April 2012 Archives

Accuracy of IQ tests

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I never realized how accurate IQ tests really were until I took this class. I know there is a lot of controversy over using IQ tests as a means of hiring people because it is not always accurate. However whether people like it or not, IQ tests have been proven to be extremely accurate at predicting job performance. Previously I had thought that IQ tests were similar to the ACT and they just tested you on facts and vocabulary (which is not testing intelligence), but what I wont forget about the IQ tests in that they are testing intelligence in many different ways, some in which you know even need to know any language to answer the question. This is a good example of an IQ questions that you don't need to know a language for. com.palee.iqTestMaster_0.jpg
I think the idea of labeling people as a number rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but your IQ is not telling you what you are capable of, it is just telling you how easy it is for you to learn knew things. I think people need to remember that their IQ score is not supposed to be a restriction, but it is more of a guide as to how hard you should work when trying to achieve something. People also need to remember that IQ tests test your overall intelligence, which means that if you are bad in spatial reasoning that does not mean that you aren't brilliant at listening to others and problem solving.
Andy Wharhol, a very famous pop artist had an IQ of 86 and he was very successful!andy-warhol.jpg
JFK only had an IQ of 119.
A few more interesting facts that I won't forget are, we are probably smarter than our grandparents. IQs have been increasing over time and they are estimated to continue to increase.

Classical Country

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When starting Psychology, I had no idea what classical conditioning was, or how it affected my everyday life. But I believe years from now it will be the thing I remember most from this class. When I first heard about Pavlov and his experiment with the salivating dogs, I was somewhat skeptical and thought it was an absurd experiment. But not long after I realized I had classically conditioned myself to many things.

This experiment happened naturally within my own life only days ago. The last few years I have always disliked country music. I claimed haughtily to all my friends I would "never listen to that garbage." But then during this spring when I would grill out during the warm days country music would play. At first I didn't enjoy it, but the more it became associated with grilling, and the relaxing days in the sun the more I enjoyed country music. Lately I have been listening to country music willingly and by my own choice. I much like Pavlov dogs, had unknowingly been introduced to an outside source which caused some sort of positive arousal. Whether I wanted it to or not.

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Out of all the psychology topics that I have been introduced to this year, classical conditioning is the one I feel most relevantly pertains to my own life. It will be the one that I keep recognizing years to come.

The Men in the White Coats

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I always had a suspicion that people were more followers than leaders. However, I never really understood to the extent to which people were sheep-like in their decisions. After reading about the milgram experiment, I found that out exactly and the responses honestly frightened me. In this experiment,participants were asked to play a teacher and deliver different voltage shocks to a participant supposedly hooked up on the other side - the machine going to a lethal dosage. Here's a video to explain it better than I ever could:


Over 66% of the time, people didn't quit just because there was an experimenter telling them to continue. The fact that authority figures were telling them to do something and there was no other consequences of stopping than to annoy the man in the white coat actually pushed these people into complete obedience. This experiment by itself taught me to just always question the legitimacy of authority no matter how it seems and to always be certain and conscious of my actions. The principles applied in this experiment are demonstrated throughout history and large travesties such as the Holocaust can be avoided if more people were to study these types of effects. Oh it also taught me to never trust men in white coats.

Obedience to authority figures, Blog 4, Jarod Aaron

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I think the concept in psychology that I will definitely remember even five years from now is the obedience to authority figures. I think I will remember this concept the most because of the experiments that were done to figure it out such as the well known Milgram experiment that we talked about during lecture and in discussion. This concept sticks out in my mind because I thought the results were shocking. I never thought that people would continue shocking the other participant after hearing their screams and their pleads for the test to stop. However, I can see how the obedience to authority would make them continue to a certain extent but I did not think that so many people would continue to nearly maximum of the machine. I like to think that I would never continue to that point if I had been put into that situation myself and I really believe that I wouldn't continue after hearing them in pain. I really believe that's how I would respond but I know it would be different if I had actually been faced with that test myself because I generally don't try to go against authority but I also think I would never want to hurt anyone. milgram_electric_shocks_box.jpg

My memories of the memory section

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Although psychology in general interests me, the topic that I will probably remember as the years pass is the subject of memory. The idea that our memory, something that we as humans rely on so heavily, is so malleable and error prone is absolutely terrifying. It was disconcerting to think of my past and question if my memories were reflections of reality, or my own mind's construction. Reading about people who had confessed to horrific crimes and actually believed that they had committed them (when they hadn't)was both shocking and fascinating.
Or there was the phenomenon in which subjects would report completely different experiences a year after an event than they had the previous year. None of these subjects were "lying", but their accounts were not consistent with those that they had previously recorded. The minds of the people in the study had created an entirely different memory.
I feel that the section in memory really intrigued me because it reflects how much of "reality" is based on the faulty memories of humans. It goes to show that one person could have an entirely different perception of a shared experience than another person, but both memories would be completely real to each observer.

