Ash Ash We All Ash...

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The concept in psychology that I will remember five years from now is the concept of conformity. The study was conducted by Solomon Ash in the 1950s. The study involved participants being asked to compare a standard line with three comparison lines. The other participants known as the "confederates were undercover agents of the researcher. A simple task as to determine which of three comparison lines matched the standard line can be the result of conformity just by having the participants say out loud their answers. In the end, 75% of participants conformed to the incorrect answers in 12 trails. Surprisingly, some even conformed even when the comparison line differed by more than six inches. I will remember this concept because I was surprised at how even when the the difference was by six inches the participants fell into the trap. Even though they were confused and questioned their answers they still conformed in the presence of others. This just shows that when people are around others they can be easy fooled compared to if they had to write down their answers. Also, even in a simple task participants conformed, what if the studied involved a more complex task participants would be even more likely to conform. Also, if I were a participant in this study and I was unaware of the purpose of the study I wonder how I would perform? I think I wouldn't conform to the incorrect answers but the results tell us that more than half will conform. Also, the elevator experiment in which a participant followed by other confederates share a elevator. The confederates all slowly turn and the participant also begins to conform and turn like the other confederates. The clip we watched in class I thought was really funny how people would actually change the direction they were standing because they were different than the other people in the elevator. This just show how we as humans are victims of conformity even when were unconsciously unaware of our behaviors.


The Elevator Experiment from Miguel Paulo Flores on Vimeo.

Angela Ouyang

The aspect of psychology that affected me most was the idea of false memories. The thought that someone would be convinced they did something that never happened is amazing to me. False memories are figments of our imagination that are as vivid and tangible as real memories except the events we see never actually happened. These memories are important to study and understand because they have serious effects on peoples lives and perceptions of the world.

In 1990 George Franklin was accused of murdering a girl in 1969 by his daughter Eileen. she claimed that she had repressed the memory of her father killing the girl for 20 years. Although many people thought that the memories were false it was impossible to tell at the time. Eileen's therapist was convinced they were real and even testified in court that they were indeed valid. Although many remained unconvinced that a memory so traumatic could be suppressed so long and still be as vivid as Eileen described it, George Franklin was convicted of murder. This was a mile stone case, and was the first conviction in history based solely off of memory and no tangible evidence. Since the murder was of an eight year old girl it could be possible that the court and jury simply wanted a scapegoat so that the family and community could finally rest easy. The world will never know.

It is important for researchers in the field of memory focus more on the idea of false memories and come up with better models to detect valid and false memories. This must be done so no innocent person is placed in jail.

A link to an article about the George Franklin case
A link to an APA article about how psychologists' view of false memories is evolving

In the case of obedience, we take our marching orders from people who are above us in the hierarchy, such as a teacher or parent. Many groups, such as cults, acquire their influence from a potent combination of both conformity and obedience. For example, I am writing this blog because my teacher told me I need to in order to get a good grade. Obedience can produce troubling consequences when people stop asking questions about why they're behaving as others want them to. During the Vietnam War, U.S. Lieutenant William Calley commanded a platoon of a division named Charlie Company that had encountered heavy arms fire for weeks. They entered a village of My Lai expecting to find a hideout for North Vietnamese soldiers. The platoon didn't find any enemy soldiers but were still instructed to shoot villagers. At the end they brutally murdered 500 innocent women and childrenmy-lai-massacre-vietnam-war-history-pictures-images-photos-rare-amazing-007.gif. When asked, Calley said he was simply taking orders from his superiors and said he had no responsibility for the massacre. In turn, the soldiers in Calley's platoon claimed they were merely taking orders from Calley. Calley was convicted in 1971 of murder and sentenced to life in military prison, but President Nixon commuted his sentence. It amazes me what humans will do just to obey their superiors. Looks like people will go out of their way to kill innocent people just to please the people above them.

Video of Nixon & My Lai---->

Zach DeCou

Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder

This week, we were asked to write about the most memorable thing we learned in Psych 1001. Although I initially thought the Principles of Scientific Thinking would be most important to me, I instead decided that I would write about something only discussed briefly in our text but has been very influential in my life: Bipolar disorder, or more accurately, the bipolar spectrum.

