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Body Language

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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"

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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

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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

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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?

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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.



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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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