It's My Way or The Highway!!!

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To me, something that I learned this semester in PSY 1001 that will most likely stay with me for the next few years (and possibly the rest of my life!) is the task of consevation.

Piaget explains that children in the preoperational stage do not pass the test of conservation. Piaget's task of conservation requires children to understand that despite a transformation in the physical presentation of an amount, the amount remains the same.

Here is a video that show several great examples of tasks of conservation and how a young child executes the task and the reasoning he gives for his answers.

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Watching videos like the one above never cease to amaze me. For college students like us, the idea splitting a group of coins into two equal groups and then stretching one row apart does not affect the amount of coins in the row comes very easily to us and seems like second nature, but in the eyes of a child this becomes a much different story.

Children of a young age seem to grasp onto the belief that such physical changes can change the amount of a substance. Until about age seven or so, children seem to believe that "since A is visually bigger than B, A must have more this substance!"

I for one hope that I can test this on a child I hope to have some time in the future!


Needing to Belong

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Have you ever wondered what draws you to your group of friends or if you like being in a big group of friends or a small group? Well, when I was reading chapter thirteen I learned that being accepted and how we chose our friends is something that is something that is necessary for our existence and if we don't belong it can often lead to isolation and in some instances hurt our mental functioning. The need to fit in and belong goes all the way back to the hunting and gathering times in society. It is normal for people to often feel lonely when they are restricted from social contact. Humans need interpersonal relationships in order to survive and remain healthy thus causing humans to have the feeling in needing to belong and find their groups of friends.
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Tricky Mind

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Something I found interesting this semester in psychology that will stay with me is visual perception. Perception is defined as the brain's interpretation of raw sensory inputs. And with that perception our brain can play "tricks" or illusions, perception in which the way we perceive a stimulus doesn't match reality, on us.
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This looking like a broken road of lava, when in reality it was done with chalk.


Along with illusions the opponent process theory, which is the theory that we perceive colors in terms of three pairs of opponent colors: either red or green, blue or yellow, or black or white. I know that i've experienced it before when I would stare at something for a long time then close my eyes, but I never understood why I would see the certain colors when I did close my eyes.

Lastly, I will remember learning about bistable images, one we can perceive in two ways, like The Necker Cube. For some people it's easier for them to shift from looking at an image one way and then switch to the other way. I was always told that you would see an image one way if you were "left brain" and another image if you were "right brain" as you see in the video clip bellow. With the left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking and the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks.

Hard Work Pays Off

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I believe that I will always remember one of Pavlov's classical conditioning's, positive reinforcement. I say this because it always comes to mind when I do something that is rewarding, whether it is school related or work related, and it will always pay off. For example, with every well written paper you do, there's a good grade behind, creating a positive reinforcement feeling, knowing that the amount of effort that you put into it came out of it.
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Another example is in the work force, at the end of every other week, there is a pay check waiting for you with your name on it, and if the dollar amount is high, it goes to show you that hard work pays off and it doesn't get any better than that.paycheck.jpg
All in all, positive reinforcement will be apart of my future, as an architect major, it will come from anything and everything that I produce, whether it be a failed prototype or an outstanding design that may be constructed somewhere, because hard work pays off.

Feeling ATTACHED to this theory...

