November 2011 Archives

What I will take away from Psychology

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The thing that I will take away from Psychology will be the scientific thinking principles. The six principles are easy to remember and easy to apply. I will always remember this bit of information because I can use it in many aspects of my life. I can use the principle in my work, as well as using it to examine claims made in the media.

The most important of these principles for me are the correlation vs. causation, and Occam's razor. Occam's razor is important as it can save me from looking for a complex explanation when a simpler explanation will do. I could see me using this explanation in a lot of different situations. I could use it to explain why something in my house is broken. I could use it at work to explain why something caused something, rather than another cause. Correlation vs. causation will also stick with me for a long time. The principle is a good reminder that things can be tied together, but one thing does not always cause the other in these situations. Again I could see myself using this principle in similar ways that I would use Occam's razor. I learned a lot of new concepts in Psychology, but the scientific principles will be the concept that will stick with me due to how easy the principle can be used in everyday life.

Advertisements

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It seems like everywhere I look there are advertisements; some type of propaganda, trying to convince me to buy a product. It doesn't surprise me that young people see over 40,000 advertisements per year on television alone (Pediatrics Vol. 118). When we learned about classical conditioning and how it can change our behavior, it made complete sense to me that advertisers would use this technique to "teach" people that their product is the best choice. Most people have the point of view that they make informed, objective decisions when choosing a brand of shampoo, chips, or even a new car. However, after learning about classical conditioning, I think advertisements affect our decision making a lot more than we realize. We can compare an advertisement to Pavlov's salivating dog. For example, the skyblue vodka advertisement in the Lilienfeld textbook (pg. 208). In this advertisement the girl in the bathing suit is the unconditioned stimulus (or the food in the case of Pavlov's dog) because she creates an inherently enjoyable response in the viewer. This becomes associated with the conditioned stimulus, skyblue vodka, and eventally the same enjoyable response is associated with both stimuli. If consumers have an enjoyable feeling associated with a product they are mich more likely to buy it, even if they attribute this bahavior to something else, like the quality of the product. There are so many products available to consumers now, how do people decide which ones to buy? I am now aware of, and will remember in the future, the reason that advertisements are so effective.

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PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 6 December 1, 2006
pp. 2563 -2569
(doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-2698)

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

Extraordinary Claims: College Years and Beyond

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Psychology has taught me a variety of different concepts that I use and recognize in my everyday life. However, one stands above them all. Being able to use the six principles of scientific thinking will be something that stays with me long after college. Specifically, the principle of extraordinary claims is a concept that I continually use when going about my day-to-day life. It helps me recognize and evaluate scenarios in my life, and I am confident I will continue to use it throughout my years.

Extraordinary claims have always been prevalent in my life. From watching TV ads to talking with friends, these claims surround me. Being aware of this common tactic of "selling" allows me to evaluate the claim at hand. I now stop and ask myself one question, where is the extraordinary evidence? By understanding that no matter how fascinating something is or how badly I want it to work, I must not turn a blind eye to the facts (if there even are any). Being aware of this trap in my everyday life will help me succeed in my ventures by giving me a level-headed approach to making assessments. It, of course, is not fool proof, but I am confident in its ability to help me as I make decisions in my life.

An example ad is pasted below. Does the ad give any scientific proof backing up this extraordinary claim (answer below the picture)?

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Decatrim has gained the international level of recognition and reputation among users and health experts. It is definitely a powerful weight loss pill. It is appreciated and has all positive reviews.Decatrim promises "lose 10 pounds in 10 days!! Or your money back guaranteed". This punch line is impressive and is justified too.

You must be asking "why Decatrim?" it is the sole fat burner that is prepared with 10 tested and sure fat loss ingredients. The best ingredients are forslean and green tea, which are effective and haveno side effects. The ingredients are patented and trademarked. There is no chance of fake. Decatrim focuses on general body fat burn and not loss of weight by losing body water content or muscle. Shape your body and enjoy a perfect look by combining Decatrim with a proper diet and exercise. Remember Decatrim targets fat loss and not merely weight loss.
Click Here To Read Decatrim Review

http://bestdietpills4weightloss.com/

ANSWER: No. The ad focuses too heavily on anecdotal claims about its effectiveness. It also talks about "10 tested" fat loss ingredients, but gives no references to back up these "tests."

Just Don't Judge

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While I was sitting in my writing class peer-reviewing a paper, I could not stop gritting my teeth in frustration due to all of the grammatical errors. The content was well-researched and quite interesting, but the author could not spell to save his life. I quietly judged him and thought, "What an idiot."

Later on, though, a concept that we had studied in Psychology popped into my head. The contrast between intellectual content and poor grammaticism reflected Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Specifically, the author had strong logico-mathematical type intelligence, but lacked linguistic intelligence. I, on the other hand, was his opposite in regards to scores on types of intelligences. After realizing that the author was more intelligent in different aspects than I was, I felt awful for my incorrect judgments. In the future, I will focus on realizing that others have different strengths and weaknesses than I do. Everyone is different, and my strengths are no better than anyone else's.

Maximizing Education by Minimizing Social Loafing

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Recently, I was placed in a group of four to collectively write a paper for my writing class. The task was to write about a book we had read. We approached the task by designating each member a portion of the book to write about. One member was particularly excited to analyze and put together the paper. When brainstorming ideas, he took charge of organizing an outline and writing down ideas. In the end, he ended up writing the whole paper while my other two partners and I did nothing; however, we did not mind.

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My other two partners and I would have contributed much more to the project if we were not in a group. We felt as though we were less responsible for the final project because it didn't solely depend on our work, so we did not make an effort to work any more or any better. This situation reminded me of a concept I had recently read about in my textbook: social loafing. Social loafing occurs when specific individuals do not utilize their full productivity potential within groups.

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The United States is such an individualistic country that I wonder why so many projects and tasks assigned in schools are group-oriented. These types of tasks may work in other collectivist countries, but they don't seem to work here because social loafing occurs most in individualistic societies. Students in our society do more work and learn more when they are on their own. So, wouldn't the education system be better off if teachers assigned more tasks to individuals rather than groups?

Correlation Vs. Causation

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Before I took psychology in school, I never realized how applicable psychology really is to my everyday life. One day does not go by where I think don't about the psychology behind certain events or somebody's actions after having taken this class. One of the main concepts I have really learned to pay attention to is the principle of scientific thinking, correlation versus causation. Applying this to my everyday life has really allowed me to reevaluate how I may be thinking about certain actions or events.

It can become very easy to simply assume that because variable A is associated with variable B, that one causes the other. One example may be believing that hot temperatures cause violence because the Southern United States is warmer and there is also a high crime rate in the South. Another may be assuming that exercise causes someone to live longer when there could be a third variable involved in how long someone lives. I have witnessed instances where people misuse correlation versus causation, and I do it as well. Acquiring knowledge from this class has increased my awareness of this concept and has really led me to closely examine correlation versus causation instances more carefully.

Freud's Theory of Personality

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Out of all the topics and concepts we have discussed in psychology this semester, the one concept that I will still think about in five years will be Sigmund Freud's theory of personality. The id, ego, and superego are the basis to personality and it explains why people act the way they do in their everyday life.

When we behave the way we do, the majority of the decisions come from our unconscious. The id holds our impulses and drives. If we were to act upon these impulses, we would do many things that are socially unacceptable. That is where the ego plays a role. It is the decision maker and prevents us from acting upon the impulses stored in our id until there is an appropriate outlet for us to do so. The superego is our sense of morality. It contains our sense of right and wrong. All three of them can be used to explain personality and behavior.

It is apparent that Freud's theory can be seen in everything we do. I will always think back on what I learned in psychology when I think about both my actions and the actions of those around me. Freud developed a fundamental theory of personality and it has shaped the way we look at behaviors and the way people think.

The following link leads to an image that demonstrates Freud's view on the mind and what parts were involved in the conscious and unconscious:
http://library.thinkquest.org/C004361/iceberg.gif

Stages of Psychosexual Development

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While reading the Lilienfeld textbook this week, the topic that I could not stop thinking about was Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development. This theory describes the process that children go through and must complete in order to become sexually mature. Each stage is defined by which part of the body is subjected to sexual arousal. The first stage, oral, focuses on the mouth and the second stage, anal, focuses on toilet training. The third stage, phallic, is the one that I find the most interesting. This focuses on the Oedipus complex for males or the Electra complex for females. In both of these situations, the child is sexually attracted to the parent of the opposite sex and feels the need to challenge the other parent of the same sex. The theory rounds out with the latency state where sexual impulses lie dormant and the genital stage where sexual impulses mature into romantic attraction.

The third stage, Phallic, is the stage that I have the most difficultly believing happens for everyone. The Greek tragedy of Oedipus is just that, as in very thing that can go wrong happens to him, not that it happens to everyone. But yet, Freud also focused on the subconscious, which means that according to him, this happens to all of us, but none of us remember it. It is very interesting to think about how Freud believes that we have to go through all of these stages before we are mentally capable of having a serious romantic relationship.

Freud's stages of psychosexual development are really important to study, because many of his ideas have greatly influenced society as well as further research into psychology. Freud's ideas are so difficult to falsify that they have been around for so long and for the most part generally accepted, even if there many problems with them.

Social Influences on Gender

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Even as infants gender stereotypes are influencing us all the time. Parents dress their kids in blue or pink, we are either presented with dolls or trucks whether or not we like them or not, all based on one fact: our gender. So even before we have a chance to decide for ourselves what type of toys we like or what colors we like, society is already deciding that for us. I'm not saying that gender stereotypes are wrong, in fact, they are based off of factors that many humans hold in common, but in my opinion many kids are being exposed to things whether or not they like them.

It is important for all of us to build our own identities, and I think that is being harmed by these gender factors. I know that as a child many of my toys were trucks and action figures, but for my younger sisters they had the option of playing with either the trucks or dolls, and as an infant they were most likely indifferent as to what they wanted to play with. As a parent, I think it is important to expose your child to a variety of things, not just items that are specific to that gender; this will help them to build their own individual identity.blue.jpg

Why Not Just One Standardized Test?

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As you reach your junior year of high school, you have to make the decision on if you are attending college or not. If you choose to further your education, many college require you to take a standardized test like the ACT or SAT. As I applied to schools I realized that to get into some school I would need the ACT and others the SAT. What is so different about these that we need two different tests?
According to an article on Math.com, the difference between the SAT and the ACT is that the ACT is "a content-based test" and the SAT is " a critical thinking and problem solving" test. Many school now think that because of these difference that students should only take the ACT. But others say because the tests are so different, you can't compare them. The SAT and ACT also differ in the fact that the ACT has science and the SAT doesn't, The SAT is not all multiple choice, and the SAT has a guessing penalty where as the ACT does not.
Many schools now accept both ACT and SAT scores, so more students are just taking one instead of taking both. I think that if they just had one that colleges would have an easier time accepting people because they are all tested on the same thing, not two different aspects.
http://www.math.com/students/kaplan/satoract.html

Attachment Theory

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The most interesting idea from the past two weeks has been the attachment theory. The attachment theory describes the long term relationship between people. Attachment becomes extremely important during infancy and childhood. Infants become attached to adults that socially interact with them. It is the most important part of infancy for a child to form an attachment to at least one primary caregiver whether it is the mother or father. Infants that form an attachment within the first six months to two years seek security with the attached figure. John Bowlby first published the attachment theory in three volumes between 1969 and 1982. Below is a clip from a larger lecture where Bowlby discusses his theory.
Children need to have a sense of security in all aspects of their lives so that they can grow up to be healthy and productive adults. An infant or toddler is considered "securely attached" if, as they mature and move through their normal developmental stages, they can use their mother or other consistent caregiver as a secure base from which to explore their environment. The securely attached baby or toddler trusts that care will be given to them, their needs will be met consistently, they will be helped to learn self-regulation, and they will be encouraged to learn and explore their environment. Because they feel safe and secure, they have the confidence and sense of competence they need to try new things and to learn.

A Star Named Aderoid

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Many have seen the claim that a star named Aderoid, near as big as our very own sun, will come very close to Earth on June 21st, so close that it look as if we have two suns in the sky. It is said that the star will come within approximately 34 million miles of the earth, and the next time it comes this close won't be until the year 2287.

Now, as awe-inspiring as this may be, it seems fairly extraordinary for such an event to occur and not be all over the news. The reason for that is this: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and all of the evidence for this claim points against the phenomena itself.

Here are the facts. Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun, and Mercury is 36 million miles away from the sun. As we all know, Mercury is a hot, desolate planet, and completely inhospitable to life. If this star called Aderoid came within 34 million miles of Earth, we would be preparing for the end of the world, not an enormous spectacle that we could take pretty pictures of.

Another strong piece of evidence that should strongly be taken into consideration is the fact there is no record of a star called Aderoid in either the Internet Stellar Database, nor in the findings of Nasa. In fact, the nearest star, besides our own sun, is a star called Alpha Centauri, which lies a good 25.8 trillion miles from the earth.

So next time you see a hoax like this, make sure you do your homework before getting your cameras out.

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/star-aderoid-two-suns-hoax.shtml

The Rorschach: not a "tell all" assessment

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The Rorschach Ink Blot evaluation is one of the better known psychological evaluations out there. It has been shown in movies and other media, but is it really a "tell all" for whats going on inside? First, some history. The test originated in the early 1920s, developed by Hermann Rorschach for the same purpose it serves today, helping to diagnose psychological disorders. The test itself is fairly straight forward, a series of 10 blots are shown to the patient and the patient describes what they see. The test administrator evaluates the response based on characteristics of what the person describes, not the perceived image itself. The Rorschach is not a "tell all" evaluation though.

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The Rorschach is often administered with the MMPI or other psychological tests. The purpose of using multiple evaluations serves to provide more consistent results. As we discussed earlier in the semester, if the results of a test aren't replicable, it's not reliable. The Rorschach has undergone a few changes since its creation. The test now uses Exner's scoring system, first developed in the 60's, but even with a fairly consistent scoring pattern, the validity of the test continues to be called into question. Illusory correlations may be responsible for some of this controversy, people may see things that don't relate to their personality at all. It is for this reason that the Rorschach isn't given by itself, for the sake of quality results.

http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Rorschach-technique.html

Can Cell Phones Cook Eggs?

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According to the article, Oeuf the Wall, many people once thought that two cell phones could cook an egg. The myth stated that if an egg were placed between two cell phones that were engaged in a call between each other phone then the egg would be cooked. This myth occurred because people lacked the notion of a certain fallacy: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The extraordinary claim (an egg can be cooked by two phones) lacked extraordinary evidence, in fact any evidence. The truth behind the myth is that people with technical knowledge thought the claim was so ridiculous that they began to publish articles in their journals criticizing the claim through use of sarcasm. This led to people being less knowledgeable in the field of electronics succumbing to the idea. No evidence was ever presented to constitute extraordinary evidence. In fact, when any evidence about the claim was presented, the evidence either disproved the claim or was fabricated using video editing technologies. Therefore, the myth was believed by many people because they lacked the understanding of logical fallacies. Specifically, they didn't understand that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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http://www.snopes.com/science/cookegg.asp

Racial Profiling

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In the opinion articles of newspapers today you will often find that racial profiling continues to be a prevalent and controversial form of discrimination in the Untied States. Throughout our history racial profiling has become increasingly obvious after many events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. People immediately assume that people of particular color and ethnicities are associated with past actions related to history that are normally negative acts against society. They form prejudices that make those people seem reasonable for investigation and legal punishment even though they have done nothing to deserve such treatment. Racial profiling has forced many people to live in fear all because of pre-conceived notions, and what people fail to realize is that this type of treatment can often lead to tension and inaccurate conclusions. This is very much related to the principle of correlation vs. causation that we've been studying throughout the year. Many people assume that because of certain individuals' ethnicities or origins that they are affiliated with previous actions done by people similar to them. There is absolutely no correlation between the two, however countries are now starting to adopt methods of search based on this principle. For example, in London police are beginning to profile and search individuals with the thought being the benefit from these searches is astronomical while affects on the individual are minimal. It will be interesting to see how the Justice Department handles these profiling acts.
It is difficult to change the thoughts and feelings of others, but when it comes to trying to reduce racial profiling we can begin by instilling the presumption of innocence into our daily thoughts. Everybody is innocent until proven guilty and by living by this motto the scrutiny that foreign individuals go through will be greatly diminished and we can avoid false conclusions.

Picture: http://i50.tinypic.com/2jbtun5.jpg
Picture: http://standupforamerica.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/racial-profiling-arabs-plane.jpg

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4790707


Midlife Crisis

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Hollywood has made many depictions of what a midlife crisis is. Remember, you can't always believe what you see in movies. It's not a case of "movie magic"; it's a case of displaying a myth.
The stereotype of a midlife crisis is a man in his forties or fifties impulsively buying a motorcycle or leaving his similarly-aged wife for a younger woman. These may be stereotypes because they may have happened before, but there could be reasons for them. This could be a case of ruling out rival hypotheses. A man could impulsively buy a motorcycle for many reasons. He could have not had enough money in his past to buy one, or maybe there was no need for one because a motorcycle is impractical for a family. Same goes for the other example. A man could leave his wife because he doesn't love her. Maybe he realizes that she's not the one he wants to be with for the rest of his life. There could be different reasons for things associated with a midlife crisis, and until research of a midlife crisis can be replicated, it is a myth.
He is some more data for the research of a midlife crisis. I have a father who fits the description of a person who could go through a midlife crisis. He's old. I have talked to him about his ageing process and he doesn't get too worked up about it. He has fond memories of his childhood but that doesn't mean he wants to act like he did when he was younger. He has matured and the person he wants to be isn't the same person he was as a kid. Of course he would want to be a kid again (who wouldn't?), but that is impossible. He views him getting older as a new experience.

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More on Standardized Testing

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As our text mentioned, there are some considerably significant difference between genders and races in regards to intelligence. At times this can be reflected in standardized tests. According to an article in Psychology Today written by Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton these performance differences put female and minority students at an immediate disadvantage. He goes on to state that this can explain why it is difficult for employers to have a "greater diversity in their law offices, their hospitals, their universities, and their startups" (Do Standardized Tests Predict Your Future Success?). The standardized tests create a "homogenous applicant pool" (Do Standardized Tests Predict Your Future Success?) to begin with, making it difficult for employers to obtain the diversity they seek. 


But the basis of Mendoza-Denton's argument is that standardized tests are biased towards women and minority students. Is this true? 


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In 2011 Shultz and Zedeck published an article stating something that was similiarly stated in the textbook about how well SAT scores predicted later performance. They, however, looked at the LSAT and found that, like the SAT, it was good for "predicting grades at the end of the first year of law school." (Do Standardized Tests Predict Your Future Success?). But they noted it was poor at predicting "effectiveness as a lawyer."  Through interviews they compiled a list of 26 attributes that an effective lawyer would posses. According to their findings the LSAT doesn't predict many of these qualities.  


As a result of these findings Shultz and Zedeck created an alternative means of measuring individuals and predicting if they'd be effective lawyers. This means of measuring "showed few differences as a function of race or gender" (Do Standardized Tests Predict Your Future Success?).   A few law programs are already using these findings to reform their admissions procedure. 


Both this article and our textbook admit that standardized tests are biased towards females and minorities. But that doesn't necessarily reflect the intelligence of individuals and, in the case of this specific article, may not reflect the individuals potential effectiveness as a future lawyer. The findings from the Shultz and Zedeck study however show that these differences can be accounted for if the proper means of testing is found. So perhaps the world of psychology should perhaps start trying to find more, specified ways of testing that aren't biased.

Analyzing the Big Five

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Just about all of us have taken the Big Five personality test by now. The Big Five personality test measures five different aspects of personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. All of these traits are very broad and apply to numerous parts of our daily lives, from casual behavior to little ticks and gimmicks. But is the Big Five test psychologically sound? I will admit that the test was created and administered by persons with experience that far exceeds my own, but I cannot help but question the validity of the test itself. Shouldn't personality tests be scientifically sound?
Our textbook, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding encourages us to think scientifically and to analyze claims and processes in a scientific manner. But the Big Five personality test does not seem to meet all of the requirements it takes for something to be considered a scientific process. While the Big Five test has proven to be replicable even across cultures, the personality test is not falsifiable. There is no tangible evidence that proves a person's personality traits. While the numbers hold meaning relative to each other - that is to say, the different scores and be compared and contrasted with each other - they are relevant if, and only if, they are compared to each other. For instance, saying you have a score of 34 out of 35 in agreeableness does not mean anything out of context. It only means anything if you say you got a 34 out of 35 in agreeableness and a 20 in conscientiousness. By comparing the scores, one can figure that they tend to be much more agreeable than they are conscientious. But because all of the results are relative to one another, they cannot truly be expressed as a single value. The only measure to which we can relate the Big Five personality test is itself. This loophole essentially means that we are simply asked to believe what the test says and not to ask questions.
Granted, the people who developed the Big Five personality test obviously worked hard at coming up with questions and scenarios that are indicative of some people's personality traits. However, the results the test provides hold no real evidence of anything tangible. The Big Five personality test should therefore not be considered a scientific process.

Links

http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/bigfive.htm

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/11/10/the-big-5-model-of-personality/

Condition of Worth

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Although I found many interesting things that I could discuss this week, nothing stuck out to me like Carl Roger's condition of worth which is the expectations we place on ourselves for appropriate and inappropriate behavior. I agree with Rogers that we all have certain conditions of worth that we all hold within ourselves away from others. I believe that these internalities can strongly shape our personality in many ways such as how we decide to hide them and what we would do to keep some of them hidden. In this short YouTube video, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szi0fJxpwOI) it shows many different individuals with what they struggle with most written somewhere on their body. Another reason why I find this concept so interesting is that as outsiders, we usually never know what people struggle with. The people in this video are average people and yet some of them are dealing with extraordinary things that most of us will never know about. There's a saying that goes, "You should be nice to everyone because you don't know what they go home to." Well frankly, sometimes it's more important what they are struggling with no matter where they are; self-worth follows them everywhere. We all have struggled with the question 'who am i?' and the person who we usually come up is less than our genuine selves. For me, this was a difficult question in middle school. This was the time where I wanted to be with the 'popular' kids and I really struggled with who I was. In order to be worth their time, I would try to be them and forget who I was before. Fortunately for me, it didn't take me long to see that I was worth something, even if I wasn't worthy to them. Because of this, I strongly believe that condition of worth plays a key role in our personality and our mental health and is a major concept of interest.

