This chapter covered vast topics from eating disorders, sexuality and drive for sex, as well as attraction and friendship. I found this to be the most fascinating chapter because in itself these topics in my opinion are some that the United States uniquely addresses these topics differently than other areas around the world. By trying to understand why it is that large portions of our society will negate and hate food/ fear it; in contrast large portions of the world have little food to distribute in or inadequate quality is beyond the scope of many peoples brains.
January 2012 Archives
In which of the following categories would you consider yourself: a lifelong criminal, someone with bad behavior but grew out of it, or a non-criminal? Because According to Dr. Terrie Moffitt's Theory, people fall into one of these three different types. I read two articles both discussing J.C. Barne's research on the effect of genes on criminal behavior. The paper's conclusion was that lifelong criminals are influenced by genes more than the environment. For non-criminals, the environment was the greatest influence and for people who grew out of their bad behavior it was equal between environment and genetics. I have a few reactions to these articles. It was written that a strong link between genes and criminality was found from a study of 4,000 people. However, it does not include anything about how the study was conducted. I am curious to know how they found this "strong link". How do I know that the 4,000 people were the best sample for the world's population? Written in the dailyRx article, "Barnes explains that there is no gene that actually causes someone to commit a crime, and that crime is a learned behavior. However, he cautions '...there are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of genes that will incrementally increase your likelihood of being involved in a crime even if it only ratchets that probability by 1 percent...It still is a genetic effect. And it's still important.'" This paragraph raises question marks every time I read it. Could it be that the genes present in the wrong environment create criminals? I think it is important to make clear that they are saying there are no "crime" genes but genes that can influence actions that are criminal. I feel that this could easily be misconstrued.
I found that the most interesting topic in this chapter for me was the section on Placebos. I thought it was fascinating, and slightly scary, that the placebo effect can be just as real as those of actual drugs. One thing that really surprised me however was the fact that placebos, like real medication, is more powerful on higher doses. This presents what I think could be a very interesting opportunity for future medicine. The simple idea that you should be getting better makes you better. Of course this wouldn't work for everything but there are some arguments that it is already useful. For example some researchers maintain that up to 80% of the effectiveness of antidepressants is due to the placebo effect. On another subject though, I thought that the examples of experiments in the Peer Review section were informative as well as being an interesting study tool.
I was flipping through the Personality chapter, and noticed that it was the one that had information about the twin studies. They really are a very interesting read. Some of the coincidences are almost crazily similar in fashion, such as the two brothers who were separated, became very strong and politically active, and then discovered that one was a Jew and the other was a Nazi in the Hitler Youth movement. It seems like it has a large impact on the nature vs. nurture debate. We see that while they possess many of the same characteristics that they would have no matter where they grew up, the environment they grow up in and the values of those around them can also contribute greatly to choices that they make later in life. Another set of twins was discovered to both have grown up and become firefighters, one in New Jersey and the other in Queens, New York. Although much of the could be seen as coincidence, many studies done have produced similar results.
While reading chapter one, I learned a good amount about how to think more scientifically and not always trust common sense. Although the text does admit that in some cases common sense can be useful, it introduced me to ways to scientifically analyze claims before I trust my common sense. Another thing I found interesting was the difference between pseudoscience and actual science. Pseudoscience comes into play a lot in life, specifically in advertisements it seems and also claims from peers, and I never noticed it until reading this chapter. It highlights subjects that are completely unscientific that many people believe to be scientific, such as astrology, ESP, and new forms of therapy or medication. This chapter sheds light on ways to avoid pseudoscience. When one can avoid falling into pseudoscience's trap, they think more scientifically and analytically. When one can think scientifically, this chapter gives six steps to follow.
In psychology, we try to make sense of the madness of everyday life. To find patterns so that we may better understand the 'whys' behind a person's actions. For those few who are trying to find those 'whys', they must have a sort of indifference towards the experiment. When too much personal emotion is invested into the experiment, there is a higher chance that the results may be unintentionally altered to fit the theory. While the researchers try to be as un-biased as possible, it's possible that they're blind to their own mistakes.