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Out of all the interesting things that we saw, what really stuck to me the most is the attachment theory. All humans have the need to form and maintain stable relationships over time. Parents to children and children later on to romantic partners. Some of the feelings that bond you with your parents are similar to those that bond you with your significant other. I have to admit that yes, this is a bit disturbing to think about, the fact that attachment to your parents can be similar or related to attachment to a partner. But really, this is the relation. There are 3 attachment patterns found in people:
1-secure
2- avoidant
3-anxious-ambivalent

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Turns out that these 3 types are response to how your parents cared for you as a child.
1-Contingent/responsive care=Secure. Parents helped kids when in need but after their problem was solved, they left them on their own. Showed them that they can count on people when they are in distress to calm them down.
2-Rejecting care=Avoidant. Parents that take care of their kids like if it was a burden. They don't provide warmth; they don't help the baby and let them fix the problem on their own. This makes people very reserved; they don't rely on anyone to solve their problems because they don't want to become an even bigger one.
3-Inconsistent/unpredictable care=Anxious-ambivalent. Parents have good intensions but they don't really know what is wrong. This makes people very insecure and clingy.
It makes a lot of sense but I never really linked that how you were treated as a child reflects the relationship you have with your parents and later on with your partners. At least for me, after thinking about it, I understood why I act the way I do in my relationships.
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Neurologist In the Making

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Throughout the semester, I have always known which topic has interested me the most. So when we started to learn about the brain and it's interconnected neural pathways, I was more than excited.
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The brain will be the concept I remember in 5 years from now because that is what I want to deal with for the rest of my life. As a psychology major, I am moving pre-med for neurology and possibly neurosurgery. The brain and it's network just fascinates me, which is why I chose to go into this field. My aunt is a brain injury survivor, my grandpa passed years ago with Alzheimers, and my cousin has Autism. All these factors in my life have pushed me farther into my love for cognitive works, and farther into my goal for finding a cure. As a neurologist, I hope to study more and attempt to work in a laboratory to work towards a cure for Alzheimers or Autism, so no other family has to go through what I have.
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In the future, I am destined to have more psychology classes through cognitive psychology and neuroscience, which is why I will remember it even past 5 years from now.
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Anything You Can Say, I Can Say...Better...?

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With hundreds of languages in the world it's fascinating to me that we are all born with knowing the same phonemes and then change, lose or gain some, as we grow older. I think that I'll remember the young children can differentiate between different phonemes in foreign languages when they are young and then lose the differentiating ability but they can eventually gain some back if they are exposed to it by a native speaker in person. I always find language to be interesting because I feel as though I can still tell the differences between different words in foreign languages even if it is a subtle difference. For example when we watched the video in class, I could tell the difference between the two words that the speakers gave even though they sounded the same to everyone else. I have always kind of wondered why I have been able to do that and if other people can do it too. It would be interesting to see if there has been research done on individuals who seem especially adept at differentiating between languages even if they weren't brought up in a bilingual household. I sometimes contribute my ability to the fact that my mom would speak some Spanish, since she was fluent but never really taught me or siblings, and she used to sing us kids to sleep by singing Slovak lullabies.

Though this video doesn't necessarily address this blog, I found it interesting and it kind of is just a summary of language acquisition and development. Enjoy!

Sleep, Study, Social life..Pick 2

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As we have gone through psych this semester, I've been trying to keep up with all the work for my classes, get enough sleep and still have somewhat of a social life. As someone prone to stressing out easily, my body seemed to make the decision to eliminate sleep as something "needed" in this trifecta. Somedays its great because I can easily stay up studying, but other times when I actually have the time to sleep, it sucks. I lay in bed staring at the wall, tossing and turning. Not to mention feeling like a zombie the next day! So naturally, when we learned about insomnia and other sleep related info, I was hooked. For me, I will definitely remember everything about that section. I found it really intriguing (and frustrating) that insomnia can be recurrent with becoming anxious and frustrated when we can't sleep, and that it can be a underlying factor in other medical related issues. Although some people use medication to sleep, I've yet to reach that point since after reading about, it can make insomnia worse in the long run. So fingers crossed mine is resolved with summer break soon here!

Final Blog Assignment Nature vs Nurture

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I think that the most important thing that I learned in Psychology was why people act the way they do and the most interesting was the idea of Nature vs Nurture because it relates to almost every aspect of human personality. Nature deals with the genetic and biological factors that make up a person an example being, eye color or blood type. Nurture is the environmental factors that go into a person's personality like their religion, culture and language. Both nature and nurture are important in the study of psychology.
ESPN wrote an article, "What if Michael Vick was white," explaining how his circumstances of who his parents were and what race he was born as affected the athlete that he is today. The article takes a nurture approach to his sport ability. The article writes that Michael Vick has an African-American feel to the way in which he plays quarterback in the NFL. The style that he has playing as well as the way in which he moves in many ways is said to have the "Black Athleticism." If he would have been white the path that he took may have not included sports or his style may have been different when he played. The privilege which he may have received is he were white could have also altered the decision to play football.
On the other end of the argument is nature, he could be genetically more athletic and gifted in sports than others making him a star athlete. He could also have a gift for learning at a quicker pace than other or quicker reflexes making him a strong quarterback.
I wonder if there will ever be a way in which we could completely isolate nature and nurture, though there are twin studies and family studies nature and nurture are never completely isolated.