Are Rorschach Tests Really as Reliable as Scientists Say?

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Ever since 1920, the Rorschach test has stood as one of the most commonly used personality measures in the world. Although very popular, this test is as famous as it is infamous. Thinking that this test can't possibly be as accurate as many claim, I searched the internet for an ink blot image and means of interpreting it to see if I could accurately interpret a Rorschach Test, and for that matter, prove that it isn't as credible as many think. Finding just the article I needed on deltabravo.net and a simple inkblot diagram, (which i listed in the tags) I asked a friend to interpret it. He said that it looked like the head of a fox, to which I then started to diagnose. I told him that it relates to his feelings of loneliness, considering the nature of the fox, and his dread concerning the winter months ahead. Is this interpretation wrong? Not necessarily, actually. When it comes to inkblot tests, deltabravo.net noted that not one interpretation is necessarily correct or incorrect, which to me validates my notion of little replicability, because no one interpretation will be exactly the same.
Not only that, but the author of the article includes some interesting quotes, one of them being "The only thing the inkblots do reveal is the secret world of the examiner who interprets them. These doctors are probably saying more about themselves than about the subjects." (Anastasi, 1982) which actually makes a lot of sense. Interpreting something is entirely up to the person, so how something is analyzed really says more about them then their test subject! The article also describes what scientists classify as a good or bad answer, and even that depends! To me, this massive level of inconsistency not only disproves the validity and reliability of the Rorschach test, but shows a layer of confirmation bias that interpreters have because they can't even agree on a structured means of interpretation! Below I have included some pretty cool Rorschach inkblot diagrams and if there is one good thing about these tests, it's that they are very fun to interpret! I have also included some interpretations of them so you can cross reference them with what your friends say about what they see and tell them about the deep layers of their subconscious.

The idea of standardized testing is something that can apply to all college students. Every person who made it to this school got here by some sort of standardized test--ideally the ACT or the SAT. Many people worry about the legitimacy of these tests. They wonder if these tests are an accurate predictor of intelligence. Many people wonder if basing college admissions off of standardized tests is an inaccurate way of deciding whom to admit into a college. I took the ACT in order to get here. Honestly I sometimes do question the accuracy of these tests. Although scores seem to tell you that you're in the right place, that doesn't mean that this is right. Some people just happen to be wonderful test takers.
According to a study done in the book, the correlation between standardized tests and grades in college is fairly low, around .5 or even lower. This is showing that although colleges use these tests as a part of admissions, the tests do not actually showcase a student's intelligence accurately. This is something that every college student can relate to. There are many students I know who are very smart and incredibly intelligent but did not do as great on the ACT as others expected. Then at the same time, some students did exceptionally well considering their GPA and grades in high school.
Here is a video of a college who is doing things a little bit differently now. They have made the decision to stop using standardized test scores for admission purposes. This is a big decision that I believe could be a good one for lots of students. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i3dCPOkrC4

Divorce and Children

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A study done for time magazine on the effects of divorce on children showed that the negative effects of divorce are enduring. The study took 25 and was done on 60 families and found that the children of divorced parents had difficulties later on in life. Although these findings do not clearly reflect the effects due to the fact that there was no control group. Other studies show that children go through the divorce without long-term emotional damage. The effects of divorce depend on severity of the conflict between parents. When the conflict before divorce is more mild the effects are actually more severe than parents with severe conflict before the divorce. Divorce can produce negative effects in some kids. There have been twin studies on the effects of divorce to account for the genetic effects. Researchers found that children of identical twins who'd divorced had higher levels of depression and substance abuse and did worse in school than the children of identical twins who had not divorced. these findings do not rule out the possibilities that the parents conflict before and during the divorce accounts for the differences. I believe that it is the severity of the conflict before and during the divorce and the age of the children determine how it will effect the kids. My parents separated when I was eight. Because of how severe their arguments were just before and during the divorce I just wanted them to separate. Even as an eight year old I Knew that they would be happier apart then together. I also believe that the age of the children is very important. I believe that I was so young I was able to cope with the idea of my parents being apart. I think that there is a certain age window when divorce will effect the children more severely, somewhere between the ages of 11 and 13 or 14.

Haunting Limbs

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl2LwnaUA-k
The video above is a TED talk of a man named Vilayanur Ramachandran who works primarily with the mind. In this talk, he talks about phantom limb syndrome. I found it very interesting how the mind can psychologically 'feel' a limb that has been removed. It is fascinating that the mind is able to create this pain and discomfort even though the person and can and feel that the limb is not there. This phenomena has to do with the plasticity of the brain. In Psych we learned about how the brain can be plastic, and for the most part, the brain was plastic in a good way. Phantom limb pain is an example of how plasticity can potentially be negative. The brain undergoes something called 'learned pain.' Learned pain results from a limb being immobile for an extended period of time, often stuck in a clenched position. The brain 'learns; this position and once the limbs is removed, continues to express the discomfort from the limb being stuck in that position. This is a good example of how the brain can over power the rest of the body's senses. Even though one can see that there is no arm, unless there is cooperation from the brain, the person could still feel the arm's presence.

The Big Five

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The Big Five personality survey we all took can be found at this link. I found this test interesting, and so I had my girlfriend try it out when she came to visit after lecture last week. I knew beforehand she was an emotional person, and I was not; what I wanted to know was the kind of results this difference would produce on the Big Five scale.

Openness to Experience: We both scored very similar scores on this portion, and both scored roughly the same as our class average. Could this be a sign of compatibility?

Conscientiousness: We varied significantly more in this section; I scored one standard deviation higher than the average, leaving me to be more into planning on thinking before acting. She, on the other hand, was slightly below average, thus showing her to be a bit more carefree. Do opposites really attract?

Neuroticism: I scored very high on this, leaving me to be very calm and cool even in tense situations; she was found to be very nervous and skittish. I was roughly one and a half standard deviations above the mean, whereas she was almost two full standard deviations underneath the middle line. Do nervous women find themselves attracted to sound and secure men?

These are all questions that I pondered after receiving our results. I knew how I was before I took the survey, and scored very closely to where I estimated I would land. She found similar results to what she saw in herself, but was surprised by how similar we were in most aspects (she's a believer in the old phrase "opposite attract"). I encourage everyone to take these tests and use the feature that allows you to compare your scores to somebody else's (there's a rather large list to choose from). I believe the Big Five to be accurate and simple to complete; it grants plenty of insight into your own personality, often giving words to somewhat abstract concepts you may have of yourself.

Have We Been Underestimating Fish?

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A lot of people have the belief that fish are not intelligent and often fish characters can be portrayed to be forgetful (Dory in Finding Nemo). However, it turns out that is not what has been found in studies. It was found that fish may actually be able to remember things for up to 3-5 months. According to research at Plymouth University "goldfish have a memory span of up to three months - and can even tell the time." This demonstrates the falsifiability principle of scientific thinking. It turns out that fish can even be classically conditioned "Researchers from the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel trained young fish to associate a sound played through a loudspeaker with feeding time. Each time they played a particular sound, the fish would return for food." Those same fish were later released into the wild to develop after a month of training and about 5 months later, the scientists played the sound again and the fish returned. Another example of fish being classically conditioned was training goldfish to press a lever to get food, but the lever would only dispense food during one hour each day. It was found that the goldfish would adapt and learn when to press the lever each day. Furthermore, a whole group would cluster around the lever as feeding time drew closer.

There were some interesting facts and practical applications found with the study of the memories of fish. It was found by scientists at St. Andrews University in Scotland that minnows are at least as intelligent as rats (that can also be said of sticklebacks and guppies). Also, other studies have shown that goldfish have the ability to learn and remember and that "they outshine trout in intelligence stakes." Lastly, it was found "they can learn their way around mazes, they can learn to recognize other fish, and they can remember which individuals are better competitors." A good application of this find is that the cost of cages, staff, and feeding of the fish would all be cut, along with the impact on the environment. Perhaps this will teach us to not be so quick to underestimate the intelligence of a fellow creature next time.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1106884/Three-second-memory-myth-Fish-remember-months.html

Picture: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/01/06/article-1106884-051BAABA0000044D-134_468x301.jpg

Reunited and it Feels So Good

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From the late seventies into the nineties, the University of Minnesota made an investigation to reunite fraternal and identical twins who were separated at birth. This led to the researchers reuniting about 130 pairs of twins. This investigation was lead by Thomas Bouchard, who discovered a pair of separated twins whom both married women named Linda, divorced, remarried women named betty, had sons named James, and had dogs named Toy. After discovering this, he started looking for and studying genetic traits on the pairs of separated twins. He discovered that twins have a very strong genetic influence on almost all medical and psychological traits. The researchers involved in this investigation made discovered twins that were separated, one grew up in Nazi-Germany and one grew up Jewish. Although totally different political thinking (one being anti-Semitist, the other Jewish), they had similar personality traits. For example, they were both intense, loyal, and had strong political views. This can show that personality has some genetic influence. Although these two twins were opposite in views, they did have the similar personalities. Although the evidence collected from the 130 pairs of twins is quite substantial, this experiment has been quite hard to replicate, so the findings have a chance of being false.

lie detector reliable?

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The Modern Polygraph, has been used in many cases. It is used to see if someone is lying. Courts have used the polygraph to determine if someone is guilty. In our National Security, you must have a polygraph in order to obtain the clearance to have access to the classified materials. Are these polygraphs really reliable? Polygraphs has it's flaws. To put people away, to put the nations security on the line, just because we believe the polygraph is very reliable. We may be putting people away that are innocent. This video, shows that the polygraph can be passed, if you know how to lie. There are techniques that you can be use to trick the lie detector. The polygraph is not always right and we don't really know if it really is 95% right.

When Birds Fly South for the Winter

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The expression "time flies" is generally used to describe the passing of time and how it literally feels like it is flying by right before our very eyes. This is indeed the case when children grow up, move on with their lives, and leave their parents behind. Most mothers experience a great period of depression in their lives during this time known to most as "empty nest syndrome". It is described in our textbook that stay-at-home mothers typically feel the effects of this syndrome more than working mothers, probably due to the fact that they are able to spend more time with their children and now are all alone with no distractions after they leave. My mom experienced this when I left for college. I have an older brother already in college, and then once I left for school my mom was all alone. Fortunately for mothers, it is said that they typically feel an increase in life satisfaction once they get used to the fact that their children are now off perusing their new lives. According to the source "My Food Diary.com" it is said that empty nest syndrome typically occurs in autumn when children leave for college, and also when their child gets married because they now have another person in their life they are able to rely on. Most mothers go through it, and fortunately most of them adjust to the new changes in their lives once their favorite "birds fly south for the winter".

Can Chihuahuas cure Asthma?

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Earlier this week, I read an email claiming that owning a Chihuahua significantly reduces the effects of asthma, and will eventually eliminate the owner's asthma completely. The author claimed that the Chihuahua absorbs and eliminates the asthma when it is near the afflicted person, and stated that this treatment was effective for several people that they know. As evidence for the legitimacy of this claim, the author also asserts that this treatment is supported by a doctor and veterinarian.

The six principles of scientific thinking can be utilized to access the validity of this assertion. Since this is an extraordinary claim, extraordinary evidence must be provided in order to support its validity. However, the email does not provide significant evidence to maintain the claim that Chihuahuas cure asthma. Additionally, the author's observation that the asthma sufferer's symptoms diminished after they received a Chihuahua does not support the assertion that the dog caused these effects, since these results could have been a result of many other variables. Furthermore, these findings have not been replicated in other studies, and the email's appeal to authority is not legitimate proof of the claim's validity.

Since this email does not show that the eradication of asthma was caused by Chihuahuas absorbing and eliminating the ailment, and the conclusion has not been replicated, this claim is not supported when evaluated using scientific skepticism and the principles of scientific thinking.

http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/asthma.asp

Gum Digestion

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The old myth that gum takes seven years to leave the digestive system of the human body is false. It's true that gum is made of largely indigestible material like synthetic gum base and various preservatives, however the gum still exits the body at the same time other consumable items do. This claim fails the extraordinary claim test of scientific reasoning. The extraordinary claim that gum takes seven years to leave the digestive tract of the human body lacked the appropriate extraordinary evidence to back it up. As a result, the claim did not stand up to closer scrutiny.

Intelligence- Is a High I.Q. Everything?

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If you want to read a funny comic about intelligence, click here. Adding images isn't working for me today, sorry!

When it comes to our intelligence, is possessing a high I.Q. truly everything? Throughout most of chapter nine in our Lilienfeld textbook we are told all about I.Q. testing and how important it can be in our society (i.e. when we identify the differences in I.Q. between races and gender we may learn how to lessen these differences by helping promote equality throughout all the races). Though Intelligence Quotient testing has no doubt revolutionized areas of psychology, it's still debated if there's more than one type of intelligence.

When thinking about prominent intelligent figures, I know I first think of Stephen Hawkings, Albert Einstein, or other such individuals. If there's truly more than one type of intelligence, then you most certainly would have to regard Beethoven or Mozart as geniuses for their creativity. So, one question is: could Savants (such as the autistic Kim Peek, also known as the Rain Man) be considered geniuses in their own right? Kim Peek has an I.Q. that qualifies him for mental retardation, yet has amazing memory/ability to recall events (watch this video). I believe we need to clarify what makes an individual intelligent before labeling anyone as a genius or as having mental retardation.

Realizing My Attachment Style

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Out of all the lectures that caught my attention and got my interest, Friday's lecture about the Attachment Theory by Bowlby was the one lecture that reminded me why I am taking this Psychology class. The attachment theory explains that the experiences people went through can affect the way they think about themselves, people around them, and the world. Many of these experiences deal with the relationship people went through during the developmental stages, like their parents. But these experiences could have also occurred during other times that made a huge impact on a person's life. I believe this concept is important because it helps explain why people behave the way they do and how their past experiences affects those behaviors.


These findings helped confirm what kind of attachment style I have. For so long, I have always wondered why I get scared of getting close to people. I have the anxious-ambivalent attachment. I had a terrible experience with one of my best friends in middle school. I felt so abandoned when she stopped spending with me and paid all of her attention to her then boyfriend. It was worse when she wasn't there to support me through my grandparent's death. I thought she was always going to be there because I was always there for her. I am a person who needs constant reassurance and expect long term friendships and relationships. I also just realized now that in my past relationship, my partner was also anxious-ambivalent, and that was why we encountered so many problems. We couldn't live up to each other's needs. It would have been nice to have read this before I started to date this person. This confirmation had made me realize the person I am and the change the way I deal with situations to be able to regulate my emotions for future relationships.

I really like it when I learn new information in this class and then I find out that it also applies to my life.

Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence is the trait of being able to perceive, influence, and manage ones own, others, and a group's emotions.

I took an Interpersonal Communications class as a senior in High school that taught about emotional intelligence. It is a very good thing to practice and increase. One reason is people who have greater emotional intelligence tend to move up higher in job positions and faster than people with lower EI. Another is we can better communicate with each other with a higher Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence has 4 parts to it

1. Perceiving Emotions- Accurately perceiving and understanding emotions such as facial expressions, language, and tone of voice.

2. Reasoning with Emotions- Using your emotions to create positive things not hindrances.

3. Understanding Emotions- Understanding the meaning of the emotion and what caused the emotion.

4. Managing Emotions- The ability to manage and control your emotions.

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High IQ

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While I was browsing the net for topics related to IQ, I came across sever articles that stated that people with High IQs are more likely to do drugs later in life. The intelligence Quotient is "a systematic means of quantifying differences among people in their intelligence." This test was conducted over the span of 30 years, beginning in 1970. It consisted of 8,000 people. In this study, they found that, "IQ at 10 was associated with higher rates of marijuana use at 16. There was also an association between IQ at 10 and use, at 30, of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and ecstasy. The link held for both men and women, and was actually stronger in women." These results remained the same even after the participants parent's class, their later education and income were taken into account.
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One thing that this study did not take into account was ethnicity. Given that IQ tests are often unfair to people who's native language is not the language that the IQ test is given in, their IQ scores are often lower than the norm. Therefore, the subject pool of those with high IQ's was limited to those who were good at the language the test was given in. Furthermore, since this test was conducted among participants only from England, this could be a phenomena that occurs as a result of the British lifestyle or culture.

We know that those with High IQ's tend to live healthier lifestyles and smoke less than those with lower IQ's. This doesn't make much sense at first glance. However, according to the Lillienfield text, people with high IQ's tend to seek new experiences. They are also more prone to boredom than those with average or low IQ's.

http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/11/16/high-iq-in-childhood-correlates-with-adult-drug-use/

Racial Factors in IQ Testing

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After much research has been conducted, it is evident that there are differences between races when it comes to IQ scores. African Americans and Hispanics are assumed to score up to as much at 15 points lower than Caucasians, while Asians are assumed to score higher than all other racial groups. Some researchers believe that genetics is a factor as to why, specifically, African American IQ tests are much lower. This finding is important because it finds general differences between races. Also, if a certain race score low in a particular area, it can help educators find how to improve their scores.

However, I do not agree with this finding. Since slavery times, African Americans have been viewed as non-human (3/5 of a person) and therefore never received quality education. Therefore from generation to generation, African Americans were not reared in environment conducive for learning. However, this does not mean that African Americans genetically are less intelligent, but it means that were not raised into families that strongly valued education. Also, this stereotype threat is a huge struggle for African Americans to cross. African Americans are expected to do worse in school and less likely to continue on to higher education. These stereotypes hinder African American progression because it discourages them from trying because science tells them that they are genetically insufficient.

There are other possible causes of the IQ difference, such as socioeconomic reasons (i.e. poverty). However, overall, these studies are at risk of being false due to confirmation bias. We live in a society that has a history of racial inequality. Therefore, when some of these studies were taking place (some were even taken place during the civil rights movement), researchers could have had a pre-proclaimed belief of what the study would show.

In the following video, media blames problems such as poverty and family environment as factors that hinder African American achievement as seen in a common IQ test (SAT) instead of genetics.

Emotional Cheating

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funny-tiger-woods-cheating-picture-400x400.jpeg

The first question would be, what is emotional cheating? Emotional cheating is being emotionally unfaithful with your partner and it doesn't really deal with physical intimacy/intercourse. Here are the signs of emotional cheating: discussing your partner and relationships with your friend, meet your friend for dinner or lunch without telling your partner, keep your computer, files, and internet sites password-protected, hide or are secretive about your life, keep your partner waiting while you spend time with your friend, and stay in regular intimate contact with ex boyfriends or ex girlfriends. Emotional cheating starts when the boy/girl starts chatting with coworkers or the people that they see regularly. Then they start taking them out to lunch or make special efforts which causes the attachment to become stronger between the two.

The interesting part of this article is the talk about internet relationship. Emotional cheating from the internet are caused by chat rooms, discussion boards, and forums. There is greater intimacy when you are online because the people you talk to are anonymous and you may never even see them in real life. From my personal experience, my first girlfriend was from the internet. I was young and didn't know much about girls and getting into relationships. I met her on a chat site and we started talking about our similarities such as, how we were associated with the same culture, religion, hobbies, and personality. The people that go through regression from making relationship mistakes at an early age and they still make those ridiculous mistakes at an adult age I think are just not thinking right. I was lucky to not go through regression in internet relationship because I am on the internet a lot and I talk a lot to girls, but don't get into those one week relationships.

HERE IS THE ARTICLE http://l-pawlik-kienlen.suite101.com/emotional-cheating-a24289

The Flynn Effect: When Will it End?

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The Flynn effect is a peculiar thing to think about. Although we oftentimes think of our elders to be smarter than us, it turns out that most people are actually a "full 10-15 IQ points better than those of our grandparents." (Lilenfeld, 342).This means that we are actually smarter than our elders. Smarter does not always mean wiser, however. Different things have been said to contribute to the increase of IQ every generation. Some components that contribute to this increase are increased test sophistication, increased complexity of the modern world, better nutrition, and changes at home and school. The test sophistication that has increased over the years points to people's test taking ability increasing. If a person is used to taking a multiple choice test, odds are they will increase their scores over time because no new methods are being presented to them. As far as the complexity of the modern world goes, that can be explained as easily as pointing out that I am "writing" this blog post on the computer. There are so many things that people must learn to control in order to keep up with this fast paced world and as it turns out, all the things we must control actually increases our IQ and learning ability. Better nutrition is a pretty obvious way of increasing the body's efficiency. The body is a complex thing, but many studies have provided people with the ability to know what's good for them and how to make them healthier. This increased overall body health contributes to heightened brain health as well. Another difference between the way that my grandparents grew up and the way I grew up is that they had many siblings, while I only had one. Because my parents only had my brother and me to focus on, we had more time for our parents to teach us and spend time with us. This increased time with our parents provides us with a higher IQ. Overall I think the Flynn Effect has complete truth to it, but there has to be a plateau that people will meet at some point in the future. An increase in the amount of information we are able to take in and process has to end at some point, the only question is; when?

Do Opposites really Attract?

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Society and the media have coined the phrase "opposites attract" in connection with the dynamics of romantic relationships. In a stereotypical Hollywood film like Grease, two people with seemingly conflicting personalities, Sandy the typical good girl and Danny the rebellious biker boy, fall in love and end up being perfect for each other. Is this love story plausible in real life? Studies conducted by the University of Iowa in 2005 concluded that married partners were happier if they had similar personalities as opposed to similar attitudes. This evidence suggests that common personality traits, as outlined in the Big Five, are important in relationships but that common attitudes are not.
Personality, as defined in the Lilianfield text book as a person's typical way of thinking, feeling and behaving differs significantly from the term "attitude" which is defined as a set of opinions regarding things like religion or other beliefs. This difference can be seen in the twin study of Oskar Stohr and Jack Yufe, two brothers who had similar personalities in that they both were intense and loyal, but had opposing attitudes in that one was a deeply religious Jew and the other a member of the Nazi party. So although Danny and Sandy were polar opposites when it came to their opinions about how they should act, they had common personality traits such as agreeableness and extraversion.
Genetics play a role in attraction as well, however in this case the phrase in question hits the nail on the head. A study conducted by the University of New Mexico in 2007 found that women prefer mates who have different major histocompatibility complexes from their own and tend to have happier marriages if this is the case. This could be an evolutionary adaptation to ensure that the offspring of the two will have a complete and functional immune system but regardless of its origins, couples with different MHC's are more likely to be satisfied in their marriages than couples with similar MHCs.
So there you have it the answer to the age old question "do opposites attract" is yes and no. On a genetic level, opposites do attract but people prefer mates with similar personalities. Attitudes really have nothing to do with it so Danny and Sandy, though had different attitudes, became the perfect couple because of their same personality traits and presumable different genes.



