

Relationships with the Opposite Sex:

| No Comments

What attracts people of the opposite gender to be in a relationship with one another? The answer, for the most part, is similar to what you might expect: the benefits of having friends of the opposite gender.

What kind of role does sex play in the attraction of people in relationships?
I know this is going to come as a huge surprise, but it actually plays a fairly large part. When it comes to attraction of females, friends or significant others, men often choose people that they are sexually attracted to, as they are looking for friends with benefits more often than females.

For women befriending men, this doesn't make as much of a difference, although, what might is whether or not they can provide protection, both physically and socially (Dr. Dylan).

Even more meaningful than sex, however, is the benefits that come from an opposite gender relationship. The most important things people want from a relationship are companionship, conversation, and kindness, all things that might be uniquely experienced in an opposite gender relationship.

It may not surprise you that people who share similar qualities, such as things that people value and personality traits, tend to be more attracted to each other. (Ever heard the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together"?) Implicit egotism, states that -simply put- people like themselves and that people extend that love of themselves to people and things that remind them of themselves. What's not to like about you? You do what you want because you want to, and as a result, if what you do is similar to what other people do, you're more likely to become attracted to them.

Something that might surprise you, however, is that people may actually become more attracted to people with the same initials as their own. (Dr. Dylan) Some psychologists argue that implicit egotism extends that far. It wouldn't be on a conscious level, but the attraction would be happening subliminally. Many psychologists have noted a correlation between the our own and our lover's initials, but, like mostly everything in psychology, there are also those that argue that this claim is lacking enough evidence to be considered true. Either way, it is interesting to note, as there are many examples of celebrities with similar initials, i.e. the recently split couple of Kris and Kim.

*(Make up for emotion discussion)
Dr. Dylan Selterman. "Science of Relationships - - - Sexual Strategies in Cross-Sex Friendships." Science of Relationships - Welcome to Web. 02 Nov. 2011. .

Genain Quadruplets

| No Comments

The Genain quadruplets are a set of identical quadruplet sisters with differing magnitudes of schizophrenia: Iris and Hester were both extremely disturbed whereas Myra and Nora where psychologically healthier. Being that they were identical, all sisters shared the same genes, the same genetic predisposition for schizophrenia, and the same family environment. Thus, the environmental factors that influenced the four girls must have varied to result in their varying severity of schizophrenia.

There are many factors that could explain the variation in the severity of the quadruplets' schizophrenia. First, their differences in weight after being born; Iris and Hester weighed much less than Myra and Nora- which could be due to differences in nutrition/health or how active the children were during childhood. Also, because Myra and Nora were born healthier, their mother favored them. This may have decreased their levels of affliction because although they were still schizophrenic, having a caring mother and being favored could have helped them develop more normally. Alternatively, the abuse suffered by Iris and Hester could have led to an increased severity of schizophrenia because they were not tended to with the same care as the other two.

The cause of the difference in magnitude of the schizophrenia of the quadruplets is still undetermined, but overall I think that the way that their mother treated them created the biggest impact. Being loved and cared for rather than abused and neglected clearly will result in differences in psychological health. This statement could be proven in a case study where researchers look at two different families: one with parents who are loving and put their child first and the other a malfunctioning family with abusive parents. The result of these behaviors would undoubtedly have an effect on the children and how they are raised; overall affecting their psychological health, for example: their self-esteem, independence, ability to make good decisions and many other behaviors.


The University of Missouri recently completed a study that showed that even before infants learn to communicate verbally, they could understand the thought process of others around them. During the study, actor's portrayed preference for certain objects while the baby watched. They monitored the baby's gaze, which was their indicator of attention span and knowledge.

While I find this study interesting and in keeping with what Professor Koening said about younger infants, she also talked about the Pfeiffer study, one in which newborns were found to be able to discriminate between a strangers voice and a mother's voice. That the University of Missouri team used actors, most likely strangers, leads to confusion in my analysis of the study. If the team used their mothers at a much younger age, would they be able to prove that newborns can follow thought processes as well? Is the person who is talking to them and showing preference a key?

I think that the University of Missouri study needs to be taken to a new level. To a new level where it is measured when a baby can analyze the thought process of his mother. This would be able to rule out rival hypothesis to if the baby knows the person than they are able to keep a gaze longer and seem to be paying more attention. It would also make a stronger case for when the baby can analyze the thought process of anyone.
Ruling out rival hypothesis is important in thinking critically because what type of voice the infant is recognizing is important in how they are studied.

I would improve this study by also finding when the infant can analyze the thought process of his mother, and then the thought process of a stranger. This would put more confidence in when an infant can start to analyze thought processes of anyone.

Article Science Daily: Babies Understand Thought Process of Others at 10 Months Old

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en