http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/6894586/imagining-michael-vick-white-quarterback-nfl-espn-magazine

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The Plasticity of the Mind

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Its something we learned about very early on in the class, but has really stuck with me throughout the semester. The concept of brain plasticity, the ability of our brain to make physiological changes throughout life in reaction to changes in anything from environment to behavior. This concept is somewhat mind blowing to me, because its well known that humans are the most adaptable species on the planet, with the ability to live just about in any climate the earth has to offer, through the computing power of our brains. If thats not extraordinary enough, our brains themselves change and adapt to external changes just like the humans as a whole. Also, being a freshman in college, the concept is particularly potent because if you think about it, our brain is going through an obscene amount of adaption as we transition to a collegiate level of education. Its interesting to think of how as we learn in school, our brain is in-fact in a sense learning as well, about the environments and styles of thinking that we must use to survive college life. Because of its relevance throughout the human life and development, i'm guessing if any topic we learned about was to stick with me for a number of years, it would be this one.

mental disorders: how much is too much?

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The thing that I am really going to remember from psychology (partially because I'm reading other books that also make this point) is that it's really hard to tell how far is too far, especially with mental disorders. All mental disorders are on a spectrum, and it's so hard to define where the line for the mental disorder is. That is, it's hard to tell what's "normal" and what's a disorder. I'm going to remember this primarily because a lot of my maternal side of the family has been diagnosed with one mental disorder or another. I have been diagnosed with several different things over the years, and those diagnoses have often been changed by the next mental health professional I went to. Even with the DSM-IV, it's still hard to determine the borderline cases and whether they have the disorder or not. This is so crucial to the patient because it can mean entirely different treatments are available or that the patient can get assistance with dealing with their symptoms only if they are diagnosed the "right" diagnosis. If someone is diagnosed with depression, they won't be able to get as much help as if they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, even if they have the same symptoms. I find this frustrating, because we should really be looking at whether the person needs help, not whether their diagnosis needs help. dsm_iv.jpg

Little Albert and Classical Conditioning.

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Of all the things I've learned this semester, I do believe that one of the things that I will remember in 5 years is Little Albert and classical conditioning.

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Classical conditioning is a form of learning discovered by Ivan Pavlov. It contains a conditioned stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, conditioned response and unconditioned response. Basically in Pavlov's study, he learned that salivating is a unconditioned response, but that salivating to food was a conditioned response. The dogs that he did the study on began salivating when he produced a metronome, which had become a conditioned stimulus, because food was given right after it. Prior to the food being given, it was merely an unconditioned stimulus.

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The Little Albert experiment was an experiment performed by John B. Watson. Watson used classical conditioning to make Little Albert fear bunnies. Little Albert soon began to fear anything that resembled bunnies, even Santa Clause.

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I know for a fact that I'm going to remember Little Albert and classical conditioning 5 years, even if I refer to Little Albert as Little Alfred, or Little Alvin. When the class first learned about Little Albert, I was seriously horrified that someone would do this to a poor, helpless child. I often wonder whatever happened to him (apparently no one knows) and if he ever got over his fear of bunnies and things that resembled them.
The entire concept of classical conditioning was really a hard one to grasp and I still sometimes feel as though I don't understand it. However, it really stuck out to me because it's really interesting, just like all of psychology.

Social Influence and Conformity

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A concept in psychology that I find interesting and think I will remember in the next five years is social influence like conformity and groupthink. Conformity is the tendency of people to alter their behavior or decision as a result of group pressure. Groupthink is closely related to conformity and is defined an emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking. The concept of conformity was studied by Solomon Asch in the 1950s. I'm sure you all know or heard of the Asch's Conformity Study where a participant would compare the lengths of lines and is confused by everyone else in the group choosing the wrong answer but then decides to go along with the wrong answer. I think we all conform at least once in our lifetime and it's because of the group pressure and not wanting to feel left out. 9425conformity.jpg
Groupthink is a term developed by Irving Janis after he studied the reasoning processes behind the failed 1961 invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba where after discussions with cabinet members, President Kennedy recruited 1,400 Cuban immigrants to invade Cuba and overthrow its dictator, Fidel Castro.
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When I think of Conformity and Groupthink, it reminds me of the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam where American soldiers killed hundreds of villagers in the My Lai village. The soldiers were given an order to go and kill everyone in a village because the Viet Congs were going to be there. When they got to the village, only villagers, men, women, and children were there. When the soldiers were asked why they killed all those villagers they would say that it's because it was an order from authority or that everyone else was doing it. I will remember the concept of conformity in the next five years because there's always going to be a reminder of it. We like to conform, it's something natural to humans as social creatures.