What do college tests really measure?

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Every person at a 4 year university has had to take either the ACT or SAT as part of the admission process. The stress that accompanies these tests greatly influences how much one studies, prepares, and preforms on them. Our book argues that these tests may not accurately assess the ability of student performance. This is an important theory considering that high schools greatly emphasize the importance of preparing and doing well on those tests. It may make students, parents, and teachers re-think how they prepare students for college. Also, it may make colleges reevaluate how much they emphasize those tests on their admission application.
I have had very recent experience with this being, now, a freshman at the University of Minnesota. During my college admittance process I took a four week class on preparing for the ACT. We met every Saturday for 2 hours and focused on how to prepare and study for the test. I remember being very stressed out throughout that year. Believing that I had worked hard all through high school and now my admittance rested on the score of one test. I never believed I would fail, but I was concerned that if I didn't reach a certain mark I would be denied by the U. However, if I knew then what I do know, I would have breathed a little easier knowing it wasn't the end all.
Research done by Kuncel & Hezlett (2007), found the correlation between high scores on the ACT, SAT, and GRE to be average in predicting first-year grades, and low on performance in later years. In fact, there seems to be very evidence, if any, proving that those aptitude tests truly predict overall performance in student's college careers. In fact, due to the "restriction of range" phenomenon, the correlations even go away completely when they limit the score range of the variables. Also, these tests don't predict how students will perform in their major when they actually like what they are studying. With this information now becoming more widely accepted, it begs the question why do these tests still carry so much weight in the admittance decision? Also, what other ways can colleges' measure aptitude of future students?

This video link sheds some light on the research in this controversy.

http://vimeo.com/32264821

This article provides evidence to the contrary, why aptitude tests are good estimators of performance.

http://www.tcnj.edu/~joss/2007articles/Stickler-SAT%20Critical%20Review.pdf

Issues with Standardized Testing

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Todays students of America are forced to take part in more standardized testing than any other generation in history. These tests are administered to every student in the country and are used to rank schools and students in order of effectiveness.
The test that comes to mind when thinking of standardized testing is often the ACT or SAT. While these two are standardized tests, they are aptitude tests as well and rank how well a student is predicted to succeed outside of school. The biggest issue that arises with the ACT and SAT is the mass amount of reliance that is placed on the students final scores.With many kids, their score plays a major role in determining their future. If their score on the test is not high enough, most colleges will not even consider letting them attend.
One way to fix this may be to expand the range of material on the test. For example, I took the tests as a prospective business student and was quizzed heavily on math, chemistry, biology, and grammatical English. While all of these are relevant in some way, they do not accurately predict how I will succeed in the business world.
By expanding the range of material, many more students will be allowed to prove what they know and more reliance can be placed on their scores. Examples of new material include business, arts, design, and even culinary topics. If all of this takes place, the standardized testing will be more accurate and students will be better off in their future careers.
http://school.familyeducation.com/educational-testing/educational-philosophy/38778.html?page=3&detoured=1

The Big Five

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Paul Costa and Robert McCrae developed the theory of the Big Five personality traits. They used the lexical approach which says that the most important features of personality are found in language, to find the Big Five Traits. They define the Big Fives as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The theory says that all people fit in at some point on a scale for each trait. For instance extroversion some people will be very extroverted, while other won't much extroversion at all, but they still have a little bit of extroversion in their personality. The Big Five has been used to predict job performance those with high agreeableness and low neuroticism are associated with good job performance.
The Big Five personality assessment remains relatively stable over time, allowing researcher to compare results across generations, as well as across cultures. The stability of the results lets researchers look at the heritability of personality over time as well.
The Big Five is an important theory as it allows us to look at all personality equally. Since inventory can be used universally we can compare results across the world, the nation, the state, etc.. Comparisons allow us to see similarities in personalities that can explain what type of personality creates a leader, which personality type makes a good worker, among other explanations.
I took a personality test based off the Big Five theory and it provided a lot of good insight to me about who I am as a person as well as my compatibility with others. The test told me how I should deal with people with different personalities as well as how they should deal with me. The information that the results put how I see the world into words, that I could not of come up with myself. I thought that was the best part of taking the test.
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Personality Quizzes

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Personality tests are interesting and fun. Some kinds are considered reliable, but overall they are very random and inaccurate. I took five "Which Disney Character Are You?" personality quizzes and got five different results. One test, said that I am most like Pooh Bear. It said "You have many great friends that are trustworthy and honest. You value friendships and do what you can to keep them strong, which usually has people by your side for years. You also enjoy the occasional adventure." I thought that this result was funny and accurate. The next test said that I was most like Peter Pan. It stated "You are very brave and are always looking out for the people you love." Automatically, I agreed with this conclusion and thought it was a good explanation of my personality. The third quiz said that I am most like Mrs. Incredible. "Incredible is your name, and for good reason- you excel in everything you put your mind to. You are type 3 in the ennegram personality types." I thought that this result could be close to correct, but I did not agree with it as much as the other two. The forth personality quiz compared me to Timothy Mouse with the explanation, "You are the underdog's ultimate buddy. Just ask a fellow like Dumbo." I did not agree or disagree with this result. The last quiz I took said that I was most like Cinderella. It had a lengthy explanation, saying that "Although gentle and soft spoken, Cinderella has a keen intelligent sense of humor which she wisely keeps hidden from her cruel Stepmother and jealous stepsisters. Finding delight in her tiny animal friends, able to sing as she works, Cinderella has true dignity something her Stepsisters could learn a thing or two about. Despite moments of heartbreak and disappointment, Cinderella holds onto her hopes until goodness and beauty are rewarded and dreams that she has dreamed do come true." I agreed and disagreed with this result. Looking at the five results, there are some similarities, but also some differences. The results of personality quizzes are sometimes correct, sometimes you decide that they describe your personality even if they do not, and sometimes they are completely wrong.
{http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/WI7ZHZ/Which-Disney-Character-Are-You; http://www.allthetests.com/quiz25/quiz/1217282644/What-Disney-character-are-you-most-like; http://www.youthink.com/quiz.cfm; http://www.seabreezecomputers.com/disney/; http://toys.about.com/library/quiz/}png

Do standardized tests predict our futures?

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In an article written in our psychology text books, the question of whether standardized tests predict future success was brought up. This got me thinking what if standardized tests were the only way to predict our future successes, or what are the other factors that play into our success. According to the article written in our textbook, standardized tests such as the SAT and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) do not do a great job of predicting grades for students in college. While reading this, the question was raised in my mind, and I'm sure many of my peers' minds as well, why on earth do we have to sit through 4 hours of torture taking these tests if they don't even predict what kind of grades we're going to get in college? Also, if these tests don't predict the grades that we will be receiving why do colleges place such a heavy emphasis on scoring high on standardized tests?
My questions were answered as I read further into the article. I found out that standardized tests do in fact predict grades, but not for the first year of college. They are better predictors of grades in the later years of college. I also learned that when a full range of scores are measured, they do predict grades well. But for many universities, people who receive low scores on standardized tests are not admitted into that college, therefore they do not use the full range of scores because it isn't necessary.
For me this was kind of a relief knowing that standardized tests do not perfectly predict the grades for college students. I didn't receive as high of a score as I wanted to but it's good to know that I can still get good grades regardless of my ACT score. I have always been a good student but I have a tendency to choke when it comes to tests. Even though I am not a great test taker, I can still get good grades by working hard and studying really hard so I don't bomb tests.

bill gates giving away money?

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Just about everybody knows who Bill Gates is. He was the founder of microsoft and because of that he is now a multi-billionaire. Now that he has retired he has been retired he has been a lot more generous with high gigantic fortune. Despite this, is it plausible to believe such a claim? Supposedly, if you pass on the email, they will track it and reward you for how many other people reply and then pass on that email. From the psych 101 textbook, we can use the principle of extraordinary claims. This principle says that with an extraordinary claim, there must be extraordinary evidence in order to prove it.

Is there extraordinary evidence here? Under further review there is not. By using a different principle, such as "ruling out other hypothesis' there is a much each better answer.In fact, not just anyone can receive money. Yes Bill Gates does give out money, but only to people have applied to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with this, there is no known way to track an email. This being said there is no way to determine who sent it to who, and how much money each person should be compensated. This is using Occam's razor as well, as there is a much simpler explanation, instead of earning money from untraceable emails, the person must have applied to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

the line i used was: http://www.pcworld.com/article/150080-2/eight_crazy_email_hoaxes_millions_have_fallen_for.html

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Standardized Testing

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As college students we have taken countless amounts of standardized tests. The ACT, SAT, AP's, state recognized standard exams like the MCA's, etc. Many of us have to take more exams of that nature like the MCAT or LSAT. These standardized tests "measure achievement or ability". They predict a student's success in school. However, many of us have looked at our scores with awe wondering how we got that score when it's either much higher or lower than what we are capable of.

Most states on the US use the passing of standardized tests as a requirement to graduate to higher levels of learning. Many do well on these tests. These people are referred to as "good test takers". This is because the tests are about thought, not content. They favor 2 types of people: the thinkers (those who are fast thinkers), and the studiers (those that study for the patterns of the tests). These 2 types of people perform well on these tests because either they are quick thinkers or because they have understood the testing patterns and types of questions that will be asked because it is standard. Though it is an accepted requirement, many students believe standardized testing is unfair because not everyone has the same background, circumstances, or levels of intelligence, and that not everyone is academically strong in the tested areas. Many students complain that these factors along with a tense environment on test day, lead to unfair results. In these ways, students from low-income and certain minority-group backgrounds are more likely to be hurt buy these test results.

Administrators say that these tests are a necessary medium for common academic expectations. Some argue that there are alternate ways of evaluating student progress because good observations are more helpful than any screening test. One such idea is using trained teams of judges to rate performance. I feel that there are better ways of measuring ability. You may be finished taking these test, or you may have to take a few more, but the concept of measured intelligence is something to think about.


Here are the sources I used:
http://fairtest.org/facts/howh
http://www.colleges.com/admissions/articles/stdtests.html

Personality Structure

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While reading chapter fourteen in the Lilienfeld text, the topic I found most interesting was Freud's thoughts on the structure of personality. Freud came up with the idea that our personality consists of three components: the id, ego, and superego. Those three components can combine to form a personality. The first component, id, is unconscious. The id possesses our most basic drives, which are aggression and sex. The id is also aiming to obtain instant gratification. The second component, the ego, would be considered the primary component of personality. This is true because the ego makes most of the decisions that determine personality. The ego deals with real world problems that it must face every day. The ego is also dominated by the reality principle, which delays gratification. This is unlike the pleasure principle which tries to obtain instant gratification. An example of the reality principle in action would be someone suppressing their urge to punch an annoying person. The last component, the superego, sets our moral standards. The superego helps us determine what is right from wrong. In order to have a healthy personality, it is necessary for there to be an interplay, or even conflict between the three. For example, a bank robber would probably have a highly developed id, but his ego and superego would probably not be well developed. This is true because the bank robber would act out of aggression on impulse in dealing with his desire for money. Not everyone has personality structures on the spectrum of criminals, but no two people have exactly the same personality.

How good are standardized tests?

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Some school administrators love standardized tests. However, are they as useful as they are cracked up to be? Some would say yes, others would fight to the death that they actually inhibit children from learning. Standardized tests encourage teachers to teach to the test, which prohibits them from teaching other material. From my personal experience, I have learned more useful information from topics not on tests than topics that were rigorously tested.
Michigan State University stated important standardized test affect curriculum, have negative impacts on students and teachers and they are biased tests. Under high-stakes tests, teachers end up teaching to the test because they want to receive monetary recognition for their class testing well. If students end up testing poorly, then schools are punished rather than helped for those scores. Under the "No Children Left Behind Policy" of George W. Bush, schools that test poorly lose federal funding while schools that test well receive more money, accentuating the gap between the best schools and the worst schools. The urge to have students test well sometimes leads to dishonesty among the teachers and other school staff. About 9% confessed manipulate and cheat the scores so that it seems that kids tested better than they actually did, as noted in a study done by Hass, Haladyna, and Nolen.
Are standardized tests really a good way to predict how well students will do in the future? Some would say yes, based on the positive correlation between IQ and job performance. However, this is merely a correlation not a causation. Another limiting factor of standardized tests is that they fail to rule out rival hypothesis of how intelligent students are by only using multiple choice tests. Of course, that is hard to falsify because the questions may have high incremental validity. While standardized tests may highlight a students intelligence, they do not accurately predict a students future success because they do not recognize confounded variables such as emotional intelligence and creativity.

https://www.msu.edu/~youngka7/cons.html

Smartest Man Alive?

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Kim Ung-Yong was born on March 8, 1962. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Highest IQ" with an IQ of 210.
Even months after Kim was born, he displayed incredible intellectual ability. He could talk when he was only 4 months old and by the age of 6 months he could hold conversations with people around him. The average child doesn't even begin speaking until about age one year. By the time he was 2, he could read in 4 different languages: English, Korean, German, and Japanese. From then on out, he could learn a new language in only about a month's time.
At age 2 and a half, Kim began learning calculus. He could differentiate and solve difficult multiplication problems. On November 2, 1967 millions tuned in to watch Kim on a Japanese TV show doing differential and integral calculus at only the young age of 5. Kim was also creatively advanced and could write phenominal poetry and paint masterpieces.
At the age of 4, Kim began studying physics at Hanyang University. In 1970, at age 8, United States NASA invited him to finish his studies. He continued to research for NASA until he was about 16 years old.
The example of Kim Ung-Yong explores the complexity of the human brain. Some children prove to be "geniuses." Kim baffles the minds of people all over the world, how did this child challenge all the standards for child development? What makes him so smart?

The Cursed Limosine

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The limosine the Archduke Franz Ferdinand rode in Bosnia is said to be a cursed car, that brings tragedy to any of it's owners. First of all, the Archduke was shot in the car, igniting World War I. After that the car is said to have passed to his general, who lost a major battle and was fired. From there it passed to officers, government officials, and wealthy doctors and merchants, all of whom were either maimed, killed, or killed somebody else with the car.
Now, while it seems that the car could be cursed, that is probably not the case if looked at with the pricipals of scientific thinking. First of all, it cannot be called cursed for sure because there is no way of knowing the cause and correlation of the accidents. There is the more likely chance that it is merely coincidence that much death has occured around the car, or not all of the stories are true and have sprung up around the car due to people being superstitious. There is no way to falsify that it is cursed because there is no way to test the supernatural. Furthermore, saying a car is cursed supernaturaly is an extraordinary claim, especialy having rumors and stories for evidence.

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/jinxlimo.asp

Walking as a Pre-Programmed Skill

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A Discovery News article HERE suggests that humans and animals are hardwired to walk. In the article, researcher Francesco Lacquaniti's article HERE is referenced, declaring that our original thought--that humans learn to walk by creating new neural connections--is not entirely true. Rather, humans are already programmed with the basic information to walk without the need to develop new neural connections.

The article is somewhat vague as to how researchers know that new neural connections aren't made; however, since this tendency seems to occur over species other than humans, some researchers believe that this is enough evidence to satisfy the scientific principle of replicability.

I do agree that replicability is present; yet, I am not entirely convinced that walking is not developed via neural networks. Without the development of new neural pathways, wouldn't this suggest that the process of walking, and perhaps other motor developments, are in a static location in the brain? Isn't the brain more plastic than that? How does this conflict with children walking at somewhat different ages, instead of all at X number of years after their births? Although articles like this seem easy to believe, it is important to rule out rival hypotheses and heuristics.

One thing this article inspires in me is the curiosity of how every complex behavior or thought starts somewhere and consistently uses a basic behavior in order to exhibit complex behaviors. My fascination with the human brain is consistently increasing when I look at the most simple motor development and behavior tasks.

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In terms of cross-species similarities vs within-species similarities, this article encouraged me to check out another article HERE about animal suicides and how they "shed light on human behavior."

IQ's

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IQ is a difficult idea term to define. But it is basically a test to measure thinking ability. Many psychologists have come up with ways to define intelligence, which makes it very hard to comprehend. With general intelligence, specific abilities fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence, there are so many ways to define intelligence and really not one way is correct. However, I think that it is interesting how hard it is to define intelligence. Intelligence to me can mean many things. I don't think one test can really tell how intelligent a person is. For example, in high school I scored a 27 on my ACT, I had a friend that was failing many of his classes and he got a 30. He may have been smart but lazy, which can effect how intelligent you are. There are many ways that can explain this but this also shows that there are many different types of intelligence. http://www.allthetests.com/iq-test-intelligence.php3 This link is a good example that there is more than one way to test intelligence. People cannot take one test and determine there intelligence.

In Statistics We Trust?

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Much of our knowledge is confirmed and based off of many statistics. Whether it is about how many times men think about sex in a day, or what our motivations are within society, statistics is what creates a deeper understanding of psychology. However, before immediately accepting statistics as a basis of understanding, one should consider the population that was surveyed or tested to form conclusions. Are the samples of people being surveyed for many questions used to support psychological findings from too similar of populations?

Many questions, such as "how frequently do men think about sex daily?", are often answered through a series of surveys. This is very dangerous because many people who answer surveys ones that are interested enough in the topic that they answer, or answer dishonestly. This creates many forms of statistical biases, which makes certain findings unreliable. If different types of people from various locations are pooled into samples, then we know that the statistics found are representative of most people in the world, rather than middle-class Americans for example.

Another issue is how updated different statistics are. There are several studies that have been done over the years, but knowing whether or not the experiments are replicable is an important quality to have. If studies are not replicable, or do not bear the same results each time, then how can one say that the statistics are reliable? All of these things are important factors to consider while making conclusions about psychology. There have been many great studies done by various scientists, so the information we have now about psychology is valid. However, it is a very interesting thought that some psychological "facts" could be proven false for something as basic as the sample of people being surveyed in a study. Although it is not true, it would be a disaster if large chunks of our knowledge were lies just because of false confirmations from poorly executed studies and experiments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbJNkH-pDd8&ob=av3e

The Battle of the Three Agencies of Personality

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Sigmund Freud was the founder of the Psychoanalytic theory of personality. Freud's theory is described as the belief that childhood experiences and unconscious desires influence people's behaviors. These behaviors then play a role into and reflect someone's behaviors. He believes that there are three components of someone's personality: The id, ego, and superego. The id can be described as our most primitive impulses. This component is driven by sex and aggression and is completely unconscious. You can consider this the part of personality that disregards all rules and common sense and just wants to pleasure its needs. It wants immediate gratification and does everything for its self. Think of it as our "little devil", our desire to do what we want because of the fact we want it, not taking into consideration any negative consequences. The superego is the counterpart to the id. It is our main sense of morality. This part of personality causes us to feel guilty. Consider this component our "little angel"; it takes everything into consideration and makes decisions that it knows won't have negative consequences. The superego looks at what is right and wrong and makes decisions based off of that. The ego is our personality's mediator between the superego and the id. It is our executive and principle decision maker. It solves all our real world problems by analyzing both sides of the situation to make the correct decision so we don't have any negative consequences. It looks more into the reality of things, and waits to gain gratification until it can find the best decision.

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In high school I read a book where each of the agencies of Freud's personality theory is shown through a character. The Lord of the Flies written by William Golding has three main characters: Piggy, Jack, and Ralph. A group of boys has been stranded on an island because their plane was shot down due to the raging war. They now have to live without adults and have to support themselves. Jack represents the id component of personality. Jack satisfies his immediate desire to hunt and kill for meat. By doing so he lets the fire go out which is signal for anything passing by. Jack also wants to be in power, by ruling over the boys and having the conch. Piggy represents the superego. In one part of the book Piggy is told to blow the conch, but he refuses to because his aunt told him not to because he has asthma. This shows that Piggy follows rules taught by others. When Piggy is killed the boys all go nuts, showing that if the id was allowed to rule all chaos would break out. Ralph represents the ego. Ralph doesn't just let Jack's mistake be unobserved, so he gets on him about letting the fire go out. He also gets passed the fact that the fire did go out and moves on to make the next decision. There is also a part in the book that Ralph is asked to step down. He thinks deeply about stepping down and in the end does step down because he think it's the best thing for the group, whereas the superego would step down immediately and the id would jump to his opportunity.
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This concept is very important because it shows us that we have different aspects of our personality. If someone's superego is more dominant we can conclude things about a person's personality. Usually they would be very kind and considerate. If the id was more dominant they would have personality traits of self-centered or inconsiderate. We can look at how people act in society and connect it to this theory. People can use this theory to help them balance their personality so they ultimately have a strong ego that makes them a more well-rounded and good person. I believe in this theory, but I wonder if there is really any solid proof that we have these agencies and that they actually battle each other.

(information from http://bookstove.com/book-talk/analysis-of-the-lord-of-the-flies-with-sigmund-freuds-ideas/)

How Much Does Talent Really Matter?

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This article, written by psychology professors, describes a critical examination of the idea popularized recently by the research findings of K. Anders Ericsson that practice is the most important determinate for greatness, even more so than intelligence. Ericsson asked students at a music academy to estimate how many hours they had practiced since starting violin and compared their responses to ratings of their skill as violinists by instructors at the school. He found that those who practiced the most had the best ratings. The authors of the article use the scientific thinking principle of replicability to critically evaluate the research and come to the conclusion that the key to success may not be as black and white as Ericsson's research seems to suggest.

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The authors describe a study that followed students who scored in the top 1% of the SAT by age 13. They found that compared with those who scored in the 99.1 percentile, the students in the 99.9 percentile were between 3 and 5 times more likely to go on to do something important, such as publish an article in a scientific journal or secure a patent. They also describe their own research that found a 7% increase in sight-reading performance by pianists with stronger intellectual ability. From these findings, they conclude that intellectual ability is an extremely important aspect of success and practice alone will not result in greatness.