Chapter five in our class's textbook describes the ins and outs of sleeping and the later half of the chapter includes descriptions of popular drugs. I find the section about dreaming to be incredibly interesting because of how scientists have found ways to interpret what dreams may possibly mean. The deepest form of dreaming occurs during the fifth stage, also known as REM sleep. During REM sleep, the brain is most active and dreams are the most vivid. This stage of sleeping intrigues me most because I have the absolute craziest dreams constantly. For example, the other night I dreamt about a cow riding a bike and that the Wild hockey teamed played their games on a theatrical stage. These dreams do not make any sense to me and I love hearing interpretations from different sources such as various dream dictionaries. One explanation of why dreams can be so weird is the activation-synthesis theory or the theory that dreams reflect inputs from brain activation originating in the pons, which the forebrain then attempts to weave into a story.
Through looking at chapter 3 I find that the biological dissection of the brain into different lobes that control different aspects of our brain to be extremely interesting. The fact that it is possible to pinpoint various areas of our brains that contribute to our skills, whether it be our sensations, voluntary movements, speech or behavior. It really shows you how your brain is involved in nearly every process of your body.
When I read more into this concept I was particularly astonished at the story of Phineas Gage. The idea that his skull and prefrontal cortex were pierced by a tamping iron is horrific. I thought that it was interesting that despite this grievous injury to his brain, something that most people see as vital as a whole, he was still able to live through it. Furthermore, the idea that because this section of the brain was related to mood and self-awareness, the accident forever changed his personality. The fact that even his close friends were quoted as saying Gage was "no longer Gage" was astonishing. The idea that someone can live without a part of their brain seems almost impossible to me, let alone living with a completely altered personality.
Personally, I have found that chapter 11, EMOTION AND MOTIVATION is very interesting. In this chapter, it talks about how emotion can affect human's behavior and how people can express their feelings without talking about it. It also talks in depth about how people would react when having different kind of motivation. I also personally connected to this chapter. I might share this story in class in the future of myself. I have experienced an emotional crisis last year and gained a huge motivation of losing weight. I have lost 70 pounds in 8 months. When I looked back it has a lot to do with my emotional change and the motivational change.
"One day, one night, Saturday's all right..." I think it's safe to say that everyone knows this song, considering that the National American University jingle is played on the radio and on television constantly. Chances are, too, that you find yourself singing along when you hear it. However, how did you feel about it the very first time you heard it? Did you immediately change the channel? How about the fifth time you heard it? Did you notice it start to grow on you? According to Chapter 11: Emotion and Motivation in our psychology textbook, you probably did. This chapter focuses on the seven primary emotions (happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, and contempt) that humans experience, and how that influences our behavior, ranging from our needs for personal space to self-esteem. An idea that I found especially interesting was the mere exposure effect, the phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably toward it (page 414). In simpler terms, the more we hear, see, or smell something, the more we like it. At first I rejected the idea. I know with myself that I tend to get sick of things easily. I loved Katy Perry's song "Firework" the first time I heard it, and listened to it non stop for months. Now whenever I hear that song, I want to throw up. Then again, I used to hate those Education Connection commercials. Of course, they play it on television every commercial break, so I now belt out the lyrics whenever it's on. So, what has been your experience with the mere exposure effect? Do things tend to grow on you, or is it the exact opposite?
This chapter covers many things that at least for me were sort of surprising, it covers the many basic ways of how we need to understand the way we perceive things to have a better overall understanding of psychology. What I just said was a broad explanation, but it provides great definitions on how people may view things such as conspiracies and how we should look at it from a more psychological perspective. What struck me as most surprising is how many of the things explained in the chapter I have fallen victim to, not saying that I don't agree to some of my beliefs, but the chapter pinpointed so many things I have thought. Overall I think the most important message was that in this field you really need to have an open mind, and not get caught up in what you want to believe, but understand that you may be wrong and need to except it as a learning lesson.
I chose to check out the Social Psychology chapter because I am interested in knowing how others affect us. Social Psychology is the study of how people influence others' behavior, beliefs, and attitudes, for both good and bad. It was interesting to read about how we gravitate to each other, to a point, and how we feel the need to belong and form groups. It was also cool to learn about evolution and social behavior and how we came to be this way. This chapter also talked about social comparison, which I found intriguing because I like to see where I stand. Another personal connection I had to this chapter was social contagion. I am always checking in with other people and seeing how they feel about certain situations. I loved how this chapter fit into my life so well, and how everything I read was applicable to me. The great lesson of social psychology is the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error refers to the tendency to overestimate the impact of dispositional influences on others behavior. In the end, we attribute too much of people's behavior to who they are.