Why, you may ask, did I make that clarification? Contrary to what our book portrays, there are actually a variety of bipolar disorders. The three most common are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia.

Bipolar Disorder Type I

This disorder, which is described in our text, is characterized by periods of major depressive and manic episodes. You can find the specific symptoms of depressive and manic episodes on the Mayo Clinic Website. Depressive episodes are normally characterized by sadness, feelings of hopelessness, lack of interest in pleasurable activities, guilt, and anxiety, while manic episodes normally involve impulsivity, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, rapid speech, and racing thoughts. The symptoms of Bipolar I are normally severe and cause major problems in every day life.

Bipolar Disorder Type II

This disorder is the closest on the spectrum because I have it; I was actually diagnosed earlier this semester and used my psychology textbook to better understand my disorder.

Bipolar II is very similar to Type I in that it involves major mood swings. However, Bipolar II is characterized by the presence of hypomanic episodes (a less severe type of mania), which are not as disruptive to everyday functioning. During a hypomanic episode, individuals may feel more self-confident, more productive, and more irritable than normal. In Bipolar II, depressive episodes normally last longer than hypomanic episodes but are still marked by the same symptoms as in Bipolar I.


Cyclothymia is one of the milder forms of bipolar disorder. It still involves periods of obvious highs and lows, but they are not as disruptive as in Bipolar I and II.

Bipolar disorders are normally diagnosed following a manic episode, which normally first occurs in an individual's late teens or early twenties. Bipolar disorder is influenced by many factors, including genetics (with a heritability of almost 85%), neurotransmitters (especially dopamine and serotonin), and structural differences in the brain. It is also important to remember that some drugs and other substances, such as caffeine, can imitate the symptoms of manic episodes, so it's best to be evaluated by a general physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist if you think you may have a type of bipolar disorder.

The reason the book's discussion on bipolar disorder will stick with me more than anything else I have learned this semester is because of the extent that I used it as I was going through the process of being diagnosed. Not only was I able to use the text's definition of bipolar I, I was also able to use the explanations of the different neurotransmitters and brain regions involved in bipolar II to better understand the biological basis.

Five Years Later

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If there is one thing I will remember from psychology it is the idea of scientific thinking. I will remember this both because it was repeated so often through out the book and because it is a way of thinking. In every chapter the author would show different claims made by people and why they were not able to make such a claim without more proof. Also there is the pseudoscience which is neither able to be proven nor disproven and how you should be cautious when participating in said pseudoscience. The other reason is it is an idea. It is much easier to remember an idea from a course because an idea is a very broad toic and easier to remember than say a specific time and or date of an experiment. I also, find that scientific thinking is more useful than any one experiment or breakthrough in psychology. It is also easily transferred to other fields of science such as chemistry and psychics. Every time I see a commercial that looks too good to be true I will use my scientific thinking skills and determine whether or not it is for real or a scam.
Patrick Dougan


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I think the concept of social influences as a whole is very interesting. It seems strange when I really think about it: we all have an enormous impact on each other's behavior. One of the least exciting (but in my opinion, one of the most interesting) is conformity. The Asch study, which included the lines of different lengths with confederates intentionally giving incorrect answers was huge in the exploration of conformity.
I've seen myself do things like this plenty of times. In a classroom setting, if enough people give a certain answer out loud to an instructor's question, I have and often do change my opinion. Even if what I think is the correct answer is firmly set in my mind, I'll change my opinion with ease, albeit uncertain ease. Additionally about one in three times I do that, I end up being wrong. If I would have kept my original answer, I would have been one of the few correct students. But with so many people saying something else, it's difficult not to go with the group in those types of situations.
But, I have noticed that the size of the group changes my feelings. As the size of the group increases, I feel more inclined to go with the crowd. In a group of three or so, I will more often stick with what I originally believe is correct. I might be tempted to change my mind in smaller groups, but I usually don't. Regardless, a group of people with a singular belief when I am unsure about something can be convincing. (In a classroom setting at least.) On a social scale when morals come into play, it becomes an entirely different story, which I think is to be expected. I think that peer pressure is slightly less persuasive, while it still is without a doubt effective. I think I'd like to see a study comparing a study similar to the Asch study versus a study on general peer pressure to see how conformity changes with different types of pressure.

