April 2012 Archives

Throughout this course I have found many of the concepts relatable to my own life, and for some reason one of the concepts that really stuck with me is conformity. I use to, like many others, believe that I wasn't conforming and did things because of my own personal choice, not what the majority of people were doing. However, after reading chapter 13 I quickly realized how many times I had quickly conformed from the fear of being wrong or out of place. It made me feel better to know that it is common and human nature to feel this way, and to want to conform. There are exceptions I believe, and sometimes conforming isn't really that bad, but in the bigger spectrum it has helped me see my flaws in holding back when I may have a different idea. I hope that from this I will think about it more when I am in a situation that I may conform in, and try not to because others may also have the same idea as I do but to afraid to stand out. Hopefully by me voicing my opposing or different opinion others will follow and express their own ideas.

One thing that I will always remember from this years psychology is the memory chapter, specifically the portion describing encoding. Many times while studying I felt that I was having trouble remembering certain items for a long period time, something that frustrated me and also caused me to do poorly on certain tests and in certain classes. However, when I learned about the brain's process to actually remember information, I was able to adapt my study habits to follow the results of research and statistics. Much of the information that we take in is never encoded, as we receive so much stimuli and information that its literally just too much to process into our memory banks. However, there are certain learning aids, strategies, and devices that can enhance recall; these are called mnemonic aids. I had heard of these techniques throughout high school, but never really tried them out. However, with all the studying that I was doing in college, it was hard to sort one lecture from the next, and one night of studying from the previous. I read about the pegword method, the method of loci, and the keyword method, all of which I applied to studying for the present psych test. I was amazed at how easily I could recall items that I had previously had difficulty remembering, and how readily that they were available in my mind. I have continued to use them throughout the year, and though they may seem childish, I will probably use them throughout the rest of my undergraduate and graduate career.

One topic that we have covered in psychology this semester that I will remember five years from now is probably the section about Classical Condition. I have already noticed how classical conditioning applies to everyday events in my life and also how positive conditioning is much more effective than negative reinforcement.Trust me, I give myself a reward for just about everything. For example, after I finish this blog, I am going to reward myself with some ice cream.
Also, in chapter ten we learned about the different types of parenting and which style was the most effective in raising children. Combining the authoritarian style parenting with positive reinforcement to condition a child yields the best results. I don't know if I will be a parent within five years (I really hope not at least), but I hope that I will remember both subjects so that I can raise respectable kids that will not be afraid to try new things, but will be responsible and make good decisions. Of course I might abuse the positive reinforcement aspect and spoil them rotten.

Blog 4- Stress and Coping

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Psychology has been a great course and I have learned a lot from the lectures and the book. There are many concepts that i learned about that I will carry with me into the future. One concept in particular though I think will stick with me and I will use in five years time is the concepts involving stress and how to cope with stress. I feel this will be very important information for me because as I continue my journey through college and then into the job market, i will be presented with very stressful situations such as deadlines, class load, and finding a job. I now know that having a lot of stress can be unhealthy and it is very important to control levels of stress. After learning about coping with stress though, I now know how i can control my stress throughout the rest of my life. I know how to use problem-focused stress control to my advantage. In the years to come, I think I will be using this concept to help relieve and get over the stressful situations I encounter. I will face those situations head on to help my chances of getting through them.

Good Boy?

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The whole topic of parenting was pretty interesting to me. It's something that we can all relate to. I mean, no one raised themselves (and if you did, I tip my hat to you). Studies showed that an authoritative approach at parenting was the best way to do things, and I agree 100%. All my friends who like their parents have parents who took this approach with them (I'd know because I'd see how they were disciplined as a result of being in their homes so much).

Parents who never or rarely discipline their children usually end up with kids that behave similarly to those seen on the tv show "Super Nanny." If you are unfamiliar with this series, it is about a woman who goes into households with unruly children and, by using her child behavior expertise, teaches them how to behave properly. These children pretty much set their own rules because without that punishment factor, they don't deem bad behavior as "bad."

Parents who are too over-the-top in their strict ways can raise a child who later on in life becomes rebellious, mostly because they haven't experienced "the world" due to the many restrictions set on them early in life. I have a few of these friends, and the "rebel" isn't fun to watch. Often times they go too far, and do things that, at least I feel, they wouldn't have done had they not been so restricted.

I think my parents definitely used the authoritative approach with me. I'm not unruly, and I wasn't deprived of any experiences as a child. I'd say I turned out quite well, something not everyone can say, and I'm thankful for that.