While they do provide evidence that practice alone will not make everyone great, the authors make their own errors of scientific thinking. In particular, they do not address the possibility of a problem with correlation vs. causation in the study of the top 1% of SAT scores. Perhaps the reason for the 99.9 percentile students being more successful was something more than just intellectual ability, such as growing up in wealthy families or having successful successful parents that provided them with connections in their fields. In their own research looking at sight-reading performance in pianists and their working memory capacity, they also provide insufficient evidence of correlation vs. causation. They fail to consider that increases in working memory capacity could be a direct result of practicing, which would make their findings essentially the same as Ericsson's. Overall, while the authors do provide a good reminder to critically examine research findings, they fail to recognize the biases in their own arguments.

Hambrick, D. and E. Meinz (2011, November 20) Sorry, Strivers: Talent Matters. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/sorry-strivers-talent-matters.html

Are Left-Handed People Smarter?

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(http://www.groundreport.com/World/Interesting-Characteristics-of-a-Left-Handed-Perso/2860469)

According to this article, a research done by Dr. Alan Searleman of St. Lawrence University in New York demonstrated that left-handed people tend to be more intelligent and possess higher IQ scores than their right-handed counterparts. It was also noted in this article that it was "found that 4 out of 5 original Macintosh computer designers are left-handed and 25% Apollo astronauts are also left-handed." In addition, a handful of U.S. presidents are left-handed as well, such as Gerald R. Ford, Ronal Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barak Obama.

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Asserting that most left-handed individuals are smarter than right-handed individuals is a very extraordinary claim, and such a claim requires extraordinary evidence. The evidence provided by the article regarding the Macintosh designers, Apollo astronauts, and U.S. presidents is highly supportive of this claim, but these evidences may have likely been a result of the confirmation bias. Supporters of this claim may easily fall prey to this bias, neglecting important information regarding intelligent, right-handed leaders, workers, and so on.

In addition to providing many examples of intelligent left-handed people, the author of the article also noted of a research finding that supported this claim. Although the study may have yielded consistent results, there was no indication that these results have been replicated in other studies.

Lastly, one major complication to this subject is that the percentage of left-handed people in the population is substantially lower than the percentage of right-handed people in the population; roughly only ten percent of the population is left-handed, which may make it more difficult to obtain accurate results in such studies.

Why You Should Stop Checking Your Horoscope

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Link to PsychicAdvertisement:
http://www.psychicsource.com/landingpages/lpnonseasonal.aspx?imc=430810&pg=122&tfn=1.855.362.8647&gclid=CMGOwLzAxKwCFYXrKgodFAIHqg&CookiesChecked=true


For years, TV psychics, fortune tellers, and even horoscopes have satisfied the overwhelming desire individuals have to learn about their futures. Often we stare at our television screens in amazement as TV psychics, such as Sylvia Browne, rattle off information about dead relatives and peer into the future with remarkable accuracy. As the subject of the psychic reading nods his or her head in agreement, confirming the predictions of the psychic, most individuals would accept the psychic reading as valid. When thinking in terms of psychology, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The "Psychic Source" advertisement (link above), provides costumers with a direct link to a multitude of psychics and fortune tellers. To boost its credibility, the advertisement mentions the fact that the company was once used in Good Morning America. This "evidence" of credibility falls under the authority fallacy. The fact that an authority figure (Good Morning America) appears to endorse the company, this does not verify the accuracy of the psychic readings. The advertisement also provides examples of previous psychic readings given to their costumers. One of the readings simply stated that there would be a new man entering the life of the costumer in the near future. This psychic reading is a prime example of the P. T. Barnum effect, which states that individuals tend to accept high base rate descriptions (descriptions that apply to everyone). Because the psychic did not provide any details in her reading when she told the costumer that a new man would be entering her life, this reading could have been given to anyone and could have still been misinterpreted as accurate.

Since the company relies on readings that could be accepted by almost any individual, the readings can not truly be falsified. If the readings provided vivid details that allowed for individualistic interpretation, they could then be proved or disproved. Because the advertisement falls prey to the authority fallacy and the P.T. Barnum effect, the psychic readings it provides could be pseudoscience. The advertisement's readings also cannot be falsified. The ad's claim of being able to predict the future of costumers is very much extraordinary, but the supposed evidence the advertisement provides is lackluster.

Worldview and Brain Development

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A recent study in London, led by Ryota Kanai, showed that political ideology is partially based on biological differences in the brain. Conservatives were found to have a larger amygdala and a smaller anterior cingulate cortex than their liberal counterparts. This study is fascinating and comes with some serious implications and explanations.

The amygdala, of course, is the brain's fear center and is linked to emotional learning. Since this area is larger in conservatives, it means that they will be more fearful in their reactions and feelings and rely more on emotion than liberals when making decisions and formulating opinions. Liberals on the other hand are more likely to be realistic and rely on facts when analyzing the issues, while being less adept at recognizing threats than conservatives. This overstimulation in the amygdala explains why President Bush may have invaded Iraq on the pretense that there were weapons of mass destruction hidden in the country. Although Saddam Hussein was a great threat, the enlarged amygdala in the brains of Bush and other conservatives may have made them have excess fear, leading them to risk human lives and waste billions of dollars to find WMDs that did not really exist.

The anterior cingulate cortex is a region of the brain that is involved in decision making. Since this area tends to be larger in liberals, they typically are better at managing conflicting information. This is somewhat linked to the conclusions in the previous paragraph, which leads me to conclude that the typical makeup of a liberal brain makes them more adept at making informed decisions and opinions. This may also explain some religious bias, typically from conservative-minded people. Many are presented with clear, unbiased, and peer-reviewed research on evolution, but are unable to accept the facts. A smaller anterior cingulate cortex could be a cause for why they cannot make sense of the mass of evidence for evolution, and instead fall back to simpler, but incorrect, explanations like creationism.

Of course, this are just trends measured in a study, and are not an "ultimate solution" as to who is correct. It is just a scientific study that gives us some general, correlative information and offers an explanation to why people think how they do.

Source:
http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/08/liberal-vs-conservative-does-the-difference-lie-in-the-brain/

how to be happy

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I read some ways that offered by Martin,Myers,Myers and Diener. I think this research is very important for people to improve their life and can also explain some questions we have in our life. The clues are: Marriage, Friendships, College, Religion, and Political affiliation, Exercise, Gratitude, Giving and Flow. That can explain why you some time feel happy even nothing good happened. For example, when I feel sad, I always go to the gym to run for half an hour. Then I will feel much better. That is because; exercise itself seems to be an antidepressant depending on our textbook. Also, every time I went to church, I can tell how happy the Christians are. That is because Religious individuals often feel connected to a large community, as well as to a higher power (Myers)In my opinion, that is also because people who has a religion also very grateful. Being grateful can remind people what they already have. I also want to talk about the last factor: flow. We all have that experience: when you keep writing a people for more than 3 hours, you may do not want to stop and feel so happy. Also, people usually don't want to clean that room, but once they start and keep cleaning the room for a while they may do not want to stop and feel happy. We will feel a powerful sense of control over our actions (Csikszentmihalyi). I think if we can use this tips we will be happier. I am sure there are more ways for us to be happy, this finding is still very importantce.

Monkey see Money do

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One of the most important concepts discussed is that of Cognitive development of a child. Cognitive development is basically the way that humans acquire their knowledge threw different sources and experiences. This is extremely important because it is this development at an early age that will have a profound effect on who this baby becomes in adulthood. When children see their parents doing certain things the adolescents have a tendency to react to a situation much like they saw their parents do.
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When people come in contact with a "bad egg" or a problem child it is no wonder that parents are often blamed. This can be seen in many different cases such as my room mate. He grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and his stay-at-home-mother did almost everything for him. He now doesnt know how to take the garbage out, wash his clothes, or even shower hardly. It is this early development that is so important to human beings, as it will shape their future.
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There weren't any pressing questions brought up in this topic except for what exactly is the right way to raise a child. No one will ever agree completely although there are certain things that we know will harm a child and certain things we know are healthy for a child. Other than this, I wonder if there is any sure way to raise a child to be perfect and well behaved. Maybe someday in the future?

Why we forget why we walk into rooms

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Have you ever walked into a room, only to forget what you were planning to do in the room? It happens to the best of us every once and a while. However, Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky of the University of Notre Dame has recently come up with an explanation. He claims that walking through a doorway is an "event boundary" in the mind. This separates episodes of activity, such as why you were entering a room, and files them away. The reason that it is difficult to remember why you came into a room can be hard is because your brain "puts the information away". Professor Radvansky conducted three experiments, all on college students. The experiments took place in both real and virtual environments, and involved memory tasks while the students crossed a room or while they exited a doorway. Radvansky found that the students were more likely to forget the information after walking through a doorway than after walking the same distance across a single room.
This article is very interesting, however the claims should probably be evaluated using a few of the six principles of critical thinking. First off, this study is fairly recent, so it has not yet been replicated. Until other psychologists can find similar results, these claims could be considered a one-time fluke. In addition, in my opinion, this is an extraordinary claim. Therefore, there should be extraordinary evidence to support it. However, this article contains no specific data or very many specifics about the experiment. There should be no lack of evidence if these claims are to be accepted as true. The experiment offered no explanation as to why the majority of the time we can remember just fine. Finally, there could be many other reasons why people forgot things while walking through doorways. Some of the rival hypothesizes could deal with people's natural ability to remember things, or the sort of information or tasks the participants were to remember.
While this claim is very interesting, there are many additional steps that need to be taken for it to be taken seriously and accepted as true.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spirituality/science-of-spirituality/Walking-through-doorways-can-make-you-forget/articleshow/10793314.cms

Your Continuous Controversy

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Sigmund Freud hypothesized that the human personality consists of 3 main "agencies" that interact with one another harmoniously. The first agency, ID, contains our most primitive ideologies such as sexual drive, aggression, and anything that is driven by the goal of pleasure. The ID is completely unconscious meaning we have no control or awareness of its effects on our personality. Another agency, the Superego, contains our sense of morality (most of us have one) and since many of our morals go against our sexual desires, aggression, etc., the Superego is constantly going against our ID and vice versa. So which agency wins? That decision is left up to the Ego, the third and perhaps most important agency. The Ego is the most conscious part of our personality. It comes into play when decisions have to be made. It acts as the "boss" of our personality, meaning it makes the final decisions based on what our ID and Superego tells us. For example, your ID tells you to cheat on your spouse with an attractive woman but your Superego (which hopefully is stronger in this case) tells you that the benefits aren't worth the cost. Your Ego then makes the final decision, whether it's the right one or not. To be fair, most decisions aren't as big or perhaps as costly as cheating on a spouse. Maybe it's deciding to eat a fatty cheeseburger or maybe it's whether to hit the snooze or not.
It's a little worrisome to think that your mind is constantly fighting itself. But then if you really consider the situation, this is the beauty of the human mind. Our ability to conflict against our primitive instincts is what sets us apart from other animals. It also allows for a very broad range of personalities ranging from compulsive killers to devout Christians. So next time you make a decision stop and try to identify your ID and Superego; it just might help you make the right decision.

Does Money Really Buy Happiness?

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If you walked down the street and ask a total stranger what would make them happy, they would most likely reply, "to be rich." This is a very common statement among Americans, but can having an overwhelming amount of money really generate happiness? There have been many articles arguing against it, but Americans continue to believe that money will make them happy.

According to the article, Can Money Buy Happiness? (http://www.american.com/archive/2008/may-june-magazine-contents/can-money-buy-happiness), money created opposite emotions for forty-two-year-old, Mack Metcalf. On July 23, 2000, Metcalf received the best news of his life, or so he thought. He had opened the Sunday newspaper as usual and to his surprise, he had won the $65 million Powerball jackpot. Over a night, he went from working 12-hour nightshifts to living in a 43-acre estate with a plantation-style home in southern Kentucky for more than $1 million. Not long after his winnings, an ex girlfriend sued him for half a million dollars and took advanced of him when he was drunk. He began on a downward spiral of alcoholism and passed away three years later.

This article is a great example showing that money does not necessarily buy happiness. As stated in our psychology book, money can buy short-term happiness, but it never lasts long. This is true because Metcalf was ecstatic when he first won the Powerball, but he did not know how to handle the money and spent it all at once. This is true with all situations because when one person is given everything they ever wanted, they never think about what could go wrong. They try to spend everything at once without a second thought. Americans tend to think if they had an unlimited amount of money, they will be able to buy whatever they want and can produce everlasting happiness. This is completely wrong because money can buy material things, but that can only last so long. For example, if one buys new clothes they wear it a couple times loving it, but after a week or so, they get tired of it and want more. This is the same with anything one buys. Happiness is only short-term, and the consumer is wanting more and more.

According to the psychology book, happiness is not produced with material goods, but with the friendships, religion, and gratitude in life. If one has a loving support system of friends and family, they can be as happy as a millionaire can be. This proves that even though one may not be rich, but contains a loving family, they can have the same happiness or even more than someone who just has money. This concludes that money does not necessarily buy happiness because there is so much more to life than material goods.

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Liking Sweets=Being Sweet?

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A study was recently conducted at North Dakota State University and Gettysburg College. Their study was measuring if people who like sweet treats (chocolate, pie, candy, etc.), have a 'sweeter' personality. Meaning if they have a sweeter disposition. They had people volunteer to rate their taste preferences on a scale of 1-10, after that they then took an agreeableness test(The Big 5!). After the results were in, researchers found a very strong correlation between liking sweets and being highly agreeable. They also had another voluntary survey, and people who liked sweets more, were more likely to be involved in the survey.
I believe there is a correlation between sweet foods and being sweet. The article seems to have pretty good evidence to back up their research. They also mentioned more causes and variables. Like maybe just the though of sweet food, like pie and chocolate, makes people act more agreeable, and be less angry. The article also suggested that sweet people have sweet babies. They think that if you have a sweet tooth you may have a sweet disposition. And psychologists believe disposition is a little bit heritable. So if I do my math right, "being sweet" should be heritable. I find significant evidence in this article that is very interesting and could probably be true.

http://www.savorchocolate.com/images/title_personality.giftitle_personality.gif

Psychoanalytic Theory: Yes, even in Children's Movies

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As we have learned this week, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory describes the structure of human personality and its deterministic nature on behavior. The majority of human personality is contained deep in the subconscious, much like the submerged part of an iceberg. Our decision making is based on our ego's efforts to balance or ID and superego. Sigmund's theory still plays a significant role in psychological thought despite its fallacies and imperfections--so significant, in fact, the theory has manifested itself in the characters of children's films.

In the movie The Emperor's New Groove, the character Krunk struggles with a clashing conscience. In the clip below, Krunk's ID and superego battle it out. The ID is represented by the devil, and seeks gratification of primitive impulses--such as telling Krunk to just walk away from a situation that is wrong. In contrast, Krunk's angel represents his superego. The superego advocates for morality, and in this case it is telling Krunk to do the right thing and help out. Krunk's ego balances the ID and superego allowing him to make a decision. Clearly, the application of the psychoanalytic lens extends beyond psychology class.

Although there are clear connections with this clip to the Psychoanalytic Theory, there are also some differences. Freud believed that the unconscious battle between the ID, superego, and ego were the sole factors in determining one's decisions. This clip introduces the factor of the influence of the conscience, or in other words, free will. Despite the battle of the ID and superego, Krunk was consciously aware of each side. Ultimately the decision was left to his own choice, which contradicts the subconscious factor in Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory. Psychoanalysis is useful in interpreting our world, but should not be the only factor when analyzing personality due to its lack of inclusion of free will.


A Daughter's Love For Her Father

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It may sound entirely sick and disturbing, but can a daughter really compete with her mother in order to possess her father? The answer is yes, and there is a name for this peculiar but real occurrence. It is called the Electra complex which takes place during a girl's phallic stage. Of course not everyone experiences this thankfully, or things could get a bit awkward. During this stage, a girl will have romantic feelings toward her father and anger and resentment directed at her own mother. It is like two women competing for one man's love and attention but in the same family. What is even stranger is the reason why the daughter resents her mother. The daughter is literally jealous because her father has a penis and she lacks one and so she blames her mother. Sigmund Freud, who developed the idea of Electra complex, said that it would fade away when the girl comes to terms that she can't and never will possess her father.

Since there are many critics of Freud, I have a hard time believing the Electra complex is entirely true. I do not know anyone who has ever had to deal with this and I can not imagine what it would be like to be in this situation. The idea of the Electra complex is out there today, but it has been dismissed by many people. Some even view it has sexist and I can see where they are coming from. I do not think girl get jealous of their fathers because their fathers have a penis and they do not. I for one do not want a penis because I am not a man. Do you know of any girl who would want a penis? With the exceptional case of becoming transgender, I do not think so.

Krunk the "Ego"

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The video attached is a clip of the ever innocent character, Krunk, from the movie, The Emperor's New Groove. It displays a comical, useless version of an ego working to decided on a decision between the morally correct, superego, and the incorrect, id. Typically, the ego, person trying to make a decision, is in a conflict between themselves. Should he/she be impulsive, get what they want instantly, go with the pleasure principle and satisfy the id? Or, should the person listen to their superego, have a sense of morality, not experience any guilt by the result of the morally correct and thought out decision?
Krunk unfortunately does not have sufficient enough of an id or superego to receive much help from them, the devil (id) or angel (superego). Surprisingly, however, Krunk does decide to save the emperor from the waterfall because deep down he knew what was morally correct and was aware of his guilt. He was an ego with a larger superego than id.
Frued would have been proud to know of the popularity of his Structure of Personality hypothesis in cartoons and movies today. Or perhaps, he would be frustrated. Majority of scenes seem to be making fun of the thought process and actually portray his model of personality structure incorrectly. According to Freud, "the id is entirely unconscious". With a devil present and arguing in favor of an immoral decision, the present scenes do not display it as an unconscious factor at all.
Personally, I disagree with Frued's hypothesis partly because I believe one can control their impulses with even the slightest amount of morality. Therefore, I do not believe one's id is completely unconscious. If the ego is making a decision, it must factor in all outcomes of each decision. The present day display of id vs superego symbolized by the devil and angle is a better representation of our personality structure/thought process.

Does Tapping A Soda Can Really Keep It From Foaming Over?

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Have you ever picked up an ice cold can of soda only to find it exploding all over you after you opened it? Not only has this happened to me, it happens all the time. I have heard from numerous people that tapping the side of a soda can before opening will stop the soda from foaming all over. It turns out tapping a soda can to keep it from foaming over is a false claim, which I have learned from experience.

One of the main principles of scientific thinking that can be applied to this false claim is replicability. Maybe one person tapped a can of soda after shaking it up only to find that it wasn't exploding all over them. Though one person may have found this technique to work, it is necessary for other people to find similar results. Speaking from experience, I still had soda squirting all over me even after tapping the side of the can. The scientific thinking principle of correlation isn't causation can also be applied to this claim. Maybe there is a third variable that is keeping the soda from exploding in in some peoples' faces. For example, maybe someone tapped the can and then set it down for while before opening it. Maybe the process of letting it sit for awhile was actually what was keeping the soda from foaming over.

Though many people believe that tapping the side of a soda can will stop the soda from foaming over, it just isn't true. In reality, the best way to keep a can of soda from exploding all over you is just by letting it sit for awhile.

Lie to Me

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Tim Roth is the star of the hit t.v. show "Lie to Me". The Lightman Group is an organization created by Cal Lightman and Gillian Foster. The Lightman Group reads people's facial expressions and body motions to figure out whether the person is lying or telling the truth. Some people may say it's easy, but will come to know that there is more to a smile. A person's smile can tell much more than what it means; like the Duchenne smile and the Pan Am smile. A Duchenne smile is a genuine smile which is different than a Pan Am smile which is a fake smile expressed only by the mouth, not the eyes. Cal Llightman can read that with ease. The more the emotions get mixed together and the more pressure on Cal, the more he has to rush to make decisions on which emotions the person is portraying. Happiness, Sadness, Surprise, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Contempt are the seven primary emotions. Those emotions can get mixed together which makes Lightman's job more difficult. He makes mistakes. Or maybe he just read Lilienfeld's textbook and practiced looking at different emotions of people on flash cards.

Although we know he didn't read the textbook, could any particular person read it and gain the same "powers" Lightman does? In the show, a character named Ria Torres is a TSA at the airport, but can read people's faces almost as good as Lightman. This shows that some people do indeed have the natural ability to read people's faces and expressions.

Without knowing what Lightman does, some may assume he is actually reading people's minds. It seems this way through his unique way of reading people's faces. He can tell what people are thinking and whether they are lying or telling the truth. Although some people may say that anyone can do this, is that really the truth? Would I be able to read your face and know what you're thinking? We all can if we put in the effort and practice. See for yourself.


Does birth weight determine IQ?

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People have always wondered what makes smart people smart. Is it genetics, parenting, academic stimulation, or a combination of many things? However, a more commonly asked question might be; how can IQ be predicted? There have been several studies done that show a positive correlation between birth weight in "low birth rate babies" and their school age IQ (Matte). In a cohert study done by Thomas D. Matte, siblings of the same sex were compared based on birth weight and IQ at age seven. Cohert studies are helpful to researchers because they eliminate variables between subjects; in this study all of the subjects were born around the same time. Overall, the study suggests that the correlation between IQ and birth weight are also accurate for normal birth rate range babies. Mate and colleagues determined that this correlation is unlikely due to environmental factors because the results were upheld between siblings raised in the same household (they had the same environment). Based on these results alone, we cannot conclude that genetics, or birth weight for that matter, determine IQ. There are so many other factors that could contribute to this correlation; it is important to remember that this is only one study. Characteristics that predict IQ are an extremely interesting field of study and may help researchers determine how one develops IQ.

Thomas D Matte, Michaeline Bresnahan, Melissa D Begg, Ezra Susser. "Influence of variation in birth weight within normal range and within sibships on IQ at age 7 years: cohort study". BMJ 2001; 323:310.

The Big Five and The United States

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An interesting topic we studied recently was the Big Five Model of Personality. The Big Five are the five traits that have consistently come up during personality tests. These five traits are: openness to experience, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Everyone exhibits some level of each of these traits and combined, they make us unique from others. Although during our discussion sections, we were separated into groups based only on high or low extraversion and conscientiousness, we learned that there are multiple levels of each trait that someone can portray, and it's not just a matter of you having a "high" or "low" level of that trait.