The Influences of Psychology

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Throughout this course, I have learned about many interesting concepts and topics that I will most likely remember for life. One of them that stuck out to me in particular is the Big Five personality model with the five traits openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Although I have already blogged about the big five, this is one of the topics I think I will remember five years from now mostly because it can be applied to everyday life easily. Whenever I meet new people, my natural response is to find out more about that particular person and what he or she is like...I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that when first meeting someone. People are always placing others in general categories of personality traits whether they do it intentionally or not.

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This topic is fascinating in that most of the personality quizzes seen in magazines and on the internet are based on the Big Five model in some way. Even though the accuracy of those quizzes are often questioned, the Big Five model is something that I will remember for many years to come because of it's relevancy.

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Check out this interesting link:
http://news.discovery.com/tech/facebook-personality-test-employers-110509.html

Who am I, who are you?

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The area of psychology that has always been most interesting to me is personality. There are so many different theories for what makes us the way we are. Clearly, biology has at least a little something to do with it. As for the rest; personality head.jpegPsychoanalytic, Behavioral, Social, The Big 5, and Humanistic theories all have factors that can be argued as to why that theory is THE theory. I've found at least a bit of truth in each of these. I really think that the best answer is one that might combine ideas from more than one of these areas. Behavioral theories show a lot of promise by claiming that our actions are beyond our control. There are certain factors that affect who we are, whether we like it or not. I think that social theories are also valid because of how powerful the effects of our thinking and the people around us are. The Big 5 is so relatable...you can apply these to anyone, and with varying degrees/branching off into more detailed traits. Humanistic theories seem to fit too. I remember my parents telling me, "You can do anything you set your mind to."
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In the end, I still don't entirely know what to think about personality. I DO know that I'm even more intrigued than before....I definitely want to learn more about why we are the way we are.

Birth Order Determines Your Success?

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I heard this when I was younger too and thought it was a lot of malarkey. When you were born, in comparison to your siblings should have nothing to do with you or your success in life. However, it turns out that these ideas are more popular than I thought...

You listened to the man and you think 'sure, makes sense when he says first borns are more scholastic because parents put more pressure on them'. However, we fail to see the assumptions in these explanations. Scientists have found no strong correlation between birth order and the big five personality traits. Birth order may influence some of your traits, sure, but that's due to environmental factors largely (ie your parents paying attention to you). Just because you were 2nd born doesn't mean you're gonna be spineless. Heck, my sister is quite unagreeable and she's the middle child. I'm the last born and I can attest to the fact that I am quite a leader.
All in all, don't buy into these logical fallacies they are placing in front of you. Just because it sounds legit, doesn't mean it is.

IQ Testing Blog #3

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IQ Testing and Standardized Testing
IQ is a measure of relative intelligence determined by a standardized test. The first intelligence test was created in 1905 by Alfred Binet and Théophile Simon to determine which French school children were too "slow" to benefit from regular instruction. The way in which is it determined is by Mental Age/Chronological Age = Mental Quotient.
Though I have never taken an IQ test I have taken standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT and I find them to be very inaccurate in the achievements of others. It has no way of predicting how great a person's work ethic is or what their college achievement will be in the future. Knowing people like my parents or friends who did not score high in these tests to do extremely well in high school and higher education. I am not trying to say that these tests do not provide somewhat of the knowledge learned by a student and what their success may be in college but it should not be the ultimate decision maker. It should not be the first thing that colleges look at or make their final decision on when choosing a student.
It is important because these tests should not be the ultimate factors in any situation whether it be a college decision or a job. Some questions I still have about these types of tests is who creates them and how do they ensure that they are completely non bias.