High 5 to the Big 5

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I think the psychological concept I will remember five years from now is the Big Five Model of Personality. For one thing, we spent a lot of time talking about personality, and even took an online survey to find out our individual scores for each trait. After taking mine, I was completely shocked by how accurately the results described my personality. More importantly, I was shocked by how different my scores were from my classmates. I scored extremely high in conscientiousness (33) and neuroticism (10), and scored low in extroversion. Once I overcame the shock, though, I remember thinking to myself "Yeah, that makes sense". I suddenly was able to understand why I get so anxious, moody, and tense when things in my life get crazy. I was also able to understand why I prefer to stay home and read a book on the weekends. According to Professor Simpson, introverted people require less stimulation than extraverted people to feel normal. If I were to go skydiving, I would most likely have a panic attack or pass out because I would be receiving WAY too much stimulation. I think the reason I will remember the Big 5 is because I am going to have these traits my entire life. Even though they are traits that everyone has, they are unique to me in some extent. The Big 5 helped clarify who I am, something that every college student spends years trying to figure out. Whenever I get super anxious, or spend an evening with a Jane Austen novel, I'm going to remember my Big 5 scores and think "Yeah, that makes sense".

Don't Do It

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You are walking through a crowded hallway on your way to class; up ahead you see another student is walking to class and they just dropped their water bottle. Instead of going and helping her you think, "It's a crowded hallway; someone else will help pick up their water bottle". This is known as the Bystander Effect-someone believing that another person will help someone in a situation. It might not be exactly like this situation, but sometimes, unconsciously, people do not help others because they believe other people will help. The water bottle situation happened to me the other day. I was walking to class and a person dropped their water bottle and I decided not to help because I knew that there were other people around who could help just as well as I could. Even though in this situation it was not a matter of life or death but there are some situations that people don't help others in dire need. For example in our textbook it explains how a woman was screaming and yelling for help while she was being murdered and no one came to her rescue. In these types of situations people should not fall into the bystander effect, people should know that the tendencies are if there are many people around a person is less likely to come to help those in desperate need.

A big "loser"

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I feel so personally connected when reading chapter 12 about how obesity can affect your health. And when I read about the emotional and social problems overweight kid suffered, I feel like it is story of my life. I used to weight 270 pounds. After a really sad, devastating emotional "crisis". I decided to work out and lose weight. I currently weight 160 pounds. I lost 110 pounds for the last one year and I feel amazing right now. When I started working out, I could not even run for 2 minutes or did one single push up. Now I can finish 6 miles within one hour and do 25 push ups each set for 3 sets. I gave up pretty much all my favorite food and my social life(lol), I did really hardcore working out routine and have a very strict schedule to maintain a healthy life style. I haven't have one single spoon of ice cream or one slice of chip for 8 months. It was really hard and exhausting but when I look back, I am glad I made it and it is all worth it. Right at this moment as I am typing this blog entry. My friend is asking me to go eat dinner with him and it is 8:30 pm right now. I said NO, sorry but NO!
I could not find the origins of this quote but it is well known among people who are working so hard to lose weight: It will hurt. It will take time. It will require dedication. It will require willpower. You will need to make healthy decisions. It requires sacrifice. You will need to push your body to its max. There will be temptation. But, I promise you, when you reach your goal, it's worth it.

Living a Healthy Life

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My whole life I have grown up with a mom who worked out everyday and ate as healthy as she could. I never have really followed in her footsteps, which my mom didn't really like. But after reading chapter 12, I learned more about weight and exercise than I have ever learned before. I learned that aerobic exercise, like jogging or biking promotes the use of oxygen. Also that in order for exercise to actually be useful, the workout has to be longer than a time span of 30 minutes. Relating to exercise, I also learned about ways to keep a healthy diet and weight. I learned that exercise is needed regularly; daily intake of calories needs to be maintained, control portion size, and get help from your social network. By me reading chapter 12 and learning about exercise and different ways to stay healthy, I've actually taken the initiative to follow what i've learned at to start exercising regularly and eating right. I started jogging right by the river and I'm starting to enjoy it. Also I've been taking what I've learned about a healthy diet and I've been watching how many calories I eat a day and look at the portion size on my plate. If I weren't in Psychology, I probably wouldn't have learned all of this useful information and wouldn't be in a healthy and happy place like I am today.

Social Facilitation

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Social facilitation can be described as the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks or a task that one has perfected when in the presence of other people. This is a popular psychological situation that affects our behavior. A good example of this in the real world is in a sporting event, an athlete may do better when there is a large number of fans there to watch them. When in the presence of a lot of people watching them perform the task, here that is an athletic task, that person will perform better. In comparison, if a person was told to complete a task that was very difficult, they might do worse in the presence of a lot of people. With this type of situation, someone might find an audience unnerving and make them feel too pressured to complete the task. A good example of this in the real world would be when someone has to give a presentation to a group and they would do worse with more people there than only a few. I know most people have experienced both these situations in their life, although they may not be situations that are commonly noticed by those performing tasks.