There are many areas of psychology that any one person can gravitate and be interested in this subject. The thing that intrigued me the most about this whole entire subject is the psychological disorders in chapter15. If you walk past someone down the street you might never know that a person could have a mental condition. Such as an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, OCD and the list goes on. The misconceptions of having a mental disorder discussed in chapter 15 are true to people all around. There are a lot of misunderstandings when analyzing someone who has a psychological disorder. Many people with mental disorders can hide the fact that they have an illness but some are not so lucky and cannot conceal that they have a mental disease. The history of mental disorders is also very intriguing. It used to be considered to be a physical disorder rather than a mental one and would be treated by medicine. Most patients would have be placed into asylums because they were believed to be very harmful to others. They were placed in an environment that was overcrowded and understaffed so let's just say many patients suffered. It amazes me to see how many things have changed from asylums to now where there is an abundance of more information then there was in the past and the knowledge of mental disorders is still growing.
I found chapter 15, Psychological Disorders, to seem the most interesting. This is because psychological disorders include phobias, disorders such as OCD and ADD, alcohol or drug abuse, and many more. Most likely, everyone knows somebody who suffers from a psychological disorder so everyone can relate somehow to the chapter.
For example, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) once he returned from the war. PTSD happens when people experience or witness a traumatic event and can result in flashbacks, efforts to avoid places and thoughts, night terrors, and panic attacks. Reading about the disorder helps myself be more informed about his disorder.
There is also a section that covers depression which is helpful for college students to read since so many suicides and attempted suicides happen in college. I didn't know that the average person with major depression experiences five or six episodes over their lifetime. Also, that most episodes last six months to a year. The chapter provides helpful myths vs realities about suicide.
The last section I will talk about is Autistic and Attention-Deficit Disorders. This section is good to read because its recent and has been very controversial. There are many debates on if a child with A.D.D should be drugged or remain unmedicated. And why has there been such an increase in diagnoses for Autism and ADD?
Well, I could keep going on because there are a lot of other great sections in chapter 15 but I will let everyone figure that out for themselves.
I found the information of the stages of Psychosexual Development found in Chapter 14, Personality the most interesting to me. The stages of Psychosexual Development were developed by Sigmund Freud and are found to be very controversial but I seem to find them very interesting. There are five stages and each is revolved around sexual pleasure. The first stage is Oral, birth to 12-18 months. Here the child uses their mouth a lot to receive sexual pleasure from sucking and drinking. The next stage is anal which is the age of 18months to 3 years. Here the child learns how to use the bathroom and realizes that in order to obtain pleasure, they have to release their bowels in the toilet. The next stage Freud created is the phallic stage, 3 to 6 years old. Here the child gains attraction for their parent of the opposite sex and realizes the differences between males and females. The next stage is latency, 6 to 12 years old, is where they learn that opposite sex have cooties and they are not attracted. The last stage Freud created is called the genital stage which happens 12 years and beyond and this is where sexual impulses are realized and mature relationships want to be obtained.
I think its very interesting that we have stages of sleep. I mean before reading up on the 5 stages, I knew there were points in my slumber when I knew I was dreaming or I knew I was sleeping but not all the way there yet. And then on the other hand I sometimes don't remember falling asleep! And these points are broken up into two main types of sleep called REM. Known as Rapid Eye Movement. There is also Non Rapid Eye Movement. And these two types of slumbers brain waves of different speeds are being produced. Different types of brain waves like theta and beta occur at various times in the sleeping stages. And what I've come to find out Psychologically is that these stages arent occuring consecutively. Which makes since because no two persons have the same work ethic or schedule throughout the day. So a person who still has a lot of enerygy throughout the night could be sleeping really lightly at night. But being in that stage is a lot different than being in the stage where you feel refreshed waking up cause you slept so hard because your body needed rest.
But I wonder when will we invent a machine to help us see what we were dreaming. How can we tap into our reconstructed memories that play while we sleep and project it for ourselves to see the next day.Seems like a great idea, not harmless right? But somehow, things intended for good turn out used for the worst when put in the wrong hands.And the person who creates this will it be something like a museum? And public for everyone who is around to watch as well as you? Or will it be a personal device, private and only for your consern? Seems like Privacy and freedom of social things has been up for debate lately anyway....
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