Here is a funny clip from Seinfeld its about halfway through the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5knhWYvmL8


Here is a an article about the validity of the ACT and SAT and whether is really is a predictor of the the success that a student will have in higher education:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/06/21/study_suggests_most_colleges_use_act_inappropriately

Narrow Minded IQ

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I am just baffled by how Galton could be so narrow-minded in his "sensory capacity" theory and IQ results. How could his research been successful (not in the long run but DURING it). How did 9000 people even get tested before a negative was produced? I would think 1000 and he would say, hmm, they might have been onto something with Helen Keller (which I was thinking about before reading about it, weird). It just proves how research can be bias to such an extent. 9000 people!! That is a lot of time an effort to be proved wrong, this was a man with serious conviction to his theory. Now for the interesting question, I wonder how the bias was applied. OK, back to the subject "sensory capacity", as was learned in the end ofcourse it has SOMETHING to do with ones intelligence, so does everything in ones environment. Strange to wonder how people thought before these REVELATIONS were stumbled upon, yes that was sarcasm.

Practice Makes Perfect...or Does It?

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Social facilitation. We have all been victims of it, whether in a good way or a bad way. For me social facilitation has always been prevalent. In the classic way for me was public speaking, I knew that I wasn't the greatest public speaker so I practiced. In a similar way to what was discussed in Does Practice Make Perfect?, we will all be faced with the obstacle of public speaking in some way or another and the more that we can practice it the less likely it will be that we will choke. All of the great public speakers probably didn't start off as great ones but worked their way up. The other way that social facilitation was prevalent was in my flute playing. When I would practice, I would make few mistakes on easy pieces and a lot on the harder pieces but as I became better, so did my flute playing. Edna Golandsky talks about practicing and how difficult it can be in this video. For me, I would always choke on the hard parts of pieces when I was in front of a group of people, unless I would practice. It is very similar to how the pool players either choked or didn't choke when they were being observed. I think that it is important to remember that everyone was inexperienced and screwed up at some point in time when being observed but it is the perseverance that makes people better. In many ways there is no way to be completely perfect, even the best players will mess up. I think that the first video summed the it up pretty well, we can't be perfect but we can come pretty close to it.

Genetics: all good or some bad?

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Using genetics can be eminently useful. Take a gene that causes a major genetic disease, such as Wilson Disease, where too much copper builds up in a person's system, killing them usually due to organ failure. If someone knows that they are at risk for having children with this, or many other diseases carried on specific genes, they can find out if their child has that disease and, in many cases, help the child live a normal life. When we turn our look to psychology and genetics, however, problems begin to arise. If someone was found to have the gene for "novelty-seeking" or "impulsivity", they will be branded and probably have a hard time getting a job, a home, and healthcare. They could easily become outcasts of society because of one gene that may or may not affect them in an otherwise negative way. In fact, the personality trait for sensation seeking (which could be considered virtually the same as novelty seeking) can be expressed in two very different ways. Both prisoners and firefighters have this personality trait, but what's different is the way they express that personality trait. Mapping personality traits or other psychological traits onto genes and using that information to classify someone will make it much harder for many perfectly "normal" people have a hard time finding a reasonable place in society. DNA1.jpg

Personalities of the Harry Potter Cast

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When I think of personality, I think about the ways people think, feel, and behave on a daily basis. According to our textbook, the big five model of personality describes five important dimensions of personality that is evident across most cultures. The five traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Since the Harry Potter series includes multiple main characters displaying traits from the Big Five, I thought it would be interesting to analyze the main cast.

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For example, Harry Potter is known as the hero of the story and described as brave, loyal, humble, and modest. Based on the Big Five, Harry would score high on openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism because of his intellectual curiosity, sense of responsibility, and calmness in arousing situations.

Draco Malfoy, on the other hand, is basically the opposite of Harry in terms of personality. He is known as the enemy and described as snobby, arrogant, and generally as an unpleasant character. He would have scored low on the Big Five in areas such as agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and conscientiousness.

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As you can see above, the characters possess unique personality traits that distinguish them from each other. Although this example of the Big Five model of personality is based on a fictional story, the way the characters interact in their daily lives mirrors the way people interact in the real world. The only difference is people's personalities are more complex in the real world.

I can do anything better than you!