Physical Attraction

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Physical attraction is most typically believed to be dependent upon each person; In other words, everyone has their own taste. But there actually is science behind physical attraction. Studies show that most men prefer women with waist to hip ratios of .7 and that women are more attracted to men with larger, more muscular physiques. Women are also more selective than men (because women cannot reproduce as much) which is why they place more weight on traits such as intelligence or kindness.

Kids are always afraid of turning into their parents as they grow up, but in most cases we all do anyways. Especially when it comes to parenting our own children. Parenting, according to Diana Baumrind, is laid out into 4 categories; the permissive parents, the authoritarian parents, authoritative parents, and the uninvolved parents. Luckily for me, I was raised by authoritative parents who liked to spoil me rotten, but at the same time make me earn everything that I received and looking back, I appreciate them for being strict. Strict parenting teaches children great life lessons about respect, responsibility, and authority, as well as installs good habits. At the same time, parents who are overly strict can cause their children to grow up in a sheltered household where they are forced to do activities that their parents choose versus activities that they enjoy. Also, they may not be exposed to as much of the world as kids with more easy going parents and they can become naive. I don't think that people have much of a choice as to whether they are a strict parent or not. I believe that parenting skills are learned throughout your childhood from your parents and then practiced once you have kids of your own. That is exactly why kids' fear of turning into their parents becomes a reality. A question that has popped into my head while writing this is "how has technology changed the ways of parenting over the past couple decades?"

What is natural?

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There is much and constant debate over gay marriage, and why it is wrong or right. However, the main topic usually brought up is if it is something that is natural or unnatural. Biologically speaking there are reasons for why it may be unnatural to have a partner of the same sex, the main one being that there is no way to reproduce offspring. Research also shows that opposite sexes are mainly always attracted to each other. People also say that it is against human nature to want to be with the same sex, and as always the main factor being that it "offends god." Although people against gay marriage may have a few biological reasons to back up their argument and those reasons are important, they are blind to one main thing. Homosexuality is not only seen in humans all throughout history, but in all species. Rebutting the religious portion, If god would be so "offended" by homosexuality, he would not have created a world full of it. What is important is that all these species engaging in homosexual tendencies have been able to survive and thrive. Just because one has chosen a partner of the same sex, does not mean they are never going to reproduce offspring, especially today with modern medicine. The importance of this is to understand that homosexuality is natural and although not all my have these feelings (homosexuality), those who do are in no way acting unnatural, and deserve the same rights.

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Beautiful People

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Physical attraction is an amazing thing. Like it or not, we judge books by their covers, and by books I mean people. Although both men and women both put a premium on having a partner who's intelligent, dependable and kind, they both also prefer better looking partners across a wide range of cultures, especially the men. According to the book, women are a bit more picky than men, due to the fact that they cannot physically reproduce as much as men can (lots of sperm compared to one egg a month). Social roles may also play a factor when gauging attractiveness, such as women preferring bigger and stronger men because in the olden days they would be better hunters and therefore better supporters of the family. Body stats are also a physical feature to take into account. For example, men prefer women with a waist-to-hip ratio of about .7, whereas women generally prefer men with a higher waist-to-hip ratio. There are also some differences among cultures in attractive bodies, such as men form African and American cultures finding women with large body sizes more physically attractive than men of European cultures. Another interesting find is that being "average" is just fine. Studies have shown that people prefer people with average and symmetrical faces far more often than not. The human body is an amazing thing, and if you have a good one, it can be a tool to make your dreams a reality.
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Anorexia Nervosa is a topic that I have always been fascinated with. I first starting learning about the disorder in middle school when we started health class and my knowledge about the topic has continued to grow to today. In the reading, I learned that Anorexia is less common than bulimia; only .5 or 1% of the population. I always thought that Anorexia was more of an issue because in fashion magazines I always read stories about Anorexia and barely every hear stories on Bulimia. Another interesting fact is people suffering from this disorder often loose 25 and 50 percent of their body weight. This is an insane percentage that can result in the person weighing less than 100 pounds. Anorexia can be caused by a fear of weight gain and constantly feel like they are overweight when they are indeed underweight. Also the media can influence them to become thin due to advertisements and celebrities. Along with physical changes, this disorder can also cause health problems such as kidney failure, depression, tooth decay, bone weakening, and tooth decay. People with Anorexia Nervosa often feel alone, with no one to talk to and seek for help, but they need to know they are not alone. There are hotlines, family, teachers, and doctors who are more than welcome to help them. Anorexia Nervosa can cause 5-20 percent of the people to die from the disorder and is the third highest morality rate that 8 million Americans suffer from. With help, we can bring the statistics down so that one day people will realize that they are beautiful just the way they are no matter what they weigh.