Even though we can deduce from the Big Five Personality Test what we are like and what the person next to us is like, how does our city compare to another? How does Minnesota compare to New York on the neuroticism scale? Do more conscientious people live in Maryland or Maine? Fortunately, we can also measure how states compare on the Big Five scale. The Lilienfield text illustrated how the United States compares on the extraversion scale, and this article "The United States of Mind" ranks all 50 states based on each of the five traits. When looking at the maps, I couldn't help but wonder--how do race, age, gender, and other social factors such as crime, drug use, employment rate, etc. affect how a state might fair on the Big Five test? Are states with less racial differences more agreeable? Are states with higher unemployment rates more neurotic? Also, if I moved to another state, would I score differently on the Big Five test than where I live now?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122211987961064719.html#project%3DPERSONALITY08%26articleTabs%3Darticle

Personal Space

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The section about personal space in the emotion and motivation chapter was interesting. People automatically find the right space to be away from people in different situations. However, in a different culture, it is hard to know what amount of space should separate you with other people in different situations. It would be really ackward if someone from a different area was only two feet from you talking when you had never met before. Similarily if you go to a foreign country they might think you are being rude if you are not close enough to them. I found an interesting video that talks more about this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUCODUvKbzE

Criminal Profiling

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There are many shows in the media today, such as Criminal Minds, which depict the lives of criminal profilers and portray their work as essential to the capture of a criminal. While profilers may have a better knowledge of how to profile a criminal than the average person, research up to this point shows that their predictions are only slightly greater than chance. It is important that we assess the validity and reliability of profilers because they are so widely used today.
According to an article on helium.com, "offender profiling is not and exact science and there is a lot of debate over which method is most effective and even whether it is effective at all." There are many different factors that could influence the predictions of profilers including stereotypes. That being said, it is important that we give some credit to criminal profiling because cases have been solved using this method. We just need to approach it with caution.
In the future, we can continue to expect extensive research on criminal profiling and its effectiveness. While there is not enough evidence in our day and age to conclusively rule out or fully support profiling, it is safe to say that one day there will be. As of right now, it is still a slightly greater than chance guess but who knows what tomorrow will bring.


This article provides more information on the validity of criminal profiling:
http://www.helium.com/items/804273-the-effectiveness-of-criminal-profiling

Here is a current example of criminal profiling:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWe45bYQtqI

Media and how it effects our self-image.

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Bulimia nervosa is the most common eating disorders affecting 1-3% of the population stated in our psychology textbook in chapter 11. Bulimia is an eating disorder associated with a pattern of binge eating and then purging so try and lose or maintain ones weight. About 95% of people diagnosed with this disorder are women. People with bulimia are highly dissatisfied with their body. They see themselves as overweight when they are not.

I believe the media is a huge factor in causing women and some men to become bulimic. The media portrays "beautiful" women as being very slender. Most of the women in the media are actually underweight. Being underweight is not healthy! The way the media portrays women is causing the women who are average in weight to be dissatisfied with themselves. They then believe that they need to lose weight in order to be beautiful. What people believe is beautiful or attractive for peoples figure have changed many times. One can not go based on the images in the media because they are not realistic in every day life. I think the media should use more of the average sized women for advertisement.

I know a few people who have struggled with this disorder because they feel like they are overweight or not beautiful. In reality they were normal size and beautiful in their own way. They would point out women in the media saying how they wanted to be like them. The media has a negative influence on many women today.

Here is an article talking about the media and women's appearances also supporting my thoughts; http://en.articlesgratuits.com/the-effect-of-the-media-on-womens-personal-identity-id437.php.

Stranger Danger

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At infancy, children experience a distress when their mother or father leave, and they are left with another caregiver, this is called stranger anxiety. This fear develops at eight or nine months old, but slowly fades when the child gets older. Depending on one of the four (or more) attachment styles the child has, they will react differently when left with an unknown person. The most common attachment in children in the United States is secure attachment, it has been researched that about sixty percent of children have secure attachment. Secure attachment is when the child becomes distressed when their paternal figure leaves, but greets them with joy when the paternal figure comes back. The child tends to cling to their caregiver between six months and two years. Insecure attachment is when the child is unfazed by their primary caregiver leaving and being left with a stranger. They do not feel that they have an attachment to their paternal figure. Insecure-anxious attachment is when the child feels anxious about their caregiver leaving, but they do not respond when the caregiver comes back. This can be attributed to non-consistent responses in the caregiver so the child will not know how to respond each time. Disorganized attachment is when the child never knows how to respond when their paternal figure leaves and comes back. They tend to become nervous and anxious when they are left with a stranger, and nervous when their caregiver comes back.
Watching my friend's sisters children grow up, I see secure attachment in her children. When I had to babysit one of the kids, he would not stop crying when his mom left until a good time later. When the mother came back, he was elated and jumped into her arms. On the contrary, I have also seen a different friend's child not respond when their mother gets home. It's very interesting to see the difference in the responsiveness of the different children. I made the observation that the first mother is a very loving, caring mother, and the second mother is not as attentive to her child. In these situations, it seems that nurture plays a bigger role in the attachment styles of the children, rather than nature.

Intelligence Placebo

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It is a longstanding assumption that listening to classical music benefits young children, even while in the womb. A former governor of Georgia even went as far as playing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" to state legislators and commenting that they may "feel smarter". This incident sums up the popularization of the Mozart Effect and the false pretenses that went along with it.

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Products like the one above sell to people that believe that their children will become more intelligent as a result of listening to classical music. However, saying classical music "increases intelligence" is greatly overstating the evidence. Science does say that classical music at a young age can increase spatial temporal reasoning in the short term.

The evidence is conflicting, however, which means that the Mozart Effect should be taken with even more skepticism. A study by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky in 1993 showed that classical music had no significant effect on spatial intelligence, but ScienceBlogs.com begs to differ, as shown in the graph below.

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Some studies even delve into analyzing the tonality (major or minor) and tempo of music and comparing, but the overall effect is still up for debate. It is known that the Mozart Effect does not increase overall intelligence, however, it may be slightly significant in spatial intelligence. Future studies will give us more knowledge of course, but parents should not rely on simply music when educating their young child.

Better Live$, $ati$faction and Happine$$

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The Lillenfield text book discusses a common misconception, "Money makes us happy." Kesebir and Diener found this statement to be false due to the lack of long-term effect money has on our happiness. However, they also found that a lack of money can lead to more unhappiness/stress compared to someone with an annual income above $50,000. The benchmark plays a vital role because above the benchmark, people will not feel any happier.
I agree with their statement that money can bring someone joy short-term, but not last. I strongly agree that not having a sufficient amount of money to sustain one's life can greatly affect happiness. Not having money for groceries, bills, entertainment, school etc. makes living challenging and stressful. Having enough money for all one's needs simply crosses those worries off the list, less stress=more smiles.
One study, performed at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, mostly agreed with the Lillenfield statement, but went into greater depth. Their study sets a differing benchmark of $75k a year and introduces two types of happiness related.
The first type of happiness is one's "day-to-day" mood which can be wiped clean over-night, influenced by the weather, or kept for a week. The second type of happiness is one's overall self-satisfaction with life and accomplishments. This study found that the amount of money one has does not affect type 1 happiness (if one's sick in the morning and feeling sad, the amount of money owned will not make one feel better.). However, type 2 happiness is affected by the 75k benchmark. I believe this is due to people's satisfaction with their ability to provide for themselves/their family and a way to grade their success.
The differing benchmark may have to do with the area/type of population they tested compared to Lillenfield's benchmark. The Princeton study is unsure why theirs is set at $75k a year. However, they found sufficient evidence that above or below the mark make a difference.
I completely agree with the second study as well. If I were to say, flunk out of college, get a lower-income job (less than benchmark annual income), and go on with my life. I may still be happy emotionally, but not completely satisfied with how my life turned out. I would have a deep unhappiness that would slowly eat away at me. I wonder if people with lower incomes realize this deeper unhappiness. Could the deeper unhappiness assist with a form of depression? money.png

Theory of Mind

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What I found most interesting in the recent readings of the Lilienfeld text was the concept of theory of mind. Theory of mind is the ability to know that not everyone knows the same things you do and being able to reason what other might know. I found it to be super fascinating when the theory was able to be proved multiple times through the use of storytelling. This concept is very important to developmental psychology because it further supports the claim that children are not just miniature adults. Studying the various stages when children are able to infer certain information is essential in helping understand how the human brain develops over time. It is also important to understand how children think in order to act appropriately around them. Obviously it is not reasonable to think that children think the way that we do.
I can see this concept applying to my life in the future as I tend to be around children. I think that it is important to have somewhat of a grasp to of how children see the world; in parenting or any other situation involving children. I found it important for me to learn this concept as I do not remember what it was like to think as a child. It makes it difficult to try and pretend to be a child while watching videos in psychology discussion and try to evaluate them like they would. This concept can be applied into my studying of psychology in many different ways.

Money Makes Us Happy?

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In the eleventh chapter of our Psychology textbook, there was a section devoted to the different elements of life that make people happy, along with the myths and realities behind true happiness. One misconception the authors identified was the idea that money makes us happy. The authors argued that money may allow for happiness in the short-run, but it cannot buy long-term happiness. Although I agree with the statement that money cannot buy happiness, I don't believe that this is always the case.


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The authors noted that people who graduate from college tend to be happier than people who don't. But ironically, college is one of the biggest investments that many people make. Money is one of the most important factors that affect students' decision of what college to go to, or if any at all. In addition, people who graduate from college are likely to earn more money in the future, which may indicate that it is again the money that makes people happy and not necessarily college.


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The act of giving was also mentioned as being a factor in producing happiness. Interestingly, the supporting example for this idea involved an experiment where participants were given cash; the results showed that spending money on others creates greater happiness than spending money on ourselves. Again, whether we give or take, it seems as though the use or exchange of money is necessary.


Because almost everything in the world has an explicit cost, it is difficult to detach the different possessions in our lives from their monetary value. I agree that money can't necessarily buy happiness, but I believe that money is greatly associated with happiness. I think that it is largely a matter of how one uses their money that contributes to how happy one will be.

Violent video games and aggression.

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Some people claim that video games with a violent nature cause aggression in children. Others claim that there is no such effect. I believe that video games with a violent nature does not cause aggression in children. There are many other factors that contribute to aggression in children. The arguments saying that violent video games cause aggression are falling to the correlation vs causation fallacy. You have to look at other factors such as the environment the children were raised in, how their parents treat them, how they are treated at school, and many other ones. Not one single thing such as video games can cause aggression.
I have watched many people play violent video games such as grand theft auto, halo, and call of duty. To be specific my brother plays them all the time. I can say he is not violent. He never got in trouble at school or at home. He has always done the right thing. We grew up in a healthy environment. This can help prove that violent video games do not cause aggression.
Another article that helps support that violent video games does not cause aggression is:
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/300456/violent-games-do-not-cause-aggression-this-isnt-mickey-mouse-research/

The Role of a Father

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There is a tendency today to speak of 'parents' or 'carers' rather than 'mothers' or 'fathers'. People often say that the most important thing in raising children is to give them lots of love, something that all parents can do, regardless of whether they are a mother or a father. However, there are also many ways that mothers and fathers can bring unique strengths to their relationships with their children. In real people's lives, you can see these contributions. The video below shows some of the ways fathers impact their children's lives.
A child raised by a mother and a father benefits from more caring and a variety of caring because mothers and fathers care for children differently. Babies need predictability and security, which they get when their mother and father respond consistently, promptly, and appropriately to their cries, smiles and other signals. As a baby develops a relationship with his or her mother and father, he comes to prefer them to other adults, in a process known as attachment. Babies also form attachments to their fathers, who tend to be just as responsive to their babies' bids for attention as mothers. When fathers spend more time with their babies, they get to know exactly what each of their baby's signals mean. This familiarity allows fathers to respond sensitively, meaning that they know when their baby is hungry rather than when he just wants a change of scenery. The effects of attachment on children are broad and long-lasting. For example, one study found that primary school children scored higher on tests of empathy-the ability to see a situation from another person's viewpoint-if they had secure attachments to their fathers during infancy. These children were able to recognize how other children felt and took steps to make them feel better.

The Ten Percent

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One of the most popular myths around is that we only use ten percent of our brains. Many people use this supposed "fact" to prove that psychic powers do exist, they simply lie dormant in the ninety percent of our brains that we don't use. For years, people have tried to convince the population that if they could only learn to utilize that unused part of their brain, they, too, could devep their psychic abilities.

What these claims fail to provide is cold, hard evidence. They may provide people with certain activities to practice that will eventually enhance their brain usage, but such activities never truly seem to work. Especially not to those who doubt such claims. In fact, all evidence on this subject that isn't based on the speaker or user's beliefs, points against the claim of the ten percent.

Brain scans show that numerous areas of the brain are utilized even when simply thinking. Though people may not use all of their brain at once, they certainly use more than ten percent. The origins of this popular myth may lay in the fact that scientists may have only been able to scan ten percent of the brain before they had sufficient technology, and that could easily be construed as only being able to use ten percent. Regardless of its origins though, it is plain to see that we use much more than ten percent.

Personally, I believe that thought there may be parts of our brain that are not fully understood and may in fact be a source of psychic abilities, we certainly use more than ten percent. Even though there is a small percentage of the brain that we don't fully understand, that doesn't mean we can automatically jump to such extraordinary claims like psychic abilities.

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

The Mozart Effect Vs. Science

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In our increasingly competitive society, many parents are looking for ways to give their children any little edge they can in order to help them succeed. I'm sure that if you've met anyone with a child on the way, you've heard tell of what's called "The Mozart Effect". Many parents (and journalists) swear that occasionally listening to certain kinds of music (typically classical, though North Indian string music has also been noted) can positively affect a child's intelligence level. This conclusion may have been a result of Dorothy Retallack's plant experiments. Retallack was the researcher who first claimed that different kinds of music can have different affects on plant development. Retallack suggested that intermittently playing classical music to plants caused them to grow faster, taller, and stronger. However, Retallack did not explain a whole lot of her experiment. While her experiments are certainly replicable, they cannot necessarily be falsified, as her results could potentially be purely coincidental. Furthermore, Retallack failed to present any scientific explanation as to why plants may grow faster and stronger, and thus one cannot assume causation just because of the correlation between music genre and growth. Similarly, the people who have published claims about the Mozart Effect taking place in children's brain have shown no scientific evidence that classical music is a direct cause of increased intelligence in children nor increased neurological development. Even though it would be very convenient to raise your IQ and grow your brain while listening to Mozart's music, there simply isn't enough tangible evidence to support the claim.

Links

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5485813_classical-music-effect-plants.html

Violent Video Games And Violent Behavior

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In discussion a few weeks ago we investigated a possible link between children seeing violent images and them committing violent actions. This topic interested me because I have seen and heard many debates on this topic. And it seems that neither side can provide solid evidence that they have the answer. There are many studies out there that are behind the study that children who watch violent TV and play violent video games become desensitized to violence. I found a study that was conducted on American and Japanese students. The students were shown differing levels on violent content and then were asked to rate their violent tendencies such as hitting and fighting. This study was performed by Craig A. Anderson PhD. and it found that the more violent content the children were exposed to the lower their reaction to violent was. They became less and less emotional towards violence and the more content they were shown the more likely they became to exhibit violent behavior.

This is not concrete evidence that there is a correlation between seeing violence and to being violent. For example I watched a lot of violent TV and video games growing up and I don't have violent tendencies. There are a lot of studies still going on about this topic and there is no concrete evidence, and in my opinion I don't think there will be. I think that violent behavior is a genetic trait and is not influenced by what we see.


http://news.health.com/2008/11/03/violent-video-games-linked-to-aggression-in-children-teens/

The Chances

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According to the article, Marry Go Round, a woman that is 40 years old is not more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married. It arises from a number of misconceptions: terrorists are common and many people die from terrorist attacks, and women that are older are less likely to get married. While it may be true that some women who are older are unmarried simply out of a desire to remain single, it is also true that some women prefer to remain single until they have their affairs in order. Therefore, another hypothesis for the claim is ignored which disproves the notion somewhat. Also, it is only from an availability bias that terrorist attacks seem frequent. In the large scheme of things, terrorist attacks account for a very small number of total deaths in the world. As of 2003, less than 5,000 people (of both genders) died from terrorist attacks according to the U.S. State Department. Therefore, the chances of a woman being killed in a terrorist attack are very slim considering 2,500 people out of the 5,000 were likely women, and out of approximately 6 billion people living in 2003, 3 billion of those would have been women, giving a ratio of .000000833. The ratio denotes the number of women living compared to the number of women who were likely killed by terrorism in 2003 using some rough estimates.

To summarize, the myth that women who are unmarried after 40 are more likely to be killed by terrorist attacks than to get married is false and it exists due to an availability bias and ignoring alternative hypotheses.

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/terrorist.asp
http://gsociology.icaap.org/report/polsum.html
http://www.prb.org/DataFinder/Geography/Data.aspx?loc=241

Finding Mr. Right

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Growing up, women are taught that "opposites attract" and that the bully in elementary school is being mean only because he has a crush on you. However, the true elements of forming a relationship are much different. The main components in a relationship are proximity, similarity, reciprocity, and physical attraction. In the past, people married for material things such as combing fortunes. Today, however, people like to say that they marry for love. However, in order to fall in love a lot factors take place.

The main component is similarity. Most people that get married are of the same race, religion, education level, and economic level. Today, there are many more marriages that are interracial or interreligious. Unfortunately many of these marriages end in divorce because the couples have many differences in beliefs, priorities, and experiences in life. According to a survey done in 2008 on behalf of the Education Resources Information Center, a black man/white woman marriage is twice as likely to result in divorce in comparison to a white man/white woman marriage.

Another reason why many marriages may end in divorce is because people marry for the wrong reasons. There are three types of love: romantic love (passion + intimacy), companionate (intimacy + commitment), and fatuous love (passion + commitment). Marriage is a companionate love, however many couples marry early for romantic love, that may quickly die when people truly get to know one another on a deeper level. A common saying is that "little girls marry their father." According to a CNN study, that is very true. Psychologically, we fall in love with people that we are comfortable with or resemble familiar things in our lives. Therefore, if an abusive father raised a child, it is very likely that the child will end up in abusive relationships.


*This video depicts the issue of similarity in couples - specifically within races


Baza Haile-Selassie

Violent Video Games Linked to Aggression

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In this article written in 2008, there is a simple a clear message. Video games do cause aggressive behavior in some children and teens when they have long amounts of exposure to them. The article refers to a study done at Iowa State University. There were 3 controlled age groups and they had the subjects exposed and monitored to "violent" video games for six months. The test results came back positive, saying that they did become more aggressive than their peers. They even researched the lever of aggression in subjects that had an aggressive history. The research was done on roughly 1,600 subjects. It is hard for me to really voice my opinion because I think it is a relatively vague subject. I understand that exposure to the content in the games deemed "violent" probably would have an effect. But at the same time I completely understand the topic of exposure to violent acts could potentially deter you from performing them. When regarding to the surprisingly rare situations when an individual does commit similar acts that were previously interpreted through video games, I think it scares the public into believing that the video game content could cause an epidemic of ruthless teens destroying everything in sight. But when you look at it through a generalized lens, it seems as if the extreme events put a bad reputation on the responsible "gamers". This same effect can be seen in many other applications, such as movie violence, live theater violence, television violence, public violence, accidental violence, etc. In conclusion, I think the public has made the idea of video game violence and aggression in children/teens no more than good old fashioned reading material. Which will be forgotten, and replaced with the next best technological breakthrough that has violent content.

Link to Article:
Here

Mere Exposure Effect and Advertising

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I went home this past weekend and after driving around in the town that I love and know, I couldn't help but feel sad to have to come back to the U. I felt comfortable in my hometown and that comfort is what was inhibiting my thrill to return to college. This is a slight example of the Mere Exposure Effect. The Mere Exposure Effect is defined in the Lilienfeld text as, "phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably towards it." Although my hometown is a rather large stimulus, I still would choose it over my new home, Minneapolis. This choice is made in my mind because I know everything about my hometown and because I grew up and thrived there, I favor it over Minneapolis because I haven't spent as long in this city. Another example of the Mere Exposure Effect is used in advertising. If we're shown a specific product more than once, whether it's on television or billboards, when we get to the store the likelihood that we will purchase that item increases greatly. The reason we choose the item we have seen advertisements for over items that we haven't are because the advertisements have, in a way, made us more comfortable with their product. The way advertisers make consumers more comfortable with their products is the same reason that I feel more linked to my hometown. Comfort will drive human beings to great lengths. There is a video on YouTube that demonstrates the mere exposure effect because the song plays again and it becomes engrained in your mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiG4z2PcfaA . The way that the song plays again eases the listener to hearing the music. In the future, I will make sure to be aware of marketing techniques of Mere Exposure to self-ensure that other products are just as good as the popular advertised more expensive ones.

violent video games do not cause aggression

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If you have ever played video games there is a good chance that you have played grand theft auto once in your life. Have you ever felt aggressive after playing this video game? I think most likely not due to it being a video game. There are studies out there that say violent video games cause aggression in the people who play them. They even go to the extent to say that a video game (grand theft auto) in particular caused somebody to kill someone. As in the case of Devin Moore

Devin Moore killed two police officers and a civilian in Fayette, Alabama. He was said to have played GTA: Vice City for many hours. So what? He played a video game, that isn't an excuse The police, media, and himself can use to justify those deaths.

To test the effects of violent games The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted research on the correlation of violent games (using Asheron's Call 2) to violent behavior. They had 75 participants play the game 56 hours in a months period with 138 in a control group. The results showed that the game did not cause any extra aggression after playing the game compared to aggression before playing. Also the game was not a predictor of aggressive behaviors

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Beauty and Attraction

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In today's society, men and women are subjected to be the 'perfect' mate for each other. Men are deemed to be wealthy, intelligent, have a six pack, and be tall, dark, and handsome. Other the other hand, women must be thin, flawless, intelligent, stylish, and beautiful. However, this is not at all realistic. While there are some people who do actually meet this crazy criteria, most do not. Nonetheless, we are still bombarded to look a certain way. As Howard Miller found out for himself, beauty influences more than we think (Webite: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/157015/beauty_attraction_and_love_the_role.html?cat=72). According to him, we look for symmetry and good heath in our partners which can be hard to separate that attraction from love. Not only does this false look on the opposite sex makes it difficult to find true love, it is also detrimental to people's confidence and self-esteem. As this youtube video "Skin Deep" (Website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLUBGAlUY8) attests to, both women and men are under pressure to look at certain way. This video also raised an interesting point stating that women tend to dress up for other women because they care more about what they think than what men think. Mostly we can blame today's media. Photos of beautiful people are plastered everywhere and even though most people know that they are fake and photo shopped, they still find them attractive and tend to look for those who look like that. For me, it's strange that so many people want what other people want. Normally they might not find that model particularly attractive but because he or she is told that they should, they do. This illustrates the fact that the media has more power than expected and how much people are susceptible to what others think which is a very scary thing.