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Not really how I feel....but a good motto for the social comparison theory! After reading about this topic, I realized how much it really does appear in our everyday lives. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. For some people, I think it creates healthy motivation, but in others (like people with depression or a similar mental illness) it seems like it might do more harm than anything. I also wonder if people with certain mental illnesses might have an unhealthy preoccupation with comparing themselves, and probably rather unrealistically. But, for those on the other end, I think the motivation factor is high. It also helps to realize goals that you want to achieve that you maybe didn't even know about, or to push yourself to be the best you can be. I think a healthy amount of comparing yourselves to others ties in with social facilitation also. If you have friends with similar interests and personalities, I think that both people comparing themselves to each other makes them push each other harder without even knowing it, and makes for healthy competition.

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In relation to the social comparison theory-if we weren't constantly comparing ourselves to others, there would be no standard for anything. No standard for work ethic or for tests. We wouldn't have anything to compare it to, and everyone would always be doing whatever they want. Too bad we can't do that with tests....I would love to make my own test questions!

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Relationships and all that comes with it.

| 11 Comments

As human beings, we all love and want things. We also want to be wanted and loved in return. Also, as we all know, it's even better to feel wanted and loved from someone who we, too, want and love. Alas, relationships are built.

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The three principles are very clear: proximity, similarity and reciprocity. Proximity means being physically close to someone you are attracted to. Similarity means you merely share things in common with the person of attraction, such as you taste in music or favorite foods. Reciprocity is simply the "give or take" of a relationship; it somewhat defines your choices you make to build a relationship.

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These three principles are seen everywhere in every relationship. Take the movie Step Up for example. The main characters, Tyler Gage (played by Channing Tatum) and Nora Clark (played by Jenna Dewan) go through these three principles. Proximity comes to play when Tyler has to do community service at Nora's school and he eventually becomes her dance partner. The two love to dance, thus comes similarity. Reciprocity is the tricky one, not only in the movie, but in all real life relationships. Tyler understands that Nora is serious about her dance, as it is her senior piece. Therefore, he ensures that he is never late for practice again. He wants to make himself more likable.

These principles are also apparent in real life relationships, which I'm sure that anyone who has been in a relationship can attest to. I have had a three year experience with all of these principles. In my opinion, reciprocity is never ending. It is something that can either make or break a relationship. As for everyone else, it's up to you to find out.

While reading through the IQ sections in Chapter 9 I found myself coming across a repetitive motif. IQ seemed to have many direct correlations with the environment someone was raised. On page 346 of our book the author states that racial differences in IQ testing seem to have no correlation to which race took the test, but instead that it is "entirely environmental" and "can't explain the difference between the two groups in genetic terms. So what environments tested lower than others? Most of the time poverty ridden environments tested lowest, with no correlation between genetics.


Here Phillipe Rushton discusses the heritability of social classes when dealing with IQ. One problem he addresses is that violent communities with lack of education are going to cause poor education and Low IQ.

In the book it also states that poverty ridden cultures in America always tend to have lower IQ scores. I believe this is a call for help, and that there is a reasonable hypothesis that the less educated a society is, the more violent it may become, as Phillipe Rushton addresses in his video. If this issue is more heavily addressed in society and worked toward educating lower classes, do you think it will improve the poverty level in terms of violence and elevate lowered social classes?

Are You Stressed?

| 8 Comments

stressed.jpgStress is when we feel tension, discomfort, or physical symptoms because of a situation, called a stressor which is a type of stimulus that strains our ability to cope effectively. A traumatic event is a severe stressor that's capable of producing long-term psychological or health problems.
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Researchers looked at the study of stress with three different approaches, stressors as stimuli, stress as a transaction, and stress as a response. The stressors as stimuli approach focuses on identifying different types of stressful events. This approach also looks at categories of events that most people find dangerous and unpredictable. Stress as a transaction looks at stress as a subjective experience and how people interpret and cope with stressful events. Problem-focused coping is a coping strategy when people problem solve and tackle life's challenges head-on. Emotion-focused coping is a coping strategy that features a positive outlook on feelings or situations accompanied by behaviors that reduce painful emotions. Stress as a response is when researchers look at people's psychological and physical reactions to stressful situations.

Stress related feelings such as depression, hopelessness creates physiological responses such as increased in heart rate and the release of stress hormones called corticosteroids. These hormones activate the body and prepare us for stressful situations. There are many different types of stressful events in our lives. As a college student, you've probably already experienced a lot of stress. A question I have is how early in life do we experience stress?