I have to admit it...

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Admitting it is the first stop...alright breath...I am...A Say Yes to the Dress addict. There, I said it. I have been watching the show since it premiered a few years back. Along with my other fellow companions who like the show, the show is one of the most addicting shows to watch. Most of the time the brides are the most stuck-up, spoiled human beings on the planet, but watching the show is like a car crash; as soon as you look you can't look away. There are grown up women complaining about what type of beautiful gown they should wear on their wedding day. Another factor that is interesting about the show is that the brides continuously describe the groom before they try on the dresses. In the show it seems that most of the brides have met their significant others in the same work place as them. According to the three major principles that guide relationships proximity is one of the key factors. Another factor that shows up in the three major principles is that most brides describe their soon to be partners with almost the exact same personality and characteristics as them. According to the three principles this is called similarity. It is crazy to think that someone is marrying another being that is so similar to them, but as long as the couple is happy then that is all that matters.

Pinocchio

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Lying is inevitable. Each of us does it. The first lie that I remember telling was, "Mom, I swear I didn't wet the bed!" The evidence against me was overwhelming...Research even proposes that two lies are told every day by the average college student. It is so popular that there are 112 synonyms for it in the English Language. So how do you figure out the truth? Reading this chapter, I was amazed to find how inaccurate some forms of lie detection can be. Of course, the only place that I've ever seen these in action is the movies, which is most likely the reason for my false beliefs. The average person possesses a 55 percent accuracy when asked to detect a lie, and even people whose jobs surround them with lies are no better than the rest of us in determining the truth. Even though the modern "lie detector" yields a better chance than the average human, it still has a very high rate of labeling innocent individuals as guilty by confusing basic "arousal" as "lies." Another popular technique in movies and t.v. shows is the use of "truth serum." While originally thought to bring unconscious information to the surface, it is known now that people can lie while under the influence of the chemical just as they would when clean. Also, even though our inhibitions can be lowered by these serums, that gives us no reason to believe that they should be trusted. Other devises, such as the "guilty knowledge test" and brain scanning techniques, claim to be better ways at detecting lying, but both are still extremely fallible. At the moment, lie detection is still a very complicated and inaccurate process, needing a large amount of research to ensure fool-proof results. Will we ever be able to really know the truth?

The lying game

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Lies are very common within society. It's been estimated that a person will say at least two lies a day. I believe it! It may not be a big lie but 'white lies' are fairly common; often used to protect the feelings of others. In a bid to make the world a more honest place, people have come up with ways to test the validity of another person's answers. The most common in the polygraph test. I don't really trust this method since it's easily fooled. Multiple sources (i.e. Mythbusters, various crime movies, and even our textbook) tell us how to fake a polygraph. Add some extra stimulation during the control question and you get a false positive which falsifies the test results.

Most people have a 50% chance of accurately spotting a lie. Truly exceptional people [such as federal agents] have a 70% chance. It's surprising how we believe that can usually tell fact from fiction when the opposite is actually true. Make me wonder how well I really know the people around. Don't people usually falsify facts about themselves to appear more appealing? I'm not just referring to intimate relationships but the casual relationships everyone has [student/teacher, friends, neighbors,etc.].

psy study group

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Do you feel it is so boring to read through the chapter on your own and constantly distracted by other staff? Study in group is super effective especially when doing the quizzes or prepare for the test. I am trying to start a psy study group and we will meet once every week to work on problems together. send me an email if you are interested. yang1683@umn.edu
Muhan Yang

My little cousin

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As I read through this chapter, I started to remember this little interesting story happened to my little cousin. He was 5 years old and he fits right in the category as the preoperational stage. He learns new words really fast. And he can remember many things you said in the conversation. It is really funny he can only remember what me or his parents said but cannot understand them and he will some time just say it out loud like a "grown man". He really enjoy when being in the center of attention or at least participating our conversation even though most of the things he said is not really relate to our conversation.
The thing that make me think he is in the preoperational stage is that there was once our grandmother made fried chicken wings for us. He insisted that we should share the food "equally". He can only counts the number of the chicken wings but cannot compare the size of each wings. So I kept all the big wings and gave him the same amount but really small wings. Each of my chicken wings is about 1.5 time bigger then his but he was pretty happy with me agree to share the chicken wings equally with him. Anyway, given the fact that I am on my diet and try to lose weight, I am going to give him the bigger chicken wings next time:)
Muhan Yang

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