The Lie Detector Test Determined...that was a Lie...Maybe

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Depiction of Polygraph Test in Popular Culture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-TZ8Z5S9rI&feature=related


These days, it seems like every show on television is utilizing the infamous lie detector test. Whether it is Maury Povich ousting a cheater, or Dr. Phil attempting to prove which partner in a troubled relationship is lying, the media can not seem to get enough lie detector drama. As we witness hysterical women running out of rooms, convinced that their husbands are unfaithful, it is difficult to doubt the validity of the lie detector test, but after disregarding the countless anecdotes, is the lie detector test an icon of psychology, or is it simply just another element of pseudoscience?
According to the Lilienfeld textbook, the largest organization of lie detector test examiners claims that the polygraph test is 98% accurate. According to the scientific principles, a claim this extraordinary better have extraordinary evidence. The modern polygraph test measures factors such as blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductance, which are all thought to reflect anxiety. Though the test measures anxiety, it does not measure the reasons behind the anxiety an individual is facing. This fact leads to incorrect results. This is proved by the polygraph's high yield of false positives, or innocent individuals who are mislabeled as guilty (40%). The polygraph test fails to rule out rival hypotheses when measuring anxiety. The individual being tested could very possible have anxiety over being convicted of a crime he or she did not commit, but the lie detector immediately interprets anxiety as an indicator that the individual is lying.
Using these principles of scientific thinking, it is evident that the lie detector test may not be the most full-proof method of determining whether your significant other is cheating, or whether an individual committed a crime. Though the polygraph test may not have a place in the courtroom, it will always have a place on our nation's television programs.

The Positive Gene

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While learning all about developmental psychology, I was very intrigued with how parenting styles can affect their child's upbringing. I started thinking about how my parents and their parenting styles have affected me.

One major characteristic of mine is my optimism and positivity. My friends know my favorite quote all too well: What you think about you bring about! So is this characteristic nature or nuture working? My parents are both extremely positive people and have worked very hard to raise me to believe anything is possible if I put my mind to it. To me the answer is clear; characteristics like an optimistic outlook on life are most defintely due to nurture and not nature.

But I have been proven not completely right! According to Psychology Today, self confidence is not entirely due to nurture. Behavioral geneticist Corina Greven and Robert Plomin wondered why it was that kids with high IQ's didn't always shine academically while the star student's IQ is much lower than others'. By studying identical and fraternal twins, they were able to come to the conclusion that self confidence can be pre-disposed to some people. This isn't to say that people as positive as my parents couldn't have influenced my outcome, but they are my parents so maybe we all share a really optimistic gene!

Are Orgasms Good For Your Health?

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Is it possible that there may be some truth behind the saying "sex is good for you"? Well, according to MSNBC, orgasms may have actual health benefits. Backed up by a study at the State University of New York in Albany, semen may antagonize depressive symptoms. However, I'm not entirely sure that it is the sex related to the semen that reduces depression, it may just be the vitamins and minerals in semen itself. On top of that, orgasms may actually contribute to relieving pain and even healing wounds. The article mentions that after and before climax, Oxytocin surges through the body along with other endorphins. This all relates to the resolution phase, which tells me that this article may actually hold some truth. Reading on in the article, it talks about how semen can boost cardio health.This is when the article turned on a caution light in my head. The writer of this article may have fallen to belief perseverance when she talks about how swallowing sperm can reduce the risk of preeclampsia. I think that it may be the nutrients in sperm, not the combination of orgasm and ejaculation that creates a reduced risk of preeclampsia.
All in all, this article caught me by surprise. How weird is it that sex is actually good for you? This brings an inappropriate but at the same time totally appropriate question into my head, "is a lot of sex really a bad thing?"

Mozart Effect, Schmozart Effect

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This story from National Public Radio talks about the Mozart Effect that was discovered by Francis Rauscher when he played a Mozart sonata to college students and then measured their abilities on a spatial reasoning test. He found that students who listened to the Mozart sonata tended to score better on the test than when they listened to silence or a monotone voice. When the research was published in Nature, it was picked up by the popular media and quickly became a sensation. Parents rushed to buy Mozart recordings to play for their babies to make them more intelligent. The governor of Georgia even gave away classical CDs to families of babies born in Georgia.

This case provides a great opportunity to apply scientific thinking principles. First of all, the extraordinary claims thinking principle seems to fit especially well. The study only included 36 subjects and all of them were college students. The limited sample size and non-randomness of subject selection give the findings limited credibility, especially when trying to generalize them to populations other than college students, like infants. There clearly was not enough evidence to support the extraordinary claim that something as simple as listening to Classical music can actually increase intelligence.

The second scientific thinking principle that applies to this research is the Occam's razor principle. The article talks about how subsequent studies have found that it was not the Mozart sonata specifically that led to the testing gains, but rather the music simply stimulated the students' brains and made them more alert for learning. The researchers found that any music that someone finds stimulating will produce a similar effect. In this case a much simpler explanation fit the findings just as well.

Speigel, A. (2010, June 28) 'Mozart Effect' Was Just What We Wanted To Hear. National Public Radio. Retrieved November 6, 2011, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128104580

The Mozart Effect

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Throughout history the findings suggesting that music affects individual's mental processes have been numerous. However, overtime the context of this study has shifted to making it seem that it can transform an unintelligent individual into a genius. In our competitive academic society people will take that possible finding and try it out for themselves. This is what they would call the so-called "Mozart effect." Mozart.pngThe Mozart effect is simply that by listening to music, in most cases classical, it will increase one's intelligence. This phenomenon first appeared in the original article: 1993 Nature journal report titled 'Music and Spatial Task Performance'. However there are many reasons leading us to believe this that this finding is difficult to replicate, falsify, and there may even be a simpler explanation for it. In the book it states, "...Researchers had a devil of time replicating the Mozart effect. Many couldn't find the effect at all, and those who did discovered that it was trivial in magnitude and of short duration." (Lilienfeld 377). The idea that this effect is difficult to replicate already leads us to question the credibility of this claim; therefore we should not get our hopes up for the Mozart effect to make us more intelligent. There may also be an alternative explanation for this finding in that any individual who becomes mentally stimulated, whether it is by music or not, may show an increase in performance mentally and may recollect new material easier in the short-run time frame. For example, watching a comedy movie may arouse an individual, listening to rock and roll, or even by exercising. All of these stimulate the nerves in the body temporarily and consequently make an individual more attentive in the short-run. We can conclude that the Mozart effect may actually have a much simpler explanation and temporarily increase memory in the short-term making an individual appear to be smarter overall. Since I couldn't find the original article here are some websites that discuss the Mozart Effect, in addition to our book's article: 1)http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/lerch1/edpsy/mozart_effect.html 2) http://www.mozarteffect.com/

The Date Game

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People often struggle with dating; it's complex, it requires you to try and read the other person's emotions and thoughts, and it often times leaves you wondering what you did wrong. Every time you're preoccupied trying to think of what to wear or how to act during a date, you are coming up with a strategy. Where else do you think of strategies? Maybe you're trying to find a way to avoid rush hour traffic or to score a goal. The end result; there are many games to be found throughout life, and dating is no exception. Let's look at a couple examples:

Monopoly

A cult classic; one of the most common board games known to American households. You play the game, trying to acquire as much property as possible. However, it is incredibly difficult to acquire monopolies without trading with the other players. This is where cooperation comes into play. A key element in dating, cooperation is necessary to soothe out differences between people; after all, no relationship is perfect. If you can't forgive them for their mistakes, or hold them accountable when they wrong you without remorse, nobody will ever win.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty is one of the more popular first person shooters of today, and provides excellent insight into dating (bear with me). To effectively completely your objective, your team needs to a) work together and b) trust each other to do their job. They can't waste time blaming someone for dying once or they will lose the entire round and their objective as a whole. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is continue to support someone even through their mistakes; talk about it when the game isn't in full bore.

Dating doesn't have to be difficult; just follow the rules of Dr. Ali Binazir here.

Violent Video Games Linked to Child Aggression!

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The question of this article is, do children become more aggressive after playing video games or are aggressive kids more attracted to violent videos? I use to play a lot of fighting games back when I was 8 years old and I still do now. When I was a child I thought that violent video games such as "Super Smash Brothers" or "007 Goldeneye" influenced me to become more violent because me and my friends thought that the fighting were so cool that we wanted to do it too. One of the most famous child aggression comes from a violent TV show called WWE, (World Wrestling Entertainment) which has kids being influenced to do moves the wrestlers do on the show. If the kids favorite wrestler was "The Rock" then he would shout out slogans such as, "do you know what the rock is cooking" and then slam their friend down on the ground. This aggression is very common around the world because the WWE is very popular every where. If my stories aren't enough to persuade people on how kids are getting more aggressive by watching violent TV shows and playing violent games, then I can tell you about a research study.

When we all were kids, we had no self control what so ever. I believe that kids have no self control because in the new study done by Dr. Craig A. Anderson, of Iowa University took children and teens video game habits, then after three to six months later, he found out that children who were exposed to more video game violence did become more aggressive over time than their peers who had less exposure. "This was true even after the researchers took into account how aggressive the children were at the beginning of the study -- a strong predictor of future bad behavior." If this article doesn't convince you then you can find more evidence online.

http://articles.cnn.com/2008-11-03/health/healthmag.violent.video.kids_1_violent-video-video-games-game-genres?_s=PM:HEALTH

Luck Versus Hard-work and the Locus of Control

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I was recently assigned a new paper in my freshmen writing class that fondly reminded me of a term that I had read about in my Psychology textbook. I was told that I would be writing a ten-page paper on whether I thought either luck or hard-work played a defining role in how successful a person becomes. Instantly, I latched on to the idea that luck is the prime reason why certain people become successful. I realized that this paper stemmed from the concept of locus of control, and I am a strong believer in the external locus of control.

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By definition, the locus of control is used to describe how much we believe that reinforcers and punishers are either inside or outside of our control. A person with a strong internal locus of control would believe that success is largely due to their own characteristics, efforts, and hard-work. In contrast, a person with a strong external locus of control would believe that success is largely due to chance, fate, and luck.

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In my opinion, this is an important concept to understand. What a person believes often shapes who there and how they approach life. For example, a person with a strong internal locus of control may choose to study really hard for a psychology test because they believe hard-work will bring success; however, a person with a strong external locus of control may choose to hope that they know all of the concepts and get asked questions relating to what they already know.

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A study regarding whether hard-work or luck plays more of a role in life would be unfalsifiable because there would be no true way to test it. So, the question remains, what is more important in achieving success: hard-work or luck? Will we ever know?

Another good blog regarding the debate how important luck is versus hard-work is located at:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Luck-Or-Hard-Work---Which-One-Determines-Life-Success?&id=1866407

Urban Legends and Pseudoscience: The Mozart Effect

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(Image found at http://www.dogonaut.com/widlist.asp)

Could you imagine a world in which you played a CD for your infant, and they automatically became more intelligent just by listening to it? Wouldn't it make life so much easier to download Mozart on ITunes and score well on all your tests that way? What would you say if you were to know that there have been people that have actually believed this to be a fact?
The Mozart Effect was introduced to the world in the form of an article from the journal Nature. In this article, it was reported that "...college students who listened to about ten minutes of a Mozart piano sonata showed a significant improvement on spatial reasoning tasks compared with a group of students who listened to a relaxation tape." (Lilienfeld pg. 377) This 1993 study seemed to show that intelligence could be improved by simply listening to classical music. Though it was difficult to replicate by other researchers, and it never claimed to improve spatial reasoning over the long term, the Mozart Effect was utilized as justification for companies to sell Mozart CDs to families with infants.
Later research would suggest that short-term mental arousal could explain the Mozart Effect. This would explain why individuals listening to music that they themselves enjoy (whether it be Mozart or not) feel more alert versus those that are not listening to anything. Perhaps you feel more alert after reading a story that makes you feel excited. Personally, I feel more alert after watching a thrilling movie. Any such activities could potentially improve short-term spatial ability, though not your intelligence.
So, even if listening to mentally stimulating music (or performing any activity that is stimulating) only improves short term spatial ability, perhaps we could benefit from the Mozart Effect. Could we potentially score better on exams if we listened to classical music shortly before taking them? Though our intelligence would not have been improved from listening to the music, could we temporarily improve our spatial reasoning for such exams? In all honesty, it's really doubtful at this point. Though it your short term spatial reasoning would likely be improved by listening to stimulating music, it hasn't been proven to do so significantly in the least.
This article helps to explain why the Mozart Effect should be categorized as an urban legend, and how this pseudoscience bursted its way into public popularity. Though it would be fun if we could all improve our I.Q. scores by simply listening to music, the evidence isn't there to support this extraordinary claim.

I Ain't As Good As I Once Was

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My mom and dad are always complaining about how they wish they still had their "high school figures" or why there are so many more "smile lines" by their eyes than there used to be. We all know that getting older isn't fun and from the outside, the changes are very apparent in most people. However, the inside changes are also very apparent, even though they aren't seen by the visual eye. As people age, their brain ages as well. Our cognitive functions decrease in ability as we grow older. According to the source from "Developmental Psychology" it states that K. Warner Schaie believed adults go through 2 cognitive development phases that include achieving and the responsibility stage. These stages are when adults develop responsibilities towards their new interests such as their careers and relationships.
There are so many time where I am playing a game with my grandparents, and they just can't seem to catch up! That's because people's speed of processing just isn't as fast as it used to be. Some positive side effects of growing older include that gradually you get smarter. In our psychology text book it states that adults adult's generally perform better on vocabulary and knowledgeable tests than younger people.
We all know that as we grow older, things change for the good and sometimes for the bad. It is very interesting to study how the brain corresponds to these changes in positive and negative ways. We all see it through our parents and grandparents, and even ourselves as our behavior changes with age. In the end, every age we are in is unique in its own way and these changes are the natural part of life.

Addicted to Coffee

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I was reading articles from the website Psychology Today and I found an article titled "Why does coffee make us feel so good?" This article intrigued me because I'm an avid coffee drinker. The article states that the neurotransmitter dopamine is released when people drink coffee which explains why people feel so good after they drink a cup right after waking up in the morning. Dopamine is also released when people use the drugs cocaine or ecstasy, which explains why caffeine is such a widely used psychoactive substance.
Our bodies react to coffee, like other drugs such as marijuana, by building up tolerance. When someone has their very first cup of coffee, it is said that they get a "buzz" from the caffeine. This so called buzz is similar to a high that drug users would get when they use a drug for the first time. As time progresses, the more coffee that one drinks, the more coffee they need to drink to get the same buzz they received the first time they drank a cup. This happens because the body builds up a tolerance to the caffeine, therefore more is needed to get a buzz.
Also within the article the author talks about the fact that the addictive properties that are found in coffee involve the same neurotransmitter system that is used with the use of marijuana. Both coffee and marijuana trigger arousal in the brain. Because coffee triggers the same neurotransmitters that marijuana triggers, it gives the drinker a better buzz, but also makes it harder to say no to the next cup.

Is School a Waste of Time?

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In chapter 9, we learn about all the theories and models pertaining to intelligence. One of the most widely accepted of these theories is the theory of multiple intelligences developed by Dr. Howard Gardner. According to his theory, there are eight main categories of intelligence and each individual has strengths and weaknesses in different areas. In other words, we think, learn, and perceive things differently. There are many everyday applications of this theory but one of the most thought provoking and perhaps controversial of these is Gardner's own claim that schooling could be a waste of time and resources. According to Gardner, schools attempt to teach all students in the same manner which Gardner describes as the "Law Professor Mind". Teachers and professors commonly teach their curriculum to a linguistic and logical approach which leaves behind students with different intelligence strengths. According to Gardner, "Education in which everybody is treated the same is absolutely the most unfair education." I'm sure I'm not the only one who found that once I got to high school my parents were basically useless when it came to help with homework. This is because in order to truly learn an idea or concept, a person needs the ability to transform, recreate, ask questions, and do things hands on. If you're anything like me, then you probably find this topic rather depressing. But don't worry, there is hope. Teaching toward an intelligence area that isn't particularly strong actually strengthens it over time. So what does this mean? It means that if you're a college freshman like me, you've already had a lot of exposure to this "Law Professor Mind" approach. And yeah you may not think you remember much from 9th grade chemistry or even high school in general, but hey you retained enough to do well on the ACT. So next time you prepare for a test, try to mull things over a little more. Get to know the ideas you're trying to grasp, talk to classmates, apply real-life situations, and have a good attitude. By following these steps, you'll not only do well on the exam, but you just might learn something in the process.

When nature isn't natural

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According to the textbook, our bodies do not reach full maturity until adolescence. During this period, children transform into adults physically with help from the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases estrogens and androgens into the bloodstream. Many associate testosterone with males and estrogen with females, however, both types of hormones are present in both sexes in varying proportions. In males, testosterone increases the growth of muscle tissue, facial hair and body hair growth, and broadening of the shoulders. In females, estrogen promotes breast growth, reproductive organ maturation, hip broadening, and menstruation. The process of these changes in hormones is called puberty. During this process, primary sex characteristics (reproductive organs) and secondary sex characteristics (sex-differentiating characteristics that don't relate directly to reproduction) evolve and transform in bodies of boys and girls.
While puberty is a natural physiological process, what happens when a boy or girl decides they do not wish to be identified with the sex their body is "becoming?" In this article, Armand's parents noticed his desire to be identified as female from an incredibly young age, well before the onset of puberty. Armand's desire to be a female troubled his parents, and they sought out professional help. After many different diagnoses, Armand was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, which is a label most psychologists and psychiatrists give to boys or girls who believe they were born in the wrong physical body. Although Armand was born as a boy physically, he genuinely believed he was a girl. Armand was diagnosed with gender identity disorder before he hit puberty, so Armand's parents acted in a way they thought would help him. They decided to have Armand partake in a treatment that would postpone puberty to avoid developing physical attributes of the sex he did not identify himself as. This treatment is an injection that blocks the body from producing sex hormones, so while children grow taller, they do not mature sexually. The gonads, the organs responsible for hormone release, are blocked therefore hindering the onset of puberty. Children can receive these injections for up to three to four years, and then may begin taking hormones of the opposite sex. However, without these injections, a transgender adult will have much more trouble being identified as the sex they wish to be.
Even though nature creates children as a certain sex, with the help of science, children with GID can combat the effects of puberty in order to become the sex nature did not intend.
Puberty
According to the textbook, our bodies do not reach full maturity until adolescence. During this period, children transform into adults physically with help from the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases estrogens and androgens into the bloodstream. Many associate testosterone with males and estrogen with females, however, both types of hormones are present in both sexes in varying proportions. In males, testosterone increases the growth of muscle tissue, facial hair and body hair growth, and broadening of the shoulders. In females, estrogen promotes breast growth, reproductive organ maturation, hip broadening, and menstruation. The process of these changes in hormones is called puberty. During this process, primary sex characteristics (reproductive organs) and secondary sex characteristics (sex-differentiating characteristics that don't relate directly to reproduction) evolve and transform in bodies of boys and girls.
While puberty is a natural physiological process, what happens when a boy or girl decides they do not wish to be identified with the sex their body is "becoming?" In this article, Armand's parents noticed his desire to be identified as female from an incredibly young age, well before the onset of puberty. Armand's desire to be a female troubled his parents, and they sought out professional help. After many different diagnoses, Armand was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, which is a label most psychologists and psychiatrists give to boys or girls who believe they were born in the wrong physical body. Although Armand was born as a boy physically, he genuinely believed he was a girl. Armand was diagnosed with gender identity disorder before he hit puberty, so Armand's parents acted in a way they thought would help him. They decided to have Armand partake in a treatment that would postpone puberty to avoid developing physical attributes of the sex he did not identify himself as. This treatment is an injection that blocks the body from producing sex hormones, so while children grow taller, they do not mature sexually. The gonads, the organs responsible for hormone release, are blocked therefore hindering the onset of puberty. Children can receive these injections for up to three to four years, and then may begin taking hormones of the opposite sex. However, without these injections, a transgender adult will have much more trouble being identified as the sex they wish to be.
Even though nature creates children as a certain sex, with the help of science, children with GID can combat the effects of puberty in order to become the sex nature did not intend.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90273278

http://youtu.be/jPFHjBxtESU

Happiness

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Happiness is defined in the Lilienfeld textbook as people's subjective sense of how satisfied they are with their life. it is one of the most powerful emotions that we feel as humans and it can affect us in many ways. There is even a study mentioned in Lilienfeld that found that nuns who used words such as joy, love, and hope in their personal journals outlived other nuns by almost ten years. These results can not necessarily imply causation but it is still a very interesting outcome. I think that optimistic emotions can positively influence our lives and help us feel more satisfied in general. I have an extremely busy schedule, as do many students here at the U, and it is hard to stay optimistic one hundred percent of the time. However, I find that when I am able to see things in a positive way it makes them less painful to experience. For example, getting up for practice at 5:45 in the morning is not necessarily a pleasing experience, but if I focus on why I am doing it and motivate myself to be excited, it turns into a very manageable task. Happiness has the power to motivate people to do great thing. This is why it is so important to have a passion for the job that you do, and enjoy work, whatever it may be. I feel happy when I get a good grade on a test or after rowing practice. For me, it is important to remember this, and have an optimistic point of view even during the other, not so happy, moments. I think this quote below is a great reminder not to get caught up in our daily tasks and goals, because happiness doesn't have to come only after we have accomplished something.

