shaff133: April 2012 Archives

This semester in Psychology 1001 has been very interesting and full of many topics that I hope to carry with me throughout my life. There are a few things, however, that I am certain I will remember after at least the next five years.

Social psychology is really interesting to me because it directly applies to everyday life.
Everyone is affected by the influence of society. In some way or another we all conform and I find it really interesting to see how we usually do not even realize how much society is influencing us. We consider ourselves individuals, but through being individuals, that gives us all something in common essentially taking away our individuality.

The reason that I know that I will remember this for the next five years is because I have always tried to stray away from social influences, but now I know that it is not necessarily a bad thing. If we were all dramatically different, there would never be any compromise in the world. On the other hand, we must be aware of social influences and not blindly follow what others want us to do. Therefore, I think that from now on, I will always be aware of how society influences me.

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Lying

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While reading the section in the book about lying and lie detection, there were various things that caught my attention. One thing that really surprised me was the statistics about how often people detect lies. Despite confidence and other factors, people actually only have a 55 percent chance of being correct when detecting lies. This was really surprising to me because I feel like I am better at detecting lies than only half of the time. Granted, most of the time, I cannot prove that someone is or is not lying to me, so I would never actually know if I am good at it.
Another concept that was really surprising to me was that the polygraph test is not as reliable as once thought. The reason behind this is that it relies on the Pinocchio response, which states that people's body's react when they lie and it also measures emotional arousal. I know from personal experience that I am a terrible liar and that people can probably tell from my body language, but according to the textbook, measuring the Pinocchio response, along with others, yield a high rate of false positives with the polygraph test. In addition, the main problem with polygraph tests is that they confuse arousal with signs of guilt. When I was little, we were taught to fear the polygraph test because people believed that it would reveal when someone was lying all of the time.
All in all, typical lie-detecting methods tend to be unreliable, but we rely on them anyway probably as a source of comfort more than anything.
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