David Iverson
Section 12

Of the many endearing and memorable topics we have delved into there are many that will probably stick to some degree throughout my years. However the topic of parts of the brain is one that I found the most interest in which is parts of the brain, more specifically the parietal lobe which specializes in the area of touch and perception. The reason for this is because of a personal experience my junior year of high school. In high school I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in my parietal lobe. This topic in Psychology 1001 came as most interesting to me because after learning how the different parts of the brain function in different ways, it was intriguing to find what that specific part of the brain did for me and the people around me. Also with this knowledge I was able to put together side effects I had after surgery with the function of the parietal lobe itself. Overall I received a better understanding of the entire situation, as well as a genuine interest for the human brain. While more than likely I won't continue my education to deal with the area of cognitive psychology it was fulfilling to get some answers to a time in my life that I will never forget.

Sigmund Freud founder of psychoanalysis, and his views on how people are motivated by more than what meets the eye, is something that I will always remember from psychology 1001. He theorized that people were driven by sexual desires and that the subconscious, unbeknownst to the subject was the main driver of their actions. He also brought new ideas to the table that psychologists had never thought of before and a set precedent for therapy. An example of ideas he brought to the world of psychology include but aren't limited to dream interpretation, psychosexual development (oral, anal, phallic stages), the id, ego, and superego and commonly known terms referring to coping mechanisms such as repression, denial, and displacement.

Without Freud psychology wouldn't be nearly as developed as it is today. His findings brought about many milestones that future psychologists built off of today. Although Freud was a big figure in psychology, he did have many questionable findings. Such findings include the use of cocaine in his hypnosis therapies and use in treatment of depression and belief in the Oedipus/ Electra complex (idea that children when hitting the phallic stage were attracted subconsciously to their opposite sex parent). Even with his unreliable findings, he went where many psychologists didn't and because of this stands out as a figure that I will always remember from Psychology 1001.

Yesha YIsmaw

Five years from now

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I believe that the concept of personality will be a strong subject that I will remember for a while, probably because it's such a personal subject and I can really relate to it. That chapter taught me how to analyze the way that I act and why it is that I act that way. It was a really interesting chapter to read; one of my favorites. Of course I have a strong sense of who I am and what categories I would probably be put in, but it is still interesting to break it down even further and trace it back through generations or family studies. In my opinion, one of the most interesting things to read in this chapter was the defense mechanisms: repression, denial, regression, reaction-formation, projection, displacement, rationalization, intellectualization, identification with the agressor, and sublimation. It made me think back and realize that I have actually experienced most of these mechanisms. I didn't really agree with Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, especially concerning the stages of psychosexual development, but it was interesting to read such a different perspective on why it is that we act the way we do.

Overall, all the chapters were quite interesting to read. Psychology is a complex and interesting subject. It's a lot to comprehend, but I learned a lot about myself and the people around me; how they interact and how they behave.

Anne Tran


Social Attraction Predictors (Proximity, Similarity, and Reciprocity)

The reason I chose this concept is because in the next five years of my life I will still be dating women or be in a relationship with one. It is an important concept because without fulfilling these three predictors one will not be able to fulfill the highest levels of compassionate or passionate love. Physical appearance does play a role in social attraction predictors but the most important are proximity (how close two people are), similarity (how much two people have in common) and reciprocity (the likelihood of others reciprocating your actions). In relationships, romantic or not these three factors are key. Studies have shown that the mere exposure effect plays a pivotal role in proximity. The more a person sees of another person, the more they will come to like them. This leads to proximity. Proximity will in turn facilitate in finding similarities between two people. Once similarities have been established the relationship will be open to one person doing something for another and that action will hopefully be reciprocated. All of these factors tie into each other and that is also why I find this concept to be interesting. The ultimate goal in life is for one to achieve self-actualization according to Abraham Maslow, and it would only be that much better if one could achieve that with a partner in compassionate or passionate love. This is important to me because I can apply these three predictors in real life situations while I am dating or involved with somebody. I am positive that in five years I will be applying these predictors in relationships I have romantically or with customers on a daily basis.