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Prevalence of Divorce in Society

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One topic that I have been finding increasingly interesting is the effects of divorce on children. What divorce does to children has long been a topic of debate and research. Most people think divorce destroys children, and emotional stunts them for life. One study, talked about in the book, says that most children actually ended up living through their parent's divorce without long-term damage to them emotionally. A factor that can influence how damaging the effects are is how severe or dramatic the divorce. Of course though, divorce can negatively affect some children.
I have a friend with divorced parents. I talked to her to find out how the divorce her parents went through when she was a child has affected her in her later years. After talking to her I realized that no matter how long ago a divorce was, or how well a person's parents has worked it out now, a divorce will always affect a child in some way. My friend's parent's divorce was when she was nine years old. Without getting into the details of it, her parent's split wasn't an easy one. There were a lot of factors that went into it, but it was still very shocking for her. Even though now, her mom has remarried and she calls him "dad", she still finds it hard to talk about her biological dad. She still has a lot of anger built up inside of her that she doesn't let out. I think that divorce will always negatively impact a child, even if just a little.
Divorce is such a common topic that it is prominent on TV, in movies, and even in music. It is brought up so much that children are starting to think that it's actually okay. Parents often wonder how to tell their children they're getting a divorce. The same can be said for when a child sees something about divorce on TV. How do you explain divorce to your child? And should you even have to? Recently, the divorce of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries has been all over the news as shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWqdzcP4MTY Children are watching this, and some of them are starting to view divorce as "normal." Divorce is psychologically affecting children all over the world.

Emotions

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It's amazing to me that people can tell what emotion a person is experiencing based on their facial expression. Its incredible that all across the world there are 6 different facial expressions that can be distinguished. Even with all of the cultural differences the human brain can still spot the differences. When we did those tests during lecture I was able to tell instantly what expression was being shown.

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Even babies as young as a few weeks old are able to tell the difference between facial expressions given in their parents and then judge the situation based off of their parents expression. Its amazing that what are brains are capable at even such a young age. What I really want to know is what are the real word applications of this?

Is Aspartame Hazardous?

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Recently, I found a website claiming that aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in a variety of food products, is a potentially poisonous product that causes a variety of illnesses, including headaches, tumors, systemic lupus, blindness, and birth defects. As evidence to support this claim, the author stated that they had noticed that people who had these ailments often also frequently drank diet carbonated beverages, which can contain aspartame. Also, the website explained why they believe that aspartame has these effects on people.

In order to examine the validity of this claim, it is important to examine it using the six principles of scientific thinking. Since the website asserts that this sweetener has caused a variety of differing and severe diseases over the past several decades, extraordinary evidence must be presented to validate this sizeable claim. However, the evidence cited is largely anecdotal, and no studies or experiments were cited to verify the alleged findings. Alternatively, experiments testing the safety of aspartame have found no significant negative health effects. The author also infers a causal link between drinking diet carbonated beverages and the purported ailments stated to be systematic of aspartame poisoning, despite no provided evidence to justify this claim.

Since the claim that aspartame is poisonous has not been replicated, offers no causal link, and fails to offer extraordinary evidence to support this extraordinary claim, it is not scientifically supported. This assertion is likely nothing more than pseudoscience, and demonstrates the importance of evaluating claims before accepting them as truth.

http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-information.html
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/aspartame.asp

Adolescence

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Adolescence is a part of life. Most of the students have gone through it, so they know the effects of it first-hand. During this transition between childhood and adulthood, many people get acne. Acne is a natural thing, yet people don't find people with acne to be attractive.
This leads into our discussion topic of attractiveness. It was said that we humans find the most average face to be attractive. Most people experience acne during adolescence. In that case, why don't people find acne to be attractive?
I have never had acne, but from talking to others, they think acne is gross. Why is that? It's natural and most people experience it. I'm not saying that we should change our thoughts on what's attractive and what isn't, but I do think we all should consider what we are judging

Video Games are Going Over the Top

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This week in our discussion section as we talked about the violence in video games and television shows, I couldn't help but think about what I was exposed to as a young child. I remember waking up on Saturday morning, flipping on the T.V. and watching all of the kids friendly cartoons like Recess and Pepper Ann. I never played many video games but if I did, it was always MarioKart on my family's Nintendo 64. Needless to say I didn't see too many violent things as I was growing up.
But as I look at the wide range of video games that are available today, I can't help but think about what goes through a child's mind as they turn on their Xbox. I have watched the younger children in my neighborhood run around with toy guns and pretend that they are the robbers on the run from the cops. But as the video games become more and more violent, so do the backyard games those kids play. One little boy ended up with stitches last summer because he and his friends were trying to imitate the moves from "Call of Duty: Black Ops"
In the articles that we were given to read this week, it tells us that violent video games do increase aggressive behavior. I feel that if parents continue to let their children play violent video games, their actions are going to become more and more severe causing more and more children to get hurt.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201003/the-broad-view-research-video-games-and-aggression

Eating Disorders: A cultural disaster

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An eating disorder is a condition where people have abnormal eating habits that may involve insufficient or excessive food intake. I believe that this is an important idea because it has become so widely spread. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), over 8 million people in the U.S. have an eating disorder. Of these 8 million, 7 million are women, and 1 million are men. This is a very important issue because eating disorders have many dangers including malnutrition, dehydration, and chemical imbalances in the body. These dangers can often lead to extreme sickness and eventually death. Many people ask why eating disorders occur, considering they are neither genetic nor contagious. The most common belief for why eating disorders occur are culturally imposed images of what "we should look like." When someone sees the great looking people on television and in movies, the need to be exactly like them can be overwhelming. While it is natural for humans to feel like they need to look like these "perfect" people, is there a way to prevent a person from developing an eating disorder? Can someone be given a drug or another sort of pro-active approach so that these disorders don't occur? Or is the only real option counseling once the disorder has already taken over? I feel like if a program can develop such a product or system, it would be highly beneficial for society. More money needs to be invested in this cause, because it is affecting the lives of millions of families nationwide. celebrities-with-eating-disorders.jpg

Obesity and Genetics

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Weight is a very popular topic in American society today. Everyone is talking about it. Eating orders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are both very prevalent in today's society, but the now the spread of obesity is also being discussed more than ever. The rate of obesity has been rising for years, and now every state has obesity rates of at least 21.0%, Mississippi ranks number one with the obesity rate an astounding 34.0%, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As the rise in obesity is becoming more discussed than ever, many people are wondering why such an increase has occurred.

Many people may blame obese individuals for being obese, and though there are certain cases where external cues may be to blame for obesity, genetics have also been shown to play a role in obesity. As many as 6% the obese population has an altered gene, which causes those affected to never feel full. Twin studies have shown that there are high correlations of fat mass among both fraternal and identical twins, and adoption studies have also found genetics to be a factor in obesity.

There are many different factors that may help cause obesity. The internal-external theory, which states that obese people are more likely to be influenced to eat by external cues, rather than internal cues, may mean that many societal factors are partially to blame. Though people make conscious decisions to eat, it is important to remember that genetics can play a prominent role in obesity. Instead of focusing on the continuously increasing rates of obesity across America, it is important to focus instead on the causes behind obesity.

Obesity and Genetics

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Weight is a very popular topic in American society today. Everyone is talking about it. Eating orders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are both very prevalent in today's society, but the now the spread of obesity is also being discussed more than ever. The rate of obesity has been rising for years, and now every state has obesity rates of at least 21.0%, Mississippi ranks number one with the obesity rate an astounding 34.0%, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As the rise in obesity is becoming more discussed than ever, many people are wondering why such an increase has occurred.

Many people may blame obese individuals for being obese, and though there are certain cases where external cues may be to blame for obesity, genetics have also been shown to play a role in obesity. As many as 6% the obese population has an altered gene, which causes those affected to never feel full. Twin studies have shown that there are high correlations of fat mass among both fraternal and identical twins, and adoption studies have also found genetics to be a factor in obesity.

There are many different factors that may help cause obesity. The internal-external theory, which states that obese people are more likely to be influenced to eat by external cues, rather than internal cues, may mean that many societal factors are partially to blame. Though people make conscious decisions to eat, it is important to remember that genetics can play a prominent role in obesity. Instead of focusing on the continuously increasing rates of obesity across America, it is important to focus instead on the causes behind obesity.

Bodily Functions and Emotions

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William James and Carl Lange founded a similar theory around the same time that stated how our emotions result from the interpretations of our bodily reactions to stimuli. Psychologists later defined this as the James-Lange Theory of Emotion. An example of this theory is if one day you were walking downtown and you come across an angry mob. Using basic logic, we would say that the mob frightens us so therefore we run away; however, the James-Lange theory says that this is only correlational. James and Lange instead argue that because we run away from the mob, we are scared: We're afraid because we run away. I believe this finding is important because it challenges what people subconsciously are led to believe that their emotions determine their actions.
When I stop and think about this theory I remember my actions and emotions while talking to this girl, we'll call Sarah, whom I met last weekend. The conversation began normally, just simple small talk, when we both discovered we had some mutual friends and interests. We continued talking and laughing when I noticed, quite frankly, how pretty she really was. I started to really dwell on this and as I did I remembered my palms getting sweaty and my head started to fog up, losing my train of thought. As I struggled to recover we soon ended the conversation politely and went our separate ways. While walking back to the dorms I remember thinking I must have become nervous because otherwise why would I have felt the way I did. This realization that I became nervous after my palms were sweating really struck me as odd. Consciously I understood how I wouldn't be nervous until after I realized how my body was reacting, but subconsciously, I feel as though my mind was saying I was nervous so therefore I was sweating. This question strikes me as very difficult to find the answer to. Where do we draw the line of conscious and subconscious? And how do we be sure one causes the other (emotions cause bodily functions or vice versa)?

This video attempts to answer such questions in a 1950's classroom.


Parenting Styles

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I was trying to find an article dealing with parenting styles that are talked about in chapter 10 of our textbook. I found a 'study' done on what type of parenting is best, published by The Onion. The Onion, well known as a joke news source, has been publishing articles like this for many years. The article states that every style of parenting will eventually cause children to grow into unhappy adults. The article suggests that overprotective parents will produce children who are unprepared for the future and that permissive parenting leads to bitterness and isolation during adulthood. However, the article's most shocking claim was that any type of parenting in-between that would cause even worse damage to their children. It goes on to say that no matter what type of parenting is used, your child will end up flawed and unhappy. Clearly, this study does not make any sense. However, news articles that followed (from reliable sources) stated that this article was taken seriously by many people. I was shocked to read this. Using some of the six principles of critical thinking, you can clearly see that this article is not reliable, and probably contains false information.
First of all, this is an extra-ordinary claim. Therefore, it requires extra-ordinary evidence. However, this article does not provide any evidence. It only says that the study found this or that, rather than providing specific data to support the belief. Even if there was specific data given in the article, the study would not have been replicable, as far as we know. For information to be taken seriously, the study should be redone by many different organizations/people, and the results should be consistent. If this had also occurred, readers would still need to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Even if the people in the 'study' did grow up in homes with the middle type of parenting (not permissive or overprotective) and did turn out unhappy, there are many other reasons that could lead to that, such as a failed relationship or dissatisfaction in their career. This 'study' does not take into consideration what other factors effect adults overall lifestyle or overall happiness.
http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-finds-every-style-of-parenting-produces-dist,26452/
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Exposure Therapy in Action

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One concept of emotion that affects humans in a variety of ways is fear. Personal fears can range anywhere between being fearful while watching a horror movie to intense cases of phobias and anxiety disorders. To better understand how to conquer these intense fears, I investigated the method of exposure therapy.

Exposure therapy is a behavioral treatment for anxiety. Through this process, a patient is exposed to their worst fears, and the repeated exposure leads to a gradual decline in the negative emotions associated with the fear. This method is a significant treatment used by therapists all over the world and has had lifelong impacts on patients.

One of my greatest fears is heights. I find that this fear affects me most when I'm climbing steep stairs that are high up (such as in a stadium) or when I am on a ride that is gradually getting higher (such as the first hill of a rollercoaster). One way I think I could get over my fear is to go skydiving. Exposure to extreme heights would force me to face my fear.

In the video "Intensive Exposure Therapy" on YouTube, ABC News presents a special story on a woman receiving exposure therapy to help cure her agoraphobia. Through guided exposure to things like elevators and subways, the woman is able to conquer her fear and reduce her anxiety. It is interesting to see the psychology concept of exposure therapy in action. Although all people must deal with fear, it is helpful to know there are ways to get help if the problem becomes too serious.


Anxiety Attacks

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http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3360204839174209152&ei=skWiS-neDZLmqgK6vtCABw&q=%22attacking+anxiety%22+google+video&hl=en&client=firefox-a

The video above is a video dealing with three different people and each of their struggles with anxiety issues. As we learned about in lecture anxiety can be caused by phobias and can be debilitating to everyday life for most people. Anxiety can be caused by fears and lead to compulsions and obsessions. This is a debilitating psychological problem that people face and often do not seek help for until it is too late. One form of an anxiety disorder is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD.) This disorder causes people to have undesirable compulsions and obsessive thoughts and actions throughout their daily lives. OCD is believed to be caused by an increased amount of serotonin in the brain that leads these people to experience these psychological needs. It is a very interesting disorder because the people that are experiencing it know that what they are doing is often ridiculous, but find themselves unable to stop the thoughts or actions. Because sufferers of OCD know that what they are doing is ridiculous, they try to ignore it and refuse to seek help out of embarrassment. I find it very interesting that one can be consciously aware that what they are doing makes no sense but psychologically be unable to stop themselves. I think that OCD shows how powerful the mind is and the ability it has, if things go wrong, to completely overthrown our thoughts and control us to do things that we know we shouldn't need to do.

Aggressive Behaviors from Violent Video Games

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In our latest discussion we were given the topics of if and how playing violent video games and watching violent broadcastings can contribute to aggressive behavior. I agree with those that say doing such activities involving acts of violence does lead to aggressive behaviors. In one of the articles we were given to read, studies showed that people who play violent video games have a reduced brain response to violence, which then increased their aggression. This means that it would have to take more exposure to increased violence to have them respond because they have become accustomed to the violence.

It is not only these studies that made me pick my side. I have a little study of my own; my six year old nephew loves to play video games. Halo Reach, Call of Duty, Resident Evil 5, and other games that he's 12 years too young to even play! I can say that part of my nephew's aggressive behavior comes from these violent video games. He owns a lot of toy guns (almost all of the Halo characters, even the pink one!), toy swords, and even drew a picture of bloody ninjas with weapons for me once! Just recently, he broke my sister's laptop because he still wanted to watch YouTube videos of Halo when my sister had to do her homework.

If his parents regulated the games he plays and television shows he watches I don't think he would have such an aggressive behavior. I think this is a very important issue that parents need to pay attention to so their children can behave appropriately.

Interpersonal Attraction

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One thing that I found interesting from the Lilienfeld text was the segment on social influences of interpersonal attraction. The four social influences consist of proximity, similarity, reciprocity, and physical attraction. The first influence, proximity, refers to how close one person is to another. It has been found that the closer the proximity, the more likely an attraction will develop between two individuals. This makes a lot of sense, but why? The answer to this question is fairly straight forward. For example, two people that sit next to each other in class are going to have more of an opportunity to get to know one another. The second social influence is similarity. One common belief that "opposites attract", but people with more in common are more likely to find one another attractive. When two people share more in common, it is easier to keep a conversation going. They also will be more likely to agree on important issues. One third social influence is reciprocity. As the Lilienfeld text states, reciprocity is the rule of give and take. This refers to the idea that people find others who like them as attractive. If someone likes you, the idea is that you will like them back as well. This equates to the fact that when one person displays likable traits to another, they are often directed back to them. Last, but not least, is physical attraction. Physical attraction is the simple idea that people judge others based on how they look. While humans try not to put as much emphasis on physical attractiveness, it is always a factor in interpersonal attraction. Those four social influences combine to produce the reasons why we date who we date.

Depersonalization: interesting!

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I have heard the term "Depersonalization" thrown around here and there, but I had always wondered what it really was. Some friends who had dealt with it described it as looking at yourself from above or like youre a spectator to your own life. After some research, those descriptors appear to be pretty accurate. It essentially is when you lose touch with yourself and reality, a frightening concept, eh? Depersonalization often occurs in conjunction with other psychological disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia, but in some cases, starts randomly and without warning. It can also be self perpetuating, with fear of another occurrence fueling anxiety; another cause of the disorder.

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Depersonalization can be caused by traumatic experiences, but the core issue is believed to be neurotransmitter imbalances. Treatment for this disorder is pretty straight forward, even though there arent any medications approved to specifically treat it, Prozac has been known to help. The most effective treatment seems to be both Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapies, pretty much learning to re-interpret your perception of the world. Depersonalization is usually a warning sign of more serious issues, but the disorder in itself isn't to be taken lightly.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depersonalization/DS01149

Transitioning Into A Career

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For many people in college, and for nearly everybody who has recently graduated from college, a primary issue on their mind is what they will do for a living. Most of those who are new to the workforce may just want some stability in their lives - a place to start and earn a steady source of income. Fresh out of college, many students will look to find a career that fits their new set of skills and their long-held passions. If one is lucky enough to find a job out of college that presents them with a good opportunity to make money while stimulating their interests and challenging them, they may not want to get too comfortable; the average American worker changes jobs over 10 times between the ages of 18 and 40. This may be an unsettling fact to many, but it is important to realize that it is normal to have difficulty in finding a steady job. However, if a person is lucky enough to be presented with a stable job from the start, they should take full advantage of their rare opportunity.

It is important for adults to find a job that suits their niche. A place of employment can be a good source of pride for people; just to know that they are working hard, and hopefully positively contributing to society is a comforting fact for many. I only hope that in the near future I will find the career path I am destined for, and I hope to follow that as far as I can.

What Determines Attraction?

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We all have our types when it comes to our "ideal" companion. Some of us can't resist the "cute" ones, some the "intellectuals", others the "individuals", and the list goes on. In spite of this, we have all experienced a moment in time where we find someone attractive even though they may not have any of the characteristics we find attractive. So what is attraction, and what determines it? Why are we attracted to certain people and turned off by others?

I can personally attest to the fact that when I first meet a guy I consider like a variety of factors like: physical attractiveness, likeability, and marriage potential. Our textbook has outlined some guidelines for determining attractiveness. First off, there are some characteristics that all ages and both genders appreciate such as: physical attractiveness, intelligence, dependability, and kindness. That being said, there are some social influences that may heighten or lessen how attractive we may find someone like: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity. An increase in any of these factors lead to an increase in attractiveness. The one that I think is most significant is reciprocity; we give others what we receive from them. The dominant example of this phenomenon is that liking begets liking. If we know that someone likes us we feel inclined to be attracted to him or her, and this is most likely a response to this ego-boosting information. Still, even considering these guidelines, attraction can't be easily simplified.

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Resources such as online dating and speed dating have tried to create matches based on these principles. However, they have largely failed, because love is still a mystery. We do not completely understand how individuals integrate the intricacies of attraction. So is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Next time you see that cute checkout girl, or that cute guy in your lecture, ask yourself why you find them attractive.

These are some articles I used to gain some insight into attraction:

http://www.behindthehype.com/social-commentary/guide/measuring-attraction-a-man's-guide-to-rating-women/

http://sciencefocus.com/feature/psychology/science-online-dating

Teaching to the Test

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According to Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, in the fourth stage- Formal Operational- we are to develop the ability to think abstractly and reasonably. But in today's world perhaps there is a greater difference between what we are capable of and what our environment allows us to do.  As William Klemm  states in his article in Psychology Today children aren't learning the skills to think well. Instead of teaching children good thinking skills and correcting their flawed thinking, children are only receiving lessons on what to think and how to find the correct answer. There is no discussion on how to think, just what to think. So then when children use poor thinking skills they are not corrected. They are just told the right answers and not informed of how their thinking was poor. Klemm contends that this is due to a fear of damaging the child's self-esteem. This phenomenon is due to the increase in standardized testing, wherein teachers are teaching to the test: looking for the one right answer and being "discouraged from thinking 'outside the box'." 

The purpose of education, in the long run, is to allow individuals to be productive members of society. If children aren't learning how to think for themselves then this goal maybe even more difficult to reach. Klemm provides three suggestions on how to teach critical thinking despite these (in my opinion) ridiculous standardized testing requirements: have students defend their answers, model critical thinking, reward good thinking (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201110/teaching-children-think).  

Though Klemm doesn't offer any studies to support his observations, I think it's an important consideration when thinking about the standardized testing and the impact the results those tests have on the schools. Though we shouldn't assume that children are becoming standardized test taking robots either. Obviously this is something that should be studied more.  It could, perhaps, be an insight to the possible reversal of the Flynn Effect that was presented in the textbook (page 342). 

It's all in the past

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Experience can deter or support further development. What this means is that something that has happened in the past, whether it be good or bad, will have an effect on your development in the future. This effect can also be both good or bad. Generally, when someone has a negative encounter with a situation it will likely deter them from ever exploring further into that situation. This concept is extremely important because everyone has been through this at some point in their life.
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For an example of how a human can go through this, lets go back to when I was in 3rd grade. My dad had wanted me to try out for the hockey team and I had always loved playing pond hockey with him and skating. When we got to the school to try out I didn't want to go in and for some reason convinced my dad to go back to the truck and leave. I will never know what it would be like to play organized hockey. And because of that negative experience at tryouts I never ventured onto an organized team.

This hasn't brought up too many questions other than why more people don't use this in parenting? Parenting should be seen as being a role model, because of this exact feeling. Children grow up seeing what their parents do and how it effects them. These positive and negative occasions shape all of our lives in one way or another.

self-carving tree?

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While looking up different hoaxes online, i came across an appealing email scam. It was sent to people with a picture of a tree, a 'Baobab' tree (which is renowned to possess the largest tree trunks of the world) which is located in Andra Pradesh, a very dense forest in India. Now a picture of this tree could be very much believable, it's an aspect of this such tree that so deceiving. The email claimed that the tree had amazing animal carvings carved into its trunk. Not only that, but it was claimed that the carvings were completely natural, and that humans had no part in making them.