Are You Stressed?

| 1 Comment

stressed.jpgStress is when we feel tension, discomfort, or physical symptoms because of a situation, called a stressor which is a type of stimulus that strains our ability to cope effectively. A traumatic event is a severe stressor that's capable of producing long-term psychological or health problems.
StressSymptoms.gif
Researchers looked at the study of stress with three different approaches, stressors as stimuli, stress as a transaction, and stress as a response. The stressors as stimuli approach focuses on identifying different types of stressful events. This approach also looks at categories of events that most people find dangerous and unpredictable. Stress as a transaction looks at stress as a subjective experience and how people interpret and cope with stressful events. Problem-focused coping is a coping strategy when people problem solve and tackle life's challenges head-on. Emotion-focused coping is a coping strategy that features a positive outlook on feelings or situations accompanied by behaviors that reduce painful emotions. Stress as a response is when researchers look at people's psychological and physical reactions to stressful situations.

Stress related feelings such as depression, hopelessness creates physiological responses such as increased in heart rate and the release of stress hormones called corticosteroids. These hormones activate the body and prepare us for stressful situations. There are many different types of stressful events in our lives. As a college student, you've probably already experienced a lot of stress. A question I have is how early in life do we experience stress?

Eating Disorders

| 13 Comments

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are very dangerous. Most people understand the dangers that are related to these disorders, but most people don't realize how common they really are. Here are a few statistics to help put it into perspective how common eating disorders really are. It is estimated that 8 million people in the US have an eating disorder, 15% being males. People who suffer from eating disorders, have a distorted image of themselves and this picture is a really good interpretation of that.mirror.jpgEating disorders have the highest mortality rate than any other mental illness. This statistic is very scary to me, because of how prominent eating disorders are. One in 200 women in the US suffer from nervosa, and two to three in 100 have bulimia nervosa. Half of all Americans know a person that suffers from an eating disorder. anorexia.jpg
I myself have known a few people who suffer from eating disorders, I ran cross-country in high school and part of college and I knew twin sisters who suffered from anorexia nervosa, they both ended up being hospitalized and losing their scholarships along with not being able to run for a very long time.
Do you know someone who suffers from an eating disorder? I think it really helps put it into perspective how dangerous eating disorders can be, when we see someone we know go through it. More statistics can be found at: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm

Hey There Beautiful!

| 9 Comments

You've probably noticed that pretty guy or girl in your class and thought "wow!" Or maybe if you're lucky you are that gorgeous individual that everyone stares at. These pieces of eye candy often seem to have more of an edge in life than more regular looking folk.

Dr. Sylvia Gearing explains why this phenomenon and how it can affect human relationships.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=AfHsJNzyngo

Similarly, the authors of our psychology book explains how physical attractiveness can impact the workplace and data ratings.

Recall from chapter two that researches often use "self-report" methods to collect data. As a recap, self-report methods of data collect allow individuals to answer a questionnaire that asks questions about themselves. This method of data collection often faces issues when individuals don't posses enough insight about themselves to answer certain questions.

To combat this, researches hand out questionnaires to individuals who will then answer questions about somebody else because often times observers do not have the same "blind spots" as the people they're rating. Our authors call this the "rating method."

As you would expect, the rating method may produce data that is affected when rating an individual who is attractive. Our authors call this the "halo effect." The halo effect is very similar to what Dr. Gearing explained in the video.

Twin Studies, Jarod Aaron (group C blog 3)

| 4 Comments

The twin studies is what I have found most interesting in our recent lectures and in the reading for psychology because I am a monozygotic twin.

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Through the readings and during lectures I have found out a lot about the differences between monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins. I am especially interested in the studies of identical twins because I am an identical twin and my family has a long history of identical twins on my moms side. I also have a friend who is a fraternal twin so I have something to compare my thoughts to when I think about me and my brother.
I understand that me and my brother have greater similarity compared to my friend and his brother because we shared all of our genetics. However, I know we are not perfectly similar as we heard during lecture because I know of many drastic differences between us since I have known him for so long. I also have known my friend and his brother for a long time and notice that they are almost completely different people from what I have observed because they do not share the same genetics like I do with my brother.
One thing that I found particularly interesting in the Lilienfeld book though was that identical twins are just the result of a zygote splitting which happens about 1 in every 250 births. This is interesting to me because I am a monozygotic twin along with my uncles, grandma and my great grandma on my mothers side. I wonder if identical twins are somehow passed on by hereditary means.

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