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Arousal, Performance and Sports

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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