One thing that we have learned throughout psychology is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary claims in order to be believeable. This tree claim definently counts as an "extraordinary claim". But is there extraordinary evidence to back it up? Not so fast, using another critical thinking principle (Occam's razor) we can provide a different explanation. In fact, this tree isn't even an actual living tree, instead it is an artifical tree located in Disney's Animal Kingdom in Flordia, not India. The tree was entirely man-made. This just goes to prove that not everything we receive is true. Instead, we should look into everything in order to find out what we are able to believe.

the link i used is: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/mysterious-tree.shtml

tree picture.jpg

Do "Head-Start" Programs Give Children Higher IQ Scores

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Many parents are convinced that showing their infants and toddlers programs such as Baby Einstein and enrolling them in "Head-Start" programs will help them achieve higher IQ scores in the future.
The primary point these programs make is that they will help stimulate areas of the childs brain and that will increase brain development and size faster than children who are not taking part. However, a study conducted by the University of California-Riverside found that children who watched the Baby Einstein videos did not learn at a higher or more advanced rate than those who did not view the videos.
In fact, the American Acadamy of Pediactrics has released study findings that recommends that found social interaction with thier child is more beneficial than placing them in front of a screen and having them watch a DVD or television program.
In conclusion, I believe that children who watch these videos and programs are not going to benefit any more than kids who have constant social interaction with their peers and parents
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1968874,00.html
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Drunkorexia?

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Researchers have came up with a new term, Drunkorexia, to classify some college students. Drunkorexia is a mix between heavy alcohol consumption and eating disorders. Researchers have surveyed students and found out that 16% of them do not eat so they can save it for drinking. According to this article, a lot of the students participate in drunkorexia in order to prevent weight gain, get intoxicated faster, and to save money to spend on alcohol that would normally be spent on food.
According to Victoria Osbourne, drunkorexia has "..dangerous cognitive, behavioral, and physical consequences." There are also risks that come a long with being involved in drunkorexia. Such as more violence, alcohol poisoning, risky behavior, substance abuse, and long term effects.
Colleges have been including educational classes. Not only on drunkorexia, but also just eating disorders and binge drinking in general.
I believe this seems to be a problem amongst college campuses. Also, now that I have been in college and have experienced the atmosphere, I agree with a lot of the research and statistics they have came up with. I think this research would be easily replicated and probably will not be falsified.
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/drunkorexia.jpg

It is stated that our environment affects a fraction of our development aside from our genes. Taking this into consideration, it is often interesting to see how different children in various socio-economic groups in the United States develop and if they have enough similarities or differences to show us whether one's environment influences their development more than their genetic make-up. It seems that the effects of one's environment on his or her development is most apparent in elementary through high school. Influences of peer pressure, stress, changing trends, and changing interests all during a crucial period are a good example of why this observation. While taking this all into consideration, a question to ponder is how influential one's environment is in their development? Can one's already "pre-determined" personality traits and behaviors mapped out through their genes be cancelled out by the environment he or she is exposed to in their crucial developmental years?

Of course, it would be silly to say that one's genetic make-up could disappear as a result of being in such an influential environment. However, changes are always inevitable, as seen when examining the development of children during their middle school and high school years. For example, it is believed that intelligence may be something that is passed down genetically. Despite this, a child may not exercise this gift of theirs, and therefore allow their environment to sort of mask the genetic make-up that they contain. Though many of the changes that teenagers go through require having different experiences rather than always just having a natural instinct, it would be interesting to somehow examine how much of a bearing one's environment has on his or her development.


This video doesn't completely relate to my topic... but it is relevant enough in that it's a silly little video about conformity. Watch it--it's interesting! ------> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQI8pZJiMe0&feature=related

stages of development

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I read Piaget's theory called stages of development in the textbook. Even this theory turned out to be inaccurate in several ways, I still think this theory is very important and useful. Also it is very interesting. I had no idea that children have egocentrism in the second stage before I read the book .After I read this idea; I thought this idea can explain that why children do not tell their parents what happened before the parent ask them. That is because children in that age can't see the world from others' opinion. In other word, they don't know their parents don't know what happened. In the third stage which is called operational stage, children get the ability to perform mental operations. They can pass the conservation tasks. They know that the water in two different size cups seams unequal but they are equal on earth. I remember when I was 5 years old. My dad always makes Chinese soft milk candy for me and my friends. Every candy was mad by the same amount of milk and sugar but all of us wanted the longest one. Now, I know that is because were in the preoperational stage , we were unable to know they are equal.

Love the way you Lie

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U&ob=av3e

In the chapter 11 of the Lilienfield textbook, we learned about the psychology of Love. One model depicting this emotion was Robert Sternberg's "triangle of love" which linked three elements in different combinations to produce different kinds of love. These three elements are intimacy, commitment, and passion. Sternberg concluded that all forms of human love, from friendship to marriage and everything in between, are derived from one or a combination of two elements in the triangle. A combination of commitment and intimacy sparking a companionate love, intimacy and passion creating Romantic love, and passion on its own leading to infatuation are some examples of this theory.
After reading this section I began to wonder about the type of love that is not covered in the triangle, the type I refer to as the love the way you lie ( derived from the famous musical collaboration of pop star Rihanna and rapper Eminem) relationship. This is an abusive relationship in which the people involved passionately love each other, but hate and hurt each other all of the time. How can two seemingly opposing emotions exist at the same time? An article published by Science Daily in 2008 linked the sometimes fuzzy relationship between love and hate with a study conducted by Professor Zeki. He found that the putamen and insula in the brain become activated during romantic love as well as disgust. With two stimulated areas in common, along with other social as well as learned behaviors would explain why the line between love and hate can become blurred in some relationships.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028205658.htm

Nonverbal Cues

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When we think of language we usually think of the words that come from our mouth or those written on paper. However, an important aspect of language is nonverbal cues, they enhance underlying messages, emphasis important things and indicate our feelings toward others. Nonverbal cues come from simple gestures, like touch, eye contact and posture. Those small cues may seem insignificant but they greatly influence a conversations and perceptions of someone without us consciously noticing.
As with spoken language, nonverbal cues differ between languages. While in the United States eye contact is important, in Zimbabwe eye contact is considered rude. Differences like that make it extremely hard to conduct business or live in a country if one is not aware of the nonverbal cue differences. Different gestures facilitate different meanings in different cultures; even simple things such as putting your hands in your pockets comes across as disrespectful in Turkey.
Why these differences occur remains relatively unknown, they could stem from different geographical, demographic, religious and socio-economic environments. That seems to most simply explain why greetings are different between different cultures. Asians, for example, do not touch people on the head because that is where soul lives and touching it may put it in jeopardy. The replicability of that explanation is not perfect because it is impossible to know the origins of certain cultures. There may be other hypotheses that explain where nonverbal cues develop from but they are probably hard to falsify since the observations were probably made thousands of years ago.

http://soc302.tripod.com/soc_302rocks/id6.html

http://www.andrews.edu/~tidwell/bsad560/NonVerbal.html

"I was a Walking Skeleton"

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Anorexia nervosa is a eating disorder that has effected many people. It is characterized as a disorder that involves extreme amount of weight loss and the negative picture or perception that one is not thin enough. They often view themselves as overweight, when usually that is not the case. Many people who suffer from this disorder refuse to eat the required amount of calories a day; some may even take laxatives or other enemas to lose weight. Excessive amounts of working out are also a way in which anorexic people lose weight. These things become a daily cycle in anorexic people's lives and it turns into a sort of obsession. This obsession is often compared to addiction. Anorexia mostly affects mostly young women. Questions that arise for me is, what makes people become anorexic? If they clearly aren't overweight, some even extremely thin, why do they continue to think they are fat?
This eating disorder is very important to understand because it affects 0.5-3.7 % of females in their lifetime. They number may not seem very high, but anorexia is a dangerous disorder that needs to be treated because it has many long term effects and can even kill you. Many factors play a role into causing anorexia. The media plays a huge role into how girls perceive themselves. 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures and 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. When looking at magazines I often feel like I don't look as good as the girls in magazines and it often makes my self-esteem go down. This is why I think it is important to be aware of anorexia because it not only physically hurts someone's body, but it emotionally hurts people. Anorexia is usually associated with depression, and depression is a major factor playing into role of this disorder. We need to be aware of anorexia because there are many things we can change to prevent people from having bad self- images. Look at the picture below and find one thing wrong with this female's body: (there probably isn't)
carmen10.jpg
(this is the type of photo that we would see on the cover of magazines which many young females view)

Now view the girl below...she suffers from anorexia nervosa and pictures like the female above often influence the girl below's self-image. This is a serious disorder in which things can be done to help them before it gets so severe.
anorexic.jpg


Anorexia is a physical disorder but it also affects people emotionally. Treatment includes bringing your body weight back up to normal and also making your self-image better. "Group counseling or support groups may assist the individual in the recovery process. The ultimate goal of treatment should be for the individual to accept herself/himself and lead a physically and emotionally healthy life." http://www.medicinenet.com/anorexia_nervosa/page5.htm Someone with anorexia often don't think they are to skinny. They view themselves as fat, even when it is far from that case. After people receive treatment they look back and view themselves as a walking skeleton. Although there isn't strong evidence for what exactly causes anorexia nervosa, there are things that we know influence it, so it is important that we do what we can to prevent people from getting this disorder. The media is one way that strongly affects women's self-image, so things can be done to change the media image so it's not always the skinny hot girl on the cover.

Authoritarian Parenting Style: Has It Gone Too Far?

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The authoritarian parenting style is like a dictatorship: the ruler expects "blind obedience and allegiance from its citizens with no questions asked and none forthcoming" (Authoritarian Parenting Is A Harsh And Unyielding Parenting Style That Produces Harsh And Predictably Inferior Results). Just as a dictator unjustly punishes citizens, an authoritarian parent usually has no reason for punishing their child, leaving the child upset and confused. Not only this, but this style of parenting does not allow children to make their own decisions and think for themselves, both of which are critical for success in later years.
Parents who choose to act this way are setting their children up for disaster. If authoritarian parents think that because they set such strict guidelines that their children will do the same with their own children, they are wrong. Children who have strict parents are probably going to rebel when they get older and make bad choices because they can. Once they get their freedom and are out of the house, they are going to act on that freedom that they never had as a child. Once they have kids of their own, they will most likely be more permissive parents, letting their children do as they please with little to no punishment. However, permissive parents are no better than authoritarian ones. They are both extreme, and the best style of parenting is the one right in the middle: authoritative. This style combines both permissive and authoritative to create the ideal parent who gives their child a good amount of attention and freedom and disciplines him or her when needed. An authoritative parent recognizes that a child is going to make mistakes and that they can learn from them.

'Healthy' Food Causing Eating Disorders?

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ABC News looked at the relationship between "healthy foods" and people's behaviors around them. According to Suzan Clarke's article HERE, a new term has been coined "orthorexia" for a severe disorder where people constantly try to be "pure" with their food choices. ABC New's medical contributor, "Dr. Marie Savard said people who have orthorexia have a distortion of thinking about what constitutes good health and an unhealthy obsession with eating only healthy foods. That can lead to severe weight loss and emaciation." To some degree, I agree with this statement; however, I do not think that orthorexia is a realistic diagnosis, as a replacement of anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, because there is no current way to determine whether the thoughts about "pure foods" come first or the behaviors towards certain disorders.

HERE is a Youtube video of the ABC NEws Article (Part 1) that goes with the article.

On another note, I find the reliability of this article to be challenged when ABC News puts a link/advertisement in the middle of the page about how to eat healthy. Society may not be the ONLY correlated variable to eating disorders, but it sure sends mixed messages.

There are so many other potential causes to eating disorders than what society defines as "healthy food" that this article does not consider. Perhaps, children learn "good" foods from "bad" foods based on what their parents eat; perhaps one or both parents had eating disorders themselves, so children learned behaviors, rather than eating concepts.

If you are interested in learning more about eating disorders or getting more involved with eating disorder advocacy (in the US and MN), go to The Emily Program's website HERE. The Emily Program is a national non-profit organization to "make a difference in the lives of people struggling with eating disorders and their loved ones." There are multiple locations in MN, including St. Paul, St. Louis Park and Stillwater.


Late Night Eating Leads to Weight Gain

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I am sure that we have all heard at one time or another that we should not eat late at night because it leads to weight gain. I am also sure that most of us did not question it because a. we probably heard it from someone we trust like our parents or a friend and b. we did not want to ignore the warning and gain weight. However, maybe we should have done our research because we would have found that it is just not true. Lots of experiments have been done to test the myth, including one by the British Medical Journal. "After looking at numerous clinical studies throughout the world, they concluded that there is no link between eating at night and weight gain." It is also agreed by the American Diabetic Association that it is not so much when you take in calories, but rather how much. "... your body will store any extra calories as fat if you take in more calories than you burn in a day, regardless of the time of day in which you consume those excess calories." This is a good example of the scientific principle of falsifiability. A good question then, is how did this myth come about?

Although it has been proven that eating at late at night does not make one gain extra weight, why do people think it does? It has been found that if you are "ravenous" at night, you will often take in more calories than you need and that will lead to weight gain. A lot of people who are trying to cut back on calories during the day usually make up for it by eating a lot in the evening and late at night. Furthermore, people tend to take in excess calories at night because "...they are "mindlessly eating" while sitting in front of the television or computer." They do this not because they are still hungry "...but rather are eating out of habit, boredom, stress, or fatigue." It has also been found that people often make bad food choices at night such as chips and ice cream. In conclusion, perhaps people should spend less time worrying about what time of day they are eating and more time watching what they eat.

Source: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/myth-debunked-late-night-eating-does-not-cause-weight-gain.html

Image: http://obesity.ygoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/78182895.jpg

Autism; more like Awesome!

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In chapter 6 of the textbook, we learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Operant conditioning was used to help treat individuals with autism. Ivar Lovaas developed an elite program to start out using ABA at UCLA. Children who underwent ABA training turned out to improve on their language and intellectual skills. Some kids with autism don't need to go through treatment to feel like a normal person. Jason McElway of Greece Athena high school in Rochester, New York wasn't just a normal student. He has autism and was the basketball manager. As you can see in the video, he was actually more than a manager and a student in the eye of the school and community.

Jason got to live one of the best moments of his life being able to play in that game. He is just a normal kid like everyone else but with a slight defect. (I hate to call it a defect but I don't know how else to describe it). Jason never went through the ABA process and still is just as normal as every other student in that school. So as we look at ABA and its way of treating children with autism, maybe we can say that those kids should just live their lives and explore their dreams how they are. Autistic or not, those kids are just like everyone else and live normal lives like everyone else. They actually can turn out to be a hero in the eyes of some people.

Average Is Just Fine

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Average Is Just Fine

While we all seem to want to find and date the most attractive person possible, what happens to all the "average-looking" people? Do they grow old and live alone, depressed and isolated, because there's nothing about them that sets them apart from other people? According to the Lillenfield text, that's not the case since being average is absolutely fine. You don't have to look extraordinarily unique at all, since one major factor as to why we are attracted to one another is facial symmetry. This basically means we tend to choose a partner with a relatively balanced, proportional face in contrast to one with overly large eyes, or a huge nose, or tiny ears.

As we discovered in discussion using the faceresearch.org site, combining two or more seemingly average or even what we would consider unattractive people will generally create someone attractive. So why do we like average more than exotic? From a biological standpoint, an average face means less genetic mutations, diseases, or abnormalities. But can we really base the healthiness on how balanced our face is? Does having a big nose mean you're more prone to a certain disease? Does having closer set eyes mean your kids are more inclined to have some genetic mutation? Mentally, we also tend to choose almost anything--not just a boyfriend/girlfriend--because it seems "average" and therefore, simpler.

Looking at the visual examples in this article, "The Science of Attraction: What Makes A Beautiful Face?," you can see how those whose faces are more or less equal--proportional and symmetrical--are the better-looking ones. Although I think facial symmetry is an important factor in being attractive, I also feel that media and other external influences affects our perception of what is and isn't beautiful. If we didn't have magazines and TV showing hot celebrities, I'm certain young teens and adults wouldn't aspire to look exactly like them, or to be with someone like them.
http://realdoctorstu.com/2011/03/16/the-science-of-attraction-what-makes-a-beautiful-face/

Can Mozart make your child smarter?

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Many parents around the world are always looking for ways to increase their baby's intelligence. Playing Mozart music has recently become the new trend. According to the article, The Mozart Effect featured on BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/parents/features/mozart.shtml) in 1993 at the University of California, physicist Gordon Shaw and Francis Fauscher, played ten minutes of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major to a group of college students. They found that it did temporarily increase the student's spatial-temporal reasoning, but quickly faded. Due to these results, parents quickly adapted this concept in hopes of improving their baby's intelligence. According to Dr. Alexandra Lamont, "There is no evidence that just listening to music, not learning to play an instrument has any effect at all with children or with babies." There have been claims that Mozart's music produces 60 beats in one minute, which coincides with the heartbeat of the foetus, but this article brings up a great point that some recorded rock music has a 60 beats per minute song. If the claim was true then the rock music should be equally effective in raising IQ.

According to the six scientific principles, this claim can not be a theory because it does not rule out rival hypothesis. A possible explanation could be that the child was also involved in music lessons. Music lessons have been proven in early childhood, particularly before the age of seven, can have a lasting effect on their development. Piano lessons have been proven to help develop children's' spatial-temporal intelligence.
The Mozart Effect does not have enough evidence and according to our Psychology book, young children often have trouble with spatial-temporal intelligence. In Piaget's theory, he characterized the sensorimotor stage by a focus on the here and now without the ability to represent experiences mentally. Many psychologists have inferred concepts that disprove the Mozart Effect.

If the Mozart Effect actually worked, why wouldn't there be little geniuses running around everywhere? If babies actually gained intelligence through Mozart music, moms would be running to the store to buy his CD's. If this were the case, babies would be constantly listening to Mozart, increasing their intelligence. If intelligence was that easy to gain, who determines who get what job, if we are all equally smart? If the Mozart Effect was actually true, it would cause many problems in society.

This article and theory about Mozart Effect was really intriguing to me because I have seen many commercials offering the audience to buy CD's. They claim that it has been proven to work, but after reading this article I am hesitant to believe such thing.

ppprogmozartmstitle.jpg

Wasting Away

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As many of us have witnessed, eating disorders affect a large number of both men and women across the world. An eating disorder is defined as "an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet" (National Institute of Mental Health). The amount of people affected by an eating disorder today can be partially due to the fact western media today places great emphasis on body image. The two most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Both are extremely dangerous to the health of the person suffering from them. By examining these two disorders and the effects of media on body image, we can be better prepared as a culture to notice the warning signs and protect the ones we love.

Media in our society today is full of beautiful men and women who are in excellent shape and don't come close to representing the average population of America. These men and women represent a very small percentage of our country but young boys and girls look at these people and see something they wish they were. They acquire a negative body image and many of them will do whatever they can to look like the images they see in the media. That is were we run into eating disorders. According to Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, the two most common disorders are bulimia nervosa, which is patterns of binging and purging (usually eating high amounts of food and vomiting), and anorexia nervosa, which is only eating small amounts of food, if any. Both of these are potentially fatal. They can be treated but the person will feel the lasting effects for the rest of their life.

It is important that we look at the common eating disorders in society and realize the impact that the media is having on the body image of our society's youth so we can better protect those close to us as well as ourselves.


This article explains more about eating disorders and their treatment: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml

This is an image of the way many girls and boys see themselves with an eating disorder:
http://medicallywiseinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Anorexia-nervosa0.jpg

The Expertise Paradox

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A part of our mind that I found both interesting and frustrating is the phenomena of the expertise paradox. The expertise paradox occurs when a person performs so many problems within a domain that their solving becomes hardwired in the brain, making it automatic. While this is good for solving even more problems, it is not good when it comes time for the person to explain how they did it. Because of the automatic solving, the expert cannot explain step by step because their brain bypasses steps almost unconsciously to get to the goal more quickly. I found this interesting but not very suprising because it is simply another heuristic that our minds use to conserve computing space. Having played piano for some years, this paradox effects me when people ask me how to read music, for me knowing the music off the paper in front of me comes quickly without much thinking and it is definitly harder to try and explain the process, and not simply say "that's just what it is."

Does Money Buy Happiness?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtJ225BayfA


The debate goes on and on. Can acquiring more money really make someone happier? If this were the truth, economists would estimate that happiness rates are probably currently lower than normal with the recession causing millions of Americans to become less financially stable.

Although, luckily, this claim has been proved to be false by psychologists. According to our textbook, money and happiness only correlates with incomes less than $50,000, where even survival may be difficult. This makes sense when we think of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which shows we must be able to satisfy our physiological needs and safety needs before worrying about a sense of belonging or self-actualization.

Also, as human we have poor ability at affective forecasting, being able to predict our own and others' happiness. We may think about winning the lottery or receiving a salary increase and believe it'll make all our worries disappear and we will be so happy, but in reality it may not happen like we imagine. According to the hedonic treadmill, our moods tend to adapt to circumstances much more quickly than we would imagine. Winning the lottery may only bring happiness for a few months before our moods go back to the average level.

As stated in our textbook, "The grass is greener on the other side. It seems greener that is, until we've been on the other side for a while and realize that the grass is still greener on yet another lawn."

Watching the Weight

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The articles I read before writing this post were:
http://www.thatsfit.com/2010/03/16/woman-wants-to-weigh-1000-pounds/
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/obesity-statistics-in-america2010.html

I recently read an article about a woman who had a goal weight of one-thousand pounds to break the Guinness Book of World Records' record for heaviest woman. It deeply upset me because I believe that obesity is becoming a huge issue in America and we need to work on diminishing it rather than enhancing it. For example, the rate of obesity in Minnesota in 2010 was 25.5 percent, according to the second article that I read. We were near the end of the list in rank, so there are much higher rates in other states. Although six percent of cases of severe obesity are caused by genes, according to our textbook, most cases are caused by human inability to pay attention to portions and nutrition.

People enjoy food, so they usually want more of it. I understand because I often want to eat more of something that is delicious, like chocolate. I know I must stop after eating a certain amount, though, because my mom is a nutritionist and has educated me on nutrition.

This leads me to believe that most cases of obesity can be fixed by educating the public on the effects of over-eating and motivating them to live healthier lifestyles. For example, if many people need to learn the hazards of over-eating, like heart disease, chances are better that they will avoid eating too much. This could be done by government action and public service announcements; however, there are many other options regarding how to handle this issue. The important thing is that something gets done to change this epidemic before more people die due to weight-related issues.

A well-known psychologist by the name of Stanley Schachter would agree with my opinions regarding obesity. He proposed a theory that claims that obese people are motivated to eat more by external cues like portion size than by internal cues like hunger of satiety. This is called the internal-external theory. Some researchers, however, argue that oversensitivity to external cues is a consequence, not a cause, of how much we eat. After reading about these theories in the text book, I began wondering the true cause of over-eating in America and what the most effective way to fix this problem is.

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